Shopify Vs BigCommerce: An Objective Look at Both Platforms
Thursday, July 30, 2020Eric Zegarski
Shopify Vs BigCommerce: Comparing Two Leading eCommerce Solutions
Merchants are faced with numerous choices when it comes to picking an eCommerce platform. Two major platforms in the eCommerce Wars are Shopify
. At a glance, both platforms essentially offer the same solution. Whether you choose BigCommerce or Shopify, a proper eCommerce go-to market strategy will allow you to succeed. Each platform has its own set of pros and cons. Your deciding factor should be which platform fits the needs of your business vs its share price index on the stock market. Join us as we dive deep into what makes Shopify and BigCommerce unique and what type of merchant is better suited for each platform.
Shopify is the market leader when it comes to eCommerce platforms. They always have the eCommerce community’s attention whenever they roll out a new feature. Shopify makes it easy for eCommerce newbies to get stated with an introductory solution starting at $29. Shopify’s library of themes makes it easy to get started without having to rely on extensive tech knowledge.
Shopify has a nifty feature that auto generates sitemap.xml and robo.txt files for you. In addition, the platform supports canonical URL tags. Extra SEO tools like ALT Tags, meta descriptions, and title tags are also native to Shopify. Recently Shopify has updated URL structure options.
For content creators, Shopify does offer a native blog feature too. Similar to functionalities you might expect in WordPress, merchants can change author info, categorize posts, and adjust meta descriptions. This feature is great for helping your site rank for keywords and topics related to your products. If you have an extensive blog on Wordpress right now, migration might be challenging, as it will require you to ha a subdomain.
Product Search Capabilities
Your customers what to find what they are looking for FAST! Shopify’s native search feature is a little lackluster. Great search engines take things like spelling mistakes into account, which is something Shopify struggles with. In you have an extensive catalogue, then this might become a problem. There are several apps you can find in the Shopify App Store that can help improve your search capabilities.
Abandoned Cart Recovery
Online retailers lose a lot of revenue from abandoned carts. Bringing these potential customers back in an effective manner can allow you to recoup a lot of potential lost revenue.
The most cost-effective version of Shopify does not support native cart recovery emails from Shopify. Even with the advanced plans, you can only send one follow-up email. This email is also sent based on time triggers that Shopify has pre-determined. If you want to enroll these abandoned cart users into a nurture stream, you’ll need help from an email marketing solution.
Discounts & Customer Loyalty
Shopify has a lot of versatile options when it comes to running discount-based promotions. Shopify allows you to add basic coupons directly in the platform and use them to create targeted campaigns. Merchants can utilize either monetary or percentage-based discounts. Shopify’s easy to use UX allows you to set up a discount in under 5 minutes!
When it comes to loyalty points, Shopify merchants require assistance from apps. Just like Shopify many of these apps have a tiered pricing structure. Leading loyalty points solution providers also have native integrations with other major lead gen or marketing apps.
Offering Product Variants
No matter which tier you start with, Shopify has all the necessary tools needed to get started with selling online. The platform allows you to have product variants (colours, sizes, styles). These variants can exist without having to build additional product pages. Creating a variant is easy and usually takes under 2 minutes. In addition, you can have different pricing based on SKUs and variants. Offering popular bespoke customizations like monograms requires additional help from apps.
With the Advanced Shopify plan, you can manage a multi-channel strategy directly from your Shopify store. Shopify has native integrations with social media platforms like Facebook
and marketplaces like Amazon. However integrating with Google Trusted Stores
has been historically a challenge for Shopify merchants.
Shopify x Amazon
Despite some choice words Shopify’s had about Amazon’s practices, they make working with Amazon
a breeze. Shopify allows merchants to set up Amazon Pay in a 3 step process. Merchants just must open an Amazon Pay account, complete the tax interview, activate the feature in Shopify.
Upselling and Cross-Selling Features
Upselling and cross-selling are a great way to increase your average order value. Unfortunately, with Shopify, you will need assistance from apps that cost extra.
Real Time Shipping and Tracking
Customers love getting updates as to where their order is post purchase. Offering real time tracking updates allows customers to get excited about their purchase arriving. In order to offer this feature, Shopify merchants need to invest in the top tier of Shopify.
Shopify Themes and App Market Place
Shopify has a plethora of different themes you can choose from to make your shop feel truly yours. You can find these in the Shopify marketplace
. They have a mix of free and paid themes merchants can choose from. All of these themes are optimized to perform well on both desktop and mobile.
As discussed before, a lot of functionality merchants need can only be achieved through apps. Shopify has a marketplace loaded with different apps. More often than not, you’ll find multiple app solutions for the same function. As merchant, this gives you the freedom to pick the solutions provider that meets you needs. A major downside of these apps is that they can quickly increase your total cost of ownership drastically, since a lot of them have tiered pricing.
In recent years, governments have been cracking down on eCommerce businesses not collecting tax on eCommerce purchases. Just in the USA alone the billions of dollars in taxes were not being collected annually. Shopify has an automatic tax calculator for international countries. However, if you’re looking to be complaint with state taxes in the USA, you’ll need help from apps like Avalara
Shopify has a low cost of entry. With their entry-level price plan, and a slightly nicer theme, you can run your online business with and initial investment of around $550 USD in the first year. For someone looking to get started with eCommerce, Shopify is a great start.
In the eCommerce world, BigCommerce is often viewed as the underdog. At a glance, BigCommerce offers the same functionality as Shopify, with a few differences that make it more appealing to some merchants. BigCommerce has an entry price point of $29 USD and its tiers have the same fees as Shopify.
BigCommerce has a lot of nifty features to allow you to supercharge your store’s SEO. Everything’s served from a content delivery network to speed up delivery. You have complete control over SEO data for each of your products, including the page title, meta keywords, meta description, and product URL all from within the product area.
Big Commerce also has blogging capabilities. They have must-have blogging features that you need to be successful, these include SEO metadata and optimized URLs, comments, multiple author support, tags for topic organization, and mobile optimization.
BigCommerce’s native search feature is basic. It doesn’t take things like spelling mistakes into account. In you have an extensive catalogue, then this might become a problem. There are several apps you can find that can assist with this. BigCommerce allows you to categorize searches by price point and product type.
Abandoned Cart Recovery
BigCommerce Allows you to send emails directly from the platform when someone abandons their cart. This functionality is a bit limited since an email can only be sent once and you must pick times to send them based on BigCommerce’s parameters. Additional features in BigCommerce abandoned cart recovery capabilities:
- From — This is auto-populated by the Email address in Store Setup › Store Profile.
- Subject — This is the email subject. See below for a list of placeholders you can use.
- Message — This area uses the WYSIWYG editor. You can use some of the placeholder assets.
- Coupon Code — This drop-down lets you select from any coupon you've created.
- Active? — This lets you designate this email template as one of the 3 active templates.
- Send This Email — Choose from 1-23 hours or 1-10 days after the order is abandoned to send this email out. You cannot have multiple emails sent out at the same time to the same customer.
Discounts and Customer Loyalty
BigCommerce also has a variety of different discounts you can offer to your customers. The discount feature lets you generate a variety of different discounts to meet your marketing needs. Some discounts that BigCommerce supports include:
- Dollar amount off the order total
- Dollar amount off each item in the order
- Percentage off each item in the order
- Dollar amount off the shipping total
- Free shipping
BigCommerce has an additional feature that allows you to have automatic discounts based on the shopper's activity. These discounts are applied automatically to the cart balance when a customer meets the discount’s set parameters. An example is save 20% when you spend $100 or more before shipping.
If you’re looking to offer loyalty points, then you’ll need assistance from a 3rd party app like Smile.io
Product Variants in BigCommerce
BigCommerce allows you to have product variants (colours, sizes, styles). You can create a required option for products that need it (like size for clothing). That means the shopper must select a value (like small) before they can add the item to their cart. You can also create non-required options. That means the shopper can select/enter a value, but doesn’t have to. This is good for add-ons or customizations, like engraving. Stock keeping units, or SKUs, are a code you can assign to products and variants in order to track inventory. With BigCommerce, you can assign SKUs to both the base product and its individual variants.
BigCommerce makes multi-channel simple. Pre-built integrations with Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google Shopping allow you to sell everywhere it matters, from a single dashboard. Over-selling inventory causes massive delays in delivery and erodes brand loyalty. All multi-channel integrations are built on BigCommerce’s catalog API to sync inventory from 3rd-party channels to the back-end.
Amazon x BigCommerce
BigCommerce doesn’t restrict which payment processor you can use. BigCommerce allows merchants to use Amazon Pay as their payment processor. In addition, selling on Amazon is easy with BigCommerce. Easily get your BigCommerce products on Amazon, with bulk listing and streamlined error handling for increased efficiency. Your inventory automatically updates between BigCommerce and Amazon, so you never oversell. Process your Amazon orders in BigCommerce to manage a single product catalog for all your sales channels.
Upselling and Cross-Selling Features
Upselling and cross-selling are a great way to increase your average order value. Unfortunately, with BigCommerce, you will need assistance from apps that cost extra.
Real Time Shipping and Tracking
Customers love getting updates as to where their order is post purchase. Offering real time tracking updates allows customers to get excited about their purchase arriving. With BigCommerce, this is done through 3rd party apps. BigCommerce however offers real time shipping quotes on all their pricing plans. Therefore, shoppers get the most up to date shipping rates at their disposal.
Big Commerce Themes and App Market Place
BigCommerce has a collection of different themes you can choose from to make your store feel truly yours. You can find these in the BigCommerce theme marketplace. They have a mix of free and paid themes merchants can choose from. All of these themes are optimized to perform well on both desktop and mobile.
As discussed before, a lot of extra functionality that merchants need can only be achieved through apps. BigCommerce has a marketplace loaded with different apps. You’ll find multiple app solutions for the same function. As merchant, this gives you the freedom to pick the solutions provider that meets you needs. One of the major downsides of these apps is that they can quickly increase your total cost of ownership. However, BigCommerce’s app marketplace
does not have as many apps as Shopify due to a smaller developer pool.
BigCommerce has features that allow you to set up which items are tax free and which ones are not. In recent years, governments have been cracking down on eCommerce businesses not collecting tax on eCommerce purchases. Just in the USA alone the billions of dollars in taxes were not being collected annually. BigCommerce has an automatic tax calculator for international countries. However, if you’re looking to be complaint with state taxes in the USA, you’ll need help from apps like Avalara or TaxJar.
BigCommerce is a great platform for mid-market businesses. Its API capabilities ensure data flows to and from BigCommerce without any bottlenecks. Furthermore, BigCommerce has advanced functionalities that allow you to bring your own payment processor. You’re not boxed in with one solution and its associated processing fees. With its advanced multi-channel features, BigCommerce makes multi-channel commerce easy.
What Merchants Are Saying About Shopify and BigCommerce
“Shopify changed our business. We switched from Magento to Shopify in 2014. The money we used to spend on developers, hosting, and payment gateways could now be spent on marketing and new hires. Our business became profitable shortly after switching to Shopify and we can do most of the UX and site design in house. It's affordable and their customer service is incredible. Very helpful and hands on. I recommend Shopify to anyone starting or growing their e-commerce business.”
- Crissy Crawford
“Simply one of the best e-commerce platforms out there. The customer service is top notch. They get you started in a breeze and professionally. There's plenty of support materials and options to choose from depending on your location and the products you are selling.
- Bibi Cosmetics
The Final Verdict on Shopify and BigCommerce
Both platforms are a reliable eCommerce solution. Whether you choose Shopify or BigCommerce, you will succeed online. However, Shopify is the clear choice for anyone who is just starting out with eCommerce. They make it easy to set up payment, products, and your UX. They have an extensive app library that allows you to add functionality with ease. Furthermore, they do not penalize you for your success by moving you into the next subscription bracket based off your previous 12-month sales. In addition, for those that are novices to eCommerce, Shopify has a great 24/7 guru hotline that can point you in the right direction.
BigCommerce is better suited for existing brands who already have an eCommerce presence. BigCommerce makes it easy to connect your existing channels such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google. In addition, BigCommerce allows you to bring your own payment processor. Therefore, if you’re already using Sqaure or Amazon Pay, you can continue to use those. Furthermore, BigCommerce has an API system that can support a large amount of API calls. This feature is crucial during peak volume times. It ensures your data is flowing bi-directionally between your vital business apps and BigCommerce. Unlike Shopify, BigCommerce has a smaller developer pool, meaning there are less agencies that specialize in BigCommerce store and app development.
Whether You Choose Shopify or BigCommerce, eBridge’s iPaaS Can Help
Our iPaaS (integration Platform as a Service) is universal, meaning there are pre-built connectors for leading eCommerce platforms
like Shopify and BigCommerce, ERP solutions
, and major EDI trading partners
Integration also allows you to focus on running your business. With your commerce systems connected, your team won’t be bogged down with manual data entry. You’ll avoid the costly errors that come from manual data entry. In addition, you’ll have a better snapshot of your business, be able to fulfill orders faster, and save money.
eBridge is hosted on Microsoft Azure, therefore ensuring an almost 99.9% uptime and industry leading security. With an integration solution from eBridge, you can ensure that your commerce network is connected and communicating data bi-directionally.