Tow of the biggest names when it comes to building websites is Bigcommerce and Wix, but which one is better for building an ecommerce website?
Bigcommerce vs Wix – What is the Difference?
Bigcommerce is a specialised ecommerce website, that can be used by businesses of all sizes and comes loaded with dedicate ecommerce features and 24/7 customer support. The Wix platform is primarily a website builder that can be used to build an ecommerce website by installing the Wix Stores app.
Disclosure – this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you sign up to services via a link in this post, I do receive a commission, which helps keep the site running and at no cost to you. BUT in no way does this influence my review of either platform, if I don’t like something then I will say so!
To make this comparison as fair as possible, I have chosen the plans that are the closest in terms of pricing across the two platforms, which is the Bigcommerce Standard package and the Wix Busines Basic package.
Unlimited Products Products
Up to $50k Annual Turnover
No Transaction Fees
Unlimited Data Storage
Free SSL Certificate
12 Free Themes
No Turnover Limit
No Transaction Fees
20gb Data Storage
Free SSL Certificate
86 Free Themes
The two entry level packages that offer ecommerce functionality are pretty even in terms of what they offer, with the biggest differences being the annual turnover limit and support options.
Bigcommerce operates on a tiered pricing structure and this means that when you hit certain turnover limits, you are automatically upgraded to a larger plan but moving up to a bigger does give you more in terms of features from the platform. With Wix, there are no turnover limits on any of their plans.
The other difference is the support options that both platforms offer but I cover this in more detail in the support section.
Bigcommerce goes one better than most platform (literally!) by offering a 15 day free trial instead of the industry standard 14 days.
Wix operates slightly differently as they do offer a 14 day trial on their business and ecommerce packages but they also allow you to have a free plan for life but this is limited on features and although you can test the Wix Stores app, it won’t be usable on the front end of your site.
One of the main selling points of any ecommerce platform is the features that they offer for their users, so what do these two platforms offer?
It is unsurprising that one of the biggest names of the industry offers a whole host of ecommerce features for its users, all of the features listed below are included with the standard package:
- Single Page Checkout
- Product Ratings and Reviews
- Side by Side Product Comparisons
- Promotions and Special Offers
- Discount Codes and Coupons
- Google Trusted Stores
- Abandoned Cart Recovery
Marketing & SEO
- Social Selling
- Email Marketing
- Price comparison site integration
- Loyalty Program
- Google Shopping
- Social Sharing
- Custom Meta Data
- SEO Friendly URLs
- Number of Orders
- Total Revenue
- Number of Visitors
- Conversion Rate
- Average Order Value
As I mentioned in the pricing section, as you move up through the packages with Bigcommerce, you do get more features included with your package.
Bigcommerce App Store
Even though Bigcommerce comes with lots of features built in, they understood that their users might want different functionality and that is where the Bigcommerce app store comes into play. Populated with over 700 different apps that have been made by selected Bigcommerce partners and these apps cover a variety of different options including marketing, payment processors and inventory management.
Within the app store is a selection of both free and paid apps, with the paid apps, many of them have custom pricing and it takes a bit of digging to find out exactly what these are going to cost.
When it comes to pricing, some have an upfront cost, where as others have a monthly recurring fee, which is charged on top of what you pay for your monthly Bigcommerce package.
Due to Wix being primarily a website builder, many of the features of the platform aren’t specifically designed for ecommerce but once the Wix Stores app is installed, the combination offers the following features:
- Sell Physical & Digital Products
- Discount Coupons
- Create Promo Video
- Live Chat
Marketing & SEO
- SEO Friendly URL’s
- Custom Meta Data
- Send via Email Campaign
- Share Product to Social Media
- Sell via Facebook and Instagram
- Conversion Rate
- Purchase Funnel
- Top Email Campaign
- Wix Payments
Wix also offers an app marketplace but only a small selection of these will work with the Wix Stores app and this means that the amount of ecommerce functionality you can add is quite limited. However, many of the apps can add some useful general features to a Wix website.
Within the App Marketplace, there are a selection of both free and paid apps. Many of the paid apps will offer free trials or a free package but if you want all of the features, then you are going to have to pay and this is usually a monthly recurring payment.
One of the things that really does let the Wix platform down is the poor selection of payment gateways on offer and there are no additional ones available in the App Market.
Theme Selection & Customisation
Bigcommerce has one of the largest selection of themes, of all the fully hosted with over 150 to choose from with the theme marketplace, there is also a small selection available on themeforest.
Unfortunately though, only 12 of these are free to use, with the other available directly through Bigcommerce ranging from $150 – $300.
In 2020, Bigcommerce overhauled their theme customizer and added a range of new functionality to improve their previously, quite limited offering.
The new features include a page builder, that uses widgets to allow users to add custom sections to their themes homepage and build custom pages from scratch. While this is a very welcome addition, you are limited in terms of existing theme layout.
This is because there are very few and in some cases no options to add/remove or reorganise sections, which is a shame as it does let the new features down a little bit.
Outside of the limited layout options, there are quite a few different things that you can change on a Bigcommerce theme, including colours, fonts and visibility options.
While there is lot that you can change within a Bigcommerce theme, the customizer is pretty easy to use, although the theme styles section does take a little time to figure out exactly what you can do.
Wix has a large selection of over 80, free to use, mobile responsive themes to choose from for building an online store with the platform but it is not clear if all of the themes they offer support the Wix Stores app?
There are also a few third-party developers who have build some premium Wix themes and the pricing very much depends on the developer.
Where Wix really shines though is when it comes to customisation as they offer two different tools!
The first and easiest to use is their ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) tool, which has been designed so that users can quickly and easily makes changes to the look and feel of their site.
This tool gives you lots of control when it comes to customisation and is arguably one of the best tools in the industry. What makes it stand out from the rest is that it can be used on every page of your site, meaning that you can create a truly custom looking website.
The second tool is their original editor and while it is a good tool, there is too much you can do in terms of customisation as it is possible to make very minor changes, which can lead to lots of time spent tweaking things and the results aren’t really worth the effort.
To install apps on a Wix site, this has to be done via the original editor but they are looking to add this feature to the ADI tool.
One of the reasons why people choose a hosted platform such as Bigcommerce or Wix is that they get help and support to run their website. But how good is either platforms offering?
When it comes to support, Bigcommerce are one of the most generous as they offer all users full 24/7 support, which can be accessed through a variety of different mediums including over the phone, via live chat and email support ticket.
All of which can be accessed directly from the Bigcommerce admin dashboard under the help section.
Bigcommerce also have a community support forum, which can be a great place to ask non urgent questions. Not only do support team members frequent the support forum but so do app and theme developers who may provide an alternative way of doing things.
The support options on the Wix Business Basic plan are pretty limited and only users on the VIP plan get priority support. But on the business basic plan, you are limited to email support tickets and phone support but this works on a call back system and can leave you waiting around for them to get back to you.
While this all does sound great, contacting Wix support isn’t the easiest thing to do as their contact info is buried in their help section and it takes some digging to find it.
Hosting & Performance
Bigcommerce and Wix take a very different approach when it comes to promoting their hosting information. Bigcommerce are very forward about promoting their hosting set up and offer the following:
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Unlimited Storage
- PCI Compliant Servers
- Free SSL Certificate
- 99.99% Uptime
- Hosted on Google Cloud
Wix on the other hand only say that they include a free SSL certificate, have 99.9% uptime and 50gb storage.
This doesn’t stop me putting both platforms to the test! And to do this, I took three of their customer example sites and ran them through Pingdom’s speed tool using their Washington D.C and San Francisco server and also Google’s Page Speed Insights, once a day for three days to get a nice spread of data, so how did they do?
Pingdom (D.C): 2.84 Seconds
Pingdom (SF): 3.43 Seconds
Google Mobile: 12/100
Google Desktop: 48/100
Pingdom (D.C): 6.52 Seconds
Pingdom (SF): 6.72 Seconds
Google Mobile: 12/100
Google Desktop: 28/100
Honestly, it isn’t a particularly great showing from either platform, especially on the Google mobile test and were joint bottom of all best performing ecommerce platforms.
Bigcommerce were considerably better than Wix when it comes to load times and were around 50% faster in both tests. This was also noticeable when visiting the websites chosen for the tests as the Wix ones were very laboured.
Even so, it seems that both platforms could do with improving the performance of their hosting!
Ease of Use
Now I do know that ease of use is subjective to the person using the site so the following is just my opinion and should only be used as a guide.
Getting started with Bigcommerce is very easy to do and the offer a free 15 day trial to help you test the platform out. And all you need is an email address and to create a password.
Once this is done, they will ask a few questions such as what stage your business is currently at and also what niche you are in, so that they can tailor the dashboard more towards you.
Once you have gone through the sign up process, you will be taken through to the admin dashboard, which is very will designed.
You also get a quick set up guide, which is a little on the light side as it only has 4 sections but it is better than nothing to help get you on your way with building your new ecommerce website.
The admin dashboard is very easy to use and the main sidebar navigation menu is well labelled, meaning that it doesn’t take very long to get used to where everything is within the dashboard.
Wix offers two different options when it comes to trying out their platform, the first is to take a 14 day trial of their paid plans, which allows you to test out all of the ecommerce features.
The second is to create a free Wix account and install the Wix stores app, which can be used in the back end but won’t go live on your site until you upgrade to a paid plan.
Whichever sign up process you decide to use, on the first sign in, you can go through the Wix ADI (Advanced Design Intelligence) set up and this will take some basic information from you and build a basic template for your website.
It is worth going through the ADI set up as it does configure some things for you, rather than having to do it all yourself.
Once you have gone through the set up process, you will be taken into your admin dashboard and will be greeted by a pretty comprehensive set up guide, that has different sections for your main website and then the Wix stores plugin.
The Wix dashboard is easy to use and they have gone for a sidebar navigation menu and all of the sections are clearly labelled. The Wix stores app integrates really well into the dashboard and creates new headings that allows you to manage your store from the main menu.
Adding and Managing Stock
Being able to manage your stock efficiently and effectively is a hugely important part of running an online store and for me there are three main areas to this and they are:
- Adding products
- Organising your Products
- Managing your inventory
Creating a new product in Bigcommerce is a very simple process as they have opted for a single page layout but the amount of options is very comprehensive and the secondary navigation menu makes it very easy to quickly and easily jump between sections.
There are quite a few sections on the add new product page and it is worth taking a little time to work through your products so that you know you have added as much information as you need to.
To help you organise your inventory, Bigcommerce has gone with the traditional category system that allows you to create parent and child categories. This allows you to create a good product and category hierarchy.
Bigcommerce really shines when it comes to managing your inventory as they have one of the best bulk editors on the market. The spreadsheet format allows you to quickly and easily update things such as the product title, SKU code, price, stock levels and whether the product is visible or not.
You can also manage your products individually by clicking on them and it takes you back into the add new product page.
Wix have also opted for a single page layout for their add new product page but before going through to the page, you first need to select whether it is a digital or physical product as the two pages are slightly different but both are equally as easy to use.
The add new product page is a much simpler affair on Wix and while it does make it easier to add a new product, it does lack a lot of the options compared to Bigcommerce.
With Wix, organising your products does feel quite limited as it only allows you to create parent categories. You can work around this with the navigation menu but it doesn’t work in the same way that a proper parent/child category system does.
Managing your inventory within Wix isn’t great as there are no bulk editing tools, it all has to be done on a product by product basis. This could be very problematic if you have a large inventory.
Bigcommerce – The order management system within Bigcommerce is one of the best out there as there is so much you can do from the main overview menu. You can print invoices/packing slips off and update order statuses, this can be done in bulk or for individual orders.
The only time you would need to go into an individual order would be if you needed to edit it.
Wix – Unfortunately, I was unable to test the Wix order management system out as it wouldn’t allow me to create a test order. If I do get to try this out, obviously I will come back and update this post.
• Easy to navigate dashboard
• 24/7 support
• Ability to sell on social media
• Bulk product editor
• Order management system is very good
• App store
• Small annual turnover limits
• ADI set up
• ADI theme customisation
• Dashboard set up guides
• Wix App Market
• Add/edit product page
• Hidden support contact details
• Poor Performance
• Limited payment gateway options
• Lack of sub-categories
It really isn’t close between these two, Bigcommerce is a much more complete package and definitely the better option when it comes to building an ecommerce website.
It isn’t perfect but when you use it, you can tell it has been designed and built for serious ecommerce businesses, from the features to the layout and general ease of use.
Wix isn’t a bad platform and could be an option for a small ecommerce website but if you plan on growing your business, you would probably soon find yourself outgrowing the platform.
The ADI editor is a very good tool and one of the best in the market but the poor performance and limited ecommerce features, really do let the platform down.
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