7 Minute Read

The Best eCommerce Platform for You

It’s no surprise that eCommerce websites are no longer just the wave of the future but are now an everyday way of making purchases, whether as a business owner in the B2B space or selling to direct to consumer.

According to MarkinBlog.com, there are “over 26 million eCommerce sites across the entire globe, with more and more being created every single day… and the number of eCommerce sites in the world more than doubled in 2021. That number has risen from 9.7 million to 19.8 million over the year (204% YoY growth).” What does this tell us? That the eCommerce space has become more competitive than it’s ever been before and that it’s more vital than ever to select the best and most optimal website platform for your business.

The only way for a digital retailer to select the best platform for their eCommerce site is to review all the options and compare. In this post, we’ll compare the functions, design options, and ease of use of both BigCommerce and Shopify. This evaluation will detail aspects of both platforms and provide digital retailers who are currently tasked with making a seemingly difficult decision some clarity given the exponentially competitive climate.

What is Shopify?

Shopify defines itself as, “a complete commerce platform that lets you start, grow, and manage a business,” on which “merchants can build and customize an online store and sell in multiple places, including web, mobile, in person, brick-and-mortar locations, and pop-up shops and across multiple channels from social media to online marketplaces.” 

Entirely hosted and cloud-based, the Shopify platform is considered what is called Software as a Service or SaaS. SaaS platforms are leased through monthly subscription plans with varying fees per platform and sometimes per preferred functionality. Learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of SaaS platforms.

The Pros and Cons of Shopify

With a simple-to-navigate platform, a trove of unique web page templates with the ability to design your own, and round-the-clock customer support, Shopify definitely has a wealth of “pros” for its users. Shopify does have its “cons,” as well. Two examples are the high transaction fees or the limited to no ability for certain regulated industries to sell their products on this platform. Learn more about eCommerce in Regulated Industries.

Shopify Pricing Plans

Shopify has a seemingly simple pricing structure (shown below) with two other options for both enterprise solutions with Shopify Plus as well as the simple plug-in option which coordinates with any currently running website through Shopify Lite.

Best for new eCommerce businesses with occasional in-person sales
$29 USD/mo

Best for growing businesses selling online or in-store

$79 USD/mo

Best for scaling businesses that require advanced reporting

$299 USD/mo

Pricing details provided by
Shopify May 2022. For the most current pricing options, contact a Shopify sales representative.

Depending on your pricing plan, Shopify can charge between 2% and 0.5% transaction fees. This can add up to a fairly hefty sum for large or small businesses. On top of that, you’ll have to pay credit card fees to process each payment. Shopify recommends its retailers utilize their payment option, Shopify Payments, which charges 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction. Additionally, many plug-in options come with a monthly fee, some as high as $12.99/mo. With all of that in mind, the balance of cost vs. value comes into question for any online retail business owner.

What is BigCommerce?

BigCommerce defines itself as “helping merchants sell more at every stage of growth, from small startups to mid-market businesses, to large enterprises. As a leading Open SaaS solution, BigCommerce empowers merchants to build, innovate and grow their businesses online.” Founded in 2009, this SaaS web builder platform services tens of thousands of eCommerce merchants in over 150 countries across the globe.

BigCommerce offers retailers multi-storefront ability in over 100+ different currencies and in over 100+ different languages. For globally scaling businesses, this feature is invaluable. The platform also offers fully customizable pre-built theme templates as well as drag-and-drop build capability without the need for any coding knowledge which is a huge win for smaller merchants who lack an in-house developer. BigCommerce is also restriction-free when it comes to the sale of regulated, legal products. The features and usability of this platform are extensive and have straightforward pricing plans, therefore BigCommerce finds itself a major contender in the eCommerce web builder marketplace.

BigCommerce Pricing Plans

BigCommerce has a leg up over Shopify when it comes to pricing. The initial plans are almost exactly the same but where BigCommerce shines is that there are no hidden transaction fees, allowing retailers to retain more of their revenue. BigCommerce also offers its own Enterprise pricing plan, its cost is based on a retailer’s annual online sales. Unfortunately, credit card processing fees will always exist and BigCommerce charges 2.05% - 2.59% + 49¢ per processed transaction.

BigCommerce Standard Plan
Sell online with your own beautiful online store

$29.95 USD/mo

BigCommerce Plus
Grow your online business with marketing tools proven to increase conversion

$79.95 USD/mo

BigCommerce Pro
Scale your growing business with a comprehensive set of features

$299.95 USD/mo
BigCommerce Enterprise
Power your team’s success with the best full-service open platform
Contact sales or call 1-866-991-0872 for custom pricing 

Pricing details provided by
BigCommerce May 2022. For the most current pricing options, contact a BigCommerce sales representative.


Ready to elevate your eCommerce game? Let's discuss how our BigCommerce  expertise can drive growth and boost conversions for your business. >>

A UI/UX Comparison of Shopify and BigCommerce

Two important aspects to consider when evaluating any eCommerce web platform are the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). Essentially, UI is defined by the experience of the person utilizing the backend of any website - in this case, the retailer. The goal of any UI design is to develop a webpage/website that provides a simple, easily navigable, and user-friendly experience that will lend itself to sales conversions. UI is a crucial component of UX, which is a broader evaluation of the customer experience such as competitor evaluation, identification of customer pain points, and even ensuring that the products sold and the way they’re sold are in line with a brand’s goals, mission, and values.

The Shopify UI/UX

A great example of UI which affects UX is a website’s Point of Sales system or POS. According to Shopify, retailers are able to “manage products, payments, and customers across all the places you sell, in-store and online” and they allow retailers to “customize Shopify’s POS app to serve customers efficiently on the sales floor or on the go.” Shopify’s POS also offers features such as a barcode scanner with any iOS device, save and retrieve cart functionality, staff roles and permissions for B2B purchasers, low stock reports for the retailer, and so many more functions that make the Shopify user interface and user experience excellent.


The BigCommerce UI/UX

BigCommerce offers a different approach to POS. According to BigCommerce, they offer “flexible POS solutions that allow you to use BigCommerce as your hub for inventory and orders.” Offering retailers the ability to plug in the POS system of their choice puts retailers back in the driver’s seat of how they sell their products, and what fees they’re willing to pay. BigCommerce does offer its own POS, but business owners are not required to use it, allowing them to select the POS provider that best fits their business. 


Shopify and BigCommerce Customer Reviews

A UI/UX experience on any platform can vary. The needs of one retailer may be different from another and are therefore difficult to compare. Some examples of what real live digital retailers are saying about both Shopify’s and BigCommerce’s usability according to G2.com are:

Shopify Reviews:

“What I like best with Shopify is its intuitive platform - one can easily understand how it works, particularly its customer support functionalities (order status, order cancellations, refunds, etc.) The software also supports API integration with the majority of popular Customer Support Platforms including Zendesk and Gladly, creating seamless customer interaction.” - Sarah Mae M.
“Shopify is easy to use and has many features that make it very powerful. Marketing tools such as abandoned cart recovery emails are great. Analytics and reports give us a vital insight into how we are doing. The user interface is excellent, not only for admins but also for our customers.” - Jeffry T.
“Shopify is easy to learn & very user-friendly overall. I used to use an outdated POS system that came with many headaches, so we are delighted to utilize Shopify's many apps that can be integrated into our profile for a seamless backend experience for our team. Our customers also really appreciate how more accessible our online ordering platform is!” - Ellie N.

BigCommerce Reviews:

“I find building a website on BigCommerce to be easy, especially considering I am not a 'techy'! Whenever I have had to ask Technical Support whether on Live Chat or by phone they have, without fail, sorted my problem out for me in a very kind and speedy manner. I also like that they send you the chat afterward so I can go back and check. I have always marked BigCommerce as 10 out of 10 and that has never changed.” - Jill H.
"From the initial theme to the back-end content delivery, BigCommerce is hands down our number one choice. Shopify is cumbersome. BigCommerce and their third party developers are very helpful and their solutions come complete rather than requiring additional solutions.” - Benjamin W.
“What I like the best is it's open-source and available for customizations for each store separately. In that way, you can be agile and do fast adaptations for the clients or yourself if needed. It also integrates a variety of analytics, payment systems, and the ability to sell worldwide. The cost is even small business-friendly.” - Peter

Sales Limits of Shopify vs. BigCommerce

Any retailer should always ask another big, important question: What are the sales limits of each plan, meaning will I be forced to upgrade if my online business becomes more profitable over time? There is a stark difference in the answer to this question when comparing Shopify to BigCommerce.

BigCommerce does require online retailers to upgrade after hitting $50,000 a year in sales through their web platform. But business owners can rest assured that the upgrade requirement is not immediate and they will not be shut down. Instead, retailers are given a grace period until they hit 1,000-2,000 orders over the sales limit (depending on their plan) over the course of 12 months, annually. But one thing to keep in mind, when an online business begins to scale and grow, the upgraded features and functionality of more comprehensive plans are usually recommended anyway.

Shopify, however, does not have any sales limits whatsoever. A business can stay on the plan that it’s at, even if they grow into what would be considered Enterprise level, although this is not recommended. If a site begins as a small business and grows into an omnichannel, multi-language, multi-currency store, a base level plan would not provide the functionality and UI/UX that any business owner would need in order for their store to continue to be profitable.


In summary, Shopify and BigCommerce have many similarities as well as a few vast differences that set them apart. Initial pricing plans are the same but the difference in fees is clearly in BigCommerce’s favor. Customization with BigCommerce is a clear winner, as well. And most importantly, the user interface and user experience are more dynamic and comprehensive with BigCommerce. With all this in mind, this comparison shows BigCommerce to be the superior eCommerce website platform for growth and enterprise-level eCommerce when held up against Shopify’s platform offerings.

If you’re ready to speak to a BigCommerce partner web building agency with over 16 years of eCommerce experience, the Smart Solutions team is ready to help. Coupled with their strategic partnership which helps retailers optimize and maintain their BigCommerce websites going forward, it’s clear that contacting us truly is the Smart Solution.

New call-to-action