Before you can start planning the intricacies of an eCommerce store, the first thing on your to-do list should be choosing the right platform for your business. The foundation you build your website on will play an essential role in the ongoing success of your company, so it’s important to select a platform that will help you achieve both your current and long-term plans.
Similarities Between Platforms
If you’re reading this article, chances are that you’ve narrowed down your options to two of the most highly-rated platforms on the market today: BigCommerce and Shopify. At first glance, they can seem pretty similar. They’re both SaaS (Software as a Service) companies, which means that users have to pay a monthly fee to use either platform. Furthermore, BigCommerce and Shopify have nearly identical pricing plans for businesses of all sizes, and users of both platforms will be able to:
- Add an unlimited number of products.
- Benefit from unlimited disk space.
- Access 24/7 support.
- Easily build a customizable, mobile-optimized website with drag-and-drop tools.
- Integrate an array of POS (Point of Sale) options.
- Access built-in app stores with free and paid integrations for every business need.
- Optimize content for SEO.
- View sales reports and track inventory.
Although BigCommerce and Shopify share several of the same basic features, that doesn’t mean you should just pick one at random. Each platform has its own unique strengths, and knowing these details will help you access all the right tools you need to succeed (without going over budget).
Both Shopify and BigCommerce offer a number of free themes for businesses to use when they first create their sites. Each of these themes can be tweaked using simple drag-and-drop tools and other beginner-friendly features, but BigCommerce offers more customization options for retailers who have strong design preferences.
When it comes to mobile-friendliness, both platforms provide responsively-designed themes, mobile apps for retailers to monitor aspects of their sites, and the ability to present websites in AMP format to mobile customers. All of these capabilities are available right out of the box for BigCommerce, but Shopify users will have to pay for an extension to create AMP pages.
SEO & Scalability
Shopify and BigCommerce are both frequently praised for their built-in SEO capabilities. Users of either platform can change their page titles, enable free SSL certificates, and boost their SEO due to mobile-first theme designs. As SaaS platforms, they’re both reliably fast and include a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to optimize images for users, regardless of what device they’re using. However, BigCommerce has a key SEO feature that Shopify stores don’t offer (even with an app): their store URLs are fully customizable.
When it comes to scalability, BigCommerce is the most flexible of the two platforms. For instance, BigCommerce can easily handle different currencies from around the world since all of their themes (even the free ones) are equipped to automatically convert currencies based on the users’ IP address. Shopify doesn’t offer any built-in features like this, so businesses will either have to look for a relevant app or hire a developer to change the code to allow international currencies.
Data & Analytics
Merchants today require robust systems that can easily keep track of important customer data, and both BigCommerce and Shopify have options for various in-depth analytics. Shoppers can even create custom reports to track specific metrics, and BigCommerce offers additional insights about cart abandonment rates, customer behaviors, and integration with Google Analytics. Shopify users can also generate custom reports… but only if they’re using Advanced Shopify ($299 per month) or Shopify Plus (for large enterprises). At lower pricing plans, Shopify users are stuck with pretty basic features.
As you weigh the pros and cons of the two platforms, don’t forget about the customer experience. People expect to be able to read product reviews from other customers, easily compare prices of different products, use their preferred payment method, and enjoy a site with fast loading times.
Both BigCommerce and Shopify have the capability to meet these expectations, but only BigCommerce has these features right out of the box. BigCommerce also makes it easy for retailers to add custom fields to the checkout form, view real-time shipping details, add “buy” buttons to social media channels, and cross-sell or up-sell products based on similar product categories or past user behaviors.
Shopify and BigCommerce share similar pricing structures, basic features, and general eCommerce functionalities, but when it comes to getting the best value in the long run, BigCommerce is the clear winner. Right out of the box, BigCommerce provides hundreds of built-in capabilities that Shopify can only offer through (mostly paid) third-party apps or extensions. BigCommerce is designed to handle international selling with ease, and its scalable design doesn’t limit retailers when their businesses take off. The more your company grows, the more it will benefit from the flexibility of the platform, the variety of analytics available, and the overall ease of managing each aspect of omnichannel selling.
If you think BigCommerce is the right choice for you, B2Commerce is here to help. Our expert team offers a full range of BigCommerce development solutions to create customized websites and get them up and running in no time. Whether you’re interested in SEO optimization, web design, or migrating from another platform to BigCommerce, fill out this quick form to discuss your needs with a developer today!