Shopify vs BigCommerce: Which eCommerce System Wins Out?

eCommerce business leaders comparing Shopify vs. BigCommerce by examining features and integrations

It’s not an exaggeration to say that finding the right eCommerce system to run your online store can make or break your online business. After all, it’s the engine that keeps everything running—from your product catalog to the customer-facing interface, shopping cart, payment processing, and more. So naturally, you want to make the right decision. But when you begin to compare platforms like Shopify vs BigCommerce, it’s easy to get confused. We’re here to help simplify the decision-making process.

First, a disclaimer. Future Holidays is a certified Shopify partner, so we will naturally recommend Shopify over any alternative. But that’s the case for a reason.

We didn’t just choose Shopify randomly and now try to justify our choice. Instead, we love it because, in our view, its features and functionality make it the perfect choice for any business looking to sell products online.

Keep that in mind as you read our Shopify vs BigCommerce guide. You’ll learn about the features and differences that make these two of the most popular eCommerce platforms available.

An Overview of Shopify vs BigCommerce

When comparing BigCommerce vs Shopify, it makes sense to start with the similarities. After all, thousands of merchants across industries trust both solutions.

Both aim to be comprehensive eCommerce platforms, not just website builders or payment processors. Instead, they’re subscription-based all-in-one solutions designed to power your online store’s entire backend and customer-facing infrastructure.

Both solutions also offer a wide range of responsive, mobile-friendly websites and online store templates. Those templates are customizable at the source level, enabling any business to create a custom storefront designed to match their products, value proposition, and brand.

Finally, both solutions offer comprehensive, 24/7 support for merchants who run into technical issues or need more help. That’s how both Shopify and BigCommerce look to ensure long-term retention of online merchants looking to build their audience and revenue.

A more in-depth comparison of Shopify vs BigCommerce reveals quite a few differences to keep in mind as you make your choice.

Usability and Ease of Use in Shopify vs BigCommerce

Any online store system has to be user-friendly. After all, most businesses selling products online are experts in their products, not necessarily website development.

While both Shopify and BigCommerce offer a drag-and-drop interface, Shopify outpaces its competitor with superior ease of use. Features like “Sections” are intuitive to use even for non-marketers and web designers, minimizing the learning curve as you look to build out your store.

BigCommerce, on the other hand, will require more initial onboarding before users can build a beautiful online store. Its platform is more difficult to get used to. This may result in a rougher transition for anyone in your business looking to edit or optimize its online presence.

The Verdict: Shopify wins with better ease of use and a more intuitive interface.

Shopify or BigCommerce: Apps and Integrations

Two professional web builders considering Shopify vs. BigCommerce

Even the most comprehensive eCommerce platforms still need external integrations to truly shine. Apps are how you can build your search engine optimization, add loyalty programs, integrate customer reviews, and more.

BigCommerce offers nearly 1,000 apps that range from financing to shipping and fulfillment. Many of these apps have both free and paid, premium versions for advanced merchants who are moving products and producing revenue on a higher level.

Shopify’s scale, however, is significantly larger. In total, more than 6,000 apps are available on the Shopify App Store, offering true customization possibilities at every stage of the business and store.

The Verdict: Shopify’s significantly bigger inventory of apps offers more choice and customization possibilities.

The Larger Communications Ecosystem in BigCommerce vs Shopify

Of course, it’s not just about your online store itself. To be successful, eCommerce merchants have to build comprehensive marketing plans designed to attract, convince, and convert their potential customers. eCommerce solutions that can integrate these outbound communications channels are natural winners.

That starts with email integration. Shopify Email can help store owners create, send, and track marketing emails across the sales funnel. If that’s not enough, integrations like Klaviyo allow Shopify to work with your existing solutions, as well. BigCommerce, on the other hand, relies solely on these integrations, though it has to be said that the available third-party email apps are equally strong on both platforms.

Email is only the beginning. Seamlessly sharing your products, messaging, and catalog on other platforms can significantly increase reach and sales conversions. Partnerships with companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google allow Shopify users to take advantage of every sales channel. BigCommerce is relatively self-contained by comparison.

The Verdict: It’s close to a tie for email marketing. But Shopify’s integrations and partnerships with other online sales platforms create a larger ecosystem that can become invaluable for growing revenue.

The Pricing Considerations of Shopify vs BigCommerce

The sticker price is nearly identical for both platforms: pricing starts at $29 and $29.95 for Shopify and BigCommerce, respectively, and goes up to $299 per month for Shopify and $299.95 for BigCommerce.

But what’s in those pricing tiers matters just as much. At the most basic tier, Shopify limits users to two, while BigCommerce allows unlimited users. Shopify also charges a transaction fee of up to 2% for payment solutions outside its own option, while BigCommerce is free.

Mid-tier and professional plans follow similar patterns. However, BigCommerce makes its pricing tiers dependent on store revenue. Once you sell more than $50,000 per year, you’ll need to upgrade to the midtier plan. After that, revenues of more than $180,000 per year require the highest-tier plan.

The Verdict: It’s a tie, but the exact advantage depends on what you’re looking for. The differences between what’s included in the respective pricing tiers are enough to prefer BigCommerce or Shopify, depending on your business model.

BigCommerce vs Shopify: The Bottom Line

Between Shopify and BigCommerce, which works better for your online store? The above analysis makes a choice relatively straightforward. While both are powerful solutions with plenty of benefits in their own right, Shopify tends to win out when comparing features across the platforms.

Of course, you still need to ensure that you implement your Shopify store correctly. That’s where we come in. Our extensive experience (not to mention our certified partnership) with Shopify makes us uniquely qualified to help you stand out and optimize your online store on the platform. Ready to get started? Contact us to start the conversation today.