BigCommerce VS WooCommerce: Which Shopping Cart Is Better?
|Pricing||Starts at $29.95/mo||$0|
|Ease Of Use||Excellent||Good|
|Reviews & Complaints||Good||Good|
|Best For||Small to enterprise-level businesses looking for easy-to-use software with great support||Vendors who want a low-cost site that can grow with their business|
They’re two of the biggest names in eCommerce, and if you’re ready to build your online store you may run across these two online sales giants: BigCommerce and WooCommerce. Each has a massive impact on the world of eCommerce. But that doesn’t mean they’re interchangeable. In fact, a BigCommerce VS WooCommerce comparison reveals some very important differences. Let’s take a look, so you can decide which is right for your business needs.
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BigCommerce VS WooCommerce
A BigCommerce VS WooCommerce matchup starts with the reality that both are immensely popular eCommerce solutions. Still, there are differences that might make one, or the other, a better fit for your business. Factors like price, ease of use, and available features can make your choice clear.
It makes sense to start by highlighting the biggest difference between the two: BigCommerce is a fully hosted SaaS (software as a service) that delivers an impressive feature set with out-of-the-box functionality; WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin designed specifically for websites built on WordPress.org. But do these two eCommerce giants have anything in common?
BigCommerce’s claim to fame is its ease of use. It’s a fully hosted, low-cost, scalable platform with customization options that include an array of integrations and add-ons. Even if you have no experience building or running a website — and even if you’re brand new to the world of eCommerce — you can use BigCommerce to get your online store up and running.
It’s an entirely cloud-based platform, with nothing to download, and with tools built-in for multi-channel selling, inventory management, marketing, shipping, and more. It’s suitable for businesses of all sizes, and it comes with 24/7 customer support, a free BigCommerce subdomain name, and a basic SSL certificate. With a range of pricing plans, you can add more features and upgrade from the basic options if you choose.
BigCommerce is a good platform for selling all kinds of things, not just physical products. You can also sell digital products, subscriptions, and tickets to events through a BigCommerce web store. And while the rules don’t allow for sales of illegal or obscene goods, BigCommerce does allow sales of CBD products.
- Easy to use
- Free trial doesn’t require a credit card
- Good support
- Competitive pricing
- Some features restricted by plan level
- Caps on annual sales
- Limited design tools
WooCommerce has one clear advantage over BigCommerce: It’s free! And here’s an important difference: WooCommerce is not a website builder. Instead, it’s a free, open-source shopping cart plugin that you can install on any website built on WordPress.org, a self-hosted, open-source platform. WooCommerce was designed specifically to work with WordPress websites. So, before you can use WooCommerce, you’ll need to install WordPress.org and set up a WordPress website.
Keep in mind that there are two types of WordPress sites. WordPress.com is the popular hosted blogging platform. WordPress.org is the platform you can use with WooCommerce. Before you can use either WooCommerce or WordPress, you’ll need to be ready to take on coding duties or hire someone to handle that for you. WooCommerce is powered by PHP, an open-source scripting language. You’ll also need to arrange for site hosting and security or sign up for a hosting plan.
Because WooCommerce is open-source, anyone with coding knowledge can create and add features to a WordPress website. There’s also a dedicated developer community making add-ons and adaptations available for general use. That’s not to say that WooCommerce doesn’t come with impressive features out of the box, because you’ll find everything you need to set up and manage your online store. Still, there’s always room for improvement, and, fortunately, between the ability to create your own improvements and an array of already-made add-ons, you’ll be able to create your perfect store.
In fact, you won’t encounter any restrictions using WooCommerce beyond your own imagination and coding abilities. You can add an unlimited number of products and unrestricted customization. And don’t forget the attractive price tag: WooCommerce itself is free to download and use.
- Free to download and use
- Unlimited customization
- Numerous features
- Developer knowledge required
- Limited support
Both WooCommerce and BigCommerce come loaded with all the features you will need to build a functional web store. And if you find a feature lacking, you likely can find the extension or add-on you need to make your store better. Take a look for yourself at this comparison chart:
|Automatic Shipping and Tax||✓||✓|
|Abandoned Cart Recovery||✓|
Still, there are some differences worth noting. Here are a few of them:
BigCommerce offers 12 free, stylish themes to choose from. If you want something more, there are more than 140 paid themes listed in the theme store, priced from $150 to $300. Keeping in mind that WooCommerce is not a website builder, you can choose among three very basic but functional themes for your WordPress.org website. You can visit the WooCommerce theme store to view about 20 paid themes; prices range from $39 to $129. All themes for both WooCommerce and BigCommerce are mobile responsive.
When you set up a WooCommerce store, you’re responsible for setting up your own site security. By contrast, all BigCommerce plans include an SSL certificate, no matter what plan you choose. If your plan gives you a custom domain, your site automatically has a free, dedicated SSL certificate called Encryption Everywhere. If you want more, you can purchase an SSL certificate verified by GeoTrust that includes additional security features, or you can install a third-party SSL certificate. If your store uses a BigCommerce branded domain, your secure pages will be covered automatically at no charge under the BigCommerce shared SSL certificate.
Because it’s based on open-source software, you can add unlimited customization options to any WooCommerce store. The trick is that you need to be able to handle the code yourself or pay someone to handle the coding for you. BigCommerce allows a fair amount of customization and has multiple APIs (application programming interface) but is designed to offer ready-to-use solutions for users who are less tech-savvy overall.
BigCommerce includes multi-channel selling as an out-of-the-box feature. You will have to add an extension for multi-channel selling on a WooCommerce site.
It’s not easy to present a head-to-head WooCommerce VS BigCommerce comparison in the area of pricing because they are very different products. WooCommerce is free open-source software, so there’s no charge to download and use it to set up an online store. However, for this comparison, it wouldn’t be fair to leave the impression that WooCommerce is 100% free to use. In reality, you’re quite likely to incur a number of expenses in using WooCommerce, including developer fees, site hosting, a domain name, security, and any extensions you add.
WooCommerce does offer some options that can make it a little easier, with preferred partners offering hosting and other services for monthly fees starting at just $1 per month. Some site hosts offer development services, too.
BigCommerce pricing is more straightforward. Plans range from $29.95/month to $299.95/month, with tiered features that increase as you go up in plans. A discount of about 10% is available if you pay annually instead of monthly. There’s also an enterprise-level plan. Pricing depends on your needs. You can try BigCommerce for free with a 15-day trial, no credit card required.
It’s important to note that BigCommerce plans are tied to annual sales. The monthly fee rises along with your sales numbers. The first milestone is $50,000 per year, so if your sales are below that you can use the least expensive Standard Plan. The next tier tops out at $180,000 in annual sales, and after you beat $400,000 per year, you’ll need to move to the custom Enterprise plan.
Ease Of Use
The average user will find a clear difference between these two products. WooCommerce is based on open-source software and coding knowledge is a must-have — whether you possess the ability yourself or can find and pay someone else to do it for you. Of course, although there is a steeper learning curve and developer knowledge is required, the trade-off is unlimited flexibility and customization options with WooCommerce.
BigCommerce is designed for non-technical users. It’s an out-of-the-box solution you can use to get an eCommerce site up and running relatively quickly, even if you have zero coding, design, or website development experience. In exchange for that ease of use, you give up some design flexibility and customization options.
Customer Service & Support
BigCommerce offers multiple options for customer support. United States and international customers can contact the BigCommerce support team 24/7 via phone and email. There’s a knowledge base and an active community forum too, as well as active social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and more.
Options are more limited with WooCommerce, as expected from an open-source software solution. Don’t expect live support in any form, unless you’re working with a developer or one of the WooCommerce preferred site hosts. You’ll find plenty of useful self-help options, though, including documentation, FAQs, a blog, and a forum. You can also connect with a consultant, known as a WooExpert, if you need to hire some helpers.
Reviews & Complaints
BigCommerce users like the platform’s ease of use, with most saying it’s easy to get a store up and running quickly, without technical or design knowledge. For those with a little bit of technical know-how, the API is a powerful tool. And BigCommerce lets you create online stores that are robust enough to grow with your business.
Numerous users mentioned that BigCommerce doesn’t provide enough design flexibility, and limited reporting tools is another oft mentioned complaint. Despite the features built-in, many users feel that add-ons are all but required, and the cost of those can add up.
WooCommerce users express both frustration and extreme satisfaction with the plugin’s open-source nature.
Users with development experience love that they have full control over function and design, while less technical users can find it overwhelming. Most users appreciate the free cost and that it’s a scalable solution with absolutely no limits. WooCommerce’s supportive community won approval too. On the other side of the coin, many users complain that costly add-ons are necessary to fill in missing features, that the WooCommerce can be complicated to set up (one reviewer called it “necessary complexity” in a nod to the benefits the complexity brings).
The lack of support is a common complaint, and some users point out that if you’re not prepared to set up security for your site, you leave yourself open to attacks.
The WooCommerce Extension Store offers all the big names you’re looking for in categories like payment processors, marketing, shipping, and more. Basically, you can find just about anything you need to run an online store or make it easier to do so, like JetPack and Zapier.
BigCommerce, too, offers a multitude of helpful integrations — 1,074 of them, at last count. That includes big names like MailChimp, Quickbooks Online, and more. Keep in mind that BigCommerce comes loaded out of the box, so you may find you need to add less to build a functional store.
The Key Differences Between BigCommerce & WooCommerce
A BigCommerce VS WooCommerce matchup shines a light on two top eCommerce competitors. Both are good choices for setting up and running an online store. Here are a few key differences that can help you make your choice:
- Developer Knowledge: BigCommerce is a shopping cart platform that’s designed to be easy to use. It’s possible to start from scratch and get a store up and running in a day’s time, even if you have never done it before. WooCommerce is a different kind of product. It’s not an out-of-the-box solution but an open-source plugin designed to work with WordPress websites. So if you decide to go with WooCommerce, you’ll absolutely need to call up some developer skills to make the software work for you.
- Pricing Models: BigCommerce offers all-inclusive, tiered plans that fall into the range of industry-standard pricing. Your BigCommerce plan will include site hosting, a domain name, and security. (You may choose to upgrade those, for a price, but you won’t have to.) WooCommerce, on the other hand, has a base price of $0. You won’t pay anything to download and use the software. However, you will be on the hook for site hosting, a domain name, and security, so be sure to factor in those costs. And don’t forget to add developer fees, if you’re not willing or able to code yourself.
- Scalability: A BigCommerce store can easily grow with your sales, but keep in mind that as your sales increase, so will the cost of your BigCommerce plan.
- Security: Since BigCommerce is a fully hosted product, stores are protected by multiple security levels, including firewalls, file integrity scanners, and intrusion detection. Each store comes with an SSL certificate, too. If you set up a store using WooCommerce, you’ll be on your own for all things related to security, including software updates.
Which Shopping Cart Is Best For My Business?
Have you learned enough to choose confidently between WooCommerce and BigCommerce for building your online store? While they’re both good products, and they both power impressive numbers of eCommerce sites, each one has its ideal user.
Choose BigCommerce If …
BigCommerce is best for
- Users who are looking for an easy-to-implement solution with a low learning curve
- eCommerce vendors who are comfortable paying more each year for their shopping cart plan as their sales increase
- Anyone who anticipates needing support and service as they build and maintain their online sales site
Choose WooCommerce If …
WooCommerce is best for
- Users with development expertise or those willing to pay someone else to build their online store
- Those who want no limits placed on their store, whether that means unlimited customization, unlimited growth, unlimited product catalog, or whatever your eCommerce needs require
- Merchants who are comfortable with the trade-off between low-cost and high levels of control
- Anyone who wants to add an eCommerce element to an existing WordPress.org website
Comparing WooCommerce VS BigCommerce: The Final Verdict
Two different but equally good products, aimed at different audiences. If you know what you want for your online store, you should be able to see which product you should pick from the WooCommerce VS BigCommerce matchup.
WooCommerce is an excellent choice for any online merchant who already uses WordPress and is ready to monetize their site. Just be sure that you know what you’re getting into. You’ll need to have a level of website development and design expertise or be willing to learn on the job unless you’re willing to pay someone to take care of the site development for you.
It may take a little longer than some of the off-the-shelf shopping cart solutions that are out there, but in time you’ll have a unique online store that’s built to suit your exact needs. Start by downloading WordPress.org, then add the WooCommerce plugin to your site to get started.
If that doesn’t sound exactly like you, BigCommerce may be a better choice for your eCommerce site. Because BigCommerce stores are fully hosted, a lot of the work will be done automatically for you. In fact, many users say they can get a basic store up and running in a day. Don’t take their word for it, though. You can download BigCommerce for a free 15-day trial and test it out for yourself. You may find it’s an affordable, easy to use solution that’s just what you need.
Whichever choice you make, you’ve chosen a powerful eCommerce tool that, in the right hands, can be a powerful driver of your online sales success. Good luck, and get selling!