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Shopify and BigCommerce are two of the fastest growing and most well-known hosted eCommerce platforms. Ecommerce options exist on a spectrum of convenience and control. Both Shopify and BigCommerce are right in the middle of the spectrum because they bundle all the technical parts of an online store — hosting, speed, security, inventory, shopping cart and payment processing — and bundle it into a single monthly price.
But like a self-hosted eCommerce website , Shopify and BigCommerce also bundle as part of your website on your domain where you have full control of product, pricing and customer experience. So unlike running a store on Etsy, eBay or Amazon — you control the build, design, and content of your store. Even though this part of the spectrum has plenty of tradeoffs — services like Shopify and BigCommerce are an excellent option for many store owners.
So the question becomes — Shopify vs. They are both excellent companies with an excellent product. Aside — I built a Buzzfeed style quiz for eCommerce platforms that grades the factors with your goals. You can check out the quiz here.
Also, a quick disclosure — I receive referral fees from companies mentioned on this website. All data and opinions are based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.
That said, their plan structure is just different enough to make a direct comparison a bit difficult. They have apps and themes — but both tend to be either free or expensive. However, once you start factoring in apps, themes, credit card rates, and mid-tier features such as HTTPS and cart recovery — then Shopify is a better total value price for most stores.
Either way — price is not the deciding factor for Shopify vs. Customer support is one of the most underestimated benefits of using a hosted eCommerce platform. Both BigCommerce and Shopify have customer support built into their monthly price. You get access to all sorts of channels on both — everything from phone to chat to forums to email tickets.
Shopify and BigCommerce both serve businesses that range from very small retailers selling niche products to multi-million dollar brands. Both have enterprise plans I wrote about Shopify Plus here and they both have customer support teams trained to help absolute beginners.
Their platform is built to serve all retail businesses both on and offline. Shopify runs their own payment processing service and even has their own Point-of-Sale POS system so that small offline retailers can sell offline and online from within the same system. The idea is that your website is only one of many sales channels. You can definitely run your website as your only sales channel in Shopify — but the options to sell elsewhere are already built-in.
BigCommerce has plenty of integrations with eBay, Facebook, etc — but they are still treated as an extension of the website. Both BigCommerce and Shopify are excellent platforms for beginners to enterprises. Both BigCommerce and Shopify have excellent onboarding processes and user-friendly management areas. The main difference is how each backend is structured.
BigCommerce has a single Dashboard where you manage everything — your products, inventory, website pages, settings, billing, etc. Additionally, Shopify has their own lingo. If you have never run a website before and only have a small to mid-size product collection, then BigCommerce will likely make more sense than Shopify. Both Shopify and BigCommerce have almost all the tools marketing, SEO, inventory, order, etc an online store would need to be successful. They differ though, in how they each approach adding new features.
They have essential features that all store owners will need built-in. But for features that not all store owners need — they focus on making sure store owners can add feature extensions to their store as needed. They have a large and active App Store that not only has well-known extensions ie, MailChimp but also plenty of indie apps for every situation ie, apps for international tax and shipping features. BigCommerce has an App Store for extensions as well.
However, BigCommerce has a bigger focus on building lots of features directly into their software so that there is no need to add an extension. For example, take selling on eBay or importing your eBay listings to your store. Both Shopify and BigCommerce can make these features happen. BigCommerce builds the feature into their backend. Shopify does not have it built in. Another example is bulk Redirects. BigCommerce has bulk upload built-in while Shopify users have to install an app to take care of it.
But if you do, you are more likely to get it in some form or fashion in Shopify than BigCommerce. Overall, if you have fairly core eCommerce needs and simply want everything to be there and to work — then BigCommerce will likely work better. Aside — this is why I recommend doing a 2-week free trial with both BigCommerce and Shopify just to click around and see for yourself.
You select a base theme and then edit it to look as you like. Most themes have a hybrid approach to editing. Small customizations colors, logos, etc require just a click. BigCommerce has a Theme Store that is rapidly growing. However, it still lacks the diversity of Shopify. Their price points for premium themes are usually higher as well. So Shopify or BigCommerce — who is a better fit for who? Get a free day free trial with BigCommerce here.
Get a free day free trial with Shopify here. I personally like the versatility and options of Shopify. They are likely a better fit for most online store owners. If you are undecided — then take my eCommerce Platform Quiz here. It will take your preferences and tell you who is the best choice for your online store.
I try to help people who run their own websites Skip to the conclusion here. Price Ahh — price. Customer Support Customer support is one of the most underestimated benefits of using a hosted eCommerce platform. They have videos and screenshots for even small changes on the Dashboard whereas Shopify will have text instructions. BigCommerce comes across as more beginner-friendly. Shopify has more thorough and instructive content on running your overall business.
They invest a lot of time and resources in case studies, long-form guides, tutorials, and helping your business succeed beyond just implementing a new feature. Shopify also has a more well-developed network of 3rd party developers and marketers who specialize in Shopify.
Customer Focus Shopify and BigCommerce both serve businesses that range from very small retailers selling niche products to multi-million dollar brands. Approach to Features Both Shopify and BigCommerce have almost all the tools marketing, SEO, inventory, order, etc an online store would need to be successful. While the end result is the same, they do take a slightly different approach.
Why not explore more? Featured Ecommerce Resources Shopify vs. No Infinite Scroll Here: