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After speaking with several business ownersrecently who are using BigCommerce for their online store and gaining some insights into how this platform works, it prompted me to write a comparison piece on BigCommerce vs WooCommerce.
I was interested in digging deeper into how the two platforms perform so that I could highlight the pros and cons of each platform and be better positioned to know when to suggest WooCommerce and when BigCommerce might be the appropriate platform.
|Market share||5% of all websites||0.2% of all websites|
|Hosting||Choose your host||Self hosted|
|Price||Free + development costs||$29.95 – $249.94 per month + development costs|
|Ease of Use|
WooCommerce vs BigCommerce – Market Share
It’s always good to start with market share to understand the position of the players, so that’s what I did.
WooCommerce Market Share
If you check out the graph below, you’ll see that WooCommerce is used by 14.7% of all websites that use WordPress.
Or to look at this another way. WordPress powers 30% of all websites on the internet, so WooCommerce powers 5% of all websites on the internet.
BigCommerce Market Share
BigCommerce by contrast is used by 0.2% of all websites, and 0.4% of all websites using a content management system.
So we have a clear winner in terms of market share, WooCommerce.
WooCommerce vs BigCommerce – Ease of Use
How easy it is to use your online store is an important consideration, but it depends on a few different criteria.
- Will you be working with a developer or agency?
- What tasks do your employees need to be able to do without a developer or agency
Basically, what is a healthy balance. Some things ultimately are going to be reliant on a developer, or agency, but what do your team need to be able to do day to day to make sure the shop runs smoothly.
WooCommerce Ease of Use
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, so using WooCommerce is like using WordPress. WordPress has a bigger learning curve than BigCommerce and I would say it’s harder to use for those new to the platform.
It takes some time to learn your way around the WordPress CMS, in particular where all the different parts of your store are managed. For example, most of the WooCommerce settings can be found under the WooCommerce section of the WordPress dashboard, but plugins and extensions are managed elsewhere.
BigCommerce Ease of Use
BigCommerce is an easy to use platform, in the same sort of style as Shopify. In terms of ease of use, I would say that BigCommerce is easier to use than WooCommerce, but more limited in terms of functionality and customisation.
On the BigCommerce platform it’s easy to do things like add products, alter styling and separate products into categories. It’s more user friendly than WooCommerce, but lacks the granular level of control that many ecommerce and marketing managers desire to manage their stores effectively.
BigCommerce’s back end is well designed and intuitive, making it fun to use an easy method of managing your store.
BigCommerce wins this one.
WooCommerce vs BigCommerce – Customisation
Ecommerce is more competitive ever, so the ability to easily customise your store and change any part of the buyer journey is incredibly important. Small changes to the shop, product page or cart can increase your conversion rate, ultimately increasing your bottom line.
When looking at customisation, we looked at where the customisation limits are for the two platforms.
BigCommerce is a software as a service platform, rather than an open source platform. This means, that customisations need to come from the BigCommerce team in the form of feature updates and addons.
This means that you are quite limited in what you can customise and how.
WooCommerce is open source and can be customised and extended by any developer who is proficient in PHP, the language WordPress is written in.
Every aspect of a WooCommerce store can be customised, including how your store functions. You could create striking new shop layouts, or change the way your cart and checkout functions entirely if your ecommerce manager wanted to.
As WooCommerce uses WordPress, there are often plugins or extensions built by other developers you can purchase and bolt on to your website, saving you the time and money of building something custom. But, the great thing about WooCommerce, is that if a plugin or extension doesn’t exist that suits your purpose, you can always build your own!
WooCommerce wins this one.
WooCommerce vs BigCommerce – Hosting
Where you host your online store can either be the cause of many headaches, or a relaxing state of mind knowing your host have your back.
Some hosts are great, some are terrible! Customer support isn’t the only concern, there’s also the performance of your hosting platform and how much control you have over it.
BigCommerce is self hosted, which means that when you sign up for a plan BigCommerce handle the rest according to your plan.
There are pros and cons to this. The upside is, you don’t have to worry about hosting or handle any of the technical bits. The downside is, you don’t have any control over the performance of your hosting, and your site is probably hosted on a crowded shared server.
WooCommerce websites can be hosted anywhere that supports WordPress. This gives you a great deal of control over how your website is hosted and managed. It also provides your developer with the ability to quickly resolve any issues without involving your host.
As you get to choose where to host your site, you have a range of great providers at your disposal, like Cloudways for example, who allow you to setup scalable cloud plans so that your website has its own dedicated resources and performs a lot better than if it were on a shared plan.
WooCommerce is the winner here.
WooCommerce vs BigCommerce – Price
When evaluating the price of an ecommerce platform, there are two things to look at. The price of the platform (if there is one) and the cost of development support.
Price should be a consideration when picking an ecommerce platform, but it should not be the primary decision making factor, as cheaper is not always better.
BigCommerce is sold using the software as a service model. As such, there is an upfront cost attached to using BigCommerce each month, or in the form of an annual payment.
Pricing starts at $29.95 per month up to $249 per month for the Essentials plan. Enterprise pricing is handled separately.
There is also the cost of development to consider, if you need someone to customise your store for you.
As BigCommerce is a much smaller ecommerce platform, the developer pool is a lot smaller. Using basic supply and demand, the cost of development and maintenance for BigCommerce is higher in general than WooCommerce.
WooCommerce is free to install and use on a WordPress website. It can be downloaded from the WooCommerce website and is bolted onto a WordPress website in the form a plugin.
It’s possible to start a WooCommerce for very little, other than the cost of a premium WordPress theme that is integrated with WooCommerce.
The cost of WooCommerce comes from any customisation or extension you want done on your website, that cannot be achieved through an existing plugin or extension. Many WordPress premium themes offer built in customisation options for lots of WooCommerce, otherwise any skilled developer will be able to assist you.
WooCommerce vs BigCommerce – Staging and Testing
The way you test features and make updates to your website is important. Trying new features and code on your live website can cost you customers and result in website outages, as well as bugs that render parts of your site broken.
A Staging environment is an exactly duplicate of your website that is used for testing and developing new features. Once new features have been tested, they can be safely pushed to the live website seamlessly.
For WooCommerce, this is an especially important consideration because you need to have the ability to choose exactly what you push live. If you push live your Staging database for example, you will overwrite all of your live orders with old data – not good!
BigCommerce Staging and Testing
Unfortunately, according to this thread on the BigCommerce website – https://support.bigcommerce.com/s/question/0D513000034CBWW/does-bigcommerce-offer-a-staging-area-for-clients- -there is no BigCommerce staging functionality, so it’s not possible to use best practice for your ecommerce store when using BigCommerce.
WooCommerce Staging and Testing
WooCommerce Staging is managed at the host level. As we covered earlier, you can pick your own host for WooCommerce and the best WordPress hosts offer integrated Staging and Production environments.
Cloudways, our recommended WooCommerce host, offers 1 click Staging setup for example. Using this tool you are able to create a duplicate of your website on a hidden subdomain, that can then be pushed live at the click of a button.
For more on Staging, check out What Is WordPress Staging an article we wrote explaining how Staging works.
WooCommerce wins this one too!