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If you’re looking for the right platform to start your ecommerce business, you’re in luck—there are a variety of top-notch options on the market to choose from. This being said, as you’ve started your search, you may have come across a few big names over and over again: BigCommerce, Shopify, and Woocommerce. With all of these ecommerce platforms to choose from, however, you may feel a little overwhelmed—how do you know which option is right for you?
After all, choosing the best ecommerce software for your business is an important decision—this platform will dictate how you set up your online store, accept and process orders from your customers, and ultimately, grow your operations. Therefore, in order to help you sort through these options, we’ve compiled a BigCommerce vs. Shopify vs. Woocommerce comparison guide. We’ll break down everything you need to know about these three popular platforms—features, pricing, and more—so you can decide which might be the right solution for your ecommerce business.
As we’ve mentioned, if you’re looking for the best ecommerce platform to start your online store, BigCommerce, Shopify, and Woocommerce are names that you’re going to see frequently in your search. On the whole, all three of these platforms are widely used to start ecommerce businesses around the world and are generally considered to be some of the top solutions available on the market. This being said, before we dive into the details comparing BigCommerce vs. Woocommerce vs. Shopify, let’s start by giving a basic overview of each of these three software systems.
Starting with BigCommerce, this all-in-one platform allows you to create and customize your online store, sell on a variety of channels, and manage your payments, orders, shipping, and more. Known as one of the top Shopify competitors, BigCommerce is often praised for their ease of use, intuitive templates, and overall significant feature set.
BigCommerce offers their service on a subscription basis, with three core plans, as well as an Enterprise solution. BigCommerce also allows you to try their platform for free for 15 days, no credit card required.
Perhaps the name most immediately associated with ecommerce platforms, Shopify supports over 800,000 businesses world. Like BigCommerce, Shopify is an all-inclusive situation that gives you the ability to build your online store, sell your products, manage orders and inventory, and accept payments. Overall, selling on Shopify is known as one of the quickest and easiest ways to get started in ecommerce—with their user-friendly platform, customization capabilities, built-in tools, as well as vast amount of integration options.
Once again, like BigCommerce, Shopify prices their platform on a monthly subscription basis, with three core plans, as well as a Lite and Plus version. Plus, Shopify offers you the option to sign up for a 14-day free trial without requiring credit card information.
Comparing BigCommerce vs. Shopify vs. Woocommerce even at this most basic level, Woocommerce functions a little differently. Whereas BigCommerce and Shopify are both all-in-one hosted ecommerce platforms, Woocommerce is a free, open source shopping cart plugin designed for WordPress.
Therefore, in order to utilize Woocommerce, you have to create or already have a WordPress website. On the whole, Woocommerce provides the same sort of capabilities as BigCommerce and Shopify—you can sell your products, accept payments, manage and ship orders, and more. However, another important difference with Woocommerce is that it’s open source—meaning the code is accessible and available for you to download, edit, and change in any way you desire.
Essentially, Woocommerce’s open source nature gives you a higher (and different) level of customization than either BigCommerce or Shopify—both of which require you to work within the constraints of the software as it stands. All of this being said, as you might expect, Woocommerce is known for their customization, usability, and free cost—keeping in mind that it must be used with an existing WordPress website.
Now that we’ve gone through the basics of each of these platforms, let’s get down to our comparison—starting by exploring how BigCommerce vs. Shopify vs. Woocommerce stack up against each other in terms of features. What can these solutions offer your ecommerce business? Let’s learn more.
As we mentioned, as an all-in-one solution, BigCommerce has a great amount of capabilities to offer when it comes to starting and managing your online store. Let’s break down some of the highlights:
Although these are some of the most notable features that BigCommerce offers, it’s important to note that ultimately, the specific capabilities you receive depend on which of the three subscription plans you choose—which we’ll discuss in greater detail in our pricing section.
Like BigCommerce, Shopify offers a substantial feature set, which is often one of the top selling points of their software. Therefore, let’s go through some of the most notable capabilities included in their platform:
Once again, just like BigCommerce, the specific features you receive out of everything Shopify has to offer depend on which of their subscription plans you opt for.
For the last feature element of our BigCommerce vs. Shopify vs. Woocommerce comparison, it’s time to focus on Woocommerce. As we’ve already discussed, Woocommerce operates a little differently than BigCommerce or Shopify, as it must be used in conjunction with a WordPress website.
Nevertheless, as a WordPress ecommerce plugin, Woocommerce is used by 30% of all online stores. Let’s break down some of the most significant features Woocommerce can offer:
Unlike BigCommerce and Shopify whose features ultimately depend on your subscription, as an open source plugin, Woocommerce includes their full feature set when you download the plugin. Therefore, once you download the free plugin, you’re free to edit the code or add extensions in order to customize the Woocommerce platform and its functionality.
As you can see, when comparing BigCommerce vs. Woocommerce vs. Shopify, each of these three platforms offers substantial features to allow you to build, manage, and grow an ecommerce website. Therefore, the next step we’ll take in our comparison is to discuss pricing. As we mentioned earlier, both BigCommerce and Shopify price their platforms on a monthly subscription basis, whereas Woocommerce is a free plugin that pairs with a WordPress website. This being said, then, let’s get into the details:
As we previously mentioned, BigCommerce, like Shopify, prices their platform on a monthly subscription basis. BigCommerce offers three core plans—Standard, Plus, Pro, and an Enterprise option. The plan you choose dictates your specific features, however, every plan includes 0% transaction fees and unlimited products, file storage, bandwidth, and staff accounts. This being said, the BigCommerce plan pricing breaks up like this:
Additionally, it’s important to note that if you don’t use Braintree for your payment processing, the credit card processing fees you’ll pay will be specific to your provider. However, as we mentioned above, regardless of the processor you use, BigCommerce does not charge an additional per transaction fee on top of the provider’s own fees.
BigCommerce pricing chart. Photo credit: BigCommerce
When it comes to comparing Shopify vs. Woocommerce vs. BigCommerce in terms of pricing, Shopify’s pricing is actually quite similar to BigCommerce. Shopify offers their platform on a monthly subscription basis, with three core plans—Basic Shopify, Shopify, Advanced Shopify—and two additional options, Shopify Lite and Shopify Plus (aka Enterprise). Overall, all of the core Shopify plans include your online store, blog, unlimited products, 24/7 support, the Shopify POS app—and the more specific features depend on your plan.
With this in mind, Shopify prices their three core plans as such:
Shopify Lite, on the other hand, only costs $9 per month—however, this plan only allows you to sell on Facebook and does not give you the ability to create your own ecommerce website. The Shopify Plus plan is Shopify’s Enterprise solution and is available on a quote-basis by working with Shopify’s sales team.
Moreover, as you can see in our breakdown above, although Shopify allows you to work with third-party payment processors, they charge additional transaction fees, on top of those from the processor, if you do. On the other hand, if you work with Shopify’s internal payment processing, Shopify Payments, you’ll only pay the rates listed above.
Shopify pricing chart. Photo credit: Shopify
As we’ve mentioned, because Woocommerce is an open source plugin, the pricing involved with using this ecommerce platform is very different than from either BigCommerce or Shopify. With Woocommerce, you can download the plugin for free—however, this doesn’t mean you’ll have a free ecommerce store with Woocommerce.
To explain: In order to use Woocommerce, you’ll need a WordPress website, which means possibly paying for costs like your WordPress plan, domain name, hosting, and theme. In terms of Woocommerce specifically, you may need to pay for developer assistance if you want to take full advantage of the open source customization of the plugin. Additionally, you’ll need to pay for payment processing, which again, will vary based on the processor. Plus, although some Woocommerce payment extensions are free to download, with others you must pay for the extension itself. Therefore, although the Woocommerce plugin itself is free, there are several other variable costs you’ll have to consider when using this ecommerce solution.
Now that we’ve compared BigCommerce vs. Shopify vs. Woocommerce in terms of features as well as pricing, let’s continue by exploring customer reviews from each of these platforms. What do users have to say about these ecommerce solutions? Let’s find out.
On the whole, customer reviews of BigCommerce are positive.
Some of the top highlights reviewers mention in regards to their experience with BigCommerce are the platform is reliable, it’s simple to build an ecommerce website, and it provides the essential tools they need to manage their store. Reviewers often also mention that BigCommerce offers helpful customer support, is a great option for setting up an online store without HTML knowledge, and can easily be used to sell across multiple channels.
On the other hand, when customers mention aspects of BigCommerce they dislike or would like to see improved, they typically mention that there could be more templates, better shipping tools, and more advanced features built-in. Additionally, some reviewers mention that BigCommerce is a little pricey compared to other platforms.
All of this being said, in reading various BigCommerce reviews on the internet, you’ll actually find the platform compared specifically to Woocommerce and Shopify. Here are two examples:
Chad W., a front-end developer writes on Capterra, “[BigCommerce] does the basics well, but there are plenty of ecommerce platforms out there that outperform BigCommerce. In my experience, Shopify is better than BigCommerce is every way. I even prefer WordPress with WooCommerce to [BigCommerce].”
On the same review page, Bianca L.P. feels very differently about her experience with BigCommerce. She writes, “We moved from Shopify to BigCommerce because Shopify lacked features that BigCommerce had out of the box, such as proper product categories, saved payments, one-page checkout, among others. These features have worked well and our conversion rates went from 3% to over 10%.
Therefore, although reviewers describe both positive and negatives in their experience with BigCommerce, overall it seems like many customers are satisfied with the service BigCommerce offers.
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What do customers have to say about one of the most-well known platform names in ecommerce? Like BigCommerce, Shopify reviews are also generally positive.
Without a doubt, the most frequent Shopify benefit you’ll see reviewers discuss is the platform’s ease of use. Reviewers write again and again about how easy it is to set up a Shopify store, learn the platform, and use all of the built-in features. Along these lines, many reviewers write that they used Shopify to set up their first online store and appreciate how approachable it is for beginners.
Additionally, reviewers also highlight the range of solid tools that are built-in to the Shopify platform, the convenience of their internal credit card processing platform, Shopify Payments, and the ability it provides them to manage their sales and orders quickly and efficiently.
In terms of negatives, many reviewers write that they wish there were more template options and that overall, you had a greater ability to customize your site and template. Moreover, some reviewers write that Shopify is expensive, especially between the different plan levels. Finally, some reviewers also feel that Shopify relies too heavily on integrations and it would be better to see more advanced capabilities built into the platform.
However, like BigCommerce, reviewers often compare Shopify directly to Woocommerce and BigCommerce as they talk about their experience with the platform.
For example, Jennifer J, writes on Capterra, “We tried both Wix and BigCommerce, but for an easy to use and fair priced website, Shopify is the best value for your dollar, hands down.”
Brandon B., however, feels differently, writing, “Certainly feels overpriced if you can launch an equivalent Woocommerce store for close to free.”
Overall though, despite reviewers listing pros and cons of Shopify, it seems that the majority of users are extremely satisfied with this platform (more so than reviewers are for BigCommerce) and would recommend it to others.
As you can see, when comparing Shopify vs. Woocommerce vs. BigCommerce in terms of customer reviews, you’ll find that overall, reviewers generally feel positively about the particular platform they’re writing about. Having already discussed BigCommerce and Shopify, therefore, Woocommerce is no different.
Customers write that Woocommerce is by far the best ecommerce plugin for those who use WordPress for their business website, highlighting the built-in capabilities, as well as the customization opportunities Woocommerce offers. Additionally, users often mention the benefit that Woocommerce is free to download and that it allows you to sell all kinds of products in a way that works best for you.
On the other hand, however, although reviewers seem to ultimately recommend Woocommerce and like using it for their business, they also seem to mention a number of notable problems with this plugin. First, you’ll see many customers write that Woocommerce is not the easiest platform to setup and configure, especially if you don’t have WordPress experience. Additionally, reviewers often write that even though Woocommerce is free, it quickly becomes costly due to the necessity for extensions and the high cost of those extensions. Moreover, customers also mention that adding too many extensions can be complicated and therefore, updates to your system can also be tricky.
Nevertheless, many reviewers still rate Woocommerce highly. Josh O., for example, writes on Capterra: “I like that [Woocommerce] is fully customizable—we have control over every page, the checkout, the confirmation, all of it (as opposed to Shopify where they control the checkout themselves and you just get to style pages).
Wilson O., on the other hand, writes that Woocommerce is not as easy as immediate competitors Shopify and BigCommerce, and Alicia N. writes that Woocommerce is a great alternative if you can’t afford Shopify’s fees, but overall Shopify looks much cleaner and has greater design customization services.
All of this being said, reviewers seem to be satisfied with their experience with Woocommerce, however this satisfaction is much more nuanced compared to reviewers of BigCommerce and Shopify.
After breaking down all of these elements—features, pricing, and reviews—it’s time to see how these platforms stand out against one another in our BigCommerce vs. Woocommerce vs. Shopify comparison.
First, it’s worth noting that all three of these solutions have significant feature sets and are known for their usability—overall allowing you to set up, manage, and efficiently grow your ecommerce business. Plus, on the whole, reviewers of all three platforms seem to have positive experiences, despite discussing both possible benefits and drawbacks of each respective solution.
This being said, however, let’s explore the pros and cons of each solution compared to their competitors.
Based on our discussions thus far, it seems that BigCommerce stands out in a few ways:
On the other hand, some of the most notable drawbacks of Bigcommerce are:
Overall, therefore, it seems that BigCommerce can well serve a variety of small businesses looking to start an online store. Although BigCommerce is ultimately very similar to Shopify, BigCommerce may be a better option if you want to choose your payment processor, as well as if you’re specifically looking for features like unlimited accounts, single-page checkout, and omnichannel integrations. If you’re directly comparing BigCommerce with Woocommerce, BigCommerce offers a wider variety of built-in features and will not require a WordPress site, more than likely making it a faster and easier option for starting and managing your online store.
In terms of Shopify, it seems that compared to BigCommerce and Woocommerce, the platform’s top benefits are:
Conversely, some of the most notable downsides of Shopify are:
Taking these pros and cons into consideration, however, Shopify is nevertheless one of the best solutions for starting and managing an ecommerce store. Once again, although BigCommerce and Shopify are similar in terms of both features and pricing, Shopify can be a better option as it ultimately has a larger feature set, greater design customization options, and more integration possibilities. On the other hand, comparing Shopify to Woocommerce—although Woocommerce may be initially more affordable and offer greater customization opportunities as an open source plugin—Shopify is more user-friendly, includes more features, and as an all-in-one platform, can appeal to a wider variety of business owners.
Moreover, even though all three of our solutions had impressive user reviews, it seems that Shopify reviewers are the most enthusiastic about their experience with the platform. Therefore, it’s safe to say that Shopify can accommodate businesses of all shapes and sizes, offering one of the quickest and easiest ways to set up an online store.
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Finally, how does Woocommerce stack up? On the whole, the most noteworthy advantages of this ecommerce plugin are:
On the other hand, some of the drawbacks of Woocommerce include:
Ultimately, compared to Shopify and BigCommerce, it may seem like Woocommerce is a lesser option. However, it would be more accurate to say that compared to these two all-inclusive, hosted platforms, Woocommerce is simply better suited for a different type of business owner—those who are looking for the customization opportunities offered by an open source solution. This being said, compared to other open source platforms, Woocommerce is probably one of the easiest and most affordable options, as it doesn’t require as much development as systems like Magento. Plus, as a solution for business owners who already use WordPress, there’s no doubt that Woocommerce is one of the best ecommerce options.
At the end of the day, there’s no doubt it can be difficult to compare BigCommerce vs. Shopify vs. Woocommerce, because any of the three can be a great solution to start and manage an ecommerce website. Therefore, it’s ultimately up to you to decide which of these options most fully meets your business needs and budget.
Overall, BigCommerce, Shopify, and Woocommerce each have their benefits and downsides—and yet, each may very well be the best platform for your business. On the whole, BigCommerce and Shopify are well-suited for business owners looking for all-in-one platforms, especially those who want to be able to set up and run their store in the quickest and easiest way possible. Woocommerce, on the other hand, is a better option for WordPress users and business owners who want (and can take advantage of) a more approachable and affordable open source solution compared to others on the market.
This being said, however, if you’re still unsure which platform wins out for you in the Shopify vs. Woocommerce vs. BigCommerce debate, you can sign up for a Shopify or BigCommerce free trial—or create a free WordPress account to test out Woocommerce.