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4 min read

BigCommerce vs. Shopify: A Brief Comparison Guide

BigCommerce vs. Shopify: A Brief Comparison Guide

As an eCommerce business owner, choosing the right platform can be overwhelming. With so many options available in the market, it's easy to get lost in a sea of choices. Two popular platforms that often come up in discussion are BigCommerce and Shopify. While both platforms offer powerful features and functionality, they have their differences in terms of functionality, design options, integrations, and more. In this comprehensive comparison guide, we'll break down the pros and cons of BigCommerce vs. Shopify Plus to help you make an informed decision about which platform is right for your business.

Features

When comparing BigCommerce and Shopify Plus, one of the most important things to look at is the various features offered by both platforms. While the list of features offered by both platforms could seem endless, we are focusing on the features our clients request most often. Those features would be promotions, multiple ship-to locations, category filters and facets, B2B functionality and blog options. 

Promotions

BigCommerce offers a variety of promotion options, including discounts, "BOGO" (buy one, get one), coupon codes, free gifts, and free shipping. You can set up different types of promotions based on factors such as order value, product category, and customer groups. BigCommerce also allows you to run time-based discounts and promotions, which can be a great way to drive sales during busy shopping seasons.

Shopify Plus offers similar promotion options, with the ability to offer discounts, coupon codes, and free shipping. Shopify Plus also includes a "BOGO" option, which can be a great way to drive sales and incentivize customers to make additional purchases. So, when it comes to promotions, BigCommerce and Shopify Plus offer similar capabilities, but some merchants find BigCommerce to be a little more flexible in this area.  The better choice for you will really come down to your specific promotional needs.

Multiple Ship-Tos

Both BigCommerce and Shopify Plus allow for shipping to multiple addresses, but this functionality is native to BigCommerce and is achieved with an app in Shopify Plus.  Either way, this is a great feature for customers who may want to send gifts to multiple recipients or for businesses that need to send orders to different locations.

Category Filters & Facets

Both platforms also offer category filters and facets, which allow customers to narrow down search results based on specific criteria. BigCommerce's category filter system is very powerful and allows for granular filtering based on a wide range of criteria, including product options, prices, and attributes. Shopify Plus' filtering options are slightly less advanced but still very useful, with options to filter by price, brand, and product type. There are multiple third-party apps available to use with either platform if you need to expand the filter and facet functionality beyond the native offering.

Blog

Another key feature to consider is blogging. Blogging is a great way to keep your site fresh and updated for SEO purposes. Both BigCommerce and Shopify Plus offer native blog functionality with the ability to create blog posts with rich text, add featured images, and tags.  When it comes to blogging, this can be an area where Shopify Plus stands out a bit more as it has some additional options for configuring blog posts as well as the ability to create multiple blogs.  Depending on the theme used for the site, some merchants also feel that the Shopify Plus blog pages look a bit more modern and polished than the BigCommerce blog layout.

B2B 

Finally, it's worth noting the differences in B2B functionality between BigCommerce and Shopify Plus. BigCommerce is a popular choice for B2B merchants, with features like corporate account management, custom pricing, shared shopping lists, sales rep quoting, customer account order history, invoicing and payment method visibility control. Shopify Plus also offer some B2B features, such as custom pricing, company profiles, and checkout payment options, but these features are less robust than what is offered by BigCommerce. In our experience, BigCommerce B2B features are a little more built out, however Shopify Plus has expanded their B2B offerings significantly over the last year.

Functionality

When it comes to functionality, both BigCommerce and Shopify Plus offer robust options for eCommerce businesses of all sizes. Shopify Plus offers over 140 customizable themes and more than 8,000 apps in its app store to enhance the functionality of its platform. BigCommerce, in addition to themes and apps, offers feature rich out of the box functionality and an open API architecture that allows businesses to build their own custom solutions and integrations. 

However, the level of functionality each platform offers can make a significant difference for eCommerce companies based on their unique business requirements. For businesses that have a more streamline implementation with just a few customizations, Shopify Plus may be the better option. Its easy-to-use interface and app store allows business owners to add advanced functionality. 

On the other hand, established businesses with more complex functionality requirements will find BigCommerce to be a more flexible and customizable option. With its open API architecture, businesses can build and customize solutions to their unique needs. This may be more time-consuming upfront, but can ultimately result in a more tailored eCommerce solution. If you have a dedicated technology partner, like Snapshot, either platform would be ideal in terms of time and functionality.

Overall, the functionality of both BigCommerce and Shopify Plus can meet the needs of a variety of eCommerce businesses.

Other things to consider

When it comes to ease of use, both platforms are user-friendly and have a large offering of help articles and tutorials to guide you through setting up a store.  They both also have an excellent support network that you can lean on, if needed. There's a reason Shopify/Shopify Plus & BigCommerce are often talked about side-by-side. Recently recognized by the 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Digital Commerce Report you can see just how closely they compare. 

Figure_1_Magic_Quadrant_for_Digital_Commerce

Summary

After analyzing the features and functionality of both BigCommerce and Shopify/Shopify Plus, it's evident that each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. BigCommerce is ideal for merchants with more complex business needs who may need more flexibility when it comes to customizations. On the other hand, Shopify/Shopify Plus excels in ease of use and offers a wide range of options in its app store.

When selecting an eCommerce platform, it's crucial to consider not only the features and functionality but also the overall user experience and ease of use. The best choice ultimately depends on the specific needs and goals of each business.

If you need assistance in choosing the right eCommerce platform for your business, don't hesitate to reach out to Snapshot. Our team of experts can conduct a thorough site audit and help you find the platform that best suits your needs.

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