BigCommerce vs Shopify – Ultimate Comparison 2021
The eCommerce industry is booming with new businesses opening up every day. It’s never been easier to get started, but it can be difficult to know where to start. One of the most important decisions you will need to make is what platform you want your store built on.
BigCommerce and Shopify are two of the most popular choices for eCommerce platforms. This post compares how these platforms stack up against each other in terms of features, cost, and ease of use so that you can decide which one might be best for your business needs.
Table of Contents
Features of BigCommerce vs Shopify
|Key BigCommerce features include:||Key Shopify features include:|
|Mobile store builder: Bigcommerce enables users to create mobile-compatible sites that look great on all devices.||Google Analytics Integration – Shopify automatically records and uploads your store’s orders, customers, and traffic to a free Google Analytics account. This allows you to track key metrics of your business from one place.|
|Checkout Options: Users can choose between 6 different checkout types, including PayPal, Amazon Checkout, and Google Wallet.||24/7 Customer Support – Shopify client services are available 7 days a week via phone or email.|
|Product bundles: This feature lets you create customizable bundles of products for easy shopping experiences.||Unlimited Products – Shopify allows you to sell as many products as you can imagine, with no product or file size limits, and no restrictions on how much traffic your store generates.|
|Inventory sync: Bigcommerce users can quickly and easily import inventory from Shopify.||Mobile Shopping – Checkout is optimized for mobile devices through the use of a responsive design that adjusts your site’s layout and product display to fit any screen size.|
|Web-based POS software: All devices connected to the Internet can access a web version of Bigcommerce’s point of sale system, called Store Manager for Retail. It allows retailers to manage sales, process refunds, and take payments from anywhere.||Unlimited Bandwidth – Shopify stores utilize unlimited bandwidth so you’re not limited by the size of your site.|
|API: Bigcommerce offers a variety of APIs that can be used in conjunction with its marketplace and to power professional development.||Fraud Protection – Shopify uses a suite of proprietary technologies to guarantee security. This includes PCI scanning, fraud analysis based on seller behavior, and email verification for checkout.|
|Fulfillment options: Users can store inventory at a partnered fulfillment house or send it from the retailer’s warehouse via dropshipping.||Multi-Currency Support – In addition to US dollars, transaction currencies include Euros, Great Britain Pounds, Canadian Dollars, Japanese Yen, Australian Dollars, and Swiss Francs with more coming soon!|
|Multi-store view: BigCommerce’s platform enables users to manage multiple stores with one account.||Payment Options – Shopify supports 139 payment options from around the world in 36 countries including all major credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, Android Pay, cash, and wire transfer options.|
|Multistore discounts: Users can assign special discounts to orders placed in multiple stores.||Customizable Design – Shopify offers multiple design templates to choose from or you can customize your themes’ CSS with zero HTML knowledge required.|
|Affiliate program: By using the Bigcommerce affiliate program, you can earn commissions by referring new customers to your site via search engines and social media.||Customer Reviews – Allow customers to provide product reviews that are displayed on your site.|
Main Differences of BigCommerce vs Shopify?
BigCommerce offers everything a store owner may need to sell products online whereas Shopify has a more limited range of features. BigCommerce has over 200+ e-commerce apps while Shopify comes with fewer built-in features, which means that there are fewer possibilities to personalize your store the way you want it.
BigCommerce offers more advanced features than Shopify does — e.g. Google Shopping, advanced reports and analytics, Facebook shop, multi-store management, etc. However, this doesn’t mean that Shopify is worse than BigCommerce in terms of their features — they are just different. For instance, Shopify has a built-in mobile app while BigCommerce’s mobile app needs to be downloaded separately.
BigCommerce provides users with more advanced analytics and data insights which can help you scale your business and make smarter decisions. In general, BigCommerce is a more advanced e-commerce platform that allows stores to run more smoothly and process large amounts of transactions every day.
Shopify is a much easier system to use because you don’t need any technical knowledge to set it up. It has an easy drag-and-drop editor which makes many tasks — such as changing your store’s design or adding products — much easier.
It also offers users the ability to create multiple stores under one account, meaning that you can manage different brands separately. On BigCommerce, you would need to switch between companies every time you log in and update their settings.
Shopify comes with fewer features than Bigcommerce, but its simplicity and ease of use make it a more suitable option for stores with less traffic.
The Pros and Cons of BigCommerce
|Here are the pros of BigCommerce:||Here are the cons of BigCommerce:|
|No Commission Fees – BigCommerce is one of the few eCommerce builders that don’t charge any commission fees. This means you can focus on credit card rates, which will be much lower than those for other payment methods like PayPal or Stripe!||BigCommerce has no taxes built-in, but it is possible to add tax by customizing the software.|
|Mobile Shopping – With mobile shoppers accounting for more than half of all online sales, shopping websites must be fully optimized for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Bigcommerce’s eCommerce features come with the latest responsive design so clients can rest assured that their sites will look great both on desktop and mobile devices!||BigCommerce does not have a sales tax calculator and settings can only be changed manually. A sales tax calculator would aid sellers in knowing what the sales tax will be on an order.|
|Technical Support – With a dedicated Client Experience team, Bigcommerce is your partner in success and you can rest assured that you will have them available to provide technical support whenever needed.||The ability to follow up with customers is not built into BigCommerce, but this can be added through the use of third-party software.|
|Security – With security being one of the biggest concerns among online shoppers, Bigcommerce is PCI-compliant and puts a priority on safeguarding customers’ sensitive information such as credit card data using SSL certificates and going through rigorous testing for certification.||It does not have any shipping or inventory management system integration and this has to be added manually. These features would aid sellers in knowing where their products are at all times, which shipments have gone out, and how to keep track of inventory.|
|Customization – Bigcommerce is extremely flexible and can be customized to suit the needs of your business, industry, or niche market. Whether you are creating a simple storefront or an online marketplace, Bigcommerce has all the features you need!||BigCommerce does not have an app store, which means that it has to be self-hosted and installation is manual as well as customization. In addition, extensions and apps have to be written from scratch.|
|Integration – Want to accept orders from third-party marketplaces like Amazon? Bigcommerce has a solution for that! Its “Merchant” stores allow merchants to sell on their website and any marketplace such as Amazon, eBay, or Walmart. This flexibility means you can create your business to suit your unique needs without sacrificing market presence or sales opportunities.||BigCommerce does not offer email hosting, but it can be added through a third-party application such as Gmail or Outlook 365 Business.|
The Pros and Cons of Shopify
|Here are the pros of Shopify:||Here are the cons of Shopify:|
|It is 100% free to get started|
If you’re new to e-commerce, then Shopify will be your best bet for getting started quickly and with no costs.
You can sign up in minutes and begin selling your products online within hours — all without spending a cent! If you have a few more dollars to spare, then you can opt for some of their great value add-ons that give your website some added shine.
Some of Shopify’s themes are free and some paid, which can be confusing for new store owners trying to understand how the process works. This isn’t a direct drawback (many companies offer free trials), but it can be a hurdle for someone who isn’t familiar with the eCommerce model.
|It’s easy to use and allows for customization|
If you’re new to eCommerce, Shopify is an excellent platform that you will find user-friendly.
You can set up your shop in minutes, and it comes with some excellent themes which are mobile responsive so they look great on any device. You will also be able to manage your website with ease thanks to their vast array of features.
|Shopify free trial|
The free trial period isn’t very long, and it doesn’t include all of Shopify’s features. For example, having a custom domain name requires you to buy one from Shopify when your trial ends. This is fairly standard in the eCommerce industry, but it can be tough for some new participants to understand.
|Their pricing plans|
Shopify has an attractive pricing model that caters to both high-volume transactions as well as smaller brands. Their pricing plans are simple and transparent. For a monthly fee starting at $29, you get access to all of their features.
Shopify’s support is often criticized as being poor, especially in comparison to competitors like Bigcommerce.
This is something that Shopify has been trying to improve, but it remains one of the platform’s key drawbacks. If you have problems with the platform or user interface, you can’t contact Shopify directly. Instead, you have to go through other users on the Shopify forums or hire a third-party developer to assist you.
|Shopify allows for payment flexibility|
Shopify offers one-time payments or recurring billing options for simplified cost management. You can also accept all major credit cards, PayPal and Apple Pay. They will even send you a free card reader for your iPad or iPhone so you can take payments with ease on the go.
|Shopify’s app directory|
Shopify’s app directory is quite small compared with competitors like Bigcommerce and Magento, which means that it doesn’t offer as much flexibility for new store owners looking for ways to get the most out of their eCommerce website.
|Shopify is secure from data loss|
Shopify runs an infrastructure that protects your store from any security breaches that could lead to data loss. They will also ensure that your website is safe from viruses and malware by running a free antivirus scan with all their plans.
|Shopify’s SEO features|
While Shopify has built-in SEO features, they are believed by some to be less effective than what you can find on other platforms like Bigcommerce. Again this comes down to app stores and benefits vs cost. One must weigh how much it costs in terms of time development to build in SEO features within the platform and whether or not it has enough benefit to offset that cost.
Shopify isn’t necessarily worse than other platforms (in fact, many would argue they are quite good), but Bigcommerce and Magento do offer more refined optimization tools when you sign up for an account with them.
|You can easily add new products or edit descriptions|
Shopify lets you add a variety of products to your store in several ways — via its integration with major global suppliers, from home catalogs, or by importing a CSV file.
If you take a photograph of the product with your phone, then you can add it to your inventory in seconds thanks to their intuitive app. You can also edit any product descriptions or update prices on the go.
|Shopify’s user base|
Another drawback (or benefit, depending on your point of view) is that Shopify has a smaller user base than Bigcommerce and Magento which means it might not have as many resources to assist you with questions regarding the platform. As mentioned above, some third-party developers can help, but sometimes it’s just easier to reach out to someone directly when you have a question.
BigCommerce vs Shopify Pricing & Fees
One of the most important factors to take note of when choosing between BigCommerce and Shopify is the cost. With several e-commerce platforms available in today’s market, small business owners can get confused with the many options they have at their disposal. Being able to choose the one that will give them the best value for their money while delivering quality services is a must.
You can get started with a 14 day free trial of Shopify. But, if you sign up for a paid plan, how much will it cost?
There are 3 main plans: Basic Shopify, Advanced Shopify, and Shopify Plus. The Basic plan starts at just $29 per month for sales under $180K per year.
When you sign up for a paid Shopify plan, there are still fees that apply. Shopify calls these “additional fees” and they’re outlined below:
Charge: 2% + $0.20 per transaction (from the customer)
Stores on the Basic Shopify plan pay a fixed monthly settlement fee of $14.95, while stores on the Advanced Shopify plan pay a variable settlement fee that amounts to 1% of their monthly sales volume.
Stores on the Basic Shopify plan get free credit card chargebacks for fraudulent transactions. Stores on the Advanced Shopify plan have a limit of $75 in free chargebacks per month and then pay $15 for each additional chargeback after that.
There are also Shopify fees related to subscriptions, add-ons, and payment gateways. For this reason, it’s best to check the full fee schedule before signing up for any paid plan. The basic rule is that you should expect to pay more for a higher volume of sales.
If you’re thinking about accepting credit card payments through the Shopify Payments gateway, there won’t be any transaction fees. However, Stripe charges standard payment processing fees of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction with a minimum fee of $0.20.
If you’re thinking about accepting credit card payments through the Shopify Payments gateway, there won’t be any transaction fees. However, PayPal charges a standard rate of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction with a minimum fee of $0.05.
You can also pay down your account balance using a credit card, but you’ll have to be on the Advanced Shopify plan to do this and it comes with a 2.75% fee (from the customer).
BigCommerce Pricing & Fees
Bigcommerce offers both standard and professional plans in three different pricing tiers. As a cloud-based platform, BigCommerce does not charge any upfront licensing fees, installation costs, or maintenance fees. Instead, it is priced as a monthly subscription with tiered rates based on the plan selected by the merchant. To better compete against market leader Shopify, an annual commitment to pay 12-months of subscriptions upfront is rewarded with a 10% discount.
$29 per month, with no additional transaction fees, and no monthly commitment. BigCommerce does not impose any additional fees for payment processing,
$79 per month, with no additional transaction fees, and no monthly commitment. Under the professional plan, BigCommerce charges the same transaction fee of 2.9% per transaction as its standard plan but waives the monthly platform fee. To account for this reduction in fees, BigCommerce charges merchants a higher gateway fee of 2.5%.
$299 per month + 0% transaction fees with 12-month commitment. The pro plan gives companies the best BigCommerce has to offer in terms of features and support, but its high price tag makes it impractical for many businesses. The plan’s only charge is an annual platform fee of $299 per month with a 12-month commitment. This includes unlimited products, bandwidth, customer accounts, and orders.
There are no transaction fees whatsoever when accepting credit or debit cards. The pro plan does not charge any transaction fees, making it the cheapest option for businesses that process more than $3 million in annual credit card transactions.
On all BigCommerce’s plans, there are no payment fees.
BigCommerce does not charge any additional fees for payment processing.
The standard fee is 2.9% on every transaction. The company does not charge any other transaction fees aside from this percentage fee charged by Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. BigCommerce does not impose any additional fees for payment processing, but merchants must choose from Stripe, Braintree, or Authorize.Net as their preferred credit card processing gateway.
How to Import Products from BigCommerce to Shopify
If you have been using BigCommerce before now, but want to change to Shopify, here’s how to do it.
If you have Bigcommerce, the first thing you need to do is download your product CSV file. To get the file, go to the ‘Products‘ menu in Bigcommerce and choose ‘Export‘ from the options there. At this point, you must choose which type of import you want to use for Shopify. You can either transfer all of your products or just a subset of them (for example, those that have been updated or those with a particular tag).
Once you have chosen which products to be exported from Bigcommerce, click ‘Export‘. You will now need to select the type of file you want them saved as. In this case, it’s CSV but there is also XML and HTML available. After selecting the file type, there are two additional options you can choose to help customize your file. The first is ‘Use Shopify Tags‘, which will add the tag name as the product’s SKU (stock keeping unit). If you select this option but do not have tags set up, the exported products’ tags will be empty. The other option is using ‘Duplicate Product Names‘. If you have both variants and grouped products in your BigCommerce store, it might be necessary to enable this option.
Once you are happy with your settings, click ‘Export Products‘ to save the file to your computer. Make sure that no other programs are running when doing this because there might be a small charge depending on the number of products in your store. The file will now be downloaded and you can open it with a CSV editor. The next thing to do is add the fields necessary for Shopify import. Save the file as a CSV and upload it to your Shopify store.
The first column should contain the attributes that are always imported into Shopify, regardless of whether they are included in BigCommerce. So for example, column one should have ‘name’, ‘sku’, ‘price‘, and other fields you commonly use.
The second column is where you add the product’s weight and dimensions. If you have used grouped products in your BigCommerce store, then there should be an additional column that contains the variant ID for each product. This ID is what Shopify uses to identify which variant of a particular product belongs to which customer. Similarly, if you have variants within a grouped product then there should be a column for each variant which can then be returned using the Shopify API (application programming interface).
Once you have set up your CSV file, it is time to upload it to Shopify. Simply open an Excel spreadsheet and copy the entire contents from your CSV file into it. Make sure that when adding products to Shopify, only certain columns are included. If you copy everything, then Shopify will show an error message that the CSV file has extra columns that it does not recognize.
Once you have pasted your product information into Excel, save it as a CSV again and re-upload the file to Shopify using the ‘Products‘ dropdown menu. The process of importing products to Shopify is now complete.
How to Import Products from Shopify to BigCommerce
If you’re migrating from Shopify to BigCommerce, the steps are slightly different:
- Export your products from Shopify using their app called Robo Product Importer.
- Once you’ve downloaded the app, go ahead and login into your Shopify store then click ‘products’ then click on ‘Export’
- Upload your CSV file onto your BigCommerce account using their app called Catalog Transfer: Shopify
- In BigCommerce, go ahead and click ‘Import’ then ‘Upload File’
- Click on the blue bar where it says ‘Manual Entry’. This will bring up a new window to paste your CSV file in
- You can now click ‘Import Now’
- Success! Your products have now been imported onto your BigCommerce store
BigCommerce and Shopify FAQs
- Are there monthly fees associated with these platforms?
With both BigCommerce and Shopify, you’ll need to pay a monthly fee. Shopify’s price starts from $29/month, while BigCommerce’s price varies slightly by plan. Both companies offer discounts if you sign up for annual billing.
- Does BigCommerce integrate with other apps?
BigCommerce integrates with a multitude of apps – ranging from Google Analytics to PayPal to Zapier – giving it the ‘most app integration’ award from G2Crowd. Shopify also has a large number of apps, and an App Store that lets you choose from even more options.
- Is BigCommerce built for dropshipping?
BigCommerce is another top choice of merchants who want to dropship, as it can integrate with several different dropshipping plugins. Shopify only offers the Oberlo plugin for this specific process.
- Do BigCommerce and Shopify support my country?
Shopify only supports countries listed on its website; you can see if your location qualifies here. BigCommerce has a more global approach and can be used in over 180 countries.
How to Decide – BigCommerce vs Shopify
So which platform is right for you? It depends on your business! Here are some questions to ask yourself before making up your mind:
1) How many products do you want to offer your customers?
2) Do you have a busy social media presence? If so, which platform will give you better tools for connecting with people?
3) Is it important for your site to have both a website and mobile app available to increase sales?
4) Are you just starting? If so, BigCommerce offers a free plan while Shopify’s free plan is limited.
5) Do you want to start small and grow your business over time? Or do you want to invest in an all-in-one platform that will allow you to expand with ease right from the start?
When it comes down to it, both BigCommerce and Shopify are amazing companies that give you the tools you need to succeed as an online business owner! BigCommerce is a different type of eCommerce builder. Unlike many others, it doesn’t charge any commission fees! That means that credit card rates are the only fee you need to worry about – simple as pie.
Sometimes that can be enough to make a decision, but I believe with the information we have provided to you on both platforms and the questions you should ask yourself, you’ll be able to figure out what is best for you.
BigCommerce vs Shopify Conclusion
We hope this post has helped you understand the differences between BigCommerce and Shopify. While both platforms have their pros and cons, we tried to highlight some of the key points that may be most important for your business. BigCommerce and Shopify are both great platforms for businesses to get started with.
If you want a more robust platform, we recommend using BigCommerce which gives you the ability to customize your site in any way that suits your needs best. On the other hand, if simplicity is what you’re after then Shopify might be better suited for this type of business owner.