BigCommerce vs WooCommerce is a battle of two heavyweight ecommerce platforms.
Building your own online store doesn’t sound easy, but in reality, it can be a really simple process. There are plenty of platforms out there designed to help you create an ecommerce website. BigCommerce and WooCommerce are two of those products, but both are very different.
BigCommerce is an ecommerce website builder that’s helped almost 100,000 people build their own online store.
WooCommerce is an open-source WordPress plugin that gives existing websites the ability to sell online.
But which one’s better? And how do you know which is right for you?
At Website Builder Expert, it’s our job to answer these sorts of questions. We research and test online platforms to provide you with accurate, detailed information. Read on as we discuss what BigCommerce and WooCommerce are all about, and which one will suit your needs best.
BigCommerce Pros and Cons
|#1||More built-in features than any competitor|
|#2||Lets you sell across multiple channels like Facebook, Amazon, and Instagram|
|#1||No mobile app to run your store on the go|
|#2||Editing interface is hard to navigate|
WooCommerce Pros and Cons
|#1||Lack of customer support|
|#2||Advanced technical knowledge required|
BigCommerce is an ecommerce website builder. Not sure what that means? Allow us to explain:
An ecommerce website builder is a program that helps you create your own online store. Not only that, it also provides you with support on how to manage your site, boost your sales, and be successful online.
Think of it like putting a set of shelves up. BigCommerce provides you with all the tools you need, plus a handy instruction manual.
WooCommerce is different. It’s designed for WordPress websites as a plugin. This means it’s an add-on that you integrate into your normal site to transform it into an online store.
WooCommerce was built by Automattic – the web development company that also founded WordPress. It’s described as the “most popular and customizable ecommerce platform on the web”.
If you’re a budding business that needs an online store, BigCommerce is a smart choice. It’s got tons of built-in features, and a whole host of tools to help you scale. In fact, BigCommerce say they help their merchants grow 28% year-on-year.
WooCommerce is for those who already have a WordPress site, but need ecommerce functionality. It’s totally customizable and integrates seamlessly. Be warned, though – there’s little help or support out there should you need it.
On the whole, website builders like BigCommerce are far easier to use than plugins like WooCommerce. They provide you with a base to build on, and are always on-hand to offer support.
In order to test how easy BigCommerce is to use, we got a selection of everyday folk to build their own online store. They were then asked to score how easy (or difficult) they found certain tasks.
BigCommerce’s results were a bit of a mixed bag. People thought the onboarding process was clear and insightful, and liked how a lot of features were already built into the themes. Some struggled with the terminology, though. Here are some of their thoughts:
The onboarding was great – it took you on a little tour of where to find certain features and where you could customize things. It even made it clear that we shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions in the help section, which I really liked.
The terminology wasn’t great. If you were new to this whole area, it would be very daunting.
In short, BigCommerce sets you up to succeed. There’s a bit of a learning curve involved, but once you’re familiar with the terms they use, you’ll have all the power you need to build a top-of-the-range ecommerce store. And, best of all, you don’t need any coding knowledge!
BigCommerce Named a “Strong Performer” in the Ecommerce Space
BigCommerce has been named a Strong Performer by Forrester Research in two recently released reports, one on B2B commerce suites and one on B2C commerce suites. These reports evaluate and score the most significant software providers, in order to guide digital businesses in selecting the right technology for their needs.
Both reports cite feedback from BigCommerce customers regarding their experience using the platform. The B2B report found that BigCommerce customers “like the culture and responsiveness of the support experience,” while the B2C report explains that “customers appreciate how BigCommerce integrates partner-provided services to unify them within the business user interface.”
WooCommerce, on the other hand, can be a little more confusing. It’s a more technical platform, and there’s a lot of legwork to be done before you get your online store up and running. You don’t need to be a computer genius to use WooCommerce, but some good IT skills certainly wouldn’t go amiss.
Where BigCommerce provides you with a domain, hosting, and security certificates, WooCommerce’s offerings are limited to pure ecommerce functionality. You’ll need to set up all the technical aspects of your store, such as hosting, yourself.
We’d recommend powering your WooCommerce store with Bluehost. It’s our top-rated web hosting provider and it’s been endorsed by WooCommerce itself. What’s even better, prices for new customers start at just $6.95 per month (usually $13.99). By using Bluehost, you get access to:
- WooCommerce auto-install
- Free online store set up call
- Free domain name and SSL certificate
- Storefront theme pre-installed
- 24/7 support from in-house WordPress experts
Ease of Use: The Verdict
BigCommerce is the clear winner here. It’s accessible to beginners (once you get the hang of it), and has all the features you need built-in, offering a variety of help and support along the way. WooCommerce, on the other hand, is for the more technical out there.
First impressions count. It’s important that when customers land on your website, they’re greeted with a good-looking, well-designed storefront that’s easy to navigate.
BigCommerce offers 7 free themes, with over 50 more coming at a one-off cost between $145 and $245. Expensive as this sounds, what you’re doing is showing your customers who you are as a brand.
Studies show that repeat customers spend up to 300% more than new ones. You only get one chance to make that first impression, so make it count.
WooCommerce has 14 storefront themes, which all come at the added cost of $39. You’ll also need to add storefront extensions to pad out your site, which range from free to $59.
You can save a bit of money on your store’s design by using a hosting provider, like Bluehost, who include WooCommerce’s storefront theme pre-installed free of charge when you sign up to one of their WooCommerce hosting plans.
Not only are WooCommerce storefronts cheaper than BigCommerce premium themes, they’re also more customizable. It’s important to add, however, that this is where you’ll need technical expertise.
You don’t have to be a computer scientist to customize WooCommerce themes, but as with WordPress itself, the more you know, the more you can edit.
BigCommerce’s themes, on the other hand, are more rigid – but customization is far more straightforward. BigCommerce has an editing interface which lets you adjust things like text size and font, page layouts and navigation placement, and promotional banners.
Both BigCommerce and WooCommerce themes are mobile responsive. With BigCommerce, you can even preview what your site will look like on mobile and tablet screen sizes at the top of the editor.
Design Flexibility: The Verdict
This is a close one. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but we think WooCommerce has the slight edge. It may be harder to edit than BigCommerce, but your theme is totally customizable, and it’s cheaper than any BigCommerce premium theme.
When it comes to BigCommerce vs WooCommerce, the time it takes to build an online store can vary massively.
First, it depends on whether you already have a WordPress website. Since WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, adding it to an existing site can be a relatively quick process.
Your time is invested in WooCommerce’s customization, however. Editing it to your liking can be very time consuming, and if you don’t already have a WordPress website, your building time will skyrocket.
By contrast, BigCommerce is a one-stop shop. Everything you need to build an online store is already built-in, and because everything’s in one place, it’s a lot quicker to get to grips with. If you put your mind to it, you could get your store online in a day or two.
With WooCommerce, you’ll need to build a WordPress site and sort out the technical side of things, like web hosting, separately. This is perfect if you need total control, but it’s certainly more complex and less time-efficient than BigCommerce.
Using a web hosting provider, such as Bluehost, to power your WooCommerce store can take a lot of hassle out of the setup – saving you time and a lot of effort. With Bluehost’s WooCommerce hosting plans, you get a free 2-hour WooCommerce set up call with an expert who guides you through the entire installation process.
With BigCommerce, it’s all there ready for you to start designing your own ecommerce website. As we know, BigCommerce is the easier platform to use, and there’s no escaping the fact that ease of use and build time are directly linked.
Build Time: The Verdict
This round is another convincing win for BigCommerce. Unless you already have your own WordPress website – and know your way around code – it’ll take you much longer to get set up on WooCommerce. BigCommerce is more of an out-of-the-box, ready to use solution.
Features is where BigCommerce comes into its own. There are tons of vital, in-built features that you will find yourself using time and time again. A few key ones include:
- SSL Security – makes your online store secure by protecting payments, giving you a little padlock symbol next to your URL so customers are aware when checking out.
- Multi-Channel Integration – lets you sell from your website directly on marketplaces like Amazon and social media like Facebook.
- Abandoned Cart Recovery – sends your customers automatic email reminders when they leave items in their cart without checking out.
- Analytical Tracking and Reporting Tools – monitor your site’s performance through sessions, sales, email campaigns and much more.
- Create Promotional Codes and Discounts – let you advertise sales and deals on products by supplying customers with a code to use at the checkout.
The above are all important when running and growing your ecommerce store. The abandoned cart feature is particularly useful, with BigCommerce stating it can help you recover 25% of otherwise lost sales.
And that’s just some of BigCommerce’s features. We haven’t even touched on its shipping and marketing options. For all that and more, read our detailed review of BigCommerce here.
This isn’t to say WooCommerce doesn’t have some pretty neat features too. Although there are a lot fewer on offer, WooCommerce still provides:
- Blogging – in-built ability to write, publish and share articles.
- Limitless Customization – if you know how to code, it’s completely unrestricted. You can edit everything from the storefront to the checkout page.
- One-Click Refunds – allow your customers to get money back for returns instantly.
You can also embed products and checkouts into a wider range of store pages. WooCommerce clearly has some useful features, but it’s not the full package like BigCommerce.
Think of it like playing golf. Both BigCommerce and WooCommerce provide you with clubs, but one gives you far more variety. WooCommerce has a driver and putter, but BigCommerce also includes an iron, wood, and wedge. You can play 18 holes with either, but BigCommerce gives you a clear advantage.
Ecommerce Tools and Features: The Verdict
BigCommerce wins again. The platform prides itself on having everything you need to create and manage your online store, from abandoned cart recovery to multi-channel integration. WooCommerce has a few great features, like blogging and one-click refunds, but overall, it just can’t compete with the ecommerce features BigCommerce has to offer.
Being able to accept multiple payment options is great when selling to a broad range of customers. Both BigCommerce and WooCommerce accept credit and debit cards, along with some of the biggest payment gateways around. This includes:
- Apple Pay
One thing that’s important to know is that each payment gateway has its own transaction fee charges. So, it’s worth looking these up before jumping into one straightaway.
Neither BigCommerce nor WooCommerce enforce their own transaction fees, though. This means that any extra cost incurred when processing payments will be from the gateways or card companies directly.
On top of those listed, WooCommerce also supports over 100 other different payment gateways, such as Authorize.Net. BigCommerce is slightly more limited, only offering a couple of other options, alongside some digital wallets like Chase Pay and Venmo.
Payment Options and Fees: The Verdict
Both BigCommerce and WooCommerce offer the essentials, but WooCommerce wins simply because of its range of choice. It supports over 100 different payment options, and like BigCommerce, it doesn’t impose its own transaction fee. Besides this wider selection, though, it is practically identical to BigCommerce.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is crucial to the performance of any online store. It determines how highly your store is listed on search engines like Google, and will directly impact the amount of traffic your site gets.
You could have the best products in the world, but if no one can find them, what’s the point?
Looking at BigCommerce vs WooCommerce, it’s a close call. Both offer you the ability to improve your site’s SEO, giving you the best possible chance of ranking highly on Google. On BigCommerce, you can:
- Edit Meta Titles and Descriptions – amend both the link and the text underneath it on Google search returns.
- Customize URL Slugs – to make sure it’s relevant to the page you’re on e.g. “/mens/tops/white-shirts/”.
- Add Image Alt Text – attach text to an image so Google knows what the image is.
- Get Keyword Support – recommendations on what words to include in product descriptions to help your online store rank well for those terms.
WooCommerce also lets you edit meta titles/descriptions, customize URL slugs, and add image alt text. Where it falls down, though, is in its failure to provide in-built extras, such as SSL security.
Having an SSL certificate lets Google know your site is safe for people to use. This certificate come as standard with BigCommerce but with WooCommerce, you’ll have to pay extra.
However, reputable web hosting providers such as Bluehost, provide you with a free SSL certificate when you sign up to one of their subscriptions. This can cost from as little as $6.95/month – £23/month less than BigCommerce’s cheapest plan!
SEO: The Verdict
It’s another really close-run contest. Both BigCommerce and WooCommerce can perform similar SEO functions, but BigCommerce has more in-built features that help with your site’s SEO, such as an SSL security certificate. For that reason alone, BigCommerce wins this tightly-fought category.
Everyone needs help every now and again, and in this category, there’s a clear winner.
BigCommerce offers 24/7 support via phone, email and live chat. It also has its own user forum, and a help center bursting with useful guides.
If you sign up to BigCommerce’s enterprise plan, you also get your own personal onboarding consultant and account manager. These are BigCommerce experts, who will assist you with any issues you have when using the platform.
By contrast, the support WooCommerce offers is sparse at best. It has WooCommerce Docs – which is essentially a help center – but beyond that, there’s precious little resource.
WooCommerce users tend to be more tech savvy, which partly explains the lack of support on offer. Either way though, if you get stuck, you’re largely on your own.
Help and Support: The Verdict
BigCommerce lands a knockout blow in this round. It offers plenty more ways to get help than WooCommerce. Phone, email and live chat are just a few of the ways to contact BigCommerce, and compared to WooCommerce Docs, this makes it the more supportive platform.
In terms of pricing, BigCommerce vs WooCommerce is a tricky one.
BigCommerce has three core pricing plans: Standard ($29.95/month), Plus ($79.95/month), and Pro ($249.95/month). It also has an Enterprise plan, but you’ll have to contact BigCommerce directly for a quote.
BigCommerce also offers a 15-day free trial, meaning you can give the platform a try without entering any card details. This is a great way to see if it’s the right fit for you before investing.
All BigCommerce plans come with unlimited bandwidth and staff accounts, and no transaction fees. One key difference with the Standard plan, though, is that you don’t get the abandoned cart feature – something that’s vital to any serious merchant.
WooCommerce is, as usual, a bit more complex. The platform itself is a free WordPress plugin, so there’s no costs in that respect. But, you’ll have to purchase a theme ($39), SSL security ($9/year) and hosting ($10/year) all separately. This means your monthly bill can be a little awkward to calculate.
You can get a theme, SSL certificate, and hosting from Bluehost from just $6.95/month (usually $13.99).
With BigCommerce, everything’s included under one fee. Think of it like paying rent and bills – in some properties, you have to pay for gas, electricity and water all separately. With others, it’s included in the rent.
Pricing: The Verdict
Because of the nature of WooCommerce’s pricing, we’ll go for a tie in this one. WooCommerce may well work out cheaper for you, but managing your monthly bills will be more of a hassle. BigCommerce can be more expensive, but at least you know where you stand.
As you can see, BigCommerce and WooCommerce are two very different platforms that should be used by very different sets of people.
To recap, let’s have a look at which platform won each category:
|BigCommerce vs WooCommerce||BigCommerce||WooCommerce|
|Ease of Use||Simple once you get to grips with it, but it can be a bit overwhelming at first.||Difficult for anyone who isn’t technically advanced or familiar with WordPress.|
|Design||A great choice of themes that are simple to customize.||Limitless customization and cheap premium storefronts.|
|Build Time||Everything can be created from the dashboard, making it pretty quick to get an ecommerce site live.||Requires you to build a WordPress site first, and have the computer skills to edit WooCommerce to your liking.|
|Ecommerce Features||Loads of world-class features and tools, built-in and ready to use.||Some decent features available, but you need to add things on to get a more complete ecommerce platform.|
|Payment Options and Fees||Supports some of the world’s biggest payment gateways and doesn’t enforce its own transaction fee.||Exactly the same as BigCommerce, but comes with more than 100 other payment options.|
|SEO||Customize meta titles, descriptions and URL slugs, along with image alt text and keyword support.||Very similar to BigCommerce but it doesn’t come with in-built SSL security, which helps with SEO.|
|Help and Support||24/7 support via phone, email and live chat, with a forum and help center.||Just a help center with documents. No personal support available.|
|Pricing||BigCommerce has three core pricing plans: Standard ($29.95/month), Plus ($79.95/month), and Pro ($249.95/month). There’s a 15-day free trial on offer with all plans.||WooCommerce is a free plugin, but there will be a cost to building the WordPress site you need to enable it. This cost will vary from site to site, but will likely include: a theme ($39), SSL security ($9/year) and web hosting ($10/year).|
BigCommerce is for those who need to build an online store. It’s easy to use, well-designed, and has all the features you need to be successful and grow. It’s perfect for beginners with little-to-no coding knowledge.
WooCommerce is for people who already have a WordPress site and are slightly more technically competent. It’s a plugin that gives WordPress sites ecommerce functionality.
If you’re interested in building your own WordPress website and using WooCommerce, read our comprehensive review of WordPress.
Overall, we’d recommend BigCommerce if you’re yet to get up and running online. It’s an all-in-one solution that walks you through the process of building your own online store. Its world-class features and support are there, ready and waiting to help turn your ecommerce dream into a reality.
Is BigCommerce or WooCommerce better for small businesses?
This again comes back to how comfortable you are on a computer. BigCommerce is the easier option as everything you need is self-contained, and there’s plenty of help available. If your business already has a WordPress website though, it makes sense to add-on WooCommerce and start selling.
What’s the difference between WooCommerce and WordPress?
WordPress is an open-source content management system where you can build your own website from scratch. WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin which gives your website ecommerce functionality. Both are developed by the same company and integrate seamlessly with one another.
What other ecommerce solutions can you use?
Shopify is another top-of-the-range ecommerce website builder, and works in a very similar way to BigCommerce. You can read our review of Shopify here. For users or businesses that just want to sell a few products on the side, website builders like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace may be more suitable.
Found our comparison helpful?
Did this guide help you decide whether to use BigCommerce or WooCommerce, then help to get you started building your website? If so (or if not!) leave a comment below.
Do you know anyone who can benefit from this article? Click the share buttons below to send them this page.
You’ll be helping them, and helping us out by spreading the word about our website!
Website Builder Expert aims to provide you with honest data. That’s why we conduct our own research and obtain direct, personal insight. Click here for further information.