Bigcommerce vs Shopify | Which One Grows Your Business?

Last updated on August 19, 2014

bigcommerce vs shopifyThe debate of Bigcommerce vs Shopify is often a confusing one, especially if you are just starting out wanting to build an online e-commerce shop.

Both Bigcommerce and Shopify have their pros and cons, and there is no clear cut winner / loser here as both are some of the best e-commerce shop builders in the industry.

[See our full reviews on Shopify and Bigcommerce here]

We can appreciate and understand that your decision is an important one, as you don’t want to spend time building out a business with one of them, then realizing that you may have to switch to another e-commerce builder.

We’ve been through this decision making process many times when we first started out, so we can relate to it.

Instead of going through micro features of each e-commerce builder, or giving you a bunch of checks and crosses in a table, we’ve laid out below our thought process on how we decide which builder to pick, and what we view as important to you.

At the end of the day, we still encourage you to browse through Shopify and Bigcommerce’s sites carefully, and sign up to their free trials to see for yourself what they offer.  You have to get your hands dirty and invest a few hours with each of them to know which one fits you better especially if you are serious about your business – there really isn’t any other way.

So let’s get going on what we view as important things to consider in this Bigcommerce vs Shopify review.  In our view, the following 7 features (plus conclusion) are some of the most important considerations when we evaluate an e-commerce builder:


You may have a different view and that’s okay. You should definitely read through our thoughts and formulate your own opinion!

BIGCOMMERCE VS SHOPIFY – THEMES / DESIGNS

Let’s be honest here – design matters.  How many times have you found a website that looked ugly, confusing, didn’t inspire trust or credibility, and you just left the website without giving it a fair chance?  We do that all the time!

Having a good looking, professional and inviting storefront is the first step to welcoming your prospective customers so this can increase your chances of making a sale.  This is really important!  It doesn’t matter if you have the best product in the world, if your store looks mediocre at best, people just won’t pay the attention that you deserve.

This is why businesses use beautiful models to showcase their products.  When’s the last time you picked up a magazine because it looked average, or that the pictures they show are fuzzy?  Most people are programmed to be judgmental and pay attention to beautiful things.

When it comes to themes, each Bigcommerce and Shopify gives you well over 100 of them to choose from.

Shopify Themes

Shopify’s themes are very impressive and updated.  They look professional and inviting.  Shopify uses independent professional designers to create these themes, so the designs are always fresh and modern – they can make your store look credible and welcoming.

We really like the idea of Shopify leveraging off independent designers to create themes, as these designers bring so many different ideas of what works today and what doesn’t into their themes.  This will ultimately benefit you.

Bigcommerce vs shopify - shopify themes

The drawback is that while some themes are free, some will also be paid.  If you want to use a premium theme, the cost will range from $80 to $180.  While this may sound pricey at first, just keep in mind that it is a 1-time investment (no recurring monthly payments), and in our view, it is a worthy investment to make your store look good.  It can help your visitors stay longer in your store to browse around, which is the first step in improving your chances of making sales.

Have a look at Shopify’s themes and you’ll see what we’re talking about.  They’re elegant, professional and can add credibility to your store.

Bigcommerce Themes

Bigcommerce offers over 100 themes and all of them are free.  That’s the good part.

However, if you go to Bigcommerce’s site to look for these free themes – you won’t find them.  This is so strange and we can’t figure out why they won’t show potential users their themes.

We logged on to their live chat and asked support why this was the case and he just said themes previews are not available, unless we give them our email and sign up for their 15-day trial.

In our minds, this is a huge red flag.  Whether we were quick to judge or not, this was just how we felt.  When we felt that transparency wasn’t there, our natural tendency is to be a bit more cautious.

So after a bit of a discussion, we decided to sign up with one of our testing email address to see what this whole secrecy is all about.  What we discovered, which a lot of other Bigcommerce users also agree, is that their themes are pretty outdated.  When we saw them, we felt that we were back in 2008.  The themes were functional, and they’ll work fine for store builders. But we didn’t get that “wow” factor like Shopify’s themes.

[UPDATE MARCH 2014 - As part of a massive Bigcommerce update they called Bigcommerce Next, they have updated their theme collection to included 28 new premium, updated themes which are all mobile friendly.  These new themes are pretty good looking, and really closes the design gap with Shopify.  Some of these new themes are free and some are paid.  The paid ones range from $120 - $250, but most are in the $120 - $140 range - pretty much the same as the paid themes from Shopify.  It's a great start in the right direction, and look forward to seeing more new themes from Bigcommerce.]

BigCommerce vs Shopify - BigCommerce New Themes

In addition to this, you can always hire a Bigcommerce designer and developer to create a custom theme for you. We’ll get into this in more details below.

Summary

Looks and design matter if you are trying to generate more sales to grow your business.  We know this because we’ve built our own businesses, and this is a huge contributing factor to growth (amongst other factors, of course).

Prior to March 2014, our view is that Shopify would win the “Battle of the Themes” as clearly they were the winner.  The thing we really appreciate Shopify approach is that they invite external designers to create themes for them.  This is a fantastic approach as it ensures that Shopify does what they do best – in creating and providing a great e-commerce platform for you, while “outsourcing” themes to what professional designers do best – creating theme designs that work in today’s competitive e-commerce world.

However, after the Bigcommerce Next update, the premium themes from Bigcommerce are really catching up and they have also started to hire professional designers to build their paid themes which is the right direction in our view.

At the time of this update, we still feel that Shopify offers better and a much wider variety of professional online store themes to you.  They have been using designers to build their themes for much longer and so while Bigcommerce is starting to catch up, Bigcommerce still has a ways to go.

BIGCOMMERCE VS SHOPIFY – E-COMMERCE TOOLS

Having a set of e-commerce tools, such as the ability to manage inventory, showcase products, set prices, taxes, configure shipping details, tracking orders, setting up payment gateways, etc, is absolutely the fundamentals of a good e-commerce builder.

Both Shopify and Bigcommerce don’t disappoint here.  Both provide really awesome tools so you can build and grow your store.

However, there is a slight difference in how they approach this.

Shopify

While Shopify provides you with all the basic tools to create and operate a store, more advanced tools, such as product reviews, customer wish list, product recommendations are only available in their App store where you have to pay for them (they all have a free trial period for you to test them out) (more on the App marketplace below).

These advanced tools will really help take your business to the next level, but you do have to make a financial commitment to using them, since they are not included as part of the basic Shopify package.

One really great feature from Shopify is their Shopify Payments feature (click here to see our review on it).  So instead of signing up with a separate payment gateway (such as PayPal or Stripe), Shopify offers you their own payment gateway so you can manage all your money in their dashboard (saves you time).  If you choose this option, they will also waive all transaction fees (more on transaction fees below) so it will save you money as well.

BigCommerce

Bigcommerce probably gives you the most comprehensive set of tools amongst all leading e-commerce builders.  They have a lot more advanced tools available to you “out of the box” – so they’re included in the monthly fee.

So in a way, you can say that you will get more value out of Bigcommerce since they provide you with a bit more advanced tools, which is nice.

Summary

This is definitely an important consideration when selecting between Bigcommerce and Shopify.  While both provide you with the fundamental tools you need to run a good online store, Bigcommerce offers you a bit more advanced tools in their monthly packages.  With Shopify, to get those similar tools, you will have to purchase an external App for them to integrate into your site.

Although Shopify’s Payments feature is an excellent tool so you don’t have fumble around with external payment gateway providers (just another party to deal with).

Overall, Bigcommerce has a bit more of an advantage here.  But this is not to say you can’t build a fully functional business with Shopify – you definitely can.  Further, Shopify offers you a much more comprehensive set of Apps if you want to further advance your business.  More on this later.

BIGCOMMERCE VS SHOPIFY – SUPPORT

Running into website / technology issues when you’re operating a business is a huge distraction.  It’s just a part of business and whether you like it or not, it’s going to happen to you at some point.

So having a solid support team that’s available at all times is a critical part of our decision making process – and it should be for you as well.

Both Shopify and Bigcommerce offer really great tutorial resources and community forums.  They’re easy to follow and have screenshots to walk you through how to get things set up.

More importantly, both of them offer you live phone support – 24 hours a day.

Shopify Support

shopify reviews - supportShopify has one of the best support teams in the industry.  You can reach them 24/7 either through the phone, online live chat, or email.

Their commitment to serving you and being there for you is unrivaled in this industry.  The last thing you want to happen is to have something break down at 3am on a Sunday morning, and help is nowhere to be found.

With Shopify, you don’t have this worry.

Bigcommerce Support

Bigcommerce does not fall behind here.  They also offer 24/7 support via email, live chat, and phone support.

Previously, Bigcommerce did not offer 24/7 phone support but they’ve really stepped up and improved upon this which is fantastic for users.

Bigcommerce vs Shopify - BC Support

As business owners ourselves, running into technical difficulties is one of the more frustrating aspects of operating an online store – especially when you know you’re missing out on sales, or creating a poor first impression for potential customers.

Bigcommerce understands this and so access to their support is right on par with Shopify here.

Summary

Both Shopify and Bigcommerce offer you various channels to get a hold of their technical support, including email, live chat and phone support.

Both offers 24/7 services, which is fast approaching the bare minimum level of service for e-commerce online store builders!

BIGCOMMERCE VS SHOPIFY – EXPERTS

Both Bigcommerce and Shopify offer you experts to help you grow your online store.  These experts are independent of Bigcommerce or Shopify, and are external consultants that you can hire to take your business to the next level.

The benefit here is that they are all pre-approved as “experts” and you can find them in Bigcommerce marketplace or Shopify marketplace.

So how can these “experts” help you? These experts include:

  • Designers (for modifying themes or creating a custom theme)
  • Developers (if you want to create some advanced tools or custom apps for your store)
  • Store set ups (you can hire experts to set up the store for you)
  • Marketers (help you promote your store)

Previous customers of these experts can leave reviews so they can help you make your initial selection before interviewing them directly.

Shopify Experts

Shopify has hundreds of qualified experts available for you – much more than Bigcommerce at the time of this review.

What we like about Shopify is that they list out experts that are geographically closest to you first, which is an added convenience so if you ever want to meet with them in person, you can request so.

Bigcommerce vs shopify - shopify experts

Further, if you choose an expert to help you set up your store from scratch (such as getting your products inserted into the site, your shopping cart set up, taxes and shipping configured – basically build your store from scratch, so you can focus on other important aspects of your business), the set up price is fixed at $500.  This allows you to focus on quality of the service, and not having to worry about negotiating for a price that most new users won’t even know where to start.

In our minds, this is a very helpful feature especially if you don’t want to mess around and just have the store up, working and start selling.

Bigcommerce Experts

Bigcommerce has less experts for you to choose from when compared to Shopify.  Further, if you want to get some basic set up services, these experts can freely quote their own prices which sometimes add to the confusion of which one to select.

Bigcommerce vs shopify - bigcommerce experts

At the very least, Bigcommerce do have experts to help you if you want to modify their themes or create a custom theme.  This is helpful especially that their themes are not as good as Shopify’s themes (as mentioned above).

Summary

Shopify has significantly more experts available than Bigcommerce.  We’re not really sure what this really means, but directionally, more experts available usually suggests a more popular platform.

With Shopify, there’s a higher chance that you can find someone to help you achieve what you want with your online store.  Also, with Shopify you can find someone that works close to you geographically, so that’s definitely an added advantage and convenience.

Even though hiring an expert is not cheap, at least having this option available once your business is growing is a wonderful feature from both Shopify and Bigcommerce.

BIGCOMMERCE VS SHOPIFY – APPS

Once your business is growing, both Shopify and Bigcommerce have their own App store to help you get more advanced tools to “extend” the functionality of your e-commerce shop.

In addition to providing you with more marketing / promotion tools, these Apps can also help you manage and automate administrative tasks such as inventory management, fulfillment, shipping, customer service, bookkeeping, etc.

The best part in our view, is that these Apps can automate a lot of mundane day-to-day tasks that you have to do when running your store.  This frees up a lot of time so you can focus on other important aspects of your business.

Summary

Keep in mind that Bigcommerce offers you more e-commerce tools out of the box than Shopify (discussed above).  So for some of the functions that Shopify is missing, you can get them through Shopify’s App store.

Bigcommerce vs shopify - shopify apps

Depending on what specific tools you need to run your e-commerce shop, the additional tools that you may pick up through Shopify do add to your monthly bill (some of these Apps are free and some are paid).

Even though monthly operating cost is an important consideration, it is not everything.  We’ll have a deeper discussion on pricing below.

Being able to add more advanced tools to your online store as your business grows is a great feature.  You can pick and choose which App you want to use, so if you don’t need the App, you don’t have to use it.  If you want to add it later when you want to take your business to the next level, you can do that then.  You have full control over that.

The Apps are there to streamline your business so your business can grow.  This takes the worries away that you may eventually “outgrow” the builder.  There are some amazing e-commerce shops that are selling millions of dollars in products that are powered by either Shopify or Bigcommerce.

BIGCOMMERCE VS SHOPIFY – CREDIBILITY OF BUILDER

One of the considerations of whether to choose Shopify or Bigcommerce comes down to the credibility of each builder.

Both of them have solid reputations in the world of online store builders, as we really view them as the top 2 hosted-builders in the world.

So how do you choose?  There are a few things we encourage you to look at.

1) Paying Customers:

  • Bigcommerce: 50,000+
  • Shopify: 100,000+
Bigcommerce vs shopify - BigCommerce users

Bigcommerce Users

Bigcommerce vs Shopify - shopify users

Shopify Users

This speaks for itself.  More paying customers suggests more satisfied customers – and Shopify has more paying customers.  The pricing of the lower plans for both Shopify and Bigcommerce are somewhat similar – suggesting pricing difference is possibly not a deciding factor.

However, it’s also important to note that Shopify did have an earlier start than Bigcommerce, so it’s only natural that they have more paying customers today.  But based on our observations, the growth rate of Shopify has been faster than Bigcommerce over the past year.

Another interesting piece of analysis is if you divide the total sales each platform has helped customers generate, by the number of customers, the average Bigcommerce user has sold $55,000 in products, and the average Shopify user has sold $40,000.  So looks like Bigcommerce users tend to sell more, or perhaps they just have customers that operate bigger stores that is skewing the math.  In any case, this is just an interesting piece of data point and is not indicative of how much you will be able to sell with your store!

2) Support Level:

  • Bigcommerce: 24/7 support across all communication channels.
  • Shopify: 24/7 support across all communication channels.

Both online store builders offer 24/7 support – right on par with each other when it comes to accessibility.

3) Quality & Quantity of Themes:

  • Bigcommerce: 100+ (most themes are outdated, except for the new free & paid premium themes that they released in March 2014 – see detailed discussion above)
  • Shopify: 100+ (free and paid, very modern and updated, available for you to preview without signing up)

While Shopify used to be the clear winner in this category, as Bigcommerce had a lot of outdated themes and you needed to sign up before you can see any of their themes, Bigcommerce has updated this in March 2014 where they have introduced more updated, professional themes for you.

However, Shopify is the clear winner here as they have a lot more premium themes for you to choose from whereas Bigcommerce only recently introduced almost 30 new ones.

4) Experts Community:

  • Bigcommerce: Less
  • Shopify: More

Having more experts serving Shopify and being available for you suggests that they have a much larger community and user base.  This is reinforced by the number of active paying customers Shopify has (100,000+) versus Bigcommerce (50,000+).  This also suggests that Shopify is growing much faster than Bigcommerce, which indicates which builder people are choosing to use.

5) Free Trial Period:

  • Bigcommerce: 15 days
  • Shopify: 14 days

Not a significant difference here.

Summary

Based on the statistics we were able to get from both Shopify and Bigcommerce, this suggests that Shopify is much more popular (evidenced by a much larger base of paying customers and experts serving them).

However, this does not necessarily mean that you would like Shopify more than Bigcommerce as your needs are unique and are different from others.

Our metrics above are just guiding points for you to consider when you are indifferent between which builder to choose.

Given that both Bigcommerce and Shopify have free trial periods, you should take advantage of them and invest a few hours to testing them out yourself.  Both of them are free to try.

BIGCOMMERCE VS SHOPIFY – PRICING

Most people are generally very sensitive to pricing.  We’re trained to nickel and dime, clipping coupons and saving as much as possible.  We do that all the time too – it’s like second nature.

However, when we look at picking an e-commerce builder to grow a business, we consciously steer away from making our decision purely based on price per month.  You want to pick a builder that gives your business the best chance of succeeding, while being able to save you time from worrying about technology.

Choosing a builder because it is cheaper and saves you a few dollars every month, is a very short term way to think and grow a business.  Instead, you should be thinking of “value”.  Even though a plan may have a higher price point, if you are getting tremendous value out of it, it is well worth the money.

Shopify Pricing

Shopify’s plans start at a monthly price of $14 for a Starter plan, and moves up to $29 for Basic, $79 for Professional, and $179 for Unlimited.

Shopify is often heavily criticized that they charge a 1% – 2% transaction fee for their Starter (2%), Basic (2%) and Professional plans (1%).  What this means is that for every sale you make, Shopify receives 1% or 2% of your sale.  [Shopify has now waived their transaction fees - see more information on this update below]

Bigcommerce vs shopify - shopify pricing

Shopify introduced the Shopify Payments feature where they will waive all the transaction fees if you use this feature.  Click here to see what it is and our review.

There is still a credit card charge ranging from 2.25% + 30 cents per transaction if you have the Unlimited Plan, to $2.9% + 30 cents per transaction if you use the Basic or Starter plans.  This credit card fee would have to be paid regardless of what e-commerce store builder you use (including Bigcommerce), as it is a credit card fee that credit card companies charge and there is no getting around it.

One thing you should appreciate about Shopify is that they are very transparent in their fee structures.  A lot of other large online shop builders are well known for charging hidden fees, so you get a big surprising bill that you can’t calculate at the end of the month.  With Shopify, you can actually calculate how much you owe them based on the agreed up on monthly plan, and also based on how much sales you’ve made (which you know).

Don’t forget that you are not only paying for access to their tools to build your business, the monthly plans comes with 24/7 support.

Bigcommerce Pricing

Bigcommerce monthly fees range from $29.95 per month (Silver Plan) to $79.95 per month (Gold Plan) to $199.95 per month (Platinum Plan).  As you progress up the plans, you get more tools available to you.  With the Platinum Plan, you also get “White Glove Setup” in which a member of Bigcommerce’s Success Squad will serve as your personal concierge to help you get your store up and running.

If you purchase an entire year worth of service, you can get a bulk discount of 10%.

One of the things we like about Bigcommerce is that they also have a very transparent fee structure across all their 3 premium plans.  You get unlimited bandwidth so you can sell as many or as little products you want without having to worry if you are exceeding any sort of bandwidth limitations.

BigCommerce vs Shopify - BigCommerce Pricing

Click image to see detailed pricing and features

One thing to note is that Bigcommerce does have a 1.5% transaction fee for the lowest plan (Silver Plan).  This means if you sell $1,000 worth of products, there will be a $20 transaction fee.  Bear in mind that this fee is in addition to the payment gateway transaction fee (e.g. PayPal fees).  If you upgrade to their Gold or Platinum plans, there is no transaction fees whatsoever.

Summary

At the end of the day, the price points of Shopify and Bigcommerce are not massively different.  When your store starts to grow, you should really be choosing based on the value you are receiving from each one of them, and which one is most likely to help you succeed.

Choosing Bigcommerce vs Shopify based solely on price is very short term thinking.  We’ve all tried to pinch dollars when running businesses. But don’t be “penny wise, pound foolish”.

We would suggest that you sign up for the trial programs for both Shopify and Bigcommerce, invest a few hours to test each one and  find out which one suits you better.

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

Selecting the right e-commerce builder for your business is by no means a straight forward decision.  There are so many things to consider, so hopefully our review is helpful in steering you towards some of the key factors to evaluate.

Although Bigcommerce comes with a lot more tools “out of the box”, and that they do not charge a transaction fee per sale (for their Gold and Platinum plans), Shopify has a lot to offer as well.

Shopify’s themes are much more polished and attractive, they have 24/7 support (you don’t want to be alone if something “breaks a 4am Sunday morning”), and they have a much larger expert community to help you advance your business when you’re ready.

Shopify also has 2 times more paying customers than Bigcommerce.  But do note that Shopify does have an earlier start than Bigcommerce.  Overall, we do observe that Shopify is growing their paying customer base at a faster rate than Bigcommerce.   This is not to say that Bigcommerce can’t do a great job in helping you build your online store.  As mentioned, they have more tools available as part of their package, but we’re just saying that perhaps there may be some good reasons why Shopify has a much larger base of paying customers and experts.

Our suggestion is for you to take up their free trial periods to see which one works better for you.  Spend a few hours playing around with both builders and experience them for yourself.  Both are the top tier e-commerce builders in the market, and there are good reasons why they’re at the top.

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About Jeremy Wong

Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.

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About Jeremy Wong

Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.

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112 Responses to Bigcommerce vs Shopify | Which One Grows Your Business?

  1. Anne September 19, 2014 at 5:35 PM #

    Thank you, thank you! Your article was truely helpful!

    With much appreciation,
    Anne

  2. Michel September 9, 2014 at 1:28 AM #

    Hey Guys,
    your article helped me a lot! Thanks,
    Michel

  3. Ameen Moinuddeen August 23, 2014 at 11:38 AM #

    Hi Jeremy

    Thanks for such a detailed review. It’s very kind of you to put in so much effort to guide people who are starting out with ecommerce.

    I would really appreciate if you could clarify one doubt for me please. I am in the process of setting up a ecommerce marketplace (something similar to Etsy but on a smaller scale to begin with). Thus we will be inviting multiple sellers to set up and sell directly from our site.

    So my question is whether any of these leading platforms offer any functionality extensions from their robust directory of apps that will enable me to operate such a business model from their platform.

    Your input would be much appreciated. Thanking you in anticipation

    Kind regards
    Ameen

    • Jeremy Wong August 23, 2014 at 6:29 PM #

      Hi Ameen,

      I haven’t seen either Shopify or Bigcommerce be able to do this. It sounds like you need some sort of custom solution to create a marketplace type of website.

      Perhaps WordPress can be configured to what you need, but I haven’t seen a good example to share with you. Sorry about that.

      – Jeremy

    • Jon August 24, 2014 at 7:05 AM #

      Neither of these platforms allow for that type of set up…they ARE the market place.

      You should maybe look into https://www.sharetribe.com/

      It seems to be a fairly simple way to set up what you’re talking about. I don’t have any personal experience with it myself, but it does do what you’re talking about.

  4. David C August 19, 2014 at 7:59 AM #

    Hi Jeremy,

    Thanks for the great, balanced review. I work for Bigcommerce, and just wanted to give you a heads-up that our support is now available 24/7 via phone, chat and email. We made the change last month to better serve all of our clients outside the US, plus those who work outside normal business hours.

    • Jeremy Wong August 19, 2014 at 11:22 AM #

      Hi David,

      Thanks for the heads up! I’ve now updated the discussion article to reflect this.

      Thanks again!

      – Jeremy

  5. Larry Lu August 15, 2014 at 5:04 PM #

    I launched my web store about one month ago. Now I am somewhat disappointed about Shopify and kind of regret choosing Shopify instead of Bigcommerce. So far Shopify disappoints me in three aspects. (1) Some basic must-have features are missing in Shopify. There are some Apps that can compensate this, but they are not free and can add significantly to your monthly cost. When you compare the pricing of Shopify and Bigcommerce, do not forget to add the additional cost for buying these basic apps in Shopify which are built in features and free in Bigcommerce and other e-commerce platforms. (2)Shopify is open if a web store owner wants to add customized features involving development. So all Shopify stores look similar in style. A very simple and important feature I want to add is a price quantity discounts feature, but for some reason Shopify is reluctant to provide an open accessible development environment for store owners. (3) Shopify customer support gurus are not very useful for advanced problems. They can only solve simple problems. Most of them have no experience in development and seldom communicate with the development team. It’s good to be able to call them 24/7, but for high-end problems like technical glitches and bugs, they have difficulty understanding and are not active to get the development involved. And the development is often very sluggish to respond. They assign you a ticket # every time you call or email them, but no one inside Shopify is actually following your problem and give you an update in a timely manner. You can easily enter a black hole.
    So, had I had a second chance to choose between Shopify and Bigcommerce, I would definitely not choose Shopify. Features matter! User development capabilities matter!

  6. Glenn August 14, 2014 at 7:17 PM #

    I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but I was just browsing between the two sites and noticed that Bigcommerce states they have 24/7 support, including phone. This must be new and an answer to what many were looking for.

    I am helping my girlfriend start up a business selling handmade crafts so we wont need much. I first cringed at the thought of spending $29+ per month for this, especially when I have multiple websites, with hosting that can support more sites (GoDaddy). I was originally thinking of building a typical website and just adding the ecommerce functionality with ZenCart or something similar. but I wasn’t sure if that was a good idea to start. I am fairly good with HTML and CSS but I’m not an expert so I wasn’t sure how much more would be involved with credit card processing, shipping, etc versus going with a hosted ecommerce builder that has everything put together. I’m thinking maybe just start with the basic Shopify or Bigcommerce plan, see how it goes, and then I can cancel it if I feel confident going with an option that would not cost anything. After all, this is new and we have no idea how much we’ll make, but I’m sure we can manage $30 a month lol unless this becomes something very big, I’m sure we could easily justify the costs to make it easy to manage. After all, we are both keeping our full-time jobs as well!

    Any thoughts regarding customization with HTML and CSS? I feel like you mentioned that Bigcommerce may be better for that due to Shopify’s proprietary Liquid language. I’m not sure how much of that there is or if it would affect me customizing things, but being that I have my own sites and can code well (Computer Science degree), I’d like to have that functionality. This is where I’m starting to lean towrd Bigcommerce, but I also like that I can just use Shopify Payments and also have better themes to choose from.

    Great information in these reviews by the way. They were helpful, especially this comparison. I’ll definitely be doing some more digging and looking into both trials.

  7. Jeff Rayhorn August 12, 2014 at 6:54 PM #

    I have looked at both Shopify & Bigcommerce, and decided to go with BC.
    My business is a “service provider” type where you purchase coupons for discounted services to different vendors, so we actually have no physical inventory and therefore no need for shipping/tax options. The problem is that there is no way to turn off these functions – unless you hire a 3rd party & pay for a good deal of customization. They don’t even have a way to customize the order confirmation email to include a link back to the item you purchased.
    Does anyone know of an eCommerce solution that caters to this kind of business? Or one that allows you to turn off shipping options if you’re not actually shipping anything?
    Thanks for any comments.

    • Michael Bower August 13, 2014 at 4:48 PM #

      You could just use Magento! It has support for virtual products.

  8. Elvis Garcia August 4, 2014 at 10:43 AM #

    Hi,

    Thank you for the in depth review. I am looking at an eCommerce All-In-One solution and had limited my search to these two. Having your report is very helpful.

    I do have a question regarding support for Google Shopping. I can not find an eCommerce solution that will support importing or integrating the sales/inventory, even via 3rd party apps, for Google Shopping. Do you know if this is for all eCommerce solutions.

    Thanks again for the information.

    Elvis :-)

    • Jeremy Wong August 4, 2014 at 1:31 PM #

      Hi Elvis,

      I’m not sure about Google Shopping either, but you should take a look at the App markets for both Shopify and Bigcommerce as they have tools to help you import inventory data. I’m not sure to what extent you need to do with the data, but Shopify and Bigcommerce do have a lot of flexibility to make things work for you (don’t forget to check their app stores either).

      – Jeremy

  9. Warwick July 31, 2014 at 1:08 PM #

    Great article.
    I was thinking about Magento until I read their announcement today.
    I am now thinking Shopify is the way to go after your review, but prior to reading your article i had spent most of the day researching this and based on theme designers comments and research etc, i was actually leaning toward Prestashop.
    * so I put to you, what is your opinion of Prestashop?
    It appears to have a lot of functions and great themes.
    * You don’t mention in your article how user friendly each platform is? Complicated and difficult platforms do scare away potential customers to those platforms.
    I look forward to your opinion.
    Thanks
    Warwick

    • Jeremy Wong July 31, 2014 at 2:22 PM #

      Hi Warwick,

      We haven’t used Prestashop before so can’t quite comment on whether they are a good platform or not. But perhaps you can find other sources of reviews on the web.

      If you are leaning towards Shopify, we found their user interface to be quite straight forward. Sure there were a few times where we have to dig deep into their support guides, but at the end of the day, if you invest some time it should be alright.

      Remember they also have 24/7 support so you can get ahold of someone fairly easily if you need more guidance.

      – Jeremy

  10. Cobby Owusu July 24, 2014 at 8:26 AM #

    I am from Ghana in Africa where credit card and online payment transaction is not used much. Can one please advice on whether bigcommerce or shopify or any other open source system can be used in such a way that the online payment component is disabled and an invoice of selected items sent to me and the client via email? Any other better counsel is welcomed. Thanks

    • Jeremy Wong July 24, 2014 at 12:26 PM #

      Hi Cobby,

      I think for Shopify you can set the checkout to “manual payments” so you can have “cash on delivery”, money orders or bank direct deposits.

      I’m sure if you contact their support team, they will have a much better answer as to what you can do and your options!

      – Jeremy

  11. Bree Cairo July 17, 2014 at 4:45 PM #

    Wouw.

    Really great review.
    I think this is the most detailed review about Shopify vs Bigcommerce.

    I think Bigcommerce has great features if you are Pro because its not easy to use but if you can handle these features they are great. Tax and shipping is more detailed. But honestly i can not say that its as easy as Shopify.

    I also used Corecommerce.com Shopio.com and Volusion.com before, you can also take a look of them. Jeremy, you should write about them too when you have time.

    Cheers
    Bree.

  12. Michael July 7, 2014 at 1:45 AM #

    Good article, thanks. Like a lot of others here, I’m forced to migrate from Magento (grrrrrrr) and have been looking around. In the end, BigCommerce is really limited by the fact that no independent designers are creating themes for their platform, so update or not, their themes are all kind of similar and flat, I think.

    BigCommerce are keen to deal, though, so if you’re looking, get in touch and you’ll find the prices are keener than they were when this article was written.

    Shopify free trial is behaving very flaky for me, even after a call to support, so that makes me nervous as anything.

    And BigCommerce is telling me that they will do all the ‘heavy lifting,’ ie, migrating Magento data to their platform. Anyone who tells you that simply creating a CSV file and importing it is easy, is lying, it never works exactly and hours later… so anyone willing to take on that hideous task is welcome to it.

    IN the end, though, I really find the BigCommerce themes lame, so I’ll probably buy a Shopify theme – recommend that you look on Theme Forest as there are lots of indie Shopify designers there – look under ‘ecommerce’ drop down menu.

    • Jeremy Wong July 7, 2014 at 10:22 AM #

      Hey Michael,

      Thanks for your input! It’s true that it could be a major pain when migrating websites. In my comment below to Bex, you’ll find a link that leads to a free Shopify App that can help you import your data from Magento to Shopify. I haven’t used it myself before but it should serve as something worth exploring if you are interested in using Shopify.

      As for themes – I’d agree that Shopify has much more interesting and professional looking themes than Bigcommerce. Bigcommerce started introducing newer themes over the past few months (Bigcommerce Next) but I’d agree generally that they still have a ways to go in catching up with Shopify.

      Thanks for the tip about finding indie Shopify theme developers on ThemeForest – very helpful to know!

      Thanks for adding to this discussion!

      – Jeremy

      UPDATE 1 – Shopify is offering free Magento Go migration service, 10% on all plans and a free 1-hour call with a Shopify Ecommerce Guru. Click here to see their offer.

      UPDATE 2 – See our article / discussion on Magento Go migration here

      • Paul July 8, 2014 at 9:30 AM #

        Hi Michael & Jeremy,

        We are an independent company from Bigcommerce, although we do now specialise on Bigcommerce, we have experience developing for Magento and a number of other platforms in the past.

        4 of our designs are available in the Bigcommerce Theme store. Bigcommerce have created some of their own designs, but most of them are by independent companies. We’ve also applied designs by independent designers, or can apply Theme Forest designs etc.

        It’s true that a CSV import *can* be frustrating, but having done quite a few with many 1000’s of SKUs personally, the main ‘skills’ you need are in a spreadsheet program like Excel or Calc. If you can use these to put the right information in the right columns, then the actual import is usually fairly easy – I did say *fairly* ;-) For simple products it’s pretty routine, it does get more complicated if there are lots of options and/or rules.

        It’s not something that most Magento Go migrators would need to worry about though…

        We’re now a Premium Partner and I’ve just had a discussion with our partner manager about migrations from Magento Go. Their offer for migrations includes migrating all products and content (not designs) for Gold Plans. The normal cost of a migration is $625. We already have a design transfer service and we’re putting together a Magento Go migration package right now. It will be on our Social Media accounts very soon, and we should have a website page with the offer in the next day or so.

        *** Jeremy, if you don’t mind putting our links they’re (I understand if you have rules on this: ***
        ‘www.flairconsultancy.com

        • Jeremy Wong July 9, 2014 at 1:36 PM #

          Hey Paul,

          Thanks for adding to this discussion. Nice to hear from someone who has been actively working on Bigcommerce and Magento Go!

          – Jeremy

      • Michael July 10, 2014 at 2:31 AM #

        Hi J
        Thanks for your reply. I have some issue with Shopify technology, not sure what, but I will take a look at migrating over.

        Had a long call with BigCommerce, very impressive, but still their themes are so dull (just had another look!) that they scream ‘template’ to potential customers.

        I’ll also look into Paul from Flair’s comments (thanks!).

        I was also in touch with SquareSpace, nice templates, but they only support CSV import for Shopify. I mentioned to them that a bunch of Magento customers have just been stabbed in the heart, and they might want to look into enabling this and grabbing some business.

        In the end, CSV is a flat file system and shouldn’t be particular to Shopify or Big or SquareSpace or whatever, but…let’s see what happens next. As Paul says, it should only be a matter of lining up the category in to the category out (ie ‘product’ = ‘product’), but it’s never completely smooth. I spent a lot of time getting to know Magento’s rather dated admin space, so I’m nervous of others, I guess.

  13. Bex July 5, 2014 at 3:10 AM #

    I have just found out the I have got to migrate my small online UK gifts business from Magento Go to another platform as soon as possible as it is closing down in February. My website has 1000 SKU’s approx and I am currently paying 65 dollars a month (integrated with paypal). I am trying to decide whether I would be better to migrate to Bigcommerce or Shopify? I am not sure which would ensure the easiest and most cost effective transition based on the structure and design of my site and which would be the most beneficial for a UK business? Do you have any recommendations?

    • Jeremy Wong July 6, 2014 at 11:17 AM #

      Hey Bex,

      I know that Shopify has a free app that helps you migrate your data from Magento to Shopify. You can see the app here. Just sign up for Shopify and you should be able to import your products fairly seamlessly (hopefully!). Migration is always an unfortunate challenge.

      It’s interesting that even though Magento Go mentioned that their users should migrate to Bigcommerce, that Bigcommerce hasn’t come up with a tool that targets importing of data from Magento. Bigcommerce has a general importing tool where you can export your store data into a CSV file (similar to Excel) then import it. I’m sure it works well once you’ve followed the tutorials.

      But if you are looking for a targeted tool, then Shopify’s app looks more promising.

      – Jeremy

      UPDATE 1 – Shopify is offering free Magento Go migration service, 10% on all plans and a free 1-hour call with a Shopify Ecommerce Guru. Click here to see their offer.

      UPDATE 2 – See our article / discussion on Magento Go migration here

      • Paul July 7, 2014 at 6:03 AM #

        Hi Bex and Jeremy,

        This is Bigcommerce’s page for migrations: http://www.bigcommerce.com/x-commerce

        I’m not certain exactly how the migration is done (you may have checked that it just uses the general CSV import) but an import can be done fairly easily. As a UK Bigcommerce partner we’ve migrated quite a few stores to Bigcommerce, and offer Design Transfer services too.

        • Jeremy Wong July 7, 2014 at 10:32 AM #

          Thanks Paul! I wonder if Bigcommerce is offering any migration services. I saw the page you referenced yesterday, but it wasn’t clear if they would provided “done for you” services, even if it was a paid service.

          – Jeremy

  14. Sarah Watmore July 1, 2014 at 1:17 PM #

    Hi. This is a good overview, thank you.

    I’m currently on Magento Go and have just found out that they are closing all stores on 1 Feb 2015. BigCommerce is their recommended company to migrate to.

    I just wondered whether you know how BigCommerce and Shopfiy deal with customer group pricing structures; I would have the website as retail with trade customers logging in to access and buy at wholesale prices?

    regards
    Sarah

    • Jeremy Wong July 2, 2014 at 10:48 AM #

      Hey Sarah,

      I’m not entirely sure actually – as we never had to use such feature before. I would be curious what others reading this have to add? Anyone have experience with this?

      – Jeremy

    • Michael Bower July 2, 2014 at 11:19 AM #

      Sarah, BigCommerce deals with customer groups the way you expected — here’s the config screen http://d.pr/i/tEaX. It’s a flat % discount, not possible to set on a per-product basis like in Magento Go.

      Shopify doesn’t support customer group pricing the way you’d like to see it, coming from Magento Go (although some Shopify users have suggested you can make it work via a couple apps integrated with Shopify http://ecommerce.shopify.com/c/shopify-discussion/t/how-to-create-a-customer-group-167894). Shopify’s official reply to this question is to either use discount codes, a password-protected section of your site, or a separate store altogether — see http://docs.shopify.com/support/your-store/discounts/can-i-offer-wholesale for the details.

      Since it’s obviously important to you to maintain as much as possible of your current customer group functionality, another option I’m sure you’ve considered is to just switch to Magento Community. More things to think about, but also a lot more flexibility.

      — Michael

      • Jeremy Wong July 2, 2014 at 11:42 AM #

        Thanks for this Michael – I really appreciate your thoughts!

        For others reading this as well, Magento Go announced that they are discontinuing their services. However, Magento Community (that Michael mentioned above) and Magento Enterprise will still be available.

        I personally haven’t used Magento before (but I know they are a reputable ecommerce store builder, and owned by eBay), but I’ve read that Magento Community and Enterprise is for larger shops. Magento Go caters to smaller to medium size businesses, which competes with Shopify and Bigcommerce.

        – Jeremy

        • Sarah Watmore July 2, 2014 at 12:27 PM #

          Thanks for your help, Jeremy. I have some thinking and research to do now!

      • Sarah Watmore July 2, 2014 at 12:26 PM #

        Thank you, Michael, that’s very helpful. I had been thinking of switching to Magento Community so will explore that further.

        Sarah

        • Michael Bower July 6, 2014 at 2:22 PM #

          You bet! It’s easier than you might think to make the switch.

  15. Mike June 28, 2014 at 6:42 AM #

    Thanks for the review, our site is an old static html site built in dreamweaver years ago, (bolt on shopping cart). Not sure why, but it ranks very well in google, #1 for several key words/phrases. And we never did any seo. We are looking to upgrade and almost went with “Shopsite” to stay with the static html pages as I was told that is why it ranks so well?? But after working with the shopsite platform for a while it is just way too cumbersome and a major pita for me. So from an SEO standpoint how would you rate Shopify vs Bigcommerce? Thanks!

    • Jeremy Wong June 28, 2014 at 10:30 AM #

      Hey Mike,

      That’s a great question but unfortunately we don’t have a solid / definitive answer for you, as SEO / search ranking is such a complex result that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what worked for your site.

      I would imagine that both platforms have equally good SEO settings for you to configure, since both are very reputable ecommerce builders. But if others reading this have personal experiences, we’d love to hear from you!

      – Jeremy

  16. Adam June 24, 2014 at 1:21 PM #

    Thanks for such a great article. I’m looking to pick one e-commerce platform. My business will be selling individual products as well as having a subscription option where customers can receive their products monthly. Can this subscription option be possible to add with either Shopify or Bigcommerce? It has been very hard to find information on this matter.

    • Jeremy Wong June 26, 2014 at 3:35 PM #

      Hey Adam,

      I think there are a couple of Apps that you can in Shopify’s App Store that can help you set up recurring payment / subscriptions. Try checking out the Chargify or Recurhub apps.

      – Jeremy

  17. Nicoletta June 23, 2014 at 10:30 AM #

    Many thanks for this article comparing Shopify vs Big Commerce. We are about to change our website and we weren’t quite sure which provider to choose.
    This article is informative and – most of all – clear.
    Thank you again

    • Jeremy Wong June 23, 2014 at 3:37 PM #

      No problem Nicoletta! Glad you found our discussion helpful!

      – Jeremy

  18. Damien Leonard May 20, 2014 at 2:46 AM #

    Hi Jeremy,

    thank you for this detailed comparison.

    I am though still wondering which solution is the best for e-commerce website in different foreign languages, for example : english, french, spanish.

    I’ve read that Big Commerce does not support this option.

    Which solution do you advise ?

    Regards
    Damien

    • Jeremy Wong May 20, 2014 at 8:48 AM #

      Hi Damien,

      Shopify has a premium theme that allows you to have bilingual languages. There is also an app in its app market to help translate as well.

      You can find more discussions in this thread here. The discussion started a couple of years ago but the discussion is updated recently as well.

      Hope this is helpful!

      – Jeremy

  19. Jan Andersen May 15, 2014 at 9:55 AM #

    Could you comment on which of the 2 has the best structure capable of supporting a large number of products, e.g. 25,000 plus. This quantity requires multi-level navigation, preferably with a drop down mega tab.

    • Jeremy Wong May 16, 2014 at 12:24 AM #

      Hey Jan,

      Wow that’s a lot of products! Both Shopify and Bigcommerce’s highest plans allow for unlimited product items, but technically both platforms will work.

      But if you are doing a significant amount of sales volume, Shopify does have an “enterprise” plan they call Shopify Plus that you can explore.

      But with such a big commitment, it’s worthwhile for you to sign up with both platforms to test them out yourself to see which one you prefer. Studying the pros and cons with discussions such as ours is helpful as a starting point. But at the end of the day, we definitely suggest testing them out yourself. It’s well worth the time investment in your case!

      – Jeremy

  20. Raquell May 12, 2014 at 7:21 PM #

    Great Information,

    I have the information I need now to choose the right e-commerce shop

    Thank You!

  21. Jon May 8, 2014 at 7:11 AM #

    Good article. I have been a BigCommerce fan for the last 2 years and enjoyed watching them grow and add features. One of the big reasons I chose BigCommerce was for their product import CSV setup. My client had products that had multiple categories for each product. Being able to add multiple categories in the same row of each product entry on the CSV was key.

    I’m not sure how Shopify is set up for this. A couple others I tried out required you to enter a new category entry for each item which would have meant 10 times the amount of work.

    Another update note: BigCommerce changed their pricing this month…they now only offer Silver Gold and Platinum and Silver charges a 2% transaction fee. I may be on my way to being a Shopify convert soon.

    • Jeremy Wong May 8, 2014 at 2:53 PM #

      Hey Jon,

      Yes they did update their pricing plans and introduced a 2% transaction fee to the lowest plan (Silver). This seems to suggest that they are finding it less economical to support smaller online stores who may elect to use the Silver plan. Or, perhaps it’s a way to encourage users to upgrade to a higher plan.

      We are seeing this for Shopify as well. But a key difference is that Shopify has an option for their users to use Shopify Payments which has no transaction fees.

      – Jeremy

  22. Jen April 27, 2014 at 7:29 PM #

    It appears that Shopify Mobile and POS are only supported on an iPad or iPhone. That means we won’t be able to accept credit card payments using their card reader with an Andriod phone, correct? While Bigcommerce allows you to use PayPal or Square…or others (without tacking on additional fees).

    We want an online store that accepts credit card payments. But we also want to use a card reader to accept payments in-person. We don’t need all the POS features via mobile…just the ability to accept credit card payments with a card reader.

    • Jeremy & Connie Wong April 29, 2014 at 2:04 PM #

      Hi Jen,

      Yes Shopify’s POS only supports iPad and iPhone for now. I’m not sure if they will be expanding to Android devices but that might be a logical move.

      I haven’t seen Bigcommerce indicating that you can fully integrate Square with their online store. But with Shopify’s POS (our discussion here), every single transaction you make is fully integrated with your Shopify store. So you don’t have to worry about tracking different sources of revenues and all your data can be pulled up using Shopify’s central reporting system. That’s why their POS system is pretty interesting!

      – Jeremy

  23. Angi April 24, 2014 at 9:11 PM #

    Thank you so much for all the time you take in presenting us with all this great information. As a new business startup my browser tabs are filled with your articles! Thank you again!

    • Jeremy & Connie April 24, 2014 at 9:45 PM #

      You’re very welcome Angi! Do click on the social sharing buttons at the top or left side of our discussions – you never know who else can benefit from our discussions here!

      – Jeremy

  24. Albert April 14, 2014 at 11:26 PM #

    Hi Jeremy,

    Great information. This is great for a newbie like me. I’m trying to compare Bigcommerce versus Volusion which seems pretty good. I noticed looking at the Bigcommerce website, I don’t see the Bronze plan. Is that correct?

    • Jeremy & Connie April 15, 2014 at 9:08 AM #

      Hi Albert,

      I also noticed this at times when I visit Bigcommerce’s pricing page. On one of my browsers I can still see the bronze package, and on another browser it only starts from the silver package. I suspect what they’re doing is they’re testing a few different price points / packages to see which one works better for their prospective customers?

      Or perhaps they are starting to phase out their bronze plan and I may have to update my price chart above.

      In any case, I think if you really want to get the bronze plan, might be worthwhile to reach out to their support team to see if you can access it?

      If you do, do let me know what you discover. Would love to hear more about your experiences.

      – Jeremy

  25. Micky April 8, 2014 at 6:26 PM #

    Thanks Jeremy and Connie for great article. After using a theme to build the site can we change the theme without redoing the whole site?

    • Jeremy & Connie April 8, 2014 at 6:56 PM #

      Hey Micky,

      Yes you can change themes with both Shopify and BIgcommerce if you want to. However, if you’ve made any customizations to the themes, you will lose those and those changes will not be implemented into the new theme that you use.

      As such, you should either duplicate the old theme or back it up, before you start working on the new theme, just so you can go back to the older theme if you need to!

      – Jeremy

  26. Michael Bower April 3, 2014 at 11:47 AM #

    As a Magento developer who also has experience building with Shopify and Bigcommerce, I always advise trying Shopify FIRST and then going from there! It’s so easy to get started and the themes are amazing. Bigcommerce has a slightly better order fulfillment workflow in my opinion, but that’s not as important.

    • Jeremy & Connie April 3, 2014 at 1:35 PM #

      Hey Michael – Thanks for your thoughts!

      – Jeremy

  27. Ed March 28, 2014 at 4:36 AM #

    We sent an email into Shopify last week and another yesterday, still no reply to either.
    Is this the norm with them?
    We are thinking of making the (big) move from our present web host to Shopify, but cannot see any suitable templates (we are in the herb and spice trade).
    We just wanted to know if they had any suitable templates.
    I hope that their response time is better than this if we do move to Shopify?
    An excellenmt article, by the way. It helps us decide which one to go for.

    • Jeremy & Connie March 28, 2014 at 9:51 AM #

      Hey Ed,

      Did you try their live chat function or actually calling them? I think they have a UK phone number to call and it’s 24/7 phone support. Visit this page here, and click on “Call us 24/7″ and you will see the UK number.

      As for themes, if you can’t find exactly what you want, you can visit their Shopify experts page to see if there are any experts that can either help you modify a theme, or even build one from scratch for you. I think that’s something you might want to look into!

      – Jeremy

      • Ed March 28, 2014 at 12:10 PM #

        Hello Jeremy.
        Yes, we may call them.
        Just a bit miffed that they did not reply to two seperate emails, that’s all.
        If they could give us a more product-specific template, then we will be happy.
        I also hope that Shopify roll out their built in merchant gateway for the rest of the world- including us in the UK.
        Although we use PaymentSense at present, we could be tempted by the no fee situation in using the Shopify system.

  28. Peter Jenkins March 26, 2014 at 6:18 PM #

    Jeremy & Connie — thanks so much for your valuable comparison of these two platforms.

    We’re looking to launch a website targeting U.S.-based senior citizens the primary purpose of which is to provide pertinent health information addressing specific issues about growing older and common age-related diseases. Our business objective is to generate revenue from the direct sale of a few uniquely valuable downloadable ebooks (which we have authored or have the rights to sell); plus referral of our site visitors to other select companies with whom we have affiliate relations and which will compensate us for purchases of their products/services by customers we have referred (either by re-direction to their websites and/or by using discount codes or coupons we provide for use when buying from our affiliate providers).

    We have a friend who is an experienced website designerbut not with e-commerce sites. He suggested that we build our website on a WordPress platform and use Bigcommerce for our store. After looking at Bigcommerce’s website, I asked our friend if it wouldn’t make sense to just use Bigcommerce to build our site entirely . . . and then, digging deeper, I found your article comparing Bigcommerce and the Shopify platforms. Reading the comments below, I also saw your reference to another platform’s “Service Product Type” and digital product sales. So, now, since our primary revenue source will be from sale of e-books and re-directs to affiliate companies; I’m wondering if we should be considering Bigcommerce or Shopify at all as our platform. For example, looking at Bigcommerce’s “Showcase” of sample customer websites, I couldn’t find any that are selling digital products.

    As to our site content, we will have “heavy text” and numerous subjects (combined with appropriate visual images, of course) and links to a shopping cart for purchasing our e-books; but we also want a “store-like capability) to display a substantial variety of products offered by our affiliate companies (with promotional information that encourages our site visitors to click-through and buy). Bottom line, however, we do not need standard physical product inventory management capabilities; but we certainly want to be knowledgeable and smart about building and tracking our customer traffic and growing our business.

    We would really appreciate your thoughts on this. Are Bigcommerce or Shopify appropriate platforms for what we want to accomplish? Would we be better off with just WordPress and shopping cart (maybe, Ultracart)? Or an entirely different platform for our website? Thanks again. Peter

    • Jeremy & Connie March 27, 2014 at 10:29 AM #

      Hi Peter,

      If you are just looking to sell digital products and also have some images / banners for affiliate links, I think both Shopify and Bigcommerce can cater to that as they both provide you tools to sell digital products.

      Another two considerations are Squarespace and Weebly. Both are very simple website builders and while they don’t have as comprehensive range of e-commerce tools as Shopify or Bigcommerce, both are pretty easy to use and do offer you the ability to sell digital products.

      You can also use their drag and drop content builder to drop in images / banners or text and link them out to your affiliate products.

      If you haven’t seen our reviews on their e-commerce capabilities yet, here is our discussion on Squarespace’ e-commerce tools and here is the one for Weebly e-commerce.

      Good luck!

      – Jeremy

  29. penny March 25, 2014 at 11:01 AM #

    That’s so interesting. I’m in the UK and just wondered whether there are support people here for Shopify (or Bigcommerce), and how the transaction fees apply here?

    • Jeremy & Connie March 25, 2014 at 11:40 AM #

      Penny,

      I don’t think there are any dedicated teams in the UK, but both Shopify and Bigcommerce’s support teams are working around the clock as indicated in the discussion above.

      In terms of transaction fees, if you use Shopify Payments, then they waive all the transaction fees.

      For Bigcommerce, it looks like they just started charging a 2% transaction fee if you get their Silver plan. Higher plans have no transaction fees.

      Just note that transaction fees are different and separate from credit card fees. Credit card fees will charged by credit card providers (such as Mastercard or Visa), so those are beyond the control of both Shopify and Bigcommerce.

      – Jeremy

  30. FrequencyDesign March 21, 2014 at 4:43 AM #

    One thing I think should be mentioned in relation to BigCommerce is that their templates are quite labourious to edit.This is particularly important for designers/developers.

    BigCommerce split their templates into hundreds of snippets and panels so editing any particular element requires doing a text search through hundreds of files to locate that element you want to edit.

    I haven’t tried using Shopify’s “liquid” templating language but it looks a little more efficient than the BigCommerce approach.

    • Jeremy & Connie March 21, 2014 at 10:33 AM #

      Hi FrequencyDesign,

      Thanks for your insights – very interesting to hear from someone from the perspective of customizing the templates! Would love to hear your thoughts once you had a shot at Shopify’s Liquid coding language.

      I suppose for a lot of users, modifying codes is probably not something they want to do themselves! The good thing with both Shopify and Bigcommerce is that they have a marketplace of experts who can take on these tasks for them.

      Thanks again for adding an interesting perspective to this discussion!

      – Jeremy

      • Joe March 24, 2014 at 11:42 AM #

        It’s also important to point out that Bigcommerce does not support customization of any kind. I was recently in a trial period and changed one color on a theme and it broke apart. The background disappeared and who knows what else.

        Their response was this:

        “RAMON R: I apologize Homer but customizing your template files or your website is out of our support. You need to contact your web developer or we have our design partners here which I can recommend to you.”

        I would expect this for a custom design or something of that nature. But a default theme I would expect some support.

        Not only that but offering the ability to change themes in multiple ways but not offer any help here is not user friendly. I can also agree with the poster that has said their themes are super hard to edit. Snippits, panels, etc. are an organizational mess.

        I’m looking into Shopify now.

        • radable September 23, 2014 at 3:14 AM #

          For basic customizations [colours, panels], BigCommerce is actually more friendly thant Shopify, as it lets you instantly change&preview colour changes etc (compare here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPiecA9kxMc no affiliation).

          But It sounds lime you want to customize the theme files Joe, right?
          If you have read the comments above, you know that Shopify support will be equally helpless in that. Both Shopify and BigCommerce will likely direct you to the Experts – that’s what they’re here for!
          And if you want DIY – both shops provide detailed themes documentation.

          Both shops let you edit template’s CSS freely (that’s style – colours, fonts, backgrounds, boxes, spacing…)

          Now for changing what is where and how:

          If you’re looking for “easy” then surely copy/pasting a snippets around is easier in BigCommerce.
          If you’re looking for powerful, then Shopify may be a bit more flexible as they use their own Liquid template language – obviously, you’ll need to familiarize with it first, (if you have some coding knowledge it’s a breeze).

          Example (not comparison):

          BigCommerce:
          %%Panel.HomeFeaturedProducts%%

          Shopify:
          {{ collection.all_products }}

          Yes, it’s not black and white – I know how tempting it is!

  31. Henry March 19, 2014 at 7:05 PM #

    From my point of view, shopify is slightly better because managing bigcommerce store is still too complicated. but it depends what you need. Another two candidate are volusion.com (strong livechat) and miiduu.com (best price to functional).

  32. Simon March 16, 2014 at 2:27 PM #

    Great review and presentation. I’m a designer and I can tell you I’m beginning to hate all the complexity of building custom sites because it’s so time consuming, tedious, and stressful. I practice what I preach and prefer selling then building sites. The complexity also turns off my clients as well. Developing a custom site takes a lot of work. If the budget is too small it’s not worth it for me but it’s too much, the client won’t do it.

    With that said… both of these options are very good only if your needs are mainstream and you’re a retailer. I was in the process of building a wholesale site for a client and looked at the all the options but ultimately had to stay with Magento due to customizations. The problem with these platforms is that if you have to do a lot of customizations it gets pricey and you may still not able to customize it the way you want it. And at the end of day you don’t own the site.

    One side note, I want to throw in. Bigcommerce only shows a limited number of free themes unless you do the trial. I just did a trial and they have more free themes to choose from.

    Looking forward to testing both out.

    • Jeremy & Connie March 17, 2014 at 7:17 PM #

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Simon. I also heard that Magento is also a great e-commerce platform but we haven’t had a chance to use it ourselves.

      Bigcommerce has actually made good strides in its theming options. Before, they would pretty much hide all their themes until you sign up which was a bit annoying. However, in the latest update (Bigcommerce Next), they introduced some updated themes and are now showcasing them which are great.

      Good luck with testing out both platforms!

      – Jeremy

  33. Paula March 14, 2014 at 12:21 PM #

    I am very confused with all of this so please bear with me. I want to build an online store for my business. I currently have a brick and mortar store and want to eventually eliminate having to open the store and sell strictly online. I sell unique gifts.
    I already am a merchant with Moneris and I understand that it can be integrated onto shopify, which i would like to do so all transactions (online and in store) would be handled by one company. Does that mean I would be paying Moneris and shopify credit card percentages? That gets a little pricey!
    Any advice and help is greatly appreciated.

    • Jeremy & Connie March 14, 2014 at 10:01 PM #

      Hi Paula,

      In that scenario, because you won’t be using Shopify Payments (see details here), then yes you would have to pay a fee to Moneris and also to Shopify. But the fee to shopify starts to reduce as you move to their higher plans.

      One thing you can consider is checking out Shopify’s Point of Sale system (see our discussion here). You can literally integrate your online and offline systems into one centralized platform (including payments) so it’s much easier to manage if you are to operate an online and offline store.

      – Jeremy

  34. Nikki March 14, 2014 at 5:54 AM #

    Amazing – Thank you do much for all this information. Was spiraling around to clearly focus between the two. This has been very helpful :)

    • Jeremy & Connie March 14, 2014 at 11:29 AM #

      Thanks for your feedback Nikki! Hope this article gives you some issues and ideas to consider when you are making your decision.

      Do click on the social sharing buttons at the top of each page or on the left hand side if you find them helpful! You never know who else you can help along the way by sharing them!

      – Jeremy

  35. beth February 27, 2014 at 1:04 AM #

    Thanks so much for this in-depth comparison. Currently in the process of choosing between Shopify and Bigcommerce, with migration being the biggest concern.

    An established e-commerce site, whose outgrown its current platform, Shopify support just suggested using a 3rd party for migration (outside of Shopify’s experts). Huh?

    With 900+ products, lots of re-directs, and 7 years with the same host, it’s scary to move–yet scary to stay. If Shopify has so many experts, I’m curious as to why they world send prospective customer outside the company?

    • Jeremy & Connie February 27, 2014 at 9:24 PM #

      Hey Beth,

      Migration is always tricky, especially if you’ve been using another website / platform for many years.

      When Shopify support said to use a 3rd party, maybe they mean one of the Shopify experts they have in the App Store? They are in a way, independent of Shopify (they don’t work for Shopify in a sense).

      I’d suggest you reach out to some of those experts and see what they say. Good luck!

      – Jeremy

  36. Francis February 23, 2014 at 9:52 PM #

    Hello Jeremy
    Nice article , had I seen this article in December 2013 I probably would have given Shopify a try for their design and sign up for the higher plan . They should change their name though for it sounds unserious and that is my one major reason I did not look at them.

    After struggling with CS-CART for 5 years I finally had to move from that platform since everything was so slow with 75,000 records and I have more records I could not add.

    I signed up for Bigcommerce Platinum and put them to test with 1 million records and 25,000 categories and I crashed. I will like to give shopify such a test to see if they can handle it.

    Eventually I reduced to 550,000 records on Bigcommerce and 8,000 categories to arrive at a workable solution though I have a few hang ups here and there that I can live with . Apart from the old themes you mentioned which I see Bigcommerce improving by them adding more every time I check, I do like most of the out of the box features of Bigcommerce and I bought a few other apps too.

    I am just wondering what kind of platform guys like Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble with millions of records are using and they do not crash.

    • Jeremy & Connie February 24, 2014 at 9:04 PM #

      Hi Francis,

      I would think that the big guys like Amazon and B&N would have their platform custom built. Or if they use service providers such as Shopify or Bigcommerce, I won’t be surprised if they hire their teams to provide dedicated support given the volume that they do!

      In any case, I know that Shopify does power some business that are generating millions in revenues… though I’m not sure how many records or categories they have.

      But worth a shot with Shopify. Once you find the right solution, it’s so worth the time that you invest into testing it!

      – Jeremy

  37. Drew February 13, 2014 at 9:44 AM #

    Jeremy & Connie,

    First off, great write-up and review. Thanks!

    I am faced with a slightly different dilemma. I have 2 options, A template site (like shopify) or an OS (open-source) CMS with a shopping cart (previously used Joomla/Virtuemart).

    I have built maybe 5 sites with Joomla/Virtuemart (I have web development experience) and they turn out great, but over time the updating starts to kill the site. Custom built pages don’t transfer over when upgrading from Joomla! 1.5 to 2.5 and on and on. Therefore I need to let the site get old and stale before I invest time and $$ into starting over, or rebuilding all of the same pages.

    Do you happen to know the longevity of a Shopify/Bigcommerece while the internet is evolving and updating with “Responsive Themes” and HTML5, etc. 5 years ago, tables and smartphones weren’t a big way of searching to buy on e-commerce sites. Do you think having a Shopify/Bigcommerce site will not become outdated and have lost functions?

    • Jeremy & Connie February 14, 2014 at 3:27 PM #

      Hey Drew,

      I think that’s one of the drawbacks with using self-hosted open source builders. If you have anything customized, you will be responsible for keeping it updated and relevant. Same goes for WordPress which we have built a few for ourselves before and we need to keep it updated all the time when WordPress makes updates.

      The advantage of using Shopify or Bigcommerce is that they are “hosted” solutions, meaning that they control everything within their operating environment and will continually make updates “automatically” and so you don’t have to worry too much about that. As long as the companies keep growing, they will keep introducing more advanced, and technologically relevant tools.

      I know that Shopify has made significant upgrades and introduction of very updated functions over the past year. Hope this helps!

      – Jeremy

      • Jutta July 14, 2014 at 6:37 AM #

        Hi!
        Great article for us “common” people:)
        This part intrests me…
        I have a franchise in Italy and we have just been given the right to open up the brand e-commerce here.

        It is a “jungle” of information out there. I would appreciate your response on this issue. As we are a small operator, I do not see that we need a “tailored” host, also because I do not know if financially we would be able to keep the site upgrades updated effectively.

        We went to see how much a “tailored” e-commerece would cost us and they gave us an estimate of 7000€. Of course that sum is just to get things started, but for any jobs that they would do on it, the sum will rise each month.

        I saw that Big Commerce offers a package called “Enterprise” for bigger business’. Do you have any information on that? How “professional” and serious are the platforms which they offer or are they tailored? I would be more secure having my business in the hands of a “host”, but at the same time, I do not want to seem like a cheap site.

        Also, in case my company gets sold, what are my rights in a sale of a “hosted” e-commerce over a tailored e-commerce? (Of course this depends also on the contract which I have with my franchisor).

        Thank you,
        Jutta

        • Jeremy Wong July 14, 2014 at 11:28 AM #

          Hi Jutta,

          I haven’t used the enterprise level of services from Bigcommerce yet, but I would suspect that you probably have priority access to their support staff given that you are paying for a more “premium” level of service. It might be a good idea to contact them and inquire more about it. Also, there are a lot of Bigcommerce experts that you can hire (freelancers) to help you if you need that extra assistance as well.

          As for transferring of ownership, I don’t think it will be an issue as you can just transfer your account over to the buyer, and he/she can update the billing information with Bigcommerce. Again, you may want to clarify this with Bigcommerce as well just in case they have any specific procedures they require you to do.

          I know that Shopify also offers a high-end, white glove service for enterprise level users. You can see on their page that they are already catering to very large organizations so you can get a sense that they are fairly effective.

          – Jeremy

    • Paul February 17, 2014 at 7:20 AM #

      Hi Drew,

      > Do you happen to know the longevity of a Shopify/Bigcommerece while the internet is evolving and updating with “Responsive Themes” and HTML5, etc.

      The Design Brief we had from Bigcommerce, and the framework and requirements for Themes are forward looking to cater for mobile devices, Responsive Themes etc.

      We’ve regularly seen new features and development, so I expect this to continue!

  38. Paul February 11, 2014 at 8:16 AM #

    I’ll declare my interest up front ;) we’re a Bigcommerce Partner, but I also hear good things about Shopify, it looks like a good system.

    This is an interesting read, if allowed I thought I’d just comment on a couple of things.

    It’s almost 2 months on now from when this was written, so I’m guessing both platforms have more paying customers now (Bigcommerce is now 50k+). We started working with the company when it was a self-hosted/licensed product (Interspire), and saw the beginning of Bigcommerce. If my memory serves me right, Shopify was already a hosted version, so they would have had a head-start on Bigcommerce.

    If Shopify’s own page is to be believed over Wikipedia ;) they started in 2006 (wikipedia says 2004 :-o). Interspire started in 2003 but Bigcommerce wasn’t launched until 2009/10 so I think Shopify had at least a 3 year head-start on those customer numbers.

    Shopify does have some great designs. I’d imagine it’s partly because of this that Bigcommerce have been working hard to improve the available themes. Some new free and premium (paid) themes are available right now in the design tab (some are ours), and I’m pretty sure you’ll be hearing a lot more about new and updated Bigcommerce themes in a couple of weeks time.

    • Jeremy & Connie February 12, 2014 at 1:33 AM #

      Hi Paul,

      thanks so much for your thoughts and comments! I think your comments makes sense and thanks for clarifying why the number of users are a bit “skewed” due to different starting points. That’s a very fair point.

      Good to hear that Bigcommerce is working on introducing better design templates! Looking forward to seeing them!

      – Jeremy

  39. Damini February 3, 2014 at 12:19 PM #

    Thanks Jeremy and Connie, this was a top class review and has made my decision in choosing

    my ecommerce platform a great deal easier. When I am finished making all my preparations I will

    return (God Willing) to sign up through your link(you’ve helped me so I’ll do likewise).

    Keep up the excellent work.

    • Jeremy & Connie February 3, 2014 at 1:33 PM #

      Hi Damini – thanks so much for your support! Glad our review and thoughts have helped you along the way.

      – Jeremy

  40. Omar January 28, 2014 at 5:50 AM #

    Ok so what would be the difference between stripe and shopify payments. Currently I use Stripe with Squarespace. Stripe charges 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction. Are you saying that if I switched to Shopify and still used Stripe I would have to pay BOTH Stripe fees and Shopify fees (1%-2% depending on my plan)??

    But if I switch to Shopify and use Shopify payment I only have to pay the per transaction fee of 2.5% + 30 cents (for example for a professional plan)…..

    Please elaborate, and also tell me how this measures up to Bigcommerce, which has no transaction fees except for the credit card transaction fees…(do they also allow me to use Stripe or others as 3rd party transactor?)

    • Jeremy & Connie January 28, 2014 at 11:38 AM #

      Omar,

      If you use Shopify Payments, then you don’t have to pay the Shopify transaction fees. This pretty much equates to Bigcommerce which has no transaction fees.

      So if you use Shopify + Shopify Payments, then you only need to pay one set of fees. This is the same as using Bigcommerce + one of payment processors (over 60 of them).

      I went over some benefits of using Shopify Payments here.

      – Jeremy

      • Omar January 28, 2014 at 11:46 AM #

        Thanks! Besides the benefit of the fact that Shopify payment is integrated into Shopify; what do you think of the shopify payment system versus using something like stripe or paypal….in your experience?

        Also on a completely different note, anyone here have any experience accepting bitcoin as payment for online transactions? Would be really interested in hearing some stories!

        • Ashlie February 25, 2014 at 1:59 AM #

          One MAJOR factor you need to keep in mind is that when you use all you web solutions in one spot (hosting, commerce platform, AND merchant), especially with Shopify, is that once you cancel your account–all your info and relevant data on your site is permanently deleted.

          “Migration: If you cancel your Shopify account, your entire store and relevant data is deleted permanently. This lock-in feature can be a big deterrent if you want to move your store elsewhere.”

          For me, I plan to scale my business in the future, and there is always the possibility of outgrowing or possibly wanting to switch to open source or something else that suits my needs better. This inability to migrate has really kept me from moving forward with them.

          Let me know if anyone else can verify this migration policy of Shopify.

          • Jeremy & Connie February 25, 2014 at 10:03 AM #

            Hi Ashlie,

            Thanks for your comment and question. The truth about most of the “hosted” solutions, is that they have created proprietary platform / codes in order to power their unique platforms. So the way Shopify run their online store building tools, is very different than how Bigcommerce run their tools, and is very different from how Joomla or WordPress.

            It’s just like taking out a Ferrari engine and try to insert it into a Porsche body. The engines that power each website builder are all different and not 100% compatible with each other!

            So migration has always, and will probably always be a big concern for most people and platforms, and this is not only limited to Shopify. I think that Bigcommerce is also limited in this respect – not being able to export all your codes / website. The same goes for migrating a site from WordPress to Drupal, for instance.

            But what Shopify allows you to do, is export all your products, customers, orders and reports details in a CSV file (pretty much Excel), so you can retail your core information to take to the next platform. This is a very important function that Shopify gives you!

            Most major (at least reputable) online store builders will allow you to import CSV files, so you can import your most important data into the new platform, and start building your website using those data, and the new platform’s proprietary building tools.

            Hope this helps!

            – Jeremy

  41. Manuel January 23, 2014 at 11:49 PM #

    Hi,
    these days we read more and more about how important it is the “mobile first” strategy. But I don’t see anything about the mobile strategy of both platforms on this comparison. Would you please expand on that?

    thanks a lot!

    • Jeremy & Connie January 24, 2014 at 10:35 AM #

      Hi Manual,

      Take a look at our reviews on Shopify and Bigcommerce. Each article has a section labelled “Mobile e-Commerce” and we have a high level discussion on what each platform includes in terms of mobile e-commerce.

      In general, both Shopify and Bigcommerce allow you to manage your store using their Apps, and your customers can make purchases from you directly from their mobile devices. Both platforms have optimized their store builder to allow this.

      – Jeremy

  42. Brian January 23, 2014 at 8:40 AM #

    Hello Jeremey,

    Great article. Very informative. Just a question. If shopify themes are better, can’t I just buy a shopify theme and use the big commerce platform? Or is that not allowed?

    • Jeremy & Connie January 23, 2014 at 10:22 AM #

      Hey Brian,

      Good question. You can’t use a Shopify theme on a different platform as Shopify’s themes are coded specifically to be adaptable to Shopify’s platform / codes. So a lot of the features that are included in the themes will only work with Shopify.

      You can definitely modify the codes if you are proficient with codes or if you are working with a developer, but you will probably need to deconstruct the entire theme and put it back together again to make it work with Bigcommerce. Probably not worth the trouble at the end of the day as it will be very costly in terms of time and money (if you are hiring a professional to do this).

      – Jeremy

  43. Lynda January 16, 2014 at 4:05 PM #

    Thanks for this review. I have worked extensively with both platforms for clients. In my experience you are certainly right about Shopify being far superior visually, I am keeping an eye on Big Commerce’s theme rollouts as I do prefer their platform for functionality and price. Shopify becomes very, very expensive as any little extra often requires another monthly fee, plus the transaction fees as you have outlined. Out of the box Shopify is pretty basic. This post is a great resource though for those wanting the comparison between the two main SaaS ecommerce platforms. Thanks for putting it together. :-)

    • Jeremy & Connie January 16, 2014 at 7:17 PM #

      Hi Lynda,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with all of us! One thing to note is that if you choose to use Shopify Payments to manage your transactions, they waive the transaction fees. We have more details here about Shopify Payments.

      One other point that I haven’t discussed in this article, is that Shopify is really taking their platform “offline” with the Point of Sales system. This enables the traditional brick and mortar stores to integrate their system with an online store which is something Bigcommerce hasn’t done (I’m not sure if that is the direction they are taking or not?). We have more discussions on Shopify’s POS here.

      But in general, I sense that Shopify is moving from just an online solution to a “complete” solution for store owners. It will be interesting if Bigcommerce also shifts that way, or if they prefer to remain as a pure online shop platform.

      In any case, thanks so much for adding to this discussion Lynda!

      – Jeremy

      • Lynda January 28, 2014 at 1:47 PM #

        Hi Jeremy,
        Unfortunately Shopify payments is currently only available in the US and Canada so doesn’t figure in the decision making process for us in New Zealand! I have just set up another trial store for Big Commerce, and I have to say, I am impressed as it is a while since I have had a close look. They are still a little lacking in the design features, but generally I agree with your proposition that they seem to be working towards a fully featured online platform rather than incorporating B and M retailers like Shopify are, with the Big Commerce Yahoo, Google and Ebay features… a good discussion here!

        • Jeremy & Connie January 28, 2014 at 4:24 PM #

          Hi Lynda,

          Thanks for sharing this, and I’m glad that you are giving Bigcommerce a try and that it is so far so good for you!

          I’ve always encouraged people to sign up for at least 2 platforms and just test them out. At the end of the day, investing a bit of time to trying them out is the only way to see if the fit is right!

          Thank you again for sharing and adding to this discussion!

          – Jeremy

  44. Tyler January 3, 2014 at 3:15 PM #

    Thank you for your detailed reviews of both storefronts.

    I am looking for a site builder to help construct a platform for selling different travel packages. Im not sure which would be better (or another storefront not reviewed here) to host this type of site. Shopify seems to only have tangible goods categories (like electronics or clothing) and not any storefronts dedicated to goods such as travel, designs, or experiences.

    Would you be able to point me in the direction of a proper storefront for this type of company?

    Much appreciated!

    • Jeremy & Connie January 3, 2014 at 4:55 PM #

      Hi Tyler,

      Checkout Squarespace as their eCommerce plan has this feature called “Service Product Type” which operates like digital product sales, except that it doesn’t deliver any digital file. It’s basically a function where you can receive payments to perform a service, which can pretty much be anything you want (advisory, consulting, custom packages, etc). So you can outline your services on the page, and insert the “Service Product” block to handle transactions.

      – Jeremy

  45. Jack December 26, 2013 at 1:53 AM #

    Thank you for the analysis and comparison on these top 2 tiers, myself I am a B2B, importer, and wholesaler instead of B2C retailer, which website builder would you recommand to me?

    • Jeremy & Connie December 26, 2013 at 4:36 PM #

      Hi Jack,

      Most of the sites I’ve seen are B2C. But if I was to take a shot at this, I’d suggest checkout Shopify as I believe they have more developers following and catering to it. So if you need to make any customizations or extra support beyond what Shopify provides, you can always reach out to the developers community.

      But if you have time, I’d encourage you to sign up for free trials with both providers just to see which one suits you better. I think it’s worth investing a few hours to do this as it’s more painful to invest a lot of time in building out one site, then discovering that the other platform better suits your needs.

      – Jeremy

  46. Imad December 19, 2013 at 5:59 PM #

    Thank you so much, very helpful article, I am a Photoshop designer and wanna start a store selling logos, banners, and stuffs, where should I start? what should I choose? shpoify is better I think?

    • Jeremy & Connie December 21, 2013 at 5:59 PM #

      Hi Imad,

      I think Shopify would be a better fit for you if compared to Bigcommerce, the main reason being that the themes offered by Shopify is much more attractive and professional than Bigcommerce at the moment. So being a designer, you should consider how you want your visitors / customers to perceive you through your website.

      So the more options you have in terms of themes, the better off you could potentially be in marketing your products.

      Hope this helps!

      – Jeremy

  47. tammy November 30, 2013 at 5:03 AM #

    The transaction fee that Shopify charges is a HUGE no-no in my book and the reason I would go with Big Commerce. We’re already paying a monthly fee that forcing a fee on every sale seems plain greedy!

    This review seems ridiculously one-sided..

    • Jeremy & Connie November 30, 2013 at 5:25 AM #

      Tammy,

      Shopify users do have the option to take up their Shopify Payments plan in which they waive all transaction fees. If you don’t take up the Shopify Payments plan, you can also upgrade to a higher plan to reduce or completely waive the transaction fee.

      For sure, if one doesn’t agree with any parts of Shopify’s subscription plans, one doesn’t have to sign up to their plans. But, if one finds Shopify’s features more suitable with his/her needs, in my view, it’s a very small investment to make to take advantage of all that Shopify has to offer.

      All our opinions of this post is of our own, but you can disagree with them which is fine. I think there are many different ways to view an e-commerce builder, so opinions can definitely vary. If you find any thing factually wrong with our post, please let us know and we’re happy to update it.

      Thanks for your comment.

      – Jeremy

  48. Gary November 24, 2013 at 5:35 PM #

    Great screenshots, and great review. I was in the process of finding out which platform to use myself, and I ended up choosing Shopify. They fit my needs more, and I liked the design and layout of their free template designs. I also ended up liking Shopify’s customer service very much.

    • Anita Reid March 27, 2014 at 12:18 AM #

      Hi Jeremy
      Thank you for all the information you provide on this site and also the ability to ask you questions.

      I am based in the UK.

      I am setting up a new publishing company and very much learning as I go. I have several products (books, physical and ebooks, apps, serialisation) planned around niche markets (both genre and topic within a genre) and one due to publish in June. I need to choose a website that will support the few products I have at the moment with a store for people who want to buy direct. I had chosen Squarespace intuitively after reading through your blogs on choosing a website builder.

      Now I wonder whether I ought to choose Shopify now because I will be offering perhaps 50 to 100 products in only a year or two, and globally to other countries directly.

      I could just start in Squarespace and then review in a year or two where I am and my best options then. It does mean doubling up the work of rebuilding the site. I will at that point probably sit down with a designer to come up with a design across the board for the website and the products that reflect the personality of the publishing company, which is still only forming.

      I would appreciate any comments on the above, which is as much a reflection on a business in its infancy.

      I will be forwarding your site and posting it on my social media sites, when these get going.

      Thank you again. This information is invaluable.

      Anita

      • Jeremy & Connie March 27, 2014 at 10:34 AM #

        Hi Anita,

        That’s a great question, and I’m glad that you are looking and planning in advance as you are serious about growing your business!

        If you are planning on expanding to 50 – 100 (or more) products, Squarespace does have the capacity to handle that. Having said that, I think that Shopify / Bigcommerce are both specifically built to handle a lot of products as well, and the best part is that they have the infrastructure (App Stores) to bolt on more tools when you need them as you scale up your business.

        So in terms of flexibility for growth, I’d say that Shopify and Bigcommerce are both better equipped to help you navigate that path.

        Hope this helps!

        – Jeremy