When setting up a new ecommerce store, the first technical decision most store owners make is which ecommerce platform to use. Many store owners narrow the choice to WooCommerce vs. BigCommerce.
Both platforms offer robust features and capabilities. Determining which one is best for your business often comes down to cost and support.
In this post comparing WooCommerce vs. BigCommerce, we review:
- What to look for in an ecommerce platform
- WooCommerce features and pricing
- BigCommerce features and pricing
- How to pick the right platform for your business
What to Look for in an Ecommerce Platform
When choosing an ecommerce platform, look for a platform that meets your current needs and can grow with your business.
When choosing an ecommerce platform, evaluate:
- Ease of Use. How easily can you update and manage your store? What’s the process for adding an item? What’s the setup like?
- Customization. What parts of the online store can you customize? What features can you not change? How easy is the customization process? Will you need outside developers or an agency to make the changes?
- Costs. What are the fees for the platform? Will you need to pay for additional services or features?
- Feature Support. Does the platform support all the components required to run your store?
- Integrations. What built-in integrations does the platform offer? Examples of integrations ecommerce stores may need include QuickBooks or other accounting software and off-platform sales integrations such as Amazon’s marketplace.
- Payment Methods. What are the platform’s payment methods and gateways?
- Scalability. Will the platform grow with your business? Can the technology support sudden traffic spikes?
- Support. What type of support is available? Is support included, or do you have to pay extra?
WooCommerce’s popular ecommerce plugin creates online stores on WordPress websites. Its parent company, Automattic, develops WooCommerce as a free open source system. WooCommerce is not an all-in-one solution. The store owner still needs to purchase and set up hosting. Also, its users likely will pay for plugins to get the functionality they desire.
WooCommerce features and benefits include:
- Multiple payment options and gateways
- Support for different product types, including physical, digital, and configurable products
- Extensive partner and extension ecosystem to help with customization
- No limits on products or customization
Unlike WooCommerce, BigCommerce offers an all-in-one solution. As a SaaS ecommerce platform, BigCommerce hosts your website on its servers. As of September 2021, BigCommerce plans start at $29.99 per month and go to more than $299 per month for enterprise plans. Large online retailers use BigCommerce because it combines ease of use with advanced capabilities.
BigCommerce features and benefits include:
- Support for multiple payment methods and a customizable checkout experience
- Unlimited products with a robust product search engine
- Cross-channel integrations for selling on Amazon, Instagram, and more
- App store and partner network for customizing your store
WooCommerce vs. BigCommerce: Which Is Right for Your Business?
WooCommerce and BigCommerce work well for ecommerce businesses of all sizes. Deciding which one is best for your business comes down to the amount of control and customization you want for your site and the technical expertise of your team.
Customizing WooCommerce vs. BigCommerce
As an open-source platform, WooCommerce supports more customization. It also is more popular, so it’s easier to find and customize your site theme. WooCommerce also offers a more extensive collection of extensions and plugins. BigCommerce includes several options for customizations and has a decent-sized app store. But, unless you’re on a more expensive enterprise plan with open access, you’ll still need to work within the confines of the BigCommerce system. With WooCommerce, you control the entire stack and can modify the system.
Technical Expertise Needed for Each
As a fully hosted solution, BigCommerce requires less technical expertise to set up and customize. But, as we just discussed, that ease-of-use comes at the cost of flexibility. WooCommerce offers more customization but is not as easy to use out of the box.
Ecommerce businesses will also need technical expertise to help scale WooCommerce. Remember, WooCommerce runs on WordPress, so you’ll need to optimize and scale both WordPress and WooCommerce. Our e-book on optimizing WordPress offers an excellent overview of the steps we recommend for ensuring WordPress or WooCommerce sites load fast and are ready to scale.
If your ecommerce store runs on WooCommerce, you’ll be responsible for optimizing the frontend and backend of your website. As a SaaS solution, BigCommerce requires less technical expertise to optimize and scale. You’ll want to follow best practices such as ensuring your BigCommerce themes are up-to-date, but the BigCommerce team takes care of the majority of backend maintenance and optimization. As a part of the service fees paid to BigCommerce, they’re responsible for ensuring your site stays up and running and can scale for large spikes in traffic.
Getting Help Deciding Between WooCommerce and BigCommerce
At Mindsize, we work with clients using WooCommerce and BigCommerce. We like the flexibility WooCommerce offers for customization. However, we also recognize the ease of use and support provided by BigCommerce make it the right choice for some businesses. If you’re trying to decide what ecommerce platform is best for your online store, our experts can help.
We specialize in helping ecommerce stores scale and prepare for growth. We believe your technology should never hold you back from growing your business. As a part of making sure an ecommerce site can scale, we evaluate if the site is on the best platform. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with WooCommerce or BigCommerce development.