Last updated on March 9th, 2019 at 06:31 pm
This is the comparison you’ve all been waiting for, Shopify vs BigCommerce. Last week we published a comprehensive Shopify review.
An online store is the perfect means of having your business embody efficiency, convenience, and presentation, all in one place.
This is paramount to helping buyers decide on a purchase and can help your business tap into potential growth that is otherwise being wasted.
There are a ton of factors to consider. And we’ve got all the info you need. Keep reading for our detailed comparison of two of the most efficient eCommerce store builders available.
Before we get into the specific features of these programs, let’s talk about some of the elements you should be looking for in your ideal product:
Things to Consider Before Making a Decision Between Shopify or BigCommerce
- Available themes – The design of your online store is crucial to conversion goals
- Available tools – What tools are made available to you in order to have your online store fully functional
- Support – Will you be left in shark-infested waters by the company you choose to go with? You will be using this site as a crucial part of your business and daily hiccups should be taken into consideration.
- Experts – How many gurus are available to help you get into the swing of using your online store
- Functionality – Available apps to help extend the functionality of your online store
- Reputation – What do REAL customers have to say about these companies
- Pricing – How much will either decision cost you
The Best eCommerce Store Builder: Shopify
Why We Recommend Shopify
While both shop builders are just about equal when it comes to themes and designs—Shopify offers you the same quality for a slightly lower price.
You also have more access to experts who can help make your experience as seamless and hassle-free as possible. Shopify does a great job of connecting you with experts who are closest to you in location which is a big plus.
Themes and Designs
They say never judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately, when it comes to your business that’s exactly what potential customers are going to do.
If the interface isn’t visually pleasing, navigation isn’t seamless, and people have to scratch their heads trying to understand what’s happening—chances are you just lost a customer.
Therefore it’s important to consider what themes are available for either shop builder before you make a final decision.
149 Premium Themes ($100 – $180)/24 free themes
Shopify’s themes do a good job of capturing elegance and simplicity in one package. No one theme looks too much like another.
Considering that they contract independent designers for each theme, it’s no wonder. You’ll find that a lot of their designs are modern and welcoming, and are sure to make customers feel at home when they check out what you have to offer.
The fact that so many different minds contribute to your creative options (themes), you really can’t run out of interesting prospects.
However, you may want to know that some of this creativity will cost you. Themes can run you anywhere from $100 – $180. Many small businesses understandably try to keep their budget low.
Keep in mind, though, that this is your online store you’re investing in, and buying a premium theme is a one-time charge only. This investment is invaluable.
The more inviting your store, the longer visitors are going to stick around. The longer they stick around, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
See more pricing details here.
BigCommerce has come a long way in this department. Not too long ago, the company didn’t allow customers to preview themes unless they signed up and took a 15-day free trial.
There’s more—if you did take that 15-day free trial, you’d be met with outdated themes. They worked well and looked professional, but most business owners felt the need for designs that were a bit more modern—rightfully so.
BigCommerce has since then updated their gallery. You can have access to some themes for free or go premium. Even better, these themes are all responsive.
The cost of premium themes can run you $145 – $235. A bit pricier than Shopify—but both companies are tied up in terms of quality.
Have a look at some of their themes here.
You can also hire a BigCommerce designer to create a personalized theme for your small business. To be blunt, we believe Shopify has the edge on BigCommerce in this respect, thanks to their extensive range of designers to choose from.
It’s good to see that BigCommerce has been upping their game with regards to transparency and modernizing their theme designs.
It’s great that they’ve started to hire big shot designers to refine their themes, but they’ve still got some ways to go. Shopify simply offers a far wider variety of quality themes. And they do it all at a lower price.
Check out BigCommerce’s full pricing details at their website.
eCommerce tools are essential to the success of your online business. A lot of things can go wrong if your tools aren’t in check. Among these things are:
- Managing inventory
- shipping details
- Tracking orders
- Payment gateways
Just to name a few.
Shopify along with BigCommerce offer great tools for you to work with. Where you’ll find them different is in how they go about providing the resources you need.
When it comes to providing you with the tools you need to grow your business, Shopify has got you covered all the way.
However, if you wish to dabble in their more advanced tools (customer wish list, product reviews, product recommendation etc.) you’ll have to go through their App store. And yes, this comes at a cost.
Good news is, they all have a trial period, so you can try them out before actually investing in them. These are all useful tools that can make a world of difference in the way people react to your business.
Shopify Payment Feature
Thanks to Shopify’s payment feature, you aren’t required to sign up with a payment gateway such as Stripe or Paypal. Shopify actually takes care of that for you.
Using their dashboard to handle your money is a great time saver. Seeing as there are no transactions fees, it’s also a great way to save money.
If you’re looking for an all-inclusive set of tools, you’ll find the most comprehensive package in BigCommerce. Unlike Shopify, BigCommerce’s more advanced tools are available in the base package.
So, on one hand, you have Shopify’s payment feature which is great for saving time and money. On the other hand, there’s the fact that BigCommerce offers more advanced tools upfront.
While with Shopify you would need to purchase an external App to access similar tools. But don’t count Spotify out the race yet.
This is still an efficient builder that can help you to take your business to the next level. And they do offer a more comprehensive set of Apps compared to BigCommerce.
Shopify vs BigCommerce: Customer Support
No matter how well you run your business, you’re going to have technical issues every now and again. It can’t be helped.
Once you do your job and make sure things are smooth as often as possible, what you need is a support team on the other end to help out when things go awry.
That are meant to help you have as seamless an experience as possible. They include screenshots to make setup that much easier for users.
What’s more, both companies offer 24-hour live phone support.
Shopify has been leading in terms of customer support for years. They’ve built a trust among customers that is arguably the best in the industry.
Since they’ve become a billion dollar company, customer service has been little ‘shaky’ compared to their earlier days, but customers are still generally pleased.
BigCommerce didn’t exactly start out offering pristine support for their users. More specifically, 24-hour phone support was something that the company later included. This is a good look. And they don’t fall behind Shopify in terms of quality service.
Get Experts to Help You Build Your Business
If you’re hoping for gurus to help your business with improving a particular facet, you don’t have to scour the globe to come across someone capable.
Both Shopify and BigCommerce host platforms where you can find experts who can help you build your business; improve presentation, reliability, and efficiency.
Who Are These Experts and How Can They Help You?
These ‘experts’ are handpicked contractors who work independently of either company.
These experts specialize in a range of niches:
- Marketers to help you promote your store to the appropriate audience
- Store setups (you can hire experts to actually set up your store for you)
- Developers to create apps and tools for your store
- Designers to modify a current theme or create a custom one for your online store
Be sure to read reviews left by previous customers of these experts before you make your decision.
Telecommuting is great. It’s even better when you have the option of meeting your collaborators in person if you so choose. That’s what we love most about Shopify and the way they handle advertising these experts to users.
Shopify chooses experts who are closest to your location. So if you ever want to schedule an actual meeting, there’s little room for inconvenience or compromise.
If for instance, you need an expert to set up your store, the starting price is $500. This includes the whole nine:
- Inserting products into your site
- Shopping cart setup
- Configuring taxes and shipping etc.
This isn’t a bad investment, especially if you want your store up and running with as little hiccups as possible.
With Shopify, you have over 780 experts to choose from. In terms of sheer variety—BigCommerce pales in comparison.
When it comes to BigCommerce, selecting an expert is a bit trickier. For one, experts can throw any price at you that they see fit as far as store setups are concerned.
Shopify’s approach with the fixed price of $500 tends to make things a bit easier, especially for new users who don’t where to start when it comes to a budget.
There are experts available to modify and customize themes according to your needs. But seeing as Shopify has more experts (and thus more options and variety) it’s clear what platform is more popular.
The bottom line is, if you’re looking for the expert that suits your requirements, there is a greater possibility that you’ll find him/her on Shopify’s platform.
Of course, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible that the perfect contractor may be on BigCommerce. But if it’s a game of probability, Shopify takes this one home.
No matter what kind of business you’re into, reputation is essential to success. It only makes sense that you’ll want to place your small business in the hands of a dependable company that won’t leave you hanging when you need them most.
Both Shopify and BigCommerce have managed to maintain healthy relationships with majority of their users; even if Shopify’s customer service has taken a few steps back since their more humble days.
Let’s see what customer’s had to say about these companies:
For the most part, users are pleased with Shopify’s ability to help them build their business and extend a helping hand to customers when necessary.
What I find that some people take issue with, is that not ALL their problems seem to be taken as seriously by Shopify.
Some customers claim that this could be due to them having too much on their plate, and are thus, unable to tend to each client as needed.
Based on our own research and Shopify’s online reputation, here are its stand-out features:
- Themes and Designs – Easy to navigate templates. Free templates that work great. They also have far more free templates available than BigCommerce
- Independent Contractors – They hire fresh minds to work on designs
- Shopify Payment Feature – Negates the need for external payment features like Paypal. Thus, eliminates the need for additional transaction fees
- Experts – An expansive marketplace with over 700 experts, some of which are conveniently located for respective users
- Store setups – Fixed price helps to avoid confusion
- Apps – An exceptionally comprehensive set of Apps
- Advanced tools – You have to purchase an external app to access advanced tools
BigCommerce possibly outshines Shopify in terms of customer service. Mostly due to Shopify’s support being more of a mixed bag these days.
Phone support is solid, and customers are generally pleased with the free and premium templates that are currently available.
However, this isn’t to say, BigCommerce is completely in the clear. There are users who claim that certain policies related to pricing came as a shocker.
These policies seemed to take hold over a period of time using BigCommerce’s service. The lack of transparency regarding the issue makes it somewhat difficult to gauge.
Based on customer reviews and research, here are BigCommerce’s standout features:
- Support – Great 24-hour phone support and overall customer service
- Updated themes – Themes and designs are responsive and innovative
- Experts – Experts are available to help you build your business
- Great tools – Arguably the most comprehensive set of tools in the industry
- Advanced tools are available in base package
- Lack of transparency with pricing
- Experts charge as they see fit for store setups
- Limited Experts compared to Shopify
Our Final Take on Shopify vs BigCommerce
As you can see, whether you choose to go with Shopify or BigCommerce, you’re in for a good deal. Both builders have more than enough tools and resources put in place to help you elevate your small business.
Shopify stands out with a comprehensive set of Apps, and over 700 experts readily available to help you with the presentation and efficiency of your online business.
BigCommerce comes up a bit short in comparison, but it does have the edge in other departments—such as its advanced tools which are offered upfront.
We’d suggest you test out each of these builders first to see which one best suits your needs.
The WiseSmallBusiness Team is full of industry experts and successful business owners willing to contribute important business articles.