From roughly $3.53 trillion (USD) in 2019, the online retail market is projected to reach $6.54 trillion in 2022. This means one thing — more and more businesses are popping up in the industry.
If you are thinking of launching your own eCommerce business, chances are that you will get to a point where you will need to make a decision about the perfect tool to use in powering your online store.
BigCommerce and Shopify are perhaps the biggest and most powerful eCommerce platforms for building and managing online stores.
So, which of these two platforms is best suited for your business?
In this BigCommerce vs Shopify ultimate comparison, we are comparing the two eCommerce giants head to head. We are reviewing and comparing their features, design options, size, integrations, pricing, user-friendliness, and pretty much everything you need to know to make an informed decision for your online store.
Ready to dive in? Let's start by getting to know more about our contenders.
What is BigCommerce?
BigCommerce is an all-in-one, highly-extensible eCommerce site builder, promoted as a versatile enterprise solution. It is a SaaS platform that helps businesses set up online stores, customize their look and feel, manage inventory, process orders, receive payments, among other functionalities.
But even more, the BigCommerce eCommerce tool packs advanced security.
In particular, the tool leverages the power of Google Cloud Platform to provide multiple layers of security, unlimited bandwidth, and great speed to its users.
Overview of BigCommerce Features and Capabilities
Here are some of the most outstanding features you'll find in BigCommerce:
Single-location order management: BigCommerce comes equipped with a powerful control panel that lets you process and fulfill orders end to end from a single dashboard and manage inventory without any hassle.
Professional eCommerce templates: BigCommerce has an array of high-converting, responsive online store themes and templates created especially for major eCommerce industries.
Unlimited products, storage, and bandwidth: BigCommerce is generous with space. It allows you to upload as many products as you want without worrying about inconsistencies, distractions, or other disruptions in your web store.
One-page checkout: Users don't have to worry about customers abandoning their carts because of a lengthy checkout process. BigCommerce's one-page checkout capability allows shoppers to buy using PayPal, Apple Pay and other mobile payment solutions.
Social commerce integration: You can also sell on social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Marketplace integration: BigCommerce allows you to sell on popular web-based marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.
Built-in blogging feature: Alongside your online store, you can install and manage a fully-functional blog with BigCommerce. There's even a WordPress integration which makes content publishing easier.
Mobile wallet: BigCommerce makes it possible for you to accept payments from your customers via mobile wallet channels like Apple Pay and Amazon Pay.
Physical store integration: You may decide to take your business offline by selling on physical stores using BigCommerce's POS systems integrations. This is not a proprietary POS system but third-party apps like ShopKeep, Springboard Retail, and Hike POS.
Conversion-ready: With built-in conversion features including one-page checkout, abandoned cart saver, faceted search, and many more, BigCommerce makes it easy to optimize your online store for high conversion.
Dedicated account management: The enterprise version of BigCommerce comes equipped with dedicated account managers, giving you access to custom business advice and priority support.
Multiple payment methods: You can accept payments from customers with multiple providers like PayPal, Stripe, and more.
Enhanced marketing tools: From Google Shopping to integration with top email providers to SEO-friendliness, BigCommerce is packed with the best out of the box marketing capabilities.
Store analytics and reports: From the cheapest plan to the most premium, BigCommerce allows its users access to enormous store data and analytics.
24/7 support: Support is available 24/7 on phone, email, and live chat.
BigCommerce mobile app: You can carry out various store management functions like order processing, inventory management, report analysis, etc. using BigCommerce's mobile app.
See this video by WinningWP to get a clearer understanding of what BigCommerce is and what you can do with it:
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an easy-to-use eCommerce tool that allows users to create and manage digital stores. Once you've created your store on Shopify, you can sell in multiple places such as the web, social media, mobile, online marketplaces, pop-up shops, and brick-and-mortar locations.
Shopify takes care of all the nuts and bolts involved in managing and selling on your store, including product management, inventory, payments, shipping, and so on. In fact, with Shopify you can also perform some initial store building activities like selecting a store name, registering a domain name, and getting your web store hosted.
If you're just starting out with eCommerce or have low technical skills, Shopify makes setting up a store on the Internet effortless. Given its user-friendly admin panel, the average Joe can add products, process orders, and access valuable store data without the need to be a tech whiz.
Overview of Shopify Features and Capabilities
Here are some of the most notable features you'll find in Shopify:
100+ modern templates: Shopify is loaded with amazing elegant-style themes created by world-renowned designers like Happy Cog, Clearleft, and Pixel Union specially for online stores.
100+ payment gateways: Using Shopify, you can rest assured that you will be able to accept payments with Bitcoin, PayPal, iDEAL, and over 100 other external payment gateways.
Multiple languages: With Shopify, your online store checkout comes in 50+ languages, which makes it easy to serve a worldwide market. Your store's theme can easily be translated to any language of your choice.
Abundance of apps: One thing Shopify is well known for is the vastness of its app store. 3795+ apps means you can add any functionality as far as running your web store goes.
Excellent marketing and sales options: Shopify has all kinds of marketing and sales tools like discounts, gift cards for your customers, product reviews, social media integration, and so on.
Abandoned cart recovery: Among other conversion features, you can track abandoned carts, email the customer who initiated it, and encourage them to complete the checkout process.
Multi-channel selling: Sell on multiple places like social media, mobile, web, physical stores, etc.
Search engine friendly: With built-in SEO functionalities like SEO product tags, Shopify boast of one of the most SEO-friendly eCommerce solutions on the web.
Shopify POS System: Shopify's POS software and hardware give you the tools to unify in-store and online sales, accept payments, track inventory, and build customer loyalty from one point of sale.
Full-fledged blogging platform: You can upload blog posts, answer comments, and do everything you would normally do on a blogging platform.
Your own domain name: Most new business owners usually struggle with selecting a name for their business. Shopify takes care of that. You can use its business name generator to come up with a name and actually register a domain name with Shopify.
Web hosting: Shopify hosting is built for online stores. It packs all the features you'll need to offer a great experience to your customers, including unlimited bandwidth, 99.98 uptime, and round-the-clock monitoring.
Email forwarding: It lets you create and run professional email addresses like email@example.com.
Topnotch security: Shopify uses a 256-bit SSL certificate, which is one of the most secure data/file encryption technology. Also, Shopify is level-1 PCI compliant, so you don't need to worry about the security of your customers' credit card data.
Web-based website builder: With a full-featured content management system, store owners can build their entire online store on Shopify with absolutely no need for a third-party service.
Edit HTML and CSS: Shopify allows full access to the HTML and CSS of your store, making customization a breeze.
Mobile commerce ready: Your Shopify store has a built-in mobile commerce shopping cart, which makes it smooth for customers to browse and buy from your store using their smartphones or tablets.
Available as a mobile app: Shopify's mobile app let you manage your business on the go. You can do things like manage inventory, process orders, email or call customers, access reports, etc.
Store analytics and reports: Access to several store analytics and reports like your sales & orders reports, product reports, experts reports, referral/traffic reports, and Google Analytics reports.
24/7 support: Support is available through email, live chat, and phone.
And a lot more!
Here's another explainer video that'll tell you what Shopify is and what you can do with it:
BigCommerce Vs. Shopify: Key Statistics
It is always important to know the numbers associated with each platform before making your final decision. This is important because when you choose an eCommerce solution, you are completely placing trust in the company’s hands to provide a satisfying experience to your customers.
With that in mind, how do Shopify and BigCommerce compare in terms of size, sales, and the other major numbers?
# of active users
95,000+ online stores
1,000,000+ online stores
# of merchants
$135+ billion USD (October 2019)
Years in operation
125 million (annual)
1.07 billion USD
# of countries
# of employees
Note: Keep in mind that these numbers are subject to change, as both the e-retail industry and its players are growing year-on-year.
Shopify Vs BigCommerce — Pros and Cons
Here are the pros and cons of each of the two eCommerce tools, which you should consider carefully before making a decision.
BigCommerce Pros and Cons
Multiple sales channels — social media, web, physical stores
Pricing plans are based on sales threshold
Seamless integrations with third-party services
Complex terminology makes it unsuitable for beginners
Loads of built-in features
Customized promo and marketing campaigns
Customized promo and marketing campaigns
Limits are placed on annual online sales, calculated on a trailing 12-month basis
Great speed and best-in-class security
Advanced features can compromise ease of use
Great shipping options
Premium themes are expensive
Includes a hosted service and domain name
No free plan (but a 15-day free trial)
No transaction fees, even if you use a third-party payment gateway
Shopify Pros and Cons
Beginner-friendly set up and interface makes it easy to use
Limited features on entry-level plans. Requires upgrade or use of a paid-for app
Multi-channel retailing — online, offline, social, mobile
No free plan (but a 14-day free trial)
Highly engaged online community and numerous partners that can provide support
Additional transaction fees for using external gateways
A plethora of apps for adding different functionalities and features to your online store
Customization limited to theme and platform capabilities
Includes a fully hosted service and domain name so you won’t have to worry about server maintenance and costs
Social selling features including Facebook Shop, Google Shopping, Buyable Pins, and Facebook Messenger integration
Competitive shipping with USPS, UPS, and DHL Express
An inexpensive plan ($9/mo) for absolute beginners is available
BigCommerce Vs. Shopify: Plans & Pricing
When selecting one over the other, one of the key deciding factors is usually the pricing. Both BigCommerce and Shopify run multiple pricing plans.
Here's how they compare:
So, how much does BigCommerce cost? BigCommerce runs 4 pricing plans:
Standard — $29.95 USD per month
Plus — 79.95 USD per month (the most popular)
Pro — 249.95 USD per month
Enterprise — custom pricing
BigCommerce has a 15-day free trial with which you can test a majority of the features without entering your credit card. You can also save up to 10% when paying annually for the Plus and Pro plans.
Here's a look at what is included in each plan:
BigCommerce pricing plans
BigCommerce features per plan
BigCommerce support and payment per plan
Primarily, Shopify runs a 3-tier pricing plan including:
Basic Shopify — $29 USD per month
Shopify — $79 USD per month (the most popular)
Advanced Shopify — $299 USD per month
There's a 14-day Shopify free trial with no credit card required after which you will need to choose a plan and pay for it. Also, Shopify offers a 10% discount on annual plans and a 20% discount on biennial plans, when they are paid upfront.
Here's a look at what is included in each plan:
Shopify's pricing plans
Additionally, Shopify has two secondary plans as follows:
Shopify Lite: For only $9 per month, this plan allows you to sell on Facebook and chat with your customers on Messenger, add products to any website or blog, and accept credit card payments.
Shopify Plus: Enterprise-grade solution starting at about $2,000 per month is for high-volume merchants and large businesses.
BigCommerce Vs. Shopify: Key Differences
In this section, we'll take a closer look at the major differences between BigCommerce and Shopify.
There are no transactions fees associated with BigCommerce. Instead, they do have special credit card rates for transactions using PayPal powered by Braintree. This tips in at 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for all BigCommerce plans.
If you use Shopify Payments, you won't pay any transaction fees. But if you use an external payment gateway, there will be additional fees of 2%, 1% or 0.5% for Basic Shopify, Shopify, or Advanced Shopify plans, respectively.
BigCommerce's pricing plan options include: Standard ($29.95/mo), Plus ($79.95/mo), Pro ($249.95/mo) and Enterprise (custom pricing) plans.
There are 3 primary pricing plans available, including: Basic Shopify ($29/mo), Shopify ($79/mo), and Advanced Shopify ($299/mo). You can also get Shopify Lite for $9/mo.
BigCommerce's enterprise-class plan starts at $249.95/mo for less than $400k in online sales. If a merchant sells more, they'll pay extra $150/mo for each additional $200k in online sales.
Shopify has a special enterprise-class plan called Shopify Plus, built specifically for high-growth businesses. The pricing starts at $2,000 per month.
Set up fees
There are no set up fees.
There are no set up fees.
15-day free trial available, no credit card is required.
14-day free trial available, no credit card is required.
BigCommerce Theme Store contains about 100 free and paid well-designed, professional eCommerce themes. The paid themes cost between $195-$235 each.
Shopify Theme Store includes over 100 free and premium modern-style, sleek eCommerce website themes. The premium themes cost between $120-$180 each.
BigCommerce users can design their stores using the Store Design feature. Store Design is a no-code tool that lets users change different elements of a theme like colors, logo, fonts, product count per page, and more. It’s a quick and intuitive way to customize your theme to match your brand.
Design changes are mostly made from the admin area in your Shopify dashboard using the Theme Editor. With the Theme Editor, you can perform pretty much any design activity, including adding, editing and removing content, making changes to your settings, and tweaking design elements.
BigCommerce's app area has a selection of 743+ powerful third-party free and paid apps, all carefully curated to provide helpful solutions to their users. However, the app store is nowhere near as large as Shopify's app store.
Shopify has a robust app store with about 3795+ industry-leading free and premium eCommerce apps, which enables merchants to add all sorts of functionalities to their online Shopify store.
Ease of use
BigCommerce has a well-built interface, but it offers a bit more flexibility and complexity with its built-in features which makes it somewhat harder to use for beginners.
Shopify is pretty straightforward to use as it boasts of a clean and smooth UI. A non-techie beginner can easily use it to set up sales channels given that it takes less clicks to add products and set things up than on BigCommerce.
BigCommerce has third-party apps, including Inventory Source and AliExpress Dropshipping, for processing dropshipping orders and fulfillment.
With apps like Oberlo, Ordoro, Inventory Source, AliExpress Dropshipping and eCommHub, setting up your dropshipping business on Shopify couldn't be easier. BigCommerce has about 9 apps under its dropshipping category in the app store; Shopify has 95.
Per store features, BigCommerce comes with features for merchants to add wishlist, CAPTCHA, search suggestions, bulk discount, product comparison and more.
Although there are built-in store features, users can add more store features using third-party apps, which means additional costs per month.
Sell on multiple channels, a single-page checkout helps reduce friction, a powerful abandoned cart recovery feature, manual order creation, gift cards, and discount codes.
BigCommerce shipping uses USPS, DHL. Also integrates with ShipperHQ to enable accurate quoting for cross-border shipping.
Offers competitive shipping rates from USPS, UPS, or DHL Express. Users can also print shipping labels.
24/7 support via email, live chat, and phone.
24/7 support via email, live chat, and phone.
As both a merchant and service provider the BigCommerce platform is ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certified and PCI DSS 3.1, Level 1 certified. This is combined with high-performing DDoS mitigation capabilities to allow you to focus more on making sales and less on monitoring your site
Shopify is certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliant, which is the highest level of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. This compliance extends by default to all web stores powered and managed with Shopify
BigCommerce leverages Google Cloud Platform infrastructure, Google AMP, and Akamai Image Manager to provide great loading speed.
Shopify combines fast and reliable hosting, content delivery network, and a multitude of third-party apps to enhance store speed and loading time.
BigCommerce blogging platform comes as a built-in feature. BigCommerce's flexible APIs also make it easy to integrate with other CMS solutions (including WordPress) while utilizing the BigCommerce shopping cart on the backend.
Shopify is not only an eCommerce store management software but a full-fledged content management system. This means you can fully run your blog, product descriptions, and manage other types of content on it.
Knowledge library and resources
BigCommerce's knowledge base and resource center contain helpful articles, YouTube videos, guides, developer guides, and more, making it easy to find information pertaining to using the platform. There are also several third-party tutorials on the Internet.
The Shopify Help Center , Shopify blog, third-party YouTube videos, a huge online community, written tutorials on third-party blogs, and a bunch of Shopify experts are available all over the Internet to provide help to beginners and advanced users.
Domain name and hosting
BigCommerce offers premium domain name registration and hosting services. However, domain forwarding is not supported and not all TLDs are supported.
Potential Shopify users can buy independent domain names and also get web hosting on Shopify. Additionally, you can get a free domain name that looks like yourstore.myshopify.com, although we recommend buying a professional domain name instead.
Which should you use — BigCommerce or Shopify?
Now that you know the differences between BigCommerce and Shopify, let's get to the decision part: which of these two platforms should you use?
First off, it depends on your needs. The question you need to ask yourself here is this: 'What should I look out for in an eCommerce platform based on my store needs?'
Based on your answer, you will know which platform suits your business needs better.
Here's our take:
Use BigCommerce if:
You're a huge, rapidly-growing enterprise with big sales numbers.
You want extensible product management features.
You want to see more store reports and analytics even with the cheapest plan. In fact, BigCommerce offers advanced functionality and flexibility at no additional cost.
You care about transaction fees and don't want to be charged extra every time you make new sales.
You want more built-in features versus installing third-party apps.
Use Shopify if:
You're a beginner who wants to build an online store that is easy to set up and would majorly be relying on online resources to build your business.
You want a lot of different apps for adding different functionalities to your store.
You care about more marketing options and opportunities including SEO, discount, abandoned cart recovery, and so on.
You're on a budget but still want to sell on your existing website or blog with a professional 'Buy Button' (Shopify Lite - $9).
You're a small or mid-size business that wants to sell online fast.
Generally, here's a quick list of what to look for in an eCommerce platform:
Low pricing and minimal "hidden" charges
Zero or low transaction fees
Flexible and enough design options
Ease of use and clean user interface
All your preferred features checked
Relevancy to your target market
Great technicalities — first-rate security, at least 99.98 percent uptime
Excellent customer service
Integrations — the number of integrations and how seamless it is to integrate with third-party services
Store data — important for reporting and making improvements
BigCommerce Vs. Shopify — Ideal User
BigCommerce Ideal User
Shopify Ideal User
Although BigCommerce also serves small businesses, it mainly promotes itself as a versatile enterprise solution.
If you're a large or fast-growing business, this might be the best solution for you.
Also, BigCommerce packs a bit more complex built-in features and data tools than Shopify, making it more ideal for advanced users.
With Shopify's focus on ease of use, beginners will find this tool friendly and useful.
Although there's a solution for large businesses, Shopify seems to be targeting more mid-market brands and small online retailers who sell a variety of both physical and digital products to a wide range of customers. This includes international and localized markets who speak foreign languages and pay with various payment gateways.
And to give you a perspective of what's popular on both of these platforms, here's a quick list [in no particular order] of some of the most used apps on each front:
Shopify's Popular Apps
Privy — pop-ups with exit intent, abandonment, wheels, and email marketing
Oberlo — a dropshipping app
Printful — print-on-demand app
Kit — for running Facebook ads
Buy Button channel — for selling your products on any website
Digital Downloads — for selling digital products
Facebook Shop channel — sell on Facebook
Omnisend Email Marketing
Google Shopping — shows products to interested customers across Google
Sales Pop — popup notifications
ReConvert Upsell and Cross Sell
BigCommerce's Popular Apps
ShipperHQ — shipping rates service
Google Shopping — sell across Google’s networks
ShipStation — a shipping app
Rewind Backups — for backing up your store
Yotpo Reviews — for product reviews
Shogun — edit themes and landing pages
FireWall — for protecting your store
Zapiet — store pickup and delivery
Justuno — integrated marketing tools
Privy — marketing and conversion tool
Facebook Ads Extension
BigCommerce Vs Shopify: Which would get your website more exposure?
Frankly speaking, both BigCommerce and Shopify are popular and well talked about within the eCommerce landscape.
So technically, you can be successful with any one of them. In fact, both companies already power successful e-retail businesses of all shapes and sizes, including some very popular online stores.
For instance, BigCommerce is behind the online stores of renowned brands including:
Gillett On Demand
Harvard Business Publishing
And so on.
On the other hand, Shopify powers online stores for popular brands like:
These platforms have recorded multi-billion dollar sales on Shopify. What's more, big names like Google and Tesla use Shopify's Shopify Plus because it’s way cheaper and better than building and maintaining their own in-house eCommerce platform.
Although Shopify appears to be more popular than BigCommerce, in the end, how much exposure you get and how much money you make comes down to how well you put your business out for the world to see - not necessarily on whether you are using BigCommerce or Shopify.
BigCommerce and Shopify have some helpful marketing tools and even store credits with which you can promote your business by gaining more exposure.
Final Verdict: BigCommerce or Shopify?
So, which is a better platform for your eCommerce business? BigCommerce or Shopify?
As you've seen, overall, both of these tools are pretty solid choices for stores of all shapes and sizes. And although there are some parallelism between them, there are also some very notable differentiating factors.
These differentiating factors could make a huge difference in the decision you make, so let's go over them again.
On the one hand, BigCommerce comes with more complex features and terminologies, making it harder to use but perfect for large and fast-growing businesses. On the other hand, Shopify is easier to use, clean and intuitive, and as a result the more friendly all-round eCommerce platform.
BigCommerce's features are mostly built-in, which means less reliance on third-party apps. Once you get the hang of using those features, the platform becomes more manageable no matter how much you grow. With Shopify's thousands of third-party apps, you can add as many of those as you want to enhance your web store. This is great for scalability and functionality.
In terms of design, BigCommerce's themes are mostly professional and industry-focused while Shopify's themes are modern and sleek. Shopify also offers better all-round design and more choices in the templates.
Overall, we will give it to Shopify for its ease of use and a vast selection of features and apps — it is built to serve stores of all kinds, irrespective of the size and industry.