BigCommerce vs WooCommerce (Jul 2020): Which is Better?

Which is Best for Your Online Store?

If you're trying to find the best possible e-commerce platform for your business, then you're in the right place. We're going to compare two of the best solutions on the market in this BigCommerce vs WooCommerce review.

So, if you're wondering which (if either) is right for your business, continue reading…

BigCommerce vs WooCommerce: The Main Differences

The main difference between BigCommerce and WooCommerce is that BigCommerce is a fully-hosted ecommerce website builder. To date, it's helped nearly 100,000 entrepreneurs build their online store!

If you're wondering what an ecommerce website builder actually is, it's a software that helps you create and manage your online store. BigCommerce has tons of built-in e-commerce features; in fact, they have one of the broadest toolkits on the market. BigCommerce provides everything you need to design, launch, and scale your online business. In fact, BigCommerce says that, on average, they help users grow 28% year-on-year!

bigcommerce vs woocommerce - bigcommerce homepage

Whereas, WooCommerce is an open-source WordPress plugin that enables WordPress users to start selling online. WooCommerce was built by the same web development company that founded WordPress, Automattic. So if you already have a WordPress website that you want to add an online store too, WooCommerce is the perfect solution.

WooCommerce is a totally customizable platform, so never fear, you can keep the branding across your website and e-store consistent (providing you boast some technical know-how).

bigcommerce vs woocommerce - woocommerce homepage

BigCommerce vs WooCommerce: Features

BigCommerce

As we've already said, BigCommerce offers an impressive array of functions and marketing features, some of which include:

  • An SSL security certificate: This displays a tiny padlock symbol next to your URL, which communicates your store is secure for accepting and processing online payments.
  • Analytical tracking and reporting tools: You can monitor your site’s performance by assessing its sessions, sales, email campaigns, etc. With this info, you're in a better position to pinpoint areas of improvement and set about enhancing the quality of your marketing.
  • Omnichannel selling integrations: You can link your website to sell on digital marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and social media networks like Facebook.
  • Abandoned cart recovery tools: You can send customers automatic email reminders if they leave your online cart without purchasing the items inside. This works wonders for encouraging customers to complete their transactions. In fact, BigCommerce says this feature recovers, on average, 25% of sales that would otherwise be lost.

That's as well as:

  • Marketing tools for creating and managing promotional codes and discounts.
  • You have a choice of 12 free templates.
  • You can sell unlimited products (physical and/or digital goods), which you can categorize however you like.
  • You can set your own shipping rates.
  • Access to a drag-and-drop web page builder and editor
  • A Paypal integration
  • You can register limitless staff accounts.
  • Access to a comprehensive content management system
  • Access to high-quality SEO features, including automated image optimization via the Akamai Image Manager
  • Integrations with lots of email marketing solutions- Constant Contact, iContact, Mailchimp, and Interspire
  • If you have the right coding know-how, you can go into the CSS and HTML code and tweak it.

These are just a few of many features BigCommerce provides, but we don't have time to outline all of them here in this review.

What About WooCommerce?

Although WooCommerce doesn’t offer as many features as BigCommerce, WooCommerce certainly has some tools worth mentioning. For instance, WooCommerce comes with:

  • An in-built blog: This makes writing, publishing, and sharing articles a breeze.
  • Limitless customization options: If you have the right coding know-how, you're only limited by your imagination and time. You'll enjoy unlimited customization, where you can edit every aspect of your online store.
  • One-click refunds: Refunding customers is easy; you can give customers their money back with just a click.
  • WooCommerce's relationship with WordPress: WooCommerce inherits all the perks WordPress has to offer. For instance, many ecommerce platforms don't provide an easy way of uploading and managing videos, whereas WordPress does. Let's say you wanted to embed a YouTube video into one of your WooCommerce product pages. You just insert the URL into the product description, and voila, it'll appear. The same rule applies for embedding rich media from Vimeo, Viddler, Instagram, Flickr, Spotify, SlideShare, Blip. Tv, Imgur, Hulu, Twitter, etc.
  • Shortcodes: For the uninitiated, shortcodes are bits of text you can insert into a web page to add a piece of content. Say, you wanted to include a product on your landing page, you could just copy and paste a quick shortcode to make that happen. WooCommerce comes with several shortcodes that make inserting products, tracking info, user data, etc., incredibly simple.
  • There are tons of extensions on offer: There are tens of thousands of WooCommerce add-ons available (this isn't an exaggeration). So rest assured, if you want to add a specific function to your WooCommerce store, there's probably an app for you. And thanks to the open-source nature of WordPress, creating custom WooCommerce plugins is a relatively straightforward process. As such, the extendability of your WooCommerce store is seemingly endless.
  • Access to a thriving community: There are thousands of other WordPress and WooCommerce users you can network and communicate with via the WordPress forum. This is the perfect place for store owners to share their experiences, ask questions, and pick up handy tips and tricks!

Where features are concerned, BigCommerce beats WooCommerce. BigCommerce boasts everything you need to design, manage, and grow your ecommerce store. Yes, WooCommerce offers its users some fantastic features (as you can see above), it just can’t compete with the vast toolset BigCommerce offers.

BigCommerce vs WooCommerce: Their Pros and Cons

First, let's take a look at BigCommerce's pros…

BigCommerce: The Pros

  • As we've said a few times already, BigCommerce boasts the most built-in features of any e-commerce builder (yes, we sound like a broken record, but I had to mention this in the pros section!).
  • Selling across several channels, including Facebook, Amazon, and Instagram, is a smooth and seamless process.
  • BigCommerce stores (typically) boast excellent loading speeds, so there's no need to worry about caching apps or anything like that.
  • Bigcommerce handles a whole host of security and compliance measures, so you don't have to!
  • Bigcommerce's templates look beautiful out-of-the-box. There's a wide range of responsive themes to choose from, which are straightforward to install and modify. Also, if you have any HTML or CSS know-how, BigCommerce makes it easy to access the code, so you can go ahead and tweak it as much as you please.

BigCommerce vs WooCommerce

BigCommerce: The Cons

  • BigCommerce doesn't offer a mobile app, which makes managing your store while you're on the run a challenge.
  • BigCommerce's editing interface is harder to navigate (in comparison to other SaaS e-commerce builders), so new users may face somewhat of a learning curve.
  • In comparison to WooCommerce, BigCommerce's app marketplace is small. BigCommerce simply doesn't have the same variety and selection of extensions for you to download and use.
  • Lock-in: DISCLAIMER- this drawback isn't specific to BigCommerce. Instead, it applies to all SaaS ecommerce builders. It isn't easy to transfer your site to a different platform, as your e-commerce store is built into BigCommerce. So, should this be something you want/need to do in the future, you’ll face pretty high switching costs.

WooCommerce: The Pros

  • Providing you have the right knowledge, you'll enjoy limitless customization
  • You'll get access to WordPress's powerful SEO tools
  • WooCommerce is free to download, which enables you to kickstart your online business with very little investment.
  • You can add infinite product lists across various categories. You can sell physical, virtual, and downloadable products – the choice is yours!
  • You can accept almost any kind of payment method.

BigCommerce vs WooCommerce

WooCommerce: The Cons

  • WooCommerce doesn't provide comprehensive customer support; you'll have to rely on your own know-how and the help of other users and developers on the WooCommerce forum.
  • Some users complain that WooCommerce's wishlist functionality is somewhat tricky to use
  • To enjoy the full extent of what WooCommerce has to offer, you'll have to boast some pretty advanced technical knowledge (or be prepared to learn how to code or hire someone to do it for you!)
  • You have to handle your own website updates (which with WordPress, there are many!)
  • Launching a multi-currency site is often tricky with WooCommerce.

BigCommerce vs WooCommerce: Ease of Use

Generally speaking, website builders like BigCommerce are more intuitive to use than plugins like WooCommerce.

But, let's see if this is true for these two e-commerce solutions…

BigCommerce

You can get started with BigCommerce by signing up for their free trial. From there, you can launch your store in just three easy steps:

  1. Enter your email address
  2. Plugin your store’s name
  3. Provide a few details about your brand.

You can have your BigCommerce shop set up within a few minutes. When that's all up and running, you'll see your BigCommerce dashboard. Here you can quickly preview your store, add products, and customize your shop's design and settings.

Several BigCommerce users report that BigCommerce’s onboarding process is transparent and informative. As part of the process, you take a brief tour of where to find particular features and where/how to customize specific elements. On this same tour, BigCommerce also encourages you to find/ask any questions you have in their ‘help' section.

Users also like that many of BigCommerce's features are already built into its themes. This makes accessing and using BigCommerce's tools even simpler.

Also, unlike WooCommerce, BigCommerce provides users with a web domain, hosting platform, and security certificates – so you don't have to go the hassle of sorting these out.

But having said that, some BigCommerce users (mainly those new to the digital marketing and entrepreneurial space), sometimes struggle with the terminology. To begin with, this sometimes makes users feel a little ‘out of their depth' until they've familiarized themselves with the lingo.

WooCommerce

In comparison to BigCommerce, WooCommerce is a little more confusing to use. This stands to reason, as it’s a more technical platform. You don’t have to be Steve Jobs to utilize WooCommerce, but some coding and web design skills wouldn't go amiss.

As previously mentioned, (if you haven't already), you need to purchase and use your own web domain and hosting provider. So, at this point, it's worth noting that WooCommerce pairs really well with Bluehost.

With Bluehost, you'll get access to the following features:

  • WooCommerce auto-install
  • A free call to help you set up an online store
  • A free domain name and SSL certificate
  • WooCommerce's ‘Storefront' theme pre-installed
  • 24/7 customer support from Bluehost's in-house WordPress experts

If you opt for a hosting provider that partners with WooCommerce (like Bluehost), you won't need to install WordPress and the WooCommerce plugin manually. Instead, your hosting service will have WooCommerce pre-installed.

Whichever route you take, once you have the WooCommerce plugin installed, you can launch WooCommerce's setup wizard. This provides everything you need to set up your WooCommerce store in a flash. You can handle all the basics like creating pages, establishing your payment settings, currency, shipping, taxes, etc., all within a few minutes!

Having weighed up both these platforms, it appears that despite BigCommerce's initial learning curve, it's easier to use than WooCommerce, namely, because it provides excellent onboarding, a plethora of built-in features, and high-quality customer support along the way (more on that in a sec). Whereas, WooCommerce is a better choice for a more technical user or someone already familiar with WordPress's interface.

BigCommerce vs WooCommerce: Pricing

Let's take a look at how much BigCommerce and WooCommerce will set you back:

BigCommerce Plans

Before you commit hard-earned cash to BigCommerce, make the most of their 15-day free trial (no credit card details required). This is the best possible way to see if it's the right fit for you and your business.

All of BigCommerce‘s plans come with unlimited bandwidth and staff accounts, and you're not charged transaction fees. And like we've already said, hosting, a web domain, and an SSL security certificate are included too.

BigCommerce provides three core pricing plans to choose from:

  1. Standard ($29.95/month) Side note: When it comes to entry-level e-commerce plans for other SaaS's, this is approximately the same price as Shopify, Volusion, and Squarespace. But, in comparison, you get more for your money.
  2. Plus ($79.95/month)
  3. Pro ($299.95/month).

There's also an Enterprise plan for much larger organizations. But if that's of interest to you, you’ll have to contact BigCommerce directly for a quote.

The Standard Plan

The Standard Plan entitles you to:

  • A digital store where you can sell a limitless number of products
  • Access to unlimited file storage
  • You can create and manage gift cards
  • Customers can leave ratings and reviews
  • Access to professional reporting tools
  • Automatic image optimization
  • All web pages are accelerated mobile pages

The biggest drawback to BigCommerce's Standard plan is that you don't get access to its abandoned cart saving tool.

The Plus Plan

In addition to the Standard Plan, with the Plus Plan you'll get:

  • An abandoned cart saver tool
  • A ‘persistent cart’ feature (this saves products to a customer’s cart even if they click away – irrespective of the device they're using)
  • Customers can save their card details with you
  • You can segment customers into different groups (which comes in handy for running more tailored marketing campaigns).

💡 Please note: Once you start generating over $180,000 a year, you'll have to upgrade to the Pro plan.

The Pro Plan

With the Pro plan, you can generate a maximum of $400,000 online sales, with an extra fee of $150 per month per $200k in sales.

You'll also get access to Google Customer Reviews. This lets you collect and showcase feedback from your customers. When someone purchases something from your Bigcommerce store, they'll be asked to review it on Google. If they agree to do so, Google emails a survey for them to fill out. Your average rating is published on your site via an optional Google Customer Reviews badge.

You'll also get access to advanced product filtering, and you can utilize a customized SSL certificate via a third party.

Bigcommerce Enterprise

The BigCommerce Enterprise package is geared towards larger businesses generating over $1,000,000, so needless to say; it's tailored to meet more advanced selling requirements.

You'll get access to the following:

  • Advanced product filtering (visitors can search your store via your own customized fields)
  • You can create pricing rules based on customer groups.
  • Unlimited API calls
  • Access to Bigcommerce consulting, account management, and priority support (including API).

You'll be pleased to hear, the annual sales limit for Bigcommerce Enterprise is negotiable.

BigCommerce vs WooCommerce

WooCommerce

Like we've said, WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin, so in that respect, you don't pay a penny. But, there are a few things you'll need to purchase to get up and running with Woocommerce:

  • A theme which will set you back around $40
  • An SSL security certificate $9 a year (approximately)
  • Web hosting $10 a year (approximately)

So, as you can see, this makes WooCommcerce's pricing more complex, and managing your monthly bills is more of a hassle than opting for BigCommerce where you pay a set price for everything you need a month.

However, with the freedom to choose your own hosting, domain, theme, etc. you could potentially pay less each month than you would with BigCommerce.

BigCommerce vs WooCommerce: Design and Templates

These stats speak for themselves – design matters:

  • Two out of three people prefer browsing beautifully designed websites.
  • 75% of browsers form an opinion about a website based on aesthetics.
  • 94% of first impressions on a website are design-related.
Creating a sleek-looking online store is massively essential. So, let's take a look at BigCommerce and WooCommerce's design capabilities.
Please note: Both BigCommerce and WooCommerce's themes are all mobile responsive.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce offers 12 free themes and roughly 130 premium templates. These paid-for options cost a one-off fee ranging between $145 and $300. Occasionally, you'll find these premium themes on sale for around $99 – so keep an eye out for that! Each theme contains several variants, so there are loads to choose from.

Although BigCommerce’s themes don't offer the same level of customization as WooCommerce's, modifying their templates is much easier. With just a few clicks, you can tweak things you like your text size, fonts, page layouts, navigation, banners, etc.

You don't have to write any code to utilize BigCommerce’s editor. It's also easy to preview what your site looks like on mobile and tablet screens, so rest assured, you don't have to launch anything live until you're 100% happy with it.

We're pleased to report, all of BigCommerce's free themes are contemporary and professional-looking, making them an excellent starting point for building an online store.

However, the main criticism BigCommerce users have about their templates (especially the free ones), is that a few of them are incredibly similar to one other.

Also, BigCommerce's free themes don't offer many fonts to choose from in comparison to other e-commerce website builders. Some templates provide as few as three or four different fonts to choose from! Yes, adding your own font is relatively simple, you just have to add some code to your template file. Still, it isn't as straightforward as being able to use your desired font there and then.

BigCommerce vs WooCommerce

WooCommerce

WooCommerce has 14 storefront themes at a one-off cost of $39. So, as you can see, WooCommerce's storefronts are cheaper than BigCommerce's premium themes, and they’re also more customizable.

But as we've already said, you'll need some technical expertise to use WooCommerce's design capabilities to the fullest.

BigCommerce vs WooCommerce

BigCommerce vs WooCommerce: Customer Support

With any online venture, there's a good chance you'll need a helping hand at some point or another. In light of that, you'll want the comfort of knowing there's a helpful customer service team available should you need them.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce offers around-the-clock customer support via several communication channels, including phone, email, and live chat. There's also a user forum and an online help center where you can access tons of handy self-help guides.

If you register for BigCommerce’s Enterprise plan, you'll get your own onboarding consultant and account manager, who'll help you through any issues that arise.

BigCommerce vs WooCommerce

WooCommerce

In comparison, WooCommerce‘s customer support is somewhat sparse (to put it mildly). You'll get access to WooCommerce Docs, which is an online help center where you'll find plenty of info about the platform. You'll also get access to the WordPress forum where you can ask other users your questions. But apart from that, WooCommerce doesn't provide much in the way of assistance.

BigCommerce vs WooCommerce

WooCommerce vs BigCommerce: Payment Options

Both BigCommerce and WooCommerce accept all major credit and debit cards and work seamlessly alongside the biggest international payment gateways, including:

  • Stripe
  • PayPal
  • Apple Pay
  • Square

With BigCommerce, you can accept credit cards via Paypal. As payment gateways go, it's an effortless setup, and you'll get access to BigCommerce's pre-negotiated credit card transaction rates. These vary depending on the pricing plan you opt for:

  • Standard: 2.9% + 30c
  • Plus: 2.5% + 30c
  • Pro: 2.2% + 30c
  • Enterprise: 2.2% + 30c (or lower, depending on what you negotiate).

Or, you can use a third-party payment processor – there are roughly 65 available (depending on your country of operation). Subject to your chosen payment gateway, you may have to pay monthly fees and/or transaction fees. The payment gateway provider sets these, so you'll have to contact them directly for further details.

Neither BigCommerce nor WooCommerce enforces their own transaction fees, so any extra processing costs come directly from your chosen payment gateway.

BigCommerce vs WooCommerce

WooCommerce supports over 100 payment gateways, including Authorize.Net.

In comparison, BigCommerce's selection is slightly more limited, so if you want a more extensive choice, WooCommerce is the better choice.

BigCommerce vs WooCommerce

BigCommerce vs WooCommerce: Which Will You Opt For?

To summarize, BigCommerce is best for those with larger or fast-growing businesses. Its incredible breadth of built-in tools and functionality will comfortably support your online store as you scale your business.

Conversely, WooCommerce is ideal for small businesses that already have a WordPress site. If you’re comfortable with launching and maintaining a WordPress website, WooCommerce could be perfect for you.

So, which will you go for – BigCommerce or WooCommerce? Or, are you considering one of their competitors like Shopify or Magento? Either way, let us know in the comments box below. Speak soon!

Rosie Greaves

Rosie Greaves is a professional content strategist who specializes in all things digital marketing, B2B, and lifestyle. In addition to e-commerce platforms, you can find her published on Reader's Digest, G2, and Judicious Inc. Check out her website Blog with Rosie for more information.