Shopify vs BigCommerce (2020): Which Website Builder Is Best For You?

If you’re thinking about setting up your own online store, Shopify and BigCommerce are probably included in your list of website builder prospects. They are, after all, the two biggest names in the e-commerce world. The great thing about both of them is that you don’t need a web designer to do the coding for you. You pick out a template, upload your products, put in your prices, and ta-da, you’ve got yourself an online store. They make it easy for you to become the entrepreneur you’ve always wanted to be.

That said, they do have some big differences and it’s important to familiarize yourself with them so that you can pick out the best website builder for your needs. To help you finalize a pick, here’s an in-depth comparison of Shopify and BigCommerce.

Shopify vs BigCommerce Comparison Chart​​

ModelShopifyBigCommerce
Ease of UseBeginner-friendlyRequires steeper learning curve
URLsNot fully customizableFully customizable
Robots.txtDoes not allow modificationAllows modification in dashboard
Other SEO FeaturesAllows titles, descriptions, 310 redirects, sitemapAllows titles, descriptions, 310 redirects, sitemap
PricingBasic Shopify – $29/month

Shopify – $79/month

Advanced Shopify – $299/month

Standard – $29.95

Plus – $79.95

Pro – $299.95

Number of Staff AccountsTwo (under the Basic Shopify plan)Unlimited (under the Plus plan)
EditorShopify editorSplit editor
24/7 SupportYesYes
Third-party AppsYesFeatures are built-in

Ease of Use

Shopify is the more beginner-friendly website builder.

Shopify makes it easy to build and edit your online store.

When it comes to ease of use, Shopify seems to be the more beginner-friendly option even though there’s still a bit of a learning curve involved. Their onboarding is a pretty easy one as you’ll be presented with a clear menu and guided by action buttons. Once you’ve followed along and supplied them with all the necessary information, they’ll do everything else for you. The Shopify editor makes it simple for you to make changes whenever you want to as well. For such a painless set-up process, you’re able to gain access to very powerful e-commerce tools that will help you manage your inventory, track your orders, and successfully run your business.

As for BigCommerce, you need to be a little bit more tech-savvy to get things off the ground. This is because they make use of a split editor where you add products in one place and then make edits to your storefront in another. It can be a little confusing to navigate this in the beginning but you don’t have to worry too much because they have a great onboarding process. You’ll be taken on a tour and everything will be pointed out to you, allowing you to get familiar with the technicalities. If you’re wondering why BigCommerce is more difficult to use, it’s because it’s a more powerful system compared to Shopify and is equipped with highly capable built-in features.

SEO

BigCommerce has better SEO functionality than Shopify.

BigCommerce lets you customize your URLs and modify Robots.txt. 

If you want to sell your products, your customers obviously need to be able to find you first. This is where the magic of SEO comes in. One of the most important things is being able to fully edit your URLs because Google loves those that are shorter and understandable. Fortunately, BigCommerce gives you full reign over your URLs, allowing you to edit them as you please. Shopify, however, is a bit more limiting in this aspect, requiring you to add /products/ and /collections/ to your URLs. Google also recommends that you use Robots.txt to block off certain pages that you don’t want to be accessed by web users. Again, BigCommerce is the more SEO-friendly option because they allow you to modify this file from your dashboard. Shopify, however, does not.

Other than that, Shopify and BigCommerce are similar when it comes to other SEO features. You can edit your titles, add in descriptions, use 301 redirects, and generate your sitemap. Both platforms have a built-in blog feature as well, allowing you to create content that would rank well in searches. Taking everything into account, it’s safe to say that BigCommerce has the upper hand when it comes to SEO, providing their customers with more control compared to Shopify.

Pricing

Shopify and BigCommerce are similar when it comes to the pricing of their plans. 

Shopify has three plans: Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify.

Shopify and BigCommerce aren’t all that far off from each other when it comes to their pricing plans. Shopify has three plans, namely Basic Shopify ($29/month), Shopify ($79/month), and Advanced Shopify ($299/month). BigCommerce has three as well which are Standard ($29.95/month), Plus ($79.95/month), and Pro ($299.95/month).

Both the Basic Shopify plan and BigCommerce’s Standard plan will give you roughly the same set of features that are enough to meet your business’s most essential needs. You can post unlimited products as well as gain access to unlimited file storage and bandwidth. You get the same quality of support as well through 24/7 phone calls and live chat. One major difference between the two, however, is that BigCommerce doesn’t put a limit to the number of staff accounts you can create while Shopify only lets you open up two. Once you upgrade to the pricier plans, you get some additional perks but they’re not entirely essential to run your business. If you upgrade to Shopify, for example, you get gift cards and reports, while upgrading to BigCommerce’s Plus plan will get you the abandoned cart recovery feature.

BigCommerce has three plans as well, namely Standard, Plus, and Pro.

The most important thing to note if you don’t want to get the shock of your life is that both platforms charge for every sale you make in the form of payment processing fees. The rates fall somewhere between 2.2% to 2.9% with an additional $0.30 per transaction. Also, it’s always good to remember that Shopify charges extra for most of the third-party apps you use. You don’t have to worry about this with BigCommerce because they already have built-in features.

Reddit Reviews

Reddit reviews favor Shopify over BigCommerce.

Shopify gets plus points for their modern themes and dedicated support.

From the looks of this Reddit review, it seems like there’s a major downside to using BigCommerce. Once you hit a certain amount in sales, they will promote you to their top plan which costs so much more. This might make it difficult for growing businesses to scale up while keeping their prices low because they need to shell out more dough to keep their website running. The Reddit review also says that BigCommerce’s themes aren’t as modern as Shopify’s and so you might need to make more changes before you’re fully satisfied with the look of your website. It also seems as though BigCommerce is lacking in support as compared to Shopify.

You have to be prepared for extra charges when using Shopify’s third-party apps.

Another Reddit review does point out, however, that Shopify is pretty basic in itself and that you’re most likely going to need the help of third-party apps to add more features and functionality to your online store. That said, your monthly charges could add up because these apps are usually not free. So that you’re not caught off guard, you should expect around $20 to $50 in extra charges if you’re using additional apps. The increase in cost does pay off, however, because using these apps will allow you to create a store that’s completely tailored to your needs.

Verdict

Shopify wins when it comes to ease of use but BigCommerce is more robust when it comes to features.

If you’re a complete beginner in the e-commerce world and you’re starting off with a small business, you’ll probably find yourself more at ease with Shopify. It’s a beginner-friendly website builder that will have you running your own online store in a jiffy. Their themes are also modern and appealing to the eyes, saving you from the hassle of having to make too many changes to your website’s look. While there are some drawbacks to using Shopify such as having to employ third-party apps and not having complete control when it comes to SEO, the overall experience is a pleasant one and you get to use powerful e-commerce tools to boot.

As for BigCommerce, it requires a bit more patience to get accustomed to the way it works. Learning curve aside, however, it’s a great platform for those who really want to grow their business. It has much better SEO functionality than Shopify, meaning you’re more likely to pop up in search results. BigCommerce is also a much more robust website builder that doesn’t need the help of third-party apps, saving you from additional charges. You do, however, need to be aware that they promote you to more expensive plans once you’ve reached certain sales milestones, prompting you to pay more.

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