Shopify vs BigCommerce: Which eCommerce Platform Is Right For Your Business?

Last Updated: March 22, 2022

If you’re looking to move your business online, there’s a lot of choices that need to be made before you can get up and running. In all cases, you want to make use of the right tools early on to be successful.

One of those hard choices will be selecting an eCommerce platform. There are many similar looking tools in the market, and many online sellers end up debating between two or three options. The most popular ones include Shopify and Bigcommerce.

BigCommerce and Shopify are both powerful eCommerce site builders and store providers, so they’re both excellent choices. That being said, there are a few key differences between the two platforms that can help you determine which platform is the right choice for you.

In this post, we’re going to compare BigCommerce vs Shopify, comparing the two and highlighting their key differences and similarities to help make your decision a lot easier.

Shopify vs BigCommerce: The Similarities

Before we start focusing on the key differences between these two platforms, it’s a good idea to take a look at their similarities, because there are a lot of them.

They’re both powerful eCommerce website builders that make it easy for you to create gorgeous, high-functioning sites quickly. They both also offer native eCommerce hosting, making it exceptionally easy to build and run your site all in one place. You can manage your entire store from inside a single dashboard.

A few other great similarities to point out include that both offer:

  • 24/7 support that’s available by phone, live chat, or email
  • Access to names of pre-screened experts like designers, marketers, or store developers who you can hire if you want to outsource anything
  • Free and premium themes available.
  • Incredible capabilities for additional functionalities on-site (though they go about this slightly differently)
  • Outstanding self-reported site uptime, with both saying they have more than 99.98% site uptime

Shopify vs. BigCommerce: The Differences

When it comes down to it, there are three really significant differences (which encompass lots of smaller differences) between the two platforms. Let’s take a look at each and how it could affect you.

  1. Transactional Costs

Transactional fees are the fees charged on every purchase a customer makes. If you’ve used PayPal for businesses before—you may have seen this—they take 2.9% + a flat fee of whatever money is being sent. Shopify does charge transactional fees. BigCommerce doesn’t.

Speaking as a business owner with a lot of transactional fees, you want to keep an eye out for those, because they can eat into revenue quickly. Shopify’s transaction fees do decrease as you upgrade your plan, so as you scale, the fees will go down. Still, it’s something to keep in mind.

Shopify Transactional Fees

2. Feature Set

When you’re choosing an eCommerce platform, you want to pick the one that gives you the most flexibility. The world is your oyster and all that. Ultimately, Shopify has more “core features” than BigCommerce. They have more themes—both premium and paid—and substantially more apps (think more than 1000 compared to BigCommerce’s several hundred). They also have more pre-screened/qualified experts lined up in their marketplace.

This makes sense—Shopify has more than 500,000 merchants, while Bigcommerce has hosted closer to 95,000 online stores

Shopify has more add-on potential, but BigCommerce gives you more out of the gate (and for free). A lot of functionality that BigCommerce gives merchants outright require add-ons on Shopify. This may give you more customization options on the latter, but it can also end up costing you more if you opt for paid apps instead.

3. Pricing

Pricing between Shopify and BigCommerce is pretty comparable. Both start at $29.99 a month for their most basic plans. Shopify’s Enterprise plan is more expensive at $299 instead of BigCommerce’s $249 per month, but that’s still relatively close.

Abandoned cart recovery is included in Shopify’s base plan, but not BigCommerce’s. Free SSL certificates come with all Shopify plans, but you need to upgrade to a higher plan on BigCommerce for your unique certificate there. You also don’t have a sales limit number on Shopify, though you do on BigCommerce.

BigCommerce, on the other hand, offers shipping quotes with the base plan model, but Shopify doesn’t offer this until you upgrade to their Enterprise plan. There are more affordable apps that can help with this, however, so if that’s the only feature of the base or mid-line plan that you need on Shopify, you can find a third-party tool to help.

Shopify vs BigCommerce: The Verdict

Both BigCommerce and Shopify are excellent site builders and online managers and there’s a lot of overlap between the two. All that being said, there are clearly some differences between the platforms that can help you differentiate between the two when you’re choosing which to go with. If one of your core business goals is to scale rapidly, choose the platform that you believe would best fit a scaling business in the future alongside the one that can best help you now.