SaaS Based Ecommerce Systems Comparison: Shopify Vs BigCommerce Part 1 of 4

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Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software licensing and delivery model in which the software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. Businesses, especially startups prefer SaaS-based Softwares. Instead of purchasing the software as a whole, merchants can purchase specific licenses based on our requirements. Here the pain of software updates and server related maintenance are born by SaaS vendors. The ease of use and the convenience offered by this delivery model is the reason behind its global acceptance.

Some of the advantages of SaaS model are:

  • Reduced go-to-Market Time

    As the software is available as pre-built, it only needs to be configured according to our requirements.


    Low Capital Expenditure

    The subscription model reduces large investments for Softwares upfront.
  • Painless Updates

    The updates of the core software systems are handled by the vendors themselves. It ensures that the merchants are always using the latest version.
  • Robust and Scalable

    SaaS systems are usually hosted on high-end servers. This ensures that the system is robust. SaaS systems can be upgraded to the next level through applications and integrations offered by the provider. This ensures scalability in the system.



    Being hosted online, it can be accessed from anywhere.
  • Seamless Integration with third party systems

    They usually offer a wide range of integrations with different services.

Introduction to Shopify and BigCommerce

Shopify and BigCommerce are the two prominent players in e-commerce. They compete head to head in terms of features as well as pricing. Even though both follow the SaaS delivery model, there are a few differences in their offering. Let's explore that in detail.

Shopify is a Canadian e-commerce company founded in 2004. There are about 400,00011 active merchants on Shopify. BigCommerce was founded in 2009 by Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper and is headquartered in Austin2. There are about 95,0003 merchants in BigCommerce.

Feature Comparison

Design and Ease of use

A good looking store front is undoubtedly the strength of an e-commerce store. The design should be pleasant and welcoming. In a SaaS environment, the providers allow us to choose one from a set of themes. In that sense, both Shopify and BigCommerce greet us with a good selection of themes.

Shopify has a collection of 120+ themes in their basket, out of which, about 10 are free. Paid themes are priced at 140 -180 USD. BigCommerce offers 80+ themes in their basket, out of which, 7 are free. Paid themes are priced at 145-235 USD.

Merchants can also engage their developers to develop themes for Shopify and BigCommerce. For developing Shopify themes, the developers should master their templating language called Liquid. Similarly, for BigCommere, there is one named Stencil. Both of these platforms recommend merchants to use themes available in their store, as those themes have passed security and compatibility tests executed by them. In addition to this, BigCommerce and Shopify offer custom theme building services through their partners.

Compared to the partner community of BigCommerce, Shopify has a larger community consisting of individuals and companies. The designs/ themes developed by Shopify developers are of exceptional quality. Along with the design, they also give emphasis to the user experience.

On the design front, Shopify excels over BigCommerce.

The other features of comparison are listed below and detailed further on

  • In Part II
  • E-commerce Features
  • Merchant Features
  • Social Selling and Marketplace Integration
  • Customization Options
  • In Part III
  • Automation Capabilities
  • Marketing Tools
  • Web Hosting
  • Payment Gateway Integration
  • Third Party Integrations
  • In Part IV
  • Drupal Integration
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Customer Service
  • Pricing
  • Limitations
  • Verdict

Continued in SaaS Based Ecommerce Systems Comparison: Shopify Vs BigCommerce Part 2 References: 1. Shopify 2. BigCommerce 3. Liz Hull, “Shopify vs BigCommerce”, April 2017, blog, Merchantmaverick, accessed May 2017.