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BigCommerce vs. Shopify: Which is Right for Your eCommerce Business?

Choosing the right eCommerce platform is a big decision. That's why we'll give you the full rundown on whether BigCommerce or Shopify is best for you.
BigCommerce vs. Shopify: Which is Right for Your eCommerce Business?
Alexandra Ortolani

By Alexandra Ortolani

 

August 17, 2021

Key Points:

  • BigCommerce is one of the fastest-growing sites and has generated $181.2 million in 2020
  • Shopify, on the other hand, has generated more than $319 billion in the past year and remains a reliable choice for eCommerce newbies since 2006
  • Both platforms offer similar features and pricing plans, though Shopify incurs a raft of fees in addition

Choosing the right eCommerce platform is a big decision. It’s important to know the features you need and the monthly plan you can afford before you decide.

BigCommerce and Shopify are both robust platforms that can carry you to the heights of multichannel eCommerce success. That said, neither is the cheapest or simplest option on the market. Both carry a higher price tag but deliver plenty of functionality, features, and performance to make it worthwhile. So which of these sophisticated eCommerce site builders is right for you?

Read on to learn the key differences and similarities between BigCommerce and Shopify.

Table of Contents

The Differences: BigCommerce vs. Shopify

Both Shopify and BigCommerce are eCommerce heavyweights. Founded in 2009, BigCommerce is one of the fastest-growing sites and has generated $181.2 million in 2020.

BigCommerce vs. Shopify Payment

Shopify, on the other hand, has generated more than $319 billion in the past year and remains a reliable choice for eCommerce newbies since 2006. Both platforms offer a range of powerful features and integrations, making them a good choice for advanced eCommerce sellers or newcomers with big dreams.

These differences between the two are subtle, and include:

  • Built-in features: BigCommerce offers more built-in features. This includes multi-currency selling and ratings and reviews features for your products. By contrast, you’ll have to pay extra to add these features to your Shopify store.
  • Extra fees: BigCommerce doesn’t charge the galaxy of transaction and credit card processing fees that Shopify does. That means you could potentially earn higher margins per sale with BigCommerce.
  • Free templates: Shopify offers 10 free themes with 22 variations, while BigCommerce offers 5 free themes and 12 variations. BigCommerce themes can look outdated, though, which forces you to choose a paid theme if you want modern templates like Shopify. BigCommerce themes range from $150 to $300, while Shopify ranges from $140-$180.
  • Annual sales limit: Each BigCommerce plan includes a cap on annual sales after which you must upgrade your plan. For example, standard plans are limited to $50,000 in sales. By contrast, Shopify doesn’t impose any annual sales limit.
  • Easier for advanced web developers: Building a robust BigCommerce store requires some experience with coding, which makes it less valuable to sellers without coding experience 一 or a development team. On the other hand, Shopify is more beginner-friendly for eCommerce newbies.
  • Ease of use: Shopify is easier to use because it has fewer features and doesn’t allow the advanced customization of BigCommerce, which can be confusing to first-timers.

Shopify makes it easy to get your eCommerce store up and running, but it comes with extra fees. Users have to pay transaction and credit card processing fees on top of their monthly subscription. On the other hand, BigCommerce users don’t have to pay these fees.

BigCommerce is also equally as sophisticated but takes more investment to get up and running. Plus, BigCommerce plans include a cap on annual sales. In contrast, Shopify doesn’t impose any sales limit.

Shopify and BigCommerce remain both great options for your business depending on your needs as a merchant.

BigCommerce vs. Shopify Pricing

Pricing plans for Shopify and BigCommerce are comparable, though Shopify charges more in fees. Below is a screenshot of BigCommerce pricing plans.

As we can see, BigCommerce standard plans go for $29.95 a month, plus plans go for $79.95, and pro plans go for $299.95. Now, let’s look at Shopify’s pricing plans.

Pricing Plans for BigCommerce

BigCommerce is an excellent choice for any business that wants to avoid transaction fees. Plus, if you’re looking to save money, BigCommerce is a great way to cut corners. On the other hand, Shopify users are charged up to 2% for any transaction fee 一 and that doesn’t include subscription fees.

Both platforms offer free trial plans, but BigCommerce offers users 1 month free when they pick a plan. Shopify only offers the 14-days free before you are forced to choose a subscription plan. Though the pricing varies for each platform, both remain excellent choices for building your eCommerce store.

Pros & Cons of BigCommerce

There are over 60,000 BigCommerce stores across 65 countries. Here’s why people trust BigCommerce to power their online eCommerce business.

Pros

  • Integrates with shipping software: BigCommerce allows you to integrate with top shipping platforms like Easyship for fast, reliable, and discount-rate shipping.
  • 24/7 support: Enjoy 24/7 support with BigCommerce. Their customer service team is available via phone, live chat, and email.
  • Zero transaction fees: Unlike Shopify, you’ll enjoy zero transaction fees for purchases made via your BigCommerce site.
  • Free 15-day trial: Enjoy your first 15 days for free with BigCommerce. Plus, you get one extra day than Shopify.
  • Strong SEO tools: BigCommerce has all the features you need to rank highly and increase conversions. Plus, BigCommerce offers built-in SEO features so you don’t have to do extra work downloading them.
  • Built-in features: You can use BigCommerce standalone with built-in features geared towards expanding your eCommerce business. BigCommerce includes built-in features like SEO optimization and website customization options.
  • Integrates with third-party applications: You can integrate your BigCommerce store with third-party apps to enhance your customers’ experience, marketing, and other key factors. BigCommerce offers over 850 apps for users. Choose from apps like Constant Contact, OptinMonster, and Live Chat are available for BigCommerce users.
  • Multi-channel selling: Choose to sell across multiple social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and more.

Cons

  • Annual sales limit: Watch out for annual sales limits for your BigCommerce site. Standard plans are limited to $50,000 in sales, Plus plans are limited to $180,000 in sales, and Pro plans are limited to $400,000. Anything above the $400,000 threshold is negotiable with BigCommerce under the BigCommerce Enterprise plan.
  • Easier for advanced web developers: Building a robust BigCommerce store requires coding experience which makes it less valuable to sellers without coding experience or a development team. BigCommerce isn’t an ideal choice for eCommerce newbies or smaller businesses with fewer resources for development.

Pros & Cons of Shopify

Here’s why people choose Shopify to power their eCommerce business:

Pros

  • Ease of use: Shopify is a great platform for beginners because of its drag and drops page editor. Elements easily snap into columns and rows for a templated layout.
  • Customizable templates: Shopify offers 10 free modern templates and 64 premium templates that can be customized to your needs.
  • 24/7 support: Enjoy 24/7 support via live chat, email, phone, or social media whenever you have an issue with your Shopify store.
  • Free 14-day trial: Try Shopify for 14 days at no cost.
  • Integrates with shipping software: Shopify integrates with shipping software platforms like Easyship so you can streamline your shipping process.
  • 6,000+ third-party apps: Shopify offers 6,000+ apps in the Shopify App Store that can help improve and customize your eCommerce store. Popular apps include Oberlo for dropshipping, Offset for calculating your shipping emissions generated by your orders, Shopify Email for marketing, and more.
  • Multi-channel selling: Choose to sell across multiple social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and more.
  • Advanced functionality: Shopify features more than 6,000 different third-party extensions to help expand your business across global markets.

Cons

  • High transaction fees: You’ll pay anywhere from 0.5% to 2.0% for transaction fees if you process payments via third-party apps like Square, Stripe, or PayPal.
  • Pay fees for every add-on: Most of the popular third-party apps on Shopify come at a cost like Free Abandoned Cart Recovery by Pushflew and Metrilo Growth Platform by Metrilo. Prices can be as little as $5 per month or can cost you a whopping $119 per month for certain services.

Shipping with BigCommerce vs. Shopify

Shipping is the backbone of any eCommerce business. This means that you’ll want your eCommerce platform to make shipping as frictionless as possible while saving you both time and money.

Shipping with BigCommerce

BigCommerce offers three different ways to ship your items. Consider the following shipping options to see method fits your budget and customers’ expectations best.

Self-fulfillment

If you’re a small eCommerce business, consider shipping solo. That way you have complete control over the shipping and fulfillment process. Plus, you can add a personal touch, such as a thank you note, for your customers.

  • Compare real-time rates from major couriers like USPS, UPS, FedEx, and more
  • Choose couriers that will fit your budget (i.e. our free shipping rates calculator will give you the best rates with up to 89% off in savings)
  • Be in control of your fulfillment process

Shipping Integrations

The BigCommerce Apps Marketplace has over 800 integrations and apps targeted for fulfillment and shipping. Easyship can help supercharge your shipping with our network of global warehouses. Plus, our shipping consultants will create a fulfillment strategy fit for your eCommerce business.

  • Streamline your shipping and fulfillment process with Easyship to help scale your business globally by saving up to 89% on shipping rates on 250+ couriers
  • Saves time and money by reducing labor costs
  • Helps create a positive customer experience with automated tracking services so your customers know where their item is every step of the way. Easyship offers 24/7 customer service so you can your parcels to the right place at the right time

Dropshipping

Instead of keeping items in stock yourself, your orders will be transferred to your fulfillment center. Once an order is placed, the supplier will deliver the item to your customer for final delivery.

  • Choose from dropshipping apps like Printful, Inventory Source, Spocket, and other apps from the BigCommerce Apps Marketplace
  • Reduces stress from sending products yourself to customers globally
  • Economical option for online merchants

Shipping with Shopify

Shopify offers 3 unique ways to ship: Shopify Shipping, dropshipping, or self-fulfillment shipping.

Shopify Shipping

Start shipping as soon as you get your first order with Shopify shipping. Fulfill orders fasters and manage all your orders in one place with Shopify.

  • Only available for orders shipped from fulfillment centers located in the United States, Canada, and Australia
  • Shopify Shipping is free for all sellers
  • Available couriers include USPS, UPS, and DHL in the United States, Sendle in Australia, and Canada Post in Canada. Alternatively, Easyship offers 250+ courier choices and saves users up to 89% discounted shipping rates

Self Shipping

Consider shipping solo if you’re a small eCommerce business. You’ll have the choice to pick from shipping platforms like Easyship to help scale your small business. Plus, users save up to 89% off discounted shipping rates on 250+ couriers.

  • More control over your shipping and fulfillment process
  • Compare shipping rates for packages of all shapes and sizes (i.e. Easyship’s free shipping rates calculator)
  • Integrate with Easyship to streamline your fulfillment process so you can seamlessly ship your items

Dropshipping

If you’re looking for ways to save money, consider opting for Shopify dropshipping. Instead of keeping items in stock yourself, your orders will be transferred to your supplier. Then, the supplier will deliver the item to the customer for final delivery.

  • Choose from CJDropshipping, Spocket, Oberlo, and other dropshipping apps for your Shopify store
  • Economical option for online merchants
  • Reduces stress from sending products yourself to customers globally

BigCommerce vs. Shopify with Easyship

Both Shopify and BigCommerce enable you to reach the highest highs of eCommerce success. Both platforms offer similar features and pricing plans, though Shopify incurs a raft of fees in addition. Every BigCommerce plan has a ceiling on your sales, or you’ll have to pay for an upgraded plan. BigCommerce has fewer free apps and integrations and will require some coding expertise to maximize. But for all the convenience of Shopify, you get nickel and dimed on various fees.

Shopify is great if you want to launch into eCommerce without delay. And if you lack coding expertise. Know that you may earn less per sale for convenience.

BigCommerce requires more attention to get right, but you’ll earn more for your efforts. For established brands with development skills at hand, BigCommerce is a smart long-term play.

Regardless of which you use – you save up to 89% off shipping rates with your instant Easyship integration.

Ready to try Easyship? Easyship is free for your first 50 shipments each month. Create your free account today!


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