When they need an ecommerce platform, it isn’t uncommon for businesses to narrow their options to two major players in the shopping cart software industry: BigCommerce and Shopify. Both websites have proven to be successful launching points for new online businesses, excellent transition options for moving from one ecommerce platform to another, and both can offer the perfect amount of ecommerce support for large and small businesses alike.
If you are trying to decide between BigCommerce and Shopify, Coalition Technologies is here to help. We’ve assisted hundreds of companies with selecting shopping cart software. As a BigCommerce partner and a company with expertise in Shopify web design, we’ve also helped businesses get the most from each platform. Learn more about why BigCommerce stands out, and how Shopify comes in close second with the following BigCommerce vs Shopify review.
BigCommerce offers five plans: Bronze ($24.95/month), Silver ($39.95/month), Gold ($79.95/month), Platinum ($149.95/month), and Diamond ($299.95/month). If your business is new and doesn’t have much startup capital, BigCommerce looks like the best plan coming out of the gate. A closer look at plan features supports this observation.
If there’s a factor that sways the plan pricing debate in BigCommerce’s favor, it’s that BigCommerce offers more basic features than Shopify. Depending on the resources a business needs to operate efficiently and stay competitive, it could spend a decent amount of money on ad-ons from Shopify’s app store. Shopify is designed for simplicity, which is great. However, before you decide it’s the most affordable option, consider the cost of any apps you may need.
BigCommerce doesn’t charge any transaction fees. The platform offers more data storage tiers than Shopify and gives you $100 to use toward Google Adwords when you spend at least $25 on the service.
While some of BigCommerce’s templates appear less “fresh” than its competitor’s designs, if you favor BigCommerce over Shopify for reasons besides web design, it doesn’t mean you’re stuck choosing from templates you don’t like. You can always have a BigCommerce partner, such as Coalition Technologies, design your webpages. As experts in Shopify web design, we can create custom pages for that website as well. Regardless of which platform you choose, Coalition Technologies will ensure it features the design you want and need in an online store.
Like most user-friendly shopping cart software, BigCommerce makes it as easy as possible to complete basic SEO tasks such as creating page titles, URLs, meta descriptions, and alt tags. More important than the ease of completing SEO tasks is using the right keyword strategies. If you don’t have SEO experience, it’s helpful to consult a web marketing firm.
Shopify has three plans: Basic ($29/month), Professional ($79/month), and Unlimited ($179/month).
Why does Shopify offer three plans while BigCommerce offers five? Part of the answer likely lies in Shopify’s observation of its customers’ performance. Many businesses go from needing entry-level support to requiring mid-level support to needing high-level support without spending much time at levels in-between. While BigCommerce offers plans in a broader price range, it’s not uncommon for a business to hopscotch the intermediate plans on its way to the top.
Favoring Shopify is the fact that each of its plans come with unlimited unique product listings. With BigCommerce, you have to pay for the Platinum or Diamond Plan to get unlimited unique listings. While many businesses don’t have hundreds of products to sell, it could easily happen if a company specializes in a product market where excellent variety is expected, such as clothing, jewelry, or even fishing lures. For unique product listings, Shopify has the edge.
The biggest drawback in Shopify’s plan features is that you pay two transaction fees if you use a payment gateway besides Shopify’s own. You pay one fee to your Merchant Service Provider (MSP) and another fee to Shopify. Using Shopify as your MSP is an easy way to avoid this scenario, but it doesn’t give you the opportunity to choose an MSP that offers competitive fee structures based on sales volume.
Shopify’s Professional and Unlimited Plans let you generate professional reports, and the Unlimited plan also offers a tracking option for real time carrier shipping, which can enhance customer service.
A BigCommerce vs Shopify review typically says the latter has the best design templates, but many of these designs cost between $80 and $180.
One aspect of SEO where Shopify outshines BigCommerce is its built in blog feature, which is highly useful for inbound marketing strategies. Writing a monthly blog or having the content creation specialists at Coalition technologies create the content for you, is an excellent way to increase your web presence and use your website as more than just a sales portal. You can also use it to drive web traffic to the site and further engage customers with blog posts.
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At the end of a BigCommerce vs Shopify review, we feel BigCommerce offers the most flexibility and doesn’t require a lot of money for ad-on features like Shopify does. The website also edges out Shopify by giving you the flexibility to choose your own MSP without paying double transaction fees. To Shopify’s credit are unlimited product listings with each plan, a built in blog, and superior design templates.
Ultimately, a BigCommerce vs Shopify review must concede with BigCommerce on top, and Shopify as a close second. Thousands of businesses use each one with great success. The features a company desires in a platform, how much it plans to invest, and what it wants from the performance and management of an ecommerce platform are what make the determination. For help making a decision, call Coalition Technologies at (310) 827-3890, or click here to use our contact form.