BigCommerce vs. Shopify: 2023 Comparison

Shopify and BigCommerce are e-commerce website builders that can support high-volume sellers. Their biggest difference is that Shopify is easier out of the box, helping you open an online store quickly. However, BigCommerce lets businesses create multiple storefronts and choose their own payment processors, plus set up unlimited user accounts.

In general, Shopify is better for smaller e-commerce businesses and those that make in-person sales since it offers point-of-sale tools. BigCommerce may be a better fit for larger companies that manage multiple brands — but it has one big drawback, which is that you’ll be required to upgrade your monthly subscription when you hit certain revenue thresholds.

Here’s more detail about how BigCommerce and Shopify compare.

BigCommerce vs. Shopify: Deciding factors

BigCommerce’s cheapest plan, Standard, costs $29 per month when billed annually.

Shopify’s cheapest website builder plan, Basic, costs $29 per month when billed annually.

Discounted payment processing rates with PayPal by Braintree start at 2.59% plus 49 cents per transaction and get cheaper with each subscription plan. If you choose a different payment processor, you’ll pay that company’s fees, but no additional fees to BigCommerce.

Shopify Payments takes a cut of 2.9% plus 30 cents. Shopify charges Basic customers an extra 2% if they choose a different payment processor; that fee drops to 1% then 0.5% for the two more expensive pricing tiers, respectively.

Online marketplace integrations

Integrations with Google, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Wish and Mercado Libre.

Native integrations with Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Google and Walmart. Amazon integration requires an app that has free and paid plans.

Where Shopify wins

Shopify is a better choice than BigCommerce for businesses that also offer in-person sales. You can use its e-commerce platform to manage lots of inventory locations and offer in-store pickup, plus Shopify offers point-of-sale software. Shopify also beats BigCommerce for its lack of revenue caps — you can make as many sales as you’re able to without having to upgrade to a more expensive plan.

Unlimited sales

Shopify users at all subscription levels can sell as much as their customers will buy. You’ll have to pay for payment processing — 2.9% plus 30 cents per online sale, if you use Shopify Payments — and your subscription, but you won’t have to upgrade your plan based on your sales.

BigCommerce, on the other hand, requires you to upgrade your subscription once you hit certain revenue milestones. Once you reach $50,000 in gross merchandise value, for instance, you’ll be automatically upgraded from the Standard plan to the Plus plan — pushing your bill from at least $29 per month (when billed annually) to $79 per month (when billed annually).

More inventory locations

Shopify users can manage up to 1,000 inventory locations using the platform, regardless of which subscription plan they have. Inventory locations include brick-and-mortar stores, pop-ups and warehouses.

With BigCommerce, you’ll start with just four inventory locations. The BigCommerce Pro plan, which starts at $299 per month, supports only eight.

In-house point-of-sale software

Shopify’s point-of-sale system syncs with your Shopify dashboard. Subscribers automatically get access to Shopify POS Lite, which includes customer profiles, email and text receipts, barcode scanning, cash payments, refunds and other basic features — though you’ll have to pay for a Shopify card reader. Larger businesses can upgrade to Shopify POS Pro, which lets you set staff permissions, monitor performance across retail locations and take online returns in-store.

BigCommerce integrates with Square POS for in-store sales. You’ll have to import your product catalog and learn how to use a second dashboard, but the integration is free.

Where BigCommerce wins

In general, BigCommerce offers more customization opportunities than Shopify does. Users can pick their own credit card processing company and manage multiple storefronts. Plus, BigCommerce offers a 15-day free trial, so you can take your time exploring the platform to decide whether it’s the right fit. Read NerdWallet’s review of BigCommerce.

Unlimited staff accounts

There’s no limit on the number of your staffers who can have BigCommerce accounts, no matter which plan you’re using. That means every member of your team can log in if necessary.

Shopify, on the other hand, caps user accounts at just two with its Basic plan and 15 with its Advanced plan, the most sophisticated plan available before enterprise options.

Your choice of payment processor, plus discounts

BigCommerce users can choose from a list of 65 payment processors, including a few that may support high-risk businesses like electronic cigarettes. Users who pick PayPal powered by Braintree can access special discounted rates — ranging from 2.59% plus 49 cents per debit or credit card transaction for Standard users — to 2.05% plus 49 cents for Pro and Enterprise users.

Shopify Payments costs 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction. Shopify allows users to choose other payment options, but charges an additional transaction fee that may be as high as 2%.

Multiple storefronts

BigCommerce users can set up multiple storefronts on one subscription. Standard plan users can open up to three different storefronts, each with its own customer loyalty and sales reporting tools included. You can have five stores with the Plus plan and eight with the Pro plan and have them all share the same inventory, shipping and payments tools — though you’ll pay an additional monthly fee for each one.

With Shopify, most users will need a separate subscription for each store, though you can use one email address and toggle between storefronts. On the Plus plan — which is designed for large or B2B businesses and starts at $2,000 per month — you can create multiple storefronts managed from a single administrative platform.

Shopify vs. BigCommerce: Which is right for your business?

Shopify is better for businesses that:

  • Make in-person as well as online sales.

  • Want to avoid automatic subscription upgrades when they cross certain revenue thresholds.

  • Have small teams or just a few people responsible for e-commerce.

BigCommerce is better for businesses that:

  • Sell online only, potentially across multiple storefronts. 

  • Spread e-commerce tasks among large teams. 

  • Operate in high-risk industries that Shopify Payments doesn’t support.

A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

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