BigCommerce vs. Shopify [2020]: A Comparison Guide

Anuj Dalal

Anuj Dalal

September 14, 2020
BigCommerce vs. Shopify

The Shopify vs. BigCommerce debate has been raging for a while now. Given that both are spearheading the e-commerce domain, it would only make sense to wonder, which is better, Shopify or BigCommerce?

Naturally, earning a solid reputation requires some impressive qualities and features. For instance, they empower retailers & vendors to effectively sell their products or services online (as well as offline).

On top of all that, you do not require extensive web designing or other technical knowhow to launch your online store over BigCommerce or Shopify.

However, despite all the similarities, BigCommerce and Shopify are naturally not the same. Hence, in a bid to support small businesses, startups, and even enterprises, we have conducted an elaborate BigCommerce vs. Shopify comparison based on various areas.

BigCommerce vs. Shopify: What Is the Difference?

Here is a quick, tabular comparison between the two the e-commerce platform:

  BigCommerce Shopify
Ease of Use Drag and drop Interface but a bit more challenging for beginners Simple interface with robust customer support
Themes 12 free themes with paid premium designs starting at $150 9 free themes with paid premium designs starting at $100
SEO Flexible Google-friendly URLs Less flexible URLs but overall a Robust SEO Platform
App Store Limited app store Extensive app store with expanding libraries

1. Ease of Use

  • BigCommerce
BigCommerce Dashboard

BigCommerce offers a quick welcome tour to onboard users. Plus, the simplified drag and drop builder makes it easier to set up your store in a couple of clicks.

However, using BigCommerce is a tad bit more challenging purely due to its technical nature, inbuilt features, and hard to understand language. The higher customization trades off the ease of use, as you will have to learn and understand backend elements.

  • Shopify
Shpoify Dashboard

When you compare the admin dashboard of BigCommerce vs. Shopify, the first thing that you will notice would be the similarity between the two. In fact, Shopify takes it one step further and offers the tidiest interface for vendors.

With all the clutter and the noise away from sight, merchants can focus more on their business. Plus, the sidebar contains all the tools and features needed to set up and modify their store.

Winner: Shopify

While both offer high usability, Shopify gains the edge due to its simplicity and plug-and-play functionality, which is comparable to BigCommerce but without all the complexities.

2. Themes

  • BigCommerce
BigCommerce Theme

When you compare Shopify vs. BigCommerce, you may notice that the latter offers 12 themes as opposed to Shopify’s 9. However, these 12 themes vary only slightly with minor color adjustments!

One may even argue that BigCommerce boils down to only five unique themes. At the same time, customization of free themes can be quite restrictive.

The paid templates, in the case of BigCommerce, cost around $150 to $300. However, BigCommerce is once again plagued by theme repetition and similarity, even in this aspect.

  • Shopify

Shopify boasts of an extensive library of free and paid themes that allow vendors to make their store unique. Even the most basic designs are chic, modernistic, and, most importantly, distinct from each other.

Plus, all the designs are categorically logged based on common characteristics, which makes it easier for users to navigate and locate a theme according to the vibe or niche of the e-commerce store.

Paid premium themes start as low as $100 as a one-time fee! Furthermore, Shopify enjoys the support of an active community of third-party designers and contributors who are adding value to it continuously.

Winner: Shopify

In this area of BigCommerce vs. Shopify, Shopify trumps BigCommerce with its heavy focus on improving UX. Resultantly, Shopify offers a wider selection of free and paid-for themes, designs, and templates with a better value for money proposition. Hence, you can enjoy better customization with Shopify.

3. Integration

  • BigCommerce

The BigCommerce app store hosts nearly 760 apps, which can be seamlessly integrated with your store. However, one can consider its out-of-the-box functionality to offset the lack of third-party app support.

BigCommerce Integration

Amongst the many integrations such as QuickBooks Online, Google Shopping by Sales & Orders, ShipStation, and more, BigCommerce can boast of a clear advantage – MailChimp.

  • Shopify

Even though Shopify may have missed out on the MailChimp integration, it offers more than 4000 third-party app integration, which is MASSIVE! Users can work around the MailChimp disadvantage through apps like Campaign Monitor and GetResponse.

Shopify Integration

Vendors can choose from a repertoire of generic apps, such as Delivery Date Pro, to highly specific ones, such as the Halloween Day Celebration! With Shopify, the possibilities are endless.

Winner: Shopify

Clearly, the advantage lies with Shopify, given its wide range of app integration offerings. It is a reflection of the platform’s popularity and how the Shopify ecosystem is always growing.

4. Product Categories

  • BigCommerce

Whether you use BigCommerce or Shopify, product categorization is vital as it offers greater visibility to your products. BigCommerce attempts to quicken and simplify the categorization process through bulk edit.

Otherwise, you will have to expand several categories and sub-category fields to locate the one that holds your interests due to BigCommerce’s clunky interface.

  • Shopify

Shopify makes product categorization easier with its ‘Automated Collections’ feature. As a result, you don’t have to manually add the products to a new or existing collection.

Simply enter the product title, product tags, price, weight, etc., as a condition rule and Shopify will auto-populate a list or add it to an existing category.

Winner: Shopify

Managing, sorting, and categorizing products is far easier due to Shopify’s smart categorization capabilities. Hence, if you have a wide range of products and are wondering which is better, Shopify or BigCommerce, then Shopify is the way to go!

5. SEO

  • BigCommerce

BigCommerce allows you to create Google-friendly URLs. It means that BigCommerce links are shorter, to the point, and yet, they are rich with keywords. Additionally, BigCommerce offers several SEO tools that help you optimize your store and rank high in top search engines, like Google and Bing.

  • Shopify

Even though Shopify equally recognizes the need and importance of SEO, the rigid URL structure can be its undoing. Typically, the links contain /products/ or /collections/, which makes the URL longer than desired. Plus, you will have to install a dedicated tool to enable AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), which is enabled by default in BigCommerce.

Winner: BigCommerce

In terms of SEO, the Shopify vs. BigCommerce race heats up. And while Shopify does put up an appreciable fight, it does rank lower than BigCommerce stores.

6. Performance

  • BigCommerce

BigCommerce delivers the following performance:

BigCommerce Scoreboard
  • Shopify

On the other hand, here is a scorecard for Shopify:

Shopify Scoreboard

Winner: Tie

Site performance is a critical factor to consider regardless of whether you use BigCommerce or Shopify. Fortunately, both websites deliver robust performance and are well-optimized.

7. Pricing

  • BigCommerce

The pricing of BigCommerce is divided into four tiers. These are:

BigCommerce Pricing

BigCommerce also offers a 15-day trial with no credit card required.

  • Shopify

Shopify, on the other hand, follows a five-tiered pricing structure, which is as follows:

Shopify Pricing

Shopify grants its users a 14-day trial without any credit card details.

Winner: Tie

When you compare BigCommerce vs. Shopify’s price, you can easily observe that the pricing structure is quite similar. The major difference that one can see emerges in the Shopify Plus vs. BigCommerce Enterprise comparison. However, these are customized, variable values that change from business to business.

8. Customer Support

  • BigCommerce

Here is a quick snapshot of the customer services offered by BigCommerce:

  • 24/7 Phone Support
  • 24/7 Live Chat
  • Email Support or Ticketing
  • Video Tutorials
  • BigCommerce Help Center
  • Support Forum
  • Advanced Specialist Support

However, the Help Center can be rather confusing and tough to navigate, which may dilute the user experience.

  • Shopify

Shopify offers all the customer services as granted by BigCommerce. However, it takes it further a notch by offering customer support through social media as well. Further, the useful suggestion links and helpful redirects to the Shopify Knowledge Center makes self-servicing easier.

Furthermore, Shopify shares all the relevant contact details upfront, making it relatively easier to enjoy its stellar customer support services. Plus, you can enjoy community support, which gives Shopify a competitive edge.

Winner: Shopify

Naturally, customer support should be instantly and readily available to tackle all user requirements. Shopify manages to do precisely that, which helps it score several brownie points in the BigCommerce vs. Shopify comparison.

Moreover, the end-to-end customer support in the BigCommerce Enterprise vs. Shopify Plus puts the former in a comfortable spot.

9. Mobile App

  • BigCommerce

The BigCommerce mobile app offers basic functionalities, such as managing orders and products, viewing customer info, contacting customers, and accessing key performance metrics. However, it is a heavily watered-down version of the BigCommerce dashboard, which steals away from its usability.

  • Shopify
Shopify Mobile App

Shopify’s mobile application makes store management a lot easier, no matter where you may be! It offers Shopify and Shopify POS that are available for iOS and Android users. The Shopify app allows you to carry out basic store management tasks, such as fulfilling orders, adding products, and viewing reports.

While the Shopify POS aids with point-of-sale purchases for physical locations. You can use it to accept credit card payments, generate email receipts, and sync product numbers.

Winner: Tie

In this sphere, Shopify does seem to bear a slight edge over BigCommerce. However, both platforms are developing their mobile application at an accelerated rate, so it can be a fair game at any point!

10. Security

  • BigCommerce

BigCommerce is PCI DSS compliant and offers a free SSL certificate. However, you can also purchase specialized SSL certificates from its store. Large enterprises can choose to purchase or transfer a custom, third-party SSL for Pro subscription.

Additionally, BigCommerce also offers server-specific firewalls, intrusion detection software, DDoS migration solutions, file integrity scanners, fraudulent transaction protection, and 24/7 human monitoring.

  • Shopify

Much like BigCommerce, Shopify hosts the website on Level 1 PCI DSS 3.0 certified servers, which offers the highest grade of protection from data breaches. The security features are paired with free SSL certification, which offers end-to-end encryption. It also comes with automatic backup systems that secure user data in the event of any breach.

Winner: Tie

Security is something that neither BigCommerce nor Shopify would want to mess up. Hence, there are no clear winners as both excel in terms of site security.

11. Staff Accounts

  • BigCommerce

BigCommerce allows its users to create an unlimited number of staff accounts, regardless of the plan. Therefore, you can create dedicated accounts for each of your staff members without having to shell out any extra money.

  • Shopify

In this BigCommerce vs. Shopify head-to-head, Shopify is at a disadvantage since it offers only a limited number of staff accounts. Further, the number varies depending on the plan and could range from 1 staff account for Shopify Lite to 15 for the Shopify Advanced plan. Hence, if you plan on scaling your business, you will have to upgrade your plan accordingly.

Winner: BigCommerce

Clearly, even when you consider Standard BigCommerce vs. Shopify Plus, you notice that you get unlimited staff account in the former at a far lower price. The flexibility offered by BigCommerce allows it an advantage.

BigCommerce vs. Shopify: Who Wins?

Now that we have conducted an elaborate Shopify vs. BigCommerce comparison, it finally boils down to the main question: which is better, Shopify or BigCommerce?

Shopify scored big in ease of use, theme, integration, product categorization, and customer support. And BigCommerce stole the show in SEO and staff account availability. Finally, both present comparable results in terms of security, pricing, mobile app functionality, and performance.

Eventually, the choice between BigCommerce or Shopify is also a matter of personal preference.

That being said, even though both platforms are fairly matched, Shopify wins the most categories.

Are you ready to get started on your Shopify journey? Contact the experts at Zestard to know about our full range of Shopify development services. We handle the grunt work so you can focus on your core business.

Anuj Dalal

About Anuj Dalal

A visionary founder and CEO, Anuj Dalal is an IT engineer, systems architect and technology executive with over 12+ years of expertise leading technology teams and building enterprise e-commerce systems. His leadership and approach to e-commerce technology has delivered successful e-commerce solutions - generating billions of dollars in revenue. You can find Anuj on Linkedin and Twitter.


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