Our Pick: Shopify
There is a reason Shopify ranks No. 1 in ecommerce in our website builder rankings. This platform really packs a punch. Over the years, Shopify has become synonymous with quality when building a digital storefront. BigCommerce offers a range of powerful features, but its templates leave a lot to be desired and many key features are only available if you pay for its top-tier plans. Overall, Shopify is the better choice for small business owners.
To learn more about Shopify, read our in-depth Shopify Website Builder Review. You may also be interested in our BigCommerce Website Builder Review if you’re still on the fence.
Shopify vs. BigCommerce: Ease of Use
As a small business owner, chances are you’re looking for an easy-to-use platform that won’t take too much time to learn or be a hassle to work with. Time is money, and being able to build a website quickly can let you focus on the day-to-day operations of your business.
Ease of Use: Shopify
Shopify is the gold standard when it comes to creating a digital storefront for your business. The platform’s website builder makes it easy to add and remove products, elements, and content so that it suits your branding and presents your offerings in a polished and professional manner.
The website editor is quite easy to navigate and enables you to build a high-performance ecommerce website in just a few hours. However, it is important to note that there is no autosave feature, so clicking the save button often is imperative if you want to avoid the frustration of losing hours of hard work.
Ease of Use: BigCommerce
BigCommerce ranks highly in terms of ease of use. Customers can choose from a select number of templates, each with a handful of themes, and then customize these themes to meet their business needs with a simple, drag-and-drop editing tool that makes adding and removing elements and content a breeze.
Setting up your online store is also easily done from the platform’s main control panel. Here, you’ll have access to every feature available in your ecommerce toolkit, including the ability to add and remove products and change currency, payment, shipping, tax, and account settings. You can also access your website’s analytics from your control panel.
Shopify vs. BigCommerce: Templates and Themes
Beautiful templates make beautiful websites. In addition to the aesthetic component, a well-designed template can make a website more navigable, which helps optimize user experience (UX).
Templates and Themes: Shopify
Shopify includes 70 templates in its Theme Library. While most of these are free, a few are available at an additional cost. While every new user will automatically start off with its Debut theme, this can easily be changed to one that is more consistent with your business’s needs.
Shopify offers simple customization. Content can be arranged however you wish, and your site’s colors, fonts, images, and text can all be modified to help convey your brand’s message and personality. Shopify also offers intuitive methods of adding product listings, descriptions, and search tags to optimize the user experience.
While unwanted changes can easily be undone with the “undo” button, it is equally important to click the “save” button as often as possible to avoid losing your work.
Templates and Themes: BigCommerce
Users will only have a few basic templates to choose from with this platform by default. When you start your website, you will automatically be matched with a template that can be modified with the Theme Style section of your website’s editor. There are very few free templates to choose from, each with a handful of styles, and all of them lack variety.
BigCommerce does offer quite a few more templates at an additional cost. That being said, not only do these cost hundreds of dollars, they offer little variety over the templates already included for free. Additionally, every template BigCommerce offers is fairly basic and all of them look a bit outdated.
Shopify vs. BigCommerce: Apps and Plug-Ins
Apps and plug-ins can help add functionality to your website, as well as integrate it with your social media and marketing campaigns.
Apps and Plug-Ins: Shopify
Shopify offers over 1,000 apps for users to add to their websites. Many of these are available for free, but others come at an additional cost. Some of Shopify’s apps include scheduling services, wholesale discount integrations, social media and marketing tools, calendars, and more. With a wide variety of options to choose from, you’re sure to find the app you’re looking for to help add functionality to your website, as well as increase your sales conversions.
Apps and Plug-Ins: BigCommerce
BigCommerce has hundreds of apps available through its app marketplace. These are sorted by category, which includes Accounting & Tax, Analytics & Reporting, Catalog & Order Management, Finance, Marketing, Merchandising, and more. While BigCommerce offers a fair selection of apps, and a few are available free of charge, the majority of apps on the site require users to pay some additional cost— whether it’s a one-time fee or a subscription for a service.
Shopify vs. BigCommerce: Ecommerce
Choosing a platform that offers ecommerce features can help maximize the use you get out of your website, allowing you to create a digital storefront where you can sell goods and services.
Shopify practically wrote the book on ecommerce. It is widely considered the premier ecommerce platform on the market today. It offers users the ability to add unlimited products, customize product listings, and includes functions such as search tags and product filtering to help customers find exactly what they need. Shopify also allows your inventory to be sorted by categories and collections.
Shopify takes essentially every payment method you can imagine, including credit or debit card, bank account, and third-party payment gateways like PayPal and Apple Pay. There is also a tipping feature available, which is ideal for service-based professionals. Shopify allows your customers to create accounts, increasing repeat business. It also has abandoned cart saving so customers can easily resume a transaction if they get disconnected from your website.
Shopify also offers a wide variety of shipping and local delivery options upon checkout.
As the name suggests, BigCommerce does ecommerce beautifully. BigCommerce offers a wide range of ecommerce tools. Regardless of which tier you purchase, these include integrations with leading point of sale (POS) systems like Square and Clover and payment gateways like PayPal and Braintree, zero transaction fees, real-time shipping quotes, coupons and discounts, product ratings and reviews, and more.
Not only that, ecommerce options are expandable as you move up the platform’s pricing tiers, meaning BigCommerce can easily scale with your business model. Some of the features available with higher tiers include an abandoned cart saver, persistent cart, strategic account management, and the ability to sell up to $400,000 annually.
Shopify vs. BigCommerce: Pricing
Finding a website-building platform that has the features you need at a cost that you can afford is essential for small business owners.
Shopify offers three pricing tiers: Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify. Most small business owners will find the Basic plan includes everything they need to build a high-performance store, including the ability to add unlimited products, 24/7 customer support, abandoned cart saving, and more. Shopify easily scales with your business model, and the Advanced Shopify tier even offers a range of extra features for global selling, such as international pricing and domains.
Website Plans – Pricing and Features
BigCommerce offers a single pricing strategy with a wide range between lower and top tier price points. BigCommerce does offer a free 15-day trial, but this essentially only permits customers to sample the site’s features— you cannot publish your website until you purchase a premium plan. BigCommerce also offers an Enterprise plan with pricing available upon consultation.
Unlike Shopify, BigCommerce’s Standard plan is missing some key features, like abandoned cart saving and stored credit cards. This can mean you have to purchase a higher tier to take advantage of these features, and the price escalation is steep.
Website Plans – Pricing and Features
Shopify Pros and Cons
- Simple, drag-and-drop functionality
- Attractive templates
- Premier ecommerce features at every tier
- 24/7 customer support
- Over 1,000 apps to choose from
- Customization can feel limited
- Top-tier plans are cost-prohibitive for most small businesses
BigCommerce Pros and Cons
- Simple, drag-and-drop functionality
- Expansive, scalable ecommerce tools
- Advanced analytics, search engine optimization (SEO), and marketing tools
- Hundreds of apps available to add functionality
- Lower-tier plans are missing key features
- Templates are a bit bland
The Bottom Line: Shopify vs. BigCommerce
While both Shopify and BigCommerce offer some powerful features, Shopify offers a bit more professionalism with its superior template designs. In addition, when you factor in the features available for Shopify’s basic tier vs. BigCommerce’s Standard plan, you can see that Shopify is also the more affordable option, offering a wider range of features for roughly the same price.
Are you ready to build a Shopify website for your business? Read our How to Use Shopify guide and get started today! Decide to go with BigCommerce after all? That’s okay, we’ve got a guide for that, too! Read our How to Make a BigCommerce Website article for a step-by-step guide to building your website with BigCommerce.
Overall, we’re thoroughly impressed with how easy it is to use the Shopify website builder. It is a great choice for new and small businesses who don’t have a lot of time, or money, to spend on web development. Through Shopify, you can quickly create a simple, professional-looking website for your business.