Shopify vs. BigCommerce: how do they compare? Both of these popular ecommerce platforms share many common features, and both are viable options for online retailers. However, they differ in some noteworthy areas, including transaction fees, app integrations, and blogging capability. Depending on your needs and budget, you may find that either BigCommerce or Shopify is a better fit for your online business.
In this guide, we'll help you compare Shopify vs. BigCommerce to decide which option makes more sense for your store. We'll review how these two ecommerce platforms stack up on cost, user-friendliness, support, and other key categories. We'll also answer frequently asked questions about BigCommerce vs. Shopify and their differences.
Shopify and BigCommerce share many essential features, making them both suitable for ecommerce retailers to create profitable online stores.
Both platforms offer packages for businesses of all sizes at the same price point, but Shopify charges fees for app integrations and transactions that don't use their payment processing service.
Shopify has a larger customer base.
Shopify is slightly easier to set up because BigCommerce offers more options.
Shopify offers store owners more customization flexibility, while BigCommerce provides more built-in functionality.
Both platforms have built-in blogging features, but BigCommerce offers integration with WordPress for superior content marketing.
Shopify charges payment processing fees unless you use their preferred payment gateway, while BigCommerce does not.
Gelato's print on demand (POD) service integrates with Shopify and BigCommerce.
Shopify and BigCommerce are direct competitors who offer similar products, and their key differences are subtle from a bird's-eye view. To highlight their distinctions, our head-to-head Shopify BigCommerce rundown will compare these platforms in eleven major categories:
Payment processing capabilities
We'll summarize the major differences between Shopify and BigCommerce in each category and look at what each platform offers.
On the surface, Shopify and BigCommerce charge the same for their major packages. When you factor in hidden fees, pricing gets more complex. Shopify charges extra fees per transaction unless you use their Shopify Payments service, while BigCommerce lets you integrate third-party payment processing services without additional fees. BigCommerce includes built-in functionality that Shopify offers through third-party integrations for additional fees. Whether this makes Shopify more expensive depends on your profit margins, sales volume, the functionality you require, and whether you use a third-party payment processor cheaper than Shopify Payments. In most scenarios, a BigCommerce ecommerce site will be less expensive.
Shopify offers three pricing packages:
Basic: $29 a month when billed annually or $39 when billed monthly, with $1 for your first month.
Shopify: $79 a month when billed annually or $105 when billed monthly, with $1 for your first month.
Advanced: $299 a month when billed annually or $399 when billed monthly, with $1 for your first month.
All three packages offer free trials.
These packages share basic commonalities. They all include an ecommerce platform, the capability to promote your store through multiple channels, an all-in-one point of sale (POS) system, and 24/7 customer support. They differ in other areas. As packages increase in price, they offer lower credit card rates, better reporting tools, increased shipping discounts, and additional accounts for staff.
Besides these core pricing packages, Shopify offers other specialized packages:
Starter: $5 monthly for selling products through social media and messaging apps.
Shopify Plus: Prices begin at $2,000 monthly for businesses with high sales volume.
Modular pricing: Customized pricing.
This variety of options makes Shopify's pricing structure flexible for customers on any budget.
In addition to its pricing packages, Shopify charges additional transaction fees if you use a third-party payment integration instead of its own Shopify Payments service. Shopify credit card rates start at 2.9% plus 30 cents per online transaction for Basic and fall to 2.4% plus 30 cents for the Advanced Shopify plan. If you use Shopify Payments, you only pay these fees, which are competitive with payment gateways such as PayPal. If you use third-party payment integrations, you pay additional fees per transaction of 2% with the Basic plan, 1% with the Shopify plan, and 0.5% with the Advanced plan.
Your Shopify costs include any premium apps you install to extend the platform's functionality. Some apps are free, others are free to install with additional fees that may apply, and others have monthly fees.
BigCommerce offers four pricing packages:
Standard: $29 a month when billed annually or $39 a month when billed monthly.
Plus: $79 a month when billed annually or $105 a month when billed monthly.
Pro: $299 a month when billed annually or $399 a month when billed monthly.
Enterprise: Custom pricing.
All plans offer free trials.
The Standard plan includes essential ecommerce features to set up your online store. The Plus plan adds advanced marketing and sales tools such as customer segmentation, abandoned cart savers, and stored credit cards. The Pro plan adds a more comprehensive range of tools, including Google customer reviews and product filtering. The BigCommerce Enterprise plan adds features such as price lists, unlimited API calls, and preferred support.
BigCommerce pricing packages have revenue thresholds. You get bumped up to the next pricing tier when you exceed these thresholds. Thresholds are $50,000 for Standard, $180,000 for Plus, and $400,000 for Pro.
BigCommerce does not charge additional transaction fees for using third-party payment gateways. If you use BigCommerce partner PayPal as your payment processor, you get special rates starting at 2.59% plus 49 cents per transaction for Standard and falling to 2.05% plus 49 cents per transaction for Enterprise.
BigCommerce's native features include functionality requiring third-party apps on Shopify stores. To extend its native functionality, BigCommerce offers integrations with both free and premium apps.
Shopify and BigCommerce are direct competitors in the same markets. They both offer pricing for users of all sizes, from solo entrepreneurs to enterprises. Shopify holds a larger market share, with 2.1 million daily active users in April 2023, according to data provided by Demand Sage. BigCommerce has grown to nearly 50,000 stores in recent years, according to AcquireConvert. Nearly half of BigCommerce stores have one to nine employees, and most operate in the US, while Shopify has more international customers.
Both BigCommerce and Shopify aim to be user-friendly for users without coding experience. Shopify makes setting up your store and adding products somewhat easier because you have fewer options. However, this reflects the fact that BigCommerce includes built-in functionality that Shopify requires third-party apps to add, and adding these apps requires additional set-up time. For advanced customization, Shopify requires you to learn its coding language, while BigCommerce allows developers to use a range of programming languages.
Shopify's platform includes basic features accessible to users without coding experience and advanced options for users with coding skills. After you create a Shopify account, the set-up process walks you through a dashboard you can use to add products, view transactions, and manage your shop. You can organize products by vendor, category, keyword, or collection of related products. You can add web pages, such as a page telling visitors about your Shopify store. You can customize your design through templates, customized menus, custom shopping carts, and third-party apps. If you learn Shopify's coding language, you can apply advanced customizations.
BigCommerce includes basic features oriented toward users with no coding background and advanced options for experienced coders. After you create a BigCommerce account, you'll be guided through a set-up wizard that instructs you how to add products, set up shipping options, accept cash on delivery, and set up tax rates. You can organize products by categories and subcategories and select criteria for sorting products. You can add web pages and a blog or integrate your store with a WordPress blog. You can customize your online store design by choosing a BigCommerce theme and adding logos, carousel images, custom menus, and social media links. Third-party apps and advanced coding let you extend BigCommerce's native functionality.
Both Shopify and BigCommerce offer various customization options. Shopify provides more design templates for Shopify themes and app integrations, while BigCommerce provides more ways to display products and allows more flexible use of programming languages for advanced coding.
Shopify lets you customize your store by selecting templates, custom menus, customized checkout carts, and integrations with over 8,000 apps. Apps give you additional functionality such as inventory management, customer reviews, sourcing print on demand (POD) products, order fulfillment, dropshipping, email marketing, and help centers. If you have coding knowledge, you can do additional customization of your Shopify ecommerce store.
BigCommerce lets you customize the look of your store by selecting menu pages, themes, social media links, logos, and carousel images. You have many options when choosing how products are described and displayed, such as selecting unique product identifiers, adding product variants, listing items in stock, adding videos, and including order fulfillment details. You can expand your customizations by using app integrations and applying advanced coding.
Partly because BigCommerce includes more built-in features, Shopify's app store generally offers more integrations than BigCommerce. A notable exception is payment gateway integrations. Shopify's additional transaction fees effectively nullify the advantages of using many payment processing integrations they support.
The Shopify app store features over 8,000 app integrations, including free and premium apps. You can use app integrations for applications such as store design, product sourcing, order fulfillment, customer service, digital marketing, and adding sales options. Shopify integrates with over 100 payment gateways around the world.
The BigCommerce app store features a few hundred apps. The most popular app categories are marketing, site tools, shipping and fulfillment, and merchandising. BigCommerce integrates with over 65 payment gateways in over 100 countries.
Both Shopify and BigCommerce offer extensive ecommerce functionality. BigCommerce includes some built-in features that require app integrations on Shopify.
Shopify offers both basic and advanced ecommerce tools. Basic Shopify native tools let you select custom domains, pick themes, list products, receive payments, see orders, manage inventory, integrate your store with popular marketing channels such as Facebook and Google, and handle shipping.
You can gain additional ecommerce functionality by using third-party app integrations. Shopify apps let you perform ecommerce functions such as digital marketing, product sourcing, order fulfillment, and customer service.
BigCommerce includes a strong set of built-in ecommerce features and app integration options. BigCommerce native features let you build a mobile-responsive website, including product reviews, offer discounts and gift cards, accept payments, provide real-time shipping quotes, connect your store with popular marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, integrate your store with Facebook and Instagram, and add a blog. Notably, lets you integrate a WordPress blog into your store.
Higher-priced tiers add features such as customer segmentation, abandoned cart savers, persistent carts, stored credit cards, product filtering, and price lists. You can expand BigCommerce's ecommerce functionality by using third-party apps for purposes such as online marketing, sales channel integrations, and order fulfillment.
Shopify and BigCommerce both offer powerful marketing tools. BigCommerce has some built-in marketing features that Shopify can include through app integrations. One distinctive marketing advantage of BigCommerce is its ability to integrate a WordPress blog for search engine optimization (SEO).
Shopify's native marketing features include product categories and keyword tags, automatic sitemaps, customizable URLs and headers, abandoned cart emails, customer segmentation, product performance analytics, and integration with sales channels such as Google and Facebook. App integrations let you add marketing tools like email marketing, search engine optimization, and product bundling.
BigCommerce native marketing features include URL optimization, automatic sitemaps, connecting with marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, and integrating with Facebook and Instagram. An outstanding marketing feature is its ability to integrate a WordPress blog to improve your SEO. Starting with the Plus plan, you gain abandoned shopping cart emails. App integrations allow you to add marketing tools like email marketing, loyalty programs, and integration with sales channels such as Google Shopping and TikTok.
Shopify and BigCommerce both support major payment processing methods. Shopify offers credit card rates competitive with PayPal if you use their Shopify Payments service but charges extra transaction fees if you use another payment gateway integration. BigCommerce does not charge transaction fees and offers discounts if you process payments through its partnership with PayPal.
Shopify allows a variety of payment processing methods:
Credit cards processed via Shopify Payments or third-party providers
Shopify offers expedited payment options through the platform's Pay feature or third-party express checkout features, such as PayPal Express.
Shopify only allows debit cards that are co-branded with major credit providers.
Shopify charges additional transaction fees if you use third parties rather than their own Shopify Payments service. Shopify Payments is only available in certain countries.
BigCommerce's most popular payment methods include:
Credit card processors PayPal, Stripe, and Adyen
Buy now, pay later (BNPL) installment payments through PayPal Pay Later and Affirm
Accelerated checkout through Bolt and Link
Digital wallets Venmo, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, and Visa Click to Pay
BigCommerce offers discounts for credit card processing through PayPal. It does not charge additional transaction fees for third-party payment processors.
Both Shopify and BigCommerce offer multiple shipping options. One notable difference between the two platforms is that Shopify runs its order fulfillment network. BigCommerce offers real-time shipping quotes with all plans, while Shopify only offers them with higher-priced tiers.
Shopify allows shipping via mail services, local delivery, and local pickup. The Shopify Shipping service allows users to buy and print Shopify shipping labels. Shopify hosts its order fulfillment network.
BigCommerce lets you handle your own shipping, outsource your shipping, or use third-party apps to work with shipping services. The platform offers real-time shipping quotes through integration with popular carriers such as USPS, UPS, and FedEx.
Shopify and BigCommerce provide comparable support through multiple channels. BigCommerce makes its support contact information easier to find.
Shopify support channels include:
A help center
A community forum
24/7 live chat
Email via a contact form
Social media support
24/7 phone support
BigCommerce support channels include:
A help center
A community forum
A submission form to request a service
An online university
Both Shopify and BigCommerce are designed to be scalable. BigCommerce provides native functionality that can scale up, while Shopify supports scaling through its third-party apps. BigCommerce requires you to scale up to higher pricing tiers as you exceed specific revenue levels.
Shopify's pricing structure lets you add staff members as you scale up in pricing tiers. If you want to manage multiple stores, you need the Shopify Plus plan.
All BigCommerce plans allow unlimited staff accounts. This lets you create multiple stores with all pricing packages, with additional stores available as you increase pricing tiers. You automatically get bumped up in pricing tiers when you exceed revenue thresholds. Limits are $50,000 for Standard, $180,000 for Plus, and $400,000 for Pro.
Both Shopify and BigCommerce offer strong ecommerce platforms for online retailers. Which platform is right for you depends on your needs and budget. Shopify can be a good solution if you use their Shopify Payments service to avoid their transaction fees or if you want to tap into their app integration options. BigCommerce can work well if you want to use another payment processing service, such as PayPal if you want to rely on native functionality, or if you want to make blogging for SEO a major part of your marketing strategy.
Gelato print on demand services provides customized products you can sell to establish a competitive ecommerce business on either Shopify or BigCommerce. With eco-friendly local sourcing through the world's largest POD production network, Gelato lets you offer customers customized designs on popular products such as t-shirts, mugs, posters, and photo books. Sign up for free to start selling profitable products on your Shopify or BigCommerce store.
Yes, BigCommerce and Shopify are direct competitors. Shopify holds a larger market share, but BigCommerce has gained market share over the past few years.
Shopify and BigCommerce offer comparable services, and which is better for you depends on your needs and budget. BigCommerce can be less expensive for credit card processing, but Shopify can be affordable if you use their Shopify Payments service to avoid transaction fees. Shopify has an advantage with third-party integration options, while BigCommerce has greater built-in functionality and serves as a better blogging platform.
Shopify relies more on third-party app integrations for functionality than BigCommerce. It offers its own payment processing, order fulfillment, and email marketing products in addition to its ecommerce platform, whereas BigCommerce is primarily an ecommerce platform. Because Shopify promotes its own payment processing service, it charges transaction fees for payments processed through other services, unlike BigCommerce.