Should you opt for the easy versatility of Wix or go straight for the ecommerce specialist, BigCommerce?
Here we compare these two website builders on the factors that matter – including:
- Value for money
Read on to discover which ecommcerce website builder, Wix or BigCommerce, is right for your business.
Click on the following links to read the specific sections:
- Which tool can get my store up and running fastest?
- How good are their ecommerce templates?
- Which has the best advanced ecommerce features?
- What about online security – will my store be safe?
- How do they compare on customer support?
- Wix vs BigCommerce: which is best value for money?
- Wix vs BigCommerce – final verdict
1.WHICH TOOL CAN GET MY STORE UP AND RUNNING FASTEST?
Wix ADI: Get an instant custom-made store
Potentially, either one can get you trading in an afternoon. But if speed is your number one priority and you want to get stock flying off your virtual shelves by the end of your lunchbreak, Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) is the tool for you.
This smart tool automatically builds an ecommerce site for you.
All you have to do is answer a few multi-choice questions, for example about the items you’ll be selling and the features you want to include. It took less than five minutes between launching Wix in our browser and getting this made-to-measure photography business site, all ready to start trading.
Wix ADI does at least let you customise your auto-generated site, using a drag-and-drop editor that saves your changes automatically as you go along. It’s fairly easy to do, and you’re guided through the process by the ‘What’s Next?’ box you can see in our screenshot. All domain and web hosting matters are taken care of by Wix; all you have to do is click Publish, and your site goes live. You can then carry on making changes if you want.
It’s unbeatably fast and undoubtedly clever.
However if you’re serious enough about your business to want to take it out of eBay and onto its own domain, then you’ll find Wix ADI far too basic. No AI tool can make the decisions required when setting up shop, and ADI is not intelligent enough to produce a workable online store. What’s more, the editor is frustratingly limiting. It harks back to the early days of WYSIWYG website builders, with their inflexible templates and dearth of right-click options.
Perhaps the best feature of the Wix ADI editor is that it lets you transfer your auto-created site to the main Wix Editor, where you can really get to work on it. Wix ADI is fine for creating a quick gallery or online page for next week’s party, but for an ecommerce site it’s the time equivalent of a false economy.
Wix Editor: Build a professional online store in a weekend
That’s more like it.
Wix Editor is a much more powerful template-editing tool than Wix ADI, and it’s packed with professional ecommerce elements that you can drag onto your site or enable with a quick right-click.
We actually find Wix Editor easier to use than Wix ADI.
That’s probably because it offers all the tools and features we’ve come to expect in digital editing tools, including the full brace of right-click menus (and menus leading off those menus); clickable tooltips that appear when you hover over any item with your mouse; an image editing toolbar for aligning and arranging elements; and ‘pure drag-and-drop’ functions that put every single element at the mercy of your mouse. You won’t have that dispiriting experience of clicking an item and finding nothing happens. Anything can all be dragged, resized, duplicated or deleted.
There’s also a sidebar of icons that open out a wealth of options for adding new elements to your template. The plus symbol alone unleashes a fabulous array of drag-and-drop elements including slideshows, buttons, static pages, stock images and promotional lightboxes.
Behind the other icons you’ll find ecommerce elements, blogging tools and more – almost too much more.
Such a huge choice is a problem if you want to get trading quickly. Even if you’re taking your time, you may instinctively want to add everything – and you’ll soon end up with a real mess of a site.
One thing we can’t fault is Wix Editor’s effort to stay a step ahead of the competition. It’s constantly updated with new features that give it an innovative edge, often in direct response to users’ requests.
For example you can now bring your site alive with video backgrounds (albeit using stock videos only) and even add parallax scrolling, a 3D effect created by the background and foreground moving at different speeds. New ‘strip’ elements let you add batches of text, video and other content, then move and manage them in one go. Wix also incorporates a mobile editor for ensuring your online store works perfectly on smartphones and tablets.
BigCommerce: Straight down to business
From the moment you open BigCommerce, you know you’re in the hands of an ecommerce specialist (well, the clue’s in the name).
The interface feels cold and somewhat old-fashioned compared with Wix, but you quickly realize that’s because it hasn’t got time to mess around with cute icons and hand-holding.
That said, BigCommerce doesn’t leave you to work it all out by yourself.
As soon as you sign up, you’re sent an introductory email containing your store’s URL (Wix doesn’t reveal any URLs until you publish) and links to a Store Launch Guide and Control Panel Tour – both well worth clicking. You also get a Support PIN and, a few days later, a phone call from the team. It’s pretty clear from the off that BigCommerce takes your custom seriously.
You won’t be surprised to hear that BigCommerce can’t auto-create your store – frankly it wouldn’t dream of it.
However it lets you import your product inventory and even your customer list to your new BigCommerce store, simply by using a CSV file. So if you want to get trading quickly, BigCommerce may be the fastest solution if you’re already a seasoned seller on eBay or Etsy.
The process is a little more laborious if you’re starting your business from scratch, but BigCommerce lays on numerous tools to organise your products, payments and even your marketing before you even choose a template (‘theme’, in BigCommerce-speak).
What’s more, most BigCommerce themes come stocked with ecommerce features that you’d have to spend time adding to a Wix template by yourself. We’ll have more on that further down the page.
Compared with Wix Editor, BigCommerce’s Theme Editor is dated and unintuitive.
There are no tooltips and not even a right-click menu, and while drag-and-drop is supported it’s not exactly intuitive. It even took us five minutes to work out how to upload photos. (You can’t do it using the editor; you have to use the Image Manager on the Dashboard instead. It all feels unnecessarily clunky.)
There is help, but the ‘Help with Theme Editor’ link is well buried at the bottom of the sidebar. The link takes you to a different help page depending on the type of theme you chose. We’ll have more on themes in the next section.
BigCommerce Support is superb, as we’ve mentioned they make sure you get personal service. They’d do well to make Support easier to find, though. It’s not listed on your Dashboard, and to find help for the Theme Editor you have to scroll right to the bottom of the left-hand sidebar. You’re much better off bookmarking the main BigCommerce Support site.
Before you run screaming to the cosy bosom of Wix, be aware that BigCommerce does have big advantages, especially if you’re handy with HTML. But we’ll keep all that for the next section, because none of it will help you get your store online any faster.
2.HOW GOOD ARE THEIR ECOMMERCE TEMPLATES?
Wix: Easy to customise and easy on the eye
Design is at the heart of a great shopping site.
Not only does a well-designed site create a good first impression, but it also helps your customers navigate and encourages them to carry on shopping.
Wix’s gallery of well over 500 templates includes dozens of Online Store designs that’ll give you an eye-catching storefront and easy-to-navigate site. Most are free, but some are only available to ecommerce plan subscribers. You can find out by hovering your mouse over a template; if it says ‘Price: eCommerce’ you’ll need to upgrade to use it.
In the unlikely event you don’t find a template to your taste, you can opt for one of seven ‘blank templates’ – unadorned layouts, much like the default template you get in BigCommerce.
Wix Editor doesn’t let you switch to a different template once you’ve started building, but it’s easy to transform your site using drag-and-drop elements and the icons down the left. As well as the previously-mentioned icons for adding elements and creating a blog, you also get a Background icon, where you can try out the new video backgrounds, and App Market – your gateway to dozens of extra elements you can add with one click.
Online Store templates also come with a My Store tool, which is actually a few self-contained tools: Store Manager, for adding products, setting prices and managing orders; Store Pages; and a Learn More section with links to embedded versions of WixStores Help Center and Wix Blog. My Store also includes Add Store Elements, where you’ll find a few basic ecommerce elements including an Add To Cart button and product widgets.
It is a blizzard of options, so take your time.
Luckily you can create as many sites as you want using Wix, even on the free plan.
Give yourself a chance to test different combinations of elements on different sites before you publish anything.
BigCommerce: Ecommerce themes you can transform with HTML
BigCommerce themes lack the eye-catching panache of Wix’s templates, but this tool is an ecommerce specialist – and its themes reflect that. They may be less pretty than Wix’s (certainly the free ones), but many BigCommerce themes come kitted out with online trading features that you’d have to add to a Wix template by yourself.
It’s fair to say that theme design hasn’t exactly been a big priority for BigCommerce in the past.
It does give you full reign to let you edit your site using HTML and CSS, perhaps it was assumed there was no need for handsome off-the-shelf templates – just basic layouts.
But in recent months, BigCommerce seems to have accepted that users like working from templates, and that a templated site doesn’t mean an amateurish site. It now offers nearly 100 themes, carefully chosen and specially designed for ecommerce sites. We’re particularly impressed by the small but beautiful range of new ‘Stencil’ themes that are fully responsive and cross-platform.
Most aren’t free, though. Unlike Wix, BigCommerce lets you switch themes after you’ve started building your site – but with prices as high as $235, in addition to your BigCommerce subscription, you’ll want to choose carefully. We recommend starting out with a free template then upgrading later.
To browse themes, click ‘Customize your store’ (or Storefront on the left) then click Browse Themes or Theme Marketplace, where you can view live demos of all themes. (You can browse the marketplace here if you don’t yet have a BigCommerce account.) Stencil themes are only available through the marketplace.
BigCommerce lets you download a theme to your computer, customise its code offline using Notepad or other software, then upload it again for working on in the Theme Editor.
It even lets you sell your own themes! You’re given plenty of help with the download/upload process, but not with the actual coding – you’re on your own there, unless you hire a web designer through the BigCommerce Partner Marketplace.
3.WHICH HAS THE BEST ADVANCED ECOMMERCE FEATURES?
Wix: Hundreds of clever ecommerce add-ons
Wix bundles numerous free ecommerce tools and widgets with its Online Store templates, as we’ve seen. The My Store tool lets you track orders, configure taxes and set shipping costs, and each of your sites gets a Site Manager page where you can boost SEO by editing title tags, adding metadata and inserting search keywords.
That said, to get the kind of advanced ecommerce tools and features than come pre-installed in many BigCommerce themes, you’ll need to go hunting through the third-party add-ons in the Wix App Market. Some of these apps are free, but most online sales features are only available to paying subscribers.
The App Market is easy to find from any Wix template; just click the market stall button then scroll through the well-organised pop-up window. If you’re setting up shop you’ll want to head straight for the few dozen apps in the ‘Apps for Online Store’ category, which includes the must-haves in our box below. Each comes with a live demo, user reviews and details about the app’s developer, and it takes just one click to add an app to your site.
It’s almost too easy – you can soon end up cramming your store with additional features that double up on each other’s functions or don’t belong together.
|6 of the best Wix apps for your online store|
|#1||Wix Stores (premium):
One-stop ecommerce app with SSL-certified checkout, SEO tools, 24/7 support and support for selling digital downloads. Pre-installed with most Online Store templates.
|#2||Etsy Shop (free):
Integrate your existing Etsy store with your new Wix site.
|#3||PayPal Button (free and premium versions):
Add a one-click payment button to your store, with subscription options and support for more than 25 currencies.
|#4||LiveChat (free 30-day trial):
Give your customers live support in real time
|#5||Web-Stat (free and premium versions):
Track and analyse your customers’ origins and movements using this powerful business tool.
|#6||McAfee Secure (free and premium versions):
Get verified by security firm McAfee, and give your customers peace of mind. We’ll have more on security in the next section.
BigCommerce: Every selling tool you need, built in
As you can see from the order of business on the BigCommerce Dashboard, adding products is first priority here – more important than customising your site.
A good-looking store is nice, but what matters is that we’re here to sell, and BigCommerce pre-installs nearly all the sales and marketing features your site needs.
The Add Products button opens up a collection of product forms for populating your store, along with tabs where you can configure built-in ecommerce settings such as Google Shopping support, warranty information and automatic inventory tracking. Explore the left-hand menu on the Dashboard for dozens more advanced features such as Abandoned Cart Recovery (under Analytics), eBay and Amazon integration (under Channel Manager), and Coupon Codes (under Marketing).
There are more free, built-in features in the Theme Editor. Go through the toolboxes on the left to configure items such as payment icons, product grids, purchase options and a new Google Analytics tool, currently in beta.
You’re unlikely to need more features, but BigCommerce offers them anyway, in its App Marketplace (click Apps on your Dashboard). Some Apps are free – for example SurveyMonkey and WANT Facebook Wishlists – while others cost money after a trial period.
BigCommerce can feel less versatile than Wix (certainly unless you know how to code), but this has advantages. Its range of advanced ecommerce features is chosen carefully, and a lot of the organising is done for you, so there’s less danger of ending up with a haphazard mess of add-ons.
4.WHAT ABOUT ONLINE SECURITY – WILL MY STORE BE SAFE?
Wix: Free SSL and HTTPS encryption
Following a recent update, all Wix sites are now enabled for HTTPS (Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol). HTTPS pages encrypt all the data they send and receive.
In plain English, that means the data is scrambled and can’t be intercepted by hackers and other snoopers.
Seeing HTTPS on all your pages reassures your customers that you’re trustworthy and professional – and makes them feel comfortable about spending their money.
To apply HTTPS to your store, you will need to switch on your SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. This certificate, which Wix provides automatically for all your custom domains and subdomains, is ‘dedicated’ – in other words, your own. That’s worth mentioning on your site to show customers you know how to look after them.
A sizeable portion of Wix’s Help Center is devoted to Security, but it’s more about protecting your own back than protecting your ecommerce customers. For example there are numerous sections on phishing protection – avoiding fake Wix emails, of which several have done the rounds in recent years.
Wix has passed rigorous industry checks to ensure your own card details and personal data are safe. The service is ISO 27018 compliant and PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards) Level 1-accredited – two important checks for any service handling financial data in a cloud computing environment.
Wix also uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption to help protect financial transactions.
BigCommerce: Full-site encryption and automatic backup
The security of your online store is a big priority for BigCommerce – as you’d hope from an ecommerce specialist.
Some of these security measures are nothing but helpful.
For example BigCommerce backs up your data automatically, so your store is safe if you suddenly go offline. Other measures manifest themselves as a complete pain. When building your site, you’ll notice you keep getting logged out. This is because BigCommerce adheres to such tight PCI DSS standards (Requirement 8 of Version 3.2, to be precise) that it signs you out after 15 minutes of inactivity. (You can extend the timeout window to two hours if it really annoys you.) The standards also require that you reset your password every 90 days, as you’ll soon discover.
Not only is BigCommerce itself PCI DSS certified, but it automatically applies these standards to your online store, keeping your customers’ card details and other data out of hackers’ reach. Sorting out certification by yourself can be a costly hassle, so the fact that BigCommerce provides it for you is a big point in its favour. BigCommerce subscribers can even download a free PCI DSS Compliance certificate for 2017-2018.
BigCommerce also provides a free dedicated SSL certificate to ensure you can encrypt your customers’ data using HTTPS across your entire site. Like Wix, BigCommerce used to charge extra for dedicated SSL certificates (the free ones were shared), but since May 2017 it’s offered dedicated SSL certificates for free.
You can apply additional security measures to protect your shoppers’ data.
3D Secure (‘verified by’) is a payment processing feature that requires customers to enter an extra password when entering card data. It does add an extra step to checkout, and that may prove a turn-off for some shoppers – but others will find it reassuring.
Give it a try and see how it affects your conversion rate. Here’s how to enable it for your store.
5.HOW DO THEY COMPARE FOR CUSTOMER SUPPORT?
Wix: Tips and advice at every turn
Never underestimate the power of tooltips.
These are the little explanatory speech bubbles that appear when you hover your mouse over any item, and Wix Editor makes prolific use of them.
There are also numerous help buttons that open pop-up help articles about specific items.
The editor is so full of tips you may not even need the searchable Wix Help Center, but it’s great for advice on particular topics.
You can also call Wix support by phone and request a callback, or submit a support ticket using the interactive Contact Wix wizard. If you’re a paying subscriber your ticket will be bumped to the front of the queue.
BigCommerce: Great support from fellow users
The BigCommerce editor can feel overwhelming after Wix.
You get a guided tour when you first sign up, but there are no tooltips to guide you, and just one help link at the bottom of the side panel. User reviews of the 24/7 phone and live chat support are also mixed.
Mercifully, the BigCommerce Support knowledge base is excellent. Search for articles, read the in-depth guides and watch the fun, informative BigCommerce University videos. We also rate the BigCommerce Community forum, where users really know their stuff and are happy to answer questions and share ideas.
6.WIX VS BIGCOMMERCE: WHICH IS BEST VALUE FOR MONEY?
Wix: Advanced ecommerce tools for the price of a coffee
Wix Editor lets you create as many sites as you want before handing over a penny, and you can’t get much better value for money than that.
But if you’re serious about selling, you will need to upgrade.
The $17 eCommerce Premium Plan is the minimum subscription level that lets customers buy multiple products, and we think it’s outstanding value. For the price of a cup of coffee and a muffin, you get 10GB storage and 20GB bandwidth, a full brace of built-in ecommerce tools, and front-of-the-queue support.
Wix’s eCommerce subscription also gives you access to dozens of premium templates and apps, including the excellent Wix Stores.
BigCommerce, by comparison, makes you pay extra – sometimes hundreds of dollars extra – for premium themes, apps and tools, on top of its subscription.
|Wix Ecommerce Pricing Plans||1-Year
|eCommerce Premium (small business)||$17|
|VIP (power user)||$25|
BigCommerce: Invest in an expert ecommerce host
BigCommerce charges almost double what Wix does for its cheapest ecommerce plan, and its premium themes and apps aren’t part of the package.
There’s no free plan, and you only get one store. As a glance, it seems like a no-brainer – use Wix instead.
But if you’re ambitious for your store and you want a no-nonsense business approach, BigCommerce is the best long-term investment.
It exists purely to support online traders, and its basic $29.95 Standard plan includes many more specialist ecommerce features than Wix does – including top-level security compliance for your store. It’s also worth noting that BigCommerce’s Standard plan almost matches Shopify’s $29 basic plan on price but offers more features, including professional reporting, gift cards, real-time shipping quotes, and a built-in ratings and review system.
Even the apparently expensive BigCommerce templates are good value for money if you compare them fairly. Two hundred bucks buys you an expertly-designed, mobile-ready, responsive ecommerce template that’ll give your online store a big head start. You’d pay a lot more for an afternoon with a web designer.
Remember you can give BigCommerce a thorough tryout for 15 days before paying up. Here are its plans, charged monthly; you can save up to 10 per cent if you pay for a year upfront.
|BigCommerce Pricing Plans||1-Year
|Standard (basic store)||$29.95|
|Plus (grow and market your business)||$79.95|
|Pro (scale your business)||$249.95|
WIX VS BIGCOMMERCE – FINAL VERDICT
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