BigCommerce and Shopify are major players in the world of hosted ecommerce software. The latter is offering their simple-to-use shopping platform to entrepreneurs and merchants since 2004, while BigCommerce was founded in 2009. Both companies deal with billions of dollars in total sales generated by tens of thousands online retailers.
Among these are some of the largest online retailers in the world, which is a great testament to the scalability and versatility of these platforms. However, chances are that you are just starting out on your long and exciting journey to success and are in a dire need for a reliable platform that can support all your needs. Our comparison of Bigcommerce and Shopify covers all key areas that might concern you and should give you a clear answer about which platform is better suited for you.
We can say with confidence that both platforms can serve remarkably well to support needs of all online retailers and aspiring entrepreneurs. The final choice between them will depend mostly on your own personal values. If you value professional approach to customer care and business in general, Bigcommerce might be the ideal partner for you. Shopify will appeal to those who value trendy design and the ability to start selling products without having to pay any fees at all.
Here below is a tl;dr summary version of our of Bigcommerce and Shopify head to head comparison.
The following web hosting features have been compared and scored (click on the link to scroll to each feature section): 1. Interface & Ease of Use, 2. Themes & Designs, 3. Payments & Transactions, 4. Hosting & Security, 5. Marketing & Reporting and 6. Customer Support.
| Free 15-day trial|
Unlimited products & file storage
No transaction fees
38 integrated payment gateways
Responsive & customizable themes
More features at bigcommerce.com
|From 29.95 /mo||83% score|| Visit website
| Free 14-day trial|
Unlimited products & file storage
0 - 2.0% transaction fees
70 integrated payment gateways
Modern & fully customizable themes
More features at shopify.com
|From 29.99 /mo||78% score|| Visit website
How is the front-end and the back-end interface and how easy is it to use?
» Bigcommerce. 5/5
Probably because Bigcommerce is slightly younger than Shopify, they were not afraid to go with a unique approach to user experience and interface design. As a result, the platform shares a lot less in common with big names such as WordPress or Magento but the overall workflow is streamlined and generally superior.
With Bigcommerce, you also get to enjoy a finer level of control over all common elements of your online store, but you don’t have to pay for it with increased complexity and steeper learning curve; the options are there, but they stay out of your way.
» Shopify. 4/5
Users of WordPress will feel instantly familiar with Shopify’s interface and will have no problem to accomplish most common tasks with great ease. The one major exception is how Shopify handles second level navigation.
The entire process feels much more complicated than it would probably have to be. A quick search shows many users expressing their frustration with creating sub-menus and condemning how frequently Shopify changes their UI, making online tutorials obsolete.
Still, the ecommerce platform is a great example of an easy-to-use software that not only strives to be visually pleasing but also goes the extra mile to ensure fantastic usability.
Which Service Offers The Best Themes?
Shopify Themes 5/5
If you wish to make your online store look better than the rest then check out the Shopify Theme Store. It includes over 100 free and premium professionally designed e-commerce website templates for your business.
BigCommerce Themes 4/5
BigCommerce also includes a range of fully responsive premium and free themes designed to make your online store look better than the others.
Which service offers the best ecommerce features?
The Shopify e-commerce platform comes with a range of features designed to enhance your online e-commerce store. These include the following:
- 100+ professional themes
- Brand and customize your online store
- Mobile commerce ready
- Edit HTML and CSS
- Your own domain name
- Full blogging platform
- Shipping Options
Professional web themes are very important for your store as they decide the look and feel of your store compared with your competitors. The cleaner and more user-friendly your store are, the likelier customers are to use your website instead of others.
Mobile commerce is ultra-important in today’s digital age. Mobile commerce options make your store accessible to customers who access the internet via their mobile devices.
Varied shipping options are important for your store and your customers. Shopify uses a number of shipping providers depending on the region from the order is being placed. If you use the Advanced Shopify plan or higher then you can offer calculated shipping rates from USPS, Canada Post, FedEx, UPS, and other carriers using your own credentials. This means that you and your customer can calculate the shipping costs in advance. Meanwhile. calculated rates are available on all plans if you use Shopify’s own shipping service.
Bigcommerce also includes a range of features designed to improve the look and functionality of your online store.
These include the following:
- Mobile-friendly themes
- SEO tools
- Shipping options
- Analytics tools
BigCommerce also comes complete with a range of mobile-friendly themes for your store. This is important if you want to make your store easily accessible for customers using mobile devices.
BigCommerce offers a range of SEO tools, which are designed to optimize your store so that it ranks near the top of results on leading search engines such as Google or Bing.
BigCommerce also includes a variety of shipping options for your customers. Calculated shipping costs are also available for a number of providers including UPS, USPS, FedEx, Australia Post, Royal Mail, Canada Post and more.
Do they have modern and responsive mobile friendly themes and designs?
Both platforms feature many different themes that were beautifully designed by professional web designers and meet highest standards of modern, mobile-first web design. Customers can select between free and paid themes, all of which are sorted according to the industry they are best suited for.
» Bigcommerce. 3/5
Just a year ago, Bigcommerce would probably receive a much lower rating from us than it does today. The company has recently updated their theme offering with several new, professionally designed themes.
Unfortunately, there are still only 7 free themes available, compared to 26 that you can get with Shopify. Most premium themes cost around $170, and it’s possible to fully customize them or even create a brand new one.
» Shopify. 5/5
There’s a good reason why Shopify is considered to be the trendsetter when it comes to theme design and the entire visual aspect of modern e-commerce stores.
Their themes somehow always seem to be a few steps ahead of their competition, with a fresh look, excellent usability, and a great selection of both paid and free options.
Which Service Offers The Best App Store?
Shopify App Store 4/5
The Shopify app store includes a wide variety of apps designed to enhance your e-commerce sales experience. The app store includes powerful new features, services, and plugins for your Shopify store including messenger bots, a/b testing tools, and SEO plugins.
If you are just starting your business online or if you already have an existing website but would like to benefit from using Shopify Lite. This service offers you the opportunity to sell on social media, in person or on an existing website without paying full Shopify subscription fees.
BigCommerce App Store 4/5
What payment gateways are supported and what about transaction fees?
» Bigcommerce. 4/5
Compared to Shopify, Bigcommerce has more first-class payment options; customers can choose between PayPal, Stripe, and Square, which is a California-based merchant services aggregator and mobile payment company launched in 2010.
There are also dozens of third-party payment providers, including 2Checkout, MIGS, PayStation, or Realex.
The downside is that the processing fee for debit and credit cards begins at 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for all Bigcommerce plans, according to their website.
» Shopify. 5/5
On the other hand, the one native payment option of Shopify, Stripe, comes with no transaction fee at all. The only time you have to deal with fees is when you decide to use one of more than 70 available third-party payment gateways.
The Basic account is charged with 2% fee, the Professional with 1%, and the Unlimited with just 0.5%. Extra discounts are available in exchange for upfront payment.
Which service offers the best shopping cart functionality?
Shopify Shopping Cart 4/5
If you choose Shopify for your e-commerce needs you can enjoy the many features offered by the company’s shopping cart service. The Shopify shopping cart will allow your business to accept credit cards and Paypal payments in exchange for goods and services online.
In order to achieve this, Shopify integrates over 100 payment gateways. Meanwhile, security is also a high priority and all transactions are Level 1 PCI compliant and the e-commerce service uses 256-bit SSL certificates.
BigCommerce Shopping Cart 4/5
Bigcommerce also includes a shopping cart to facilitate your e-commerce needs. Their shopping cart also allows credit card and Paypal payments and integrates with dozens of payment providers. The BigCommerce shopping cart also includes no transaction fees and their PayPal card processing rates decrease as you grow to improve margins and enable you to invest in your business.
Additionally, the shopping cart includes mobile-friendly themes, instant checkout and an email service designed to recover abandoned carts.
What about hosting, uptime and what security measures are in place?
» Bigcommerce. 5/5
Limitations is certainly not the word that will often pop up in your mind while using Bigcommerce. All customers can enjoy unlimited storage capacity and bandwidth with 99.99% uptime guarantee. Bigcommerce proudly says that they managed to deliver 100% availability during Cyber Week. Of course, great availability is nothing without excellent connection speed.
On that account, stores hosted by Bigcommerce respond on average in just ⅓ of a second, which ensures low abandonment by customers who lack patience.
All servers are PCI DSS 3.0 certified at Level 1 to protect against credit card data breaches. Additional security measures include perimeter and server-specific firewalls, file integrity scanners, intrusion detection software, 24/7 human monitoring, DDOS mitigation solution (for Enterprise plan), and fraudulent transaction protection provided by Sift Science. It’s safe to say that Bigcommerce leaves little to nothing to be desired in terms of their approach to security
» Shopify. 5/5
A similarly professional approach is employed also by Shopify. All stores hosted on their platform are automatically Level 1 PCI DSS compliant and protected by an automatic backup system. If users discover that something fishy is going on, they can report their finding through Shopify’s HackerOne page.
Data are hosted by ServerCentral, which is an enterprise-level hosting service that serves the most reputable businesses around the world. It offers 99.99% uptime and instantly delivers content to all parts of the world thanks to the use of a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
What marketing, like SEO and email newsletters, and reporting capabilities are there?
» Bigcommerce. 5/5
With great on-page SEO, high customizability of all important elements, and integration with major marketing services, Bigcommerce will please anyone who cares about ranking high in search engines and turning as many visitors into paying customers as possible.
It’s the only platform that integrates with Google Merchant Center, allowing users to promote their products on Google Shopping. Directly supported is also MailChimp and HubSpot, two very popular email marketing platforms, and product comparison engines, such as Nextag, PriceGrabber, Shopping.com, and others.
Besides the large selection of third-party tools, Bigcommerce has their own suite of reporting tools that were designed specifically to support needs of online retailers. Their automatic reporting offers valuable advice on how to increase revenue, attract more customers, and hit all milestones. The best thing is that most of these tools are already included for free with the most affordable plan, so most customers will get by without paying anything extra.
» Shopify. 4/5
Shopify was built from the ground up to include great search engine optimization and connect with industry-leading marketing and reporting tools, including Google Analytics for user behavior and traffic acquisition monitoring and Google AdWords for easy advertising of products.
Shopify’s own analytics keep track of many important metrics to track the progress of an online store, and can help customers to make the right choices that will propel their store forward. All plans from Professional up come with an integrated coupon engine to create discount codes and coupons to help with product promotions. The newsletter is handled by another in-house tool, ListShopify, which can also easily integrate with most email systems out there.
While Shopify can certainly do just about anything that BigCommerce can, it’s often first necessary to purchase an appropriate application via their app store. Fortunately, many apps are available for free for those who are just starting out.
What if you need customer support, what support options are available?
» Bigcommerce. 4/5
A quick glance at the support page of Bigcommerce reveals that the company really tried to provide their customers with the best customer support experience possible. Their large knowledge-base and online video series cover all common questions and topics in an easy-to-understand manner.
If that’s not enough, a 24/7 local phone support service is available for 9 countries, and international support is available for the rest of the world. Customers who prefer communication via text can either use the live chat or contact the support via email.
» Shopify. 4/5
Like Bigcommerce, Shopify also offers 24/7 support, you can reach Shopify via email, or chat directly with a Shopify Guru or talk directly over the phone for additional help.
With Shopify answers are really fast, correct, and helpful. They have a large database of FAQs, however, Shopify’s knowledgebase doesn’t nearly reach the level of quality demonstrated by Bigcommerce, and users often have to seek independent tutorials online.