ShopWired and Bigcommerce are two popular options for creating an ecommerce store in the UK, but which one is better?
ShopWired vs Bigcommerce: What is the Difference?
Both ShopWired and Bigcommerce are dedicated platforms for building ecommerce websites. The main difference is that ShopWired is primarily focused on the UK market and offer tools for B2C and B2C website. Bigcommerce operates on a global scale, with users all around the world and primarily focuses on providing a platform for B2C ecommerce websites.
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Up to 750 Products
Up to £75k Annual Turnover
No Transaction Fees
Unlimited Data Storage
Free SSL Certificate
Standard UK Support
19 Free Themes
2 Admin Accounts
$50k Turnover Limit
No Transaction Fee
Unlimited Data Storage
Free SSL Certificate
24/7 Live Chat Support
12 Free Themes
Unlimited Staff Accounts
The two entry level packages from both platforms are incredibly close in terms of not only pricing but also what you get for the monthly fee.
ShopWired does have a larger turnover limit at £75k, which when conversions rates are taken into account means it is quite a bit larger but you are limited to 750 products but this goes to unlimited on the larger packages.
As mentioned above, the Bigcommerce turnover limit is quite a bit smaller but you do get unlimited products as well as having access to 24/7 support from the Bigcommerce team.
Both platforms let you try their respective platforms out free, ShopWired offer a 14 day free trial, with Bigcommerce going one better and offering 15 days free.
So both platforms are pretty even when it comes to pricing but what about features?
For this I am going to give an overview of the main features that are available on both platforms in four main categories.
Out of the box, ShopWired is a very capable ecommerce platform and comes with a great selection of features to help you build an ecommerce website.
- Multi-buy Offers
- Product Extras
- Product Reviews
- Ebay Integration
- Digital Downloads
- Gift Vouchers
- Reward Points
Marketing & SEO
- Google Feed
- MailChimp Integration
- Discount Codes
- Abandoned Cart Recovery
- Create Sales
- Social Share
- Custom Meta Data
- SEO Friendly URL’s
- Gross Profit Report
- Sales by Product
- Sales by Category
- Payment Methods
- Sales by Month
- Failed Searches
- PayPal Express Checkout
- Amazon Pay
- Barclaycard EPDQ
With ShopWired, you do get to pick an choose some of the features that are available on your website as they use a combination of Apps and Extensions.
Their Apps are really easy to use, they are simple on click installs and can be uninstalled just as easily. The majority of the are free to use but some do incur a small monthly fee. On the larger packages, you do get all of the Apps included for free.
All of these extensions are free to use but they do need to be coded into your site, you can do this yourself if you have experience with doing this or you can pay a one off fee and the ShopWired team will do it for you.
- 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
Outside of the standard features that Bigcommerce offers, they also have over 700 additional apps to choose from within their app store. These apps cover a variety of different aspects of the bigcommerce platform including marketing, order management and analytics amongst many other categories.
Unfortunately though, not all of these apps are free to use. There is a good selection of free ones to choose from but most are paid for, especially if you want access to all of the features that the app has to offer.
Theme Selection & Customisation
ShopWired overhauled their theme selection and customisation offering in 2020 with their new version 4 framework and this includes a selection of 20, free to use, mobile responsive themes. There is also a paid options for all of these themes, which includes the installation and configuration of a few extensions and these can be purchased for £89 + vat.
If none of the standard theme selection does it for you, then you can have the ShopWired team design build a custom one for you by choosing their Pro Package at £3495 + vat or the Advanced Package at £3995+vat.
The Version 4 update includes a live preview, which is a first for ShopWired and this does improve the customisation process.
However, there is still quite a limitation on what you can actually do as the options are pretty much limited to changing the colours, text snippets and links lists. There isn’t any layout options or the ability to add/remove sections from your front page, which is a shame as the themes are beautifully designed.
However, if you know about PHP, CSS and HTML, then you can do a lot of customisation as you do have access the theme source code, meaning that you can make as many changes as you want.
Bigcommerce does have a far larger selection of themes with over 150 to choose from but only 12 of these are free to use and the paid ones range from $150 – $300. One good thing about the Bigcommerce themes is that nearly all of them offer multiple layout options, which offers much more flexibility.
There are also an additional selection of over 90 themes available on the Themeforest marketplace.
Bigcommerce also overhauled their theme customizer in 2020 and introduced a new page builder tool, that uses widgets to add custom sections to your homepage and also build custom pages on your site.
This is definitely an improvement but there is still a downside as you cannot change the layout or add/remove the pre built sections of your chosen themes homepage. If this was included with the new page builder, then Bigcommerce would have had one of the best customizers of all the fully hosted platforms.
There are also a range of other customisations that you can do, including changing the colour and fonts along with some visibility and general settings. Overall the new customizer is pretty easy to use, although the theme styles section does take some working through to understand it properly.
Support is one of the reasons why you would choose a hosted ecommerce platform as you have someone you can contact if you can’t figure out how to do something or something has gone wrong.
ShopWired offer excellent UK based support via the phone, live chat and email. While the quality is excellent, you are limited by their working hours which are 9.30am – 5.30pm Monday to Friday.
It is also very easy to find the contact details for ShopWired as their phone number and email address is clearly shown on their website and there is a live chat icon available directly in your admin dashboard.
Bigcommerce offer all of their users 24/7 support and there are a few ways in which you can contact them including over the phone, via live chat or email support ticked. They have also made it very easy for their users to find this contact information with it being displayed within the admin dashboard.
Outside of the main support options is the community support forum, where you can ask questions to not only members of the Bigcommerce support team but also developers and other experienced users of the platform and they may offer alternative solution to the problem.
Hosting & Performance
On paper, there is little to choose between the two platforms when it comes to their hosting as both offer:
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Unlimited Storage
- PCI Compliant Servers
- Global Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- 99.9% Uptime
On this there should be little to no difference in the performance of a website using either of these platforms right? Well I decided to put both of these companies to the test by taking three of their customer example sites and running them through Pingdom’s speed test tool and Google’s pagespeed insight once a day for three days. So how did they do?
Pingdom: 1.44 Seconds
Google (Mobile): 24/100
Google (Desktop): 53/100
Pingdom: 3.42 Seconds
Google (Mobile): 12/100
Google (Desktop): 48/100
ShopWired just edges this one as they did perform better in all of the tests. The Pingdom load times were all consistently under the 2 second mark, which is definitely a plus point. ShopWired’s Google scores aren’t the best and it does put them in the bottom half of the leader board (you can see the leader board in my Fastest Ecommerce Platform post).
The Bigcommerce results aren’t great and they performed significantly worse than all of their rivals and this is some cause for concern with their hosting, especially their mobile score as mobile ecommerce is a growing sector.
Ease of Use
Facts and features are one thing but how easy are these platforms to use? In the second part of my comparison, I look at some of the main things that you will do on these platforms and see how the two compare.
Getting started with ShopWired is a very simple process, all you need is an email address and a password and you are ready to go. No credit card is needed to start the free trial.
The ShopWired dashboard is also very easy to use as they have gone for a sidebar navigation menu. All the main section headings are well labelled and it won’t take you long to learn where everything is. If you do get stuck, the ShopWired team have written a really good selection of guides to take you through most of the things you will need to do.
If you do need to contact them about anything, you can easily start a live chat session directly from your dashboard, so no need to go hunting for how to speak to someone.
Getting started with Bigcommerce is really quite easy, once you have signed up to the platform (for the free trail, you only need to an email address and to create a password), you will go straight into the main admin dashboard.
Bigcommerce have a really good system in place to get you up and running, with a very well structured set up 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.
Navigating your way around the Bigcommerce dashboard is very easy to do as the sidebar navigation menu is clearly labelled 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.
Adding and Managing Products
The complete inventory management process on ShopWired is well laid out and easy to use.
Starting with adding a new product, they have opted for a single page layout, which has a good flow from one section of the page to another. This makes it really easy to add and also edit products on your website.
To organise your products, ShopWired have used the tried and test category method and this allows you to create parent and sub-categories. Being able to do this, enables you to have a nice hierarchy for your products, which is not only good for SEO but also user experience.
When it comes to managing your inventory, the majority of this has to be done on a product by product basis as there is limited bulk editing but you can update stock levels using the manage stock section.
When it comes to adding a new product, the Bigcommerce set up is one of the better ones I have used. The single page layout has a good number of options 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.
To organise 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 use a really good system that allow 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.
The order management process with ShopWired makes managing your orders very simple to do, whether you have a large or small number of orders.
From the main order management dashboard you can print off invoices via PDF or export them via CSV file, this can be done for single or multiple orders. You can also update order statuses directly from the order overview page.
All of this can also be on an order by order basis by clicking on the order and then making changes within the order summary page.
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 invoice and packing slips, resend invoices, update order statuses and export orders directly in the order management area.
• Excellent Support
• Product Management
• Theme Selection
• Order Management System
• Very Good Performance
• Theme Customisation isn’t very good
• Having to code in extensions
• Easy to use dashboard
• 24/7 support
• Social media integration
• Bulk product editor
• Order management system
• App store
• Small annual turnover limits
ShopWired vs Bigcommerce: Which One is Better?
As you can see from the summary above, there really isn’t much to choose between these two platforms but for UK businesses, I think the edge does just go to ShopWired as they are UK based, understand the UK market and offer UK based support (lots of UK’s used there!), plus the performance is better.
Bigcommerce is still a good option and offers lots of features as is very user friendly but the performance is a cause for concern, especially on mobile devices.
But I would highly recommend trying both platforms out for yourself to see which one you feel fits your business the best and you can do that by clicking the buttons below.
14 Day Free ShopWired Trial
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Try Bigcommerce for Free
15 Day Free Trial!