The choice of the right ecommerce solution for your small business is likely going to come down to BigCommerce vs Shopify. Shopify is our top-recommended ecommerce platform for small businesses. However, BigCommerce may be better suited for larger businesses, particularly those with complex inventories or wanting to save on processing fees.
- Shopify: Shopify balances simplicity and ease of use with having all the features small businesses need (and nothing they don’t). This—along with sophisticated point-of-sale apps, an extensive app marketplace, and plans that can grow with your business—make Shopify the best ecommerce platform for most small businesses.
- BigCommerce: BigCommerce allows you to shop around for the lowest transaction fees from any payment processor. And, while Shopify has limitations on the number of variants each product can have, BigCommerce does not. So, it’s a better option for growing ecommerce businesses that have complex product assortments or want to save on processing fees.
BigCommerce vs Shopify at a Glance
4.38 out of 5
4.68 out of 5
Enterprise-level or high-revenue businesses
Most small businesses or startups
Starts at $29.95
Starts at $9
Additional Sales Channels
Ease of Use
N/A (but can be integrated with POS platforms)
Yes; free and paid options
Product and Order Management
24/7 Email, Live Chat, and Phone
24/7 Email, Live Chat, and Phone
How We Evaluated BigCommerce vs Shopify
To help you decide which ecommerce platform is best for your store, we compared BigCommerce and Shopify on price, ease of use, store builder and design tools, inventory management, and sales tools. We also added in our own expert opinion based on years of experience testing different ecommerce platforms.
15% of Overall Score
a. We considered the price point of each base plan that offers a full online store, what plan options are available as your business grows, and payment processing options—including fees, flexibility, and one-click checkout options.
b. Shopify edges out BigCommerce in this comparison. While they have similar plan options, Shopify offers a better overall value with a free connected POS app and Shop Pay (its one-click checkout option). BigCommerce, on the other hand, has sales caps on its plan tiers, which can force you into a pricier plan.
30% of Overall Score
a. We considered how easy it is to build and maintain a professional and attractive online store, including available templates, customization options, free domain and SSL certificates, unlimited storage and bandwidth options, and built-in SEO tools and site analytics.
b. BigCommerce offers a better drag-and-drop site editing tool with more flexibility than Shopify’s WYSIWYG editor. However, Shopify offers more variety in its available themes, which is best for new ecommerce sellers.
30% of Overall Score
a. We looked at what kind of product assortments Shopify and BigCommerce can accommodate; tools for in-store and mobile, integrated social media, and marketplace selling; and marketing tools. We also consolidated shipping options and PCI compliance.
b. Shopify and BigCommerce are tied in this area. In general, they both offer similar features, with a few distinctions.
15% of Overall Score
a. Because online stores operate 24/7, we prioritized platforms that offer 24/7 customer support and have multiple customer touchpoints such as phone, email, and chat.
b. Both Shopify and BigCommerce offer 24/7 support, so they are tied there. However, Shopify’s platform is more intuitive and easier to navigate, especially if you’re new to ecommerce and site builders.
10% of Overall Score
a. Here we considered overall value, quality of features, popularity/ customer satisfaction, and ease of use. We also factored in our own experience working with each platform and feedback we’ve received from businesses who use each system.
b. Shopify beats BigCommerce in our expert review because of its popularity, ease of use, and industry-leading innovations.
Now, let’s dive deeper into comparing Shopify and BigCommerce:
Most Affordable: Shopify
Online Store Plans
$29.95 to $299.95/month
$29 to $299/month
Lite Plans (Add shopping cart functionality to existing site)
BigCommerce and Shopify both have a three-tiered pricing structure and a custom plan for enterprise businesses, and they’re remarkably similar. The lower tiers start with basic tools—such as a branded online store, unlimited product sales, social media integration, and 24/7 support. It’s when you start paying more that you get access to premium tools that include detailed reporting and customer segmentation.
The greatest value of Shopify over BigCommerce is the Shopify Lite offering ($9/month), which gives you basic features such as the Shopify POS app, the ability to accept credit cards, and integration with your existing website. That’s a lot for $9 monthly, and BigCommerce has no answer to it.
If you were to unpack both platforms’ basic plans, Basic Shopify and BigCommerce Standard, BigCommerce’s Standard provides more robust features, specifically:
- Professional reporting features
- Built-in ratings and review system
- Automatic currency conversion, based on geolocation
- Real-time carrier shipping quotes from third-party carriers
However, the Basic Shopify plan has these advantages:
- No sales limits compared to a $50,000/year sales limit on BigCommerce Standard
- Abandoned cart recovery on its entry-level plan. BigCommerce only offers it starting on its Plus plan ($79.95/month).
Want to learn more? Read our comprehensive guide to Shopify pricing.
Best for Payment Processing: Shopify
Built-in Payment Provider (optional)
PayPal powered by Braintree (special discounted rates)
Option to Connect to Third-Party Processor
no fees or markups
Payment Gateway Options
Shopify offers built-in payment processing through Shopify Payments and Shop Pay (it’s one-click checkout solution). This means anyone can start accepting payments from day one, without needing to apply for and connect a separate merchant account. This is the easiest option for most small and new businesses, and Shopify’s transaction fees are pretty standard.
One thing that BigCommerce has over Shopify is that it doesn’t charge any transaction fees for connecting a third-party processor. Rather than bundling its own payment processor, it gives you the option to pick the payment gateway that’s right for you. So, larger businesses that process many transactions can shop around for the lowest rates.
Arguably the biggest advantage Shopify has over BigCommerce is its proprietary point-of-sale (POS) app. This allows you to start taking payments immediately, without the hassle of setting up a third-party solution. If you’re selling in person, Shopify sells several very convenient credit card scanners. However, you are not locked into using Shopify’s payment system, and the service is compatible with most of the third-party solutions also offered by BigCommerce.
Third-Party Payment Gateways
Shopify and BigCommerce both allow you to connect an extensive range of payment gateways to your store. Shopify provides more options (over 100) compared to BigCommerce (55).
Built-in Payment Providers
Their built-in payment providers offer the following advantages:
- BigCommerce: PayPal powered by Braintree provides preferential PayPal processing rates and a system where a customer can pay via PayPal without ever having to leave your storefront.
- Shopify: Shopify Payments gives you the ability to set up a local currency on your checkout page and the Shop Pay feature—this is similar to Apple Pay or Google Pay in that shoppers can complete orders in one click.
Easiest to Use: Shopify
When we compared BigCommerce vs Shopify, we found that they’re both somewhat accessible to the everyday user. However, Shopify has a big advantage in that nearly anyone who has even minimal computer skills can pick it up almost immediately.
Building an Ecommerce Site With BigCommerce
If you’re new to selling online, BigCommerce could pose something of a challenge. The sheer breadth and scope of what this platform can do can be overwhelming. Nevertheless, there’s nothing you shouldn’t be able to figure out after just a few times through the process.
For a look into the step-by-step process, read our guide on how to set up your BigCommerce store.
Building an Ecommerce Site With Shopify
Shopify is arguably the most user-friendly ecommerce platform out there. It’s basically the WordPress for online retailers. Its entire feature set is accessible from every window of the interface, and all the tools are easily learned and used. If you have any trouble with Shopify’s toolset, there’s a wealth of help options that will show you exactly how things are done.
To see exactly what goes into setting up an online store using Shopify, read our guide on how to set up your Shopify store.
Best for Design: Shopify
Both Shopify and BigCommerce provide you with tools to create a fully customized online store, but user reviews show that Shopify provides more variety when it comes to template designs. However, BigCommerce has an edge with its website editing tool.
100+ (starting at $150)
64 (starting at $100)
Drag and Drop Builder
(CSS and HTML)
(CSS and HTML)
Both Shopify and BigCommerce provide a selection of free and paid themes. Shopify themes offer more variety when it comes to design than BigCommerce’s themes. Common feedback about BigCommerce themes is that they differ only in colors.
When it comes to editing, BigCommerce’s page builder uses a drag-and-drop interface that allows you to easily edit and see changes in real time. In Shopify, the native editor is a WYSIWYG editor. A workaround for most users is to install a paid third-party app called DragDropr, an integration that activates a drag-and-drop builder to your website theme.
Best Product and Order Management: BigCommerce
CSV and XML
Up to 600
Up to 100
Manual and Bulk Edit
Manual and Smart/Automatic
Custom Product or Work Order Tools
Only with add-on
Real-Time Tracking in Between Locations/Channels
But with an app
Real-Time Shipping Calculators
Across all plans
Available in highest plan, Advanced Shopify
With Shopify Shipping (discounts depend on plan)
- Importing and exporting products or data: In terms of exporting your data, Shopify allows you to export to CSV format. BigCommerce is more flexible because it allows you to export to both CSV and XML.
- Product categories: Setting up collections in Shopify and BigCommerce is straightforward enough, but Shopify’s approach is better because products can automatically be populated based on tags or product descriptions. Although BigCommerce does have a “bulk edit” option to assign products into categories, it doesn’t yet provide the “smart collection” functionality.
- Product options: Shopify lets you set up only three options per product, while BigCommerce lets you set up to 250. It can also auto-generate SKUs for all the different combinations of variants you set up. Its limit on product variants is up to 600, a far cry from Shopify’s equivalent limit of only 100.
- Custom product or work order tools: If your store products have customization options (such as engraving, image uploads, and more), setting this up using custom fields and image uploads is easily done in BigCommerce. Image uploads up to 500MB are accepted. This can only be done using third-party apps in Shopify.
Shopify Inventory Management
Keeping track of your inventory is a snap with Shopify. The “Products” tab gives you an at-a-glance view of the products you have on hand and how many are coming in, and it allows you to manually set actions to take when inventory runs low. Moreover, each item you sell has an easily editable product page where you can input and modify a variety of variants, including descriptions, prices, and shipping.
When put side by side, Shopify has a slight edge over BigCommerce in this area. Shopify has smart inventory management tools to automate product categories, its own fulfillment network for storing and fulfilling orders, and you can adjust inventory right from the mobile app.
Plus, a complete setup with Shopify POS gives you complete visibility to manage products and orders in an omnichannel setting. Shopify is actually our top recommendation for multichannel POS systems.
BigCommerce Inventory Management
The “Products” tab on BigCommerce’s main interface gives you instant access to your inventory, making it easy to see what is available in your store, add new products, and search your inventory. You can even import your own inventory spreadsheet into the interface. When you start out, you’ll have a sample product inventory to help you learn—something you don’t get with Shopify.
BigCommerce vs Shopify Shipping Tools
Both BigCommerce and Shopify allow you to set up a variety of shipping rules, such as:
- Free shipping rates
- Flat rates
- Price-based rates
- Weight-based rates
- Calculated (“real-time”) shipping rates from third-party carriers
BigCommerce, however, wins when it comes to providing customers with third-party real-time shipping rates—making it available on all of its plans. With Shopify, you’ll need to be on a $299 Advanced Shopify plan to unlock this feature.
One thing to note is that Shopify can provide real-time shipping quotes and discounts on any plan if you choose to use Shopify Shipping and its partner couriers.
Best Sales Tools: A Tie Between BigCommerce and Shopify
Buy Now button
One-Click Checkout Link
Social Media Integration
BigCommerce and Shopify don’t limit your sales to your online storefront. They enable you to sell on popular sales platforms such as Facebook, Amazon, eBay, and Instagram. However, Shopify has industry-leading partnerships with social channels like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. If you want the ability to offer in-app social media sales, Shopify is for you.
However, BigCommerce also allows you to sell on enterprise and ecommerce apps, including Google Shopping, Walmart Marketplace, and PriceGrabber. These are far more options than you get with Shopify. If these marketplace channels are more important to you than social channels, BigCommerce is your best option.
Best Marketing Features: Shopify
As powerful ecommerce platforms, both Shopify and BigCommerce know the importance of marketing for online stores, and they provide great tools to help get your site noticed.
Gift Cards, Discount and Coupon Codes
on all plans
on all plans
(but not Google reviews)
but with an app
Abandoned Cart Recovery
but starts on Plus plan ($79.95/month)
on all plans
Abandoned cart recovery
One feature worth highlighting is the abandoned cart recovery for marketing. Setting up abandoned cart recovery emails helps you interact with customers who don’t place or finish their orders to lure them back. You can customize your emails, add schedule triggers, and add discount codes as a way of enticing customers back to your store. You can also customize confirmation emails sent to customers when they place an order.
Learn more about shopping cart abandonment.
BigCommerce’s abandoned cart saver feature claims to recover up to 15% of lost sales and allows you to send up to three automated follow-up emails compared to Shopify’s singular email. However, the feature is available across all Shopify plans (starting at the $29 plan), whereas BigCommerce unlocks this feature at the $79 tier.
Another essential part of marketing your online store is sending e-newsletters to your mailing list. This helps generate more sales.
As of this writing, Shopify recently launched its native email marketing tool, Shopify Email. Everyone on a paid Shopify plan is entitled to send 2,500 free emails each month. You get to customize your email look with templates and schedule their delivery, but advanced email marketing features—such as automation and customer behavior segmentation—are not available.
BigCommerce doesn’t have a built-in email marketing tool yet, but free third-party email marketing integrations like Mailchimp are available.
Best App Marketplace: Shopify
Shopify beats BigCommerce when it comes to available third-party integrations, offering over 1,000 compared to BigCommerce’s 100+ apps. If there’s something your store needs, it’s a near certainty that you’ll find it in Shopify’s app store.
Best for Security: A Tie Between BigCommerce and Shopify
Both BigCommerce and Shopify offer free SSL certificates on all of their plans. With BigCommerce, you have the option to upgrade to a more advanced SSL certificate equipped with site seals and warranties. Prices range from $59 to $299.
Both BigCommerce and Shopify are also PCI DSS compliant providers. Both platforms meet the requirements of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard to protect against credit card data breaches.
Best for Customer Support: A Tie Between BigCommerce and Shopify
Just as you should provide excellent care to your own customers, Shopify and BigCommerce want to take excellent care of you. If you ever have a problem, both offer 24/7 support through various channels.
BigCommerce Customer Service
BigCommerce’s support page is a simple affair. The first step is seeing if there’s a simple answer to your problem that doesn’t involve another person. If your issue can’t be resolved by a Help Center article, you have the option to chat with an agent live, send an email, or speak with a representative on the phone. Every time we interacted with customer support, the agents were informed, courteous, and eager to help resolve both small and complicated issues.
Shopify Customer Service
Shopify’s help page is much the same as that of BigCommerce in that it tries to resolve your problem with helpful articles and tips before handing you over to support staff. You can reach them directly via live chat, email, and phone. They also reply to support inquiries via Twitter. Like BigCommerce, Shopify’s team is professional, competent, and ready to assist you.
When it comes to choosing between Shopify and BigCommerce, it’s going to come down to what kind of business you have. If you run a large enterprise that requires numerous user accounts, you need BigCommerce. However, Shopify’s easy-to-use nature and availability of Shopify Lite make it the clear winner for small businesses, solopreneurs, and budding enterprises.
We recommend Shopify for anyone launching an ecommerce platform for the first (or second and third) online storefront. It’s easy to sell your products as early as the first day of your free 14-day free trial—start yours today.