The move of eBay to shut down Magento Go and ProStores on February 1, 2015 is out of the blue for more than 10,000 small and mid-size merchants. If these customers want to continue a hosted service, then Bigcommerce and Shopify are the best hosted platform to count on. After hours of research work on both Shopify and Bigcommerce, I have collected following important information which helps you to choose the right platform to support your ecommerce business as per you need and budget:
|Location||Austin, Texas and London, UK||Ottawa, Ontario Canada|
|Hardware and Software Requirements||To operate your e-store using either platform, you only need a computer with a web-enabled internet connection and a browser.|
The best e-commerce platform should have the store features that are needed, while being pocket friendly. The table below shows clear comparison between Bigcommerce and Shopify.
|Review Rating:||10 out of 10||9.70 out of 10|
|Free Trial:||15 day free trial||14 day free trial|
|Plans Pricing:||$29.95 to $199.95||$15 to $179|
|Products:||Unlimited||25 to unlimited|
|Bandwidth Overage Fees:||None||None|
|Transaction Fees:||0 to 2%||0 to 2% (Can be waived)|
Following features are some of the most important considerations when we evaluate a hosted e-commerce platform:
While choosing a hosted e-commerce platform, price is an essential factor to consider for most of us. Bigcommerce offers 3 pricing plans, whereas Shopify offers 4 (plus a custom plan; more on that below). They both offer free trials, although Shopify offers one twice as long as Bigcommerce.
Starter plan of Shopify is only $15, which is cheaper as compare to the Bigcommerce’s $29.95 starter (‘silver’) plan. But, the starter plan of Shopify restricts the number of products you can sell to 15 (versus an unlimited number with Bigcommerce) and limits your ability to edit your shop’s theme via HTML and CSS.
A fairer comparison is between ‘basic’ plan of Shopify, which costs $29 per month, and ‘silver’ plan of Bigcommerce. Both offer unlimited products, with Shopify winning in terms of cost which is $0.95 cheaper per month. As you move up the scale with Bigcommerce and Shopify plans, you get increased functionality (more products, more features, more storage, etc.), all of which come at an increased cost.
One aspect of Shopify’s approach to pricing is that they allow the customers to build a custom plan based on their needs and requirements. That means you can incorporate some features from more expensive plans into lower cost plan without shelling out for more expensive one.
In terms of pricing, Shopify comes out ahead if you only need to sell a few products and you want to create a customized pricing plan. Bigcommerce is a good in terms of their off the shelf packages as they come with more features, and if you are taking their $79.95 ‘gold’ plan, you don’t have to worry about the transaction fees.
Having a professional, good looking and inviting storefront is the first step to welcoming and enticing your prospective customers which can increase your chances of making a sale.
Shopify’s themes are very impressive and updated and these look professional. Shopify uses independent and professional designers to create these beautiful themes, so the designs are always fresh and modern and they can make your store look welcoming and credible. Some themes of Shopify are free, whereas some are paid and if you want to use their premium theme, the cost will range from $80 to $180. At first, this may sound pricey but it is a worthy investment that will make your store look good. These beautiful themes can help your website visitors to stay longer in your e-store to browse around, which will improve chances of making sales.
Bigcommerce offers over 100 themes and all of them are free, but themes previews are not available, unless you give them your email and sign up for their 15-day trial. In addition to this, themes of Bigcommerce are pretty outdated. The themes of Bigcommerce were functional, and they will work fine for e-store builders, but you will not get that “wow” factor like Shopify’s themes. However, in March 2014, Bigcommerce updated their theme collection and included 28 new themes which are all mobile friendly. These themes are free as well as paid that will range from $120 – $250, but most are in the $120 – $140 range.
Elegant web-design and superior looks matter a-lot, if you are trying to generate more sales to grow your online business. In my view, Shopify wins the “Battle of the Themes” as they provide better and a much wider variety of professional online store themes to you.
Both Bigcommerce and Shopify offer easy to use admins, and their interfaces are user-friendly. When it comes to the initial store set-up process, Bigcommerce is a bit easier to use than Shopify. Whereas, Shopify is the easiest shopping cart to install, setup, and launch your e- store. It stresses the importance of simplicity and the ‘beauty’, and has a ‘clean’ user interface with no ‘unnecessary’ tool and easy-to-understand instructions for everything.
In a nutshell, when it comes to ‘ease-of-use’, I highly recommend Shopify as a winner. Everyone, from professional web developer to beginner user, can benefit from the convenience and great help that Shopify offers. Like Bigcommerce, Shopify also gives you freedom to personalize your store with coding.
Ecommerce tools, like ability to manage inventory, set prices, showcase products, taxes, configure shipping details, tracking orders, setting up payment gateways, and many more, are fundamentals of a good e-commerce builder. Both Shopify and Bigcommerce provide really awesome tools so that you can build and grow your online store. But, there is a slight difference in how they approach this.
Shopify provides you with all the basic tools in order to create and operate an online store. Advanced tools, like product reviews, product recommendations, customer wish list, etc. are only available in their App store where you have to pay for them; however, they all have a free trial period for you to test them out. Shopify also offers you their own payment gateway so that you can manage all your money in their dashboard that will save you time. If you choose this option of Shopify, they will also waive all your transaction fees.
On the other side, Bigcommerce gives you the most comprehensive set of tools amongst all leading e-commerce builders. It has a lot more advanced tools which are “out of the box”, therefore, these are included in the monthly fee.
Bigcommerce and Shopify also give you all the marketing and SEO tools that you need to run a good e-store. From a Facebook store to coupons, these platforms have ways of promoting your store. However, Bigcommerce goes an extra mile and automatically creates feeds to popular comparison shopping sites like Shopzilla, Google Shopping, and BizRate.
While both the hosted platforms provide you with the fundamental tools you need to run a good e-store, but Bigcommerce offers you a bit more advanced tools in their monthly packages. Therefore, the winner is Bigcommerce.
Both hosted platforms maintain plethora of online support. Bigcommerce has published more than 500 topical articles, operates a helpful forum, and maintains a knowledgebase, as well as Facebook and Twitter pages. Shopify’s support is also impressive, including a manual, live chat, forum, and Ecommerce University. This cart also maintains active Twitter and Facebook accounts.
With Shopify, you will be able to get in touch with their tech support team over the phone 24/7. On the other side, Bigcommerce offers 24/7 support during the week via email and chat, but not overnight on Saturday and Sunday. In Bigcommerce, if you really want to call someone, you can always call a phone support number which is not toll-free from the country you are based in.
Shopify is the winner in the customer care bracket.
The Good and Bad of Bigcommerce and Shopify
Other options for Magento Go and ProStores customers
If Magento Go and ProStores customers don’t want to continue with hosted solution, then other option for these customers is to switch to Magento Community Edition and hire experienced Magento developers because:
Choosing the right e-commerce builder for your business is not a straight forward decision. You have to consider so many things, and our review is helpful in steering you towards some of the key factors to evaluate. Ultimately, it’s a case of weighing up your requirements and plumping for the system that suits your requirements best. You can also sign up for Shopify’s 14-day trial and Bigcommerce’s free 15-day trial to decide which shopping cart is the best fit for your online store.