BigCommerce vs Shopify: Pricing & Features Compared

Every eCommerce platform is created unlike the next. On the level of your experience and comfort online, you may need an option that can modify the coding or one that is ready to launch directly out of the box. Shopify and BigCommerce are among the top two choices for the eCommerce development platform.

Over 1 million stores use Shopify, while BigCommerce holds fourth place in the category of Top 1 Million Sites in Hosted Solution. If you are someone who has a small business, Shopify may look more appealing, but if you also have long-term plans for growth, BigCommerce might be more helpful—so, let us look at both platforms and compare their features and benefits.

Quick jump

Compare Shopify and BigCommerce in:

How Do BigCommerce and Shopify Work?

Shopify and BigCommerce are eCommerce platforms that let you sell products (physical or digital) online. Both online store builders operate in a web browser, which implies there isn’t a software to download on your computer or web hosting to purchase, you can maintain your store from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection.

BigCommerce and Shopify store editor

The central concept behind both builders is that anyone can utilize them to create an online store with no need to code or design anything—you choose a template from a selection offered, upload the products you want to sell, fix your process and you are, in theory, good to go.

Shopify store editor
Shopify store editor – The theme section on the left is the where you customize the settings for your theme. For each different pages, you have a different theme section where you can modify the content and layout.
BigCommerce store editor
BigCommerce store editor – On the left is the main navigation bar for the theme settings. You can complete most of the store design using this setting section itself.

It is useful to say, however, that even though you don’t need to hire eCommerce development Services when developing a BigCommerce or Shopify store, a good idea about design, along with individual pictures that are professionally taken, are nevertheless crucial disregarding the platform you ultimately choose.

Both BigCommerce and Shopify are SaaS (software as a service) tools. This implies that there is a continuous cost to use them, which could be annual or monthly.

BigCommerce vs Shopify: Which eCommerce Platform Should You Pick?

Now, let us compare Shopify and BigCommerce – which one is the better platform by looking at and comparing their store design, eCommerce tools, customer support, the professional marketplace, apps, and pricing.

1. Which platform has better store templates?

Since people are quick to judge, having an attractive storefront is crucial as it gives your online store credibility.

Shopify storefront themes

For this case, Shopify has themes that are possible some of the more appealing storefront themes in the market now. They are professional, elegant, modern and fresh. One of the primary reason behind the items on Shopify looking so great is the fact that they leverage off autonomous designers to develop designs.

Shopify theme - Boundless
Shopify theme – Boundless
Shopify theme - Debut Default
Shopify theme – Debut Default

So, while Shopify creates the platform or tool, they let professional designers do their plans. This also means that while you get some themes for free, many are premium which you can buy from $100 to $180.

See more online store templates by Shopify

BigCommerce storefront themes

BigCommerce, on the other hand, has improved a lot recently as they focus more on developing professional and attractive storefronts for its customers. Earlier, the poor quality of their designs was a drawback, but they are beginning to catch up with Shopify themes. BigCommerce too offers you free and premium themes that are ranged from $145 to $235.

Bigcommerce theme - Cornerstone Bold
Bigcommerce theme – Cornerstone Bold
BigCommerce theme - Fortune Highlight
BigCommerce theme – Fortune Highlight

Both Shopify and BigCommerce offers you free themes and paid themes that are mobile-responsive. Shopify offers you 10 free issues and 62 premium ones while BigCommerce provides you with 10 free themes and 127 premium ones.

See more online store templates by BigCommerce

Verdict: Shopify wins

Although BigCommerce has more themes compare to Shopify, the theme design makes Shopify a cut above. Shopify themes are highly customizable. With a unique set of options, you can customize your theme with a set of parameters.

2. Which platform offers better store builder?

Shopify store builder

Shopify gives you all the fundamental tools to create a working online store. However, advanced tools such as product reviews, customer wishlist, product suggestions, etc., will need to be added to your store through the App Store. Some tools are free, and some are paid, and these tools are paid because the outsourced developers create them.

Shopify invites the developers to consolidate their tools into the platform so their clients can use these tools too without doing any of the code work. So, the extra money you pay mostly goes to these external developers. Not all of these tools are necessary, but if you want to grow your store, you may need them.

Shopify store builder – This is the place where you manage and track your online store. From the trial store above, you can see, Shopify comes with a list of functions where you can launch your online store quickly.

BigCommerce store builder

BigCommerce possible has one of the most exhaustive collections of tools among all the leading website builders for an eCommerce store. They offer you out of the box tools that are already added in their monthly plan.

If you require more tools, BigCommerce App Store is where you can find those advanced tools made by external developers—like Shopify. This is useful since you don’t know what extra tools you may require once your business takes off.

BigCommerce store builder
BigCommerce store builder – You can access to most of the BigCommerce functions even though you are on the trial plan. Click on each section to go one step further into the settings.

Verdict: Tie

It really depends on how you want your business to grow. Both site builders have tools which are useful at various stages of a business, so the verdict is a bit muddled here.

3. Who has better customer support?

Both BigCommerce and Shopify offers you 24/7 customer support through various channels – live chat, phone, and email. Basically, if you have queries or problems, even at midnight, you can always avail help from tech support of both platforms.

There's also a community forum on Shopify and BigCommerce where you can post questions and solutions for other users. You can even use this method to reach out to their support teams. Since this is a public channel, the turnaround time from the support members is usually faster.

shopify help center
Shopify help center (visit)
BigCommerce help center (visit)

A primary benefit of the forum is that you can glimpse of what other customers (business owners like you) are doing, the problems or queries they have and also some useful solutions they could have. You may even pick up useful tips if you spend enough time on such forums.

Verdict: Tie

Even though it's a tie, I lean more towards Shopify here because of the community it has amassed over the years. For beginners, Shopify might be the better place to start as they offer comprehensive self-help documentation compared to BigCommerce. I was able to find solutions to my problems by visiting their online help center.

4. Who has a larger talents pool?

Shopify has a marketplace of experts for you to hire (optional). These professionals can aid you in taking your store to another level while giving you the freedom to do pay attention to other features of your business. These professionals include developers, designers, marketers, store setup and photographers. Shopify even lists their experts geographically for you to hire assistance easily.

Although you can still get experts to help you create your store on BigCommerce, the experts are fewer compared to Shopify. So it’s the slightest bit more difficult to find the right expert on BigCommerce, especially if you want someone who lives near you.

Shopify has a larger pool of professionals and the ecosystem looks more advanced.

From this viewpoint, Shopify’s ecosystem of support looks more advanced but hiring help is not an immediate concern when you’re still starting. Hiring help is just something to consider when things get too much for you to take care of.

Verdict: Shopify wins

The winner goes to Shopify. It's just easier to find experts in Shopify in any country than BigCommerce.

5. Which platform has more apps you can add?

As your business expands, most likely the built-in features can't meet your needs. You require more tools to grow your business. There are advanced tools from both Shopify and Bigcommerce app store to extend your store's functionality.

Shopify Apps

Shopify app for shipping
Shopify apps for shipping and fulfillment

Shopify, right now, provides you more than 1500 apps in their Store. These apps can help you in marketing and sales, social media integration, automate or maintain managerial tasks related to reporting, bookkeeping, customer support, shipping, fulfillment, inventory, etc.

BigCommerce Apps Market

Bigcommerce apps
BigCommerce apps market

As for BigCommerce, there are only 250 apps compared to Shopify 1500. However, this doesn’t imply that BigCommerce is secondary to Shopify since BigCommerce already adds many tools in their basic plan (such as real-time shipping quotes, professional reporting tools, product rating and reviews, etc.). But it does imply that the developers’ ecosystem in Shopify is more extensive than BigCommerce.

As said for the above segment, having more apps is handy when you are thinking long-term.

Verdict: Shopify wins

The verdict is obviously Shopify again. I pick Shopify not just because of the number of apps but the large developers' ecosystem it has built. You know there are always developers out there to build the next function you need.

6. Which platform is more popular?

Right now, Shopify has more than 2.4 million users, including historical data, and has processed transactions worth more than $41 billion. They offer more than 70 appealing storefront themes to select from, have 1500 apps and a vast community. On these statistics alone, you can see that Shopify is the more popular one.

If you check out Google Trends for eCommerce store builders, Shopify is looked up by people a lot on search engines compared to BigCommerce.

According to the statistic, BigCommerce recorded more than 159,000 customers with historical data included and have processed transactions worth $17 billion. They offer 130 themes and 250 apps and have a smaller community of experts.

Note that these stats are at a basis of extremely high levels and it doesn’t imply for sure that Shopify is more beneficial than BigCommerce.

Verdict: Shopify wins

Though it might seem an unfair verdict, especially when BigCommerce had a later start than Shopify, I still choose the latter because when it comes to making decisions, we usually choose the more popular options, right?

7. BigCommerce vs Shopify: The pricing

It's the norm in the tech industry that you get more resources every time you upgrade to a higher plan. This practice applies to both BigCommerce and Shopify as well. With the higher plan, you will get more enhanced functions and lower fee.

Shopify plans at a glance

  • Basic Shopify – $29 /mo
  • Shopify – $79 /mo
  • Advance Shopify – $299 /mo
  • Shopify Lite – $ 9/mo (sell on social media or website)
Shopify Plans/Prices Basic Shopify Shopify Advanced Shopify
Monthly Price $29 /mo $79 /mo $299 /mo
Staff accounts 2 5 15
Products Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Credit card fees 2.9% + $0.30 2.6% + $0.30 2.4% + $0.30
Transaction fees / 3rd party gateway 2% 1% 0.5%
Shopify payments 0% 0% 0%
Multiple sales channels Yes Yes Yes
Gift cards Yes Yes
Abandoned cart recovery Yes Yes Yes
Free SSL certificate Yes Yes Yes
Shopify POS app Yes Yes Yes
Fraud analysis Yes Yes Yes
Professional reports Yes Yes
24/7 support Yes Yes Yes

Visit Shopify

 

BigCommerce plans at a glance

  • Standard – $29.95 /mo
  • Plus– $79.95 /mo
  • Pro – $249.95 /mo
BigCommerce Plans/Prices Standard Plus Pro
Monthly Price $29.95 /mo $79.95 /mo $249.95 /mo
Staff accounts Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Products Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Sales threshold per year Up to $50k Up to $150k Up to $400k
Credit card fees 2.9% + $0.30 2.5% + $0.30 2.2% + $0.30
No transaction fee 0% 0% 0%
Multiple sales channels Yes Yes Yes
Google Shopping Yes Yes Yes
Gift cards Yes Yes Yes
Abandoned cart saver Yes Yes
Free HTTPs and Dedicated SSL Yes Yes Yes
Customer groups and segmentation Yes Yes Yes
Professional reporting tools Yes Yes Yes
24/7 support Yes Yes Yes

Visit BigCommerce

 

One thing worth noting, BigCommerce doesn’t charge you for any transactions across all plans. Which means, you won't need to pay a fee or commission to BigCommerce when your customer is paying through PayPal. On the other hand, if you want a 0% transaction fee in Shopify, you have to make use of Shopify payment.

Verdict: Shopify wins

Although both had price points that can be adjusted to budgets, I prefer Shopify here.  In terms of value for money, you get more from Shopify for the same amount of money paid.

BigCommerce vs Shopify: Which is Right for You?

Shopify provides you with more appealing themes that are mobile-ready. They also have a large app store that you can use to improve your store’s functionality, and they have more experts in the community than anywhere else. Shopify’s paid users are 15x more than that of BigCommerce, which tells they are more popular. It is also evident in that Shopify more app developers, theme creators, and professionals to help you, should you choose Shopify.

Tools from BigCommerce are slightly more exhaustive than Shopify. Although BigCommerce has an excellent collection of themes, Shopify's design is better. Also, not all of the themes from BigCommerce are mobile-ready. There are 250 apps you can choose from BigCommerce’s app store and has a limited pool of experts. Although they have fewer users, it’s vital to notice that Shopify began earlier (2004) than BigCommerce (2009). Altogether, we do realize that Shopify is expanding its user base quicker than BigCommerce.

Learn more

Conclusion

To put it all together, both platforms are popular providers of eCommerce solutions. Both are competent and have a vast range of tools to help you expand your business. Though Shopify looks more attractive than BigCommerce, and since there’s no definitive answer, we suggest you test them both out.

How to begin with Shopify?

It's okay to have a risk-free mindset. No one is ready to invest in something before trying it. That's why Shopify offers a 14-day trial. It's completely free to use and you don't even have to fill in your credit card details.

Click here to signup for a free account at Shopify.

Shopify Sign up page
Step #1 – Enter email address and store name to start your Shopify free trial.
Shopify Sign Up
Step #2 – Input personal and store details.

How to begin with BigCommerce?

BigCommerce offers a 15-day risk-free trial to experience the platform yourself. There's no credit card detail required. So, you can be very sure that it won't charge you if you decided not to continue after 15 days.

Click here to signup for a free account at BigCommerce.

bigcommerce-signup
Step #1 – Enter email address to start your BigCommerce trial.
bigcommerce-store
Step #2 – Input store name (you can change this later) and other login credential.

 

About Jason Chow

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Jason is a fan of technology and entrepreneurship. He loves building website. You can get in touch with him via Twitter.

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