Woocommerce vs Bigcommerce Comparison and Straight Talk

One of the biggest challenges of evaluating which is the best eCommerce platform for a business is the sheer amount of subtle details that it involves. Technology, usability, and cost are but a few, and are seemingly affected by hundreds of factors.

In comparing Woocommerce vs. Bigcommerce most reviewers include a healthy dose subjectivity. You see, one can make a pretty strong case for either one. In this comparison series I’m hoping to include some straight talk you don’t see very often.

“To a man with a hammer,
every problem looks like a nail”

For the WordPress designer/developer, Open Source is the solution to all problems. A vast user base, flexibility, control. At least that’s the promise. If you are a developer yourself, it almost makes sense. That is, if you’re in the business of building WordPress eCommerce sites. If you’re in any other business, and simply need your website to work, scale, be secure, and help you grow your business, WordPress may not be the best solution for your eCommerce website.

Consider this: I am a WordPress designer/developer. I have built WooCommerce sites. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. After a decade preaching the WordPress (and WooCommerce) gospel, I stepped back and looked at other eCommerce solutions from the point of view of a consultant: Which solution is best for my client?

Given the complexity of evaluating Woocommerce vs. Bigcommerce (or any other eCommerce platform), I’ve resorted to creating this table for clients to compare and contrast these two solutions, including costs (which includes quite the surprise).

WooCommerce vs BigCommerce Comparison

Criteria BigCommerce WordPress + WooCommerce
Description Bigcommerce is a Software as a Service (SaaS) eCommerce solution that offers businesses all the tools and functionalities needed to set-up and operate an online store right out of the box. WooCommerce is a powerful eCommerce toolkit developed to transform any WordPress website into an online store.
Cost Starts at $29.95/mo. $0. WordPress and basic WooCommerce are free Open Source software
Hosting Enterprise-level hosting Included Self. Anywhere from $2.95 to $29 per month for managed hosting (Wp Engine recommended).
Security Provided. Server management, multi-layered denial of service attack protection. HTTPS and Level 1 PCI-compliance. Self, or managed if using managed hosting. With managed hosting, some security, and theme and plugin updates are the owner’s responsibility.
Speed & Scalability Provides very fast page load times and stability through growth and high-traffic events through their Content Delivery Network (CDN) Self. Managed through a combination of development and database management efforts, combined with your own CDN (from $9/mo.) and your managed hosting provider.
Support/Hosting 24/7 email, chat, and phone. Self, support tickets, and forums. Some 3rd party providers are be available at a cost.
Customization Fairly customizable through built-in Theme Editor. Advanced, full customization through Stencil template customization requires development skills (PHP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript). No built-in theme editor (Premium plugin needed). Customization depends greatly on theme used. Full customization requires development skills (PHP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript).
Mobile Responsiveness Excellent mobile responsiveness. Depends on parent theme. May require development skills to fully optimize.
Dashboard Intuitive Control Panel designed to be a business management tool. Basic store dashboard. 3rd party plugins can enhance it..
Image management and editing Built-in image library with advanced image editing through the Pixlr online editor. Built-in image library with some native editing in WordPress. Many 3rd-party options available.
Search Engine Optimization Built-in SEO tools and best practices in code. Requires Premium ($49/yr.) Yoast WooCommerce SEO plugin
Google Shopping Native app integration Possible through the Premium ($79/yr.) Google Product Feed plugin
Comparison Shopping Engines Native Integration with comparison shopping sites like Nextag, PriceGrabber, Shopping.com Not found
Email Marketing Native integration with MailChimp, HubSpot, Constant Contact and iContact. Others available. Available through plugins or embedded code
Abandoned cart saver Built-in abandoned cart saver lets you automatically email shoppers who left your site without checking out to remind them about their orders Available through 3rd-party plugins for free. Premium version ($119/yr.) adds features to match.
Single page checkout Mobile optimized, streamlined checkout proven to increase conversions by about 12% Possible with Premium ($79/yr.) WooCommerce One Page plugin.
Sales, discounts, coupon codes Advanced tools built it. Good tools built it.
Gift Certificates Built-in gift certificate tools 3rd-party Freemium plugin.
Wish Lists Built-in wishlist tools Possible with Premium ($79/yr.) WooCommerce Wishlists plugin.
Payment gateways Seamless integration with the leading payment solutions on the market. From built-in payments powered by Braintree, Paypal, Square, Stripe, WorldPay, First Data, Cybersource, Authorize.net Amazon Payments and many more. Many of the most common ones integrate through free plugins, including Paypal, Stripe, Authorize.net, and Amazon Payments. Others require a Premium ($79/yr.) plugin
Apple pay Built-in feature Possible through Stripe integration.
Amazon Payments Built-in feature Amazon’s free plugin
Multiple Currencies Built-in feature Premium ($29/yr.) Currency Converter Widget.
Shipping Advanced shipping configurations built in (calculations, destinations, by weight, volume, per-product, etc.). Fairly advanced shipping configurations built in.
Real-time shipping rates Built-in ability to calculate real-time rates from multiple major carriers like UPS, USPS, FedEx, Australia Post, Royal Mail, Canada Post and more. Possible through the shippers’ extension plugins. Some are premium (paid).
Dropshipping Native tools to integrate with providers like Doba and Ordoro. Simple dropshipping premium ($49/yr.) extension allows notifications to dropshippers
Returns System (RMA) Built-in feature Possible with premium ($79/yr.) Returns and Warranty Requests plugin
Point-of-Sale Synchronize online and offline sales with native Square POS integration, or one of many approved integrations. One can turn a WooCommerce store into a POS ($129/yr.), synchronize with premium ($79/yr.) plugin-based Square POS integration, or one of many 3rd-party integrations.
Automatic Taxes Built-in feature Some native pre-sets, but more reliable with 3rd-party service like Taxjar.
Social Media Sales Natively sell on Facebook and Pinterest. Instagram coming soon Facebook possible with 3rd-party premium plugin. Pinterest unclear
Marketplace Merchandising Natively integrate and sell on eBay and Amazon Possible with 3rd-party premium (~$129/yr.) plugin
Product catalog Sortable, searchable, categories, visible by customer groups Sortable, searchable, categories
Product Options Built-in advanced product variations, attributes, & bundling Built-in advanced product variations, attributes, & bundling
Configurable Fields Built-in Built-in
Product Image features Mobile-responsive image gallery with zoom and image match with product variations Basic product image gallery with product variation. Zoom and other features require third-party freemium plugin.
Advanced Product Filtering
(Faceted search)
FreshClick Advanced Product Filter ($20/mo.) or BigCommerce’s Pro Plan ($249.95/mo.) N/A
Customers & Groups Robust customer management and grouping Customer and Shop Manager built-in roles plus WordPress’ built-in user management.
Additional Members and Groups plugins are available.
Inventory Management Built-in Built-in
Product Reviews Built-in Built-in
Quickbooks Integration Built-in Free app
Reporting & Analytics Built-in funnel and trend reporting. Google Analytics Free WooCommerce extension and Google Analytics
Cost Comparison BigCommerce WordPress + WooCommerce
Total Yearly
(<$50k sales/yr.)
$359.40 (Standard Plan)
(Assuming no faceted search)
$653 — $ 1,288*
(Assuming no faceted search, otherwise matching tech specs)
Total Yearly
(<$150k sales/yr.)
$959.40 (Plus Plan)
(Assuming no faceted search)
$653 — $ 1,288*
(Assuming no faceted search, otherwise matching tech specs)
Total Yearly
(<$400k sales/yr.)
$2,999.40 (Pro Plan) $653 — $ 1,288*
(Matching tech specs)

*For the purpose of comparing cost, I made the best effort to include in the WordPress cost technology and features comparable to those found already built-in into BigCommerce. The cost, then, goes from basic –managed WordPress hosting, CDN, SEO, Abandoned cart recovery– to full matching feature set.

This evaluation does not account for developer costs. It’s worth pointing out that the cost to design and build a BigCommerce site can be the same or less that a WooCommerce store –since all the technology is already in place and functional. This also allows for a focus on quality content, marketing goals and systems, and a clean, successful, and usually fast implementation. The way a BigCommerce site can cost more than a WordPress site is if advanced website development is needed to create a custom functionality. At that point, either site would be expensive.

Another important difference between the two platforms (and Cost of Ownership) is that, with BigCommerce, basic support is already included. With WordPress, your developer may offer a support plan. If they don’t, and you don’t have the skill in-house, you’ll need to navigate the waters of hiring a freelancer every time you need updates, upgrades, or changes.

Straight Talk

The needs of online commerce are enterprise-level, even if you are starting out. Can I honestly say that a single guy like me, or a small studio, can match the enterprise-level expertise and technology of a large eCommerce SaaS like BigCommerce?

It may not be impossible, but I’m not betting my clients on it.

Between WooCommerce and BigCommerce I now recommend BigCommerce. WordPress is a great platform that has opened the world to many small business to have a very good website that is reasonably easy to maintain, and I still use it that way. But if you’re in the massively competitive online commerce business, you need something robust like BigCommerce.

Nando

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Nando Journeyman

Hi, I’m Nando Cabán-Méndez, the “Commerce Whisperer”, an entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience in business and design, and more than 10 years in digital marketing and eCommerce. Here at AllyOne, I use my skills and experience to help online business owners grow their business with best-of-breed eCommerce solutions. In this blog, I share eCommerce, websites, and general digital marketing lessons from my career. Subscribe to updates for great resources.

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