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Big Commerce vs Shopify Review

Sunday, April 29th, 2012
Posted in Reviews by Joel Gross

Big Commerce vs Shopify

A frequent question I hear from clients is whether Shopify is better or worse than Big Commerce, so I’ve decided to break down the positives and negatives of each in order to provide clients with an answer.

Design Differences

While you can certainly customize the look of Big Commerce it simply doesn’t hold a candle to Shopify’s design flexibility. Big Commerce is significantly more complex than Shopify which results in a lot of wasted effort, money and time. Shopify has a simple-to-use, but highly customizable feature set that makes it highly attractive for different kinds of users-whether the novice or expert. Additionally, Big Commerce’s price skyrockets if you need a designer whereas the cost remains reasonable with Shopify.

Shipping Differences

Big Commerce is going to be the better company when it comes to shipping, because its reach is much longer than Shopify’s. Big Commerce is based both in and outside of America, so they are well equipped to service markets in the United States as well as around the world. Shopify, on the other hand, does not have the same international shipping network as Big Commerce, so they have a reputation for not being 100% reliable for Europeans and Australians. The bottom line is that wherever you are in the world Big Commerce will consistently be able to handle your shipping needs in an efficient manner.

Simplicity Differences

Both Big Commerce and Shopify have reputations for being strong shopping carts, but Shopify provides a more direct and understandable process throughout the entire user experience. However, this is not to say that Big Commerce is difficult to use, but just that Shopify took the extra step to ensure that users will never become frustrated with the shopping cart venture. The primary issue with Big Commerce is it appears as though it has been designed by a marketing team simply wanting a lot of attention which diminishes the potential simplicity for some features. It is reminiscent of all the flashing signs on the strip in Vegas.

Product Management Differences

The simplicity of Shopify undermines its product management options and that leads to the restriction of consumer choice. However, that may be a positive for some individuals who do not want to be induced into a panic attack due to having to make too many choices. Big Commerce enables users to specify a multitude of preferences throughout the process in a convenient manner. Consumers have all the control they want over product and inventory management and that is why Big Commerce won this category.

Reporting Differences

As previously mentioned, the design interface for Big Commerce has far too many marketing gimmicks, but this seems to have benefited the back-end reporting functionality of the site. It is extraordinarily effective and efficient at its job and the basic user should be able to quickly grasp its nuances. However, Shopify has the basic traits most people will be interested in and only those who live off of metrics and graphs will choose Big Commerce over Shopify. So, the final decision for this category is a draw, because it really depends more on the user’s personal preferences to determine which site is better at reporting.

Aesthetic Differences

While the aesthetics might not matter to the infrequent user, it can make a difference to the daily consumer. Unfortunately, we were not able to come up with a clear winner between Big Commerce and Shopify. When we were in a focused, driven, work kind of mood the directness of Shopify won out, but when we were in more of a controlling, manage-driven mood the application interface of Big Commerce earned our loyalty. So, like the reporting category, this one really just depends on the user and what type of personality they have.

Longevity Differences

Shopify easily wins this category. It was specifically designed as a shopping cart and has been admirably performing for quite some time now. Big Commerce is relatively new and there has been a huge marketing push behind it in order to generate hype, but there have been many claims about Big Commerce that have yet to be substantiated, so Shopify is definitely the safer bet in this case.

Price Differences

Big Commerce and Shopify both offer free trials, but Shopify’s lasts twice as long as Big Commerce’s does, so you can have more time to experiment with it before having to make a decision about whether or not to put your money on it. The prices are basically the same and that will not change in the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, there could be some slight changes on the lowest offering until both companies find a more stable price and then base variations off of that anchor amount. There is one other factor that should be brought up is how Shopify has a much faster and cheaper method of getting the online shop from zero to selling (with a custom design integrated into an existing website) and that’s all the more reason why Shopify won this category.

The Final Verdict

Shopify’s proven interface, well-developed processes, and reliability make it the better shop cart, but Big Commerce is still a powerhouse in its own regard and the sky is the limit for this newcomer. We will constantly update our reviews in order to ensure that you are getting the best information around.