Shopify Vs BigCommerce in 2024

by Andrew Scrivens, Owner

Choosing the right eCommerce platform is a pivotal decision for online merchants, and the Shopify vs BigCommerce debate is more relevant than ever in 2024. Both platforms have evolved, continually adapting to the dynamic digital marketplace. Shopify remains a beacon of user-friendliness, catering to entrepreneurs who prioritize ease of use and stylish design without needing to delve into code. On the other hand, BigCommerce stands as a robust competitor, offering a suite of advanced features aimed at businesses poised for growth. This article delves into the intricacies of each platform, comparing their offerings on multiple fronts including user experience, customization, pricing, and support. As these platforms vie to be the foundation of your online business, understanding their strengths and limitations becomes essential for making an informed choice that aligns with your business goals.

So You Want To Do eCommerce?

Starting an eCommerce venture in 2024 means you'll need a robust platform that can handle the complexities of online selling. Shopify and BigCommerce are two of the big names in this space, each with features tailored to different business needs. When you compare the two, Shopify often stands out as a particularly attractive option for a host of reasons.

Shopify In A Nutshell

Shopify has made a name for itself as a subscription-based eCommerce platform that shines in user-friendliness and design. It's perfect for small business owners who don't have coding skills but still want a stunning online presence. With Shopify, you can effortlessly create a website, launch an online store, and sell a wide range of products directly to consumers. The platform's focus on ease of use is clear in its selection of themes. You've got eight free options, each customizable to fit different industries. Even though BigCommerce offers more free themes, Shopify is known for its superior theme design and usability, often staying ahead of the competition.

Shopify's commitment to a seamless shopping experience is also evident in its Checkout Sheet Kit, which lets mobile app developers integrate a high-converting, one-page checkout into their apps. The platform's headless commerce solutions give you the flexibility to build a custom storefront with advanced tooling and hosting options. The introduction of Store Credit Primitive and API makes the checkout process and customer support smoother by bringing store credits into a single, easy-to-manage balance.

Shopify's investment in infrastructure isn't just about looks; it's about performance as well. The platform supports over 100 payment providers, making sure customers can pay the way they prefer. Its AI-powered guided search and Checkout Extensibility features make shopping more intuitive and efficient. Developer tools like Hydrogen and Oxygen help with debugging and optimizing builds, ensuring that merchants can deploy with confidence.

BigCommerce In A Nutshell

BigCommerce is another SaaS eCommerce platform that offers a user-friendly content management system with a modern dashboard that makes store management a breeze. It's a solid choice for businesses looking to grow. The platform offers scalable sales features and a suite of SEO tools, including optimized URLs and microdata integration for product pages.

The team behind BigCommerce's product catalog is always working to improve the platform. Features like pinned sections for personalized navigation and the BigAI Copywriter for AI-generated product descriptions are impressive additions. Its multi-channel management system is a godsend for merchants selling on various channels, allowing for seamless sales synchronization.

BigCommerce's drag-and-drop page builder and SEO tools let you create and optimize your online storefront without needing to know how to code. Its security features are top-notch, ensuring customer data is safe. The mobile app lets you manage your store wherever you are.

But BigCommerce has its downsides. Sales are capped annually depending on your plan, with the Standard Plan allowing up to $50,000 in sales per year. If you want features like the abandoned cart saver, you'll need to go for the pricier plans. While BigCommerce doesn't charge transaction fees and offers a 15-day free trial, its user community is smaller than Shopify's, which might limit access to peer support and third-party insights.

Ease of Use and User Experience

Interface Design and Navigation

Shopify's interface is particularly accessible, making it a breeze for newcomers to set up their online presence. Its streamlined layout is a boon for entrepreneurs without extensive technical expertise.

Onboarding Process for New Users

For those just starting, Shopify's onboarding is welcoming, guiding users through the setup process with a clear and manageable approach. This contrasts with BigCommerce's more feature-rich but potentially overwhelming initial experience.

Managing Products and Inventory

Both platforms equip merchants with essential tools for product and inventory management. Shopify's approach is notably straightforward, offering a clear system for monitoring stock and analyzing sales data. Its compatibility with a multitude of payment gateways further simplifies the transaction process for merchants.

Total Design Freedom and Flexibility

Template Availability and Quality

Shopify's selection of purchasable themes exceeds 70, with prices ranging from £150 to £350, ensuring a wide array of design choices to match your brand's aesthetic and appeal to your desired customer base.

In contrast, BigCommerce provides fewer free themes, and while it has its merits, Shopify's themes are often preferred for their aesthetic superiority and user-friendliness. The Shopify Theme Store features an extensive collection of over 160 themes that are not only customizable but also ensure a seamless shopping experience across various devices due to their mobile-responsive design.

Flexibility of Design Customizations

The platform is renowned for its design flexibility, catering to users who may lack extensive technical skills. The adaptability of Shopify's themes allows for the creation of a distinctive and professional-looking online store with ease. Additionally, these themes are designed with accessibility in mind, incorporating features such as product image zoom, keyboard navigation, and compatibility with screen readers.

Integration with Third-Party Apps

Shopify's ecosystem is enriched by a plethora of third-party apps that extend the platform's core functionalities. With a more extensive App Store than BigCommerce, it provides merchants with a broad selection of apps to address various business requirements, including SEO, marketing, and inventory management. These apps facilitate diverse promotional strategies, including cart-level discounts and automatic discounts for specific customer segments.

Pricing and Value for Money

Comparing Costs: Subscriptions and Transaction Fees

Cost considerations are paramount when selecting an eCommerce platform. Both Shopify and BigCommerce have tiered pricing to accommodate a range of business sizes. Shopify's pricing model includes several plans, culminating in Shopify Plus for enterprise-level users. Opting for Shopify Payments eliminates the standard transaction fee associated with other payment gateways, which can be financially beneficial for stores with high sales volumes.

Additionally, committing to an annual payment plan with Shopify can result in cost reductions over time. Conversely, BigCommerce imposes no transaction fees regardless of the chosen payment processor. However, the overall value provided by each service should be assessed beyond just the transaction fees.

The comprehensive app marketplace offered by Shopify may justify any additional expenses incurred from transaction fees for many users. The platform's simplicity and extensive app selection are particularly appealing to those who prioritize ease of use and customization. Inclusions in the Base Price

The foundational offerings of both platforms include unlimited products, bandwidth, and storage, along with SSL certificates and multi-channel selling capabilities. BigCommerce includes a broader range of features from the start, which may attract those seeking an all-inclusive solution. Shopify's App Store, with its vast array of over 8,000 apps, allows for extensive customization. This can lead to additional costs for those requiring numerous apps, but the platform's user-friendly nature remains a significant advantage for entrepreneurs with limited technical expertise. Furthermore, Shopify's complimentary themes provide a cost-effective means to establish an aesthetically pleasing and responsive online storefront.

Scaling Up: Costs for Growing Businesses

Both platforms are designed to accommodate business growth, albeit through different methodologies. Shopify's scalable infrastructure includes a variety of plans that expand capabilities such as staff accounts, inventory locations, and advanced reporting tools, as well as support for international markets.

The flexibility to upgrade to more comprehensive plans and integrate additional apps ensures Shopify can adapt to a business's expanding requirements. While BigCommerce also offers scalability, its complexity may require a greater investment of time to fully leverage its features. Shopify's straightforward configuration and app-centric model can simplify the scaling process for those with less technical background. The decision between Shopify and BigCommerce hinges on individual business needs and competencies. For those valuing simplicity, scalability, and a balance between cost and functionality, Shopify might be the more suitable choice.

Support and Community Resources

Access to Customer Support

BigCommerce understands the importance of dependable customer support, providing assistance through phone, live chat, or email at any hour. The platform's support team is known for its effectiveness, a crucial aspect for users navigating its sophisticated system.

Online Communities and Forums

While BigCommerce lacks a proprietary community forum, it facilitates access to a vast network of online sellers through integrations with platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Facebook. These connections not only extend your market reach but also provide access to the collective wisdom within these external communities. User reviews on sites such as TrustPilot and G2 serve as additional venues for merchants to exchange insights and advice.

Educational Materials and Training

Understanding every facet of your eCommerce platform unlocks its full capabilities. BigCommerce assists merchants with a variety of educational resources. Although it doesn't offer as extensive a catalog of learning materials as Shopify, BigCommerce does supply a selection of templates that, despite their higher cost, come with advanced features that enhance the shopping experience.

The BigCommerce app marketplace also features integrations that can bolster your marketing, SEO, and business operations, often accompanied by instructional content. The platform's built-in SEO capabilities and analytics are included in all plans, providing valuable data to inform your business strategies.

Shopify: The Clear Choice for Your eCommerce Journey

Opting for Shopify is more than just choosing an eCommerce platform; it's embracing an ecosystem designed to flourish right alongside your business. From the streamlined user experience to the boundless design potential and unrivaled app marketplace, Shopify equips you with the tools for success without the need for a coding degree.

As your enterprise grows, Shopify grows with you, offering plans that scale with your ambitions, and a community of users and developers ready to offer tips, tricks, and support. It's clarity, convenience, and community all wrapped up in one sleek package.

So, whether you're launching your first online store or looking to upgrade your digital commerce experience, let Shopify be the springboard for your brand's success story. With Shopify's comprehensive capabilities, your focus can remain where it matters most—on your products and your customers.

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