E-Commerce Platforms: Shopify vs. BigCommerce

When it comes to building your e-commerce store, an early significant decision is which platform to build with. This pivotal question could significantly affect just about everything about your store, from how quickly it can be developed to how much you pay in processing fees.

Two of the biggest names in e-commerce platforms are Shopify and BigCommerce. Both platforms are quite mature, having been established roughly a decade ago, and both offer a solid choice on which to build your store. So if this is such an important decision, how do you choose between these two options? Like anything, they each have pros and cons depending on your specific situation, so let's break down their differences.

Before we get started, though, it's important to acknowledge that there are many other options for hosting your store. Starter platforms such as SquareSpace and Wix are fine when your business is just you and your garage; they look great and are easy to set up, but they don't scale well and eventually you'll grow out of them. Woocommerce is another popular option for smaller companies, and it plugs directly into WordPress. From a functionality and usability point of view that, that can be both a pro and a con since WordPress isn't always the easiest platform to work on. On the other end of the spectrum, systems like Demandware offer lots of flexibility, but they have a price tag to match, both in terms of the actual licensing cost, as well as the additional time you'll need to pay a developer to code for it.

Our sweet spot for today is right in the middle...sites that have expanded past hobby stage, but are certainly not enterprise. It's in this large middle section that Shopify and BigCommerce excel. We'll consider the most middle of these plans, the $79 plan from each provider.

  Shopify BigCommerce
Pricing $79 $79.95
Transaction Fees 2.9-4.9% + 30 cents $0
Products Unlimited,
99 variants per product
600 variants per product
Staff Accounts 5 Unlimited
Manual Orders Yes Yes
Promo/Discount Codes Yes Yes
Recover Abandoned Carts Yes Yes
Apple Pay/Google Pay/Amazon Pay Yes Yes
Real-Time Shipping Quotes No Yes
Shipping Courier Discounts Up to 72% Up to 66%
Professional Reports Yes Yes
Blog Yes Yes
Ratings and Reviews With app Yes
Gift Cards Yes Yes
Fraud Tools Yes No


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We offer complimentary one-on-one strategy calls. No hard sales pitch and no obligation to buy. Just a half hour conversation about your business where we will discuss your pain points and consider how we can help your business overcome those challenges, increase conversions, and thrive.
Empower Ideas is a digital marketing agency focused on building custom websites and e-commerce stores from a holistic perspective. We also offer online ad management, search engine optimization, content creation, and conversion rate optimization.

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