Which giant platform is best for you? It may seem like we’re splitting hairs to arrive at a precise answer. However, depending on your needs, you really might find out that one of these top names is ideal for your ecommerce shop.
We’re talking, of course, about WooCommerce and BigCommerce, two of the major players in ecommerce platforms. And we won’t waste your time: let’s skip right to the good stuff. Let’s learn all the good, the bad, and the ugly about these platforms—and what these features mean for you:
- WooCommerce and BigCommerce: What to Expect
- WooCommerce vs BigCommerce: a BigComparison
- Ease of Use
- Customer Support
- Apps and Plugin Offerings
- Payment Options for Customers and Checkout
- Dropship Compatibilities and Options
- The Pros and Cons of Each Platform
- Examples of Sites Using Each Platform
- Links for Getting Started on Each Platform
WooCommerce and BigCommerce: What to Expect
One thing is for sure: we’re not talking about two niche platforms here.
In WooCommerce’s case, you’re looking at one of the most successful ecommerce platforms on the entire Internet.
Some 4.4 million websites use WooCommerce. Because WooCommerce is a free plugin that goes with WordPress, it’s not hard to see why. It’s one of the lowest cost (and lowest barriers-to-entry) options on the market.
A side benefit of this popularity is that it’s incredibly accessible. It means if you’re considering only mainstream solutions—presumably because you don’t want to be stuck figuring something out because you’re having a problem with the platform—you’re in luck.
BigCommerce is no slouch in that area, either. Although there aren’t quite as many stores as those using WooCommerce, it’s still one of the biggest names in ecommerce and worthy of your consideration.
That’s why we’ll have to zoom in if we’re going to find out which one is right for you. Truth be told, you probably won’t go wrong, even if you were to flip a coin and choose one of these options at random.
But if there are special circumstances with the kind of store you might want to build, it’s worth taking the time to consider each platform. That’s especially true if you have a specific budget and need to find the low-cost option that will still give you all the features you need.
Let’s dive in.
WooCommerce vs BigCommerce: a BigComparison
That’s the bird’s-eye view. Now it’s time to get particular about what separates these two platforms. We’ll pay particular attention to their pricing structures, the features they include, and how easy it is to scale once you’ve chosen a solution.
At this point, it might help for you to sit down with a list to determine what your highest priorities will be. Do a quick review of the items below and then rank them from most important to least important. Then select the top three “most important,” and review the comparisons you see here:
- What’s most important to you? Is it scaling? Then you’ll want to skip straight ahead to scaling first. Do you simply want a site up and running? Then lower pricing might be your top priority.
- What doesn’t count as much? Not every category on this list is going to matter to you. Maybe the budget is not a concern. Maybe you don’t plan on dropshipping any products. Eliminate the categories that mean less to you to help focus on those that do.
As you tackle your priorities, you’ll probably find one feature or another that grabs you. With BigCommerce vs WooCommerce, there are enough features with both that you probably won’t be disappointed.
When it comes down to it, it’s all about dollars and cents, isn’t it? The question is: given the kind of store you run, which pricing structure makes the most “cents” for you?
It’s not as easy a question as you might imagine. A flat fee, for example, might save you the most money if you don’t have a lot of products to sell at first. A per-transaction fee might save you money in other circumstances.
To make a direct comparison, we’ll tell you the pricing structure of each platform, broken down to its own individual options.
- Standard: $29.95/month includes:
- Selling up to 50k annually
- No transaction fees
- Unlimited number of staff accounts
- 24/7 support
- Dedicated SSL
- Product ratings and reviews
- Plus: $79.95/month includes:
- Everything in Standard Plan
- Up to 180k sales annually
- Lower credit card rates via PayPal powered by Braintree
- Abandoned/persistent cart features
- Stored credit card features for regular customers
- Pro: $299.95/month includes:
- Everything in Plus Plan
- Up to 400k in sales
- Lower credit card processing rates
- Custom SSL
- Enterprise: Custom pricing includes:
- Everything in Pro Plan
- Unlimited API / API support
- Priority support
- No selling limits / based on custom pricing
One thing that many people like about BigCommerce’s pricing structure is that it’s flat; they don’t charge additional transaction fees and staff account fees as you expand.
They simply provide the platform for you to use for a regular price, which allows you to scale your shop as you see fit.
If you like a flat fee, it’s hard to beat WooCommerce. WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, so all of the associated costs will be related to any development labor, hosting fees, or other costs that you may want to throw at it.
As an open-source option, WooCommerce might be one of the finest solutions for testing the viability of a product. If you want to make some sales without committing to a full platform just yet, WooCommerce’s accessibility makes it the ideal platform for running those tests before you have proof of concept.
Ease of Use
The pricing comparison was easy. But here’s where things start to get a little trickier.
On the one hand, there’s a lot to like about WooCommerce’s ease of use. If you’re familiar with installing WordPress plugins and putting add-ons into your platform, voila! You won’t have many issues. That makes for great ease of use—though we’ll explore that in greater detail as well.
On the other hand, one of BigCommerce’s main appeals is that it’s so easy to get started and open up a shop right out of the box. Many of its key features are built right in, so you aren’t left wondering how to customize, install new plug-ins, and all the rest. That can potentially be an issue when you’re building from an open-source platform like WooCommerce.
That’s a fancy way of saying that it depends on your goals. Generally, websites tend to give WooCommerce the upper hand here because, after all, it is a plugin for WordPress. Those are especially easy to manage these days. But let’s dive into the specifics.
- WooCommerce: Maybe one of the easiest options on the market in terms of getting set up and starting out your journey as an online shop. In fact, many web providers include WordPress installation services. In the end, your job may simply consist of registering the website, hosting it, installing WordPress, and clicking once or twice until WooCommerce is established. From there, you only have to enter in information like your products and you’re ready to start selling online.
- BigCommerce: Although BigCommerce offers plenty for the price, it’s actually intuitive. Businesses especially like the shopping cart features—including features like retargeting—because they make it so intuitive for scaling a business as you attract more traffic. With WooCommerce, there may be some growing pains associated with growing an open-source platform to meet your needs. However, BigCommerce lives up to its name: it’s ready to tackle bigger goals whenever you are.
Given the difference, it’s fair to say that WooCommerce wins on the “ease of use” front in the early stages, while BigCommerce comes through when it’s time to scale.
And speaking of “time to scale,” what about that scalability, anyway?
A lot of people like BigCommerce here. You unlock unlimited accounts with the bottom pricing tiers, for example. You don’t pay additional transaction fees when you make a sale through BigCommerce, so you don’t have to worry about all those fees cutting into your stellar growth.
BigCommerce also comes with plenty of built-in features that are great for scaling, including:
- Wide payment options. BigCommerce makes it possible to accept a wide range of digital wallets like Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, and PayPal One Touch.
- Headless commerce features. You can use BigCommerce in a “headless commerce” arrangement to ensure maximum speed and efficiency with minimal issues.
- Easy switching between payment systems. For example, if you want to launch a brick-and-mortar store, BigCommerce has physical features that are easy to access, ala Shopify.
- Customer segmentation. Scalable features like customer segmentation allow you to continue giving customers a “personal” touch even when your company expands.
What about WooCommerce? Like many open-source solutions, your results may end up depending on how much you can squeeze out of it. But users don’t have problems realizing the following from WooCommerce when it comes time to scale:
- Plenty of extensions. Including 400+ extensions, actually, which add additional capabilities to the vanilla version of WooCommerce without much trouble.
- Unlimited product variations. If you need to cross-sell or upsell with unique product types, WooCommerce does just fine at handling the expanding needs of your catalog.
- Built-in payment systems. It’s easy to handle payments via Stripe, PayPal, and direct checks when you use WooCommerce.
- Unique features for free shipping. You can localize free shipping to people in a specific area, for example, which lets you target specific customer segments as you expand.
Ultimately, most ecommerce platforms are built for scaling in one way or another. WooCommerce has just enough features for scaling to make it a viable option in the long-term. However, we have to give a slight edge to BigCommerce’s offerings, especially since it’s intent on helping companies grow within its platform.
Remember how WooCommerce completely wins on the “pricing” part of this comparison? Well, there are trade-offs. One of those is customer support.
As you use WooCommerce, you’ll find it handy that some 4.4 million shops already use it. There are probably no questions to which you can’t find the answer online.
Essentially, that makes Google one big help desk for using WooCommerce. Which isn’t a bad thing.
It also means that if you want custom support aimed at solving your particular problems…well, good luck getting it. You may end up having to hire a developer who’s familiar with the platform.
One thing worth noting, however: many people turn to development support from their domain hosts if they have trouble with issues on their website because of WooCommerce. Although some people swear by this approach, it’s probably best to take this with a grain of salt.
As for BigCommerce, all that money you’re paying them monthly has to go towards something. That includes phone, live chat, and email support at any hour of the day, which means if you’re struggling with something on their platform, at least you’ll have someone you can reach out to and try to resolve it.
Apps and Plugin Offerings
Don’t be surprised if we award this category to WooCommerce. With its hundreds of additional plugins, it has plenty of expanding and tinkering available to you.
With BigCommerce, on the other hand, the emphasis isn’t on adding features, because they try to unlock those features for you right off the bat. It’s true that if you go up the pricing tiers, you may have access to more features, but there are enough built-in features that you may not even use an app for some time.
Let’s compare the two:
WooCommerce Apps and Plugin Offerings
- Support: Again, you’re going to be left mostly to your own devices here. If an add-on created independently promises to add to your WooCommerce capabilities but breaks your whole WordPress site, it’s not going to be fun.
- Page Builders: WooCommerce’s interaction with page builders are robust. After all, it is built on WordPress. It’s a cinch to add a blog to your shop, for example.
- List of Top Rated Apps: Divi Page Builder for WordPress plays nicely with WooCommerce and makes it possible to build an attractive site with minimal work. WooView is a neat way to generate visual reports on all of the work you’re doing. OptinMonster is a big-time conversion optimization add-on that syncs well with WooCommerce as well.
BigCommerce Apps and Plugin Offerings
- Support: You’ll take advantage of the 24/7 support with BigCommerce and piggyback off of that any time you use a new application or add on and need some assistance.
- Page Builders: Built right in. BigCommerce offers its own Page Builder feature, and you can read about using it here if you want a preview of what that might be like. There are also additional widgets available via Page Builder to expand your online store in whichever way you see fit.
- List of Top Rated Apps: You’ll find people supplementing BigCommerce with Live Chat, for example, to make their store’s features more robust. An add-on like Trust Pulse is also a nice way to introduce social proof into your online store in an intuitive way, and YotPo Reviews can accomplish similar functions.
Payment Options for Customers and Checkout
Payment Options for Customers
Is it fair to say you won’t have problems with either?
We are talking about two of the top platforms for ecommerce in the world, after all. So if this doesn’t end up being the decisive factor for you, we won’t be surprised.
For starters, BigCommerce offers plenty of payment features. Apple Pay, PayPal OneTouch—your customers can use all sorts of payment options when they buy from you. And given how much optimization BigCommerce puts into their checkout features, chances are customers aren’t going to have a problem doing that, either.
We could go on and on about what payment options BigCommerce allows, but the list is available here. And it’s so long that it would probably be easier to point out what’s not on the list.
With WooCommerce, it’s very much the same. With millions of ecommerce stores using the payment platform, it wouldn’t make much sense if they offered few options to customers trying to make a purchase.
Since both are so robust and neither charge their own fees for payment options, we’ll call this one a wash. It’s possible you may even be able to add more options with WooCommerce, but it’s not going to be an issue for most online stores.
This is another tricky comparison. WooCommerce didn’t get to its place of prominence by offering wonky checkout procedures. On the other hand, BigCommerce is especially robust with how it handles checking out, reordering, and retargeting.
With WooCommerce, the chief advantage is customization. If you can think of a feature to add, there’s a good chance you can use the open-source layout of WooCommerce to make it happen, even if it does cost you some developer time.
For example, if you want to initiate one-click refunds to scale a large operation, you can go ahead and do that—no problem.
With BigCommerce, all the familiar features are there. They also offer Optimized One-Page Checkout if you want to ditch all the frills and just focus on simplicity.
Dropship Compatibilities and Options
Given what you’ve read so far, you might not be surprised to discover that WooCommerce is excellent for dropshipping purposes. After all, all you have to do is launch a page and send customers to the appropriate area, and voila: you’ve got a dropshipping business.
What about BigCommerce?
This is where some of its apps and integrations may play a role, which isn’t always the case. They do have a wide variety of dropshipping add-ons you can choose from, including Spocket, which lets you add dropshipped products from all over the United States and European Union with minimal muss and fuss.
Or try AliExpress Dropshipping with BigCommerce—it’s all there.
As a platform that is decidedly not open-source, it’s fair to assume that you’re not going to have all the options for dropshipping with BigCommerce that you will with WooCommerce. But there’s enough there that you can start a dropshipping business with each. And don’t be surprised if you can use either platform to thrive with one, either.
The Pros and Cons of Each Platform
Are you getting a clear picture yet? Maybe one of the two platforms has jumped out at you as more appropriate for your needs. But to sum up, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of each:
- Flat pricing structure makes scaling easy, especially given its “out-of-the-box” approach to building a sophisticated ecommerce store
- Plenty of add-ons available, but they’re usually not necessary as BigCommerce offers plenty to people using the platform
- Robust checkout pages are a special plus, making it easy to handle everything from abandoned cart retargeting to cross-sells and upsells
- The pricing structure costs more than WooCommerce, even though they won’t charge you per transaction
- Compared to WooCommerce, the possibilities involved with add-ons and customization simply aren’t there
- You may have to experiment with add-ons and other features to create a unique website that suits your needs
- No cost. At all. No flat fee for using it; only the fees associated with anything else that you may have to do to keep a store up and running
- Massive user base will make it easy to find specific add-ons, integrations, and solutions to problems that come about as a result of getting started
- Built on WordPress, so it’s easy to handle page and blog-building to enhance your shop’s website
- Lack of customer support means that if you do get into the nitty-gritty of working with the platform, you may sometimes have to seek out your own answers
- You may end up relying on a complicated network of add-ons, some of which won’t always play nice with each other
Examples of Sites Using Each Platform
Links for Getting Started on Each Platform
Have you chosen a platform for you? Hopefully there’s more than enough information to work from. But there’s still one missing piece: getting started. Here are some helpful links that could help you along the way: