The MC Hammer Guide to Bigcommerce vs Shopify

The MC Hammer Guide to Bigcommerce vs Shopify

The great debates never get old: Ford vs. Chevy.  Mac vs. PC.  Boxers vs. briefs.

And if you’re an eCommerce nut like I am: Bigcommerce vs. Shopify..

If you’ve explored starting a store, chances are good you’ve struggled with this decision, as Shopify and Bigcommerce are the two best known hosted carts. So which do you choose?

I know a lot about each of the platforms, but realized recently I’ve never actually used either platform to build a store, as I’ve run my stores on Magento for years. It’s not often that inexperience is an asset, but in this case it positioned me well to try out both platforms with no experience bias and to report on the results.

In this post, I’ll be creating a store from scratch on both platforms (selling MC Hammer pants, no less!), and sharing my thoughts on the process, features and experience on Shopify vs Bigcommerce.

 

A Few Disclaimers

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty review, there are a few things you should know:

I’ve met with and know people from both companies and, in the case of Shopify, collaborated with them to write a book on drop shipping. So while I’ll do my best to give you a fair, honest review, you should be aware of that background.

Also, this review contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you sign up for either service. If you’d rather not use those, you can click on these non-affiliate links for both Shopify and Bigcommerce.

With that being said, let’s build a few stores.

 

Shopify Setup & First Impressions

Getting set up with Shopify was really straightforward. I was expecting a somewhat long process involving entering a credit card, registering a domain, etc. But to my surprise, I was up and running, customizing my store, 30 seconds after entering my email address – no payment required.

My goal with onboarding was to see how long it took to get my account set up, get a feel for the interface and get a very basic store live with a customized homepage, name and product added. With Shopify, it took me about 30 minutes from signup until I was proudly able to introduce the world to MC Hammer Express: THE place to go for all your parachute pant needs.

Overall, the process was  straightforward but it did take a little digging to find a few things. For example, finding the settings to customize the homepage sliders took a few minutes, as it was 2 or 3 menu items deep. I also had to re-login to activate the theme I selected for my store, which was a bit odd. But, heck, I was able to be open for business in 30 minutes. Try doing that with Magento!

 

My Shopify Homepage

Shopify-Homepage

 

My Shopify Product Page

Shopify-Proudct-Page

 

Bigcommerce Setup & First Impressions

Just like Shopify, I was in my Bigcommerce account and configuring things within 60 seconds of submitting my email. Total setup time – to get the site live, slightly customized and with a product – was similar at about 25 minutes. You can see the Bigcommerce version of MC Hammer Express below.

But I did feel the setup/onboarding experience was slightly more intuitive with Bigcommerce.  The wizard did a really good job of walking me through all aspects of the process, and I was quickly able to find where I could customize the slider for the homepage.  Not a huge difference – it took 25 minutes vs. 30 minutes to get set up in Shopify – but it was noticeable.

 

Bigcommerce Homepage

BC-Homepage

 

Bigcommerce Product Page

BC-Product-Page

 

Product Management

Adding products to both carts was a snap, particularly in Shopify. Everything I needed to add items was on one streamlined page, including quickly adding three variants for my Hammer Pants. It couldn’t have taken more than 2 or 3 minutes to have my product live.

Bigcommerce’s product-adding interface isn’t quite as streamlined and spans a number of tabs. And trying to get basic sizes set up for my product was a bit more confusing – definitely not as intuitive as Shopify’s interface.

But if you’re after more advanced product options, Bigcommerce seemed to have more options and customization available, at least out of the box. It was possible to show different product pictures when different options were selected, and commonly used option sets could be saved to be easily applied to products added in the future.

 

Adding Products in Bigcommerce

BC-Add-a-Product

 

Adding Products in Shopify

Shopify-Add-a-Product

 

SEO

I’d heard horror stories in the past that both platforms didn’t allow customizing of  the most basic of SEO tags. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that Shopify and Bigcommerce both make it really easy to set what I consider the three most important page-level attributes: page meta title, meta description and page URL. Below is Shopify’s interface for setting SEO tags, which looks almost identical to Bigcommerce’s:

 

Shopify-SEO

 

Catalog & Category Management

Shopify doesn’t use categories. Instead, it uses what are called collections to group products. On one hand, it offers some neat functionality in the ability to automatically group products with common tags into a similar collection.

But it’s impossible to create sub-collections (or sub-categories). You can achieve a sub-category feel by manually creating nested menus in the navigation, but it’s a bit tricky. And it makes implementing navigation breadcrumbs difficult.

Bigcommerce’s category management is more traditional and familiar. You can create categories and sub-categories quickly. And at least for the theme I was using, the categories were then automatically reflected in the store’s drop-down navigation structure.

 

Theme Selection & Quality

Up until a few months ago, I wouldn’t have hesitated in telling you that Shopify had a far superior collection of themes – something even I think Bigcommerce folks would have admitted was true. But with the recent Bigcommerce “Next” release, that gap has closed.

Bigcommerce’s theme library now boasts a number of great-looking, professional themes. While it’s a welcome addition, members of the eCommerceFuel private forum have bemoaned the fact that most/all of the fully responsive themes are paid themes, something that caused disappointment.

 

Old-BC-Themes

New-BC-Themes

 

Despite the improvements, I’d say Shopify still has the advantage in terms of available themes. They’ve had their theme marketplace open to designers longer, and there’s a deeper pool of talent developing themes for them. Browsing the Shopify theme store, there just appears to be a larger number of quality themes available.

It’s influenced heavily by the specific themes I picked, but I also noticed my Shopify store had a much cleaner look to it out-of-the-gates than my Bigcommerce shop (see pictures above). I tend to like stripped-down designs that I can slowly add to versus designs I have to subtract a lot from, and I liked that Shopify started with a less-cluttered approach. But again, this is largely influenced by the specific themes that I picked.

 

Shopify-Themes

 

Making Design Changes & the Template System

Before signing up, I expected both platforms to have a drag-and-drop interface for editing the store. So I was surprised when I discovered this was available on Bigcommerce but not Shopify. Given how convenient the visual interface was in Bigcommerce, I wondered why it wasn’t a Shopify feature.

Investigating further, I chatted with eCommerceFuel private forum member Andrew Bleakly of AndrewBleakley.com. He’s worked extensively to customize both Shopify and Bigcommerce stores and had this to say on the difference between the two platforms’ design framework:

Shopify provides direct access to the store data and supports a programming language to manipulate the design based on the user, cart, product or order. This makes templates in Shopify infinitely flexible and customizable but necessitates having a developer on board to make changes and updates as required because the templates can be easily broken by someone not familiar with code.

Bigcommerce uses a more shielded combination of static templates instead of providing direct access to data. This allows Bigcommerce to offer DIY drag and drop design tools for store owners looking to self-manage but limits the flexibly of the templates and design choices.

So, Bigcommerce does offer a really convenient drag-and-drop interface but – according to Andrew –  you’ll be giving up some advanced template and design capabilities for it. With Shopify, you’re more likely to need a developer to make customizations, but they’ll have much more control and flexibility as a result.

Andrew’s opinion was backed up by Stephen Tangerman, a fellow private forum member and developer who examined both platforms and ultimately chose Shopify due to the development implications:

As someone with a development background, Shopify’s framework is big for me. Their “liquid” language allows me to create just about any dynamic HTML snippet utilizing almost and data property in the core store data model.

Shopify also offers the Desktop Theme Editor, a downloadable app for the Mac that makes it easy to design a theme on your local computer and quickly sync the changes with the live store.

Wrapping your head around design interfaces can be a bit difficult, so I’ve put together two screencasts below walking you through how changes are made on both platforms.

 

Bigcommerce Design Interface Walkthrough

Shopify Design Interface Walkthrough

 

Available Apps & Feature Sets

Shopify has, hands down, the most vibrant add-on app marketplace. They offer more than 650 apps, nearly four times more than Bigcommerce has available. You’ll definitely be more likely to find the exact app you need in the Shopify marketplace.

Bigcommerce has always been touted as having more built-in default features, which I found to be true. Shopify doesn’t include some features on all their plans that Bigcommerce offers by default – things like real-time shipping quotes, gift certificates, product reviews and integrated email marketing tools. Some of these features are included with higher-end Shopify plans, while others require apps.

Just about all of these features can be duplicated in Shopify, sometimes using free apps. Take, for example, the numerous free product review apps available in the Shopify marketplace. So it’s a mixed bag. You do get more features with Bigcommerce by default, but you have a much larger selection of apps to supplement your store on Shopify.

 

Developer & Support Community

Shopify definitely has the advantage here, boasting a larger community of developers and designers than Bigcommerce. This is partly due to the fact that they’re larger, and partly due to the fact that only recently (Q1 of 2014) did Bigcommerce open up their theme and app store, incentivizing developers and designers to proactively create for the platform. A few examples:

As we’ve mentioned, the Shopify app store has nearly four times the number of apps. In terms of themes, it’s not nearly as large of a difference, but there are definitely more available for Shopify – especially on the high end. Both are direct results of the number of people working on the platform.

When browsing the Shopify and Bigcommerce expert partner pages, Shopify has significantly more design and developers listed. And comparing skill sets of eCommerceFuel private forums members, Shopify seems to be the most widely known platform: more than twice as many consultants were experienced with Shopify than Bigcommerce.

 

Point-of-Sale Integration

I am and always have been a 100% online retailer – no bricks and mortar for me. But if I did have an offline presence, Shopify’s POS integration (that stands for “point of sale,” for everyone snickering right now) would be really hard to turn down.

The Shopify POS integration uses an iPad and a special card reader to allow you to easily accept payment in your store, all while maintaining centralized customer and inventory records across both your online and physical stores.  The Shopify POS system also has a mobile app that pairs with the card reader, making it easy to sell at remote locations like trade shows or fairs.

Overall a pretty cool feature, and not something that’s available on Bigcommerce.

 

Payment Options & Checkout

Both platforms will let you connect with just about any payment gateway, from PayPal to Authorize.net. So if desired, you can shop around for the best merchant provider for your needs and plug them directly into your shopping cart. And if you’d rather get started selling immediately, both also support payment exclusively via PayPal.

PayPal integrates a bit differently between the two platforms. On Bigcommerce, you have the option to enter all of your personal details on your store’s native checkout page. Then you’re transferred to PayPal to make the final payment.

With Shopify, customers need to enter all their information via PayPal’s interface. While this isn’t a big deal for customers with an existing PayPal account and saved information, it’s a slightly less streamlined process for customers without a PayPal account, as they’ll be taken off your site for a longer period.

The native, on-site checkout process is also different between carts. On Shopify, customers leave your store’s domain to check out via a shared Shopify checkout funnel, which isn’t customizable.

Bigcommerce’s checkout is more streamlined. Checkout pages are hosted on the store’s domain, and the template is somewhat customizable. So the base URL will stay the same, and you can make tweaks to the checkout look and feel as needed.

 

Built-In Merchant Processing

Shopify is the only one with its own in-house payment gateway that you can apply for quickly within the Shopify interface. It’s a nice choice if you want to get up and running as quickly as possible and don’t want to fuss about with a third party.

While definitely convenient, the rates aren’t going to be rock bottom and are tied to the plan you’re on. If you’re on Shopify’s cheapest plan, you’ll pay 2.9%, which is definitely on the higher side for processing rates.

This drops to 2.25% for upper-level plans, which is more competitive. But if you’re doing a lot of volume, it’s always good to shop your rates around to get the best price – something you won’t be able to do on Shopify payments.

Shopify’s built-in merchant processing also offers the advantage of having all payment data natively integrated into your Shopify store to ensure more seamless accounting, refunds/upcharges and reconciliation without having to use a separate payment interface.

 

Customer Support

To get a sense of support quality and time, I contacted each company via phone and instant chat.

I’ve always heard great things about Shopify’s support, so I was a little surprised that it took 15 minutes to get someone on the phone. When I did, they were very helpful and friendly, and followed up immediately via email with links to documents we had discussed. Chat support was also fast and responsive, and I had someone online almost immediately.

I was able to get a Bigcommerce rep on the phone in about 5 minutes who was also knowledgeable about my question. And after signing up, a rep from Bigcommerce also reached out to me via email and called to see if I had any questions and/or could help, which was a nice touch.

Bud oddly, when I tried to start a chat session, it became unavailable. This occurred in the mid-afternoon during business hours, so I’m not sure if there was a technical glitch or what occurred. I asked around in the eCommerceFuel private forums, and other Bigcommerce users mentioned they’d also noticed chat randomly going offline midday.

There are always horror stories that get circulated, but I think it’s safe to assume you’ll receive a reasonable level of support from either company.

July 2014 Update:  Bigcommerce is now offering 24/7 support via phone, chat and email.

 

Educational Content & Training

I debated including this in the write-up, as publicly available educational content on the web isn’t really something you need to commit to a platform to enjoy. Ultimately, I decided it was worth mentioning, because it illustrates each company’s dedication to continuing education and putting quality eCommerce content into the world.

Historically, I’ve been really impressed with Shopify’s commitment to producing high-quality eCommerce content – both in terms of their blog and educational guides. As I mentioned, I’ve worked with them on a number of content projects and initially sought them out, given their impressive track record in the area.

Shopify has also done some really cool things in the media and PR space, including their annual Build-a-Business Contest, which has encouraged thousands of entrepreneurs to build an online store.

Bigcommerce has definitely been stepping up their content marketing and blogging efforts recently, and I’ve come across a number of interesting posts they’ve created in the last few months. I’m looking forward to watching that trend continue in the future.

 

Pricing

One word on pricing before we dive into the specifics: Few things irritate me as much as people claiming to be “serious” entrepreneurs obsessing over a $5 price difference. Or, even worse, refusing to sign up with a service because it costs $20/month.

To some extent, price is – of course – always a consideration. But if you’re unwilling spend $20/month on your business or an extra $5/month to upgrade to the right platform, I doubt you’ll last long in the eCommerce game. People complaining about pricing at this level usually are simply distracting themselves from the hard work of getting down to it and building their business. Or they’re too cheap to invest in building a real business.

So don’t let that be you! Now that I’ve finished venting, let’s discuss pricing.

 

Bigcommerce Pricing

  • Silver Plan:  5GB storage limit, unlimited products and bandwidth, 2% transaction fee – $34.95/month
  • Gold Plan:  Unlimited storage and bandwidth, no transaction fee, extra features (abandon cart, loyalty, omni-channel) – $79.95/month
  • Platinum Plan:  All features of the Gold plan, “White Glove” store setup and high-volume API access – $199.95/month

Bigcommerce recently rolled out this new pricing plan, which caused some consternation among store owners and sparked a very active and opinionated discussion in the private forums. The two biggest issues: transaction fees and API rules/access.

Historically, people criticized Shopify because they charged a transaction fee and Bigcommerce didn’t. Not having to pay a transaction fee was one of the more common reasons people cited for choosing Bigcommerce over Shopify.  So I, along with others, was pretty surprised to see Bigcommerce institute a 2% fee on all transactions (this is in addition to credit card fees) for the Silver plan.

The other noteworthy change on the new pricing: API access. All plans but Platinum limit API calls to 20,000 requests/hour and don’t provide support for API troubleshooting and integration (full details here). This call limit shouldn’t be a problem for most users, but you will need the highest tiered plan to get help with API questions, which may be frustrating for smaller merchants building custom integrations.

 

Shopify Pricing

All Shopify plans (apart from the Starter plan) come with unlimited products, a free card reader and 24/7 support.

  • Starter – 25 product limit, 1GB storage limit. No card reader, discount coupons or HTML/CSS editing – $14/month
  • Basic – 1GB storage limit. No transaction fee if processing cards with Shopify, otherwise 2% – $29/month.
  • Professional – 5GB storage, gift cards and cart recovery. No fee if processing cards with Shopify, otherwise 1% – $79/month.
  • Unlimited – Unlimited storage. All Professional plan options plus real-time carrier shipping. No transaction fees regardless of processing merchant – $179/month.

Shopify offers a bare-bones plan at $14/month, but it offers minimal functionality. The real comparable plans to Bigcommerce’s offerings start at $29/month with the Basic package.

Most notably, there are no transaction fees as long as you use Shopify’s in-house card processing. As we discussed earlier, this may or may not be the best choice for your business. If you do use an outside merchant, you’ll likely be paying a transaction fee between 1% to 2%. Only the highest level Shopify plan offers no transaction fees under any circumstances.

Finally, there is no limitation on API access or support. For advanced users, having access to API support at lower price tiers is definitely a major plus.

But note that Shopify plans don’t include a number of features in the lower-level plans that are included by default in all Bigcommerce plans, including real-time shipping quotes and gift certificates. You’ll have to upgrade to the Professional level plan for those.

 

Wrap Up

So which platform is right for you? If you’ve made it this far, there’s certainly a lot to consider. Fortunately, there’s good news.

Both Bigcommerce and Shopify are excellent platforms and eons ahead of what I used to build my first store. I challenge anyone to set up and customize a store with Zencart (my original cart) in a few hours that doesn’t look like death, and I guarantee you’ll be dancing with joy over the decision you get to make.

Ultimately, your decision of Bigcommerce vs Shopify will not make or break your business. Instead, your success will come down to offering a great product, adding value, taking great care of your customers and marketing/hustling like crazy. The platform can help, but it’s not what you should be losing sleep over at night.

So if this is the 14th Shopify vs. Bigcommerce review you’ve read – stop! Quit reading, pick one and move forward with building your business! You’re wasting valuable time.

With that being said, here are my thoughts on both platforms.

 

Final Shopify Thoughts

Shopify is – and has been for some time – the market leader in hosted carts for small to medium-sized merchants, both in terms of customers and the size of their ecosystem. They’re probably your best bet if you:

  • Want the most options. From theme selection to developer talent to app selection, Shopify is hands-down the winner.
  • Need a fully integrated retail solution. Shopify’s the only one to offer an integrated point-of-sale system for offline selling and built-in payment gateway.
  • Don’t want to pay up for API support. If you want to build your own custom integrations on Bigcommerce, you’ll have to pay a minimum of $200 per month for access to API technical support.
  • Are aesthetically focused. If you sell fashion products, or anything else with strong visuals, it’s hard to beat Shopify for quickly building a great-looking, uncluttered store. There are simply more professional themes to choose from and a larger pool of designer talent.

 

Final Bigcommerce Thoughts

I was impressed with the Bigcommerce platform, especially with the setup and onboarding process. They’re still catching up to Shopify in a number of areas – specifically in terms of their ecosystem – but they’ve made some great progress in the last year.

Bigcommerce is probably your best bet if you:

  • Have a large and/or complex catalog of items. The product management interface has more options for accommodating complex options, and it’s easier to create a traditional nested category hierarchy.
  • Value the ability to make basic changes using a visual drag-and-drop interface without having to code. Bigcommerce is the only platform to offer this.
  • Value maximum out-of-the-box functionality. All Bigcommerce stores include features like real-time shipping quotes, gift certificates and integrated email marketing  –  tools that aren’t included with all Shopify plans. It’s possible to recreate many of these with apps, but Bigcommerce still has the edge in terms of built-in default features.
  • Must have the ability to customize your checkout process. This is currently impossible with Shopify.

 

shopify-button

bigcommerce-button

 

If you enjoyed this post be sure to check out our case study on how switching to Shopify increased sales by 41%. A big thank you to forum members Andrew Bleakley, Stephen Tangerman, Michelle Coleman and Mark Mathson for their input on this review.

Andrew Youderian
Post by Andrew Youderian
Andrew is the founder of eCommerceFuel and has been building eCommerce businesses ever since gleefully leaving the corporate world in 2008.  Join him and 1,000+ vetted 7- and 8-figure store owners inside the eCommerceFuel Community.

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95 Comments

RalphAugust 15, 2014

This is not my 14th review of Shopify vs BigCommerce, but if you add woo, weebly, wix, web, webs, squarespace, 3D, zen, e.c.templates, magento, and others and let me count back a few years, and take a somewhat random subset of all the combinations, I think I’ve read 2^5 reviews by now! This one is the best. You clearly stated how much skin you had in the game and where it was. You obviously put a lot of work into it and actually used both. So many are so lame you WISH they were phoned in.

The worst case of decision paralysis ever! But it’s over. For one thing I think I have the right niche to move into, finally. And I’m 2^5 times more desperate for a change. I’m going Big. I got your eBook and also signed up to get your coupon. It’s been an hour. It’s late and I need to sleep, so I’ll look for it in the AM, but I’m going to want to get started! Thanks again for the inspiring story and excellent review.

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RussSeptember 5, 2014

Thanks a lot for sharing this with all people you actually realize what you are talking approximately!
Bookmarked. Kindly also consult with my web site =).
We can have a link change arrangement among us

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Charlie CentaSeptember 12, 2014

Hi Andrew,

I’ve been running an ecommerce store for about a year on Shopify and previously had one on Big Cartel. After a bit of experience in ecommerce and many many mistakes made (and reading 4HWW and your ebook), I’ve decided to go for the big one and launch a drop shipping store and feeling optimistic about my new business venture, I’ve decided to set up my website using Magento (quite literally today).

Sounds simple… but for someone who has always used ecommerce platforms where they do everything for you this can be absolutely daunting.

Let me give you an (my) example: I’m not particularly advanced when it comes to computers but I can do a bit of website coding and play around with things and I want to set up a website. I go to Shopify and it just tells me to select a package and boom. Paid and ready to go. But I hear about this other great thing called Magento (or Joomla or whichever of the 100s of 1000s) so I go to their website expecting to get something kind of similar but it just offers me a download. Hmmm well what the hell am I supposed do with that? And then there is absolutely nothing to explain how to set up a website.

My point is, maybe you could write a blog explaining the process of selecting a server, installing the platform etc. or just the general anatomy of a website. After all, I guess a lot of us aren’t necessarily the biggest computer geeks (although it may seem like we spend our lives in front of one) but rather ecommerce entrepreneurs trying to work out the technical stuff along the way.

Basic stuff but essential knowledge when in the ecommerce business.

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Naseem KhanSeptember 13, 2014

Hi! Andrew
Thank you for this blog, I just wanted your opinion about the right cart to use, if I have to do a B2B site, somewhere, general public is not allowed to buy, just view, whereas businesses can login (using passwords) and place orders, (not necessarily pay for them) but leave orders.

Any suggestions will help. Thanks!

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LloydSeptember 19, 2014

Great discussions. Being a small retail brick/mortar store looking to sell online for the first time, this helps. One issue for us: with limited product quantities, we want to display the inventory quantity on the product page to help the customer know the availability…which cart might fit us better?

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Lolah HancockSeptember 19, 2014

I was uber frustrated about making a decision between Shopify & Big Commerce and after reading several reviews, think this was one of the most helpful. I was all set to go with Big Commerce but the fact that they have no card reader / POS was a real deal breaker for me since I will be doing both online and in person sales. I also don’t like the whole idea of having customers redirected to Shopify for check out. Streamlined and Professional are extremely important to me. Big Commerce seems to have more built in features which I really like. Decisions…decisions…

So I have finally made one. I found the Spark Pay card reader app in Big Commerce (by Capital One). The fact that there is a REAL bank behind the card reader and 24 hour customer service makes me thrilled (Square, who?). There are two pricing tiers (2.7% per swipe with no monthly fee and 1.95% + 9.95/month). I also found an app in Big Commerce called Stitch Labs ($25/mos) which will integrate inventory for not only Big Commerce but also my Etsy store as well as provide some rich sales reports. While I’m not thrilled about the additional $25/mos, I agree that when striving to be a successful entrepreneur there is no time to quibble over a few dollars. I consider them an investment and have no doubt I will make that back in no time once my beautiful e-commerce store is up and running.

So…. (drum roll, please) BIG COMMERCE it is! Now that I (finally) made a decision it’s time to start building. Wish that discount on Big Commerce link was available. 🙂

Super Excited! Much success to all you entrepreneurs out there!

Thanks again!

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Lance C.October 7, 2014

Did anyone read the description of the MC Hammer pants…..Hillarious!

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Andrew YouderianOctober 9, 2014

Ha, thanks Lance! Was hoping someone would catch that. 😉

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AndrésOctober 21, 2014

Fantastic Andrew, thanks yet again!
I’m building my store on Shopify; so far so good.

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RoseNovember 3, 2014

Thank you for a great review Andrew! I have built a few small business sites through Wix, but this is my first ecommerce project and I am not loving it. Wix is so easy for me since everything is drag & drop, so I am having a hard time with Shopify. Am I missing something? I create my logos & banners in Photoshop, but can’t figure out how to get them where I want them on my Shopify site. Maybe I should consider another platform? I am not working with a developer, so I need drag & drop! What would you suggest?
Thanks,
Rose

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How We Planned for a $50,000 eCommerce Website DesignDecember 3, 2014

[…] are a lot of choices in the world of hosted shopping cart software, but for me it came down to Shopify vs. Bigcommerce.  Ultimately I chose […]

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JackieDecember 5, 2014

Great article! I’m looking for the best solution for ecommerce and offline sales, so I’m leaning toward Spotify. However, what’s your impression of how it interfaces with Quickbooks or another comparable bookkeeping software? Are both Spotify and BigCommerce easy to interface?

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ManmayFebruary 6, 2015

Thanks for the analysis, however there are many other competitors in the market – NopCommerce, Magento, Prestashop and many. It is all up to your requirements. Even WordPress and Sitefinity too are the good options!! http://bit.ly/1yIWUAy

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Kenny KaneFebruary 22, 2015

This was a fun read, Andrew – Thanks.

I launched my store on Volusion back in 2012 and migrated to Bigcommerce after getting a cold call from sales rep Melanie Lewis(+1-512-865-4592). [Have to give her props!]

I’ve looked at Shopify since my migration to Bigcommerce and always come back to the same conclusion: Bigcommerce. Just. Works. My favorite KPI is the fact that I’ve seen my revenue quadruple from year 1 on Volusion compared to year 3 on Bigcommerce.

You are right when you say that the Bigcommerce backend tends to have a lot of tabs. As a store owner/operator, it’s nice to have such granularity with options. I’ve also found the that once you learn the proprietary HTML variables, it’s super easy to customize your template.

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My Shopify Review — Why you should stop comparing and start selling ASAP • 99 rabbitsFebruary 28, 2015

[…] Andrew from ecommercefuel.com cleverly pointed […]

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BradMarch 27, 2015

Helpful review. There are definitely some beautifully made themes in Shopify’s theme store with styles for everyone. We ended up purchasing the Retina Theme which gave us the building blocks and tools to create a great first website. With a bit of additional help from online html and css editing tutorials like http://www.codecademy.com/ we were able to get our shop to the level we wanted – http://www.hollowlegstore.com/
One downside that we are currently dealing with is very limited options for discounts. Be prepared to need additional apps to compliment your shop that might cost you extra.
Overall, we would definitely recommend Shopify to anyone looking for an e-commerce platform!

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Richard RobbinsApril 13, 2015

After I sold one of my businesses last fall, the new owner wanted to move from Zen Cart to another system that would be easier for him to manage. He was looking for a hosted solution, so we considered Shopify.

While trying the migration to Shopify, we found a major bug with Shopify’s setup: it takes some complicated jerry-rigging to set up sub-categories, which have to be built awkwardly and non-intuitively using product tags and collections. Instead we moved the store over to BigCommerce, which handles categories as they should be: as individual entities that can be easily edited, that can have specific products added to them, and that can be moved around with ease.

I have found sub-category pages to be great opportunities to create landing pages that convert. In my opinion Shopify has made a big mistake in designing their system so that sub-categories are difficult to create and use.

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PaulJuly 14, 2015

I prefer BigCommerce , their order management system is more advanced which keeps our customers happy.

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ChuckJuly 22, 2015

Great review, Andrew!

We began our Ecommerce adventure with Volusion. There customization is pretty far from easy, but they do deserve credit for their checkout process. We switched to Shopify (our current ecommerce host) due to the Data Transfer fees that volusion charged us, which made blogging an unreality for us. To my dismay, while we love not having to pay for data, the conversions are considerably lower.

I believe Volusion was able to convert better than Shopify due to the professionalism of the checkout process. SSL, secure checkout on your own domain with one page was pretty sweet. I was uneasy about Shopify’s shared SSL platform but I had no idea it would result in such a reduction of conversions. The checkout page on Shopify being at checkout.shopify.com is a total deal breaker for us. I love love love all of their reporting and functionality, but it’s all moot once the conversions drop so low.

After reading your blog, we are considering BigCommerce because they have the unlimited data that we desire and the dedicated SSL that our business simply has to have.

So we will be switching again–
3rd time is a charm (hopefully)

Thanks again for the review

cheers

`Chuck

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MattAugust 24, 2015

Chuck –

Had a somewhat similar journey to you. Started out at Shopify and didn’t have any significant issues. Having to get an app or two for things like more product options was fine. But the whole shared SSL and checkouts going to checkout.shopify.com was a real bummer and yes I think it would cost any business sales.

We switched to BigCommerce this year and have been pretty happy with it. To be fair we paid more and went from Shopify’s $29 plan (plus some $$$ for apps each month) to BC’s $79 plan to get our own SSL but think it will be worth it in the long run.

If Shopify ever allowed dedicated SSL and a ‘real’ checkout process we would definitely entertain switching back. They seem ahead of the curve on stuff like Buyable Pins on Pinterest and their app library is much better than BC. But I’m not switching back until they fix that.

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admirSeptember 19, 2015

Bigcommerce is an exceptional eCommerce platform that is capable of creating excellent online stores.

I switched to their cart from Shopify and do not regret it at all. It’s a lot more flexible then any other cart out there.

http://rijalda.com/bigcommerce-review/

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Peter SNovember 19, 2015

Hey, thanks for the comparison, but aren’t the two aimed primarily at small businesses? I suggest you take a look at Virtocommerce http://virtocommerce.com/ if you’re looking for a more advanced solution.

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MohammadJanuary 22, 2016

I happily used big commerce for three years, I paid $25 a month, the service was great. However, they just changed their pricing model, I have to pay $320 a month now. Yes, I not joking. from $25 to $320 because they will use a volume based pricing. I am considering other shipping cart now, what I am afraid of is that Shopify changes its pricing model in the future too.

Any thought ?

Thanks

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Jane FangFebruary 11, 2016

Does Shopify and bigcommerce have autoshipping platform options to add to your retail online store?

What ecommerce site would you recommend if someone is looking to sell petfood food, pet supplies, pet petscriptions, and pet toys on a retail website that has autoshipping options to add on such as chewy.com and petflow.com has done very well?

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drop shipping on shopify login | petadropshipMay 7, 2016

[…] The MC Hammer Guide to Shopify vs Bigcommerce […]

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Cheryl I.July 12, 2016

Thank you, Andrew, for this excellent comparison! I really got a lot of value out of it. And I also want to thank you for the Shopify discount – I have been researching them and was nervous about making a decision, but your review helped to get me off the fence. For what I need, they sound like my best choice. Not thrilled about the possibility of the shared SSL thwarting conversions, and the lack of sub-categories could prove inconvenient, but the built-in payment gateway is something I can use right now. I think Shopify is my best choice at this point, so thanks again for the info and the discount!

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