Bigcommerce vs Shopify
Shopify or Bigcommerce? Which one is more effective and beneficial for your business? Making the decision is often not easy, especially for new business owners who aim to establish an online e-commerce shop.
There are advantages and disadvantages for choosing either one; and there is no absolute champion or loser since both Shopify and Bigcommerce are among the finest e-commerce shop builders available.
The decision is critical because the last thing business owners would want is spending time establising a business out of one of the two, only to realize that they need to reverse their decision and go for another e-commerce builder.
Instead of enumerating and discussing the features of each builder, or providing a checklist to be your guide, here we have laid a helpful guide that can help you with your decision. But it’s still important to spend some time browsing through the websites of Bigcommerce and Shopify; and we recommend signing up for their free trials so you can see for yourself the features of and the quality of their products and services.
Taking some time to figuring out which e-commerce builder is more suitable for your business is essential. You really need to get your hands dirty — there’s really no other way.
The following are some of the most essential things to consider when evaluating an e-commerce builder.
THEMES OR DESIGNS
Honestly, there are so many business websites that look confusing, ugly, uninspiring, and unprofessional. With such types of websites, chances are people will simply click away within the first few seconds without any hesitation.
Creating an attractive, inviting, and professional looking homepage is the initial step to welcoming potential clients. This is very important as it will increase the possibility of making a sale.
It does not really matter if you are offering the best and undisputed product or service in the world, if your store looks sloppy, online users will not bother giving you the attention you deserve.
In terms of themes, Shopify and Bigcommerce provide users over 100 themes to choose from.
The themes Shopify offers look professional, inviting, and they’re all updated. Shopify hires independent professional designers who create themes, keeping the designs modern and fresh.
Some themes are paid and some are free. The cost for premium themes start at around $80 to 180. This may sound expensive but this is a one-time payment without recurring monthly payments.
In our standpoint, this is a good investment that can make your store look credible, professional, and attractive, and help encourage your site visitors to browse around longer.
Bigcommerce has more than 100 themes that are all offered free of charge. But if you visit their site to check out the themes, oddly you won’t find them. If you contact them through their live chat support, they’ll inform you that previews are unavailable and you can only see them if you give out your email and then sign up for the 15-day trial. This sounds like a big warning sign. There’s no tranparency in such strategy, and people would tend to be more cautious.
If you’re going to sign up, you will discover that most of the themes are a bit outdated. The themes are functional and can work just fine for online store builders. However, they lack the “wow” factor that Shopify’s themes have.
On the other hand, in early 2014, Bigcommerce had a massive update called the Bigcommerce Next where they’ve updated their themes which included 28 new premium themes, and updated mobile-friendly themes.
These new themes look more attractive than their older ones, and definitely close the huge gap with Shopify’s designs. Some of their new themes are paid and some are free. The paid themes cost between $120 to $250, but many fall within the range of $120 to $140, almost the same as Shopify’s premium themes. Also, if you’d like a custom theme, you can hire a designer and developer from Bigcommerce.
A good e-commerce builder should have a certain set of tools, such as the capability to set prices, showcase products, set up payment gateways, manage inventory, taxes, track orders, configure shipping details, etc.
In this aspect, both Bigcommerce and Shopify won’t disappoint you. Both provide impressive tools that can help you establish and grow your online store. But there’s a little difference in their approach to this subject.
Shopify provides users all the basic tools for creating and operating an online store. However, more advanced e-commerce tools such as product recommendations, customer wish list, and product reviews should be bought from their App store. You can test the tools by signing up for the free trial. Using them requires making a financial commitment but they’ll really take your business to the next level.
Shopify Payments feature is a really good feature. Instead of signing up with a separate payment channel (like Stripe or PayPal), Shopify offers their own payment portal so you’ll be able to manage your money in their control panel, saving you time. If you opt for this option, they’ll also forgo all transaction fees, saving you money as well.
Bigcommerce probably provides the most comprehensive tools among the leading builders. They offer a lot more advanced tools and they are included in the monthly payment, giving you more value for your money.
Experiencing technology or website issues when you are operating a business is a big hassle, but it’s an inevitable part of running a business. So having a support team that can be reached 24/7 should be a critical part of your decision-making process.
Both BigCommerce and Shopify have really good community forums and offer helpful tutorial resources that are easy to follow and come with screenshots to help you get everything set up. Both offer live, 24/7 phone support.
You can reach Shopify 24/7 via email, online live chat, or phone. Their commitment to serving and being available for both their clients and potential customers can be considered unmatched in this industry. With Shopify, users won’t have to worry about finding a way to reach support when something breaks down on a weekend.
On this aspect, Bigcommerce doesn’t fall behind as well. Their support team can also be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, via live chat, phone, and email. Before, Bigcommerce didn’t have a 24/7 phone support services, but they have truly leveled up and improved in this matter, which is beneficial for online users.
Dealing with a technical difficulty is one of the most frustrating parts of operating an online business, considering the fact that you are missing out on sales, or making a bad first impression for potential clients. Bigcommerce knows this, so access to and the quality of their support team is as good as that of Shopify’s.
Both Shopify and Bigcommerce offer experts to help grow and develop people’s online businesses. These are independent, external consultants you can hire to help you step up your game.
One great benefit you can get out of this is that they are pre-approved as “experts” and you can find them in Shopify marketplace or Bigcommerce marketplace.
These “experts” can help you with:
- Web Designing (for creating custom themes or altering existing themes)
- Web Developing (if you like to make custom apps or certain advanced tools for your online store)
- Storing Set Ups (you can choose to get an expert to set up an online store for you)
- Marketing (they can provide assistance for promoting your business)
The experts’ previous customers are free to write reviews, and these can help you make your choice before you interview them directly.
Shopify has many highly qualified experts ready to serve you. One very good thing about Shopify is that they have a listing of experts that are closest to your geographical location. This is an added convenience if you would want to meet an expert in person.
Also, if you want to hire an expert to build your online store from scratch (things like getting your shopping cart set up, your products inserted into the website, and the shipping and taxes configured, to allow you to focus on other essential aspects of your store), you will be charged $500, and this fee is fixed. This gives you more time to develop the quality of your services. And you won’t have to worry about haggling the price, an aspect wherein many new users don’t know where to begin. This is a helpful feature, particularly when you want to set up your store right away and start selling.
Bigcommerce has a smaller number of experts available when compared to Shopify; and if you would like to avail of basic store set up services, their experts can quote their own rates freely. Bigcommerce have great experts that can help you customised or modify a theme as well.
When your online store is already growing, you can get more advanced tools to increase your store’s functionality. Both Bigcommerce and Shopify have their own App store.
Aside from providing you with more promotion or marketing tools, such Apps could also help you automate or manage administrative works such as shipping, inventory management, bookkeeping, customer service, etc. The most exciting part is that such Apps could automate a bunch of typical daily tasks that you need to do when running your online store. This allows you to have more time to concentrate on other essential aspects of your business.
CONCLUSION & RECOMMENDATION
Choosing the right e-commerce builder for your online business is actually quite confusing and challenging. There are many aspects to take into account, so hopefully this article can help you find the main factors to weigh and study.
We recommend that you sign up for their trial periods to test which e-commerce builder works better for your business. Spend some time experimenting with both builders and experience their services for yourself. Both Bigcommerce and Shopify are two of the leading e-commerce builders in the industry today.