Shopify vs. BigCommerce Detailed Comparison – 2018

Shopify vs. BigCommerce

Shopify vs. BigCommerce Detailed Comparison – 2018

Since early days of eCommerce, I had opportunities to work with various eCommerce platforms that target different segments from Fortune 500 brands to small retailers.  I also have built a few bespoke eCommerce stores from scratch and an entirely proprietary eCommerce platform during the first internet boom.   From my experience, I learned that successful online retailers need common essential features and the ability to extend the core with customization to be competitive.

These days merchants have numerous choices for eCommerce off-the-shelf software to start selling online or for upgrading their existing online store.  

From time to time, we get inquiries from clients who are new to eCommerce or have an online store built on technology that is either obsolete or lacks features that are essential for the modern eCommerce site operations.  The clients ask us: What is the best platform to build a new or renovate their current e-commerce site? 

The two e-commerce platforms that are very often on the short list of small and medium retailers are Shopify and BigCommerce.  Both platforms are hosted and use SaaS delivery model.

Shopify had tremendous growth momentum in the last few years and grown 10 times in the last three years. Its SaaS platform is simple to use and allows merchants launching a brand-new store in days or even less than a day for a small product catalog.  While Shopify could be a good starting point for new merchants, it also misses some of the essential features that most of the established retailers need.

I suggest considering BigCommerce as a strong alternative to Shopify based on the specific merchant requirements and desired target growth.

Facts

 

 Shopify

 BigCommerce

Type

Public Private, 200M in funding

Founded In

 2004, the platform was launched in 2006 2009

Founders

Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, Scott Lake Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper

Headquarters

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Austin, Texas

Area served

Worldwide 120+ countries

Revenue

$580.9Million (2017) N/A Private

Number of employees

1,930  500+
Number of merchants use the platform 600,000 60,000
Total gross merchandise volume $55 Billion (End of 2017)  $17 Billion (March 2018)

Pricing

 

 Shopify

 BigCommerce

Starting plan

Basic Shopify – $29/Month Plus 2% if a merchant uses external payment gateways Standard –$29.95/month with  0%  transactional fees.

Medium

Shopify – $79/Month Plus 1% if a merchant uses external payment gateways Plus- $79.95  with 0%  transactional fees.

Advanced

Advanced Shopify – $299/Month Plus 0.5% if a merchant uses external payment gateways Pro –$249.95  with 0%  transactional fees.

Enterprise

Shopify Plus – request for a quote, No additional transactional fees if a merchant uses external payment gateways.

You may find  information about Shopify Pricing  in these articles:

  1. Shopify Plus Pricing: How Much Does Shopify Plus Cost?
  2. Shopify Plus Pricing & Cost of Ownership
Enterprise –custom pricing lower than Magento and Shopify Plus

Product Catalog

 

 Shopify

 BigCommerce

Product Attributes

  • Title
  • Description (HTML)
  • Images
  • Pricing
    • Price
    • Compare at Price
  • Inventory
    • SKU
    • Barcode
    • Inventory Policy (2 options)
  • Shipping
    • Weight
    • International Customers HS Tariff Code
  • Variants
    • Options and options values
  • Name
  • Description HTML
  • Images and Video
  • Product code/SKU
  • Pricing
    • Default price
    • MSRP(retail price)
    • Sale Price
    • Bulk pricing based on quantity breaks.
  • Tax class
    • Avalara Tax Code
  • Shipping
    • Weight
    • Width
    • Dimension
    • Height
    • Depth
    • Free shipping flag
    • Flat rate shipping
  • Availability
    • Can be purchased
    • Coming Soon
    • Cannot be purchased online
  • Inventory tracking method
  • Options and Option sets
  • Custom fields
  • Product Identifier
    • Global Trade Item Number
    • Manufacturer Part Number
    • Brand name
    • Product UPC/EA
  • Bin Picking Number
  • Warranty Information
  • Template layout
  • Search Keyword
  • Availability
  • Visibility
  • Featured product Flag
  • Gift Wrapping
  • SEO
    • Page Title
    • Meta Description
    • Meta keyword
    • Friendly URL
  • Facebook Open Graph Settings
  • Accounting Settings
    • Asset Account Code
    • Income Account Code
    • Expense/COS Account 

Product catalog organization and filtering

  • Product Type
  • Vendor
  • Collections
  • Tags
  • Product Type
  • Product Category/Subcategory (hierarchical)
  • Brands
  • Price Ranges
  • Rating

Multi-currency and language support

 

 Shopify

 BigCommerce

Multi-currency Support

 

  • Can be done with customization to display products in more than one currency.  The customization is not supported by Shopify
  • The user has to select the currency in the currency selector.
  • Currency switches to the default currency at checkout.
  • Store admin may set up multiple currencies and assign to regions and select the default currency to process transactions.
  • Currency switches automatically based on the user region
  • Shoppers may use currency picker to select the currency in the store set with multiple currencies.
  • Shoppers will see their chosen display currency as well as which currency they will actually be charged. If the store uses one of the global payment gateways then customers will transact in the currency of choice.
  • All invoice emails will display the prices in the store’s default currency.

Multilingual support

  • The merchant would need to use a third party application to be able to display storefront in multiple languages.
  • Theme framework allows having a storefront in multiple languages.
  • The product content stays the same unless more than one version of the product is created

Checkout and Customer Account

 

 Shopify

 BigCommerce

Checkout

  • Customers are able to check out with a customer account or as a guest

* Shopify announced that new features to be added to the platform on May 8, 2018:

  • Dynamic Checkout surfaces the consumer’s preferred payment method directly on the product page and allows transactions to happen with a single tap using Shopify Pay, Apple Pay, and many more wallets.
  • One page checkout
  • Guest Checkout
  • Customer account checkout
  • Order comments by customers
  • Multiple Shipping Options
  • PayPal Express Checkout

Customer Account

  •  Standard fields only
  • Address Built-in fields
  • Ability to add Custom Fields

Customer care and returns

 

 Shopify

 BigCommerce

Returns

Needs a third party app to handle RMA for returns The returns system allows customers to request a return on items they’ve purchased (RMA).

Live Chat

Integration with third-party live chat systems:

  • LivePerson
  • Olark
  • Other third-party live chat service
Supports integration with multiple live chat apps:

  • Olark
  • LiveChat
  • Others….

Marketing and promotions

 

 Shopify

 BigCommerce

Promotions

Promotion discounts with discount codes;

  • $ OFF
  • %OFF

* Shopify announced new features to be added to the platform on May 8, 2018:

  • Buy One Get One (BOGO) & Quantity discounts.
  • Banners
  • Coupon Codes
  • Cart Level Discounts
  • Brand discount
  • Category discount
  • Free shipping
  • Product discount
  • Customer discount
  • Order discount

Marketing

  • Abandoned checkout email automation

* Shopify announced new features to be added to the platform on May 8, 2018:

  • A new Marketing section in the Shopify dashboard that enables merchants to create, run, and measure all marketing campaigns using their favorite Shopify apps.
  • Abandoned Cart Notifications
  • Google Adwords Integration
  • Yahoo Search Marketing integration
  • Google Customer Review
  • Email Marketing
  • Gift Certificates
  • Sell on eBay

Product Reviews

  • Needs an app. Shopify offers a free app for product reviews
  • Native platform features. Generates SEO structured data for product reviews and rating.

Omnichannel support

 

 Shopify

 BigCommerce

Channel Manager

Shopify offers integration with:

  • BuyButton
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • eBay
  • Wholesales
Native sales manamgent with  the following channels:

  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Buy Button
  • Amazon (US only)
  • eBay

POS Integration

  • Proprietary Shopify POS
  • Integration with popular POS is available with third-party software
Native integration with the following POS:

  • Square
  • Shopkeep
  • SpringboardRetail
  • Hike

Multi-currency and language support

 

 Shopify

 BigCommerce

Analytics

Shopify analytics dashboard and reports provide the following metrics:

  • Total sales revenue
  • Total orders
  • Total online store visits
  • Repeat customer rate
  • Conversion Rate
  • Average Order Value (AOV)
  • Online store visits by traffic source
  • Sales by traffic source
  • Online store visits by location
  • Top referrers by visits
  • Total sales attributed to marketing campaigns
  • Top referrers by visits
  • Sales by POS
Time trends, period comparison for the following metrics:

  • Orders
  • Revenue
  • Customers
  • Visits
  • Conversion Rate
  • Average Order Value (AOV)

Marketing

  • Visit Origin vs
    • Revenue
    • Visits
    • Orders
    • Conversion Rate
    • AOV
    • Revenue Per Visit (RPV)
  • Purchase Funnel
  • Abandoned Carts/Abandoned Carts Recovery
  • In-store Search
  • Sales by device

Sales Tax Report

Conclusion

The detailed comparison shows that BigCommerce would be the winner over Shopify among the merchants who have more extensive product catalogs with dozens of categories and also need more flexibility with product pricing options and sales promotions. Those features are particularly important for fashion and accessories, health and beauty or home improvement stores.

BigCommerce has also much stronger marketing integration features.

Our development team was pleased with BigCommerce API and Stencil theme framework that allows us to create custom aesthetically pleasing storefronts that provide good user experience and better sales conversion rate.

The BigCommerce platform also has enough features in it plans that can satisfy growth from zero to over 10 million in sales while staying on the same platform.

Shopify may work well for a single brand store with an uncomplicated product line that does not need a variety of merchandise options and custom attributes.

Learn how Eradium may help you to realize the full potential of your eCommerce Platform of choice

Igor Nesmyanovich, Ph.D., CISSP
igor@eradium.com

Igor Nesmyanovich, Data Scientist and CEO of Eradium. Igor began his career as a space scientist, and for the more than two decades applied the unique art of science to the emerging digital world. Igor is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional since 2004. Today Igor’s focus is on helping clients to realize business value from using data science and technology in their core business operations and marketing.