Updated February 2019
Determining The Most Suitable eCommerce Application For Your eCommerce Business
Ease of Use
Adding products, categories and making shipping options clear is essential for any ecommerce business.
We look at how easy this overall on each platform.
We look at how easy this overall on each platform.
Shopify: Shopify's "add a product" means business, serious business. For each product a user has exceptionally detailed data fields to populate, ranging from Title, description (which you can link text to other websites or pages), to SKUs, barcodes, inventory policy application and photo gallery. Shopify's standard fields offer everything you need to upload a product with every specific presented.
BigCommerce: We confess here to be a BIG fan of their website building tool, having used it to build over 2,000 client websites all over Australia. It’s a drag-and-drop platform and while it’s perfect for small and medium sized business needs, the ecommerce platform features have lagged behind other providers. However, while navigating the ecommerce platform isn't difficult, the features are comparatively limited - you can add colours, prices variations and sizes, but it's not as clearly displayed as it is in Shopify.
Support, a crucial element to moving your business forwards.
Any business needs support, and ecommerce platforms give rise to their own set of special questions. You'll need the best support you can get, even if you don't have the questions right away.
Shopify: With 24/7 phone support and online authentication to save time, and a local Melbourne number to call, there is no ecommerce platform like it when it comes to helping customers. Shopify works 24/7 to answer your questions. Their ecommerce community is also very active meaning lots of tips are on hand.
BigCommerce: 24/7 support on all channels, BigCommerce means fanatical responses with claims that 90% of issues are solved on the first call, also answered in less than two minutes. This works perfectly with Australian business hours and their need for localized help.
Beyond Support, the ability to call in a professional web designer/expert for tricky requests
At some point in the life of your ecommerce business, you'll need an expert. Even if it's an hour of time, it can save your business significant time if you hire someone that knows Shopify. But how do you find someone who is familiar with the application, and can they be trusted? We look at the methods both platforms use to make hiring an expert seamless.
Shopify: Shopify nails it with a number of approved platform experts listed on its own site located in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. With a number of partner reviews, making the transition into hiring a web developer and getting someone who knows how to deliver the good, literally, in Shopify is transparent. Experts even list their hourly charges and what scope of work they perform.
BigCommerce: BigCommerce goes beyond Shopify’s build partners and offers optimisation experts. A visit to https://partners.bigcommerce.com/directory and entering in “Sydney” or “Melbourne” will give 5 and 1 result respectively, with a very small number of user reviews. As BigCommerce’s brand expands, we expect this to change. For now, there is some coverage but nothing like Shopify’s.
Apps, plugins and the integrations available
So, beyond the standard features of both ecommerce platforms, there will be a moment when you ask “oh, can I do….” and the answer is likely to be YES, but with an app. Apps are developed by external partners to Wix and Shopify, and are either free or subscribed to for an ongoing monthly fee. These apps cover functionality and features in Marketing, Sales, Social Media, Shipping, Inventory, Customer Service, Accounting, Tools, Reporting and Sales Channels. With such a wide scope, we look at the number of apps and quality available on both platforms.
Shopify: A lot of developers are flocking to Shopify as the platform dominates the ecommerce arena. As at September 2016, there were over 5,000 apps. With more being published everyday and introduced to the Shopify arena, there is a lot of choice.
BigCommerce: While the app range isn’t as extensive as Shopify’s, there is certainly an extensive selection with free and paid plans. Categorised into marketing, point of sale, product review etc.
Basic features and benefits for a beginner plan.
We start off looking at what you can get for under $40/month (the price point of entry level plans) and maximising the built-in features to build the best ecommerce experience for your customers.
Shopify: At AU$29.95 on month-to-month terms, Shopify is affordable for the startup. It packs all the features with a lot of free add-ons apps available to give you more ecommerce swag.
BigCommerce: At US$29.95 on month-to-month terms, the “Standard” BigCommerce plan offers a lot of features, with sales of up to US$50,000 a year (i.e. ~$4,000 a month). BigCommerce is packed with features, and the apps outlined above add power free of charge in many cases.
Themes, and why the design of your ecommerce store is everything
Themes are the pre-set design of your website.
Shopify: There is no competition - the endless number of Shopify Themes is unrivaled. Some are free with the platform, others are paid, but the individuality is endless and you can quickly edit your theme to make it unique.
Website features beyond ecommerce, such as blogs,
galleries and formatting tools.
If you’re a business that isn’t JUST in the business of ecommerce, then it's perhaps better to have a website tool that has all the features to make your business stand out. This applies to professionals selling items "on the side".
Shopify: Shopify has page simple editing which is superior to BigCommerce and other ecommerce-driven platforms, but there are limitations and the design features aren't as beautifully intuitive as they could be. Shopify certaintly isn't the platform if you're 95% offline business and 5% ecommerce.
BigCommerce: Much like Shopify, BigCommerce isn’t a drag-and-drop website builder like WIX or Weebly. Adding new pages is easy but getting the right look and layout may take you some trial and error.
BigCommerce and Shopify both work hard to give you the tools to shape non-ecommerce content, and with more features coming in every update, we can’t call a winner. BigCommerce and Shopify both work hard to give you the tools to shape non-ecommerce content, and with more features coming in every update, we can’t call a winner.
Shopify: There is no competition - Shopify transaction fees comes standard with every Shopify account, and the fees are as followed:
Australian based businesses can only integrate with BigCommerce merchant payments, or eway.
BigCommerce: 2.9% + US$0.30 per transaction if you're on a Standard plan. A Plus plan drops the fees to 2.5% + US$0.30 per transaction.