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Should you build your ecommerce website with Shopify or BigCommerce?

If you’re setting up your first ecommerce website, you want a solution that won’t require too much ecommerce expertise or web development skill. If you’re looking for an ecommerce platform that is easily maintained and allows easy product implementation, Shopify or BigCommerce could be the the ones for you.

In fact for many ecommerce first-timers, these two ecommerce platforms are the right choice because of their ease of use.

Both of these ecommerce platforms are hosted solutions, which means that Shopify and BigCommerce will host your store and software, giving you peace of mind that the technology is up to date and you will have dedicated support.

The downside of hosted software is that you will have to pay a monthly fee, which typically can be pretty high.

As a digital agency, we understand the importance and benefits of having a well-designed and customised storefront and this is easily achievable using Shopify and BigCommerce.

However, which one is better? How do they compare? Are they scalable? These are common questions we are routinely asked, hence we have put together this document, so you can make an informed decision when you are ready to build your e-commerce store.




Shopify is a leading and increasingly popular choice of ecommerce platform amongst ecommerce business owners. Website designers and developers also  tend to prefer it over competitors as it is easy to manage the aesthetic, meaning it can be branded and customised to reflect a company’s identity. In addition to this, all themes are mobile-commerce ready and fully supported across Android, Windows or iOS devices.


What are Shopify’s shopping cart key features?

– Manage unlimited products
– Create sales channels
– Track sales and growth trends
– Fulfill orders in a single step
– Free SSL certificate
– 70 payment gateways
– Accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express
– Multi language support
– Flexible shipping rates via carriers like UPS and FedEx
– Gift cards and promotional codes
– Abandoned checkout recovery




Pros of using Shopify

Foundry Digital have built many ecommerce websites that use Shopify as their platforms. Here are a few features that we really like.

Loading speed of product pages: as a hosted platform, it has developed a super fast built-in page loading speed.

Security: it runs solid layers of security to be PCI compliant and to process debit and credit card payments securely.

All in one solution: Shopify has a vast marketplace for add ons and plugins. So anything required to configure product information and delivery bands, order processing, analytics tracking, marketing tools and CRM integrations is available from one platform.

Cons of using Shopify

Even though we have mentioned that Shopify is easy to customise, there are areas like the checkout pages which are more difficult to alter. For this you have to use their theme template, which is a problem if you wish to implement your branding on the payment pages.

The second point where Shopify arguably fails is in its pricing structure. Starting at $29 per month for the basic platform, the Shopify monthly fee can easily escalate to $299 per month. This is the charge for the Advanced Store, which includes access to tools that a savvy business owner is likely to want access to.

Also, if you use Shopify Payments expect to pay 2.2% + 20p for every transaction that is made on your site.


Shopify App

It must be said that despite the pitfalls, their entire app process is set up much better than the competition and they have the most available apps too. Shopify starts at $29/mo. And if you use their credit card processor you will only have to pay the standard 2.9 % + 30 p rate. If you upgrade to a higher plan the per-transaction fee is lower.




BigCommerce is a similar platform to Shopify, except it is slightly less flexible to customise and the management of source code files to adapt to your desired brand/theme is more restricted. However, don’t let this put you off, as it still allows you to work with amazing designs, which are clean and responsive to mobiles and tablets. Plus the management of products and acceptance of payments is swiftly done via a vast range of options.

If you wish to design your website using BigCommerce, there are plenty of themes pre-built so getting your online shop live is pretty easy and fast. If you wish to change a theme or create your own version so it reflects your brand identity, we would recommend the services of a web developer agency.



Design template fees are in the region of $150 – $230, but also you can be truly unique and creative by customising your own website design and create the perfect shopping experience for your users.


Pros of using BigCommerce

Cross-channel selling: BigCommerce allows you to cross sell across different channels including Amazon, eBay Google Shopping Facebook and Pinterest.

Conversion tools: We also like the conversion tools, specifically the abandon cart saver and the coupons and discounting, which are easy and fun to configure.

Strong SEO: One of the strong points of BigCommerce is SEO Marketing as it uses a unique content delivery network to publish and load pages faster than other ecommerce platforms.

Multi-device responsiveness: Another good point is the responsiveness for viewing on phones and tablets. The user interface is one of the best in the mobile checkout process, making it an excellent choice for shops which customers tend to purchase primarily online.

Easy-to-use interface: Also, it is also worth noting BigCommerce has a robust back office and easy-to-use interface, however a number of features come at additional expense.

Cons of using BigCommerce

In our experience, BigCommerce tends to be limiting in terms of theme design configuration and also in the amount of sales volume you can process every year, unless you pay for the Enterprise plan.

When it comes to fees, BigCommerce compares similarly to Shopify with prices only slightly higher starting at $29.95 per month for a Basic account, $79.95 monthly for a Plus account and $249.95 per month for a Pro account.


Security Features

As this is a hosted platform, you would expect security features to be taken into account. It should be noted that with BigCommerce however, good plugins come as paid add ons, so you must raise a budget for this.

Conclusion: which platform is better Shopify or BigCommerce?

As a web agency of ecommerce experts specialising in Shopify and BigCommerce platforms, we have a great experience working with both systems. On the plus side, these are hosted systems, so all hosting management, speed and security is taken care of. However, it comes at a high price, whilst other platforms like WooCommerce are free and offer competitive features. But, putting cost aside, Shopify is our preferred platform as it is more flexible, integration is easy, themes can be adapted to desired user interface, cart options are robust and security features are first class.

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