BigCommerce vs Shopify

Discover Why More People Prefer Shopify Over BigCommerce

shopify ecommerce website builder

Shopify and BigCommerce are two of the biggest names on the ecommerce market. If you know anything about ecommerce, you’ve likely heard a lot about them.

There’s no denying they’ve both earned their status at the top of the ecommerce pack. But when it comes to BigCommerce vs Shopify, which is better? And which should you choose for your online store?

We’ve done the research, and we can tell you right now that overall, Shopify is the better ecommerce platform.

Best all-round ecommerce platform

4.7 out of 5

Top Choice
Ease Of Use

4 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

4 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

4.5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

3.5 out of 5 stars

Website Features

4.5 out of 5 stars

Sales Features

5 out of 5 stars

Most scalable ecommerce platform

4.2 out of 5

Ease Of Use

3.5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

3.5 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

3.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

3.5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4 out of 5 stars

Website Features

4.5 out of 5 stars

Sales Features

4.5 out of 5 stars

Shopify may be the best overall, but don’t go yet! That still doesn’t mean it’s the perfect choice for everyone. Picking between these two ecommerce giants depends on lots of factors, and can be really tricky.

That’s why we’re here.

We’ve done hours of research on both platforms, saving you time – and headaches! We tested each one ourselves, and then got groups of everyday people to test them too. Not only that, we analyzed, examined, and compared the ins and outs of BigCommerce and Shopify’s sales features, designs, customer support, price plans, and more.

Now we’ll take you through the pros and cons of BigCommerce and Shopify to make picking the right one a whole lot easier. Get ready to dive into the best and worst of BigCommerce and Shopify, revealing your perfect match along the way.

1

Shopify vs BigCommerce: Head-to-Head

Scores Out Of Five BigCommerce Shopify
Ease of Use 3.5 4
Design 3.5 4
Sales Features 4.5 4.7
Customer Support 3.5 4.5
Pricing 4 3.5
Overall Score 4.2 4.7
2

Shopify and BigCommerce Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Shopify
  • Number one for sales features
  • Brilliant inventory system
  • Supports multi-channel selling across platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest
  • Poor for international scalability – relies on third party apps for multi-currency support
  • Transactions fees applied unless using Shopify Pay
  • Switching templates means reformatting your site
BigCommerce
  • Has the most built-in features of any ecommerce platform
  • Supports multi-channel selling
  • Fantastic SEO to boost search rankings
  • Complex terminology makes it unsuitable for beginners
  • Small learning curve required for the advanced features
  • Editing interface is difficult to navigate

Further Information

3

Shopify or BigCommerce - Which Is Easiest to Use?

Whether you’re a first-time self-starter or an experienced ecommerce oldtimer with 10 online stores already under your belt, ease of use never stops being important. User friendly design saves you precious time – that’s why we test it so thoroughly.

Overall, Shopify scored higher for ease of use than BigCommerce. In fact, Shopify came second overall in our rigorous ease of use testing.

Shopify is designed to help its users set up an online store, and it has the features and design to prove it. People found it easy to set up their ecommerce site, praising the onboarding process and user-friendly editor. Here’s what a couple of users liked about Shopify:

“I really liked how you supplied the information and the products you want to display, and then within this method Shopify more or less just created a website for you.”

“All in all, it was a really easy approach to creating an online store. I had complete control over what I placed on my site and where I placed it, with the additional benefit of being able to change anything as and when I wanted.”

The proof is in the pudding. Shopify stood out as the ecommerce platform people were most likely to recommend.

In comparison, BigCommerce was left a little in the dust. Users found the editor difficult to navigate and the language hard to understand.

This makes BigCommerce less than ideal for beginners, as you have to be tech savvy to understand the terminology. After all, you don’t want to be looking up tech terms on Google every time you just want to add new products to your store.

When we did the math, we found that BigCommerce was 14% more difficult to use than Shopify. So if you’re just looking for the easiest way to set up your online store, you have your answer.

But, if you had your heart set on BigCommerce, don’t be discouraged! There’s a reason BigCommerce struggles in this area, and that’s because of its powerful in-built features and split editor. You add products and make some changes in one place – a sort of ‘backstage’ area – then make edits to your storefront in the other area.

This can be confusing to navigate, and makes BigCommerce a more hefty platform to deal with. But BigCommerce does try to lessen the technical load. For one thing, it has a great onboarding process.

Another upside is BigCommerce is obviously listening to its users’ feedback. It’s recently released a new visual merchandising tool called Store Design, which lets you edit your storefront on-screen. This makes it much easier to customize your site and saves a lot of confusing back-and-forth between the two editing areas.

Here’s what users had to say about BigCommerce:

“The onboarding was great – it took you on a little tour of where to find certain features and customization bits. They even highlighted to not be afraid to ask them questions within the help and support section, which I really liked.”

“It was tricky, but the platform was a much more powerful system, so challenges are more likely.”

There’s no denying BigCommerce is a more challenging platform to build your online store with. But that’s because it’s got all the features you need to succeed already built-in, which can be overwhelming for new users. The new Store Design tool takes BigCommerce an exciting step closer to being more beginner friendly.

Shopify vs BigCommerce – Ease of Use: The Verdict

Shopify wins ease of use! It’s undeniably easier to operate than BigCommerce, making Shopify the top choice for beginners. BigCommerce’s built-in features make it a much harder platform to get used to. Shopify beats BigCommerce because of its simple and user-friendly design.

Further Information

4

Which Has the Best Sales Features?

You don’t want to spend precious money, time and effort on building your online store, just to find you can only sell three products and send out one email per month. Sales features cover everything from transaction fees to shipping options, and you’ll want to make sure you get the best of the best.

Shopify was number one in our research for its sales features. BigCommerce wasn’t far behind in second place. Both have tons of high quality sales features to support your business, so how do you choose? The answer depends on the type of features you’re after.

BigCommerce has the most built-in features of any ecommerce platform on the market. Shopify has an extensive app store, resulting in a vast number of features to choose from.

Both Shopify and BigCommerce offer essential features as standard, such as:

  • An SSL certificate – standing for Secure Sockets Layer, this certificate protects your store and validates it as a safe place to process online payments
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery – this saves you money by sending emails to customers who have abandoned their shopping at your checkout
  • Multichannel selling – sell across multiple platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest
  • Powerful inventory – upload products, track your stock levels, and keep your store up to date through your inventory

These features make your business a lot more legitimate and likely to succeed, earning you trust, loyalty, and extra sales. With both BigCommerce and Shopify being leading brands, you can count on them to support the features that count.

So what sets them apart?

Shopify Sales Features

Shopify has a wide range of features for you to build your store – but for more developed features, you’ll need apps.

shopify app store
The Shopify App Store provides advanced tools to boost your ecommerce site. You have tons to choose from, but they can hike up your monthly outgoings.

Shopify’s extensive app store gives you the freedom to add whatever you want to your ecommerce site, without being limited to the features included in-house. These advanced tools will really help take your business to the next level, and this high level of customization is extremely valuable – but keep in mind these plugins aren’t included in your monthly plan.

You can also manage your store wherever you are with Shopify’s excellent mobile app. This lets you hold your business in the palm of your hand, so you can keep an eye on your revenue and stay on track with customer orders regardless of what you’re up to.

Another great feature from Shopify is its Shopify Payments feature (click here to see our review on it).  Instead of signing up with a separate payment gateway (such as PayPal or Stripe), Shopify offers you its own payment gateway so you can manage all your money in its dashboard, thus saving you time and effort.  If you choose this option, it will also waive all transaction fees, saving you money as well.

BigCommerce Sales Features

BigCommerce has a much smaller app store than Shopify. But that’s because it has the most built-in features of any ecommerce builder on the market!

Everything you need to succeed, BigCommerce has it already included. From 0% transaction fees to impressive data reporting tools, you have high quality features right at your fingertips. You don’t need to rely on apps for advanced features – they’re already waiting for you in your dashboard!

bigcommerce features
BigCommerce has an impressive range of built-in features to help your store succeed.

BigCommerce lets you sell physical, digital, and service-based products through your site. Unlike Shopify, all three product types are built-in to your BigCommerce store, so you don’t need to purchase any apps to allow these sales. You can just jump straight into selling!

However, it’s these powerful tools that can make BigCommerce more difficult to use. Rather than picking the features you want from an app store like you do with Shopify, with BigCommerce, you get everything from the start.

While this can be overwhelming to begin with, it offers great value since all of these tools are included in your price plan. You won’t see your costs creeping up with third party apps – what you see is what you get, and what you get is, well, everything!

Shopify vs BigCommerce – Sales Features: The Verdict

It’s too close to call – it’s a draw! Shopify has more customizable features on offer than BigCommerce because of its extensive app store. That said, BigCommerce has more built-in features, which is massively appealing. So this one really depends on personal preference!

Further Information

5

Which Has the Better Design?

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. All the sales features in the world are useless if your visitors leave your site before they’ve even started browsing. Don’t let them be put off by clunky design – pick a platform that has it all.

Shopify and BigCommerce are ecommerce platforms before anything else. This means they don’t have the same focus on design as other builders, such as Squarespace and Wix. Put simply, they’re sales driven rather than design-orientated.

However, Shopify still ranked highly in our overall research, securing a very respectable third place for design behind Wix and Squarespace. More importantly, it beat BigCommerce.

Shopify Themes

Shopify has 10 free themes, with over 50 paid ones available too. These come in a range of industries and styles, and vary in price from $140 to $180. It’s easy to find your perfect theme by searching via layout, size of store, industry, navigation style, and more.

shopify themes
Shopify has over 60 themes to choose from. You can easily browse them by sorting the categories you wish to see.

Whether you’re looking at the free or paid options, all of Shopify’s themes are modern and professional. You can switch themes at any time, although some of your content will need reformatting.

It’s always a good idea to pick a theme that fits your industry. This may sound obvious, but it’s much easier than picking purely on looks, then trying to customize your theme to do something it hasn’t been designed for.

With this said, Shopify’s themes allow a superb level of customization. They’re easy to personalize and look really professional. When our experts tested them, Shopify’s designs ticked all the boxes.

Great quality features are included across Shopify’s range of themes, including product zoom. All of Shopify’s themes are mobile responsive, and will automatically reformat to fit the appropriate screen size. You can also edit both versions to your heart’s content, so you can be sure your site looks great on all devices.

BigCommerce Themes

BigCommerce offers 12 free themes, plus over 50 purchasable ones. You can sort these by industry, layout, and price. There is a wide range of industries to choose from, although not as many as you get with Shopify.

bigcommerce themes
BigCommerce has a range of free and paid plans to choose from. You can sort these by using the search bar, or filtering by industry, layout, and price.

When choosing your theme with BigCommerce, it’s important to make sure you’re picking one that’s suitable for your industry. Certain features are only available on specific industry themes – for example, if you want a product zoom feature, you’ll need a theme from the ‘Clothing’ category.

You can switch themes at any time with BigCommerce, and your content will be automatically reformatted for you. Another great feature of BigCommerce’s themes is they all reformat to fit mobile and tablet screens. While this means you can’t edit your mobile site, it does mean it takes a job off your hands in doing it all for you.

However, BigCommerce’s free themes can look a little outdated, which isn’t ideal if you’re looking at growing your business over the long-term. This will likely require a rebrand somewhere down the line, and moving to a paid theme. These range in cost from $145 to $235.

One exciting thing to mention here is BigCommerce’s new visual merchandising tool, called Store Design. Before, customizing your storefront could cause headaches from switching between the two editing areas. But with the new Store Design tool, you can now see all your changes right in front of your eyes!

bigcommerce store design tool
The new Store Design tool lets you easily customize your storefront and see your changes instantly on screen.

This gives you much greater creative control over your ecommerce site, and makes editing your store much easier. This brings BigCommerce a step closer to Shopify’s winning designs.

Shopify vs BigCommerce – Design: The Verdict

Shopify wins for design. While BigCommerce is more flexible in switching themes, Shopify has better all-round design. BigCommerce is very industry specific when it comes to features, whereas Shopify offers more choice – both in features and in more up to date templates.

Further Information

6

Which Has Better Customer Support?

Setting up an ecommerce site without the right support would be like going to sea without a life-jacket. Sure, you might reach land safe and sound. But even the best sailors can get caught out by rough seas, and if that does happen, it’s much better to be safe than sorry.

Both Shopify and BigCommerce offer the following support options:

  • 24/7 phone
  • 24/7 live chat
  • Help center
  • Support forum
  • Email
  • Video tutorials
  • Advanced specialist support

BigCommerce’s help center is useful, but less clear than Shopify’s. In addition to this, Shopify also offers support through social media, unlike BigCommerce. When you request help within the Shopify editor, you’re directed to a relevant page within the Shopify knowledge center. This is a great help feature, and puts Shopify ahead of BigCommerce in this department.

With both platforms, upgrading to the highest plan unlocks priority support. For Shopify, this means gaining access to a dedicated support agent on all plus plans. With BigCommerce, you get an onboarding consultant as part of the Enterprise plan, and receive priority treatment when requesting phone support.

Shopify vs BigCommerce – Customer Support: The Verdict

Shopify wins the customer support round! It has the edge over BigCommerce because of its automatic direction to relevant support pages. Both ecommerce builders have multiple help channels, but Shopify has the extra addition of social media support. You’re covered either way.

Further Information

7

BigCommerce vs Shopify - Pricing Plans

As you’ll no doubt tell your customers, quality services are worth paying for – and the ecommerce builder you choose is no exception. But you don’t want to blow all your life savings just to set up your online store – you’re meant to be making money, after all!

Both BigCommerce and Shopify offer free trials. Shopify’s three price plans range from $29 to $299 per month. BigCommerce’s pricing plans start from $29.95 per month and range up to custom pricing on the most advanced Enterprise plan. Upgrade to scale your store!

With Shopify, you unlock a range of features when you upgrade from the $29 per month Basic Shopify plan to the $79 per month Shopify plan. These features include gift cards and professional reports, lower credit card rates, and more advanced Point of Sale (POS) tools.

shopify pricing plans
Shopify’s three pricing plans range from $29 to $299 per month. All Shopify plans come with a 14-day free trial so you can test it out fully before choosing.

The three pricing plans allow you to scale up as your store develops, unlocking extra features to match the growing needs of your business. The Shopify Basic plan has everything you need to launch your business, including abandoned cart recovery, 24/7 support, and an unlimited number of products to sell through your store.

Just remember that with Shopify, adding third party apps can push up your monthly costs. This is something to work into your budget when choosing a price plan, as you don’t want to get caught by surprise!

With BigCommerce, you unlock features such as abandoned cart recovery when you upgrade from the lowest price plan to the $71.95 per month Plus plan. This is the best plan for growing stores, and is suitable for businesses making up to $150k in sales each year.

bigcommerce pricing
BigCommerce has four pricing plans, suitable for scaling your business on a long-term basis. The 15-day free trial means you can try your chosen plan out before signing up.

The BigCommerce Plus plan is the most popular for a reason. While the cheapest Standard plan provides all the features you need to set up a store, the Plus plan has better tools to help your business succeed.  For example, you don’t get abandoned cart recovery on the Standard plan, which is a big drawback.

The upside of BigCommerce’s pricing is that, because of its built-in features, what you see is what you get. You’re not relying on third party apps, which helps keep extra spending to a minimum. Still, make sure you look at the features on offer with each plan, rather than just going by price alone.

Shopify vs BigCommerce – Pricing Plans: The Verdict

BigCommerce offers better value for money than Shopify. Neither will drain your bank account, and overall, BigCommerce and Shopify are pretty well matched when it comes to pricing. However, BigCommerce takes the win thanks to its built-in features and fewer additional costs.

Psst… BigCommerce Has a Special Deal on Right Now

This November, BigCommerce wants to help you get your store up and running in time for the big holiday rush. It’s created this special holiday offer where you can get up to 3 months free when you pick a paid plan. This is an exclusive limited-time deal, so don’t miss out – check it out today to see if it’s right for you.

Further Information

Conclusion - Which Is Better, Shopify or BigCommerce?

The BigCommerce vs Shopify battle is one that has a different winner depending on who is judging the fight. They’re big competitors, so whichever you choose, you’re sure to receive a stellar service. But there are some important differences, so let’s have a quick recap.

Shopify is easier to use, and is the best all-round ecommerce platform. It’s suitable for online stores of all shapes and sizes – with its vast choice of features and apps, there really is something for everyone with Shopify.

Whether you’re a small boutique store taking your first sales or expanding your business, Shopify has the tools to see you succeed.

BigCommerce is more difficult to get to grips with, but it’s perfect for large and fast growing businesses. It has all the built-in features your store needs to succeed, without having to rely on third party apps. This makes it the most scalable ecommerce platform on the market.

While it’s not suitable for beginners or for those looking to get selling online fast, if your business needs a boost, BigCommerce has the juice to make that happen.

Overall, our testing found Shopify to be the winner. It’s the best ecommerce builder on the market, and can be used by the smallest store right up to massive brands. You already knew it was the best – but now you know if it’s the best for you.

Found our BigCommerce vs Shopify review helpful?

Did this guide help you decide whether to use Shopify or BigCommerce, then help to get you started building your online store? If so (or if not!) leave a comment below.

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About Lucy Carney

Lucy Carney

You’re not alone! Building a website can be scary, especially if you’re like me with no previous coding experience. With the help of our experts I’m here as a friendly voice to help guide you into the exciting world of website building. If I can do it, so can you!

254 comments

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  • Avatar
    Don
    Good article. the only limitation that forced us off Shopify was the limit of 100 variants per product. We have three key options on all our products, one has 16 variations, another 4 and another 5 for a total of 320 variants per product. Otherwise Shopify worked fine and could recommend if more than 100 variant combinations per product not needed.
  • Avatar
    Shikha Rana
    Great in-depth review. Very helpful. Thank you!
  • Avatar
    Elna
    Thanks for the article. which one between shopify and bigcommerce can accept payment in currency of Indonesia and with debit card?
    1 reply
  • Avatar
    Debbie D
    Hi - I am looking to build a website and then sell on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. Would BigCommerce or Shopify be better for these specific platforms?
    1 reply
    • Natasha Willett
      Natasha Willett
      Hi Debbie, Cheers for the great question. With both BigCommerce and Shopify allowing you to sell on all three social media platforms, I don't think either or would be better than the other in this respect. Shopify do however support other social media channels such as buzzfeed for example, they also with Facebook allow you to sell through Facebook messenger not just through your business page which is a real personal touch when selling through social media. Have you seen our how to sell on Instagram or Facebook articles, these may help you make the decision over which builder to use. All the best with your difficult decision, do let us know which one you decided to go with. Natasha.
  • Avatar
    laura
    Thanks for the article. I wish you would compare multi-channel selling on each platform. This is what's holding me back. It seems like BigCommerce offers multi-channel out of the box to Ebay, Amazon, pinterest, facebook, etc. Whereas with Shopify, you have to purchase fairly expensive apps to deal with this. My concerns are ease of integration with other venues. How easy is it to copy existing listings over to BigCommerce/Shopify from Ebay or Amazon? How easy it is to set the system up? I'm concerned about the reliability of the synchronization. Ebay is very strict and punitive if sellers do not meet their obligations so if the platform's servers go down or they have frequent periods of sync not working, this could create huge problems for sellers. Last, with BigCommerce, they are beginning to recommend using Inkfrog to connect with Ebay due to Ebay's new product-based shopping experience that is rolling out. Is the same true for Shopify, I wonder? If that is the case, am I better off without a store and just using Inkfrog? These issues really have me stuck.
    1 reply
    • Natasha Willett
      Natasha Willett
      Hi Laura, Thank you for the comment. That's a really good suggestion cheers. We are currently reviewing all the ecommerce builders and one of the areas of investigation is actually multi-channel integration. You are absolutely right, BigCommerce offer in-built integration whereas Shopify generally rely on third party plug ins. If you are looking at BigCommerce the process could not be easier, check out this article ,all you'll have to do is head into the channel manager and click on the relevant icon that you want to set up, add the relevant account details and away you go. Personally, I have not heard of any reason to doubt BigCommerce when it comes to synchronization or servers going down, they really do pride themselves for their customer service and should there ever be an issue they are always on hand to help you whether through live chat, phone or email. BigCommerce actually have a great offer running at the moment of 3 free months of eBay premium store, allowing for up to 1,000 fee listings, lower final value fees and an easy to create branded store experience - all of this you would not get through Inkfrog. The great thing about having the feature inbuilt is that all the analytics falls into one place whereas with Inkfrog, your sales through eBay will be placed separately. If you are only looking to sell through eBay / Amazon and not through a website then potentially Inkfrog is a good option for you, just be mindful that building your brand comes easy with a website of your own as it does give you more control over your brand image, with Amazon and eBday providing limited product page looks for example. I hope this all helps, Natasha.
  • Avatar
    Kashyap Trivedi
    Really great article. Personally, I have used BigCommerce theme from PSDCenter for my store, and in terms of themes, BigCommerce is better than Shopify!
    1 reply
    • Fred Isaac
      Fred Isaac
      Thanks Kashyap, good luck with your ecommerce store!
  • Avatar
    Scott Ginsberg
    Awesome topic, glad we’re talking about it. There are some instances where Shopify is not recommended. Does your ecommerce store need mass customization? Is there a highly specific flow you’re looking for? If so, there may be limits on what you can do within that particular platform. A smarter provider in this sense would be BigCommerce, which is a powerful ecommerce platform for fast-growing and mid-market brands. A somewhat newer player in the space, BigCommerce is more affordable than Magento and offers advanced functionality and flexibility at no additional cost. Good luck!
  • Avatar
    Matt Rock
    Great in-depth review. Very helpful. Thank you!
    1 reply
    • Fred Isaac
      Fred Isaac
      Thanks for the comment Matt - hope you picked a winner for you!
  • Avatar
    Danyal
    aweaome explanation brother thanks
    1 reply
    • Fred Isaac
      Fred Isaac
      Great to hear you found it useful, thanks Danyal!
  • Avatar
    Dean
    One of best comparisons. Thanks.
    1 reply
    • Fred Isaac
      Fred Isaac
      Thanks Dean, hope it helped you make an informed decision about which builder to go with.