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Shopify vs. BigCommerce

Shopify vs. BigCommerce - Which E-commerce Platform is Best?

E-commerce Platforms

Author: Preslav Nikov min read
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Merchants often wonder which e-commerce platform is best for supporting and scaling their business.

One of the most discussed platform comparisons is Shopify vs. BicCommerce.

Understanding the pros and cons of each platform is essential to making an informed decision about how you will run and grow your business online.

While Shopify and BicCommerce have many similarities, they also significantly differ in certain areas and fit different businesses better.

Whether Shopify or BigCommerce is better for your business depends on a variety of factors, including your business needs, budget, technical know-how, and more.

In this article, we’ll compare Shopify and BigCommerce in great detail, so that you see the finer nuances and decide which one suits you better.

Let’s dive right in.

Shopify: Pros and Cons Summed Up

Shopify vs BigCommerce - Shopify: Pros and Cons Summed Up - Shopify logo

As of 2024, Shopify supports close to 5,000,000 stores and that number is rapidly growing.

This makes Shopify one of the most popular e-commerce platforms up to date.

The main reasons why Shopify is so successful are its:

  • Ease of use

  • Flexible design capabilities

  • Zero-effort technical maintenance

  • Over 8,000 plug-and-play apps for added functionalities

  • Stellar 24/7 customer support

  • With Shopify, you can set up and customize your online store in a matter of hours, without having any technical expertise or coding knowledge. All of the tasks that you need to do to manage your store and orders are a few clicks away.

  • From the get-go, Shopify automatically takes care of your domain, hosting, and website security. It also has a bunch of other features built-in that help your store remain lightning-fast, such as utilizing a CDN and automatic image compression.

  • Shopify’s SaaS nature means that non-tech-savvy owners and managers don’t need to worry about updates and website maintenance. Instead, Shopify takes care of every piece of software behind your store, thanks to its extensive centralized quality controls.

While this control elevates the overall quality of their service and guarantees a level of robustness, it also means that high-volume retailers with completely custom requirements will not have the total creative freedom that open-source platforms bring.

However, by working with professional Shopify designers and developers, you can get much more out of the Shopify platform.

One of Shopify’s biggest drawbacks is its somewhat higher price point compared to other platforms.

Apart from its monthly plans, merchants must also be aware of potential transaction and app fees which we will discuss in detail later.

BigCommerce: Pros and Cons Summed Up

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As of 2024, BigCommerce supports about 45,231 stores worldwide, making it the clear underdog in terms of popularity, compared to Shopify.

The main benefits of BigCommerce are its:

  • Scalability

  • Customizability

  • Built-in functionalities

  • 24/7 Customer Support

  • Online store features & SEO

  • Strong B2B functionality

Similarly to Shopify, BigCommerce is a hosted SaaS solution that provides merchants with all the features they need to set up, manage, and scale their stores easily.

Getting started with BigCommerce is straightforward and they also automatically take care of your domain, hosting, security, and more.

Moreover, BigCommerce comes with more built-in features on its advanced plans and doesn’t make you rely on third-party apps as much as you’d have to on Shopify.

While many of them are free, they can bring significant monthly costs as your store expands.

  • One of the drawbacks of BigCommerce is that it’s somewhat harder to use than Shopify due to its steeper learning curve. Thus, less tech-savvy teams might not have the easiest time setting up and managing a store. Most likely, they’ll need help from professional developers.

  • Another drawback of BigCommerce is its pricing. The lower plans of BigCommerce are even more expensive than Shopify’s, while arguably bringing fewer features to the table. However, their advanced plans come at the same price and have similar capabilities.

  • While there aren’t any transaction fees on BigCommerce, there are predetermined revenue brackets for each plan. This means that if you make more than a certain amount for the year, BigCommerce will automatically bump you up to a higher price plan.

Finally, BigCommerce excels at providing features for online stores but is lacking when it comes to integrating offline sales and physical locations into your online business.

Thus, it’s suited for strictly online businesses.

Shopify vs. BigCommerce - The Definitive Comparison

In this section, you’ll learn specific details about Shopify and BigCommerce and see how they match up.

Which one is easier to use? - Shopify wins

While both platforms are straightforward to use and employ drag-and-drop builders and modern dashboards, Shopify has a distinct edge in user-friendliness.

Managing your e-commerce operations is simple and intuitive with Shopify’s admin panel. Moreover, adding new products is incredibly easy and you can automatically generate descriptions for them with Shopify’s Magic tool.

In comparison, BigCommerce’s admin panel can feel overwhelming at first sight and takes some time to get used to due to all the technical sales features involved.

While BigCommerce is more powerful out of the box, it’s a harder platform to master.

Which one costs less? - it depends

Both Shopify and BigCommerce have similarly priced monthly plans, but differ in their transaction fees and predetermined revenue brackets. Moreover, both e-commerce platforms feature a variety of apps, which can further increase your monthly costs.

BigCommerce Pricing

BigCommerce offers three pricing plans and an Enterprise solution. Their standard plan comes at $39 per month, their Plus plan at $105, and their Pro plan at $399, while their enterprise plan requires you to contact their sales and receive a custom quote.

Here are BigCommerce’s plans at a glance:

BigCommerce Plans
Paid monthly
Starting at $1,000
Paid annually (25% off)
Annual Revenue Bracket
$50,000 - $180,000
$180,000 - $400,000

All of their plans come with 24/7 support, SSL, Real-Time Shipping, Coupons, Discounts, and blogging possibilities. Each successive plan unlocks more powerful features for your business.

It’s worth noting that the abandoned cart saver feature isn’t available with their Standard plan, but is included in Shopify’s equivalent plan - Shopify Basic.

Each of BigCommerce’s plans comes with a predetermined annual revenue bracket. If your revenue surpasses the bracket, you get automatically bumped up to a higher plan.

However, if your sales dip you won’t be automatically downgraded but would have to request a plan change manually.

Lastly, BigCommerce offers a 15-day free trial.

Shopify Pricing

Shopify offers four pricing plans and an enterprise solution.

Namely, these are the Shopify Starter at $5 per month, Shopify Basic at $32, Shopify at $92, Shopify Advanced at $399, and Shopify Plus at $2,000.

Here are Shopify’s plans at a glance:

Shopify Plan
Shopify Starter
Shopify Basic
Shopify Advanced
Shopify Plus
Paid monthly
Paid annually (25% off)

Shopify’s lower-priced plans are more affordable than those of BigCommerce, especially the Shopify Starter plan. However, that plan doesn’t allow you to build a standalone store. Instead, it allows you to attach a buy button to your existing website or social media page. 

  • Each successive Shopify plan brings more advanced features that help your store sell more products to more people. From the Basic plan onwards, users get access to powerful features such as abandoned cart recovery, and many more. 

  • Shopify makes it even more risk-free to get started with its 3-day free trial, followed by a one-time $1 for 3 months trial, so you can explore the platform inside and out before committing to it.

There are no revenue brackets on Shopify, but there are certain transaction costs, which we will discuss later.

Read more on Shopify Pricing in 2024.

Which one has better themes and customization options? - Shopify wins

Both Shopify and BigCommerce offer a variety of both free and premium themes that merchants can leverage to customize their store’s look, feel, and functionality.

Theme prices range from free to about $350 as a one-time purchase.

Currently, BigCommerce has over 240 themes, while Shopify boasts over 170 of which 12 are free. However, Shopify’s themes are world-renowned for aesthetics, responsiveness, and rich functionalities.

Shopify vs. BigCommerce - Which one has better themes and customization options? - Shopify themes calatlog

Shopify themes can be sorted by industry

Whereas on BigCommerce, many themes come from the same ‘theme family’ and are in essence slight variations of each theme. Thus, the real number of unique themes is similar to that of Shopify.

When it comes to customization options, BigCommerce offers superior design flexibility, after its recent design editor update which made it possible to select a page element and insert it wherever you want it to go on the page.

However, Shopify is easier to use and its aesthetic capabilities are superior to BigCommerce’s.

Moreover, both platforms are suited for doing a headless build, but BigCommerce is a tad better for headless commerce.

In essence, both platforms can bring the same customization options to your e-commerce store, however, Shopify relies more on easy plug-and-play plugins, while BigCommerce has more of these options built-in.

Which one has better Sales & Marketing Features? - Shopify Wins

Both Shopify and BigCommerce offer a powerful arsenal of sales and marketing features.

  • Their standard features include everything you need to start selling online, such as basic shipping tools, multichannel selling, a customizable checkout, locally relevant currencies, content, prices, and much more.

  • Moreover, both platforms integrate with various platforms and allow you to seamlessly sell on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, and more. However, when it comes to platform integrations, Shopify has an edge when it comes to its variety.

  • Another place where Shopify excels is its integrations with physical POS systems, allowing you to track and manage your sales and inventory both online and offline. In comparison, such features are only available with BigCommerce’s enterprise solution.

However, BigCommerce has an advantage in terms of built-in functionalities. While Shopify can also achieve the same functionalities, it will often require a third party app from its App Store, which can come at an extra cost.

Which one has better Apps and Add-Ons? - Shopify wins

Shopify’s App Store is more than eight times larger than BigCommerce’s

Shopify vs. BigCommerce - Which one has better Apps and Add-Ons? - Shopify app store

The Shopify App Store

  • Shopify has a much broader and well-developed app ecosystem than BigCommerce. Currently, there are over 8,000 apps in the Shopify App Store, out of which 3,000 are free, whereas BigCommerce has less than 1,000.

  • Arguably, BigCommerce doesn’t need as many apps, due to its built-in functionalities. However, the flexibility and variability that Shopify’s App Store brings unparalleled customization options to improve customer engagement and conversion rates.

Which one has better payment processors and transaction fees? - It depends

Shopify works with over 100 secure payment gateways, while BigCommerce works with only 65. Moreover, Shopify has its proprietary payment processor, Shopify Payments, which brings highly competitive card transaction rates.

Shopify vs. BigComemrce - Which one has better payment processors and transaction fees? - Shopify Payments

Shopify’s in-house payment processor

However, Shopify Payments is available only in some countries and if you use a different payment processor, you will be subject to an extra transaction fee between 2% and 0.5%, unless you use Shopify Plus.

Moreover, each payment processor charges a separate card transaction fee that depends on your location and card type.

Here are Shopify’s extra transaction fees at a glance:

Shopify Plan
Shopify Basic
Shopify Advanced
Shopify Plus
Transaction fee when using Shopify Payments
Transaction fee when not using Shopify Payments

Now let’s compare the card processing fees between Shopify Payments and Braintree (BigCommerce’s preferred processor)

Shopify Plan
Shopify Basic
Shopify Advanced
Shopify Plus
Transaction fee when using Shopify Payments
2.9% + 30 cents
2.6% + 30 cents
2.4% + 30 cents
2.15% + 30 cents (Visa and Mastercard)


BigCommerce Plan
Braintree Payments Card Processing Fee
2.59% + $0.49 per transaction
2.35% + $0.49 per transaction
2.05% + $0.49 per transaction
2.05% + $0.49 per transaction or lower

Both BigCommerce and Shopify offer competitive card processing rates, but Shopify charges slightly more as a percentage, whereas BigCommerce has a higher fixed fee for each transaction.

Which one works better for you largely depends on your average order value.

The difference in processing fees between Shopify and BigCommerce is mostly negligible.

Which one has better Shipping & Logistics Integrations? - Shopify wins

Both Shopify and BigCommerce offer advanced Shipping and Logistics features such as:

  • Product tracking

  • Fraud prevention

  • Inventory Management and location selection

  • Automated Tariff and Shipping Cost calculations

  • Integrations with international Carriers

  • Custom shipping rules

BigCommerce has an advantage when it comes to product SKUs, offering 600 SKUs per product, which are crucial for identifying and tracking products and their variants.

In comparison, Shopify allows only 100 SKUs per product, which can limit the amount of variants each of your products can have.

However, Shopify brings powerful built-in solutions such as Shopify Locations, Shopify Markets, and the Shopify Fulfillment Network.

Combined, these tools completely streamline your international shipment and logistics and even handle your physical fulfillment for you.

These solutions outclass BigCommerce and give Shopify a big edge in logistics.

Which one is better for paid advertising? - Shopify wins

Both Shopify and BigCommerce are excellent for supporting your multichannel advertising campaigns and tracking your results. There are no dramatic differences in features or opportunities that the platforms bring.

However, if you require more sophisticated options for your PPC campaigns, Shopify’s vast ecosystem of apps and integrations can prove advantageous.

Generally, BigCommerce has specific features for paid advertising built-in, whereas Shopify may require a 3rd party app to fulfill the same purpose.

This can be a drawback, as 3rd party apps usually come with extra monthly or usage costs and can affect your store’s speed.

However, if you work with professional Shopify developers, you can get expert advice on how to select the Shopify apps that are best for you.

Which one has better SEO options? - BigCommerce wins

BigCommerce has fewer limitations when it comes to SEO than Shopify.

Out of the box, Shopify has basic SEO functionalities that can be extended with 3rd party apps from the App Store.

However, Shopify faces certain issues with regard to technical SEO customization and more particularly with the structure of its product page URLs, since they can’t be fully edited.

  • In comparison, BigCommerce comes equipped with the ability to optimize and rewrite URLs manually and automatically to fit new product names.

  • Moreover, BigCommerce has ‘rich snippets’ or microdata built into product pages which modify your search result appearance. You can also use rich snippets on Shopify but you’ll need to use an app from its store.

  • Both Shopify and BigCommerce use CDN networks and have features for automatic image compression, which helps your store’s speed and performance.

Overall, BigCommerce is better in SEO functionalities out of the box and offers greater flexibility with URLs.

While Shopify is also decent and allows you to add keywords, and modify meta titles, descriptions, and blog post URLs, it lags behind BigCommerce om SEO.

Which one has better customer support? - it depends

Shopify and BigCommerce both offer excellent support across multiple channels.

BigCommerce offers 24/7 phone, chat, and ticket support, while Shopify offers all of that and email support as well.

However, Shopify is a much more popular platform with an active community and an abundance of resources like forums, videos, and blogs that can help you find a workaround on your own.

Overall, both platforms are invested in providing top-tier customer support, but Shopify is somewhat more organized and effective.

Conclusion: Shopify vs. BigCommerce

Overall, both Shopify and BigCommerce are excellent e-commerce platforms. However, they have distinct advantages in certain areas.

In particular, we recommend using BigCommerce if you don’t want to work with third-party apps and have to pay for them separately, or if you need better SEO functionalities.

Moreover, a BigCommerce store is good for selling products that fall into restricted categories like guns or medical supplies. However, a caveat with BigCommerce is that it’s good for you only if you sell strictly online.

On the other hand, Shopify excels at giving you control over the aesthetics of your website and gives you thousands of third-party apps to customize its functionalities. Moreover, its ease of use makes it a better choice for store owners who aren’t tech-savvy.

Furthermore, Shopify is an excellent tool for streamlining all of your online and offline sales efforts in one place, making it a preferred choice for almost 5 million stores.

If you’re curious about the possibilities of Shopify web development, you can reach out to our team for a free, no-strings-attached consultation.

See Also: Shopify vs. Webflow comparison

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Preslav Nikov

With a decade of of e-commerce experience, Preslav, CEO of Craftberry, produces informative content. His writing focuses on practical insights and strategies in the e - commerce, aimed at helping professionals and businesses in the industry.

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