Industry Insights

BigCommerce vs Shopify: In-Depth Comparison of Top Ecommerce Platforms

BigCommerce vs Shopify: In-Depth Comparison of Top Ecommerce Platforms

Deciding between the leading e-commerce platforms BigCommerce and Shopify poses challenges for online sellers. This extensive comparison examines crucial differences in features for building and managing online stores. Uncover unique insights into critical factors like scalability, functionality, ease of use and cost across both platforms.

Quick Answer: When comparing the leading e-commerce platforms, BigCommerce excels in sophisticated native functionality for complex sales needs while Shopify emphasizes ease of use and design for simpler retail models.

Key Takeaways:

  • BigCommerce outperforms for large brands needing advanced functionality while Shopify simplifies e-commerce for small businesses
  • Shopify excels at usability, templates and apps while BigCommerce wins on flexibility and systems integration
  • Shopify bundles more marketing features natively yet BigCommerce enables greater customization potential
  • Shopify streamlines global retail but BigCommerce handles B2B complexity better
  • Shopify offers superior direct support yet BigCommerce provides more self-service resources

Platform Overview and Pricing Plans

Feature Category BigCommerce Shopify
Overview Founded in 2009, focusing on small to mid-sized businesses with enterprise-level features. Known for its open SaaS platform and strong omnichannel solutions. Founded in 2004, emphasizing ease of use and entrepreneurship. Known for visually appealing design, robust marketing functionality, and extensive app integrations.
Pricing Plans Offers Standard, Plus, Pro, and Enterprise plans with pricing starting from $29.95/month. Plans scale with business size and sales volume. Offers Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify with pricing starting from $29/month. Plans are designed to cater to businesses of different sizes and sales thresholds.
Key Considerations in Pricing No monthly bandwidth overhead fees. Potential add-on costs for premium 3rd party apps and themes. Volume discounts on transactions for Enterprise plans. No limits on SKUs, product categories, or inventory volumes. Additional costs for apps, themes, and customizations. Transaction fees for third-party payment gateways.

Overview of BigCommerce and Shopify

BigCommerce: An Overview

BigCommerce was founded in 2009 by Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper to provide an all-in-one e-commerce platform tailored for small and mid-sized businesses. Their vision was to enable online stores with enterprise-level features and flexibility without the high costs and complexity. 

Over the past decade, BigCommerce has rapidly evolved from offering basic online storefronts to providing robust omnichannel commerce solutions, impacting over 60,000 businesses in 120 countries.

Key milestones include launching an open SaaS platform in 2013, unveiling native integration with Amazon and eBay in 2015, and acquiring Feedonomics and Zoey in 2021 to expand advertising and web design capabilities. 

As of 2022, BigCommerce powers over $20 billion in online sales annually and has raised over $219 million in funding. The company continues to focus primarily on mid-market and large enterprise brands, providing sophisticated tools to scale while delivering exceptional checkout experiences.

Shopify: An Overview

Shopify emerged in 2004 when founders Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake set out to simplify online retail for small businesses. Dissatisfied with existing e-commerce platforms, they created their own web-based solution focused on ease of use, flexibility, and enabling entrepreneurship. 

Over the past two decades, Shopify has experienced meteoric growth, raising over $2.6 billion in funding to date, going public in 2015 at a $1.27 billion valuation, powering over 1.75 million businesses globally, and facilitating over $200 billion in sales.

Alongside robust commerce capabilities, Shopify emphasizes visually appealing storefront design, marketing functionality, and omni-channel sales leveraging POS, chat, and more. They also boast the most app integrations with over 6,000 partner-built add-ons. 

Shopify today leads its niche in empowering entrepreneurs and small/medium businesses in launching and managing online stores. Its intuitive, stylish platform makes e-commerce accessible at any scale.

Pricing and Plans

BigCommerce Pricing Plans

BigCommerce offers 4 main pricing plans suitable for businesses at different stages of growth: Standard, Plus, Pro, and Enterprise.

The Standard plan starts at $29.95/month (when billed annually) and supports basic online stores selling up to $50k annually. It includes a free SSL certificate, abandoned cart recovery, and support for digital downloads. However, it has limited design flexibility, 100 SKU limits, and no discounts/coupons.

The Plus plan starts at $79.95/month (when billed annually) and supports stores selling $180k+ annually. Additional features include custom checkouts, tax calculators and 500 SKU limits. Site performance analytics and priority support are also provided. There are still restrictions around design flexibility and you pay extra transaction fees beyond a certain threshold.

Pro plans unlock more advanced functionality like gift cards, custom catalogs and automatic inventory tracking. Pricing starts at $299.95/month (when billed annually) and scales based on traffic volumes, order thresholds and enabled feature sets. There aren't limits on SKUs but you pay higher credit card rates.

Finally, custom Enterprise plans offer dedicated account management and API access for truly customized stores selling over $1 million annually. Pricing is negotiated based on individual requirements. Setup fees also apply but there are volume discounts on transactions.

Many limitations around design, integrations and payments can be augmented through premium 3rd party apps and themes, available from the BigCommerce app marketplace. However, these carry additional monthly or annual licensing fees.

Overall BigCommerce pricing correlates closely with expanded feature sets, dedicated support and increased sales volumes. Users should factor both base pricing and potential add-on costs when budgeting.

Shopify Pricing Plans

Shopify offers 3 core pricing plans – Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify.

Basic Shopify costs $29/month and supports new online stores transacting under $1k monthly. It includes a free SSL certificate, discounted credit card rates and up to 2 staff accounts. However, it carries a 2% transaction fee (even on Shopify Payments), limits to 2 themes, and 24/7 support is not included.

Standard Shopify plans cost $79/month and support stores transacting $1k to $40k monthly. Extra features include gift cards, professional reporting and up to 5 staff accounts. A 1% transaction fee applies to Shopify Payments payouts while external gateways are charged an additional 0.5%. More theme and app options are available but Advanced Shopify unlocks the full range.

Advanced Shopify costs $299/month and caters to stores exceeding $40k in monthly sales. Key upgrades encompass real-time carrier shipping, advanced report builders and up to 15 staff accounts. POS hardware can also sync natively with the platform. Shopify Payments transactions under $800k/month have no added transaction fees.

Unlike BigCommerce, Shopify does not charge monthly bandwidth overhead fees, nor are there any limits in terms of SKUs, product categories or inventory volumes. However, apps, themes and other customizations command added licensing fees, often monthly or annually. Complex sites leveraging these can become costly over time.

By aligning pricing tiers to sales thresholds, Shopify simplifies cost scaling decisions for growing stores. However, the lack of volume discounts compared to BigCommerce can make it pricier at higher levels. Understanding the transaction fees and feature differences is key.

Ease of Use, Design, and Customization

Feature Category BigCommerce Shopify
Ease of Use Slightly more effort required upfront. Offers one-on-one support for guidance, detailed help docs, and video tutorials. Simplified setup process, especially for those with minimal e-commerce experience. Offers 24/7 customer support and various educational resources.
Daily Management and Usability Superior back-end capabilities suited for established merchants. Extensive configuration options available. Simpler dashboard focused on enabling core tasks like managing listings and tracking sales.
Design and Customization Around 60 professionally designed templates available. Offers industry-specific designs. Back-end control for added power, requires HTML/CSS knowledge. Over 100 free and paid themes available. Front-end customization is intuitive and flexible. Offers a broad selection of professional themes and plugins.
Learning Curve and Support Resources A steeper learning curve due to the breadth of features. Direct one-on-one support available during onboarding. Intuitive UI, suitable for first-time store owners. Extensive educational offerings through Ecommerce University and a thriving online community.

Ease of Use

Setting Up a Store on BigCommerce

Setting up an online store on BigCommerce is straightforward but involves slightly more upfront effort compared to Shopify. After signing up for an account, merchants can choose from dozens of professional templates or customize their own design. The platform features an intuitive drag-and-drop builder for structuring page content seamlessly. However, getting product listings ready requires manually importing a CSV inventory file or configuring channel integrations. 

BigCommerce accelerates launch times by providing new users access to dedicated one-on-one support agents for guidance. They also offer detailed help docs and video tutorials covering site setup. Overall, less tech-savvy sellers may find the initial setup process more hands-on relative to Shopify.

Setting Up a Store on Shopify

In contrast, Shopify simplifies the setup process for those with minimal e-commerce experience. Users can launch a basic online store in just a few clicks by selecting a template, modifying preferences, and adding products manually. The direct cataloguing process in Shopify removes any need for bulk uploads or data formatting. 

And with hundreds of professional themes and plugins available, customizing a store’s look and feel to match specific branding needs is uncomplicated. For further assistance, Shopify offers 24/7 customer support, an Ecommerce University program, and a thriving online community forum. Altogether, Shopify reduces friction for first-time entrepreneurs to get started.

Daily Management and Usability

When it comes to daily administrative duties, BigCommerce provides superior back-end inventory, order processing, and analytics capabilities suited for established merchants. However, the extensive configuration options can overwhelm novice users. 

Shopify conversely offers a simpler dashboard focused on enabling core tasks like managing listings, tracking sales, and fulfilling orders. Yet automation and reporting lack the sophistication available in BigCommerce. Ultimately, BigCommerce gives experienced retailers more power while Shopify streamlines the basics more effectively.

Both platforms offer mobile companion apps for managing stores on-the-go. And after initial setup, Shopify does provide greater front-end store control for business users less comfortable navigating code. Those with development skills do gain more direct template access with BigCommerce though.

Learning Curve and Support Resources

The breadth of available features means mastering BigCommerce requires more learning over time compared to Shopify. Shopify’s UI is more intuitive allowing first-time store owners to find their footing quickly. Their continuous educational offerings also accelerate proficiency for fledgling businesses. Areas like search engine optimization and financial reporting will demand effort investing in with either platform however.

That said, BigCommerce outcomes rely less on relying purely on native features. Their open ecosystem affords leveraging specialized apps and services to achieve specific objectives if needed. Shopify conversely encourages merchants to mold their business around existing tools.

Both provide 24/7 customer support and active user forums. 

BigCommerce perhaps nudges ahead with direct one-on-ones during onboarding. Yet Shopify counterbalances through establishing an incredibly strong merchant community and layered learning content freely accessible online. And Shopify’s focus on simplify the user experience makes adoption frictionless for willing learners.

Design and Customization

Template Variety and Quality

Both BigCommerce and Shopify offer dozens of professionally designed templates to choose from when first setting up an online store. Shopify provides a slightly broader selection with over 100 free and paid themes encompassing a wide variety of styles and site types. Their designs consistently offer visually appealing aesthetics, mobile responsiveness and easy customization of layouts, colors and fonts.

BigCommerce conversely curates a smaller template collection totaling around 60 options. However they excel in providing industry-specific designs aligned to categories like fashion, cosmetics, jewelry, electronics and more. These catered templates enable a quicker launch for niche merchants. Both platforms also allow users to create custom themes from scratch or work with one of hundreds of design partners to actualize a truly unique vision.

Customization Tools and Flexibility

When it comes to inline editing and tweaking, Shopify again excels in intuitiveness and flexibility suited for small business owners without technical expertise. Users can resize images, embed videos, and alter text formatting visually. Drag-and-drop widgets also simplify reorganizing page layouts. Shopify’s customization happens front-end for ease of use.

BigCommerce contrasts this by offering back-end control instead for added power. Developers can directly access source code and make complex changes quickly. Structural customization does however require some HTML/CSS knowledge. But a Preview Mode and available developer resources prevent worrying about breaking sites during experimentation. BigCommerce unlocks more potent flexibility managing code.

Advanced Design Options and Third-Party Support

For merchants seeking highly tailored designs beyond base templates, both platforms offer routes to realize these visions. Shopify once more positions itself as the most user-friendly option though – integrating directly with the Oberlo dropshipping app for supplier integration and numerous metafields to incorporate external data feeds. An entire Partner Program also links users to specialized designers and developers for supplementary needs.

BigCommerce similarly delivers direct metafield and data feed leverage in addition to code access for shaping sites programmatically. A premier Theme Marketplace provides complementary premium themes and custom site development services start around $5k. There’s also 1100+ app integrations enabling supplementary functionality like video backgrounds or alternative navigation.

So Shopify expedites launching aesthetically polished designs oneself while BigCommerce offers power-user customization either natively or through partners. The end-goal freedom remains high either way. Identifying the appropriate skill investment and partner network alignment aids the customization choice between these leading e-commerce platforms.

Sales Features

Core E-commerce Functionalities

When it comes to core e-commerce tasks like managing inventory, processing orders, and tracking analytics, BigCommerce packs more out-of-the-box sophistication tailored for established merchants. Granular control over product categorization, custom fields, global SKU tracking, and bulk imports enables effortless catalog management at scale. Robust built-in reporting and one-click order processing cater more towards enterprise needs as well.

Shopify in contrast offers simplified product and order workflows focused on ease of use for newcomers. Direct manual additions and editing keep onboarding straightforward. But scaling to thousands of SKUs or automating complex fulfillment demands workarounds or third-party apps. Shopify makes launching fast and frictionless but advanced selling setups require extending functionality.

Marketing and Upselling Tools

In terms of built-in features for attracting and converting customers, Shopify holds more native advantages. Sleek coupon creation, flexible discount options, automated email marketing campaigns, and detailed analytics compound to help business owners nail product marketing without any extra tools. Shopify also intelligently recommends complementary or higher-priced products to insert directly into storefronts for gentle upselling.

BigCommerce isn’t lacking but relies more on app ecosystem integrations for enhanced marketing versus Shopify including out-of-the-box CRM, survey, loyalty programs and email plugins. This makes building customized experiences fast but demands extra budgeting for premium capabilities that come included on Shopify.

Handling Diverse Sales Scenarios

Selling globally or handling large B2B accounts introduces all new layers of complexity in e-commerce. Shopify and BigCommerce both adapt capably but each optimize better for certain scenarios out the gate.

Shopify streamlines selling physical, digital or subscription products directly with intuitive built-in options. Multi-currency pricing and 70+ payment options make global single unit retail accessible for small businesses. But custom quotes, volume discounts and DROP shipping all require custom apps or workarounds to facilitate at higher volumes.

Conversely, BigCommerce better manages B2B complexities like tiered pricing matrices and bulk quotation workflows natively. But MS Dynamics, QuickBooks and other major CRM integrations must still be configured separately. So Shopify simplifies single-unit sales while BigCommerce centralizes multi-channel complex sales nimbly through ecosystem extensions. Understanding specific needs aids the selection.

Marketing and SEO Capabilities

SEO Tools and Best Practices

Out-of-the-box, Shopify delivers more built-in features to optimize online stores for search engine discoverability and organic traffic. User-friendly URL construction options, customizable meta-descriptions, alt-text assignment capabilities and integrated blog CMS templating allow novice SEO practitioners to nail on-page optimization basics without extra apps or effort.

Comparatively, BigCommerce boasts enterprise-grade infrastructure enhancing SEO through speed and security-focused architecture. But their onboarding education around metadata best practices remains more technical and implementation requires developer mode tweaking. So Shopify simplifies on-page SEO for the masses while BigCommerce provides versatile foundations for custom optimization.

Both platforms generate XML sitemaps automatically and allow API-level product data syndication across channels. Each also provides baseline reporting on organic visits and landing pages. So essential capabilities for monitoring organic channel health come included either way.

Built-in Marketing Features

Shopify truly shines when it comes to built-in marketing tools to level-up customer engagement quickly. User-friendly coupon creation options, native gift card integration, expansive discount configuration capabilities and an integrated email marketing editor enable tackling common campaigns straight from the admin dashboard with minimal effort or apps.

BigCommerce rivals in some areas like reviews management but relies heavily on app ecosystem extensions for broader email marketing, surveys, loyalty programs and omnichannel care. So getting advanced with marketing automation demands extra budget compared to the robust toolkit bundled natively on Shopify.

Third-Party Marketing Apps and Integrations

Shopify and BigCommerce both offer thousands of compatible marketing-focused apps to augment capability gaps in the base platforms. Shopify perhaps edges ahead with 6,000+ solutions ranging from SMS to affiliate programs to data personalization tools. Their Partner Program also consolidates premier app visibility and support.

But BigCommerce delivers greater flexibility for systems integration through open API access. So more complex omni-channel sales, service and CRM environments integrate more adapatably. Shopify custom code editors help bridge certain gaps but clunkier workarounds emerge for large enterprise marketing tech stacks relative to BigCommerce.

So Shopify supercharges grassroots marketing campaigns out-of-the-box while BigCommerce enables connecting to martech ecosystems seamlessly. Different marketing maturity demands and end-goals help determine the best fit. But both ultimately empower marketing creativity through primary and third-party tooling.

Payment Processing Options

Supported Payment Gateways and Fees

Both Shopify and BigCommerce integrate with all major credit card processors including PayPal, Stripe, and Square. Shopify Payments enables accepting payments natively through Stripe with no monthly fees up to $800k in annual sales. Rates range from 2.4% + 30¢ for retail cards down to 2.2% + 30¢ for corporate cards. Third-party processors attract additional transaction fees around 0.5% though.

Comparatively, BigCommerce has no native rate advantage – Stripe and Braintree process payments by default with interchange plus pricing of ~2.6% + 30¢ per transaction for retail cards and ~2.1% + 30¢ for rewards cards. Offsite processors like PayPal do not incur added BigCommerce fees however.

So Shopify delivers marginal base credit card processing savings for mid-market stores while BigCommerce pricing remains straightforward across all supported gateways. But extensive options exist either way.

International Payments and Multi-Currency Support

Selling into multiple countries introduces complexities around language, taxes and global payment methods. Shopify simplifies this process through automatic currency conversion, built-in duties and tax calculators and support for over 100 local payment options like iDEAL, PayU and more. Users can toggle between currency display per product and surface localized pricing across online and offline channels.

Likewise, BigCommerce enables creating multiple store views with international domains, currency conversions and language translations. Their Global v4 API also allows syncing custom multi-currency pricing across marketplaces and channels. Pre-integrations simplify tax automation and support 100+ payment methods globally.

So both platforms offer robust multi-lingual, multi-currency selling capabilities out-of-the-box - expanding access to global markets for US-based businesses with minimal effort.

Security and Compliance in Payment Processing

As payment facilitators, Shopify and BigCommerce must ensure financial data protection through rigorous security protocols and frameworks. Each platform is PCI-DSS Level 1 compliant using 256-bit SSL encryption for sensitive information flows. Both also undergo regular auditing and vulnerability testing by third-parties while restricting direct access to payment data, minimizing risk.

Accountability in securing individual stores does fall more on merchants however, especially around access controls and endpoints. Shopify guides best practices through a security checklist and extensive documentation outlining compliance responsibilities. BigCommerce conducts similar education through their security & trust center. By following platform guidelines, retailers can confidently operate compliant online businesses.

Backed by billion-dollar parent companies and supporting Fortune 500 clients, Shopify plus BigCommerce together drive immense innovation in simplifying complex payment processing globally - from cards to mobile wallets to buy-now-pay-later options. Understanding available integrations and pricing models streamlines fitting the right payment solution to specific business needs.

Inventory Management

Inventory Tracking and Management Tools

Both BigCommerce and Shopify provide robust tools for tracking and managing product inventory levels across sales channels. But BigCommerce centralizes more advanced functionality natively for streamlining catalog and inventory workflows at scale.

Granular categorization options, custom fields, global SKU mapping, batch updates and bulk import capabilities help merchants effortlessly structure expansive inventories within BigCommerce. Automated inventory tracking then syncs quantities, supply levels and product availability data across integrated storefronts and marketplaces.

Shopify also handles manual product additions smoothly and simplifies inventory adjustments through bulk actions. But scaling above a few thousand SKUs demands leveraging third-party apps for bulk imports/updates or more customizable organization. And multi-location capability requires Shopify POS or an additional inventory management solution.

So BigCommerce better equips high-growth brands managing sizeable inventories while Shopify neatly handles basics for early-stage e-commerce.

Automation and Efficiency in Inventory Management

When it comes to automation for optimizing e-commerce operations, both platforms help merchants cut administrative workload through workflow efficiency features.

For Shopify, this includes the ability to easily duplicate and edit product variants in bulk alongside some basic quantity change rules. Shopify also centralizes purchases across supplier platforms through Shopify Markets for consolidated reordering. But most enhanced inventory automation functionality comes through Apps like Zapier, Stitch, or Privy integrator tools.

BigCommerce similarly supplies bulk editing capabilities but takes automation further by natively integrating supply chain platforms like Fishbowl, as well as offering rules engines for custom order flows. This enables effortlessly handling functions like drop shipping, low quantity alerts and scheduled replenishments firing from within BigCommerce.

So BigCommerce effectively minimizes overhead through deeper operational automation while Shopify simplifies product data workflows. Weighing where automation needs start and scale requirements end guides whether pursuing the flexibility of Apps or the out-of-box productivity gains in BigCommerce. The foundations empower efficiency gains either way.

Multi-Channel Selling and Integrations

Selling Across Multiple Channels

Both BigCommerce and Shopify empower merchants to expand sales across diverse channels from native online stores to global marketplaces and social platforms. Shopify particularly simplifies selling on high-traffic destinations like Facebook Shops and Instagram Shopping throughvetted channel integration apps that push product catalogs to these destinations automatically. Support for shipping, inventory and order management also syncs natively across connected sites.

BigCommerce rivals Shopify’s breadth by certifying thousands of complementary apps for channel expansion needs from single integration tools to comprehensive channel managers. Pre-built connections from BigCommerce simplify selling through Amazon, eBay and Walmart Marketplace too. So both platforms streamline launching multichannel stores yet Shopify expedites tapping mainstream destinations faster.

For omnichannel retail with brick-and-mortar locations, Shopify POS system integration helps unify online and offline sales, inventory and order data. BigCommerce alternatively partners with POS providers like Lightspeed, Square and Vend for connectivity into physical stores. Ultimately both ecosystems enable centralized multichannel management but Shopify first-party tools drive simpler setup.

Integration with Third-Party Tools and Services

Shopify and BigCommerce also both facilitate connecting to hundreds of complementary applications for financial, operations, marketing, fulfillment and customer needs. Shopify maintains a robust Partner Program centered around its 6,000+ app marketplace - providing a clear path to endorsed integration solutions.

As an open SaaS platform, BigCommerce alternatively delivers API-level access for custom systems integration. This enables deeper connectivity with surrounding business infrastructure like ERPs, WMS platforms and bespoke applications tailored to specific merchant needs. So Shopify expedites plug-and-play integration while BigCommerce provides greater flexibility for custom omnichannel ecosystems.

Managing Sales and Inventory Across Channels

With multiple integrated sales endpoints, keeping inventory, order and customer data synchronized poses operational challenges. Both Shopify and BigCommerce tackle this through centralizing reporting and enable real-time quantity, purchase and payment data flows across connected sites. This allows fulfilling orders, tracking sales velocity and engaging customers consistently across individual channels.

Certain limitations around inventory visibility do exist across third-party marketplaces however - especially when utilizing FBA stock with channel integrations. So some manual synchronization remains inevitable. But as leaders powering omnichannel success for thousands of brands, Shopify and BigCommerce deliver the tools to expand sales outlets while minimizing friction this multichannel environment demands. Understanding specific needs determines the best platform fit.

Mobile Responsiveness and App Ecosystem

Mobile Storefront Optimization and User Experience

As leaders in e-commerce platform solutions, BigCommerce and Shopify both deliver robust mobile responsiveness for online stores out-of-the-box. Intuitive site builders simplify optimizing layouts, images and content for all device sizes while integrated themes feature dynamic response and touch capability by default.

Shopify particularly emphasizes storefront design capabilities for maximizing mobile conversion though - offering hundreds of themes focused specifically on showcasing products aesthetically across mobiles. Checkout UX also scales elegantly cross-device. So for merchants prioritizing world-class buying experiences from handhelds, Shopify simplifies executing this through built-in tools.

That said - BigCommerce also empowers responsive enterprise sites and delves deeper into back-end performance metrics around mobile usability. So optimization gauges exist either way - just differing by front-end vs back-end approach.

Mobile App Availability and Functionality

For managing operations on-the-go, both platforms provide iOS and Android companion apps centralizing key sales and inventory data. Functions like order notifications, fulfillment tracking and customer profile lookups enable efficient multitasking.

BigCommerce edges out with added dashboard customization, granular sales reporting and automated order processing - better suiting data-driven businesses. Shopify’s mobile app conversely focuses solely on simplified order and shipping workflows for lightweight access. So similar core features exist for mobile store management but BigCommerce tailors better to growth-stage capabilities.

App Ecosystem: Range and Functionality

As prominent SaaS players, both BigCommerce and Shopify also spearhead diverse app marketplaces from hundreds of technology partners to enhance e-commerce capabilities. Shopify’s marketplace edges into the lead however with over 6,000 apps covering needs like marketing automation, alternative payments, logistics, and more.

The range feels more expansive and many leaders in adjacent spaces like MailChimp, Square, Wishpond, and Lightspeed posses Shopify-tailored versions. Partnership incentives also drive high quality and innovation across the board.

That said, BigCommerce nails extensive integrations with leading CMS, CRM and ERP tools. So from an operational ecosystem perspective, BigCommerce empowers greater flexibility to centralize complex workflows. It ultimately comes down to balancing business needs against app marketplace variety - both districts excel in distinct ways.

Customer Support and Resources

Direct Customer Support Channels

Shopify edges out BigCommerce when it comes to the quality of direct customer service for resolving issues efficiently. Shopify offers 24/7 live chat, email and phone support across all pricing plans - with sub-5 minute response times common during peak hours. Teams exhibit expertise across technical topics from payments debugging to cart recovery assistance. For larger accounts, dedicated account managers provide personalized onboarding and ongoing optimization help as well.

Comparatively, BigCommerce limits 24/7 live chat and faster response times to only top-tier Enterprise plans while providing expanded phone support hours on mid-market Plus plans as well. Average response times range from 6-24 hours on lower tiers. So Shopify ensures speedier answers for a broader merchant base especially at smaller scales. However when does BigCommerce generally match enterprise servicing capabilities once scaling up.

Self-Help Resources and Community Support

Both Shopify and BigCommerce also cultivate expansive knowledge bases, tutorials, webinars and documentation to empower merchants in problem-solving independently. Shopify’s self-help content perhaps edges into the lead with an immense volume of indexed articles and guides accumulating over a decade. Their Ecommerce University program also advances best practice education through layered courses and free weekly live training covering site optimization, marketing and conversion.

However, BigCommerce combats through partnering with leading adjacent solutions across shipping, tax, marketing sub-categories to co-create educational collateral tailored for synergistic technologies. So content better targets navigating specific app ecosystems whereas Shopify takes a platform-only lens. As network effects grow across thousands of merchants sharing insights within native communities either way - knowledge gaps narrow through time collectively.

Evaluating where self-service content or direct touch support fills more critical needs at different milestones smoothens the experience balancing both platforms’ strengths appropriately. But the educational resources and caretaker ecosystems matured over 15+ years position both to crossover advanced and beginner sellers needs alike.

Pros and Cons

Advantages of BigCommerce

BigCommerce shines most for established mid-market and enterprise brands needing high performance, design flexibility and built-in functionality without requiring extensive apps. 

Sophisticated features like advanced promotions, role-based user accounts and multi-location inventory cater well towards operations already at scale. The open SaaS framework also enables deep customization potential leveraging APIs and webhooks for specialized connectivity.

From a financial perspective, the lack of strict sales thresholds linking pricing tiers offers stability. And down the road, high-volume Enterprise plans unlock better rates relative to Shopify. BigCommerce also simplifies navigating complexity selling B2B or internationally given robust multi-currency, tax and shipping capabilities.

For brands selling across channels, marketplace integrations and channel managers consolidate product/order data flows out-of-the-box. FEMA or catalogue defeed needs also integrate straightforwardly. So complexity and customization drive BigCommerce’s advantage.

Advantages of Shopify

Shopify holds distinction through ease of use, design and sheer app abundance - appealing especially to new e-commerce brands exploring market fit before substantial investment. Intuitive storefront editing, drag-and-drop merchandising and one-click feature insertion fast-track getting online while still maintaining a high-quality experience to drive sales from the outset.

Vast template variety, payment/shipping flexibility and bundled marketing capabilities also enable testing what resonates before adding complexity. Shopify POS and Channel integrations then simplify extending offline and onto marketplaces like Amazon consecutively. So for underfunded teams prioritizing quick starts, validations and pivots - Shopify empowers this through their ecosystem.

Limitations and Considerations

Platform advantages considered - limitations do exist in both. Shopify’s simplified code interface hinders advanced developers. Customizing backend processes also introduces apps costs quickly across inventory, fulfillment, etc - narrowing margins. BigCommerce permits more out-of-box flexibility for configuring yet mastering these workflows has a steeper learning curve.

Payment and transaction fee structures vary as well - BigCommerce charges solely credit card processing rates while Shopify packages a percentage fee above gateway pricing by default. So margin and cost considerations play a role.

And while both platforms offer enterprise support and uptime, Shopify’s scale does allow greater redundancy and resourcing to users universally. So evaluating use case, business model economics and readiness for complexity aids decision making recognizing each platform’s pros/cons suitability.

Install Attract, the ultimate Shopify marketing app to boost your sales.Install Attract, the ultimate Shopify marketing app to boost your sales.
Install Attract, the ultimate Shopify marketing app to boost your sales.
Latest Posts
Facebook Shop vs. Shopify: Ecommerce Platform Comparison
Industry Insights
February 24, 2024
minute read
Weebly vs Shopify: Comprehensive Comparison
Industry Insights
February 24, 2024
minute read
Top 10 Shopify Alternatives for Ecommerce in 2024
Industry Insights
February 24, 2024
minute read
View all posts