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BigCommerce vs. Shopify and the Difference Between These Two Mega E-Commerce Platforms

If you have aspirations of opening an online store or are already developing your ideas for your online business, then the question of BigCommerce vs. Shopify is likely to be asked. As two of the most popular e-commerce platforms, Shopify and BigCommerce offer a wide range of benefits for both you as an online store owner, and your shopper. 

Choosing the best platform for your online store is no easy task and there are a variety of factors to consider as you’re choosing the foundation. You have questions and you need answers about the set up process.

Your desire to open an e-commerce store is understandable. E-commerce sales account for about 14% of all retail transactions globally, with predictions of hitting 22% by 2023. E-commerce continues to enjoy explosive growth — with no signs of slowing down any time soon —there may never be a better time to explore online platforms for your own business. 

Today we’re going to break down the different attributes of Shopify and BigCommerce. Plus, we’re going to examine the pros and cons to each platform. By doing this, you can make the most informed decision possible as you choose the right platform for your online store.

1. BigCommerce vs. Shopify and the Difference Between These Two Mega E-Commerce Platforms

What is BigCommerce?

How does BigCommerce work?

What is Shopify?

How does Shopify work?

The pros and cons of Shopify and BigCommerce

The pros for BigCommerce

The cons of BigCommerce

The pros for Shopify

The cons of using Shopify

2. Pricing plans

BigCommerce pricing plans

Credit card and transaction fees with BigCommerce

Shopify pricing plans

Credit card and transaction fees with Shopify

3. Payment processing for each platform

BigCommerce payment gateway

Shopify payment gateway

4. How Shopify and BigCommerce work with third-party apps

Third-party apps with BigCommerce

BigCommerce for mobile devices

Shopify for mobile devices

5. BigCommerce vs. Shopify and customer service

BigCommerce and customer service profile

Shopify and customer service profile

6. BigCommerce and Shopify mobile apps

7. How BigCommerce and Shopify address cart conversion rates

8. Advanced features of each platform

Site security

Options for coders

Streamline your promotions

AMP technology

9. Shipping rates with Shopify and BigCommerce

10. FAQs

I’m still unsure which platform to use. How do I know which one is right for me?

I already have an e-commerce store, can I change platforms without losing my data?

How important is SEO?

11. BigCommerce vs. Shopify – choosing the right platform

Considerations for choosing a platform

Not all e-commerce platforms are created equal. The bottom line is, as a store owner, you want to sell as many products possible in the simplest manner possible. If a platform is too difficult to use or cumbersome to work around, you’ll spend more time learning the system versus selling products and focusing on assisting your customers.

As you’re choosing a platform, there are several main categories you should consider.

  • Pricing per month
  • Transaction fees
  • Credit card processing fees
  • Accepted payment methods for your shoppers
  • Ease of use to set up
  • Ease of use for design
  • Allows you to integrate content such as product recommendations, a blog, or product reviews
  • Social selling capabilities
  • Sell across multiple platforms, such as social media channels, a website, and/or brick and mortar (omnichannel and point of sale capabilities)
  • Optimized for desktop, tablet, and mobile
  • Availability of shopper analytics and insights
  • Email marketing
  • Extensive marketing support
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • A range of free themes (or paid) to customize your site

This is by no means an exhaustive list of what a platform should include, but it’s helpful to understand features to look for as you’re comparing BigCommerce vs. Shopify. Think about your specific inventory, pricing, marketing, and product needs and how a platform can support them.

Now that you know what to look for, let’s look closer at Shopify and BigCommerce and how they perform for the online store owner’s needs.

1. What is BigCommerce?

Founded in 2009 in Sydney, Australia, BigCommerce has thousands of retailers globally using the platform. Although it’s numbers indicate it has less users than Shopify, BigCommerce is one of the more popular options in the crowded e-commerce platform space.

BigCommerce has experienced steady growth since its inception. The platform continues to add big names to it’s growing list of users. From companies such as Gilette on demand, to Toyota and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream to name a few. BigCommerce continues to operate in Sydney, but has added offices in Austin, Texas and San Francisco to support the growth.

How does BigCommerce work?

BigCommerce is what’s referred to as a hosted e-commerce platform that allows a business to run a virtual shop. Hosted simply means BigCommerce houses, or “hosts,” the servers where all the information is stored. 

Unless you’re a large corporation, it’s likely your business will require another company to host the servers. BigCommerce makes this possible for businesses who can’t afford, or choose not to, invest in servers to house their data. 

BigCommerce also falls under the category as a SaaS, or “software as a service” company. This is where your business never owns the software to run your store, but rather you pay BigCommerce a monthly fee to use the software.

In addition to hosting and providing the software for your business , BigCommerce provides all the tools necessary for you to build your own online store. BigCommerce claims you can literally set up your store within minutes and start selling. This is made possible by the drag-and-drop feature and built-in templates for your online store.

You can think of BigCommerce as the third-party that provides the foundation for your store. Without a platform like BigCommerce or Shopify, smaller companies would have to have their own IT infrastructure.

What is Shopify?

When comparing BigCommerce vs. Shopify, you’ll notice similarities between the two platforms. Shopify also falls into the SaaS category of platforms and hosts the servers. But where Shopify sets itself apart from BigCommerce is with the number of users worldwide. Founded in 2009, Shopify is a Canadian company and now provides support for over 1,000,000 businesses worldwide. The revenue for the company easily surpasses $1 billion dollars, making it an e-commerce powerhouse.

This company was the first platform of its kind and continues to dominate in market share, despite the number of competitors Shopify now has. Shopify employs over 5,000 people worldwide and there are no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Shopify has made a significant impact over the years, including how businesses on Shopify contributed $319 billion in economic activity worldwide from 2016 to 2019.

The Shopify platform boasts multiple prominent companies as platform users, representing a variety of industries. You may recognize brands such as Heinz, Staples, Rothy’s, and Allbirds that rely on Shopify for their e-commerce platform needs.

How does Shopify work?

Shopify allows anyone to set up their own store , whether the items are sold via a website, social media channel, a physical store — virtually anywhere you can sell an item then Shopify can support it.

Like BigCommerce, Shopify is the third-party a business can use for server hosting, software use, and all functions of running an online store.

The pros and cons of Shopify and BigCommerce

Both Shopify and BigCommerce offer pros and cons for your online store. You’ll notice some of the pros and cons are the same for both platforms, but it’s important to be aware of the features of BigCommerce vs. Shopify, and how they might benefit your business.

The pros for BigCommerce

Bigcommerce offers several advantages to those who use its platform for selling products.

  • Built for those who don’t have web design experience
  • Drag-and-Drop page builder. Perfect for those who don’t know how to code. You can easily create and edit your pages without having to use any coding knowledge.
  • Marketing support. The support starts with the free trial for 15 days. But BigCommerce offers more support for marketing too. Features such as:
    • SEO optimization. BigCommerce offers tools to help your store rank higher with search engines.
    • Social media sales. You can use BigCommerce to sell across social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
    • Blog support. You can integrate a blog to help further drive traffic to your shop and BigCommerce provides everything you need to get a blog added and maintained.
    • Easily add product recommendations. BigCommerce has a drag-and-drop feature to let you add detailed product information and product recommendations. This allows you to cross-sell and upsell your products based on the browsing history of your shopper.
    • Search tools. Through use of another third-party, BigCommerce adds impressive search capabilities on your site for your shoppers to use as they navigate.
  • Multiple templates. BigCommerce offers 12 free themes or templates for you to build your site on.
  • Can sell either physical or digital goods. With BigCommerce, you can sell an unlimited number of goods, either physical ones or products someone needs to download.
  • Offers a full CMS (content management system) which allows you to create, edit, and publish information, in addition to selling products.
  • Image optimization so you can show off your products in the best possible manner.
  • Integrates with WordPress. If you already have a blog or use WordPress for other functions, you can integrate it easily with BigCommerce.
  • Checkout customization. You can customize each step of the checkout process to make it as seamless and smooth as possible. Since a complicated checkout process is responsible for 21% of abandoned carts, this is a feature you’ll want to pay close attention to. Don’t forget – the more clicks, the less cart conversions!
  • Simple to add promotions and discounts to your products.
  • Can integrate digital wallets so your shoppers can use options such as ApplePay, GooglePay, or installment payment plans like Splitit. 
  • Omni-channel capabilities. Whether you want to sell across one website and multiple social channels or integrate with your brick and mortar. You’ll have the ability with BigCommerce. You can also use multi-storefronts if you have more than one business you manage or own. 
  • Third-party apps. Another feature where BigCommerce has made tremendous progress is with the availability of third-party apps. These apps allow you to customize your e-commerce store to a greater extent.

The cons of BigCommerce

BigCommerce has multiple features that make it desirable for e-commerce businesses to use. But there are a few points of consideration before you choose this platform.

  • Quite a bit of technical jargon. Although BigCommerce is designed to be used by most online store owners, no matter their experience level with web design or coding, those who are not comfortable with technical language may find BigCommerce difficult to navigate. 
  • Steep learning curve for beginners. Beginners may find the amount of information and technical language to be overwhelming. Although BigCommerce offers a vast amount of technical support, users might have issues dissecting the amount of information.
  • Annual sales thresholds. If your annual sales reach a specific number, BigCommerce will automatically upgrade you to the next threshold for pricing. It’s based on a rolling 12 months so may not align with your fiscal calendar. 
  • Newsletters aren’t built-in. If you rely on regular newsletters to reach out to your shoppers, you should be aware BigCommerce doesn’t have an automatic built-in feature to create a newsletter. In order to create one, you need to use a third-party app.
  • Lack of RSS feed for blog users. If you use a blog as part of your marketing strategy and you choose to use the built-in blog feature, then you might be disappointed in lack of RSS feed capabilities through BigCommerce. RSS stands for Rich Site Summary, and it automatically refreshes web pages for readers, so they are constantly seeing updated content.

The pros for Shopify

Interestingly, Shopify and BigCommerce are quite similar with the number of features. The features and pros of BigCommerce are also found with Shopify. These two companies are major competitors, so it’s no surprise they mimic one another when it comes to attributes and pricing.

Shopify offers the same outstanding features and options as BigCommerce when it comes to selling capabilities, content management, transaction fees, and payment processing. You’ll notice few differences between the two companies when it comes to features.

But of course there are a few differences with the platforms. Let’s take a closer look at where the two platforms are slightly different.

Great design experience

If you’re looking for a platform with an extensive amount of design options, then Shopify won’t disappoint. There are over 100 Shopify themes available for your use. Some are free themes and  others are paid, but you have a wide range of choices that are modern and responsive.

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Another helpful feature with the design choices is how Shopify segments them into categories for you. For instance, if you’re a fashion site then you’ll see recommended, suggested themes so you can get started right away. The themes are usually designed by a third-party and are priced from $80 up.

The design experience is meant to be as easy as possible for new shop owners and beginners. Creating an online store is very similar to the process of using WordPress. So if you’re familiar with using WordPress for any content management, then you should find yourself comfortable using the Shopify themes.

Slightly more flexible pricing

When comparing BigCommerce vs. Shopify pricing plans, you’ll see slightly more flexibility with Shopify. There is a “lite” plan as an option — BigCommerce does not offer an alternative for this. This option is only $9 per month and gives you the ability to add a buy button to your social media channel or website.

You should also be aware if you pay for any of the plans up front for a year, you’ll receive a 10% discount. If you pay for two years, you’ll earn a 20% discount. 

Unlike BigCommerce, Shopify does not push into another pricing threshold if your sales increase. This could be an advantage to you if you’re trying to scale your business and unsure of what pricing plan to choose.

Abandon checkout recovery

Similar to the concept with BigCommerce, Shopify has a feature that will automatically send an email to a user who has abandoned their shopping cart. The email will include a link to their cart so they can easily go in and complete their purchase. 

Shopify allows you to use over 100 payment gateways, including credit cards, bitcoin, and installment payment plans like Splitit. 

Shopify allows you to offer discounts to specific shoppers, one of the many areas where you can customize the user experience for your online business.

Works great with Google analytics

If you like working with Google analytics, then you’ll likely be quite comfortable with Shopify’s analytics options. Shopify offers a massive amount of insights and information on your site and your shopper’s habits. The analytics give you information regarding:

  • Traffic conversion rates
  • Traffic sources (if your shoppers find your site via a blog, Pinterest, Google search, etc.)
  • Audience reports
  • Behavior reports
  • User flow, this tells your how your audience navigates your site from page to page
  • Data freshness – this is a premium feature only
  • Funnel analysis
  • Segmentation data
  • Filtering and manipulation

If you love data and feel comfortable using it to shape your marketing strategy and online content, then you’ll find Shopify’s data to be generous.

Lastly, unlike BigCommerce, if you take advantage of the blog feature within Shopify, it can use an RSS feed so your shoppers always have the latest information.

Superior web hosting capabilities

According to Shopify, the web hosting it provides is superior to other platforms. The advantages to the Shopify web hosting includes the ability for the online store owner to access:

  • Unlimited bandwidth for the merchant
  • Email forwarding capabilities
  • Level-1 PCI compliance
  • 99.98% uptime with Shopify’s servers
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Ruby-on-Rails
  • SEO tools for higher rankings with search
  • Responsive mobile commerce, allowing your shoppers to easily buy with a mobile device
  • Secure shopping cart and payment gateways
  • User-friendly design options

The cons of using Shopify

Depending on your point of view, Shopify has a few areas that may cause some hesitation.

  • Overwhelming number of options. If you like choices when it comes to the visual aspect and functionality of your website, then this is a major plus with Shopify. However, if you’re easily overwhelmed and would rather narrow down your options, then you may feel inundated with all the choices Shopify offers.
  • If you want the same AMP technology that BigCommerce uses for improved SEO rankings and mobile optimization, then you’ll have to install an app from the app store to  take advantage of this feature. We’ll discuss AMP technology in more detail and why this is important. 
  • Shopify provides point of sale capabilities for brick and mortar stores, but to use it then it costs an additional $89 per month.

2. Pricing

The plans for both these two platforms are competitive and straightforward. Because of the intense competition between a large number of e-commerce platforms, it’s led to complete transparency in both features and pricing. Here’s a closer look at the costs each month from each of the platforms.

BigCommerce pricing plans

BigCommerce offers three plans so you can choose the one you need based on the size of your business.

  • Standard.  This plan is $29.95 per month and is appropriate for sites  with annual sales no higher than $50,000 per year. This is appropriate for new businesses or those who plan on keeping their store on a smaller scale.
  • Plus. This plan is $79.95 per month,and is geared towards growing websites. This is the plan businesses use that are generating between $51,000 to $180,000 in sales per rolling 12 months.
  • Pro. This is the plan $299.95 per month and includes options for scaling your website for a large number of customers. This is the plan you need if your site is generating between $181,000 to $400,000 in sales per rolling 12 months.
  • BigCommerce Enterprise – This is the custom option if you have a business team you need to allow access to the platform. BigCommerce Enterprise requires custom pricing and planning to be tailored to your business needs.

As you would expect, each plan offers an increased number of options. It’s important to note the Standard and Plus plans are geared towards smaller e-commerce stores.

Transaction and other fees with BigCommerce

Credit card processing and transaction fees are both a major concern among most business owners. No matter what platform you choose, this is an important part of the overall pricing plan to be considered when making your choice of platform.

Credit card fees start at 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction, and will increase depending on the pricing plan you choose each month.

With BigCommerce, if you use a payment method from the list of approved Payment Gateways, then you do not have to pay transaction fees. You may see BigCommerce advertise itself as a platform without any transaction fees whereas Shopify can charge for them — and this is true to an extent. However, Shopify also has options to reduce the amount of transaction fees you pay to 0% like BigCommerce.

Shopify pricing plans

Like BigCommerce, Shopify offers a few pricing options so you can tailor the monthly payment to your business needs. Here’s an overview of each of the Shopify plans. 

  • Basic Shopify is the entry-level plan designed for online businesses new to the world of e-commerce. The cost is $29 per month. The features are limited with this pricing plan, and you have higher transaction fees versus other plans. However, it’s a great option for those who are only beginning and aren’t sure how big your online business will become.
  • Shopify is the mid-range plan intended for online shops experiencing growth. You have access to additional features, such as professional reports and more competitive shipping rates. Plus you have lower transaction costs. The cost is $79 per month.
  • Advanced Shopify is for e-commerce stores that need to scale their growth. The cost is $299 per month, and includes advanced features such as third-party shipping rate calculators, integration with your own shipping company, and 15 staff accounts. You also have access to the lowest transaction fees with this Shopify plan

The least expensive option – the Shopify “Lite” plan – only offers a buy button to place on your site. You should note this is only for those who already have an existing website and simply want to add a buy option for products on their site.

Conversely, if you need more advanced features than what the Advanced Shopify plan offers, Shopify has the Shopify Plus option. The Shopify Plus is designed for higher volume sites. Prices start at $2,000 per month and go up, depending on the features needed for the online store. The Shopify Plus service is targeted to businesses looking to save on their own developer costs.

Whether you use  Shopify or BigCommerce, you earn a 10% discount if you pay for your annual subscription all at once, instead of the monthly subscription payment. Also, if you have a brick and mortar business, for an additional $89 per month you can create an omnichannel selling experience for your shoppers.

If you’re unsure which pricing plan best suits your business needs, Shopify allows you to build your website and then pick the appropriate pricing plan or add Shopify Plus. 

 Transaction and other fees with Shopify

A major difference  with BigCommerce vs. Shopify pricing plans is the use of transaction fees. If you do not participate in the Shopify Payments program, which is standard with all plans, then you’ll be charged a transaction fee. The Shopify Payments program has to be activated, otherwise you’ll face up to a 2% transaction fee.

Basic Shopify  Shopify  Advanced Shopify 
Online credit card fees 2.9% + 30¢ USD 2.6% + 30¢ USD 2.4% + 30¢ USD
In-person credit card rates 2.7% + 0¢ USD 2.5% + 0¢ USD 2.4% + 0¢ USD
Third-party Payment Processors

(0% if you are using Shopify Payments)

2% 1% 0.5%

3. Payment processing for each platform

Offering multiple payment methods is essential for your shoppers. The more you can tailor your methods to your shoppers and their payment needs, the likelihood of increasing your cart conversions. It’s essential to understand how these two platforms compare when it comes to payment processing.

A payment method refers to the choice you provide your shopper at checkout for payment, such as a  debit card or PayPal. A payment gateway is the actual service used to authorize credit card or direct payment processing for your site. Let’s dig deeper to find out how these two platforms support your business and shoppers in this critical area.

BigCommerce payment gateway

BigCommerce offers over 65 options currently to  serve over 100 different countries and support over 250 local payment methods. 

These methods are in addition to digital wallets such as Amazon Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, and multiple others. The number and options of payment gateways will depend on the country (or countries) you operate your business and the currency you accept for your online store.

Shopify payment gateway

Shopify features over 100 payment gateway options. You can easily look up the payment gateway options and payment methods available by each country. This includes everything from bitcoin and ACH, to PayPal and monthly installment plans like Splitit. 

Shopify Payments allows you to take third-party payments, without setting up individual accounts with each provider. If you don’t use the Shopify Payments option, then you’re subject to the additional processing fees (the fee depends on the pricing plan you use).

The buy button options

When examining BigCommerce vs. Shopify, you’ll see both platforms allow you to place buy buttons on your social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Your shoppers can browse and buy products without ever leaving their social media platform. You simply add the “buy now” button and your shopper can complete their purchase. This can also be added to an email marketing campaign or newsletter. 

4. How Shopify and BigCommerce work with third-party apps

One of the most important aspects of setting up your store is the use of third-party apps. Although  both e-commerce platforms offer plenty of options for customization with their own site-builder templates, there are additional personalization opportunities through the apps. 

Third-party apps with BigCommerce

One of the advantages to working with BigCommerce is the access to a wide range of third-party apps in the app store. These apps will take your online store from the standard customer experience, to an extraordinary one that looks like it was created by your own IT department. 

BigCommerce makes it incredibly easy for store owners to search, analyze, and install apps to use within the platform. The apps are grouped into various categories. There are free apps and paid apps, in the same manner that BigCommerce offers free themes and paid themes for you to choose from.

Currently, BigCommerce offers apps in the following categories:

  • Accounting and tax support
  • Analytics, reporting, and data
  • B2B wholesale
  • Catalog and order management
  • CRM and customer support
  • Data transfer / migration services
  • ERP (Enterprise Resources Planning)
  • Marketing
  • Merchandising
  • Mobile optimization
  • Omnichannel sales support
  • Payment solutions and security
  • Product sourcing
  • Shipping and order fulfillment
  • Site tools and site design

As you can see, BigCommerce covers almost every category imaginable for an e-commerce store owner

To make it as uncomplicated as possible, BigCommerce also has the apps grouped by specific business goals. For example, if your goal is to simplify your shipping rates, process, and labeling, then you’ll find a group of recommended apps to help you with this goal. Or if you need support designing a site with a beautiful aesthetic, then you’ll see the suggested apps.

Third-party apps with Shopify

Shopify also offers a number of third-party apps meant to enhance the operations and user experience of an online store. Shopify offers an incredible amount of apps through their own app store.

If you need help enhancing your site, Shopify breaks it down into categories for you, such as shipping, marketing, higher conversion, and design. You can easily search to find what you need, or check out their numerous resources and articles to point you in the right direction with apps.

BigCommerce vs. Shopify and mobile optimization

This day in age, shoppers expect the purchase experience to be as smooth as possible. Not only does this mean an optimized website, but it also means your store is optimized for mobile devices and tables.

Not only do customers want mobile ready, but statistics show it’s increasingly expected. In the United States alone, mobile commerce was worth about $207 billion in sales in 2018. Compare this number to the expected amount in 2020, which is $338 billion. The same study found 57% of survey respondents said they used a mobile device to find information about a product – showing the mobile experience is not only about purchasing a product.

Mobile optimization is a focus area for both the platforms. BigCommerce cites data that states over 75% of smartphone users will abandon their shopping cart if the mobile application doesn’t respond as quickly as possible.

Knowing the importance of supporting mobile commerce, BigCommerce and Shopify both have features to make sure you can provide the best mobile experience for your shoppers.

BigCommerce for mobile devices

BigCommerce presents several enhancements to make sure you’re mobile ready, including:

  • Lightning-fast responsiveness with each theme. BigCommerce uses a technology referred to as accelerated mobile pages (AMP). This ensures the pages can load almost instantly. Not only is this critical for mobile sales, but it reduces abandoned cart rates overall.
  • Using the Akamai image optimizer. This allows product images to automatically convert to optimal settings for mobile viewing. With this third-party app, the conversion occurs without any effort on your part. By using this app, it also increases page speed, since images tend to slow down loading times on websites. This app is free for BigCommerce store owners and available in the app store.
  • SEO rankings for mobile. The AMP technology is also used to increase your site’s Google rankings when shoppers shop on their mobile devices. Proper SEO is one of the many critical marketing components to getting your shop noticed, and the AMP technology supports your efforts to rank higher.

Shopify for mobile devices

Shopify features mobile-responsive themes so your shoppers can get the ultimate experience, no matter what device they are using. The same 256-bit SSL encryption, Level 1 PCI Compliant hosting that protects your business and customer data is also in place during a mobile transaction. The checkout process with mobile is fully secure like you and your shoppers expect.

All your features you choose for your site are visible on the mobile version of your site too. You won’t have to worry about losing any data or visual integrity if your shopper chooses to browse on their mobile device. 

Mobile is such an important part of the shopping experience now that both Shopify and BigCommerce have implemented advanced technology so your store can benefit.

5. BigCommerce vs. Shopify and customer service

There’s little doubt you can run into issues while setting up your e-commerce store. No matter how easy to use the platforms might tell you it is, there’s likely to be questions. This is why you need to understand the amount of customer support you receive when comparing BigCommerce vs. Shopify. 

BigCommerce and customer service profile

The U.S. based customer service provides support 24/7, 365 days a year. You can access the support via phone, email, or chat bot.

BigCommerce provides support in the following areas:

  • Personalized site audits and tailored advice from BigCommerce technical experts
  • Community forum for webinars, tutorials, and guides
  • Global live BigCommerce support 24/7. BigCommerce also claims the company will resolve over 85% of issues during the first phone call

In addition to the ongoing support, BigCommerce hires a large number of technical experts to provide help with all technical aspects of building your store. You don’t necessarily have to wait until you encounter an issue either. The technical support is there to help you with anything related to selling and growing your business. This includes boosting cart conversion, improving your shopper’s user experience, even recommending solutions for taxes, payments, shipping, and integrating software.

BigCommerce offers an extensive range of quick help tools online if you prefer to research your answer instead of talking with someone. You’ll find hundreds of articles and videos to walk you through step by step of how to use the features, setting up your store, or troubleshooting issues. You also have access to a community of over 20,000 active BigCommerce merchants, partners and developers.

Another interesting feature to highlight the customer support BigCommerce offers is a monthly “town hall” type meeting. This is where the CEO and product teams of BigCommerce give updates on the latest features and changes coming down the pipeline. Not only is the product highlighted, but the online retail industry as a whole is discussed. You can even ask questions of leadership.

Another feature with the live phone support is the ability to integrate software for your business. If you need a specific software so your business can operate, BigCommerce uses leading API to connect your store with software such as PIM, OMS, POS, CMS, and payment gateways.

Lastly, BigCommerce can migrate your store for you if you’re coming from another e-commerce platform. The company can walk you through the steps to ensure a smooth transition from one platform to another.

Shopify and customer service profile

Shopify also offers a wide range of options for customer support. For starters, you can take advantage of the Shopify resource center, which offers articles for every topic ranging from set up to migrating from another platform. 

In addition to the articles, you’ll find a library of webinars and videos to access — this is referred to as the Shopify Compass. Plus as a Shopify shop owner, you have access to forums so you can pose questions to other businesses.

You can contact Shopify customer support via the website, live chat, or calling the 24/7 customer support line. And if you need additional support that can’t be answered through the standard channels, you can choose to enlist the help of a Shopify Expert. The Shopify Expert works with you in site development, design, and marketing to ensure your online store is optimized and ready to go.

6. BigCommerce and Shopify mobile apps

When comparing BigCommerce vs. Shopify, you’ll notice both offer the store owner mobile apps to manage the shop via your mobile device. This allows you, as the store owner, to have insight and information no matter where you go.

Both platforms offer numerous features with the mobile apps. BigCommerce touts several useful features, including:

  • Singular login for all your stores. This is ideal if you own more than one e-commerce store.
  • Access to all analytics. You can view everything from revenue and orders, to the number of visitors, conversions, and abandoned cart statistics.
  • Order management. The mobile app gives you the ability to print labels, view and search orders, and update order status for your shoppers.
  • Inventory management. As a store owner, managing inventory can be challenging. The mobile app includes features such as complete visibility to your products, editing and adding products, and even adding images.
  • Access to all shopper information, including orders and shipping details.

The Shopify mobile app for store owners has a long list of features so you can run your store right from your mobile device. Shopify’s mobile app performs the same functions as BigCommerce, but includes other features such as:

  • Additional marketing support. You can perform a marketing push whether it’s email marketing, creating Google and Facebook ads, or writing a new blog post.
  • Create discounts to instantly run promotions for your shoppers.
  • Access to advanced analytics, including the discount code usage by your shoppers.
  • Syncs with third-party sites such as Etsy, Amazon, and Ebay.
  • Update your store appearance through the app.

If you think you’ll conduct most of your online store business through your smartphone, then Shopify may have the advantage of more features — including marketing functions — with the app.

7. How BigCommerce and Shopify address conversion and abandoned carts

As an online merchant, one of your most important metrics is your cart conversion rate. This is the percentage of shoppers who complete a purchase after visiting at least one page on your site. A higher conversion rate means you’re closing the sell with a greater number of shoppers. 

So what are BigCommerce and Shopify doing to address this specific measurement? It’s important to understand since a higher conversion rate means greater revenue for your bottom line.

BigCommerce and Shopify use the following tactics to help you maximize conversions and reduce the rate of abandoned carts:

  • Help you build a visually compelling website
  • Streamlined checkout process
  • Tools to analyze site performance and speed
  • Easily add promotions, discounts, and coupons
  • Advanced product data filtering and search options for your shoppers
  • Abandoned cart recovery techniques, such as automatic emails to shoppers to encourage a completed checkout
  • Dedicated technical support to audit your site and analyze areas for improvement

8. Advanced features of each platform

Here are the advanced features to consider with each of these platforms before you make your decision.

Site security

As a business owner, you might not understand all the technical aspects of data and payment security, but you know you want to offer your shoppers a secure checkout experience. Both platforms have additional security features to ensure this for both you and your shopper.

The BigCommerce platform is PCI DSS compliant with a 256-bit SSL encryption. When it comes to pricing, the SSL certificate is shared with the standard ($29.95 per month) plan but the more expensive packages provide dedicated encryption for your entire online store.

Options for coders

If you happen to have coding knowledge and experience, there are ways to enhance your experience with Shopify and BigCommerce.

When comparing BigCommerce vs. Shopify, you’ll notice both platforms give you access to the raw CSS files. This allows you to completely customize the look and function of your website. You can use the WYSIWYG editor (the what-you-see-is-what-you-get option, that is). 

Streamline your promotions

Another advanced feature specific to Shopify is your ability to streamline your promotions across several social media platforms, in addition to your site. For instance, let’s say you have a big product launch you’d like to promote. When you use Shopify, you have the option to post a blog, announce it via your social channels, and update your online store all at once. 

You can use this feature for any news you want to share across multiple channels.

AMP technology

Earlier we discussed BigCommerce’ use of AMP technology, short for accelerated mobile pages. This is considered leading-edge technology, is backed by Google, and is a strength of BigCommerce. Let’s dive a little deeper into this subject so you can see what an advanced feature this is within the platform.

AMP is responsible for producing lightning-fast mobile response times for your shoppers who use their mobile device to browse. Basically, AMP strips out unnecessary code so it doesn’t weigh down the performance of your site while on a mobile device. You don’t have to worry about any optimization efforts on your part, because it’s built-in to the BigCommerce platform.

AMP offers another benefit as well. It has an impact to your SEO results when someone is searching for information related to a product you carry.

If you know the basics about SEO, then you likely know how the Google algorithms can be tricky. However, there are methods to boost your results based on the algorithms, and using AMP-enabled pages seems to be one of them at the moment.

If you see this advanced feature as being useful, you can search for AMP-enabled themes and templates.

9. Shipping rates with Shopify and BigCommerce

Another major concern of most e-commerce owners is how shipping costs are calculated. Since shipping costs are ultimately passed on to the shopper or part of your own budget, it’s an important area to address up front. Plus you want a platform that makes it as easy as possible to establish accurate shipping rates for you and your shopper. 

Both BigCommerce and Shopify offer several options for shipping. Not only does this allow you to be up front with your shipping costs, it also gives you the opportunity to use shipping discounts and promotions.

When setting up your BigCommerce store, one of the first things you must do is establish your shipping origin address and verify the areas your business will ship to. Then, you’ll decide which services/options you want to offer based on your business setup.

Before an order is placed, shoppers who have items in their shopping cart and are in the checkout process want to see what shipping options are available. Of course the shoppers want to know costs up front too. Once you receive an order, you purchase the postage from the carrier, prepare the order/package for shipment, then drop off the package or arrange for pick up.

BigCommere and Shopify offer three options for shipping:

  • Flat-fee shipping.
  • Real-time shipping quotes
  • Free shipping

Shopify has a similar process for estimating shipping costs for your shoppers. Like BigCommerce, you can select flat-rate shipping, a real-time shipping quote, or offer free shipping to your customers. 

The flat-rate option can be as simple as $5 every day shipping without any minimums, or you can adjust it to include a minimum threshold for flat rate shipping. You can also combine weights to reduce the shipping cost for the shopper. There are a variety of ways to customize the shipping rates with Shopify or BigCommerce. 

10. FAQs

I’m still unsure which platform to use. How do I know which one is right for me?

Choosing BigCommerce vs. Shopify requires quite a bit of comparison and examination.. It’s the engine to your online store so it pays to get it right. Before you choose either Shopify or BigCommerce, ask yourself what the most important features to you are. Features such as:

  • Marketing support
  • Customer support
  • Customization options
  • Budget
  • Ease of use
  • Am I transferring from another platform?

Depending on how you answer these questions can help guide you to make the right choice for BigCommerce vs. Shopify. Since no two businesses are alike, your level of support and customization may be different from other new business owners. You can also use the free trial offer from both Shopify and BigCommerce to help solidify your decision.

I already have an e-commerce store, can I change platforms without losing my data?

Yes, both Shopify and BigCommerce offer extensive plans for migrating from another platform to another. BigCommerce has technical support to ensure you complete the steps for migration. Shopify uses a third-party app to complete the migration process and also has the customer support in case you need it.

Both platforms offer redirecting services, so your shoppers will never know you’re made a change (other than your updated visuals).

How important is SEO?

Search engine optimization is becoming increasingly important, which is why you’ll find both platforms have programs to maximize this part of your marketing strategy. Your business can feature the most amazing group of products, but if shoppers can’t find you when they’re searching for an item, then your efforts won’t pay off. 

SEO is boosted in several ways. Your site speed, product reviews, content, customizable H1 headers — these are a handful of items that contribute to overall SEO rankings. Both BigCommerce and Shopify offer several tactics to boost SEO, further emphasizing how important SEO is for store owners.

How do you know where to start?

Shopify and BigCommerce make it so easy to get started, it might even seem a little overwhelming at first. The important step is to first identify the areas of concern for you – inventory, marketing, discounts, payment methods, and see how each platform addresses your concerns.

Both platforms offer a free trial (14 days for Shopify and 15 days for BigCommerce) so you can get a true feel for the ease of use each platform offers.

How do I purchase a domain name?

This is a great question and one that BigCommerce and Shopify are ready to help you answer. You can purchase a domain name through either platform. You can also point your existing website to either BigCommerce or Shopify.

11. BigCommerce vs. Shopify — choosing the right platform 

The bottom line is, there is a reason these two platforms are so popular among store owners. Whether you choose Shopify or BigCommerce, you can rest assured both are designed to be easy to use, have built-in customer service, and an amazing number of features. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing which platform is better. What matters is how each platform addresses the unique needs of your business.

So whether you’re looking for a platform that accepts the most number of payment methods or has the best SEO practices, it’s important for you to first identify your own business goals. From there, Shopify and BigCommerce can make your ideas for entrepreneurship a reality.

If you would like further information on how a monthly installment plan like Splitit is integrated with Shopify and BigCommerce, request a free demonstration and further information here.

Sara Coleman (Content Contributor), December 7, 2020 Share this article

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