BigCommerce vs Shopify | Which One Grows Your Business?

Last updated on March 31, 2016

BigCommerce vs Shopify ComparisonThe 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:

Click on the following links to read the specific sections:

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 Comparison Table – If you prefer a table / chart based analysis, click here to see it.

1. 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 offer you both free and paid storefront themes. Let’s dive into how they’re different from each other.

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.

shopify vs bigcommerce - 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 decent looking themes.  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 FEBRUARY 2016 – BigCommerce updated their theme collection to included new premium, updated themes which all of them are 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 $145 – $195 – 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 February 2016, 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, since the introduction of new, updated themes, BigCommerce are starting to catch up and they have also started to hire professional designers to build their paid themes which is the right direction in our view.

  • Shopify (all mobile responsive designs) – 152 premium themes / 26 free themes 
  • BigCommerce (all mobile responsive designs) – 67 premium themes / 7 free themes 

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 Comparison Table – If you prefer a table / chart based analysis, click here to see it.

2. 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 Comparison Table – If you prefer a table / chart based analysis, click here to see it.

3. 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 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.

Bigcommerce vs Shopify - Shopify Support ChannelsTheir 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 Channels

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 Comparison Table – If you prefer a table / chart based analysis, click here to see it.

4. 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 starts 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 Comparison Table – If you prefer a table / chart based analysis, click here to see it.

5. 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.

At the moment, Shopify offers you over 1,100 Apps, whereas BigCommerce has about 250 Apps.  So Shopify definitely dominates BigCommerce in terms of the size of their tools development ecosystem.  This is something for you to consider, as a larger pool of Apps creator usually mean that the ecommerce platform is more mature, and attractive to App developers.

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 versus 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.

6. 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: 95,000+ (last updated mid-2015. BigCommerce no longer disclose how many paying customers they have)
  • Shopify: 243,000+

bigcommerce versus shopify - bigcommerce stores

bigcommerce vs shopify - shopify stores

Shopify Users

This speaks for itself.  More paying customers suggests more satisfied customers – and Shopify has more paying customers.  The pricing 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 few years.

Shopify’s popularity trend has also been trending up much faster than BigCommerce based on Google Trends. In fact, BigCommerce’s popularity trend based on Google Trends has not grown since 2014, and is starting to dip downwards slightly since 2015:

shopify versus bigcommerce google trends

Click to see the most updated trending chart.

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 $52,630 in products (based on the last available data set which included both customers and processed sales from mid-2015: 95,000 paying customers and $5 billion processed sales), and the average Shopify user has sold $57,600.

So looks like Shopify users tend to sell more (but not by that much), 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: 50+ (most themes are mobile ready, but not all.  Limited selection of premium and free themes, when compared to Shopify)
  • Shopify: 150+ (all free and premium themes are mobile ready,very modern and updated)

From design options perspective, Shopify has 3 times more storefront themes for you to choose than BigCommerce.  Shopify has a much larger base of designers creating themes for users, suggesting that designers find Shopify a more favorable platform to work with.  Shopify is the clear winner here.

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 (243,000+) versus BigCommerce (95,000+).  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 Comparison Table – If you prefer a table / chart based analysis, click here to see it.

7. 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 $9 for a Lite plan, and moves up to $29 for Basic, $79 for Pro, and $179 for Unlimited.  Note that to build an online store, you will need to sign up to the Basic, Pro or Unlimited plans.  The Lite plan only gives you access to some selling tools, but not the online store builder.

Shopify is often heavily criticized that they charge a 0.5% – 2% transaction fee for their plans (Lite 2% / Basic 2% / Professional 1% / Unlimited 0.5%) What this means is that for every sale you make, Shopify receives 0.5 to 2% of your sale.

However, if you use Shopify Payments to manage your payment processing, all transaction fees will be waived.

bigcommerce vs shopify - Shopify pricing

There is still a credit card charge ranging from 2.4% + 30 cents per transaction if you have the Unlimited Plan, to $2.9% + 30 cents per transaction if you use the Basic or Lite 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 in the world of selling online.

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.

Shopify Plus (Enterprise Level Users) – see this if your business generates over $250,000 per year in revenues and/or is a high volume business

BigCommerce Pricing

BigCommerce monthly fees range from $29.95 per month (Standard Plan) to $79.95 per month (Plus Plan) to $199.95 per month( Pro plan) and finally their Enterprise Plan (which is a customized solution for established, high volume businesses, so the pricing will vary depending on what you need).  

As you progress up the plans, you get more tools available to you.  With the Enterprise Plan, a dedicated BigCommerce team will help you with set up, data migration, and of course you get priority support.

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 - bc pricing

Note that BigCommerce does not charge you any transaction fees on your sales.  It’s quite common for some hosted ecommerce builders to charge a fee every time you make a sale.  But with BigCommerce, no transaction fees are charged so you get to keep more of your profits.

However, one interesting (and at times confusing) aspect of BigCommerce’s pricing plans, is that while you can pick any one of the plans (the higher the plan, the more tools / features you get), they do require you to upgrade to a higher plan if your online store either:

  • Exceed certain sales dollars threshold; or
  • Exceed certain sales orders threshold.

Sales Dollars Threshold

For instance, if you start off with the Standard plan ($29.95 per month), once you exceed $50,000 in sales dollars over the previous 12 months, you will need to upgrade to the Plus plan ($79.95 per month). If you exceed $125,000 in sales dollars over the previous 12 months, you will need to upgrade to their Pro plan ($199.95 per month).

Sales Orders Threshold

If you exceed over 500 sales transactions over the previous 12 months, you will need to upgrade to the Plus plan.  If you exceed over 1,000 sales transactions over the previous 12 months, you will need to upgrade to the Pro plan.

For the Pro plan, if you exceed over 2,000 sales transactions over the previous 12 months, the next 1,000 sales transactions will cost you an additional $80 per month. So if you transact an additional 3,000 sales above and beyond the 2,000 order cap threshold, you will need to pay another $240 ($80 x 3) per month.

So it actually doesn’t take too much for you to be required to upgrade to the Plus plan. 500 sales transactions per year is roughly equivalent to processing 1.4 transactions per day.  That’s not a whole lot if you think about it.

Even at 1,000 sales transactions per 12 months, that’s equivalent to processing 2.7 transactions per day.  So if you operate a moderately successful online store, you might find yourself having to be enrolled in their Plus plan pretty quickly.

Even though BigCommerce does not charge you any transaction fees (which is not uncommon for other hosted ecommerce builders) , if you operate a high sales volume business, but your product prices are not high, the monthly fees can eat into your profit margin pretty significantly.

Example

For example, let’s say your average price per product is $15, and you sell 6 units per day (assuming 1 unit per transaction). That’s 2,190 transactions per year, and will earn you $32,850 in sales, or $2,738 per month (this does not factor in your costs yet).

While $32,850, you can remain at the Basic plan ($29.95 per month) as it is below the $50,000 sales threshold, the fact that you are processing over 2,000 transactions per year means you have to enroll in the Pro plan ($199.95 per month).

At $2,738 sales dollars per month, the Pro plan monthly fees can really eat into your profit margin.

This is just something you should take into consideration – if your product prices are lower and your sales volume is higher, BigCommerce’s monthly fees can add up quite quickly for you.

If you operate a lower price, higher sales volume type of store, I’d suggest you take a look at Shopify. Shopify does charge a transaction fee per order, but if you use their Shopify Payments feature to handle your payment processing, there will no transaction fees.  You can process thousands of orders while remaining at their lower plans (such as their Basic plan at $29 per month).

However, keep in mind that you still need to pay a payment processing fee, which your payment processing provider (such as PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, etc) charges you every time you accept a payment.  There is no way around this as it is a standard cost to enable your customers to pay you through Visa, Mastercard, etc.

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.

Sure, BigCommerce doesn’t charge you any transaction fees per sale, whereas Shopify does.  But if you are willing to use Shopify’s own payment system, they then waive all transaction fees.

The big caveat here is that BigCommerce does require you to subscribe to higher plans if you exceed certain sales dollar or sales orders threshold – Shopify has no such requirement.  So if you are a high volume and low price seller as illustrated in our example above, then the monthly fees from BigCommerce can really start to add up and eat into your profit margins. 

Other than such scenario, 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.

BigCommerce vs Shopify Comparison Table – If you prefer a table / chart based analysis, click here to see it.

8. 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, 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 more than 2 times the 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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Jeremy Wong

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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Jeremy Wong

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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191 Responses to BigCommerce vs Shopify | Which One Grows Your Business?

  1. scott March 29, 2016 at 10:34 PM #

    Those who are somewhat successful online should not go with Big Com. We went from $1100 a year ($89 a month) to an astounding and insane $22680.00 dollars a year, no boloney! We were told our price would change as of Sept 1 2016 due to our last years total of having 6785 orders over the previous year.

    The problem with this is that we have only 54 products in total, and Big Com had NOTHING to do with our success. At 54 products we use no bandwidth or much in resources, not have we ever even called their support. Its a very simple operation compared to the companies who are actually Enterprise Level and have a thousand products and use alot of bandwidth. Big Com is a funnel for us, not the factor in our high sales volumes. At over $22,000 a year I find it just insanity, and to not offer a reasonable option is just beyond bizzarre. It’s just gouging, they want a piece of our success when they did not help. It was our ads and marketing outside of Big Com that lead to our success.

    I can’t explain how gross it feels when a company assume it should get a piece of your pie when they are not directly responsible for it. We would have done well on any platform and would be will to pay a fair amount for the service. I think the 20% of companies that sell well will leave them for sure. Why pay that with all the other good alternative out there.

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong March 30, 2016 at 12:59 AM #

      Hi Scott,

      First of all congratulations on your success!

      I think the reason behind Bigcommerce’s pricing structure is that it does take bandwidth for them to help you process your sales. The structure at quite disadvantageous to high volume, low price produce merchants (as described more fully above).

      So if you sell a lot, and your average selling price across your products is low, then their monthly costs will eat into your margins.

      Take a look at Shopify. If you use Shopify Payments, they will remove all transaction fees so you get to keep more of what you earn even at their lower plans. Keep in mind that there will still be payment processing fees (no way around that).

      Jeremy

  2. Chris February 24, 2016 at 2:13 AM #

    I am a small business operator with bigcommerce.

    The new pricing for Bigcommerce means I will jump from Paying approx $800 per year to $6,500 per year.

    They actually no longer have a plan suitable for small to medium sized business. Their Pro plan at $2,340 per year only allows you process 8 orders per day before being hit with an additional $80 monthly fee for each additional 2-3 orders per day you may process.

    Thant’s it there in black and white. I will get no additional features and need no additional features.

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong February 25, 2016 at 7:40 PM #

      Hello Chris,

      Thanks for your feedback. The recent Bigcommerce plan structure change does impact some users, especially if you are a high volume seller at a lower price point. Our illustration above under the Pricing section tries to model out / highlight this.

      Having said that, changing over to Shopify (for example) makes sense, but only if you use their Shopify Payment to handle your payment processing function. If not, then you’ll have to pay a transaction fee (on top of the payment processing fee) which can also add up if you are enrolled in their lowest plan.

      Hopefully you’ll find a suitable solution soon!

      Jeremy

  3. Geoff Page February 23, 2016 at 6:32 PM #

    Thanks for that.
    I currently use Shopify set up here in Australia and linked to two websites. We price our products in AU $ but need to increase our promotions to worldwide markets, particularly USA.
    My problem is that wherever in the world my customer views our site, they only see “$” prices – not their own currency – nor even “AU” $’s and they don’t know what their own currency cost is, until checkout.
    That doubtless losses a lot of people before then because they cannot equate value for money when looking at an unfamiliar currency.
    How do the two providers compare when dealing overseas and currency exchanges?

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong February 24, 2016 at 1:23 AM #

      Hello Geoff,

      Shopify has a tutorial on how to show different currencies in a drop down bar here.

      If you want a more advanced solution, there are a couple of Apps you can check out:

      * Auto Currency Switcher

      * Currency Switcher

      I haven’t tried them out before, but definitely worth checking out!

      Jeremy

  4. MU February 1, 2016 at 12:05 AM #

    I have been with BigCommerce for the entire duration of my online business — nearly five years. I have been happy with them, even though Shopify had consistently offered new features (like buy buttons on Pinterest) before BigCommerce.

    However, the new BigCommerce fee structure is going to bump my pricing plan from $39.99 to $279.99 per month. It appears I can get approximately the same services through Shopify for $79 per month. It’ll be a massive pain to switch over, but it’ll save me $2,400 per year…possibly more, depending on how quickly my business grows. (The more successful you are on BigCommerce, the more they charge you.)

    I have no idea why on earth BigCommerce has decided that their IPO is more important than losing loyal, long-term customers. Five years from now on Shopify and I could replace the roof on my home with what I’ll be saving by switching from BigCommerce. When you are a small business owner, these are the things you think about.

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong February 1, 2016 at 4:46 PM #

      Hello MU,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us and our readers.

      The change from Bigcommerce is a significant one. In a way, I suppose they have to supplement their fee base since they did remove all transaction fees (they used to charge you a transaction fee per order).

      They indicated that their pricing update only impacted 20% of their customer base, which is quite significant. Of course, each merchant within that 20% group will be affected differently.

      With Shopify, they don’t mandate that you fall into any specific plans. So you can stick with their lowest plan and still sell as many products as you can, without having to get bumped up to the next plan.

      I think the main reason this is the case, is that they still require you to pay a transaction fee per sale. However, this is completely removed if you use Shopify Payments to power your shopping cart. That’s another way for them to supplement their income. But it’s a great idea since as a merchant, you’d have pay a payment processing fee regardless.

      So with Shopify Payment, you effectively have no transaction fee at all.

      At the end of the day, I think that the pricing plans between Shopify and Bigcommerce are quite competitive with one another, except when it comes to the 20% of Bigcommerce users, who I think are high volume sellers with products at lower price points (as highlighted in the article above).

      Thanks for sharing your story with us!

      Jeremy

      • MU February 1, 2016 at 10:07 PM #

        Jeremy,

        Thanks for the reply. On the topic of transaction fees… I might be mistaken about this, but I’m fairly certain that BigCommerce did away with transaction fees several years ago, when they started using an integrated credit card processor (like Shopify Payment). And just to be clear for anyone reading this (because it was initially confusing to me), there is still a transaction fee from the integrated credit card processing company (3% + $.30), and if customers use PayPal, there is a transaction fee from PayPal (ranges from 2.2% to 2.9% + $.30). No sale is ever without a transaction fee, it just depends who is charging it.

        So I see what you’re saying about BigCommerce trying to replace the transaction fees on their end with graduated service plans based on volume of sales, but if it is true that BigCommerce has not charged transaction fees for several years, then what it ends up being is a sudden, unexpected increase in cost for many business owners.

        • Jeremy Wong
          Jeremy Wong February 3, 2016 at 4:56 PM #

          Hi MU,

          Thanks for your follow up. I did highlight the fact that a merchant is still responsible for payment processing fees, and we covered that in our other discussion articles too. But perhaps it is not as pronounced in this article. I’ll have a look at it – thanks.

          In regards to Bigcommerce and its transaction fees, I believe they removed it less than 6 months ago. I could be off in terms of the number of months, but they most definitely still charged transaction fees less than a year ago.

          I think this is where they probably caused some sort of confusion for users who signed up with the expectation of no transaction fees.

          Jeremy

  5. Waldo Buck January 25, 2016 at 11:07 AM #

    I’ve been with Bigcommerce for about a year now and overall have been happy with the pricing, support, and features.

    But with their new pricing model that they just announced, my cost is going from $79 a month to around $350 a month.

    This is truly crazy and their is a big backlash from current customers.

    Now I’m faced with finding a new ecommerce provider and going through the time and expense of customizing a new site.

    Looking at Shopify but am open to other solutions.

    Thanks for having a great site with unbiased information.

  6. E January 23, 2016 at 7:14 AM #

    Jeremy, it’s official, BigCommerce prices have risen overnight by 100% – 900% for tens of thousands of its customers. New pricing information is freely available on their website, but what you don’t see, because it’s such a complicated formula related to order value and order volume, is what merchants with more than $125K in sales/2000 orders per year actually pay on the Pro Plan, which “starts” at $199.95 but scales very rapidly to $500+.

    We moved to BC only a year ago based on the prior model and our new pricing is 150% higher. From our standpoint, if you are evaluating BigCommerce as a potential partner, the critical question to ask is, “Can I trust this company over the long-term?” The answer for us and thousands of other merchants is, “Absolutely not.” Unfortunately, unlike Shopify, BC does not allow access to their merchant forum. For good reason.

  7. Matt December 30, 2015 at 11:01 AM #

    BigCommerce has made their outrageous new plans public:
    http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/index.php?threads/big-commerce-huge-price-increase.36270/

  8. Robert Pitard December 28, 2015 at 3:53 PM #

    This should be helpful information regarding Bigcommerce “Pricing Changes for 2016” – via RGP

    **********************************

    A special message from Brent Bellm, Bigcommerce CEO:

    In a recent Bigcommerce forum Town Hall broadcast, I shared some details about upcoming changes to pricing on Bigcommerce plans. These changes allow us to continue investing in market-leading features, service, and hosting that power your growth. We strive to make our pricing fair, transparent, predictable, and competitive. This forum post further elaborates on planned changes. Please keep in mind that roughly 80% of Bigcommerce merchants will not see a change in current monthly pricing, or will enjoy an actual decrease, as a result of the changes. Our mission is to power your commerce success, and these changes ensure our ability to do so, no matter how large you grow.

    How will pricing change?

    In the coming months, Bigcommerce will make four relatively simple changes to pricing.
    1. Transaction fees will be eliminated on Standard plans. This means that Bigcommerce will no longer charge a per-transaction fee on any plan, for any reason. Many of our cloud-based competitors do charge sales-based transaction fees, either on all plans or as a penalty for not using their payments solution. You have told us that you do not like this type of pricing, and therefore we are eliminating transaction fees on Standard.
    2. An annual order cap, based on trailing-twelve-months order count, will be added to the Standard and Plus plans. If a merchant grows above the annual order cap on a given plan, then that merchant will automatically upgrade to the next plan and benefit from the added services of that plan.
    3. A new plan, called Pro, will be introduced, starting at $199.95/month. Pro will have a number of feature and service benefits previously reserved just for Enterprise plans.
    4. Both the Pro and Enterprise plans are based on trailing twelve-month order count and will incorporate a new concept called “growth adjustments.” Merchants will pay a flat monthly fee until their trailing twelve-months orders exceed a contracted order count, at which point a growth adjustment will be incorporated into future monthly fees. Growth adjustments occur in increments and entitle merchants to additional annual orders. Adjustments are priced at a lower cost-per-order, such that average cost declines for merchants as they grow. Since the calculation is based on trailing twelve-months orders, seasonality should not skew monthly pricing, ensuring predictability in monthly costs.

    Merchants on our legacy plans (e.g., Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum) will be transitioned to our current plans to eliminate complexity and ensure your ability to take advantage of all of our latest features and services. Merchants with very low or high average order values (AOV) can call to see if they are eligible for different pricing.

    The following table summarizes the key changes:

    Why are these changes being introduced?

    Historical Bigcommerce plans had no mechanism to adjust for merchant growth. A merchant starting on a Standard or Bronze plan might begin with a few orders per month, then scale to tens of thousands per month, yet remain on the same $30/month plan. There are two problems with that. First, on a starter plan, the merchant does not benefit from the advanced features and dedicated service that their higher volumes need to maximize success. Second, Bigcommerce loses a lot of money serving this merchant because the pure cost of page loads, server calls, and customer service dwarfs the monthly fees collected.

    In fact, we now have quite a few merchants who have grown their businesses on Bigcommerce to $10mm-$30mm in annual sales, yet are still on the Bronze, Silver, or Gold plan on which they started. Some of our most successful merchants cost us tens of thousands of dollars per year to serve. The operating losses on these merchants reduce our ability to invest in the features, service, and hosting that they, and all other merchants, need. More generally, the fixed nature of all current contracts means that every merchant becomes less profitable to Bigcommerce as it becomes more successful, and the most successful are subsidized by the least.

    The simple changes outlined above fix this situation. They ensure that as merchants grow, their plans adjust accordingly, but at a declining average cost per order. All merchants can be served profitably, regardless of growth, and no merchants are subsidized by others. Most importantly, we align incentives to help merchants grow as quickly and successfully as possible. We share in success, and we are motivated to do everything in our power to invest in your growth.

    What is Bigcommerce’s pricing philosophy?

    We want to align our success to your success, so that we are fully vested in helping you grow. Our order-based pricing is simple, fair, transparent, and predictable:
    • Simple: the single, competitive monthly rates on Standard and Plus are not changing. Introduction of an annual order cap on these plans ensures that merchants automatically upgrade to the right plan as they grow.
    • Fair: merchants on Pro and Enterprise continue to pay a fixed monthly rate that only adjusts if annual orders exceed a contractual limit. Monthly fees thereafter adjust based on usage of the platform and services, not based on a cut of revenue. This usage-based model funds our investment in world-class uptime, stability, and product innovation.
    • Transparent: pricing is based on order volume, not complicated things like API call limits, transaction fees, or bandwidth overages.
    • Predictable: with fixed prices based on annual volume for broad order tiers, prices don’t change until merchants substantially grow.
    How does this affect me?

    As a merchant on our platform, you don’t need to do anything until we contact you. Our pricing modifications will go live on our site in Q1, but we will be contacting our largest merchants starting in late October:
    • For merchants who are, or will be, on Enterprise contracts, outreach will begin late October 2015, so that you have plenty of time to discuss the changes live with us.
    • Other merchants will be informed throughout Q1.
    • Merchants who recently signed up, or who paid twelve months in advance, will not see an immediate change.
    Overall, 80% of merchants will not experience a change in their monthly price, or will experience an actual decrease. For most of the 20% who experience an increase, it will not be radical in magnitude, and no action will be required by the merchant. In all cases, there will be a month or more between time of communication and time of change.

    How do these changes benefit merchants?

    All merchants will benefit in one way or another from the upcoming changes.
    • Going forward, our incentives will be 100% aligned with your growth.
    • No merchants will generate losses for Bigcommerce or need to subsidize others who do.
    • All merchants will benefit from automatic plan upgrades as their volume grows, so that they get features and services designed for their business scale.
    • Bigcommerce will democratize a number of features historically reserved for premium plans.
    • The money Bigcommerce used to spend promoting plan up-sells will be redeployed to product development and service.
    • Transaction fees will be eliminated from Standard. There will be no variable fees on any plan.
    What should I expect from Bigcommerce going forward?

    Bigcommerce will continue to equip growing brands with the world’s most effective platform for creating beautiful stores, generating demand, and selling wherever customers want to shop. The planned pricing changes enable us to invest in the highest level of features, service, and hosting demanded by the fastest growing, most successful merchants on the web. In the second half of 2015, Bigcommerce is rolling out more advanced features than any other platform serving mid-market retailers. Below are sample H2 2015 releases, with much more to come in 2016:
    • Stencil – a market-leading new storefront and theme design framework
    • Social “buy button” integrations with Pinterest and Twitter
    • Point-of-sale integration with Square
    • Advanced promotions features
    • Advanced shipping rate management powered by ShipperHQ
    • Sophisticated fraud detection powered by Sift Science
    Bigcommerce platform uptime has averaged over 99.99% for the past three months, and we’re ready support your holiday season, just as we did last year with 100% uptime. We look forward to continuing to power your commerce success!

    Brent Bellm
    Bigcommerce CEO
    Lauren Clevenger
    Client Success Community Manager
    Bigcommerce
    lauren.clevenger (at) bigcommerce (dotcom)

  9. Maria Gorman December 13, 2015 at 12:46 AM #

    Bigcommerce is planning a complete change in their pricing structure for 2016, as they prepare for their IPO. They have announced the very drastic changes in a tiny post in their users’ forum, accessible only to paying users, and not all of it is clear yet – no transparency here!! In some cases, this will cost existing Bigcommerce users huge price increases, as much as 400% to 800% increase on what they are paying now.

    Many users and partners (experts) are complaining bitterly about the lack of clarity, uncertainty, and sheer insensitivity of these plans, and many users are actively seeking to move to other platforms. The competitors are exploiting the situation and are emailing all BC’s users with offers.

    So – your otherwise very helpful review is now out-of-date!! Please update it to reflect this very important development.

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong December 14, 2015 at 1:57 PM #

      Hi Maria,

      Thanks for the intelligence. As they haven’t announced anything publicly yet, I’m a bit hesitant in updating our discussion above based on non-public information, since some of the features and price points are not finalized yet.

      But your comment is very helpful and our readers will hopefully take your observations into consideration.

      Thank you again for taking the time to add to this discussion! Let’s wait and see what happens down the road.

      Jeremy

      • Rob December 15, 2015 at 4:22 AM #

        If you check their plan page they do appear to have just updated them. You will see that the have got rid of transaction fees on their lowest plan, and it now has a 50k sales volume per year on that plan. Their Pro plan now has $125k sales volume per year. I don’t think these are discussed in your comparison.

        • Jeremy Wong
          Jeremy Wong December 16, 2015 at 1:31 PM #

          Hi Rob,

          The sales volume is just a guidance as to which plan may potentially be suitable for users.

          For instance, if one runs a $125,000 sales per year business, and the “Standard” plan features are sufficient, they can use the Standard plan instead of the Plus plan.

          So it’s just a rough guidance. The other way is true as well. If your business need more tools, but are below $100,000 in annual revenues, then the Plus plan may be more suitable.

          Jeremy

          • Karen December 21, 2015 at 9:35 PM #

            I’m sorry: where did you get that information?

            According to BC once you surpass $50,000 in sales you get bumped up to Plus (where the ceiling is $125K) – yet you’re saying if you are doing $125K and the features for Standard are enough for you, you can stay there.

            That is NOT my understanding at all.

            • Jeremy Wong
              Jeremy Wong December 22, 2015 at 10:09 AM #

              Karen,

              It’s just my interpretation. For instance, for the Enterprise plan, it says “For high-volume businesses”.

              So if your interpretation was correct, that they will automatically move you up to the Plus plan if your store sells $125,000, then when do they move you up to the Enterprise plan? My question would be why is that not clearly defined? Would they arbitrarily enroll you into the Enterprise plan?

              Also, we we referring to gross or net sales? Are we talking about cash based sales, or accounting (GAAP) based sales? They’re quite different.

              That’s why I interpreted it as a guideline as to which plan might be suitable for a user. So they’re suggesting that if you are currently selling less than $50,000 (as a rough guideline), then the Standard plan might be more suitable.

              Jeremy

              • Karen December 22, 2015 at 3:30 PM #

                Oh, no – this is no longer a SUGGESTION or guideline on BC’s part on what the right fit is for you and your business.

                As of Feb 1 they will start charging you on “Gross Margin Value” and to make matter even worse it includes tax and shipping and from what I understand if you don’t use their CC processor returns will NOT be deducted from the GMV.

                As of now orders “outside sales” will not be included BUT since they will be releasing Buyable Pins, and enable you to sell via Facebook and Twitter and they will be integrating their version of the POS company they bought (Zing) it is only a matter of time before they are counted. BC just needs a means to be able to count it.

                People have been getting e-mails that their monthly fee will raise from $200 to well over $1500 a MONTH.

                I would NOT under any circumstances recommend anyone start up with BC until March when things become clearer and even then I’d have great pause.

                • Jeremy Wong
                  Jeremy Wong December 23, 2015 at 8:57 AM #

                  Hmmm that is VERY interesting. Thanks so much for notifying us and our readers.

                  It just sounds a bit out from the left field and my “healthy” skepticism tells me that it’s very odd, as that would make it a bit challenging to compete with Shopify (that is if Shopify doesn’t adopt a similar approach).

                  If you feel comfortable with this, could you email me the notification(s) that you received in regards to the pending plans?

                  I no longer run an active store with Bigcommerce, so I haven’t received anything.

                  If you’re comfortable with it, feel free to email me directly at info [at] websitebuilderexpert [dot] com

                  Jeremy

              • Joe December 23, 2015 at 1:31 AM #

                Great article but out of date. You need to contact Bigcommerce and get access to their forum to read the thread which is 27 pages long…tons of merchants are angry. If they refuse to show you this hidden thread you need to interview merchants for your this analysis because, imo, your analysis is now WAY out of date.

                • Jeremy Wong
                  Jeremy Wong December 23, 2015 at 9:17 AM #

                  Hi Joe,

                  Sounds like it! If you have the link to the forum thread handy, please do send it to me at at info [at] websitebuilderexpert [dot] com

                  Would love to get to the bottom of this.

                  But again, I would be a bit cautious in updating this comparison before Bigcommerce officially releases their position on pricing. They could be just soliciting feedback at the moment.

                  But all very interesting!

                  Jeremy

    • fnb January 7, 2016 at 9:23 PM #

      Maria – It doesn’t make sense to update the post based on hearsay! until its official. so this review is definitely not out of date. Before forming such a strong opinion it would have been good if you could keep this in mind for future post.

      • Jeremy Wong
        Jeremy Wong January 8, 2016 at 8:50 AM #

        Hey Fnb,

        Thanks for your comment. Since Maria’s comment, I have received numerous emails about this upcoming change. So it appears that existing merchants are concerned as it is a relatively material change to Bigcommerce’s pricing plans and will impact their monthly fees.

        But I do to agree with you to the point that until this is formally announced by Bigcommerce, I’d keep my comments and data points above “as is” and won’t update them until then.

        But this is a construction discussion in the comments area here!

        Jeremy

  10. Technocrab November 4, 2015 at 11:57 PM #

    After reading this article I got so much information about both but still I am unable to decide that which one is better between them. But apart from this the whole article was very informative.

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong November 6, 2015 at 11:29 AM #

      Glad you found our discussions here informative. At the end of the day, the best way to assess which ecommerce builder is best for you is to sign up for trial accounts and test out both of them.

      Shopify has a much larger user base, so it appears that people prefer Shopify. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they are right for you. So sign up for both platforms and invest some time to testing them out!

      Jeremy

  11. Diana G November 2, 2015 at 10:35 PM #

    Thank you for taking the time to put together this great review. Very comprehensive and helpful. I’ve been looking at Shopify and BigCommerce and something I didn’t realize until this afternoon is that with Shopify’s $29 Basic Plan there are no reporting tools for your store. You need Shopify’s Pro Plan at $79 to access reporting.

    BigCommerce includes reporting with their Standard package at $29.95. I was really surprised by that and don’t understand why Shopify doesn’t include reports in their basic version. I called Shopify support today to double check and they confirmed that reporting becomes available with their Pro plan.

    Also learned that Shopify’s basic plan doesn’t include access to abandoned cart information. The BigCommerce Standard Plan will provide abandoned cart information (how many items are left). BigCommerce offers specifics on items left in cart/customer email in their Plus plan @$79.95 a month.

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong November 4, 2015 at 1:44 PM #

      Hi Diana,

      Thanks for sharing your findings. I didn’t know that Bigcommerce provides abandoned cart recovery tool for their Standard Plan. I just looked at their pricing plan and looks like this feature is only offered in their Plus plans.

      Are you saying that Bigcommerce will be offering this feature for their Standard plan soon?

      Jeremy

  12. Ryan @ WebEminence September 5, 2015 at 7:11 PM #

    Nice overview, Jeremy. I have a lot of experience with Shopify and my Shopify vid on Youtube gets a lot of view so I thought I’d do a review on BigCommerce as well. I just started poking around in a BigCommerce account for about 30 minutes. First impressions – BigCommerce offers a lot more options for products. Shopify has about 15 fields you fill for products and BigCommerce has 30+!

    The 1.5% transaction fee on the lower plan might be tough to swallow for a lot of shops just getting started. But I could see a lot of established sellers going right to the $79 Plus plan and that not being an option.

    I wonder why Shopify has such faster growth in Google trends. Interesting….They seem to have much better PR and exposure. They also have some nice Google rankings for some huge keywords. That may be the difference.

    Thanks again for the thorough review. I’ll probably be referring back to it as I go through my own comparison.

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong September 22, 2015 at 10:54 AM #

      Hey Ryan,

      Thanks for your comment and I like what you’re doing over at your website!

      Glad you found our discussions here helpful as well.

      Regarding Shopify, I think they’re definitely doing a much better job in branding their platform. They run an annual “Build a Business Competition” and has big names such as Richard Branson, Daymond John, etc endorsing it, which gives it a lot of publicity. Further, Shopify is a publicly traded company which gives it more visibility as well.

      Jeremy

  13. Renee Wood September 1, 2015 at 8:38 PM #

    I’ve tried both trials for Shopify and Bigcommerce. My biggest reason for not selecting Shopify is that they lack the ability to input product dimensions on the shipping pages. Now that dimensional weights are being used by UPS and USPS, this is so important when pulling real time shipping charges. Shopify only allows you to select one box size for all products. Unless I am understanding this incorrectly? But I did contact a guru and they agreed it was true.

    Anyone have any thoughts?

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong September 4, 2015 at 1:39 PM #

      Hi Renee,

      I don’t think Shopify gives you the option to have different dimensions for products, but you can certainly have different sizes (such as small / medium / large t-shirts or whatever product you have). So essentially this is possible.

      As for shipping rates, they do offer you real time shipping rates calculator if you sign up to Shopify’s Unlimited Plan.

      You can also check out their App Store and look at some shipping apps created by other service providers. Some are pretty powerful but some of them do charge a monthly plan for you to use them. So if they do suit your needs, you can consider if you want to sign up or not.

      Jeremy

  14. michelle August 11, 2015 at 10:27 PM #

    I am finding that Shopify is able to have buyable pins for pinterest. Does Big Commerce have this. Also do you think it will be the same for Instagram?
    Big Commerce keeps telling me they are making it so you can make changes through your phone.
    Still nothing. Can you update with your phone for Shopify?
    Thanks
    M

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong August 12, 2015 at 1:02 PM #

      Hey Michelle,

      Bigcommerce doesn’t have that function yet, to allow people to buy directly on Pinterest. Shopify allows you to integrate your ecommerce website with Pinterest, so Pinterest users can buy directly on Pinterest wthout ever leaving the website.

      As for making updates to your Shopify through your mobile device, they do have that as an option. You can make only certain updates, such as reviewing your order notifications, managing fulfillment of orders, edit your inventory.

      Have a look at this page here and you’ll see a bit more what Shopify’s app can do for you. There is a short video there too so it will give you a bit more insight on how things work.

      Jeremy

  15. Sandra T August 10, 2015 at 6:55 AM #

    I’ve been through the e-commerce grinder and back again. I know our website is what is hindering growth and sales. No question in my mind.

    I sell wholesale, and when I looked at Shopify, it was an additional 30 dollars a month to add this app to my store. To not use it meant that I would have to give discount coupons to wholesale customers, but then the taxes are applied to the pre discounted price, not like it is in wholesale. With the Shopify app I found the price breakdowns and bulk discounts were awkward to deal with.

    Not so with Big Commerce, it was a free app and something that wasn’t too ugly to wrestle.

    This is a very important consideration for anyone who does more than just retail. VERY important.

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong August 10, 2015 at 4:58 PM #

      Thanks for your contribution to this discussion Sandra!

      We’ve never attempted in running a wholesale business, so this is definitely very helpful knowledge to have.

      Thanks again,

      Jeremy

    • michelle August 11, 2015 at 10:31 PM #

      I can’t figure out how to do wholesale on Big Commerce. I’m glad you mentioned that b/c it was something I forgot about. I did ask the BC customer support and he had no idea. Disappointed about that. I guess i just need to speak to someone a bit more seasoned

      • Jeremy Wong
        Jeremy Wong August 12, 2015 at 1:09 PM #

        If you visit Bigcommerce, go to their Support page and type in “Wholesale”. You’ll then see some help articles on how to create a wholesale store. But note that this feature is only available to Bigcommerce Plus and Enterprise plans.

        With Shopify, as Sandra mentioned above, you will have to add an App to your Shopify store. The “Wholesaler” app is $24 per month.

        Hopefully this points you in the right direction!

        Jeremy

  16. Uncle Shaun July 13, 2015 at 7:11 AM #

    It’s fun to watch people are arguing about what is better when there is actually no significant difference between Bigcommerce and Shopify. They’re both satisfying only basic merchant requirements; serious entrepreneur should NOT use any of those solutions. Simon’s comment below is a good evidence of that.

    I myself did this fatal mistake and chose Bigcommerce whereas I needed go with Magento instead. Believe me, Magento is the only solution you’d want if you’re planning to develop your business. Why would you waste your time and efforts on Bigcommerce being afraid of Magento’s “complexity” (which is more a myth than the truth) when, eventually, you’ll be “forced” to make a switch anyway? I myself encountered with this need and I’m not happy with it. Bigcommerce is just not designed to carry out “fat” stores with thousands of products, customers and hundreds of daily orders. But if you’re selling a homemade yak cheese, then maybe it’ll do, I don’t know…

    Having an opportunity, does anyone knows a good way to migrate from Bigcommerce to Magento? I’ve heard about Cart-2-Cart and actually planning to use it, but maybe there are any other suggestions? Thanks in advance.

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong July 13, 2015 at 11:57 AM #

      Hey Uncle Shaun,

      Thanks for your thoughts and adding to this discussion. It’s definitely a complex discussion and it’s hard to say one is better in every way compared to the other.

      Generally speaking, I think that Magento is a great platform, but their Community edition is open source so does require users to be able to handle code, or hire a developer or team to properly build out and configure a store. So it does present a lot more flexibility (similar to the discussion between using WordPress versus a drag & drop website builder).

      With Shopify or Bigcommerce, to a certain extent I view them as “service” companies as they both provide dedicated support teams, and also manage most of the technical issues for their user base. With Magento Community, one will have to rely on their own coding skills, or with a hired, capable developer.

      With Magento Enterprise, which requires tens of thousands of dollars per year to operate, is a completely different animal and will probably not be suitable for most people. But if you are running a very large business (I’d loosely say $1m+ in revenue), then it’s definitely worth considering. Shopify also has an enterprise plan (called Shopify Plus) and they seem to have some pretty large shops / brands using it to power their online store.

      I was just looking around and found a good overview of Magento and its costs here. Hope those reading this who are also benchmarking different builders will find it helpful!

      Jeremy

    • michelle August 11, 2015 at 10:33 PM #

      Does Magento have an app to sell on Pinterest?

      • Jeremy Wong
        Jeremy Wong August 12, 2015 at 1:12 PM #

        Not that I know of. I think only Shopify has buyable pins at the moment.

  17. Simon May 17, 2015 at 7:45 PM #

    Am starting to outgrow BigCommerce.

    Our store is doing about $2million a year in revenue, but we are now looking to ditch and go to Magento on rackspace.

    It’s just so hard to extend the functionality. The templating system is a nightmare. The built-in blog is a joke, and customers can’t checkout in multiple currencies. At this point we have had to setup two bigcommerce stores, one for USD and the other for AUD.

    Setting up the second store we couldn’t migrate any customers, product reviews, or content over…we had to ‘hack’ and ‘trick’ the store to do what we want (example, putting through test order where all products were purchased, and then have VA copy and paste the old product reviews over, but ofcourse they now look faked as they have the same date on them all)

    So we send one group of cutomers to one store, and another set to another. This will not be a good long-term solution, especially if we need to add 3/4 stores. What a nightmare for a growing international business.

    The app marketplace is also very lacking, and I feel like the support has been going downhill hard, getting back ridiculous canned responses to issues where customers support hasn’t investigated.

    The staff seem apathetic, and they are obviously no longer hiring A-Players as they are growing so fast, they just are putting butts into seats.

    At the start of April our store also went down for 4 days, with nothing but ‘sorry guys, it was IBM’s fault’

    I havne’t played with Shopify that much, but from what I have it has handled several things like Google Shopping feeds etc much better.The marketplace is also more mature, so in all likelihood will do more of what you need as you grow and need to implement more advanced strategies.

    If you are really serious though, I don’t see either as a great choice. Chances are you will need to re-platform anyway as you need more and more features.

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong June 21, 2015 at 9:27 PM #

      Hi Simon,

      First of all, congratulations for building such a successful store! $2m in revenues a year is a huge accomplishment, so congratulations for that.

      Re-platforming can be a pain in the butt, and I guess it is one of those growing pains when your business has outgrown your “home”. But I suppose it is a “good” pain as it just means your business is doing well.

      In a weird way I think of it as having a family where the kids are outgrowing the smaller house, and you have to find or build a bigger home. It’s a challenge, but at the end of the day it is probably worth the investment.

      Have you considered Shopify Plus? They’re an enterprise level platform and based on the size of your business, they might be a good match.

      Given that you are considering “building a new home” for your business anyway, it’s worth considering all options.

      Good luck with that!

      Jeremy

  18. CT May 16, 2015 at 6:15 PM #

    We are running Parallax Theme on Shopify and have just received an email notification that there is a new updated version of the Parallax Theme that we should download and install to “enjoy” all the new added features. HOWEVER the instructions say: If you had previously customized your Liquid templates, add all of those tweaks once more to your new theme’s Liquid templates. Do the same if you had customized your stylesheets. If you had previously added an app to your store’s theme, you will need to uninstall the apps, and reinstall the apps from our App store.

    Well I don’t know about you – but I am not about to recode and reconfigure my whole store and pay a programmer once again to code and install my apps in order to update the theme….don’t know what they’re thinking!!

    CT

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong June 21, 2015 at 8:59 PM #

      Hey CT,

      Sorry to hear about your situation. I think this is one of those classic challenges of building online properties / websites, especially when making code modifications to your theme. Any major updates may result in you having to install the entire theme again, which will re-set your code edits.

      I think this is where WordPress does a slightly better job in that their infrastructure allows you to have get updates without having to re-install themes or plugins. Having said that, even for WordPress, sometimes updates will “break” your website due to customizations you may have done to your website, or the updates will conflict with other plugins on your site.

      I guess what I’m saying is that even for leading website building platforms such as WordPress, these sort of challenges will still exist.

      One option is that if the update is not significant, you won’t necessarily have to use it. But if it is a much more serious update, such as Shopify making platform changes and the theme must be updated, then you won’t have that option.

      I understand your frustration CT – I really do as that happened to us a few times too! But it’s one of those maintenance things that just happens when one is building a website / online store. Operating an ecommerce website is not that much different than running a physical store – there are a lot of maintenance / upkeep work!

      Jeremy

  19. Abbie May 7, 2015 at 11:30 PM #

    Interesting article.No doubt both are best platforms for building eCommerce website.Both of the platforms are great but I would love to work with Shopify.I really like its theme’s designs, they are impressive and attractive too.

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong May 8, 2015 at 10:04 PM #

      Thanks for your comment Abbie.

      One thing I think Shopify does very well is that they really pay attention to growing their “ecosystem”. Basically building partnerships with professional theme designers / developers, app developers, etc.

      So they’re very good with leveraging off other people’s expertise, which is why their collection of premium themes are very attractive as they’re developed by professional designers.

      Jeremy

  20. Dmitrii May 7, 2015 at 8:05 AM #

    Jeremy thank’s a lot for this job. It’s really helpful.

    If you wanna open the website with Shopify in Australia, you have to pay the commission in any case, because they don’t offer in AU and NZ them paying system. So for this region shopify isn’t the best choice.

    I like one of bigcommerce premium theme, but I really don’t understand what can I change? The theme has just one 5 column line with products (featured, new arrivals or on sale). Can I add on the firts page more columns? Plus 5 rows or more? For example: One row for Featured, one for New arrivals, one for On sale… and all these on the firts page?

    Sorry for this question. Unfortunetely, I’m not in IT industry so for me it’s quite complicated:))

    P.S. do you have on your website any reviews about paying programs?

    Thank you.

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong June 21, 2015 at 8:45 PM #

      Hi Dmitrii,

      I’m not entirely sure how that specific theme works. But generally speaking, if you want a lot of flexibility in terms of design layout, you will need to edit the codes of the template to achieve the exact design that you want.

      You mentioned that you are not in the IT industry so presumably you aren’t very proficient with codes? The good thing is that the theme is created by a designer called “Cart Designers” (as per the theme page) so you might be able to reach out to them to see if they can help you modify the theme. Or else Bigcommerce has experts where you can hire to help you get your website set up.

      If you don’t want to hire coders to get your site set up (if it’s outside of your budget), there are other good drag and drop website builders that offer decent ecommerce functions, such as Wix and Weebly (see our discussions of their ecommerce tools here and here).

      Hope this is helpful.

      Jeremy

  21. martin April 29, 2015 at 3:05 PM #

    Big Commerce is a good starter cart but as your business grows you will very quickly learn it will hold you back.
    In our case it’s like steeping over dollars to pick up pennies.
    Over the last year or so I had contacted them with a number of shortcomings, the actual support is great, but they can’t help you if the software was not designed for the real commerce in the 1st place.

    Let me give you a gleaming example: Ebay listing option allows you to list ONLY 1 image, yes….you are reading this right. In the image driven world where a picture is worth a thousand words, Big Commerce support told me they had never heard anybody asking for more than one image.
    The worst part about it is, there is no reason for a such a dumb shortcoming.
    So….try to sell clothing, shoes, etc, etc. Big Commerce Ebay feature is useless, this is coming from a provider claiming to make your life easier.

    If you think you can easily use a 3rd party app, think again. It’s a mess if you have product options.

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong April 29, 2015 at 4:41 PM #

      Martin – Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, and adding to this discussion!

      Jeremy

    • Mark August 9, 2015 at 10:08 PM #

      Wow thanks for this. I’m a clothing seller looking to start an ecommerce site. Big Commerce was one of my top potential choices.

      • Jeremy Wong
        Jeremy Wong August 10, 2015 at 4:52 PM #

        Glad our discussion here is helpful for you Mark!

  22. Ryan April 25, 2015 at 6:02 AM #

    Hi Jeremy:

    Thanks for the great, detailed review.

    I’m not sure if this has been mentioned in another comment or if it’s a change in their policy, but the Shopify Experts page says setup STARTS at $500.00 (see below).

    From Shopify:

    “What is a Setup Expert?

    Starting at $500, Shopify Setup Experts will help launch your store and assist with basic tasks that can include:

    organizing (and/or importing) your product information, pricing and photos
    selecting one of our beautiful themes
    setting up your site’s structure, homepage and navigation
    helping with basic domains and payments configuration
    training you to operate and maintain your store

    Contact a Setup Expert today to confirm the details of their setup package.”

    I hope this is helpful…

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong April 25, 2015 at 7:38 PM #

      Hey Ryan – you’re right. They’ve updated the plans / pricing structure. I’ve updated the discussion above to reflect this. Thanks for this!

      Jeremy

  23. Denise March 27, 2015 at 6:48 PM #

    I am using both Big Commerce and Shopify (just started with Shopify), I am noticing a few major differences (as far as I can see and find).

    Online Store Shopify Cons:

    1. No built-in abandoned cart email capability (you have to add an app that can only send customers one email). Big commerce has this feature built in up to 3 emails.

    2. No domain email access in Shopify. Big Commerce allows you to at least create many different email addresses for you to enter in outlook, etc. Shopify does not offer this at all. You have to buy additional emails form your domain provider or use non-professional ones like gmail.

    3. Shopify does not have captcha on contact forms. Big Commerce does have Captcha and they still have some spam.

    4. On Shopify when you are issuing a refund you must be careful! If you do not subtract the coupon used, you may over-refund the customer and you cannot reverse this mistake.

    5. Shopify doesn’t seem to have an easy store credit section. Big commerce does NOT require account creation, but even if a customer checkouts as a guest, Big Commerce will make an account for them without a password. If an account was wanted later… The big commerce customer would only have to go to “log in” and put their guest checkout email and then click “forgot password,” or you can create a password for them.

    6. With Shopify, you cannot create single-use coupons per customer account. You either have to make an entire limit for the coupon (i.e. expire after first 100 uses by any customer then it cannot be used by anyone), or you must make one-time coupons with different codes. If you like to send coupons out via advertising this can be useless. With big commerce you can do all the same coupons shopify can plus other options, and also make one coupon code that anyone can use, but you can set it to be used only once per registered email.

    7. Even on the highest Shopify plan, you still must pay 0.5% per transaction if you do not use their credit card processor.

    8. You cannot limit product purchases easily (i.e. one per customer). You can find the code for it in their help center, but unless you understand how to implement code, you will need a developer to set up this option for you to add products whenever you like. Big commerce has this built in.

    Online Store Big Commerce Cons:

    1. Often the customer service can be lacking or slow.

    2. Sporadic site downtime with big commerce. I cannot speak for shopify as I have not had it long enough.

    3. Checkout is slightly more complicated than Shopify. Shopify does NOT require creation of password until the very end – so this doesn’t interfere with or slow down the customer’s shopping experience.

    4. Big Commerce often makes updates to their back end and templates without notice. They do not have a log for developers – which is very annoying. Therefore, you must contact them or test all pages yourself! They do not tell you where to look for the new code updates, what they do or when they happen. Occasionally, these changes have glitches that can affect checkout display on certain devices – which can cause cart abandonment. As a result, when my sales drop, I tend to test my cart on all browsers and all devices to see if there are glitches.

    5. Big Commerce has a complicated and very annoying way to create product variations. You must create both option sets, and then variations sets separately and then go back into the product and link these specific variations correctly. Honestly, it’s one of the most annoying things about Big Commerce. Shopify is VERY simple when it comes to variations.

    6. When a customer logs into their big commerce account and sends a message about their order from inside their big commerce account, the system does NOT email you. You have to login each day to make sure you have no messages. This can cause a lot of problems with customer service. I did find a quick fix for this by manually deleting the display code in the template (a developer can do this for you too).

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong July 13, 2015 at 11:41 AM #

      Wow thanks for sharing such a comprehensive list Denise! Really adds a lot of value to our discussion here.

      At the end of the day, it’s really challenging to find an ecommerce store builder that is “perfect” in every way. Both Shopify and Bigcommerce have improvement points, and I’m sure they both have massive “to improve” lists.

      Based on your store needs, which ecommerce builder did you end up using?

      Jeremy

  24. Butch Kallem March 17, 2015 at 11:53 AM #

    I wouldn’t use Bigcommerce. almost two years ago I signed up with them. They assured me they could host my URL and would be able to post pictures. I was never able to place picture gallery on my site and the service wasn’t able to show me anyway to do it. About one month ago I went to look at my web site and it was gone. In it’s place as a company holding my URL hostage for $300.00. I contacted Bigcommerce and they said it was never transferred over and I should talk to the company who I set up with. Funny the tech said it had switched over and then charged me $12.95 to host it. I have called several times and they are insisted that it is my fault. Yet it worked for almost a year and half with no problem. So I had no choice but to move on. But I am trying to get a refund from them and now they say no. I wouldn’t use these folks to carry a garbage bag let alone be responsible for keeping a web site for me.

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong March 18, 2015 at 4:41 PM #

      Hi Butch,

      Sorry to hear about your experiences with Bigcommerce.

      Have you considered testing out Shopify? They have a 14 day free trial and they’re a very reputable ecommerce store builder.

      Jeremy

  25. John March 9, 2015 at 12:57 PM #

    At first glance Bigcommerce appears superior to Shopify. Comparing both of their website theme demos I noticed that you can add a blog to your site with Bigcommerce but I don’t see that ability with Shopify. By that I mean that you can actually have your store and blog under the same roof, feeding off of the same database, and when you search for something either on the store or the blog, it finds information from the other. I don’t see anything like this on Shopify. This is incredibly important and something I don’t see being mentioned here. My philosophy is that a blog drives sales and if it’s attached to the store it’s even more powerful. Good luck to anyone trying to accomplish this with Shopify. It won’t happen.

  26. Mary Tate March 9, 2015 at 9:23 AM #

    BigCommerce does not offer over 100 free themes for the website design. I am a paying website owner and there are only at a max of maybe 20 themes available that are free. The rest are over a hundred dollars.

    • Jeremy Wong
      Jeremy Wong March 9, 2015 at 11:00 AM #

      Hi Mary,

      Thanks for contributing to this discussion here!

      Yes I see what you mean. It looks like Bigcommerce has been reducing their free themes lately, and I suspect / guess the reason is because their older themes are no longer as updated in terms of design. Hopefully what this means is that they are going to introduce more updated themes soon!

      That’s one thing I really like about Shopify, is that their themes are a lot better looking than Bigcommerce’s themes. Shopify has a bigger selection too!

      Jeremy

  27. JTex December 30, 2014 at 5:54 PM #

    I am using both Shopify and BigCommerce for different stores, for 2+ years each. I have a third store using AbleCommerce, that I’ve used for 5+ years. I have to say that I love the administrative side of AbleCommerce much better than Shopify or BigCommerce. I am truly irritated by Shopify – first their percentage of a sale for Basic and Professional plans (now fixed), but the only way to get real-time carrier shipping integration is with their Unlimited $179/month plan. I am irritated by BigCommerce not addressing bugs in a timely manner, but I like their pricing model better.

    AbleCommerce doesn’t have the built-in beautiful designs, nor is it quite as easy to setup, but man it saves my bacon every day when a customer wants to make a change to an order, or reorder, or if I need to make any sort of customization or modification – it’s at least POSSIBLE, where it isn’t even a remote possibility with Shopify or BigCommerce (I’ve asked…not even with their Plus or Enterprise programs.)

    So I’m converting our high volume BigCommerce store over to a second AbleCommerce installation. After that, I’ll probably convert my low volume Shopify store over to BigCommerce.

  28. Raj November 26, 2014 at 11:11 AM #

    Very informative breakdowns – I wish everything were this laid out : )

    Thanks for your help,

  29. Alexis Callaghan November 22, 2014 at 4:02 AM #

    Thanks for the info. yes it was helpful. I’ve tried big commerce free trial, so now I’ll try shopify.
    Thanks again.

  30. Alex ST October 30, 2014 at 9:53 PM #

    Perfect view and very meaningful for me while I am a new comer in e-store. Thank you for providing these clear and non-partisan reviews!

  31. Donna Powell October 4, 2014 at 6:46 AM #

    This article was thoughtful and well researched. I am a designer who has been building Shopify stores for my clients for almost a year (10+). I have had 100% satisfaction with the Shopify templates, platform & support. When I went to BigCommerce, the inability to view their templates was an instant turn-off, so I am staying with the provider who does not disappoint.

    Charleston Webweaver

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

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

    With much appreciation,
    Anne

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

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

  34. 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
      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.

  35. 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
      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

  36. 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!

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

    • Jason April 17, 2015 at 3:28 PM #

      Try Adobe Business Catalyst, if you know how to code and want something more powerful but still Cloud based. It also has ‘web apps’ that allow you to create custom functionality and also uses Liquid Markup Language (as does Shopify).

  39. 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
      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

  40. 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
      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

  41. 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
      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

  42. 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.

  43. 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
      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
          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.

  44. 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
      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
          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

  45. 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
      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 https://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
        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.

        • John March 9, 2015 at 1:05 PM #

          Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like they aren’t a great choice if Magento Go is closing down? Doesn’t that sort of point to the company failing in general and maybe Magento Community could be next? Seems risky to me.

          • Jeremy Wong
            Jeremy Wong March 10, 2015 at 3:39 PM #

            Hi John,

            They probably decided to shut down the Magento Go platform so they can focus on other businesses (Magento Enterprise and Magento Community).

            But that may not necessarily mean that the Magento Go platform is not profitable. It could be that their resources are limited and so they decided to allocate more resources into the other 2 platforms as they could be more profitable.

            In any case, one can view that this is extremely positive for Shopify and Bigcommerce, as I think there are still a lot of people who want to build an ecommerce store that’s hosted, so they don’t have to worry about the technical aspects of building a website.

            Thanks for contributing to this discussion!

            Jeremy

  46. 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
      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

  47. 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
      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

      • Oisin January 14, 2016 at 6:04 PM #

        Another great solution is ReCharge which supports both Bigcommerce and Shopify for helping you sell subscription products.

        • Jeremy Wong
          Jeremy Wong January 16, 2016 at 6:00 PM #

          Thanks for sharing Oisin.

  48. 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
      Jeremy Wong June 23, 2014 at 3:37 PM #

      No problem Nicoletta! Glad you found our discussion helpful!

      – Jeremy

  49. 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
      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

  50. 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
      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

  51. 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!

  52. 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
      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

      • John March 9, 2015 at 1:12 PM #

        It’s just 2% Jon. Add it to your price or consider it well worth the cost, as they are making it easier to sell products. Concentrate more on driving sales and traffic to your site, and less on keeping every nickel of your sales, and you’ll find that you actually make a lot more money.

        • Jeremy Wong
          Jeremy Wong March 10, 2015 at 3:41 PM #

          Hi John,

          I think that’s the right advice (I agree with you).

          It’s so easy to get stuck in worry about the transaction fees (admittedly, we were just like that when we first got started and didn’t focus on the bigger picture of focusing on marketing and product improvement).

          That was a positive realization for us and I wished we saw “the light” earlier!

          Jeremy

  53. 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
      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

  54. 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
      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

  55. 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
      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

  56. 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
      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

  57. 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
      Jeremy & Connie April 3, 2014 at 1:35 PM #

      Hey Michael – Thanks for your thoughts!

      – Jeremy

  58. 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
      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.

  59. 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
      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

  60. 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
      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

  61. 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
      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!

  62. 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).

  63. 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
      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

  64. 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
      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

  65. 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
      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

  66. 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
      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

    • Georgia July 16, 2015 at 2:17 PM #

      Hi Beth, I am currently in the same boat as you in the post, with 700+ products & 8 yrs. on the same platform (shoppingcartsplus – no one has heard of this one). I have been researching everywhere and it is very hard to make the decision. Yes, it is very scary!

      After looking at Shopify, Bigcommerce & 3d cart, I am probably going to go with Bigcommerce. I will be doing the move myself so I know I am looking at many hours of work!

      I am wondering which one you chose and how it is going.

  67. 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
      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

  68. 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
      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
          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!

  69. 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
      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

  70. 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
      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

  71. 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
      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
            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

  72. 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
      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

  73. 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
      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

  74. 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
      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
          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

  75. 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
      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

  76. 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
      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

  77. 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
      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

  78. 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
      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

  79. 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
        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