WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce software that was built for WordPress. It’s a WordPress plugin whose purpose is to enable users to do eCommerce on a WordPress site. It’s the most popular eCommerce integration for WordPress.
BigCommerce is a stand-alone and highly integrated eCommerce platform, independent of WordPress. In addition to this, there’s a separate add-on for WordPress, appropriately called BigCommerce for WordPress.
So, on one hand, WooCommerce and BigCommerce can be viewed as different eCommerce solutions for WordPress. But, on the other hand, BigCommerce is much more than that; it has the advantage of also being self-contained eCommerce software, unlike WooCommerce. On top of this, while WooCommerce works exclusively with WordPress, BigCommerce is compatible with various content management systems and platforms.
Those are some of the substantial differences between the two. But, in this WooCommerce vs BigCommerce comparison, we’ll explore much more than just their differences. We’ll also talk about whether they’re easy to use, their notable features, their price, and the customer support they provide. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.
Ease of Use
It’s definitely easier to find your way around BigCommerce than WooCommerce. In this department, BigCommerce outperforms WooCommerce by a mile.
For starters, the WooCommerce setup process is pretty complex. You’ve got to take care of many things on your own: find a hosting service, buy a domain name, configure security and backups, etc. WooCommerce requires its users to be tech-savvy to a high degree.
In addition to this, with WooCommerce, you’ve got to install a whole bunch of additional add-ons to be able to run your eCommerce store as smoothly as possible. In order to provide a complete eCommerce experience to its customers, WooCommerce requires the installation of additional integrations. This can have an adverse effect in regard to speed, performance, and security. By using many integrations, you run the risk of slowing down your page load time, deteriorating your site/store performance, and making it more vulnerable to security threats.
In contrast, the majority of the functionalities needed for running an eCommerce store are built into BigCommerce. The platform takes care of hosting, SEO, payment, content, marketing... virtually everything. A highly or completely integrated platform makes things much smoother and more convenient.
Of course, as with any other eCommerce platform, there is a learning curve with BigCommerce too. But, you don’t exactly have to be Linus Torvalds (i.e. a genius software engineer) to figure out how to set things up and do eCommerce business on BigCommerce.
BigCommerce offers a ton of features. Some of them are available with every plan, others only with the higher-tier plans.
Let’s have a look at a shortened list of noteworthy BigCommerce features:
- No transaction fees;
- Unlimited inventory, storage, bandwidth, and staff accounts;
- POS (point of sale) integrations;
- The ability to sell on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, and on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart.
- Mobile app;
- Drag-and-drop page builder/editor;
- Streamlined single-page checkouts;
- Various types of discounts, gift cards, and coupons;
- Product filtering;
- Analytics and reporting;
- Excellent SEO tools, for instance, the possibility to customize URLs to make them more SEO-friendly;
- SSL certificates;
- Built-in DDoS protection and fraud detection;
- PCI compliance;
- A bunch of payment gateways;
- Abandoned cart recovery;
- Reliable hosting, exceptional uptime, and fast page load time. As BigCommerce works outside of WordPress and because it runs on the Google Cloud platform infrastructure, the user experience stays intact even in situations when there are traffic surges or your eCommerce store needs to handle a massive amount of orders;
- A ton of product configuration options;
- Akamai Image Manager, a built-in tool that optimizes image files for faster page load time;
- A host of professionally-looking responsive and customizable themes, a small number of which are free, while the paid ones cost between $150 and $300;
- A lot of apps and integrations that need to satisfy very high standards to be listed on the BigCommerce app store. The quality and security control of the available BigCommerce integrations are much higher compared to WooCommerce and, generally, WordPress;
- The platform offers limited options when it comes to customizability. There’s a lot more room for customization in WooCommerce. However, the interesting thing is that BigCommerce launched a front-end framework called Stencil that provides a lot more in terms of aesthetics and customization options without coding;
- Basic blog feature, though probably not sufficient for serious bloggers. If you need a good tool that can handle heavy blogging, is SEO-friendly and is easy to set up and use, DropInBlog comes highly recommended. There’s a short article on how to set up a blog on BigCommerce, feel free to check it out.
It’s tricky to talk specifically about WooCommerce features since, by its nature, it’s software that necessitates other software. This implies that many features that are built into other eCommerce platforms are only available as integrations on WooCommerce. But since there are features that come with WooCommerce out of the box, let’s have a look at what WooCommerce offers on its own.
- WooCommerce Payments native payment gateway and a bulk of other payment processors like Stripe, PayPal, Google Pay, etc. Along with his, WooCommerce accepts credit cards, bank transfers, and other payment methods along these lines;
- Automated tax calculations;
- Ability to print labels and manage orders and shipments;
- Ability to sell both physical and digital products;
- Coupons, discounts, reward points, and gifts for your customers;
- WordPress blog;
- SEO tools;
- Upsells and cross-sells;
- Mobile app for iOS and Android;
- Multilingual store that supports various national currencies;
- Endless customization options;
- Unlimited inventory, orders, and customers;
- Real-time alerts of new sales;
- Analytics and reports - ability to track statistics;
- Bulk editing of products;
- Email functionality;
- Countless eCommerce-related plugins, giving you access to thousands of WordPress plugins or those made specifically for WooCommerce.
BigCommerce offers 3 regular pricing plans, 1 custom enterprise-level plan, and a 15-day free trial.
These are the prices of the regular plans:
- Standard: $29.95/month (billed both monthly or annually).
This plan enables you to start an online business by building an eCommerce store and gives you the basic tools to sell things and accept payments;
- Plus: $79.95/month (monthly) or $71.95/month (annually).
This plan is suitable for a growing business and it provides you with additional marketing tools for better lead-conversion rates;
- Pro: $299.95/month (monthly) or $269.96/month (annually).
This plan helps you to go big and scale up by giving you access to advanced eCommerce features.
A big advantage of the BigCommerce pricing system is that there are no transaction fees with any of the pricing plans. No matter which payment processor you choose, BigCommerce doesn’t take a cut of your sales.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, a big downside is that BigCommerce automatically upgrades your account after you’ve reached a certain threshold of annual earnings. These are the earning limits that the company allows per plan, beginning with the Standard and ending with the Pro plan: $50k, $180k, and $400k.
So, for example, when you make more than $50,000 in profits, BigCommerce will upgrade your account without you necessarily agreeing to it. Many users find this to be a major inconvenience and drawback of the BigCommerce pricing system.
You can install WooCommerce for free, but you need to be aware of and careful with all the additional costs.
As we already mentioned, if you decide to build your eCommerce store on WooCommerce, you have to buy hosting, an SSL certificate, various plugins, etc. Inevitably, costs will add up really quickly.
On a yearly basis, hosting will cost you about $120. Add to this an additional $15 annually for a domain name and a good or, at least, decent premium theme, normally priced between $20 and $100 per year.
If you decide not to use WooCommerce Payments and instead go with Stripe or any other third-party payment processor, there’ll be added fees per sale. These are regular fees that third-party payment gateways take for their service (check out this WooCommerce page for details).
Finally, of all the integrations you’re going to need, the bulk will probably be paid. To be clear, there are many free add-ons for WooCommerce. However, the paid ones give you much more in terms of functionality and options compared to the free extensions. So for more serious and advanced stuff, you’ll hardly get by with free apps alone.
In the end, it turns out that doing eCommerce business on WooCommerce is not exactly cheap, and definitely not free. Check out this article to find out more on the overall costs of running a store on WooCommerce.
Help and Support
BigCommerce provides around-the-clock support via email, phone (US-based), and live chat - all available with every pricing plan.
Fast troubleshooting can be a deciding factor when it comes to the online business person who is not that tech-savvy. They just want to sell their products online and technology should be a facilitator, not a hindrance to their business. In that sense, easability and practicality of the software are necessary qualities. And this is exactly what BigCommerce provides along with superb technical support and customer help.
With WooCommerce, things work differently. Due to the open-source nature of the software, it seems that there is no dedicated team of customer service staff that looks after its customers non-stop. To a great extent, you're on your own in this area.
Searching for answers on forums and perusing the WooCommerce documentation is probably what you’ll end up doing most of the time. If you need more help than that, you can address your issues through the ticket system or make use of a third-party customer support app like WP Buffs. There’s also a support page where WooCommerce provides some useful information on how you can troubleshoot your eCommerce store issues.
In addition to this, due to your store being hosted on another platform and all the third-party apps installed, there’s a fairly high probability that you’ll have to solve problems in more than one place, which will make things even more knotty from a support perspective.
This is not quite the ideal situation, since high-quality and easily accessed customer service is very important for businesses today. Clearly, BigCommerce beats the WooCommerce support by a big margin. However, keep in mind that WordPress has an enormous community of users, many of which are experts on the software, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find someone out there who can help you with your specific WooCommerce store problems.
BigCommerce is much more efficient in what it does when compared to WooCommerce. It seems to be a more solid and stable eCommerce software.
On the other hand, WooCommerce offers a lot more customization and a plethora of free add-ons. Also, when it comes to costs, it may be the cheaper option out of the two, especially if you take a really economical approach to eCommerce (free plugin, free integrations, free themes, cheap hosting, and similar).
You may be a fan of WordPress and want your eCommerce store built on that platform. That’s cool. But if research and this BigCommerce vs WooCommerce comparison show anything, it’s that there are other wonderful software out there too, like BigCommerce for eCommerce and DropInBlog for blogging. So, why don't you try them out?