This article is Part 2 of a 4 part series on an in-depth analysis of BigCommerce and Shopify E-commerce Systems.
The standard plan offered by Shopify costs USD 79 per month. This plan lacks certain features like product rating and reviews, single page checkout, and multi-currency display. But, a merchant can add these features using apps available in Shopify store. Some apps are paid, while others are free.
BigCommerce offers the Plus plan at USD 79.95 per month. In BigCommerce, all the necessary features are prebuilt. BigCommerce also comes with an app store similar to Shopify.
Both of these platforms also provide merchants an option to build apps for their own to extend the features of the e-commerce platform. While doing so, the apps have to pass the security and compatibility tests that these platforms demand. Apps developed for a specific purpose can be kept private.
Other than order management, e-commerce systems provide some features to merchants that will help them in managing the business and making it profitable.
Here are some of the ways in which these needs are addressed.
- Staff accounts can be assigned to people who are dealing with e-commerce platforms. Shopify provides 5 staff accounts as a part of their standard plan. As for BigCommerce, there is no cap on the number of staff accounts.
- Abandoned carts are one of the major headaches for merchants. Both Shopify and BigCommerce offer a set of tools to bring back customers who left the web store without purchasing.
- Gift cards/ discount cards can also be offered to customers. Both platforms allow generation of detailed reports regarding sales, customers, products etc.
- There are no limits for purchases on Shopify. But BigCommerce comes with some purchase limits for each package. Eg: BigCommerce Plus plan comes with a sales limit of USD 150K, beyond which merchants have to upgrade to BigCommerce Pro plan.
- To facilitate omnichannel commerce, both platforms are equipped with POS (Point of Sale) integration facility. POS system helps merchants to accept payments from their retail store through the POS terminals that they are using. In addition to this, it also allows to record payments that are made in cash. The inventory also gets updated when a sale is done at the retail store.
Shopify delivers this feature as a part of the retail package that costs USD 45 per month. Shopify also provides a Card reader device that can convert iPads to POS terminals that process payment cards. Shopify merchants can also use the free POS app available in their store to process offline payments. BigCommerce comes integrated with POS as a part of all packages. BigCommerce supports POS providers like Square, ShopKeep and Springboard Retail. Both Shopify and BigCommerce stands head to head for the features delivered to merchants.
Social Selling and Marketplace Integration
To enable social selling, Facebook Store and Pinterest selling can be enabled. Both these platforms allow these features. BigCommerce and Shopify come equipped with this feature from base plans itself.
Marketplace integration allows merchants to sell their products across different platforms. Integration with marketplace helps merchants to manage their inventory from the e-commerce system itself. Shopify and BigCommerce facilitate marketplace integration for Amazon. Amazon allows only products in the ‘Apparel’ category to be synchronized directly with their platform4. For products in other categories, product addition has to be done on Amazon and it has to be linked to Shopify or BigCommece. This will facilitate synchronization of inventory.
Shopify offers a paid plugin for Ebay, while Bigcommerce offers it as a part of their offering.
Being a SaaS offering, these platforms don't offer much customization. Custom themes and custom apps can be developed with the help of certified partners. Other than this, both of them provides feature rich apps in their stores. Considering the utility and number of apps available, Shopify stands ahead of BigCommerce.
4. Cassandra Campbell, ”How to Sell on Amazon Using Shopify”, article, January 2017, Shopify, accessed May 2017.