WooCommerce vs. BigCommerce: A Comprehensive Comparison
1. Customizability and Control
WooCommerce: As an open-source solution, WooCommerce grants total control over every aspect of your store. This means unlimited customization options, unrestricted access to code, and the freedom to tailor your store to your exact requirements.
BigCommerce: While BigCommerce offers a variety of customization options, it operates on a hosted platform, which inherently limits the depth of customization and control compared to open-source alternatives.
2. Cost Efficiency
WooCommerce: The core WooCommerce plugin is free. Although there are costs associated with hosting, premium plugins, and themes, the overall expenditure can be closely managed, allowing for a tailored and budget-friendly solution.
BigCommerce: This platform operates on a tiered pricing model based on sales volume. As sales grow, so do your monthly fees, which can become considerably more expensive over time, especially when you need advanced features.
WooCommerce: With the right hosting and infrastructure, WooCommerce can scale seamlessly to accommodate growth. Its flexibility ensures you’re only paying for the resources you truly need, even as your store grows.
BigCommerce: While BigCommerce is designed to scale, there are caps on sales for each pricing tier. Exceeding these caps necessitates a plan upgrade, potentially increasing costs even if no additional features are required.
WooCommerce: With access to thousands of plugins and extensions, both free and premium, WooCommerce offers vast extensibility. Whether you need SEO tools, performance analytics, or unique shipping options, there’s likely a plugin available.
BigCommerce: Although BigCommerce also offers a variety of apps and integrations, its ecosystem is not as vast as WooCommerce’s, given WordPress’s global developer community.
5. Theme and Design Options
WooCommerce: Integrated with WordPress, WooCommerce benefits from an expansive library of themes. From free options to premium designs tailored for various industries, the choices are abundant.
BigCommerce: While BigCommerce has a curated selection of themes, both free and premium, the library is not as extensive as WooCommerce’s, leading to potential limitations in design flexibility.
6. Ownership and Data Control
WooCommerce: Hosting your store means complete ownership and control over your data. There’s no reliance on third-party platforms, ensuring you always have access and rights to your data.
BigCommerce: Being a hosted solution, BigCommerce stores your data on their servers. While they offer robust security and access measures, it does place a layer of dependence on a third-party platform.
7. Community and Support
WooCommerce: Backed by the vast WordPress community, WooCommerce users benefit from extensive forums, tutorials, and resources. There’s a high likelihood that any challenge you face has been tackled and documented by another user.
BigCommerce: While BigCommerce offers official support and a community forum, its user base and community resources are not as expansive as WooCommerce’s.
Selecting the ideal platform for your online store is pivotal. While both WooCommerce and BigCommerce are formidable contenders, WooCommerce shines in terms of flexibility, cost-efficiency, scalability, and community support. For businesses keen on maintaining autonomy, controlling costs, and harnessing the power of a vast community, WooCommerce emerges as the optimal choice and an excellent alternative to BigCommerce.
What are WooCommerce and BigCommerce?
WooCommerce is a free, open-source eCommerce plugin for WordPress, the leading content management system. You choose your own hosting provider and install the software, typically with just one click.
BigCommerce is a closed-source, paid, standalone eCommerce platform. Everything from hosting to commerce functionality is included in the plan that you choose.
Want to see how WooCommerce stacks up against other solutions? Compare us to Shopify, Etsy, Magento, eBay and Amazon, and Patreon.
The benefits of WooCommerce over BigCommerce
WooCommerce was built specifically for WordPress
WordPress is a content management system that was originally created for blogs and now powers 41% of the web. Its focus on content creation is one of the reasons that everything from hobby blogs to eCommerce shops, major news networks, and service providers use it for their website.
While BigCommerce was designed for eCommerce stores, they aren’t focused on blogging and website management — two very important aspects of a successful online store.
While BigCommerce can integrate with an existing WordPress site through a plugin, there’s still a major disconnect. To add products and manage your store, you would need to log into your BigCommerce account instead of editing them directly in WordPress (known as your dashboard). This creates a lot of extra steps that really add up.
In contrast, WooCommerce was built specifically for WordPress, by Automattic, the people behind WordPress.com. Their support is handled by experts that know the platform inside and out, and know how to help you through any scenario or problem. The combination of the content and design tools built into WordPress and the flexible eCommerce functionality included with WooCommerce is a powerful, complete system for online stores of any size.
And, with WooCommerce, you can add products, manage orders, update shop settings, and more in the same place you write blog posts, create pages, and respond to comments. And if you add on the free WooCommerce Payments extension, you can also monitor charges, handle disputes, and track deposits right on your site. It’s a completely seamless process — there’s no need to log in and out of multiple accounts or switch between dashboards.
WooCommerce is more affordable
Whether you’re just getting started or selling large volumes of products, every dollar counts. And by choosing WooCommerce over BigCommerce, you’ll save a lot of money without sacrificing quality.
WordPress and WooCommerce are both completely free, open source software. They’re passionate about making publishing and the web accessible to absolutely everyone, regardless of budget or skill level. You won’t pay anything whether you have five products or 5,000, make $500 a month or $5 million.
You will, however, need to purchase a hosting plan — which stores all of your files and makes them accessible to site visitors — and a domain name, the URL of your site. Depending on your choice, hosting costs about $120 a year and a domain name costs about $15 a year.
BigCommerce is a paid eCommerce platform. Their plans start at $29.95 per month and increase up to $299 a month or more depending on the size of your business. The more sales you make and the more functionality you want, the more you pay. They do, however, include hosting in their plans, though you’ll still need to purchase a domain name.
The website theme that you choose impacts the design of your site, from layout to colors and more. There are a variety of high-quality WordPress and WooCommerce themes that are completely free. The Storefront theme is a great example — it’s intuitive and powerful, but super customizable for your brand.
Themes and Design
For businesses seeking unique aesthetics and enhanced functionality, a myriad of premium themes are accessible via the WooCommerce marketplace and from independent vendors. One distinct advantage of an open-source platform like WordPress is the ability for developers to craft high-caliber themes, resulting in a diverse selection. Premium theme investments for WooCommerce typically vary between $20 and $100 annually.
Contrarily, BigCommerce offers a comparatively restricted collection of both free and premium themes. More feature-rich and industry-tailored premium themes generally start at $150, with some reaching prices of $300.
Initially, a basic storefront might suffice. But as your business evolves, the flexibility to augment functionalities becomes paramount.
WooCommerce provides foundational functionalities without incurring costs. In contrast, BigCommerce necessitates higher-tiered plans for extended capabilities. Both platforms present a combination of complimentary and premium extensions for niche functionalities.
- For product filtering, which facilitates efficient customer product searches, BigCommerce requires a commitment to their $299/mo package. WooCommerce, on the other hand, offers this feature complimentary.
- For seamless checkout experiences, enabling customers to securely store credit card details necessitates the $79.95/mo plan on BigCommerce. Yet, WooCommerce Payments extension facilitates this at no additional charge.
- To target cart abandoners with automated emails, one would need BigCommerce’s $79.95/mo package. Conversely, WooCommerce provides several extensions, some free and others priced around $59 annually.
A salient distinction lies in WooCommerce’s customization flexibility, permitting users to select and pay only for pertinent functionalities. In contrast, BigCommerce might compel businesses to escalate plans, leading to inadvertent expenditure on redundant features.
Scalability with WooCommerce
In scaling, the necessity to calibrate settings to accommodate traffic spikes is paramount to prevent site latency or crashes.
WooCommerce excels here, enabling hosting plan upgrades, provider transitions, and advanced load balancing. Users can also integrate Content Delivery Networks (CDN) or opt for dedicated hosting, exclusively for their storefront.
BigCommerce’s model is more rigid, with hosting bundled in. Although plan upgrades are feasible, they often entail unnecessary feature additions. Notably, BigCommerce enforces annual sales limits per plan, implying mandatory upgrades upon surpassing these thresholds, even if no additional functionalities are sought.
Contrastingly, WooCommerce champions limitless growth, endorsing infinite sales, clients, and product listings — all while remaining cost-free.
Unparalleled Flexibility with WooCommerce
The hallmark of WooCommerce lies in its unparalleled flexibility, evidenced in its diverse pricing and scalability features. Businesses gain unmatched autonomy, enabling intricate feature alignments tailored to their precise needs.
The chosen payment gateway underpins e-commerce operations, governing payment collection, bank transfers, and client data security.
Both BigCommerce and WooCommerce support integrations with leading payment solutions such as PayPal and Stripe. However, WooCommerce Payments is a game-changer. This free extension facilitates comprehensive transaction management directly within the WordPress interface, eliminating third-party dependencies. This translates to enhanced conversion rates and expedited payment processing, with a standard fee structure of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.
Data Security and Backups
Data backups are non-negotiable for digital businesses. Unexpected disruptions — from cyber threats to human errors — could jeopardize critical data.
For BigCommerce, data backup necessitates investment in tools like Rewind, with pricing contingent on monthly order volumes. Furthermore, the backup scope is limited to aspects like products, reviews, and customer data. There’s no provision to backup the foundational BigCommerce software or databases, making businesses wholly reliant on BigCommerce for potential data restorations.
However, with WooCommerce, there are a variety of free backup tools that save absolutely everything on your site, from orders and products to your database and WordPress files. If you want even more features — like real-time backups that copy your site every time a change is made or order is placed — Jetpack Backup is a great option, too. Pricing is completely predictable; you pay for the functionality you need, not the number of sales you make.
Search engine optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps interested customers find your store when searching online. It’s an incredibly valuable way to market your store because you know the people that click are looking for what you have to offer.
BigCommerce does offer the ability to edit SEO data like page titles, meta descriptions, and URLs. It also includes features like an SSL certificate and built-in speed optimization.
However, with WooCommerce and WordPress, the sky’s the limit! You have full control over every aspect of your SEO. Use a plugin or edit site code (whichever you’re most comfortable with) to edit SEO data, set schema markup, create redirects, customize your robots.txt file, and more. You can get as technical as you want. You can also choose to add any SSL certificate you’d like — free or paid — through your hosting provider and can dive even more in-depth into speed optimization.
The biggest benefit, though, comes through the focus that WordPress places on content. Consistent, high-quality content is a critical component of SEO because it shows Google that you’re the expert in your industry. And because WooCommerce was built just for WordPress, you benefit from the best, most powerful content platform available. This makes it easier and faster for you to create blog posts and information-rich pages that will benefit your search engine rankings.
Join the supportive, unrivaled WordPress community
Running an online store comes with a lot of benefits, but also a lot of challenges, and you want to surround yourself with people that know exactly what you’re going through.
While BigCommerce does offer forums and support groups, there’s nothing quite like the WordPress community. It’s made up of people that truly want to help website and store owners find success online and who are passionate about an open-source web, to the point where they donate their time to provide support and improve the software.
Chat with like-minded entrepreneurs who are dealing with the same things you are, ask for help from experienced WordPress developers, and learn how to make the most of your store. You can join the community through:
It doesn’t matter how experienced (or inexperienced!) you are — you’ll find people in the same stage of business or development that you can collaborate with and learn from.
How to migrate from BigCommerce to WooCommerce
If you have an existing store on BigCommerce, a move might seem challenging or overwhelming. But there are several ways you can migrate all of your store data, one of which requires virtually no work on your end!
First, choose a hosting plan, install WordPress, and set up WooCommerce. Learn how to do this in our five-step getting started guide. If you have an existing WordPress site, you’ve already taken care of the first two steps!
It’s important to note that migration doesn’t recreate your website design and content. However, many free and premium themes are available to help you build anything that you want! You can view a variety of options in the WooCommerce Marketplace or hire one of our recommended experts to design your site for you.
Here are a few ways that you can migrate store data from BigCommerce to WooCommerce safely and securely:
- Manual import. Export your data from BigCommerce, then use the built-in product importer to move product information to your new store. The Customer/Order/Coupon CSV Import Suite extension will take care of other important data.
- Hire an expert. Hire a developer or migration expert to handle the process for you. We have an entire database of high-quality options you can choose from!
- Use the Cart2Cart extension. This powerful tool migrates all of your store data in just three easy steps. You don’t need any technical knowledge whatsoever, and all of the data is encrypted and secured.
Why WooCommerce is the Best BigCommerce Alternative
WooCommerce and BigCommerce are both prominent e-commerce platforms that cater to different audiences and have their own set of advantages. Some consider WooCommerce to be a top alternative to BigCommerce, mainly due to the reasons listed below:
- Open Source: WooCommerce is an open-source platform, which means you have complete control over your store and can customize it as you see fit. This is especially beneficial for businesses with specific requirements or those looking to create a unique online presence.
- Cost-Effectiveness: WooCommerce itself is free, though you may incur expenses on hosting, domain, and premium plugins. But overall, it can be more cost-effective than BigCommerce, especially for startups or businesses on a tight budget.
- WordPress Integration: WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system (CMS). This integration provides users with the powerful content capabilities of WordPress and the e-commerce features of WooCommerce, making it perfect for businesses that want a comprehensive online presence.
- Extensibility: There’s a vast array of plugins available for WooCommerce, both free and premium. These plugins can extend the functionality of your store, ranging from SEO enhancements to additional payment gateways and more.
- Control Over Data: With WooCommerce, you host your store, which means you have complete control over your data. This is unlike hosted solutions, where there might be concerns regarding data ownership or portability.
- Customization: Given its open-source nature and the vast WordPress community, there are numerous themes and customizations available for WooCommerce, ensuring your store looks and functions exactly the way you want.
- Community and Support: WooCommerce boasts a massive community of developers, users, and entrepreneurs. There are countless forums, tutorials, and resources available online to assist with almost any issue or challenge.
- Global Reach: WooCommerce supports multiple languages and has plugins for various currencies, taxes, and logistics solutions, making it adaptable for global markets.
- Scalability: With the right hosting and configuration, WooCommerce can handle large traffic volumes and product catalogs, making it suitable for both small businesses and larger enterprises.
- No Monthly Fees: Unlike BigCommerce, which has a tiered pricing structure based on your annual sales, WooCommerce doesn’t have monthly fees associated with the software itself. You only pay for your hosting and any premium plugins or services you choose to use.
While WooCommerce offers numerous advantages, it’s essential to understand that the “best” platform largely depends on individual business needs and technical proficiency. BigCommerce, being a hosted solution, offers advantages like built-in features, security, and maintenance which might appeal to some businesses.
To decide which is the best platform, one should consider their business model, technical expertise, scalability requirements, budget, and desired level of customization.