Bigcommerce vs Shopify (2018) – Which Amazing Platform Will Win?

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As a 21st century entrepreneur, you probably already know that your company’s website can make the difference between the success or failure of your company. The problem is that you’re far more interested in turning a profit than you are in designing and maintaining a really fantastic website. In fact, you’d probably be really drawn to the idea of a company that offers numerous website platforms that can largely automate this part of your business for you.

That’s precisely what companies like Shopify and Bigcommerce do. They provide online entrepreneurs with polished, professional virtual storefronts that pretty much sell themselves. These storefronts are purposely designed to attract customers and get them clicking and buying on a regular basis. Both Shopify and Bigcommerce offer a wealth of services that might be attractive to any entrepreneur, so how do you decide which company is the right one for you? When it comes to Bigcommerce vs Shopify, there are a number of different factors that must be considered. The size of your venture and its maturity will mainly dictate how much you’re willing to spend and how complex your website will be. Both Shopify and Bigcommerce feature products that might be right for you. However, comparing the two takes a lot of time and energy. Fortunately, we’ve already weighed the Bigcommerce vs Shopify question for you.

Bigcommerce vs Shopify

Free Trials

Both Shopify and Bigcommerce provide free trial periods for new users. The time periods are nearly identical, with Shopify offering 14 days and Bigcommerce springing for 15 days.

Shopify requires an email address, password and store name to begin. After entering your name and address, you’ll be prompted to answer questions about your business such as whether or not you’re already selling products and how much revenue you’re likely to generate in the current year. That’s all the information that is needed to set up a storefront. No credit card or other financial information is required.

Free trials at Bigcommerce begin with naming the store, and then selecting what kinds of products will be sold and where the company is based. After entering a name, telephone number, email address, and passwords, the user is prompted to select a goal. These goals might be starting or expanding an online business, switching from an alternative e-commerce platform or adding an online store to an existing brick-and-mortar business, among others. Like Shopify, Bigcommerce does not require billing information during the free trial period.

Bigcommerce vs Shopify Plans

Shopify features a “Basic” monthly plan that costs $29 per month. This plan includes a highly customized online storefront and the ability to accept credit card payments. Credit card rates with this plan are 2.9 percent plus $0.30 per transaction. No set-up fees or other transaction fees are charged. The Basic plan includes room for two staff accounts in addition to the primary account holder, which means that two employees could have access to the website for updating or performing other tasks. This plan also includes a shipping label discount with a savings of approximately $0.49 per label.

The “Shopify” plan is the most popular one at $79 per month. This more robust package features additional functionalities like abandoned cart recovery, gift cards and professional reports. Credit card rates drop to 2.6 percent plus $0.30 per transaction while the number of staff accounts is raised to five. The shipping label discount also rises to $0.59 per label.

“Advanced Shopify”¬†provides even more power and flexibility for $299 per month. The advanced report builder and carrier calculated shipping features are particularly attractive to members who select this plan. Plus, the credit card rates drop to 2.4 percent plus $0.30 per transaction while most users save an average of $0.78 on every label. Additionally, as many as 15 staff accounts can be assigned.

Bigcommerce offers a “Standard” plan for $29.95 a month that is appropriate for entrepreneurs with up to $50,000 in online sales per year. Customers may pay by the month or save 10 percent by paying annually. This plan includes hundreds of built-in features along with the ability to integrate with Google Shopping and use of an eBay listing tool. Credit card rates are 2.9 percent plus $0.30 per transaction. However, this is through PayPal and Braintree, so it’s not necessarily as seamless as the offerings at Shopify.

The “Plus” plan at Bigcommerce costs $79.95 and is considered appropriate for stores selling up to $125,000 online each year. It includes all of the features of the “Standard” plan plus lowered transaction fees of 2.5 percent plus $0.30 per transaction, an abandoned cart saver and the ability to create customer groups.

Bigcommerce’s “Pro” plan begins at $199.95 per month for customers that have approximately $1 million in annual online sales and up to 3,000 orders for year. This plan has a 2,000 order cap. An additional $80 per month is charged for each successive 1,000 order increment. A trailing, 12-month basis is used to calculate the number of orders.

Shopify comes out slightly ahead of Bigcommerce in terms of plans offered thanks to the seamless integration of its credit-card acceptance capabilities. Moreover, Shopify’s transparent pricing even in plans that are designed for the largest online retailers make it easier to calculate precisely how much the entrepreneur will owe each month.

14 Day Free Trial

Get started today with Shopify to start your new e-commerce store

Free Themes

Both Shopify and Bigcommerce feature a selection of free themes that can be used to design the overall look of the storefront. These extremely affordable options make a great deal of sense for small business owners and those who are just starting out and may not have even made any sales yet. Both websites also make it possible to upgrade from a free theme to a paid theme as the business and sales grow.

Overall, Shopify simply offers a greater number and variety of free themes. This makes it easier for users to select a theme that more accurately portrays the personality of their brand. Bigcommerce does have a few free themes available, but they are not nearly as diverse or specialized. For accessibility and breadth of selection, Shopify comes out on top here.

Paid Themes

Shopify’s paid themes range from $100 to $180. This is a one-time fee that is assessed at the time that a paid theme is chosen. At the Shopify Theme Store, users can choose between browsing through all, free or premium themes. Users may also filter by categories. Possible choices include Toys & Games, Clothing & Fashion, Electronics, Food & Drink, Furniture, Health & Beauty, among others. This makes it easy for users to find a webpage layout that suits their particular industry. Customers may also choose how to sort the results using filters like low to high pricing, most popular and alphabetical. Shopify’s themes run the gamut from basic to complex. Whether your company is selling baked goods or high-end fashion, you will likely find the right theme to garner plenty of attention from potential customers. Plus, you’ll have nearly 200 themes from which to choose.

Bigcommerce, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily make it as easy to filter and search for the right theme. However, because there are only about 75 paid themes from which to choose, it perhaps isn’t necessary to have a more robust search tool. Prices for the themes currently range from $120 to $250, making these selections slightly more expensive than those that are available at Shopify. The themes here are less specialized, though this may simply translate to greater flexibility. For instance, a certain theme might be appropriate for anything from a photographer to an auto supply shop.


Shopify features an impressive App Store where users can download an amazing array of tools that are designed to streamline with their Shopify website. The store currently boasts more than 1,100 free and paid apps. Many of the apps relate to accounting, which is an important aspect for all business owners. The accounting apps at Shopify really simplify recordkeeping by blending seamlessly with the website’s other capabilities. This means that many of the labor-intensive tasks associated with bookkeeping are automatic, which saves users incredible amounts of time and stress. Other apps are used to help with marketing, shipping, inventory tracking, customer service, order fulfillment, social media and more. Shopify’s App Store is one of the places where it really sets itself apart from the competition. Each and every app is fully integrated into the Shopify platform.

This means that there is no struggle to get the website and the app to communicate with each other or work together. You simply select an app and it is immediately, fully functional with every other component of your Shopify storefront. Ultimately, this is what will make your website a more hands-off operation, which means that your time is freed up for doing what you truly need or want to do.

Shopify’s app store is also notable because you don’t have to select anything that you don’t want or wouldn’t use. Rather than being presented with a package deal that already includes a number of apps, some of which may have doubtful utility for your operation, you can pick and choose what works for you. Some apps will be free while others will come with an affordable monthly payment. Since so many of your operations will be automated and easy thanks to these apps, the monthly fees are a small and predictable price to pay.

Bigcommerce also has an app store, but their products additionally have more tools in the basic package. These tools include the ability to create coupons, email newsletter integration technology, tax and shipping configurations, statistical reporting, product wish lists and reviews and more. In fact, Bigcommerce’s “out-of-the-box” package is one of the most impressive things about the service.

Customers may also appreciate that Bigcommerce is the best platform for integrating with various social channels. For instance, customers can create a store on their Facebook page that is fully integrated with their main Bigcommerce website.

Bigcommerce can also be integrated with eBay, PriceGrabber, Google Shopping, Shopzilla and others. When it comes to integrating all of these social channels with your main website, Bigcommerce cannot currently be beaten. If these social channels make up an important part of your revenue stream, then Bigcommerce may be the way to go.

Like Shopify, Bigcommerce also has an app store where customers can add other functionality to their websites as they grow. Some have no cost while others involve a monthly fee.

14 Day Free Trial

Get started today with Shopify to start your new e-commerce store

Customer Support

In its early years, Bigcommerce had relatively limited customer support capabilities. Personnel were available on a five day a week basis at hours that were only moderately expanded over the traditional nine to five workday. Competition forced them to change their offerings. Shopify has always operated with 24/7 customer service support. No matter the day or time, a person is always available to answer questions or deal with problems. That is now true for both services.

Customers may get in contact with either Shopify or Bigcommerce through a variety of means including the telephone and emails. With such robust support, no customer ever needs to remain stymied for long.

The Upshot

Both Shopify and Bigcommerce promise functionality and attractive themes. However, Shopify has by far the better selection of themes, and these are also a bit more on-point as far as subject matter. Shopify also allows far more versatile customization thanks to the depth of its app store. On the other hand, Bigcommerce provides more tools in its basic package, though some of these are not necessarily useful to all entrepreneurs.

Shopify comes out on top with the transparency of its pricing. Their system makes it very easy for business owners to be able to calculate down to the penny how much their website and related services will cost them every month. Moreover, Shopify’s paid theme pages are generally a bit cheaper than those available through Bigcommerce.

Perhaps a free trial at both website platform suppliers is the best way for entrepreneurs to decide which one is right for their business.