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Shopify Vs. Bigcommerce – The Essential Guide


Shopify Vs Bigcommerce – that’s the age old question. When you’re looking to build a site, chances are you’ll end up comparing these two eCommerce monoliths against each other.So which offers the best eCommerce experience? Let’s take a look:


Price

To begin with, I should state that if you’re making your decision based on price, then you’re doing eCommerce wrong. Choosing the right platform should be about what makes you the most money, not what saves you.


Don’t pinch pennies – find what’s best for your business. With that in mind….


Shopify has four different plans:

  • Starter ($14)

  • Basic ($29)

  • Professional ($79)

  • Unlimited ($179)

Where Shopify loses a little ground is on its transaction fees, which are between 2 and 0.5%, depending on the plan you choose.


Bigcommerce also has four plans:

  • Silver ($29.95)

  • Gold ($79.95)

  • Platinum ($199.95)

  • Enterprise (custom)

You can save 10% by paying yearly with Bigcommerce. There are no transaction fees on all but the cheapest plan, which charges just 1.5%.


Verdict… Bigcommerce

Truth be told, there’s very little to set the two apart on price if you’re paying yearly – which is just as well because you should be judging them on better grounds than that.


But if I have to choose (and I do) then Bigcommerce’s smaller transaction fees make it the more attractive option than Shopify on price.


Design

Shopify comes complete with 11 different free aesthetic options out of the box, and most of these have a variety of different ways that you could adapt the theme. In the Shopify store, you can enjoy an even larger array of paid themes, which cost around $150.


Although it’s true to say that the paid themes can be pricey, they are designed by outsourced professionals and really do look the part. The price is a pretty small investment when you see the stylish design you’re getting. And once you have chosen your theme, you’ll find it’s very adaptable. Shopify’s ‘liquid’ development lanugage allows you to change pretty much everything – although you may find it takes time to master the method.


Bigcommerce boasts an array of both paid and free themes – substantially more than its rival. And while the platform has always endured a reputation of being somewhat of a reliable ugly duckling, the introduction of Bigcommerce Next has seen it really step up its artistic game. Designs now are much less ‘blocky’, with plenty of clean space and modern quirks.


Many find that making changes to Bigcommerce is simpler, with a drag and drop interface, but more limited.


Verdict… Shopify

There’s no doubt that Bigcommerce Next has brought the platform on leaps and bounds aesthetically, but there’s still no bettering the look and feel of a Shopify site. Bigcommerce has quantity and Shopify has quality.


For us, Shopify’s designs are still a little classier and cleaner – a testament to the designers that they have and the work they do in researching future trends.


SEO

In 2014, neglecting SEO is eCommerce suicide and both platforms equip you with all the basics you need out of the box to ensure your pages can start showing up in search results. You can edit page URLs, body content, meta titles and meta descriptions on Shopify and Bigcommerce.


What’s more, both allow you to post content on your very own integrated blog – an essential part of digital marketing. Bigcommerce Next has also revamped the provider’s blogging platform too and it now ‘nearly’ rivals other luminaries like WordPress.


However, while Bigcommerce’s blog undoubtedly looks good and works well, it does sit on a different site domain (www.blog.yourbrandname.com rather than www.yourbrandname.com/blog, which could affect the amount of authority that search engines give your site as a result of links to your blog.


Shopify sites, by contrast all have a blog on the same domain. That said, it is possible to get around this issue by integrating a WordPress blog, for a small monthly fee of $12.


Verdict… Shopify

As with most factors, both sides are closely matched when it comes to SEO. But Shopify’s strength is in its blog. Whether having a blog subdomain affects a site’s authority remains to be seen – it’s a point of debate between many SEO gurus. But the fact is that a blog on the same domain definitely will help to raise your site;s authority, so Spotify wins this round.


Tools

Once you’ve got your eCommerce platform and have filled it full of products, you need to make it work for you.


Shopify comes with all the tools you need to sell products right away, but if you want to get too in depth with marketing and conversion optimization tools then you’ll need to visit the Shopify Store to install some features. Thankfully, there’s plenty to be found there.


Buying all the apps and things you need may set you back a fair few dollars, but there’s everything you could need – from email and social tools to basket optimization apps and aesthetic boosters.


One of the biggest reasons that webmasters love Bigcommerce is for its ‘out of the box’ options. Without visiting the Bigcommerce shop, you can play around with:


  • Product reviews

  • Checkout tools

  • Reward programs

  • Social sharing options

  • Product image features

  • Google Shopping tools

And much more, absolutely free. However, it has to be said that overall Shopify still boasts far more apps. There’s an ever-growing community of Shopify fans who use the open source software and create innovative, exciting apps to go alongside stores.


Verdict… Shopify

It’s a very close-run one, this, but Shopify edges it. There’s no doubt that Bigcommerce is a much more endearing option out of the box for the tools it offers, but Shopify allows you to pick and choose the apps that suit your site. What’s more, Shopify has a proven history of getting to web trends first. Bigcommerce only very recently opened up its store for developers to create innovative apps, so you’re not likely to see the same level of magic on its store.


Sure, the Shopify apps may lead to you spending a little more dollar each month, not to mention time researching the right product, but the actual tools are of a better quality – and of a greater variety – than you’ll find with Bigcommerce.


What do you think?

Do you prefer Shopify or Bigcommerce? Did you switch from one to the other? Have you found that one suits different types of businesses more than the other? Let us know in the comments below.

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