Making the choice between two e-commerce platforms is difficult. Some will suit you more than others depending on your business. BigCommerce and Woocommerce are two of the world’s most popular e-commerce solutions. I’ve used both myself. They are powerful and come packed with all of the tools you need to sell online. Ahead we’ll be looking at the differences between features, pricing and more.
BigCommerce vs Woocommerce
So, lets get something straight. Woocommerce isn’t an e-commerce platform itself. It’s actually a plugin you use with the WordPress CMS. It will turn your simple website into a fully fledged online store, capable of taking payments, listing products, offering coupons and more. WordPress is used for about 28.9% of all websites on the entire internet.
I’m a huge fan of Woocommerce because I’ve used it for several online businesses in the past. The best part about it? It’s free! The only thing you’ll be paying for is your WordPress hosting which is going to be much cheaper than traditional e-commerce platforms.
Speed & Security
WordPress websites are known for their security and speed. At the same time, this will also depend on your hosting provider. If you opt for a basic shared plan, your website will typically be slower since it won’t have higher amounts of resources. Cloud, VPS and other higher resource plans will keep your website lighting fast. They are well worth the investment.
Since you want to sell online, you need an SSL certificate. “SSL” stands for Secure Socket Layer. No need to get into geeky talk. Just know that it adds an extra layer of security to your website. Most payment gateways will require you to have one. This keeps customers credit card information safe. Some hosts will give you a free one with certain packages so keep an eye out for that. It’s very important.
Development & Customization
There’s no platform better for customization than WordPress. Hands down. Even if you aren’t a developer straight from Silicon Valley, you can put together a professional website. There are more than 11,000 WordPress themes on ThemeForest alone. With plugins like Visual Composer too, you can drag and drop without needing to code. Most will come looking awesome right out of the box. It’s well worth investing into a paid theme. Some of them come with premium plugins attached, free of cost.
Do you have some geeky skills? Front end/back development? Web design? You’re in luck. You can customize and develop anything you imagine with WordPress through the editor dashboard.
There are many things to learn when first picking up WordPress and Woocommerce. Both are powerful and will require time to become an expert. Creating posts, pages, adding products and basics like that you can learn quickly though. The dashboard for WordPress is simple, with all of the main tools on the left side. There are many options and tweaks to be done that you’ll become familiar with over time. Once you get past the learning curve, WordPress is seriously the best CMS available.
Imagine you have a house. That’s your WordPress website. If you have a problem with plugins, you’ll need to contact the plugin developer. If you have a problem with a theme, you’ll need to contact the theme developer. See what I mean? Just like if you needed help with something in your house, you’re ultimately responsible. Your hosting company’s support team can usually help with WordPress problems though. It really pays off to be technically sophisticated as a WordPress website owner to resolve your own issues.
Unlike Woocommerce, BigCommerce is an all-in-one e-commerce platform. No hosting or WordPress site needed. You just sign up and you get an online store. It takes care of everything else. They’ve been around since 2009 and are headquartered out of Austin, Texas.
Speed & Security
BigCommerce boasts 99.9% uptime compared to the industry average of 99.5%. Hosted platforms are built to be secure and fast since they handle so many customers at once. The average response time for a BigCommerce website page is a 1/2 second. This is extremely fast and helps both SEO and user experience. Your website also includes a free SSL which I spoke about earlier. The Enterprise plan comes with DDOS protection too.
Development & Customization
There are over 80 BigCommerce themes to choose from. You can filter by industry to find one perfect for your business. Compared to WordPress+Woocommerce, this is a very low number. They are also much more expensive when you go to invest into a paid template. BigCommerce has basic customization options but nothing that will drop your jaw. For less tech savvy business owners, this is actually a benefit since it keeps everything streamlined.
The platform is made to be easy to use. And they nailed it. From the dashboard to all of the settings, BigCommerce is simple to navigate. There are some deeper backend options if you want to get fancy too. Installing themes and apps? They are just a few clicks away. You won’t find yourself needing much time getting use to the platform which is a huge plus.
BigCommerce has representatives ready at all times to support you. That’s one of the best parts of hosted solutions. You won’t need to go far to find help right away. If the problem needs a deeper inspection, they can even log into your site directly to resolve it. Across all of the reviews online, most BigCommerce users say good things about their customer support. Email, phone and live chat modes are offered.
BigCommerce vs Woocommerce Verdict
Okay, it’s clear both are impressive tools. Here’s what I recommend. If you want a deeply customizable platform with strong CMS tools, go for WordPress and Woocommerce. It has thousands of themes and plugins to experiment with. I also recommend it if you come from a development background or have more technical skills.
For those that need something quick and easy, BigCommerce is for you. It’s simple, streamlined and has the essentials. There’s nothing to confuse or overwhelm you.