Low Pricing (weighted 11%)
29.95 USD/ month + 1.5% transaction fee
Sell an unlimited amount of products. Receive an unlimited amount of storage and bandwidth. Use powerful reporting tools, and accept PayPal and credit cards from customers. The checkout is not hosted on your domain for this plan, so it goes through the Bigcommerce module. Coupon codes, timed promotional tools and social media buttons are included with this plan.
79.95 USD/ month
Sell an unlimited amount of products without having to pay for any transaction fees. The checkout is hosted on your own domain, and you get omni-channel sales features and customer segmentation modules. The payment providers are top notch, carrier shipping is real time and pricing groups and rules are included. The plan offers comparisons on shopping sites, eBay integrations and all the features you would receive from the previous plan.
199.95 USD/ month
You get everything from the previous plan, high volume security and analytics, fraud monitoring and product filtering.
Custom Pricing for Enterprise Plan
This plan requires you to speak with the Bigcommerce team for pricing, but you receive an unlimited amount of products and zero transaction fees. The Google Trusted stores integration is a plus, along with product filtering and priority support. Advance SEO comes along with the HTTPS, and a dedicated account manager is there to help you out. Finally, the plan comes with API support, uptime SLA and all the features you receive from the previous plans.
Each plan provides mobile friendly themes, support at all hours of the day (24/7,) coupon code features, unlimited storage and bandwidth, and the ability to accept PayPal and credit cards. In addition, you get a 10% discount if you opt for the annual payment. Finally, you can try out the 15 day trial, create unlimited products and work with promotions and discounting rules.
9 USD/ month + 2.9% + 30¢ credit card fees
Unlimited products, no online store, Shopify Buy button, manual order creation, discount codes.
29 USD/ month + 2.9% + 30¢ credit card fees
Unlimited products, online store, website and blog, Pinterest Buyable Pins, discount codes.
79 USD/ month + 2.6% + 30¢ credit card fees
Unlimited products, online store, Facebook, Pinterest, website and blog, gift cards, professional reports, abandoned cart recovery.
299 USD/ month + 2.4% + 30¢ credit card fees
Unlimited products, online store, Facebook, Pinterest, website and blog, gift cards, professional reports, abandoned cart recovery, advanced report builder, real-time carrier shipping.
No transaction fees for all plans, 14 day free trial, unlimited storage for all plans, point of sale and retail package included, along with 24/7 support, fraud analysis and manual order creation and discount codes.
Design (weighted 11%)
With 16 free themes and about 100 to buy Shopify offers a bit more themes than BigCommerce. Their quality is much better than in BigCommerce. Of course it's possible to include own themes. There are a lot of options to adapt the themes without changing the HTML/CSS. It's also possible to edit the HTML/CSS files directly in the browser with syntax highlighting. An FTP account is not provided where as in BigCommerce it is. The structure of the HTML files is easier to understand than in BigCommerce.
Frontend Features (weighted 11%)
The frontend is more sophisticated, but it's also not as clean as most would consider Shopify's frontend. Features like image zoom, similar products and reviews are all included, while it also has mobile designs, social media integration, a built-in blog for every plan, gifting options and an area for people to punch in coupon codes. Depending on the plan you choose, you get powerful ways to guide customers through the store, such as live chat, product search, product filtering and wishlists.
Bigcommerce is more about including built-in features for frontend functionality, while Shopify lets you pick and choose the apps you need. Both have tons of payment processor options, so you can help your customers out with the easiest solutions. Keep in mind, translation features are severely lacking in both, but each offers workarounds that may require technical knowledge.
To start, you get mobile responsive layouts. It also provides an elegant checkout system and minimalist shops for customers to move through the process quickly. Depending on your plan you receive direct Facebook and Pinterest integration, a Shopify Buy button and a simple point of sale, which would be considered a frontend feature if you run a brick and mortar shop.
A website and blog are included, as long as you don't go with the cheapest plan. Along with gift cards, real-time carrier shipping and discount codes, the frontend is reliable, but not too cluttered. Note: Shopify does not provide a true customer profile like Bigcommerce does. The display of an order status requires an additional app (3 to 9 USD per month). Returns require an additional app.
Backend Features (weighted 11%)
Upon landing on the backend of the Bigcommerce dashboard you'll be prompted to take a comprehensive tour, which is nice for those who are new to the system. In addition, the dashboard actually looks rather similar to that of Shopify (and WordPress,) making it quick and easy to navigate around.
The tabs are all to the left and some of them include options for orders, products, customers, content, marketing and analytics. The best part is that the system has a list of key tasks that you should complete to get your store running. For example, you would choose a theme, start accepting credit cards and uploading products. The area to upload products has more features in Bigcommerce than it does in Shopify, and it's fairly clear where to go since the product pages have tabs for things like details, images, videos, inventory, custom fields and bulk pricing.
Although you can generally complete the same product upload tasks with Shopify, many of the features you would generally have to use apps for are built in to the system. So, it has more backend features, but if your store is only featuring a few products, with minimal details, you may find it a bit overwhelming, or unnecessary.
The backend is extremely easy to manage, since the interface is quite clear and the company keeps the options to a minimum, while also hiding some more advanced features for those developers who want to get in there and customize code. The Shopify dashboard looks similar to the WordPress backend, making it useful for those who have worked with WordPress.
Looking at the dashboard, you can see tabs for general settings, payments, checkout, shipping, taxes, notifications, gift cards and more. Site files are also accessible and somewhat easy to modify. You'll also find direct links to theme and app stores, and custom support modules. The setup process is outlined in a step-by-step outline once you land on the page, making it nearly impossible to screw up.
When adding a product you can see a few tabs for uploading a product, managing inventory, creating collections and generating gift cards. Along with that, the product page offers fields for product types, vendors, collections, tags and pricing. SEO tools, inventory, shipping and imagery are also packed into the product page.
Marketing (weighted 11%)
The SEO options in BigCommerce are very intense: there are custom URL's, title tags, keywords and description per product, you can edit the robots.txt, create own 301 redirects, there's an XML sitemap and a public sitemap and a lot more. BigCommerce was optimized with the help of some SEO gurus, so it's really good in this area, better than Shopify.
BigCommerce has a built-in Facebook Like button that you can publish on the product pages and it supports Facebook OpenGraph. Additionally you can sell products directly on Facebook - a service where you have to pay for on Shopify (add-on with external service). There are other social media platforms included as Disqus, IntenseDebate and AddThis, but Twitter is not among them. Of course this can be done with a snippet. All together the built-in possibilities for social media are better than at Shopify.
BigCommerce doesn't have a built-in newsletter but integrates by default with MailChimp and iContact. You can export the customers that subscribed for your newsletter as CSV and import it to other newsletter systems. The possibilities concerning email marketing are similar to Shopify.
Built-in promotion options
There are a lot of promotion features included BigCommerce: a nice coupon system with lots of settings, a discount rule system, gift certificates and a product recommendation system. Also the Google Website Optimizer is integrated, so the options are better than in Shopify.
Support of other selling channels
Other selling channels are well supported: you can directly sell your products on Ebay and manage everything concerning Ebay in BigCommerce, you can export ads for Google AdWords and for Yahoo Search Marketing for every product, you can directly publish to 7 shopping comparison sites and for others there are RSS feeds of your products. So the built-in possibilities are much more than at Shopify.
Shopify in its standard version doesn't offer product specific keywords and description. With an add-on this is possible but this should be standard. Custom URL and title tag per product are possible at least. An XML sitemap is generated but SEO is much worse than in BigCommerce.
The Facebook Like button as all other buttons have to be built as snippet to include on product pages. There's also a free add-on for Facebook and other buttons. To sell products directly on Facebook there's an add-on from Beetailer but this service is costly if you want to sell lots of products. There are other add-ons for the major social platforms but the built-in possibilities are less than in BigCommerce.
There's no built-in newsletter in Shopify. The customer data has a field for newsletter subscription so you can export the subscribers and import them manually in your newsletter system. With add-ons it's possible to integrate Campaign Monitor and Constant Contact directly. All together newsletter support is similar to BigCommerce.
Built-in promotion options
Shopify has an integrated discount system, but that was it. No coupon system, no gift certificates - of course some of these are available as add-ons. Google Website Optimizer is integrated so you can perform A-B testing, but the built-in options are much less than in BigCommerce.
Support of other selling channels
With Shopify you can directly publish on Google Product Search, other channels are available as add-ons. So the The built-in channels are only few compared to BigCommerce.
Statistics (weighted 11%)
The statistics function is quite good. Most important are store overview (conversion rate, best selling products, ...), order statistics (orders by items sold, orders by revenue, ...), product statistics (most seen products, ...), customer statistics (no. of customers, revenue per customer) and search statistics (keywords without results, best performing keywords, ...). No customized reporting though. Shopify is basically stripped of all stats (Extensions required). BigCommerce scores!
Shopify contains basically no statistics if you disregard the little information that is connected to each customer profile (prospects, marketing responsiveness, ...). A free extension everybody seems to cherish - only positive reviews - solves that lacking.
Hosting & Security (weighted 11%)
BigCommerce doesn't have a CDN (Content Delivery Network) as Shopify does but has three own data centers that are certified SAS type II. The example shops seem to have the same performance than Shopify. As Shopify, BigCommerce is Level 1 PCI compliant but is not a PCI DSS validated company. They take security seriously and do a lot for it. Just the same Shopify wins in Hosting because of CDN and PCI validation.
Shopify has a CDN (Content Delivery Network) from CDNetworks to speed up the delivery of their stores. Their servers are hosted at ServerCentral. The example shops just the same seem not to be faster than those of BigCommerce. Shopify is Level 1 PCI compliant and is a PCI DSS validated company where BigCommerce is not. So Shopify wins in hosting.
Extensibility (weighted 11%)
BigCommerce offers about 60 add-ons in their app store (http://apps.bigcommerce.com), less than Shopify. As with Shopify they are all web apps that communicate with the store through the BigCommerce API. The installation of an add-on is not that easy and requires some configuration steps. But as documentation is very good and detailed everybody can do it. All together, BigCommerce is worse in this part than Shopify.
Shopify has an app store with about 140 add-ons (http://apps.shopify.com) to extend your Shopify store, more than BigCommerce. They are all web apps which connect to the Shopify API. The installation and management of the apps is easy. There's not so much documentation but because of the easy installation there's not much documentation necessary. To sum up, Shopify is better in this area than BigCommerce because of the greater number of add-ons.
Support (weighted 11%)
BigCommerce offers - besides documentation and forums - introductory webinars and video tutorials. Throughout the week (Mon - Fri) you have 24h chat and email support and extented phone support: 14h on Mon - Fri, 9h on Sat, 5h on Sun (US and int. number). Clear advantage for BigCommerce!
Both, Shopify and BigCommerce have elaborate documentation and huge forums. As the systems are one of the most used these seem to be very complete and are indeed helpful. Shopify provides live support 12h on Mon - Fri, 8h on Sat, not on Sun (US number).