shopify vs bigcommerce differences

Shopify vs BigCommerce: Which is Best in 2022?

Shopify and BigCommerce - what are the differences? And which is the best option for your ecommerce website? Let's dive in.

Getting set up can be a huge challenge for a new ecommerce business, especially making the right decisions to ensure the best start for your company. One of the earliest and most important decisions you’ll have to make is choosing an ecommerce platform for your website. It’s an important investment, and you’ll want to make sure the platform you choose covers all of your individual business needs. 

 

Shopify and BigCommerce have been growing in popularity over the past few years, becoming some of the biggest ecommerce platforms available today. As with all competitors, they each offer something different – so what can they offer you? 

Shopify vs BigCommerce comparison: an overview

Shopify and BigCommerce are both popular platforms to promote your business, but what do they offer differently? No two platforms are the same, and it’s important to weigh up your options before you decide.

Platform

Minimum Monthly Cost

Maximum Monthly Cost

Trustpilot rating

Website examples

How to contact customer support 

Shopify

£21.40 ($29)

£220.66 ($299)*

1.2 ⭐

Beards & Daisies

 

Cheesies

Accounts have access to live chat, a customer service number or emails.

BigCommerce

£34.99 ($47.42)

£599.99 ($813.29)

1.9 ⭐

Skullcandy

 

Annesley Surfboards

Either direct account support or a helpline. Calls are prioritised depending on the package. 

*It’s important that we differentiate here and emphasise that this relates to Shopify and not the platform’s enterprise offering of Shopify Plus, which starts at $2,000/month.  

The Main Differences Between Shopify and BigCommerce in General

In this rundown, we’ll go into a lot of detail about Shopify and BigCommerce. But our dig around both platforms uncovered a couple of key differences summarised here:

  • Shopify is, in our view, easier to use than BigCommerce
  • BigCommerce is more flexible for bigger teams. Even in the advanced plan, Shopify is capped at 15 users and BigCommerce is uncapped

Beyond that, we don’t think there’s too much in it in terms of functionality differences  between Shopify and BigCommerce. But you can decide for yourself… here’s the detail.

Shopify

In a nutshell
£ 21
40+
Monthly
  • Very easy to use
  • Loads of apps available
  • Great looking themes

BigCommerce

In a nutshell
£ 34
99+
Monthly
  • Feature rich
  • Unlimited users available
  • Great looking themes

What do Shopify and BigCommerce websites look like?

Website traffic and sales often rely on aesthetics. Getting the right look for your ecommerce site can be just as important as website functionality. So what do BigCommerce and Shopify websites look like? Are there any key differences? Here are some examples of online retailers hosted by each platform.

Shopify: 

 
 
 

BigCommerce: 

 

You can see more Shopify examples here and more BigCommerce examples here and the gallery below shows a few of those examples above.

What are customers saying about Shopify and BigCommerce? Let’s check the reviews

So how do Shopify and BigCommerce compare when it comes to customer satisfaction? In truth, it’s pretty bad on both counts. We looked at Trustpilot to see what customers have said about their service. Here’s what they had to say: 

BigCommerce: 1.9 ⭐

Shopify: 1.2 ⭐

BigCommerce rated only 0.7 stars higher than Shopify, and both are rated less than 2 out of 5 at the time of writing. There are a few consistent complaints for each company. 

  • Customer service: Customers report that both Shopify and BigCommerce are slow to respond to complaints, and unhelpful in resolving issues.


  • Pricing: Both platforms charge additional fees alongside the subscription for features not listed in packages. Many reviews have complained about unpredictable fees, and customers are also having difficulty cancelling payments. BigCommerce is also known to increase prices and price tiers without prior warning. 


  • Security: Shopify has no involvement with their shops, and many reviews have complained about fraudulent sellers. Despite this, customers have reported that their shops have been closed or locked by Shopify for copyright claims. 
  • Addressing reviews: Neither Shopify or BigCommerce engage with their negative reviews on Trustpilot, and neither company has requested reviews.
 

That last point is important. Because if neither company is actually engaging with reviewers on TrustPilot and they’re not requesting TrustPilot reviews from satisfied customers, this will go a long way to contributing to poor performance. 

Ecommerce platforms that proactively seek out reviews from satisfied customers and engage with unhappy ones actively on the TrustPilot platform will generally perform better on TrustPilot.

So our view on this is take it with a bit of a pinch of salt in terms of the overall star ratings, but seek out consistent and common complaints from these reviews in order to try and understand where the pain points are.

If you want to read these reviews, here are the Trustpilot pages for Shopify and BigCommerce

Top tip for reviews! Read the 3 star ones. These are generally customers who have a balanced view point with some fair points to make in terms of the good and the bad. And that can help paint a picture for you.

Ecommerce Website Examples

How much do their monthly packages cost?

One of the main things to consider when deciding on an ecommerce platform is the price. You’ll want to get the package with the most effective cost to feature balance, and that means considering exactly what you want your website to offer. Both Shopify and BigCommerce offer tiered price packages, to help you customise your plan as much as possible. 

Shopify

Package

Basic

Shopify

Advanced

Price per month (Shopify)

£21.40 

($29)

£58.30 

($79)

£220.66 

($299)

Main plan features

An online store, 2 staff accounts, 4 inventory locations, abandoned cart recovery.

5 staff accounts, 5 inventory locations, standard reports, international domains and pricing.

15 staff accounts, 8 inventory locations, shows third-party shipping rates, set prices for countries/regions.

BigCommerce

Package

Basic

Standard

Advanced

Pro

Price per month (BigCommerce)

£34.99 

($47.42)

£69.99 

($94.86)

£209.99 ($284.60)

£599.99 ($813.29)

Main plan features

A domain name, mobile app access, a 30 minute welcome call, yearly shop review and advice.

5 staff logins, 6 month money back guarantee, account manager for 6 months, gift card support, yearly shop improvements.

15 staff logins, 24/7 emergency support, product urgency features, full time account manager, API access, monthly shop improvements.

Unlimited staff logins, full time pro account manager, automated shop improvements, SiteLock™ security, website monitoring, priority design tweaks. 

While BigCommerce’s prices are higher, this platform offers more packages than Shopify, allowing you to personalise your plan as much as possible. Both companies’ plans are feature-based, but they approach from different angles; Shopify offers your shop additional site functionality with its packages, while BigCommerce offers maintenance, support and marketing features to optimise your sales. 

BigCommerce offers a wide range of SEO functions, ranging from marketing and aesthetic advice to automated improvement. Its packages are centred around website advice and SEO improvement to boost sale rates: this includes features such as product urgency features, which encourage customers to buy products by making countdowns and interest levels visible. 

Shopify offers site functionality features such as abandoned cart recovery and setting up international domains (though neither at the time of writing allows for easy set up of multiple international stores from a single domain using subfolders – e.g. mystore.com/fr or mystore.com/de). 

 

What support will I get from BigCommerce or Shopify? 

What can you expect from BigCommerce or Shopify packages? How much will these companies help you with setup and maintenance, and can they be reached quickly if necessary? The purpose of an ecommerce site is to host and maintain your website, so you’ll want to make sure you can rely on them in the day-to-day running of your business.

Shopify

Shopify’s packages don’t offer direct account support, but Shopify does offer customer support and additional help to get started. 

  • Shopify experts: Shopify offers hireable experts to help you migrate your shop to their platform, or set up shop altogether. 
  • Customer support: Shopify accounts have access to a 24/7 support team in case of shop issues or queries. They offer communication via live chat, email or phone. 


  • Discussion forums: Shopify’s discussion forums allow you to ask and answer questions within its customer base, which can help you to find solutions and guides provided by other customers with experience using Shopify.


  • Learning resources: Shopify has an archive of learning resources online to help you boost your shop’s SEO, and to give you a better understanding of business marketing and other useful tips. 

BigCommerce

BigCommerce addresses customer support by promising active marketing assistance. They offer individual support depending on your package. 

  • 30 minute meeting: as part of their ‘Basic’ package, BigCommerce offers a thirty minute introductory meeting. This will help you set up shop, and will also provide tips to improve your shop’s marketing value. 
  • 6 month account manager: An account manager will help you set up, list items and maintain your site for six months. They will also offer you marketing and website advice to optimise sales. 
  • Full time account manager: BigCommerce offers a direct line to your account manager, allowing you to make inquiries about the maintenance of your shop. The account manager will also help with your plan features and setup. 
  • Full time ‘pro’ account manager: The ‘pro’ account manager will manage your account, taking care of content and design requests and managing listings and marketing on request. You will also have a direct line of communication, in case of any queries.
  • Helpline: BigCommerce features a priority system for plans, fast tracking helpline calls depending on your package. 

What features do BigCommerce & Shopify offer to encourage my sales?

Your website’s purpose is to ensure sales for your business. What features can you expect BigCommerce and Shopify to offer to make sure that your site is optimised in as many ways as possible? 

Shopify

Shopify is a feature-based service. Its features are designed to help increase your sales and the quality of your store in order to present a good user experience to your customers. 

  • Abandoned cart recovery: Shopify offers the option for abandoned cart recovery, an email sent out to potential customers with items in their cart. These emails are designed to remind customers of your business, and encourage them to complete their purchases. 
  • Reports: in its ‘Shopify’ and ‘Advanced’ plans, Shopify offers reports so you can view shop statistics such as traffic, recent visitor activity, your shop speed and transaction history. This gives you an overview of your shop’s efficiency, allowing you to make changes in the right places in order to appeal to your customers. 


  • International support: depending on your package, Shopify allows you to adjust pricing per location, and to host international domains to increase interest and the SEO ratings of your shop. You can also sell in up to 20 different languages, reaching a wide customer base.


  • Subscription payments: Shopify offers the option to set up repeat purchases for your customers, encouraging a regular customer base and improving the consistency of your sales. This is not provided by Shopify itself, instead requiring third party apps to function. 


  • Third party shipping rates: on the ‘Advanced’ Shopify plan, your shop can show shipping fee rates calculated from third-party services. This allows your site to display third party shipping rates to your customers, alongside a calculation for expected shipping time. 

BigCommerce

BigCommerce’s model is built around marketing your business to customers and building confidence in your brand. Despite focusing on this, BigCommerce also offers features to make your store functional and reliable. 

 

  • Subscription payments: BigCommerce also offers repeat subscriptions to allow customers to automate their payments, but like Shopify this service is external and relies on third-party services to function. 


  • International support: In order to sell in other languages, BigCommerce requires Weglot translate, a third party service. 


  • API access: BigCommerce supports API access, allowing you to access and transfer data from your ecommerce shop to the internal systems of your business. 


  • Product urgency features: These features allow you to display timers and demand statistics on your site, encouraging sales by prompting your customers to complete their purchases quickly. 


  • ‘Evolution mode’: BigCommerce will evaluate and make suggestions or adjustments to your shop depending on your package: this includes aesthetic and functional changes that could improve your website’s rating. 
  • SiteLock™ security: BigCommerce’s ‘pro’ package offers SiteLock™ security to keep your transactions and information secure. 
 

Which is more popular, Shopify or BigCommerce?

Shopify and BigCommerce are both well known platforms when it comes to hosting your business, but just how popular are they? We examined data from Google Trends and Keyword Finder to find out the global popularity of each site. 

shopify vs bigcommerce popularity trends

  • Shopify has more online interest than BigCommerce, although they reached similar levels at the end of 2021. 
  • While Shopify’s popularity is consistent, BigCommerce experiences larger fluctuations in interest.
  • Interest for both platforms peaked in June, July and August of both 2020 and 2021, and sank again in December. 
  • BigCommerce had 145,000 average monthly searches over 2021, compared to Shopify’s 3.25 million. 

 

Shopify and BigCommerce have been competitors ever since BigCommerce was launched in 2009. Both companies have wide user bases and are relatively well-known in the ecommerce industry; despite this, the two have only recently matched in trend popularity at the end of 2021.

BigCommerce and Shopify are two popular options to host your ecommerce site, and they both have pros and cons of their services. The fundamental difference is their focus; BigCommerce aims to market your company with SEO techniques, while Shopify is feature-based to ensure the best service for your customers. 

We hope this comparison has helped you to make one of the biggest decisions your business will make. If Shopify or BigCommerce don’t appeal to you, there are plenty more options available online. 

Shopify

In a nutshell
£ 21
40+
Monthly
  • Very easy to use
  • Loads of apps available
  • Great looking themes

BigCommerce

In a nutshell
£ 34
99+
Monthly
  • Feature rich
  • Unlimited users available
  • Great looking themes

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