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BigCommerce vs. Shopify: What’s The Best Ecommerce Platform?

January 22, 2018 | |

BigCommerce vs. Shopify

Why We Work Exclusively On BigCommerce

Why BigCommerce and not Shopify?

As a digital agency specializing in ecommerce, this is the number-one question we’re asked. We understand why. Choosing an ecommerce platform can be nerve-wracking and even merchants who have committed to a platform want to feel assured that they’ve made the right choice. And it can be hard to find truly honest reviews of BigCommerce and Shopify that are written with businesses like yours in mind.

But when asked whether we recommend BigCommerce or Shopify, our answer is simple: we exclusively work on BigCommerce because it is the best for enterprise-level and growing businesses. BigCommerce has more native features, better UX, and a greater level of support and flexibility.

BigCommerce Has Better Out-of-the-Box Features Than Shopify

While BigCommerce and Shopify’s “basic” plans both start at $29 a month, BigCommerce gives you considerably more bang for your buck. Features that you have to buy through the Shopify app store come standard on BigCommerce, including:

  • Professional reporting tools and analytics
  • Customer ratings and reviews of your products (one of the most effective ways of increasing ecommerce conversions)
  • Gift cards
  • Real time shipping quotes
  • Capability to sell on eBay
  • Abandoned cart email flow (BigCommerce says this feature recovers 15 percent of abandoned sales)

BigCommerce also has better native features when it comes to SEO. For example, BigCommerce allows you to fully customize your URLs, whereas Shopify adds terms like “products” or “collections” that you can’t remove. BigCommerce also allows you to control where on your site Google’s search engine bots can crawl by allowing you to modify robots.txt and search engine instructions. This is important for the speed and security of your website. However, with Shopify, robots.txt modification is not supported and merchants must purchase a third-party app with a monthly fee to modify search engine instructions.

BigCommerce Provides Better User Experience

Using Shopify is fine if you sell a limited number of items with few or no product options, but it has serious limitations if you sell more than a handful of items, which is the case for most ecommerce businesses of any significant scope, or for businesses which are growing.

Shopify’s most serious limitation is its category structure – or rather its lack of one. Shopify doesn’t have a subcategory feature: products can only be organized by what it calls “collections.” So, for example, if you run an apparel store, an intuitive way of organizing products might be to have “Tops” be a category and “blouses,” “tank tops” and “sweaters” be sub-categories. This would allow a customer in Florida who wants a tank top but has no use for a sweater to get to what she wants without having to wade through irrelevant products.

While you can superficially manipulate Shopify to appear to have subcategories, the site structure itself (like the sitemap, URL structure, and breadcrumb navigation) is flat. This is bad for SEO. In contrast, BigCommerce allows you to categorize and subcategorize within the site’s actual structure, which is needed for both SEO and user experience. A BigCommerce store’s category system is more legible to both Google’s bots and the average users.

BigCommerce also allows you to list an unlimited amount of product options, like color, size, material, or model. Shopify only allows you to use three. That might be fine for some businesses but if you sell customized or highly technical products – particularly B2B + B2C or in bulk/wholesale – Shopify frankly won’t work.

BigCommerce Is The Best Ecommerce Platform For Growth

More generally, we’ve found from working with hundreds of ecommerce merchants over more than 10 years that BigCommerce offers more convenience and possibility for growth. If you have an enterprise-level business, or want your business to grow to enterprise levels, BigCommerce is the better choice.

For starters, BigCommerce’s technical support is better. It’s easier to get a real person on the phone, which is especially important if you’re dealing with a high volume of sales or your ecommerce store is the primary way you make money. BigCommerce also natively integrates with Point of Sale (POS) and inventory systems like Square and has no transaction fees (Shopify charges transaction fees unless you use their payment processor, which only works in certain countries).

BigCommerce also provides other functionality that works well for enterprise-level businesses. For example, you can list an unlimited number of products, and have access to unlimited bandwidth, storage, and staff accounts. All of that is important for a large or growing business.

Ready To Start Making Money on BigCommerce Today?

We’ve helped hundreds of people get started on BigCommerce. If you’re ready to make the switch, call us today at (866) 590-4650!

Brian co-founded IntuitSolutions, and has been leading our team for more than 15 years. He jumps between his roles as CEO, Salesman, and Project Manager - making sure that our goals are met and that our customers are thrilled with what they receive.

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