Shopify vs BigCommerce vs WooCommerce - Choosing the best ecommerce platform for your store.
When it comes to ecommerce, three names in particular generally stick out as the big three platforms for building out your frontend. They are - Shopify, BigCommerce and WooCommerce. Even if you aren’t involved in the ecommerce or marketplace space, chances are you may have still come across these company logos online, perhaps on Linkedin and on other networking sites.
These platforms can allow users to not only create an enticing and vibrant store but also can be used in conjunction with Onport to create a thriving multi-vendor marketplace when the decision to scale is made. Those platforms form the visible face of your store while Onport manages the complex backend operations.
But what exactly are they and what do they do? Who is the best platform to use? In this article, we’ll examine all three, their strengths and weaknesses before choosing which platform we here at Onport believe is the best.
The Good, The Great and The Perfectly Fine?
Firstly, before we analyse the feature set of each platform, it is important to take an audit of the resources you have at your disposal. Things like your level of computer literacy, your budget, your future growth ambitions and your time will all play their part in determining which platform is best for you.
In order to fully get the measure of each platform and where it shines or fails, it is important to carefully access each platform and what it offers. Doing so will allow you to understand each platform and really get to know whether one platform is more suitable for your needs over another.
In order to do this, let's outline 3 key metrics to analyse. Pricing, Features and Integrations.
Shopify is, of course, the most well known platform of the three and has the largest user base. Shopify is universally popular due to its ease of use and straightforward out-of-the-box functionality.
While other platforms may require a more technical knowledge of things like coding, Shopify is designed to be as intuitive as possible which is one of it’s main attractions. Another great aspect of Shopify is the strength of it’s support network, offering 24/7 support for its customers.
Pricing is a core element to factor in when choosing an ecommerce platform. For Shopify, users can choose three main plans. Shopify also offers an Enterprise solution, called Shopify Plus where pricing is more negotiable. However, for the average user, the pricing are below:
- Basic - $29
- Medium - $79
- Advanced - $299
Shopify uses a very intuitive drag-and-drop design interface which while easy to use, does allow for some great looking store designs. Users can choose from a number of different templates to help create a truly unique experience for their customers.
One slight issue to keep in mind, however, is that you will incur transaction charges with Shopify. This is not the case with either BigCommerce or WooCommerce. It is advised to use Shopify Payments to get around such charges.
One great aspect of Shopify is that it hosts a wealth of different integrations, allowing people to seamlessly connect platforms they are already familiar with to their store. For instance, Shopify hosts over 100+ payment gates which help many payments across different platforms.
To help build out your store and to facilitate your operations, you can choose from the Shopify app to add extensions, like shipping for instance. There is room for a more multi-channel approach also, with the ability to sell on the likes of Amazon and Ebay.
Perhaps just behind Shopify, BigCommerce is the other best known ecommerce platform. It is aimed at a slightly more advanced market than Shopify and is a bit more complex to use but offers numerous great features such as SEO.
To truly get the most out of the platform, some coding knowledge can be beneficial but it is not absolutely necessary, it really depends on your particular plans and aspirations for your store. Such knowledge can help you scale faster, compared to the likes of Shopify.
So when it comes to pricing, BigCommerce is pretty much the exact same Shopify.
- Basic plan - $29.95
- Medium Plan - $79.95
- Advanced Plan - $299
Similar to Shopify, BigCommerce also offers an Enterprise solution which allows for custom pricing, depending on that particular client's needs and requirements.
Aside from offering unlimited staff accounts, BigCommerce is pretty similar to Shopify in terms of the feature set. Once you build out your store using a host of different templates and designs, you can find support in areas such as shipping, payments and inventory management.
A great aspect of BigCommerce are the features relating to marketing, which help the visibility of your store online. These include SEO which is a vital component of any online business.
Again, similar to Shopify, BigCommerce hosts a wealth of integrations that you use to help build out your store. BigCommerce uses an app system which allows you to pick and choose which extensions you wish to use for your store.
These range from the likes of Shippo for shipping, Fast for checkout, Drip for marketing and many more. You can choose from free apps like Mailchimp to paid apps like ShipStation, it’s entirely up to you and what you feel you need for your business.
WooCommerce is an ecommerce platform, primarily designed to be used with WordPress. While you will have to pay for hosting your store, it is free to install. One thing to keep in mind though, is that, unlike Shopify, WooCommerce does require some level of coding knowledge. It is for this reason that we would not recommend it for those just beginning their ecommerce journey.
Unlike Shopify and BigCommerce, WooCommerce is a plugin which is free to install, as long as you use WordPress. However, you will have to pay hosting costs for your store which depends entirely on which hosting site you use. Some will be cheaper than others and there are several other factors to consider before choosing which one to use for your WooCommerce store.
Like the other two platforms, WooCommerce allows you to create an ecommerce store for selling products. The reality is that, due to its open-source nature, you can easily customize and create the ecommerce experience you want for your customers. There is a lot of room for customization which is something that lends itself to those who are more tech-savvy.
When it comes to integrations, WooCommerce offers plenty. From marketing platforms like MailChimp, Hubspot and Pinterest to payment gateways like Stripe, Paypal and Square - WooCommerce allows for solid integrations with multiple 3rd party platforms to help build out your store and make daily transactions and operations far easier.
So having taken a neutral look at all three platforms, we believe that the list above demonstrates that if you are looking to set up a standard ecommerce store, then is important to analyse each and see which aligns best with your goals. BigCommerce is an excellent solution, however it is aimed at a user base who have a more rounded knowledge of technology as is the case with WooCommerce. The upside to this is that both platforms lend themselves to scale far better than Shopify does.
Shopify is a great platform but as you scale, you may find yourself constricted. WooCommerce? It’s also a great platform but as it is a plugin for WordPress, it will be an issue if you don’t use WordPress as your CMS.
If you are looking to expand your ecommerce presence and build out your business online, you can always create an online marketplace. We have a great article here as to how you can expand your Shopify store in a thriving online marketplace using Onport. With Onport, creating an ecommerce marketplace is hassle-free.
Onport - Your Reliable Ecommerce Partner.
Onport is a multi-vendor marketplace platform. Onport enables product marketplaces to streamline and automate their inventory, orders, payments, and shipping operations. Designed to be flexible, Onport can accommodate both those seeking an out-the-box solution and through our API, those who require a more bespoke implementation. From growing SMEs to well-established Enterprises, Onport’s infrastructure is designed to be a reliable partner for growth.
With Onport, our customers can scale with confidence, streamline their daily operations as well as create truly unique marketplaces. Onport is trusted by brands such as Bombinate, Ad Hoc Atelier, and Naduvi as well as over 200+ other companies.