Selling online has never been easier. Since the early days of ecommerce when sellers had to install clunky shopping cart plugins on their website, dozens of ecommerce platforms have emerged. These cutting-edge tools allow you to sell products anywhere in the world, engage with customers across social media and online marketplaces, and fine-tune the performance of your store.
In this guide, we’ll compare BigCommerce vs. WooCommerce, two of the most popular ecommerce solutions on the market today. We’ll break down the features of each one, including how they manage sales, inventory, marketing, and customers. You’ll also see how each is priced and what you get for your money, along with what customer support you can expect.
BigCommerce’s approach is to offer users an end-to-end ecommerce website builder. What that means is that you get everything you need to set up and run an online store, including a place to host your site, design templates, marketing and shipping tools, and more, all in one package and for a fixed monthly fee.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, is an open-source plugin that can only be used on a WordPress site. WooCommerce is completely free and works with hundreds of other free and paid extensions to turn any WordPress site into a powerful ecommerce platform. As a result, you’ll need to host your own website and either be familiar with or willing to learn how to set up and run a WordPress site.
Paid all-in-one ecommerce site builder with integrated inventory management, shipping, fulfillment, and marketing tools
Free open-source ecommerce plugin that can turn any WordPress site into a fully functional ecommerce platform
Starts at $29.95 per month
Free with free and paid add-ons available
-Detailed inventory management
-Partnership with 3PL for nationwide fulfillment
-Advanced reporting and workflows
-Integrated payment processor
-Powerful SEO and content tools
-Extensive marketplace of third-party extensions
Over 50 payments processors plus hundreds of integrations with third-party marketing, shipping, analytics tools, and more
Dozens of payment processors plus hundreds of third-party marketing, shipping, analytics tools, and more
24/7 chat, email and phone support, BigCommerce community, knowledgebase, videos, and developer center
Online documentation, WordPress forums, emails support for paid extensions
Online sellers looking for an end-to-end platform with advanced ecommerce features that will scale as they grow
Sellers just getting started online who are comfortable with WordPress and who want to build their store at their own pace as needed
BigCommerce is one of the largest ecommerce platforms in the marketplace, boasting many large companies as clients, including Ben & Jerry’s, Skullcandy, and Woolrich. It offers a complete end-to-end selling solution, from hosting an online store and branded website to providing comprehensive shipping, warehousing, and fulfillment needs.
Despite their roster of corporate clients, BigCommerce is perfectly suitable for small businesses and can easily scale with you as you grow. You can start with a simple online store and expand to selling on social media, syncing with your brick-and-mortar business, or sending customers targeted emails with discounts and offers when you’re ready.
Best of all, BigCommerce lets you choose from dozens of payment processors, including PayPal, Square, and Stripe, without extra fees so you can choose the one that fits your budget.
Like many modern ecommerce platforms, BigCommerce comes with an intuitive, drag-and-drop website builder that makes it easy for you to create a professional, branded online store. Choose from hundreds of pre-made mobile-friendly themes sorted by industry and customize them with your own text, images, videos, banners, and more.
BigCommerce also hosts every store on the Google Cloud Platform, offering multiple layers of security, exceptional bandwidth, industry-leading speed, and a 99.99% uptime so your customers can shop and check out without any errors or delays.
If you own a brick-and-mortar store, you can also push part or all of your inventory from your POS system to BigCommerce to create your online store quickly. You can also easily launch a physical pop-up store without having to manage a whole separate catalog.
Unlike many ecommerce platforms, BigCommerce gives you full control of your inventory across multiple channels without having to rely on third-party software. You can bulk import and export your whole catalog of products, edit stock levels individually, and keep an eye on your inventory by product or SKU. BigCommerce also automatically sends you notifications when you’re running out of inventory and can alert your customers of low stock or when items are sold out.
BigCommerce also makes it easy to sell in-person, on marketplaces, and on social media platforms, all with one centralized inventory. Use the platform’s Channel Manager to connect inventory to existing channels like eBay, Amazon, Facebook Shops, Instagram, Google Shopping, and more. All sales are processed from your BigCommerce dashboard and synced with your inventory so you never oversell.
Some ecommerce platforms force you to use their built-in payment system or offer a limited selection of payment processors you can use. BigCommerce lets you choose from over 50 payment solutions, including gateways that service high-risk businesses selling products like CBD, firearms, e-cigarettes, and other controlled items.
BigCommerce also integrates with major digital wallets, including Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and Chase Pay for easy mobile and online purchases. What’s more, you can accept payments in any currency and offer your customers financing options with no extra transaction fees or penalties.
BigCommerce offers robust shipping and fulfillment features that can streamline your operations. Build loyalty by offering free shipping for all or select products, specific zones, or with a coupon code. BigCommerce’s shipping automation also lets you provide accurate, transparent shipping rates to each customer with real-time package tracking.
BigCommerce can also save you money on postage by integrating with shipping and fulfillment apps, including ShipStation, ShipBob, and ShipperHQ. You can also print shipping labels for USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, Canada Post, and more right from your office or home.
Finally, if you’re a high-volume business, you can outsource your inventory management, warehousing, and fulfillment to help you keep up with orders. BigCommerce’s trusted 3PL partnership also lets you offer your customers same-day and two-day shipping from fulfillment centers near their location.
BigCommerce offers a number of built-in marketing features to help grow your customer base and build your brand. The platform’s out-of-the-box SEO features help your store and products rank high in search results with search-friendly URLs, “rich snippets,” and more. A built-in blog also helps you promote your products, engage with customers, and boost your SEO ranking.
BigCommerce makes it easy to segment your customers by loyalty, purchase history, and other criteria so you can send them targeted emails using the platform’s MailChimp, G Suite, and Constant Contact integrations. An abandoned cart feature also lets you send emails to shoppers who leave during the checkout process to help you recover more lost sales.
BigCommerce lets your customers promote your products on social media with share buttons that let them show off their purchases on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You can also create targeted Facebook ads by linking straight to your product catalog.
With BigCommerce, you can see your store performance right on your dashboard. Drill down to view customer trends, see where they get stuck, discover which products are movers and which are lagging, and assess the impact of your discounts and promotions.
The data from these reports can help you create dozens of cart-level promotions, discount bundles and tiers, and reward loyal customers with a percentage off, all to help you boost conversions and make more sales.
BigCommerce helps you expand your marketing, sales, customer tracking, and promotion capabilities with hundreds of third-party integrations through their app marketplace. Integrate your sales reports with QuickBooks, send emails with MailChimp, or shop for the lowest shipping rates with ShipStation.
Other integrations include sourcing products through Printful, managing customer data with Salesforce, offering customer support with LiveChat, integrating with ShopKeep and Lightspeed POS, and more.
BigCommerce’s support agents are available 24/7 via chat, email, and phone. The company also offers virtual training with in-house launch coaches to help you get your store up and running and SEO experts who can provide a conversion audit and strategy for converting traffic into repeat customers.
BigCommerce also offers an online help center with hundreds of articles and videos and a community of over 20,000 BigCommerce merchants, partners, and developers. If you need more support, you can sign up for monthly updates from BigCommerce’s leadership team that showcase upcoming product features as well as ecommerce trends you need to know about.
WooCommerce is an open-source plugin that can turn any WordPress site into a full-fledged online store. Unlike BigCommerce, it is not an end-to-end solution and requires you to create and host your own website using WordPress.
You may be surprised to discover that WooCommerce powers 25% of online stores worldwide compared to BigCommerce which owns only 3% of the market share. That means one-quarter of online merchants trust both WordPress and WooCommerce for the success of their business.
As a free plugin, WooCommerce makes it easier for smaller businesses to get started selling online and can scale to handle sales on any size and scope. Despite not being a standalone ecommerce builder, it features integrated analytics, reporting, shipping, tax tools, basic inventory management, and more—all for free.
WooCommerce provides their own payment processor with no setup or monthly fees and rates starting from 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. You can also use PayPal, Square, Amazon Pay, and Stripe, and dozens of other payment processors through the platform’s free extensions.
WooCommerce is designed for users who are already familiar with WordPress and its ability to create professional-looking websites using premade themes. You can use its mobile-friendly ecommerce theme straight out of the box or choose from hundreds of WordPress ecommerce themes.
Because WooCommerce is not a complete site builder, you will need to host your own WordPress site in order to build your storefront. Even if you’re familiar with WordPress, WooCommerce offers a great guide to setting up your products, pages, categories, product variations, and more.
WooCommerce’s inventory management tools are more basic compared to BigCommerce. You can add products manually, group them together, and create tags, categories, and variations, even for virtual and downloadable products. You can also set notifications on low stock levels and hide out-of-stock items from your customers.
Because WoCommerce is an open-source product, it offers hundreds of paid and free third-party apps to help with inventory management, shipping, and fulfillment through the WooCommerce extension store.
As with most ecommerce platforms, WooCommerce lets you accept credit cards and ACH payments via PayPal, Square, Amazon Pay, Stripe, and many other gateways through the extension marketplace. You can also opt to use WooCommerce’s built-in payment processor. There are no setup or monthly fees and rates start at 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.
WooCommerce also offers tons of extensions that let you expand your payment options, including managing subscriptions, taking pre-orders, accepting in-person and offline payments, and protecting your business from fraud.
WooCommerce offers a free shipping tool that lets you print your own labels and gives you access to USPS commercial discounts of up to 90% off the retail rates. WooCommerce Shipping is free to install with no markup or monthly fees.
You can also display accurate USPS shipping rates to your customers during checkout using the paid USPS Shipping Method extension and expand WooCommerce’s shipping and fulfillment capabilities with extensions for ShipStation, Shippo, and many other services.
WooCommerce offers a robust set of marketing tools designed to help you create a better shopping experience and make more sales. Since your store is essentially a WordPress site, you can easily create an integrated blog with full SEO and search functions to engage with your customers and help your store rank in search results.
WooCommerce also makes it easy for you to link and suggest relevant products right on your product pages and blog posts. You can also offer coupons, point-based rewards, or even free gifts to boost sales and increase customer loyalty.
WooCommerce offers many built-in email features to help you engage with your customers, including an abandoned cart feature that lets you send emails to customers who leave products at checkout. The platform also makes it easy to automate email tasks, like asking for reviews, targeting inactive customers, and sending birthday messages. WooCommerce also integrates with Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, AWeber, and other email providers so you can send newsletters, business updates, and more.
When you’re ready to take your sales beyond your online store, WooCommerce’s third-party extensions can help you create Facebook and Google ads straight from your inventory and sell on Pinterest, Amazon, eBay, and other online marketplaces.
WooCommerce’s integrated reporting and analytics allow you to track the basic performance of your store and gives you fundamental insights about your customers. Using the reports dashboard, you can quickly view sales by date, product, and category as well as the performance of coupons and downloadable products.
You can also see a list of your inventory with clear labels showing which products are in stock, low, or out of stock. A taxes report lets you view taxes by state, date, year, last month, this month, or any custom date you enter. All WooCommerce reports can be exported to CSV.
Integrations are where WooCommerce shines. The WooCommerce Extensions Store offers hundreds of free and paid WooCommerce plugins to help you create the store you want. Chances are if you’re looking for a feature WooCommerce doesn’t have, you’ll find an extension that will do it for you.
WooCommerce also organizes their extension marketplace by function, such as “Grow your business” and “Launch your store” so you can easily see what extensions would be helpful to you. You can also browse by category, including shipping, marketing, payments, and more.
Although WooCommerce doesn’t offer any personalized customer support, you can find extensive online documentation and video tutorials for their main plugin and extensions. Any paid extensions in the WooCommerce marketplace also come with email support.
You can also get community assistance for WooCommerce in the WordPress forums and access a directory of “WooExperts” for professional support on the WooCommerce website.
A big difference between BigCommerce vs. WooCommerce is their cost. While BigCommerce offers multiple paid plans, WooCommerce is a free plugin.
BigCommerce offers three pricing plans based on the annual earnings of your store. Each plan comes with a 15-day free trial and 24/7 live agent support.
BigCommerce’s Standard plan costs $29.95 per month and applies to stores with up to $50,000 in online sales per year. It includes a branded online store, a mobile app, social and marketplace selling, reporting tools, and real-time shipping quotes.
BigCommerce’s Plus plan costs $79.95 per month and applies to stores with up to $180,000 in online sales per year. It includes all Standard plan features plus an abandoned cart saver and customer groups and segmentation.
Finally, BigCommerce’s Pro plan costs $79.95 per month and applies to stores with up to $400,000 in online sales per year. It includes all Plus plan features plus Google customer reviews, custom product filtering, and price lists. BigCommerce charges an additional $150 per month for each additional $200,000 in online sales.
WooCommerce is completely free to download and use for any WordPress site, as are their WooCommerce Payments and WooCommerce Shipping apps. This plugin also offers hundreds of free and paid extensions that expand the marketing, sales, and shipping capabilities of the platform.
BigCommerce and WooCommerce are both powerful ecommerce platforms that can scale with any business, whether you’re selling one product or one thousand. Because they are both so widely used, choosing between them comes down to what kind of seller and business owner you are.
BigCommerce offers everything you need to run and scale a successful ecommerce business straight out of the box. You can design your store, upload and add inventory, connect to social media and online marketplaces, email customers, ship and track orders, and more. No matter how big your business gets, BigCommerce can handle it.
While some users like that BigCommerce is an all-in-one selling solution, others feel that it offers more than they need. If you’re just getting started or selling only a handful of products, BigCommerce’s detailed inventory management, customer segmentation, and fulfillment features can seem like overkill. If you’re planning on growing quickly and diving deep into the world of ecommerce, BigCommerce can be just what you need.
Because WooCommerce only works with a WordPress site, it can require a bit more of a commitment than BigCommerce does. In some respects, WooCommerce puts you in the position of being a website owner rather than an online store owner. You’ll need to choose a web hosting company and install WordPress before you even get started.
WooCommerce’s features are also a bit more basic than BigCommerce, which means you may need to build out your store using third-party extensions. While many are free, you can quickly rack up quite an annual bill if you’re not careful.
If you’re just getting started with selling online or don’t need complicated inventory management, fulfillment, and payment processing, WooCommerce’s simplicity, basic features, and free price can be just what you’re looking for. You can learn the basics of hosting a website and setting up a WordPress site in just a few days, and expand your knowledge and features with WooCommerce’s marketplace as your business grows.
In the end, both BigCommerce and WooCommerce are excellent choices for any online seller. The choice ultimately boils down to how much you want done for you vs. how much you want to do on your own, how complicated your selling and shipping needs are, and how much you’re willing to spend. Both platforms will get you where you need to go. It’s just a matter of how you want to get there.