You’ve got it all planned out. You know what products you want to sell, who your target demographic is and everything seems great. But then you realize you need to still decide on a storefront. There’s so many options, plans, and features to compare that it can get confusing. Well, I’ve been there too and today I’m going to help you out. I’ll be comparing BigCommerce vs Shopify so you can finally start selling online and earn some money. Ahead we’ll be looking at all of the important things like pricing, security, features and more.
Bigcommerce vs Shopify
I have some extra love for Shopify as they are a Canadian company and I’m a canuck myself. They are headquartered out of Ottawa, Ontario and were founded by Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake. The trio tried opening a snowboarding e-commerce store but couldn’t find a platform that satisfied them. Like many entrepreneurs before them, they took it into their own hands to solve the problem. Tobias developed the online store himself using Ruby on Rails which later turned in Shopify in 2006.
A few years later in 2009, Shopify released its API platform and App Store so developers could create apps for sale. One year after that, they received $7 million in funding from a Series A round of venture capital financing. The Series B round in 2011 raised $15 million. This is important because investors saw the potential of Shopify back then and now look at it! It’s one of the world’s most used e-commerce platforms and consistently improves.
Speed & Security
Shopify stores come equipped with a free SSL certificate which normally can cost upwards to $79.99/year. It adds an extra security layer to your website without getting into nerd talk. This will protect customers credit card info during checkout. Most payment gateways will require one for safety reasons.
Website speed is also crucial for selling online. Amazon concluded that conversion rates drop 7% for every 100ms delay. That won’t happen with Shopify though as stores have an average 80ms response time. The platform itself is built on a state of the art infrastructure. A huge amount of CPU, RAM, storage along with caching and a CDN assures your store is always up and fast.
Development & Customization
While it is no WordPress, Shopify definitely has its fair amount of customization. There are over 100 free and paid themes available for you to choose from with endless styling options. You can change the font, colours, navigation and more to suit your brand. We found paid themes to be evenly priced with ones from BigCommerce.
Since Shopify is an out of the box solution, many themes won’t need much tweaking to look awesome. If you want to add your own code though, the theme editor under “Customize” will suit your fancy. Be careful editing code if you aren’t experienced.
Few platforms are as simple as Shopify. Simple in a very good way though. The process from signing up to a free trial to adding products and launching is easy. The dashboard and UI isn’t cluttered. It’s clean, has all of the essential tools and navigates well.
Want to install new apps or a theme? You can do it in a single click. Changing payment gateway or currency? You can do it instantly from the settings. You’ll find when you own a Shopify store that everything is streamlined.
I’ll be honest. I’ve had a mix of customer support experiences with Shopify. Some great, some bad. That was a long time ago though. If you look at a lot of reviews online, most users say Shopify customer support is good. I’m sure its improved over time.
Shopify offers 24/7 support through live chat, email and phone. There is also a help center that has documentation to solve issues you may have. The forums are also a great place to ask questions, get help and be a part of the community.
Everything’s bigger in Texas which is probably how BigCommerce got its name, being headquartered out of Austin, Texas. Though it was actually started by two Australians, Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harpe, whom randomly met in an online chatroom in 2003. They went on to relaunch the Interspire shopping cart platform in 2009 under the new name BigCommerce.
The business was 100% bootstrapped, probably quite similar to what you might be doing as an online store owner. In July of 2011, they were able to raise an impressive $15 million in funding through Series A financing. Series B? Well, they pulled in another $20 million as their client growth was growing at 680% per year.
They definitely have an impressive track record. Lets look at exactly what they have to offer you as an e-commerce platform.
Speed & Security
The e-commerce industry has an average of 99.5% uptime. BigCommerce offers 99.9%. It might seem like a small difference but you always want your store online and they guarantee that. Just like Shopify, your BigCommerce store comes equipped with a free SSL for protection.
The Enterprise plan they offer comes with cutting edge DDOS protection in case of attacks. On top of that? Their servers PCI DSS 3.1 certified at Level 1. This means you’re information is safe and you save time not having to gain compliance yourself.
Development & Customization
Out of the many e-commerce platforms I’ve used, BigCommerce has ones of the most basic design systems. There are approximately 80 templates to choose from and backend development is possible for the experienced. Overall, it gives you the minimum to design a professional and modern e-commerce store. This is a great thing though if you’re aren’t Steve Jobs junior and need a painless process for launching a storefront.
There are also many apps available that can be installed to add more features to your store. While the amount is much lower than Shopify, once again, it gives you the basic essentials you need as a business owner.
BigCommerce nails it here. The UI uses easy to read fonts, spaces everything out and doesn’t overwhelm you. You can find what you need instantly and everything is straight forward. Adding products to adjusting settings and more is simple.
As a hosted solution, you can relax knowing any problem you have will be taken care of. BigCommerce has representatives available through phone, email and live chat when you need them. Problem still persisting? No problem. A BigCommerce technician can log directly into your website and fix the issue quickly.
Verdict of BigCommerce vs Shopify
This is a tough one. Both platforms are extremely similar in terms of plans, ease of use, and features. Shopify stands out with its huge array of apps you can use to add extra functionality to your store. They also have more free and premium themes available than BigCommerce. But, BigCommerce gives you more out of the box and their Pro plan is only $249.95 compared to Advanced Shopify at $299.
Why not try the free trial of both? That way you can find out for certain which platform is better for you.