From roughly $3.53 trillion (USD) in 2019, the online retail market is projected to reach $6.54 trillion in 2022. This means one thing — more and more businesses are popping up in the industry.
If you are thinking of launching your own eCommerce business, chances are that you will get to a point where you will need to make a decision about the perfect tool to use in powering your online store.
BigCommerce and Shopify are perhaps the biggest and most powerful eCommerce platforms for building and managing online stores.
So, which of these two platforms is best suited for your business?
In this BigCommerce vs Shopify ultimate comparison, we are comparing the two eCommerce giants head to head. We are reviewing and comparing their features, design options, size, integrations, pricing, user-friendliness, and pretty much everything you need to know to make an informed decision for your online store.
Ready to dive in? Let’s start by getting to know more about our contenders.
BigCommerce is an all-in-one, highly-extensible eCommerce site builder, promoted as a versatile enterprise solution. It is a SaaS platform that helps businesses set up online stores, customize their look and feel, manage inventory, process orders, receive payments, among other functionalities.
But even more, the BigCommerce eCommerce tool packs advanced security.
In particular, the tool leverages the power of Google Cloud Platform to provide multiple layers of security, unlimited bandwidth, and great speed to its users.
Here are some of the most outstanding features you’ll find in BigCommerce:
See this video by WinningWP to get a clearer understanding of what BigCommerce is and what you can do with it:
Shopify is an easy-to-use eCommerce tool that allows users to create and manage digital stores. Once you’ve created your store on Shopify, you can sell in multiple places such as the web, social media, mobile, online marketplaces, pop-up shops, and brick-and-mortar locations.
Shopify takes care of all the nuts and bolts involved in managing and selling on your store, including product management, inventory, payments, shipping, and so on. In fact, with Shopify you can also perform some initial store building activities like selecting a store name, registering a domain name, and getting your web store hosted.
If you’re just starting out with eCommerce or have low technical skills, Shopify makes setting up a store on the Internet effortless. Given its user-friendly admin panel, the average Joe can add products, process orders, and access valuable store data without the need to be a tech whiz.
Here are some of the most notable features you’ll find in Shopify:
Full-fledged blogging platform: You can upload blog posts, answer comments, and do everything you would normally do on a blogging platform.
Available as a mobile app: Shopify’s mobile app let you manage your business on the go. You can do things like manage inventory, process orders, email or call customers, access reports, etc.
Here’s another explainer video that’ll tell you what Shopify is and what you can do with it:
It is always important to know the numbers associated with each platform before making your final decision. This is important because when you choose an eCommerce solution, you are completely placing trust in the company’s hands to provide a satisfying experience to your customers.
With that in mind, how do Shopify and BigCommerce compare in terms of size, sales, and the other major numbers?
|# of active users||95,000+ online stores||1,000,000+ online stores|
|# of merchants||50,000+ businesses||500,000+ businesses|
|Sales generated||13+ billion||$135+ billion USD (October 2019)|
|Years in operation||Since 2009||Since 2004|
|Estimated revenue||125 million (annual)||1.07 billion USD|
|# of countries||150+||175+|
|# of employees||700+||1,200+|
Note: Keep in mind that these numbers are subject to change, as both the e-retail industry and its players are growing year-on-year.
Here are the pros and cons of each of the two eCommerce tools, which you should consider carefully before making a decision.
|Multiple sales channels — social media, web, physical stores||Pricing plans are based on sales threshold|
|Seamless integrations with third-party services||Complex terminology makes it unsuitable for beginners|
|Loads of built-in features||No lite version|
|Customized promo and marketing campaigns||Limits are placed on annual online sales, calculated on a trailing 12-month basis|
|Great speed and best-in-class security||Advanced features can compromise ease of use|
|Great shipping options||Premium themes are expensive|
|Includes a hosted service and domain name||No free plan (but a 15-day free trial)|
|No transaction fees, even if you use a third-party payment gateway|
|Beginner-friendly set up and interface makes it easy to use||Limited features on entry-level plans. Requires upgrade or use of a paid-for app|
|Multi-channel retailing — online, offline, social, mobile||No free plan (but a 14-day free trial)|
|Highly engaged online community and numerous partners that can provide support||Additional transaction fees for using external gateways|
|A plethora of apps for adding different functionalities and features to your online store||Customization limited to theme and platform capabilities|
|Includes a fully hosted service and domain name so you won’t have to worry about server maintenance and costs|
|Social selling features including Facebook Shop, Google Shopping, Buyable Pins, and Facebook Messenger integration|
|Competitive shipping with USPS, UPS, and DHL Express|
|An inexpensive plan ($9/mo) for absolute beginners is available|
When selecting one over the other, one of the key deciding factors is usually the pricing. Both BigCommerce and Shopify run multiple pricing plans.
Here’s how they compare:
So, how much does BigCommerce cost? BigCommerce runs 4 pricing plans:
BigCommerce has a 15-day free trial with which you can test a majority of the features without entering your credit card. You can also save up to 10% when paying annually for the Plus and Pro plans.
Here’s a look at what is included in each plan:
Primarily, Shopify runs a 3-tier pricing plan including:
There’s a 14-day Shopify free trial with no credit card required after which you will need to choose a plan and pay for it. Also, Shopify offers a 10% discount on annual plans and a 20% discount on biennial plans, when they are paid upfront.
Here’s a look at what is included in each plan:
Additionally, Shopify has two secondary plans as follows:
In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the major differences between BigCommerce and Shopify.
|Transaction fees||There are no transactions fees associated with BigCommerce. Instead, they do have special credit card rates for transactions using PayPal powered by Braintree. This tips in at 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for all BigCommerce plans.||If you use Shopify Payments, you won’t pay any transaction fees. But if you use an external payment gateway, there will be additional fees of 2%, 1% or 0.5% for Basic Shopify, Shopify, or Advanced Shopify plans, respectively.|
|Pricing||BigCommerce’s pricing plan options include: Standard ($29.95/mo), Plus ($79.95/mo), Pro ($249.95/mo) and Enterprise (custom pricing) plans.||There are 3 primary pricing plans available, including: Basic Shopify ($29/mo), Shopify ($79/mo), and Advanced Shopify ($299/mo). You can also get Shopify Lite for $9/mo.|
|Enterprise-grade solutions||BigCommerce’s enterprise-class plan starts at $249.95/mo for less than $400k in online sales. If a merchant sells more, they’ll pay extra $150/mo for each additional $200k in online sales.||Shopify has a special enterprise-class plan called Shopify Plus, built specifically for high-growth businesses. The pricing starts at $2,000 per month.|
|Set up fees||There are no set up fees.||There are no set up fees.|
|Free trials||15-day free trial available, no credit card is required.||14-day free trial available, no credit card is required.|
|Themes||BigCommerce Theme Store contains about 100 free and paid well-designed, professional eCommerce themes. The paid themes cost between $195-$235 each.||Shopify Theme Store includes over 100 free and premium modern-style, sleek eCommerce website themes. The premium themes cost between $120-$180 each.|
|Design options||BigCommerce users can design their stores using the Store Design feature. Store Design is a no-code tool that lets users change different elements of a theme like colors, logo, fonts, product count per page, and more. It’s a quick and intuitive way to customize your theme to match your brand.||Design changes are mostly made from the admin area in your Shopify dashboard using the Theme Editor. With the Theme Editor, you can perform pretty much any design activity, including adding, editing and removing content, making changes to your settings, and tweaking design elements.|
|Apps||BigCommerce’s app area has a selection of 743+ powerful third-party free and paid apps, all carefully curated to provide helpful solutions to their users. However, the app store is nowhere near as large as Shopify’s app store.||Shopify has a robust app store with about 3795+ industry-leading free and premium eCommerce apps, which enables merchants to add all sorts of functionalities to their online Shopify store.|
|Ease of use||BigCommerce has a well-built interface, but it offers a bit more flexibility and complexity with its built-in features which makes it somewhat harder to use for beginners.||Shopify is pretty straightforward to use as it boasts of a clean and smooth UI. A non-techie beginner can easily use it to set up sales channels given that it takes less clicks to add products and set things up than on BigCommerce.|
|Dropshipping||BigCommerce has third-party apps, including Inventory Source and AliExpress Dropshipping, for processing dropshipping orders and fulfillment.||With apps like Oberlo, Ordoro, Inventory Source, AliExpress Dropshipping and eCommHub, setting up your dropshipping business on Shopify couldn’t be easier. BigCommerce has about 9 apps under its dropshipping category in the app store; Shopify has 95.|
|Store features||Per store features, BigCommerce comes with features for merchants to add wishlist, CAPTCHA, search suggestions, bulk discount, product comparison and more.||Although there are built-in store features, users can add more store features using third-party apps, which means additional costs per month.|
|Sales features||Single-page checkout availability, abandoned cart saver, well-built inventory system, SSL certificate, discounts, and multi-channels selling.||Sell on multiple channels, a single-page checkout helps reduce friction, a powerful abandoned cart recovery feature, manual order creation, gift cards, and discount codes.|
|Shipping||BigCommerce shipping uses USPS, DHL. Also integrates with ShipperHQ to enable accurate quoting for cross-border shipping.||Offers competitive shipping rates from USPS, UPS, or DHL Express. Users can also print shipping labels.|
|Customer support||24/7 support via email, live chat, and phone.||24/7 support via email, live chat, and phone.|
|Security||As both a merchant and service provider the BigCommerce platform is ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certified and PCI DSS 3.1, Level 1 certified. This is combined with high-performing DDoS mitigation capabilities to allow you to focus more on making sales and less on monitoring your site.||Shopify is certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliant, which is the highest level of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. This compliance extends by default to all web stores powered and managed with Shopify.|
|Store speed||BigCommerce leverages Google Cloud Platform infrastructure, Google AMP, and Akamai Image Manager to provide great loading speed.||Shopify combines fast and reliable hosting, content delivery network, and a multitude of third-party apps to enhance store speed and loading time.|
|Content management||BigCommerce blogging platform comes as a built-in feature. BigCommerce’s flexible APIs also make it easy to integrate with other CMS solutions (including WordPress) while utilizing the BigCommerce shopping cart on the backend.||Shopify is not only an eCommerce store management software but a full-fledged content management system. This means you can fully run your blog, product descriptions, and manage other types of content on it.|
|Knowledge library and resources||BigCommerce’s knowledge base and resource center contain helpful articles, YouTube videos, guides, developer guides, and more, making it easy to find information pertaining to using the platform. There are also several third-party tutorials on the Internet.||The Shopify Help Center , Shopify blog, third-party YouTube videos, a huge online community, written tutorials on third-party blogs, and a bunch of Shopify experts are available all over the Internet to provide help to beginners and advanced users.|
|Domain name and hosting||BigCommerce offers premium domain name registration and hosting services. However, domain forwarding is not supported and not all TLDs are supported.||Potential Shopify users can buy independent domain names and also get web hosting on Shopify. Additionally, you can get a free domain name that looks like yourstore.myshopify.com, although we recommend buying a professional domain name instead.|
Now that you know the differences between BigCommerce and Shopify, let’s get to the decision part: which of these two platforms should you use?
First off, it depends on your needs. The question you need to ask yourself here is this: ‘What should I look out for in an eCommerce platform based on my store needs?’
Based on your answer, you will know which platform suits your business needs better.
Here’s our take:
Generally, here’s a quick list of what to look for in an eCommerce platform:
|BigCommerce Ideal User||Shopify Ideal User|
|Although BigCommerce also serves small businesses, it mainly promotes itself as a versatile enterprise solution.
If you’re a large or fast-growing business, this might be the best solution for you.
Also, BigCommerce packs a bit more complex built-in features and data tools than Shopify, making it more ideal for advanced users.
|With Shopify’s focus on ease of use, beginners will find this tool friendly and useful.
Although there’s a solution for large businesses, Shopify seems to be targeting more of mid-market brands and small online retailers who sell a variety of both physical and digital products to a wide range of customers. This includes international and localized markets who speak foreign languages and pay with various payment gateways.
And to give you a perspective of what’s popular on both of these platforms, here’s a quick list [in no particular order] of some of the most used apps on each front:
Frankly speaking, both BigCommerce and Shopify are popular and well talked about within the eCommerce landscape.
So technically, you can be successful with any one of them. In fact, both companies already power successful e-retail businesses of all shapes and sizes, including some very popular online stores.
For instance, BigCommerce is behind the online stores of renowned brands including:
On the other hand, Shopify powers online stores for popular brands like:
These platforms have recorded multi-billion dollar sales on Shopify. What’s more, big names like Google and Tesla use Shopify’s Shopify Plus because it’s way cheaper and better than building and maintaining their own in-house eCommerce platform.
Although Shopify appears to be more popular than BigCommerce, in the end, how much exposure you get and how much money you make comes down to how well you put your business out for the world to see – not necessarily on whether you are using BigCommerce or Shopify.
BigCommerce and Shopify have some helpful marketing tools and even store credits with which you can promote your business by gaining more exposure.
So, which is a better platform for your eCommerce business? BigCommerce or Shopify?
As you’ve seen, overall, both of these tools are pretty solid choices for stores of all shapes and sizes. And although there are some parallelism between them, there are also some very notable differentiating factors.
These differentiating factors could make a huge difference in the decision you make, so let’s go over them again.
Overall, we will give it to Shopify for its ease of use and a vast selection of features and apps — it is built to serve stores of all kinds, irrespective of the size and industry.