Ecommerce Platforms, Comparisons

Bigcommerce vs Shopify: Who Wins the Battle and Why? (2020)

Christina Dillon | Updated:

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What happens when the two biggest names in ecommerce go head-to-head?

We’re about to find out…

If you’re in the throes of choosing the right ecommerce platform for your business, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Bigcommerce and Shopify.

bigcommerce vs shopify

But which one stands out in 2019?

To be honest…

I have to tell you. I’ve been in this game for about a decade. And this is ONE close race.

So although I’m going to award the belt to one ecommerce platform, it’s up to you to decide which is best for your business.

Fortunately, everything you need to know is right here in this post.

I’ll cover:

  • Bigcommerce vs. Shopify: Who Wins for 2019?
  • Pros and Cons of Shopify and Bigcommerce
  • Overall Features of Bigcommerce and Shopify
  • Ease of Use: Shopify or Bigcommerce
  • Design Features of Each Platform
  • Shopify vs. Bigcommerce Pricing Compared
  • Conclusion: How to Choose Between Bigcommerce and Shopify in 2019

Bigcommerce vs. Shopify: Who Wins for 2019?

Score out of 10BigcommerceShopify
Overall9.29.4

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!

In the comparison between Bigcommerce vs Shopify, Shopify wins overall. I’m going to explain why in a minute.

But for now…

Understand that I’m rating these ecommerce platforms based on the average entry-level ecommerce store’s needs. It doesn’t mean that you should blindly choose Shopify over Bigcommerce.

Instead, look at the features of each to see whether one has better features for your business.

So let’s dive in and do just that.

Pros and Cons of Shopify and Bigcommerce

When you’re looking at any ecommerce comparison, the pros and cons are a great place to start.

Why?

Well, this section will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each platform.

And although one may ultimately win out over the other, you may need one feature that’s a strength for Bigcommerce – but it’s a weakness for Shopify.

First, let’s take a look at the popularity of both sites. When you look at the chart below, it should be no surprise that Shopify is the winner of this throwdown.

shopify vs bigcommerce google trends

But since this is more than a popularity contest, let’s explore the pros and cons of each platform.

Bigcommerce Pros

One of the greatest selling points of Bigcommerce is that it has more built-in features than any other ecommerce platform. With other ecommerce platforms, including Shopify, you have to pay for upgrades.

With Bigcommerce, they’re included in the price.

We’ll cover what you get for your money in the next section, but Bigcommerce does have some standout features that you won’t get with Shopify’s Plan.

Bigcommerce also has an exceptional array of templates to choose from.

Other pros overlap with Shopify’s pros, like multichannel selling and great SEO.

Bigcommerce cons

So if Bigcommerce has more standard features and more templates than Shopify…

You’re probably wondering why it’s not the winner.

Good question.

Like I said, it’s a rather close race, but Bigcommerce’s cons and some extra Shopify pros are what relegate this platform to the number 2 spot.

For one, Bigcommerce isn’t as friendly as Shopify is for beginners. They user more complex terms and the interface isn’t as user-friendly.

If you’re sold on trying Bigcommerce, there’s some good news.

You can take this ecommerce platform for a risk-free test drive. Click here to try Bigcommerce free for 15 days.

Shopify pros

Shopify has some standout sales features that can help bring business to your website – and convert visitors to buyers.

Shopify also has an exceptional inventory management system, and it’s probably the easiest ecommerce platform for beginners to create an online store without any prior ecommerce knowledge.

And like Bigcommerce, Shopify supports multichannel selling across social platforms like Facebook and Instagram. It’s also a great platform for SEO.

Shopify cons

One of the biggest cons to using Shopify is twofold.

First, this platform uses its own proprietary template language called Liquid. Not only that, but it’s written on Ruby, which is already somewhat of a specialty coding language (it ranks 8 out of 10 of the most popular coding languages).

What does this all mean?

Well, you’re going to have to find a developer with specialized knowledge to make any changes to your website’s template. And as we all know, that can get pricey.

And second, if you don’t have the budget for customizations, you may find something workable in the app store. Shopify’s massive app store is a pro, but when you start adding the cost of multiple apps, it can be a con.

My best advice: Evaluate which apps you’ll need on Shopify during the 14-day free trial, so you can get a full picture of what this platform will cost to run your business.

Overall Features of Bigcommerce and Shopify

Shopify 9.5/10 Bigcommerce 9.4/10

When we’re looking at sales features between the two platforms, Shopify edges its way to the top. But BigCommerce really isn’t far behind.

I’ve already told you that Bigcommerce has the best built-in features in the biz.

So you might be a little confused…

But in reality, it’s Shopify’s extensive sales features that propel it to the top of this list.

Both Bigcommerce and Shopify have the following features:

Impressive uptimes – Both ecommerce platforms boast 99.9% uptime, which is about as good as you can expect from any hosted ecommerce platform.

SSL certificates – Shopify and Bigcommerce both offer the best in security with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption.

Abandoned cart recovery – This feature may be more important than you realize. But with both platforms, you can send an email to anyone who has logged in and left your website with items in their cart. One report indicates that abandoned cart recovery can boost sales by as much as 25 percent!

bigcommerce and shopify cart recovery

Powerful inventory management – Bigcommerce and Shopify both make it easy to add and manage products and inventory across all channels.

Multichannel sales – With either Shopify or Bigcommerce, you can reach customers where they are – on social media.

Shopify’s standout features

Although you may need to invest a little more, Shopify’s app store gives you more options overall than Bigcommerce. It’s as easy as a click to install most apps from the Shopify app store, and you can have instant access to powerful sales features that you won’t find on Bigcommerce.

Ease-of-use is another standout feature that Shopify wins hands down. It’s a much easier platform to learn than Bigcommerce (and most other ecommerce platforms).

Bigcommerce’s standout features

One big reason why some small business entrepreneurs choose Bigcommerce over Shopify is because it offers exactly what they need. For example, if your business relies on gift cards, you may choose Bigcommerce over Shopify.

That’s because Bigcommerce allows you to sell and receive gift cards on its basic plan. Shopify does not.

It’s also easier to sell digital products and services through Bigcommerce because you don’t need an app. It’s all part of the basic plan.

And while these features mean everything to some businesses, they get in the way for other businesses.

It’s a lot more difficult to learn how to use a platform that has a bunch of features you don’t need.

So, that’s why Bigcommerce is better for some business’s than others. If you happen to need these standout features, it’s perfect. If you don’t need them, they just tend to get in the way.

Ease of Use: Shopify or Bigcommerce

Shopify 9/10 Bigcommerce 8/10

Shopify and Bigcommerce are relatively easy to use, but Shopify is the clear winner in this category.

Because Bigcommerce contains a lot of features in its basic plan, it can be a bit more challenging to navigate – especially for a beginner.

On the other hand, Shopify was designed with ease-of-use in mind. It’s one of Shopify’s main selling features. So, it really makes sense that it’s easier to use than virtually any ecommerce platform out there.

In fact, you can jump in and setup your store without any prior knowledge in as little as one hour. You’ll probably want to take longer to get everything just right – but that’s a testament to how easy this platform is to setup and use.

Unless you’ve used Bigcommerce before, you probably won’t be able to get a store up and running in such a short amount of time.

Not only is Bigcommerce’s platform a bit clunkier than Shopify’s, but it also uses language that can seem foreign to someone who is just starting out.

With all that said, Bigcommerce isn’t as user friendly for a reason. Basically, the people who designed the platform traded features for ease-of-use. And if you happen to need some of the standout features that Bigcommerce offers, it’s worthwhile to get to know how to use this platform.

Ultimately, the decision will come down to you and how comfortable you are with one over the other.

And in reality, there’s only one way to find out.

Start your free trial of Bigcommerce here.

And get a store started for free on Shopify with a 14-day trial.

Design Features of Each Platform

Shopify 9.5/10 Bigcommerce 8.6/10

If you’ve read my comparison on Squarespace vs Shopify, you understand that there’s a difference between a platform that’s built for content versus a platform that’s built for ecommerce.

In this case, we’re looking at two platforms that were built for ecommerce. So, it’s apples-to-apples.

And in this apples-to-apples comparison, Shopify wins again.

And again, you might be surprised by that – especially knowing that Bigcommerce offers more templates overall.

But here’s the thing…

Not only does Shopify offer more free templates (10 versus Bigcommerce’s 7), but Shopify’s templates are all multipurpose. They generally have similar features with different layouts – so you can feel free to choose any one template over another without having to look for specific features like zoom.

With Bigcommerce, things are a bit more complicated.

Yes, they do have more templates to choose from, but you have to make sure you’re choosing the right template for your industry. Otherwise, it may not have everything you need – and you stand to waste a lot of time figuring that out.

On the plus side, Bigcommerce does make it easy to change themes. Your content will simply be reformatted to the new layout – automagically.

Shopify vs. Bigcommerce Pricing Compared

Shopify 9.5/10 Bigcommerce 9.5/10

Here is one category where the two platforms are very similar.

Let’s see what Bigcommerce charges:

bigcommerce pricing

And now, Shopify’s pricing:

shopify pricing

As you can see, there’s only a $0.95/mo. difference between Bigcommerce and Shopify pricing on the two lower-priced plans. So price probably won’t be much of a consideration.

One more thing you may want to know…

Bigcommerce doesn’t charge transaction fees at all. Shopify only waives transaction fees if you’re using its proprietary gateway, Shopify Payments.

With that said, though, Shopify Payments offers competitive rates. So there’s no reason not to use it. And there are benefits to using a proprietary gateway – like having access to all your sales transactions right in your ecommerce dashboard.

So between the two ecommerce platforms, it’s a tie between Bigcommerce and Shopify for pricing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Shopify better than Bigcommerce?

Bigcommerce: 9.2 Shopify: 9.4 Shopify wins.

Is there anything better than Shopify?

Bigcommerce is Shopify’s biggest competitor.

Is Bigcommerce easy to use?

It isn’t as friendly for beginners. They use more complex terms and have a no so user friendly interface.

Is Shopify better than Amazon?

Shopify offers better value for money.

Conclusion: How to Choose Between Bigcommerce vs Shopify in 2019

When all is said and done, Shopify wins this battle for a variety of reasons.

It’s easier to use, offers more and better free templates, and it has a more robust app store than Bigcommerce.

And all these features make the process super-easy for someone who is just getting started with ecommerce. And to be honest, it’s even easier for a seasoned pro.

But with all that said, there’s still a market for Bigcommerce. It’s a bit more challenging to use because it includes more features than Shopify.

And if you happen to need those features, it’s worth getting to know Bigcommerce. 

If you’re still on the fence, start your free trial of Shopify and Bigcommerce to see which platform suits your business best.

They’re priced at almost the same monthly rates and are both known to be reliable platforms, so there really isn’t a wrong choice.

Have you already tried both platforms?

I’d love to hear what you think. Does Bigcommerce suit your needs better than Shopify? If so, why?

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