One of the biggest issues facing folks interested in creating an online store is the question of which platform they should choose.
Two of the biggest platforms come to mind easily – Shopify and BigCommerce.
While both platforms are amazing in their rights, they outshine each other in specific categories.
In this article, I’ll compare Shopify and BigCommerce head to head, and I’ll take a deep dive looking at their pricing, apps/integrations, themes, customer support, analytics, etc.
Introduction To Shopify (a quick overview)
Shopify is an all-in-one e-commerce platform allowing businesses to create and manage online stores. It offers a variety of features, such as customizable templates, payment and shipping integrations, marketing tools, and customer management capabilities.
Shopify is designed to be user-friendly and accessible to businesses of all sizes, from small startups to large enterprises. It offers various pricing plans to suit different needs and budgets, as well as a range of third-party apps and integrations that can be used to extend its functionality.
Overall, Shopify is a powerful and flexible platform that can help businesses of all types and sizes to establish a successful online presence and grow their sales.
Shopify was founded in 2006 by Tobias Lutke and Scott Lake. According to BuiltWith, Shopify has 4 283 549 live sites and an additional 2 286 892 sites that used Shopify historically.
Did You Know? – Shopify Capital was launched in 2016, and since then has provided over $2 billion in funding to Shopify merchants with a maximum advance of $2 million.
Introduction To BigCommerce (a quick overview)
BigCommerce is a leading eCommerce platform that empowers businesses large and small to build, manage, and scale their online stores with ease.
BigCommerce provides a comprehensive and friendly set of tools/integrations that make creating an online store easy.
With customizable templates, advanced reporting capabilities, multiple sales channels, and secure payment processing, BigCommerce offers a one-stop shop for budding entrepreneurs and businesses.
BigCommerce was founded in 2009 by Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper. According to Builtwith data, BigCommerce has 47,455 Live websites on the platform and additional 98,049 websites that used it historically.
Did You Know? – Just a month before BigCommerce’s IPO, Intuit offered to buy the platform for $1.5 billion.
Shopify vs BigCommerce: Which is the best option?
When deciding on which ecommerce platform to host an online store, there are a couple of criteria businesses look at, and it’s based on those categories I’ll be comparing Shopify and BigCommerce.
Here’s a quick overview before diving into more details.
Shopify Vs. BigCommerce: Pricing
When you navigate to Shopify’s pricing page, you’ll see 6 pricing plans broken into two categories.
The first pricing category contains the basic plan;
- $32 monthly but $1 for the first three months.
- Basic reports.
- Up to 1000 inventory locations.
- 2 staff accounts.
- You can add unlimited products to your store.
- Multiple sales channels.
- 247 support.
- Automatically send abandoned cart emails to shoppers
- Gift card available.
- Free SSL certificate
- Translate your store into multiple languages.
- You can set different prices for the same product across several international markets.
- You can filter and group your customers into several groups and segments.
The second plan in this first category is named Shopify, and it includes everything above plus;
- $92 monthly, $1 for the first 3 months.
- Professional reports.
- Up to 1000 inventory locations.
- 5 staff accounts.
- Automate manual tasks and build workflows.
The third plan in this first category is named Advanced and it includes everything in the first two plans plus;
- $399 monthly, $1 for the first 3 months.
- Custom report builder.
- Up to 1000 inventory locations.
- 15 staff accounts
- Third-party calculated shipping rates.
- You can estimate and collect duties and import taxes at checkout to give customers total cost clarity and reduce your risk of returns and parcel refusals.
The second category of pricing plans starts with the ‘Starter package.’
- Get 3 months of the starter package for $1; then monthly, it’s $5.
- Sell products through products and messaging apps.
The second pricing plan in this category is Shopify Plus
- Starts at $2,000 monthly.
- 24/7 priority technical support by phone, email, or live chat
- Platform knowledge and industry insights through the merchant success program
- Personalized migration, launch, and account management support at no extra cost
- Platform customization with over 8,000 apps and hundreds of Shopify Plus Partners and Certified Apps.
The third pricing plan in this category is the Shopify commerce components.
- Pricing is fixed on the components you want in your store, so you need to contact sales for more details.
Next up is BigCommerce.
BigCommerce has 4 pricing plans, standard, plus, pro, and enterprise.
Standard pricing plan;
- Billed $29 monthly if you’re paying annually, $39 if you’re paying monthly.
- 0% additional transaction fees when using leading payment gateways.
- Unlimited products, file storage, and bandwidth.
- Unlimited staff accounts.
- This pricing plan comes with an online storefront.
- You can create up to 3 multi-storefront to manage more brands; each additional storefront costs $30.
- You can connect your store to Amazon/eBay/Walmart.
- Reach more customers and increase sales by connecting your store to Facebook shop and Instagram checkout.
- Features professional reporting tools, accepts payment in over 100 currencies, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, single page checkout, real-time shipping quotes etc.
- It features up to 4 inventory locations.
Plus pricing plan:
- You are billed $79 monthly if you’re paying annually, $105 if you’re paying monthly.
- Same features as the standard pricing plan and also.
- It allows multi-storefronts of up to 5 with a price per additional storefront of $50.
- You can segment your customers for pricing, product access, and promotions.
- It has an abandoned cart saver tool that automatically sends shoppers who abandoned their carts a series of emails to complete their orders.
- At this pricing plan, your customer’s shopping carts are saved to their account, so if they switch devices, their cart is still there.
- Stores the billing and shipping information on returning customers. This improves the customer experience.
- It features up to 5 inventory locations.
Pro pricing plan:
- You are billed $299 monthly if you’re paying annually, $399 if you’re paying monthly.
- Same features as the plus pricing plan and also.
- It allows multi-storefronts upto 8 with the price per additional storefront at $100.
- Google customer reviews are activated at this plan.
- Shoppers can easily and dynamically filter products. This elevates the shopping experience.
- It also features custom product filtering. This means
- Features up to 8 inventory locations.
Enterprise pricing plan:
- You’ve got to contact sales for the pricing at this level.
- It allows multi-store front, but you’ve got to contact sales for a custom plan. Per additional store, it costs $100.
- It features custom pricing at the SKU level.
- At this pricing level, you can sync data from 3rd party systems such as ERPs into BigCommerce.
- Features a custom number of inventory locations.
Verdict: It’s a tie
Shopify Vs. BigCommerce: Integrations/Apps
In its app store, Shopify has over 8000 apps. Every app on the Shopify app store goes through a 100-checkpoint review before its launch on the app store.
The reason for these apps is to add features and enhance store performance, but apps that work on the front end tend to affect page speed which is an important factor for SEO. Keep that in mind when installing apps.
In Shopify’s app store, there are premium apps and free apps.
Examples of free apps include Shopify Inbox, multi-currency converter Hero, Shopify Search, and discovery, etc.
It also includes some apps that have a free plan and also paid plan at a certain threshold.
Examples include; invoice Falcon, Printify: print on demand, Zendrop, Klaviyo, and Mailchimp (all include free plans).
|Free Apps||Apps with paid plans|
|Shopify email||Loox product reviews and photos (14 days free trial)|
|Buy button channel||Spocket – US and EU dropshipping|
|Product review||Customily product personalizer|
|LinkPop||Twilio: Order alert and Bulk SMS|
|Shopify translate and adapt||Upcharge: Surcharge and fees|
Shopify groups its over 8000 apps into 6 categories;
- Finding products – to source for products.
- Selling products – to aid with selling the items in your store.
- Orders and Shipping – to assist with taking customer orders and shipping details.
- Store design – to enhance your store’s look and feel.
- Marketing and conversion – to help with marketing and increase sales.
- Store management – to help keep the store safe and functioning optimally.
If you’re looking for a particular app for a specific function, you can easily find the app because the category names are quite clear to understand.
Next up is BigCommerce.
BigCommerce has over 1000 apps in its app store. That it has fewer apps than Shopify doesn’t mean user needs aren’t being met sufficiently.
There are a number of free and paid apps you can find on the BigCommerce app store.
Examples of free apps include; Mailchimp, Quickbooks Online, and Buybuttons.
Examples of paid apps include; Shipstation, Justuno, and ShipperHQ.
BigCommerce has its apps divided into 20 categories. When you click on any category, you’ll see subcategories underneath. The naming convention here is more specific and can help you find relevant apps faster.
- Accounting and Tax
- Analytics & Reporting.
- Catalog and order management
- CMS and hosting
- CRM and customer service
- Data transfer/Migration services.
- Payments & Security
- POS and in-store
- Product and shipping protection
- Product sourcing and sales channel
- Shipping and fulfillment
- Site Tools
Another way BigCommerce’s category stands out is that it tells you how many apps total are in the store and how many per category.
Verdict: Shopify has more apps that you can choose from, so if versatility and multitude of choice work for you, go with Shopify.
Shopify Vs. BigCommerce: Platform SEO
Every eCommerce store wants to make sales, so they run ads to bring in traffic. Media buying can quickly become expensive, especially if it’s not done right or you’re missing some tips and tricks.
This is where SEO comes in. SEO is not cheap, but when done correctly, it brings in that free organic traffic for as long as possible, unlike paid ads that can cut deep into your profits.
Shopify limits the editing of its URL structure, raising a red flag on how SEO-friendly Shopify is.
How a page’s URL structure is defined helps with SEO efforts or makes it impossible to achieve.
By default, when you add products to a Shopify store, it includes the collection folder in the URL structure, which isn’t SEO friendly.
Here’s a rough example;
This URL structure type is horrible for SEO, some brands on Shopify, like Gymshark have been able to correct this, and I’ll show you how.
To get this type of URL structure;
Start in your Shopify dashboard by going to Online Store > Themes > Customize > Theme Actions > Edit Code > Snippets > product-grid-item.liquid:
Then remove the text that says “within: collection”:
This should fix your URL link structure.
Note: Name your products based on a clear description of the product, making the URL more SEO friendly. Adding numbers or naming your products with numbers diminishes your SEO efforts.
Next up is BigCommerce.
BigCommerce, on the other hand, has some special SEO features right out of the box;
- Optimized URLs — BigCommerce auto-populates SEO-friendly URLs for product, category, and other pages. They also give you the option to change your URL settings.
- Unique URLs — To avoid duplicate content, they ensure that every page has only one URL, so you don’t get punished for duplicate content.
- Microdata — They’ve built microdata, or “rich snippets,” into your product pages to enhance your search result listings with information like ratings, pricing, brand, and stock levels.
- 301 redirects and URL rewrites — If you rename a product, the auto-populated URL will adjust to reflect the name change (without you tampering with your theme’s code), and the old URL will be redirected to the new URL. Automatic redirects and rewrites help search engines understand when you’ve made changes or moved pages on your site.
- CDN — Although there are many things you can do to increase your site speed, they have a special content delivery network always working in the background to ensure your site loads quickly for shoppers and search engines (after all, site speed impacts search rankings).
Verdict: BigCommerce has the better SEO setup for any eCommerce site.
Shopify Vs. BigCommerce: Platform Themes & Design
Looks aren’t everything, but they matter a lot regarding site design. Many site visitors judge a website’s credibility based on its design.
Shopify has a total of 126 themes. 11 are free, and 115 are paid. Based on your industry/niche, the themes are broken into several categories.
Examples of categories include; arts and crafts, baby and kids, books, music and video, clothing, food and drink, etc.
Examples of the free themes include; Refresh, Ride, Sense, and Dawn.
Examples of the paid themes are; Macon, Impulse, Impact, and Empire. With a price range of $180 – $380.
Some of the features of the paid themes include;
- Sticky header
- Back to top button
- Color swatches.
- Mega menu
- Stock counter
- Store locator
- In menu promos, etc.
The free themes on Shopify have limited customization options, unlike the paid themes, which support extensive customization such as adding animations, etc.
Next up is BigCommerce.
BigCommerce has a total of 295 themes; 15 are free, while 280 are paid. The themes in the BigCommerce store are broken down into collections and Industry.
Examples of the free BigCommerce themes include; Vault Natural, Vault Cool, and Vault Bright.
Examples of the paid BigCommerce themes include; Hightech Toys, Niche Cosmetics, Tribes Sport, and Vogues Fashion.
The price range of paid themes varies from ($150 to $300).
Verdict: It’s a tie, and that’s because both platforms offer free and paid themes with options for customization. The deciding factor here is you choosing which one you’re comfortable with.
Shopify Vs. BigCommerce: Sales Limits
Shopify doesn’t have sales limits across any of its plans. This means if you are paying $5 for the starter plan and making sales with millions in revenue, all is good and fine.
The same can’t be said for BigCommerce.
With BigCommerce, your sales are limited to $50,000 on the ‘Standard’ plan, $180,000 on the ‘Plus plan, and $400,000 on the ‘Pro’ plan. Sales limits are described as ‘custom’ if you’re on BigCommerce Enterprise (i.e., they are negotiable).
All these limits are calculated on a trailing 12-month basis.
When your sales begin to exceed the limit, here are the provisions made by the BigCommerce team;
“There is an additional 1,000-2,000 order limit per plan that users can go over before being forced to upgrade. During this time, users will receive notifications about upgrading their plan as they are over the limit. But we will not prevent additional orders from coming through until they exceed the additional 1,000-2,000 overage order provided.”
Verdict: Shopify wins here. Imposing a sales limit per pricing tier by BigCommerce doesn’t look good and can come off as an underhand way of forcing site users to upgrade.
Shopify Vs. BigCommerce: Sales Channels
Shopify offers multiple sales channels for all of its pricing plans. From your Shopify dashboard, you can keep track of all your products, orders, and customers.
Available sales channels include;
- Your Shopify-hosted domain.
- Shop channel.
- Facebook – post and sell directly from the shop tab on your store’s Facebook page.
- Buy button – this allows you to link to your website apart from your Shopify domain name.
- Instagram – Tag your products on your Instagram posts and sell from there.
Note: More online sales channels are available for Shopify from 3rd party app developers and can be added from the Shopify app store.
You might need to change your store’s settings before adding a sales channel because of specific eligibility requirements.
If your store isn’t eligible for a sales channel, then the channel appears as Unavailable in your Shopify admin. Click You can’t add this channel to see why your store isn’t eligible.
Examples of sales channel apps by 3rd Party developers;
- eBay (free to install).
- Wanelo (free to install).
- Amazon channel (free to install).
- Tiktok (free to install).
- Pinterest (free to install).
Next up is BigCommerce
BigCommerce has a total of 60 sales channels with 25 being marketplaces while multichannel listings make up 33.
Under the marketplaces, 5 are free, and they are;
- Maven Messenger.
- Trade runner.
This means all you need to do is install these free marketplaces and start selling your products.
Examples of paid marketplaces include;
- Google Shopping by sales and orders.
- Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and Google by Codisto.
- Walmart connector by CedCommerce
- Sears connector by CedCommerce
Note: Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Point of Sale, Facebook, and Instagram are available for every pricing plan.
Verdict: This is a tie, both platforms offer robust sales channels to boost your online store’s growth.
Shopify Vs. BigCommerce: Payment Gateway
Shopify has its unique payment gateway called ShopPay, which is only available to stores in certain countries and it also boasts over 100 integrations with other payment gateways in the case where Shopify Payments isn’t available.
Countries where Shopify Pay is accepted;
- Hong Kong SAR
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States
To learn more about the specifics of each country: Supported countries
Shopify integrates with over 100 payment gateways, and it’s grouped into regions and countries.
This means a payment gateway that works for Angola might not work in Nigeria.
Here are some examples of payment gateways integrations;
- Payooner checkout
- Reepay Checkout
- Ocean payment
- G2A pay
To learn more about the payment gateway per your country or region, use this link.
A major advantage of multiple payment gateways is that they allow shoppers multiple options instead of abandoning their carts.
Note: When using other payment gateway options, You will be charged a 2% fee on all Basic Shopify plan transactions, 1% on the standard Shopify plan, and 0.5% on the Advanced Shopify plan. If you decide to use Shopify Pay, you can avoid these transaction fees.
Next up is BigCommerce
Bigcommerce has over 65 payment gateway integrations available out-of-the-box, serving 100+ countries and over 250 local payment methods. They also offer integrations to the most popular digital and mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, Venmo, and more.
All the payment gateways don’t have the same features;
- Capture – to authorize transactions.
- Refunds – allows you to process refunds
- 3D secure – additional security layer
- Multi-currency – supports multiple currency transactions.
- Stored credit cards – allows you to safely store shoppers’ credit cards in case they return to shop again.
- Embedded checkout – allows you to process payments on headless stores.
- Supported countries – are listed by country codes.
Here are the supported payment gateways and the countries where they work.
To learn more about the specific BigCommerce payment gateways for your country, see this page
Note: No additional transaction fees across all the pricing plans.
Verdict: It’s a tie; both platforms provide ample payment gateways for their users.
Shopify Vs. BigCommerce: Reporting and Analytics
Shopify has a reporting structure for all of its payment plans. From Shopify Lite up to Shopify Plus.
For Shopify Lite, you’ll get the following;
- Basic analytics page view
- Finance reports (including taxes and payments)
- Product analytics
For the Shopify starter plan, you’ll get everything above plus;
- Live view analytics reports.
- Acquisition reports
- Behavior reports (5/6)
- Marketing reports (⅕)
For Shopify, you’d get everything in Shopify starter plus;
- Order reports – helps you understand your store’s order volume
- Sales reports – you can view sales by months, by channel, etc.
- Retail sales reports – if you sell in person, then you can view reports from the POS
- Profit reports – gain insights into your costs, margin, and profits.
- Customer reports – gain insights into who your customers are and how they interact with your business.
Advanced Shopify and Shopify Plus have the same features as Shopify above, including;
- Ability to create custom reports
If you started using the Shopify platform with the basic plan, if you should upgrade to the Advanced plan, then your additional reports in this new plan will provide data from the time you started using Shopify.
This means if you started using basic Shopify in January and you upgraded in April to the advanced plan, you’ll get additional reports starting from January.
If your store’s performance questions can’t be answered with the data available in Shopify’s analytics, then you can use Google Analytics. Google Analytics lets you track visitors, sessions, and other customer behavior in your store.
Next up is BigCommerce.
BigCommerce has an inbuilt analytics suite that contains 11 reports tailored to various aspects of stores on their online platform.
Here’s a breakdown of the reports and what they mean;
- Store Overview Report — With this report, you have overview access into your entire business across all key metrics, a view of your purchase funnel, abandoned carts, top products, and sales by marketing channels.
- Real-Time Report — Keep track of revenue, orders, and on-site visitors second by second. Monitor in real-time the effects of any email campaign or new offer launched across social media channels.
- Merchandising Report — Keep track of sales by products, all the way down to the SKU level.
- Marketing Report — Access your marketing activity in one place, detailed down to each email campaign you send.
- Orders Report — View all orders in your business in detail with one-click access to the various aspects of each order.
- Customers Report — View your progress in bringing new versus repeat customers to your business. Click through to view all purchase behavior of any customer across their lifetime with your business.
- Purchase Funnel Report — Understand the shopping behavior of visitors to your site. Determine if people are getting stuck at various stages of the shopping experience.
- Carts Report — Gives you insight into the products people are leaving in their carts.
- In-Store Search Report — Uncover what your shoppers are looking for and tailor their experience when using your in-store search functionality.
- Sales Tax Report — Keep track of which orders had taxes applied to them, the jurisdiction of those taxes, and the rate that was used.
- Ecommerce Insights — This premium offering, which is sold separately, analyzes your store data, and makes suggestions for improving your conversion rate and customer loyalty.
When orders come in from eBay, Amazon, Facebook, and other sales channels, they’re included in the eCommerce analytics report.
Pro Tip: Google Analytics is a great tool for understanding your shopper’s behavior on your website, creating custom segments, and doing a detailed analysis of where your shoppers are coming from, among many other capabilities. We strongly recommend you leverage this great tool to complement the BigCommerce Analytics capabilities.
Verdict: BigCommerce seems to have more functionality and ease of use than Shopify.
Shopify Vs. BigCommerce: Customer Support
Having access to support is crucial for any business’s survival. The reason is simple; you don’t know know what kind of problems you’ll run into.
Shopify and BigCommerce offer these same features when it comes to customer support;
- 24/7 phone support
- 24/7 live chat
- Help Center
- Support forum
- Video tutorials
- Advanced specialist support
Shopify’s help center page is beautifully arranged into several categories and nice naming that makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.
Shopify offers round-the-clock support, but they require customers to attempt DIY solutions before providing access to real contact details.
While phone support is available for select countries, those not on the list are not provided with guidance on who to contact.
Nevertheless, many customers have reported receiving excellent customer service from Shopify, even without phone support.
BigCommerce, on the other hand, the help center page leads with the community and then breaks up into important sections like;
- Ideas, etc.
BigCommerce offers 24/7 support via phone, live chat, and email, but you’ll need to fill out a form and review DIY suggestions before gaining access to contact information.
If you require extra support, there is an option to skip this step. On a positive note, BigCommerce has a reputation for providing top-notch support, with approximately 90% of issues resolved on the first call.
Verdict: BigCommerce wins in this category.
However you want to look at it, there are specific categories where BigCommerce performs better than Shopify and vice versa.
The final decision rests on you; it’s not about BigCommerce vs. Shopify, but how well each platform performs and, more importantly, in the categories relevant to you.
This should be the yardstick you use in choosing the platform for creating your online store.