Bigcommerce vs WooCommerce (2022) – Ecommerce Comparison

Bigcommerce vs WooCommerce, which is the better option for building your ecommerce website out of these two very popular ecommerce platforms?

Well, that is what we will be looking at in this post by doing an in-depth comparison of these two platforms.

Just to note that we are looking at the self-hosted version of WooCommerce for this comparison.

Bigcommerce vs WooCommerce: What’s the Difference?

Bigcommerce is a fully hosted ecommerce platform that offers a website builder, ecommerce features and enterprise level hosting on their tiered pricing structure, with packages to suit businesses of all sizes. WooCommerce is the most popular ecommerce plugin for the WordPress CMS, being open source it is free to use and can be used as a base for a variety of different ecommerce websites.

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Pricing

bigcommerce logo
  • Standard: $29.95/m
  • Plus: $79.95/m
  • Pro: $299.95/m
woocommerce logo
  • Plugin: Free

Comparing these two plugins in terms of price isn’t exactly straightforward due to their business models, Bigcommerce is SaaS (software as a service) and WooCommerce is a free, open-source WordPress plugin but we will break these down a little more below.

Bigcommerce

As Bigcommerce is SaaS, it means that you pay a monthly subscription fee in order to use their software and this includes the website builder, hosting and support.

But the Bigcommerce pricing model is based on annual turnover limits and when you hit these limits, you are automatically moved on to the next plan and these limits are:

  • Bigcommerce Standard: Up to $50,000
  • Bigcommerce Plus: Up to $180,000
  • Bigcommerce Pro: Up to $400,000

If you exceed the $400,000 limit, you can add an additional $200,000 to your limit for an extra $150/m and you can keep repeating this process or upgrade to their Enterprise plan, which is custom-built for you and your business.

WooCommerce

Both the WooCommerce plugin and the WordPress CMS are completely free to install and use, which makes it a very appealing option for many online stores but you will incur some costs in order to run this setup.

This is because you need some web hosting in order to be able to install and run this software and while shard hosting will be ok to get started with and should on cost up to around $10/m.

For stores with lots of traffic, dedicated WordPress hosting, which ideally is PCI compliant is going to be required and can cost upwards of $30/m depending on your requirements.

Free Trial

Due to the different ways that Bigcommerce and WooCommerce work as ecommerce software, the way you can try them out is also different.

  • Bigcommerce offers a free 15-day trial, with no credit card or payment details required
  • WooCommerce is free to use but requires both web hosting and a domain name in order to test it out for yourself

This means that it is not free to try WooCommerce for yourself.

Features

As two of the biggest names in the industry, it is expected that they both offer a good range of features for their users.

Bigcommerce

Bigcommerce offers a large selection of features as standard, with more features being available on their higher priced plans but below is a summary of the features that are available on all of it’s plans:

Ecommerce Tools

  • Single Page Checkout
  • Product Ratings & Reviews
  • Side-by-Side Product Comparison
  • Create Promotions & Special Offers
  • Sell Physical & Digital Products
  • Discount Codes & Coupons
  • Google Trusted Stores

Marketing & SEO

  • Social Selling (Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest)
  • Email Marketing
  • Price Comparison Site Integration
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery
  • Loyalty Program
  • Social Sharing
  • Blog
  • Custom Meta Data
  • SEO Friendly URLs

Reporting

  • Number of Orders
  • Total Revenue
  • Number of Visitors
  • Conversion Rate
  • Average Order Value

Payment Gateways

  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • Worldpay
  • Sagepay
  • Klarna
  • Amazon Pay
  • Apple Pay

Bigcommerce App Marketplace

Even though you get a lot of great features with Bigcommerce, they also offer you the chance to add even more functionality with their own app marketplace, which offers over 750 apps to choose from.

Unfortunately, not all these are free to use as many have been developed by third-party companies and while most offer a free trial or sometimes a free plan, if you want all of the features then you are going to have to pay and they are usually billed monthly.

Bigcommerce App Store

WooCommerce

Considering WooCommerce is such a popular option when it comes to ecommerce, it is very basic when it comes to features as standard and below are all the features that are included with the plugin:

Ecommerce Tools

  • Sell Physical & Digital Products
  • Discount Coupons

Marketing & SEO

  • Blog (WordPress)
  • SEO Friendly URL’s

Reporting

  • Sales by Date
  • Sales by Product
  • Sales by Category
  • Registered vs Guest Customers

Payment Gateways

  • PayPal Standard
  • PayPal Express (plugin required)
  • Stripe (plugin required)
  • Klarna (plugin required)
  • Amazon Pay (plugin required)

WordPress Plugin Library

Now, this doesn’t look great for WooCommerce BUT this is where the WordPress plugin comes in, searching WooCommerce returns a result of over 7,000 plugins that can be used and these offer all different kinds of functionality from Marketing & SEO to payment gateways and ecommerce tools.

Woocommerce Add Plugin

There are also many many other things you can do including creating an online marketplace, booking websites and membership websites. Pretty much everything you could think of you can do with WooCommerce.

Outside of the free WordPress library, there are also thousands of paid plugins for WooCommerce that offer many more premium features. This also includes paid versions of the free plugins.

Theme Selection & Customization

Bigcommerce

Bigcommerce has one of the largest selections 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, only 12 of these are free to use, with the others available directly through Bigcommerce ranging from $150 – $300.

In 2020, Bigcommerce overhauled its theme customizer and added a range of new functionality to improve its previously, quite limited offering.

Bigcommerce Theme Customizer

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 the existing theme layout.

This is because there are very few and in some cases no options to add/remove or reorganize 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 colors, fonts and visibility options.

While there is a 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.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce has by far the best selection of free themes with over 1000 to choose from in the WordPress theme library, these are all made by third-party developers and will have varying degrees of WooCommerce integration but many of them work perfectly. There are over 8,500 premium themes available on Themeforest starting from only a couple of dollars.

The WordPress customizer is one of the best tools to change the look of your theme but the amount of options you get does depend on the theme you are using. Good quality themes such as Storefront by WooCommerce have lots of options and there is a lot you can do, other themes will be quite limiting.

Many of the themes you can get in the WordPress theme library are free versions of premium themes and it is a great way to see if the theme will be any good for your website before committing to buy.

Woocommerce Customiser

Outside of your product and category pages, you can now design the look of your page using the Gutenberg editor. It works on a block format and you can configure it to look exactly how you want, especially when you use blocks and widgets from third-party developers.

Support

Running an ecommerce website can be challenging at times and you require some help, so what support do you get from these platforms?

Bigcommerce – not only do Bigcommerce offer 24/7 support via live chat, email tickets and over the phone but they also make it very easy to contact them as there is a very useful help tab in the dashboard navigation menu that gives you all the options you need.

There is also a help center that is full of useful documentation as well as a community forum, where you can ask others users of the platform a question.

WooCommerce – due to being open source and free, the level of support for WooCommerce is quite limited. However, if you are a registered customer of WooCommerce then you can contact their support team via support tickets and they will help as soon as they can. They also have very good documentation on the WooCommerce website.

There is also a support forum on WordPress where you can ask questions about the plugin and generally, you will get a helpful reply either from one of the WooCommerce team or someone else on the forum. The same extends to plugins as long as you ask in the right place.

The one good thing about WooCommerce being so popular is the amount of information and guides out there to help you set up plugins or do things within the platform. A quick Google search will give you the answer to most of your problems.

Hosting & Performance

It is very difficult to do a straight-up performance comparison between these two platforms due to the way they work and there are far too many variables for WooCommerce, such as quality of hosting, performance optimization etc to be able to do this fairly.

But as Bigcommerce is a fully hosted ecommerce platform, we can see what the hosting environment is like for the platform and they offer:

  • PCI Compliant Hosting
  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Unlimited Storage
  • 99.9% + Uptime
  • Global CDN
  • Free SSL Certificate

Which all looks great on paper but what does this mean in the real world? Well, we were able to test Bigcommerce in terms of performance by taking 5 customer example sites and running them through Uptrends speed tool (New York server) to test their load time and Google PageSpeed scores for both mobile and desktop devices.

We ran each site through the tool once a day for three days and the results were:

  • Mobile Load Time: 5.17 Seconds
  • Mobile PageSpeed Score: 19/100
  • Desktop Load Time: 5.15 Seconds
  • Desktop PageSpeed Score: 56/100

This is pretty poor performance from one of the biggest names in the industry (pun intended) and they are well behind the competition in our annual performance testing.

Ease of Use

Facts and figures are one thing but what are these platforms like to use and how do they compare to each other? Well, that is what we are going to be looking at in this section by looking at:

  • Getting started
  • Inventory management
  • Order management

Getting Started

Bigcommerce

Getting started with Bigcommerce is really quite easy, once you have signed up to the platform (for the free trial, you only need an email address and to create a password), you will go straight into the main admin dashboard.

Bigcommerce has a really good system in place to get you up and running, with a very well-structured setup guide to help you get your store ready to start accepting orders as well as some info boxes that encourage you to learn more about the platform and what it can do.

Bigcommerce Set up Dashboard

Navigating your way around the Bigcommerce dashboard is very easy to do as the sidebar navigation menu is clearly labeled and all of the sections are laid out in a logical fashion. It really doesn’t take long to get up and running the Bigcommerce.

WooCommerce

Getting started with WooCommerce is a little bit more challenging as it is not as simple as just signing up and off you go. Instead, you need to install WordPress and then install the WooCommerce plugin.

Once you have got everything installed, getting started with WooCommerce is pretty easy. There is a quick start-up wizard that takes you through most of the important steps you need to do in order to get WooCommerce ready to start taking orders.

Using the WordPress and WooCommerce dashboards is nice and easy. As with the other two platforms, WordPress uses a sidebar navigation menu and all of the settings are clearly labeled.

The navigation sidebar can get a little crowded if you install a lot of plugins as many are accessed directly from the sidebar. Others will go into other sections such as settings or tools, so will need to learn where to go to access them once they are installed.

Adding and Managing Stock

Being able to manage your stock efficiently and effectively is a hugely important part of running an online store and there are three main areas to this, which are:

  • Adding products
  • Organizing your Products
  • Managing your inventory

Bigcommerce

When it comes to adding a new product, Bigcommerce has opted for a single page layout, which has a good number of options and you can easily navigate between the sections on the page using the pop-up sidebar. This sidebar makes it really easy to go in and edit your existing products.

Bigcommerce Add New Product

To organize your inventory, Bigcommerce has gone for the tried and tested category method and it allows you to easily create parent and sub-categories which makes it really easy to create a good product hierarchy. Setting up a new category is easy as they use a simplified version of the add product page.

To manage your inventory, Bigcommerce uses a really good system that allows you to quickly make changes to your products and this can be done individually or in bulk. The bulk editor allows you to make a number of changes including title, category, price and inventory on one page, making it a great tool to use if you have a very large product range.

WooCommerce

The add new product page in WooCommerce is very easy to use and is based on the classic post/page creator in WordPress. There are options to add full and short descriptions as well as a main featured image and additional images.

To add product information, there is a tabbed section below the main description that allows you to add pricing, inventory and delivery information along with any product attributes that you have created.

Woocommerce Add Product

Organizing your products is also very easy and uses a category system that allows you to make both parent and sub-categories which makes create a very good hierarchy for your products. The add category page is very simple, all you need to do is name the category and if you want to, you can add a description and images to the categories.

You can manage a lot of your inventory directly from the product overview page using the quick edit option including price, quantity, category, SKU number, sale price and product title and URL. This makes updating your inventory very quick and simple to do.

Managing Orders

Bigcommerce – The Bigcommerce order management system is arguably one of the best out there as you can manage your orders individually but if you are going to be having lots of sales then you want to take advantage of their bulk features. The bulk feature allows you to print off invoices and packing slips, resend invoices, update order statuses and export orders directly in the order management area.

WooCommerce – In the core WooCommerce plugin, the order management process is pretty poor as you can only update order statuses. The PDF Invoices and Packing Slips plugin changes this though and it is free to use, this allows you to print invoices and packing slips directly from the order overview page for individual or bulk orders. If you want to export your orders in CSV format, then you will need to install an additional plugin.

Summary

Bigcommerce

Pricing
Features
Theme Selection & Customisation
Support
Hosting & Performance
Ease of Use

Bigcommerce Pros

• Easy-to-use dashboard
• 24/7 support
• Social media integration
• Bulk product editor
• Order management system
• App store

Bigcommerce Cons

• Poor performance
• Theme customization could be better

3.8

WooCommerce

Pricing
Features
Theme Selection & Customisation
Support
Hosting & Performance
Ease of Use

WooCommerce Pros

• Free to install and use
• Theme Selection
• Plugin library
• You own the site
• Easy to use admin dashboard

WooCommerce Cons

• Requires additional plugins
• No real support options
• Can be expensive if you need to use paid plugins

3.8

Conclusion

Bigcommerce vs WooCommerce – Which is the Best Ecommerce Platform?

Due to the built-in features, scalability and general ease of use, Bigcommerce does come out on top as it just offers a more complete package and is a good ecommerce platform overall.

It is not perfect and the main issue is the performance of the hosting but the rest of the platform performs very well and could be a very good option for both small and big businesses.

There are plenty of reasons why WooCommerce is very popular, such as it being effectively the official ecommerce plugin for WordPress and also being free to use but out of the box, it lacks a lot of features and the technical requirements in terms of security, maintenance and optimization can be daunting for someone new to ecommerce.

So there it is, my complete comparison between these two ecommerce platforms and as with all business decisions, it comes down to what YOU and YOUR business require.

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Hi, I'm Paul, the Owner and Founder of EcommerceGold.
I ran my own Ecommerce Business for over 7 years and now help others start their own online retail empires!