Bigcommerce vs Shopify

Trying to get a useful comparison of Shopify and Bigcommerce is almost impossible. The websites both do everything in the universe and they both do it easier than all others.

Using our own unique method, we will take you through a few scenarios and let you quickly fight through all the marketing nonsense to the hosted shopping cart that best suits you.

The Design Differences

Shopify wins hands down when it comes to being easy to customize the look of. You can definitely customize the look of Bigcommerce but it is a lot harder and a lot more involved, and if you have to pay a designer – significantly more expensive.

The Shipping Options

OK, unless you live in North America (or have very basic shipping needs) go with Bigcommerce. The company behind them are partially based outside America and the International shipping options reflect that. No matter which continent you live on Bigcommerce will be able to handle your shipping needs – Shopify usually falls short for Europeans and Australians.

Simplicity of Use

Both Shopping carts are very powerful but for straight forward, ease of use we have to go with Shopify. This doesn’t mean Interspire is difficult to use, it isn’t, it is very intuitive and set out like a very familiar business application. Shopify just simplified as much as possible and has opted to impress us by just working. Bigcommerce looks like it was designed by a marketing team looking for pats on the back.


UPDATE NOV 2013: My Bigcommerce or Shopify wizard is live and takes all the guess work and reading out of choosing between Bigcommerce and Shopify. Try it now it only takes a minute

UPDATE JAN 2012: My Shopify Review is live and updated. Enjoy. Don’t forget to comment.

UPDATE AUG 2011: I have just published my comparative reviews Bigcommerce vs Volusion and CoreCommerce vs Bigcommerce, I hope you find it useful.


Product Management

Bigcommerce has this one hands down. Shopify has only the simplest of product management options (which may well suit you), though recent upgrades have started to bring it on par with the real world. Shopify will get there in the end, they will have to, but if you are selling anything that requires a customer to choose an option go with Bigcommerce. It is way simpler to manage products and inventory.


We said earlier that a marketing department designed the interface for Bigcommerce and the biggest plus of this is the back end reporting. It is exceptionally powerful and simple to use. Shopify has the basics and will probably suit most people, but if you crave information and graphs look into Bigcommerce.


You will be using your shopping cart a lot so aesthetics must form some part of your decision. Unfortunately we couldn’t split them. On the days we were the worker bee’s we leaned towards Shopify’s simplicity and cleanliness. When we had manager hats on Bigcommerce and it’s application interface appealed us more. Not sure how we split that one. Mac users to the left, PC users to the right.

Stability and Longevity

Hard to look past Shopify on this one. Bigcommerce is based around the Interspire product but it is still a new product (especially this new multi-store version that powers Bigcommerce). Shopify was custom written for its job and has been doing it long enough and successfully enough that it is going to take away the points. There is a big marketing push behind Bigcommerce that is making some ridiculous claims, lets see what the reality is like in a couple of years.


They both offer free trials – although Shopify is offering one twice as long as Bigcommerce. Generally they are pretty much price equal and that won’t change anytime soon – they will jostle for cheapest offering for a while, but eventually they will find a stable price point and float there together. One thing we did notice was that to get the online shop from zero to selling, (with a custom design and integrated into an existing website), it was significantly faster and cheaper with Shopify.

Expect this article to be updated as we push further into each product, we also have continued this theme with a comparison of Volusion and Bigcommerce

Want a more updated Bigcommerce Review? I guest wrote one in Janurary 2012 over at Shopping Carts Reviewed. Read my new Bigcommerce Review and leave a comment.

Not happy with Bigcommerce? Doesn’t sound right for you. Have you tried 1ShoppingCart? It is a very good alternative shopping cart. Otherwise I wrote a whole post on Bigcommerce alternatives.



  1. Guest says

    How is Shopify's support? I have been frustrated with Big Commerce's because they have no after hours, or weekend/holiday support which means your business could be down for several days if you have an issue

    • says

      Their support is great (at least on email never had to ring them)

      Usually any issues we have are solved with online docs and the wiki though – but emails were responded to very quickly

    • Rachel says

      I moved to Big Commerce 2 months ago. Huge mistake. My website has been down after they asked me to re-direct my DNS, and despite leaving several voicemails (I can never get through to a person) and submitting tickets etc. no-one has contacted me. It’s absolutely appauling. Do not go with Big Commerce, if you expect a decent service.

      • B Hirsch says

        For those deciding which platform to use, please know that Big Commerce is TERRIBLE. We switched over 4 months ago. First, we had a problem where the order confirmation page didn’t work (a coding issue on their part) so customers were placing multiple orders without realizing it. We lost the trust of dozens of customers and had to reimburse thousands of dollars – WE DIDNT EVEN GET AN APOLOGY! Then our site went down the ENTIRE DAY on ciber monday- a server issue on their part. THEN the same order confirmation problem occurred AGAIN today, and i’m fielding angry calls from customers. It usually takes 48 hours to fix any problem and they are not even apologetic. Big Commerce really does not have its act together and is one of the single worst companies I have ever worked with.

    • GreenTent says

      I have been with Interspire (the makers of Big Commerce) for several years. They use to be great service but for the last year they are worse than terrible (whatever that word is :) ) I would stay away from Big Commerce. If you are really doing big commerce then you need a platform with support. Good luck getting timely or in many cases any support from Big Commerce. I have a client on Shopify too and their support is good. Only their shopping cart is not as good for Search Engine Optimization. Big Commerce is excellent on that front.

  2. Meredith says

    the look of the finished sites by Big Commerce makes me instantly think of Magento, and then when you mention marketing, I had to ask …. is the back end similar? Is it dereived from them?

    • Doug S says

      @Meredith: I was the project manager on a Magento project and I have evaluated both Shopify and Big Commerce. While BC is not based on the Magento software, it seems clear to me that they are looking to Magento as a benchmark as far as features. So I think that is why you instantly think of Magento. I know a lot of people like Shopify, but despite all the minimal zen aspects that people love about that product, the bottom line is that I found it severely lacking in features.

      I think the problem with Magento for most people is that it is a very complicated software and will most likely demand more than one person to successfully implement it and it needs to be on a minimum a VPS hosting and ideally should be dedicated hosting. Because the base version is free, I think many people think it is wordpress for ecommerce. It is way more complicated than something like wordpress and many DIY types are overwhelmed quickly and are disappointed by the performance on cheap shared hosting. I agree with Andrew that Magento is probably going to be a big player down the road, but I not with small ecommerce stores. I think you see with the intro of their enterprise edition that Magento is eyeing that market.

      To get back to your question, I think that because BC checks the box for so many features that Magento comes with, I think for mere mortals, the BC platform is the better way to go because it relieves you of the need for the professional IT support or staff that I think is necessary with Magento.

      As someone that is oriented more toward marketing, I like the idea of have some handle the backend code upgrades without having to worry about that stuff that comes with a SaaS approach. With that said, the downside of both BC and Shopify is that you are dependent on the vendor to keep the site up and if the server goes down on the weekend when no one is around then your store is out of business and you are powerless to do anything. Of course, with Magento you are at the mercy of the developer to add timely updates for bug and security fixes.

      One thing about Shopify and BC is the fact that Shopify charges a percentage of sales. Although Big Commerce does not do this, they do have fairly small bandwidth caps and charge you for extra bandwidth. I am not sure how that might affect the final cost for BC.

      Bottom line is if you want to control the server and the software, definitely go with Magento, but if you are looking for an SaaS solution and are on a budget, go with Big Commerce. I think it offers many of the features of Magento and a number of 3rd party integrations that Shopify does not offer.

      • Liam says

        Great comment, i still cannot decide between BC and Manento. While i’m not a developer I’m quite proficient in wordpress and was able to get a basic trail store setup in BC very quickly, magento looks scary and i’m worried i’ll spend weeks learning it only to decide its too complicated and spend a packet on customised work, however without question it has the best customer/front end interface i’ve seen, and i’m sure magento has the best conversion rates of all carts. There seems to be a dramatic amount of negative comments online about BC compared to the competition – this is the one thing that is holding me back and having me still banging my head as to which platform to go with?
        My CSS and HTML skills are quite good but my PHP skills are very basic (i’m able to do basic PHP edits in wordpress) – which platform do you think i should go with?

        • PBCookie says


          Not trying to be a troll here, but it is obvious that this review is a bit biased. The writer is pushing BigCommerce, and even has a link to sign up for a free trial on the bottom of the previous page.

          That being said, I don’t think everything he said has been false, but I just wanted to give you an unbiased opinion. I’ve tried BigCommerce, Volusion and Magento. Magento is the only one that I opened a full-scale e-store with. When I first heard about Magento, I was terrified to use it. I heard so many bad reviews about how difficult it is to use and customize. How clunky it is, how slow it loads, yada yada yada. All of it was completely untrue. I ended up downloading Magento despite the negative reviews simply because I had no choice. When I started my business I had VERY LITTLE overheard to work with. I got a really good cheap hosting package, and domain name, and everything else (Magento included) was free. It was by far the EASIEST thing to install. Everything I didn’t know, I could google and literally found tons of wiki articles, even Magento support documentation giving easy to read details. I was extremely shocked by the downright lies I had read online. I couldn’t help but wonder if the people who bash Magento were secretly competitors. Since using it, I’ve found that everything they were saying has been false. Not only does Magento provide ALL of the features for free that are either missing or for sale with other shopping carts (such as Volusion), it has a priceless community that is always creating stable add-ons, many of them free, and great support. I really have seen nothing like it. My only problem has been finding a theme to fit my store. There are some awesome ones out there with prices starting at $69.00. However I am a cheapskate and want a really good one that I can fix up myself for free. I haven’t found any with Magento which led me to look for other shopping cart software that has some really good free ones. So far the only one I have found is Shopify, but like someone said it’s behind in features. It has all the basics, but that’s just it, basics. I am not tech savvy at all. I don’t have a degree or work experience in IT or web design, java script programming or any of that stuff. And Magento has been easy to use for me. It was even easier to install than wordpress. Seriously. I definitely would at least download it and try it. It’s free so it’s not like it’s costing you anything but time. It wouldn’t hurt to try it. You’d be really surprised that you did.

        • says

          If you have any doubts you are not ready for Magento. It is a huge undertaking and isn’t very suitable for “unsure”

          BigCommerce is easy for a reason – you can’t go wrong with it if it has all the features you need. As for easiest for customers to use – personally I think Volusion has that sewn up

      • Darrel says

        For us, the decision to go with BigCommerce rather than Shopify came down to cost. I preferred Shopify’s interface, theming system, technologies used… all sorts of things. Shopify is elegant.

        BC has 10 year old UI and the themes look dated. The missing BC features were accommodated for in the Shopify App Marketplace, but the prices add up quickly since most equate to recurring monthly charges. Coupled with being charges a percentage of each sale, it just became expensive.

        We have a second site coming soon and I’m considering using Shopify for it because our feature requirements aren’t as significant. If all other things are equal, I’ll take the prettier option.

    • andrewbleakley says

      No Big Commerce is derived from Interspire – nothing at all like Magento – which I find alot more difficult than it should be

  3. Meredith says

    I know it is a resource hog, but the community edition makes it very affordable :) I've got a site ready to launch once I get my head around the templating and design portion.
    I found you because I really want to offer my customers an easy ecommerce solution, for those who can't install or develop from an os commerce, or the other Fantastico scripts. Your information was very helpful. If I am reading the reseller info correctly, Shopsite offers 25% commissions off of the customers sales – am I reading this right? and Big Commerce is a straight commission also 25% on the fee they collect every month for the service. The way most ecommerce sites go, I think BC is a better deal for resellers. What are your thoughts? Again, this is a first for me and I want the best deal for me AND my customers overall.

    • andrewbleakley says

      Personally the best deal for you and your customer's is to select one or two shopping carts and learn them inside out – if you like it and can expertly use it the rest will take care of itself – and happy customers that pay there bills are much more valuable than one off commissions for referrals.

      I like the Big Commerce / Interspire combination because it is essentially the same product from a developer/design point of view (which makes life reliable). Shopify used to be hands down the simplest thing to use – but as it adds features it is losing ground slowly.

      Magento was a product I tried really hard to like but just couldn't – it was such a massive piece of software and seemed to re-write a few rules (probably for the better) – I revisit it occasionally to see how it is progressing and expect it will eventually take it's place near the top of the heap – just not yet

  4. Meredith says

    Thank you for your input and insight. I believe I will heed your advice :) and I will also take a better look at Big Commerce.

  5. doug says

    Thanks for the short and to the point comparison. This was great. I’m looking forward to updates on the products.

  6. Amir says

    Hey Andrew,

    Quick question, do you have any other recommendations for e commerce platforms that are a little more robust but dont kill you on price. I need great SEO architecture, ebay integration, amazon integration and a few other things.

    Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated

    • says

      That’s a pretty steep set of requirements. Interspire, Big Commerce and Volusion are all as robust as you could require (Interspire more so because you can host it on rock solid servers somewhere)

      eBay and Amazon are integrated through feeds – Zen Cart and osCommerce have plugins you can buy that will handle that – but the shopping carts themselves are rubbish.

      Best bet would be Interspire and have someone knock up add-ons that handle the feed export

      SEO is good for the new ones (Interspire, Big Commerce, Shopify) Zen cart and osCommerce are search engine poison

  7. James says

    Great review. I am looking for a shopping cart solution and am stuck between Shopify & Big Commerce until I saw the add for Volusion on your site. Shopify doesn’t support downloads, which is a deal breaker for me. Big Commerce seems to be a great choice but I also just reviewed the Volusion offering and am totally lost now. Who is better? Volusion or Big Commerce? Looks like Volusion has more customers and their feature set is huge. Haven’t tried their product yet though.

    • says

      Not sure what Ad you saw – it might have been a Google one. I have almost finished my review of Volusion (Winter 09 release) and I am really unimpressed. It may have a lot of features but for the most part they are poorly implemented. At this point, without knowing precisely what you need I would recommend Big Commerce hands down – it does support digital products. If you send through more specific requirements I can give you firmer recommendation.

      Both products do offer free trials if you want to test the waters.

  8. Jo Keyes says

    I just moved one of my websites to Volusion. I must say, I like all they offer EXCEPT their paypal integration. My store will still show it as an order, even if the customer did NOT complete the payment checkout. This means I have not received payment but it still shows as an order received. For this reason alone, I am looking into Big Commerce for my second, higher volume store. I will start my free trial next week and see how it goes.

    • says

      That sounds like a real problem. What have Volusion said abut the problem. For that matter how have you found there customer service? Good luck with the Big Commerce store I hope it works out for you as well as it has worked out for me.

      • Jo Keyes says

        It is a HUGE problem. I spoke with Volusion and they said being that the customer leaves the site to go to PayPal, they have no way to tell if they actually paid. I let her know their competetors said their servers talk with Paypal’s servers to ensure payment was complete before ever showing as an order. She just said she was sorry and gave me options like adding notes to my website asking the customer to be sure they finish payment if they choose paypal. Not really something I want to do though. I do like their customer service so far, they are quick to respond even if it’s not what I want to hear.

    • Jason says

      @ Joe Keyes, the reason Paypal integrates this way is because your customer must be lifted off the site to go to Paypal’s checkout screen. Volusion must assume the order is completed, because they actually “submit” the order. There really isn’t any other way simply because Paypal Standard works that way. What I have found out through support is that Paypal Standard will send notification back to Volusion. Once notification that payment is received, your order in your processing screen will turn to “processing.” If it is still at “new” then the payment was never received. You can contact support to get further clarification. In fact, as I write this reply in the evening, you can call Volusion’s support line, something you can’t do with either Shopify or Big Commerce after hours, which I’ve found frustrating in some providers…

  9. Nora Brown says

    Thanks so much for this comparison. I am a web designer looking to gain some small e-commerce clients, and am evaluating which system may be better to invest time learning. Shopify obviously markets directly to designers, and it is definitely appealing. But Big Commerce seems to be a strong competitor with a few more options for complex stores/shipping/products. I hope you can keep this review up-to-date with their current offerings, it is much appreciated!

  10. Soleone says

    Very good writeup! Hard to find honest and thorough Reviews between shopping carts that aren’t either full of buzz or bias.

    I just wanted to quickly note that Shopify _does_ support downloadable products with the new “Product does not require shipping” option. There’s also a (paid) app called that makes downloadable products very convenient with Shopify.

    • says

      Glad to hear they are onto downloadable products – I will update the review in the next few days. There are also some huge changes coming through from Big Commerce so it is going to be interesting.

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the feedback

  11. Jason says

    I am a Volusion reseller and I must say of all the content I have read on this site and this blog are clearly bias towards Big Commerce. Just the fact that there are no link backs to Volusion are quite interesting. Why, I say? Both Big Commerce and Shopify pay out affiliates money to refer to their software–Something Volusion has never done. Great job Andrew, looks like you could be making some good money with this site. On the contrary, your clients/referrals suffer. When I refer my clients to Volusion it isn’t for a referral fee, but strictly because I believe there is not a better ecommerce solution, period. I come from a background in creating Yahoo and Magento stores, and as of two years ago I have strictly been using Volusion for my clients. My clients are successful, and Volusion is successful for offering such a great product and service offering.

    • says

      Thanks for that David. I just approved his comments and let it be, I started replying several times but I just didn’t see the point.

      In case our mate Jason comes back there are many ways to monetize back links to Volusion – I choose not to because it would be seen as an endorsement of their software.

      Thanks for stopping by David, pop in again sometime.

  12. Louise says

    Hi Andrew

    I am seriously considering moving to big commerce. I have been so impressed with its free trial. the only thing that is bothering me is that I came across a post somewhere that said big commerce is not pci-dss level certified and that as of july 2010 this is a must. Apparantly the process takes ages to get through. Do you have any idea about this?

    • says

      No, I don’t. They don’t mention it so it is probably safe to assume that they don’t currently comply, but you can be certain that if they have to by July 2010 they will. I have sent some emails and message sto people working there to try and get an answer. As soon as I find out – you will.

      • Lori says

        As of today Big Commerce is NOT PCI compliant and is not expected to be any time soon. They are also absolutely HORRIBLE with attributes and while they are working on a redesign, are too arrogant to let you know if it will work. I’ve managed to crash the variation (attributes, options, every cart calls it something different) menu already. Their customer support is less than stellar. Getting a real answer to a question is a challenge. I’ve not invested 3 months into BC and am about to bail…provided I find something better.


          • ashish says


            I am in the process of finalizing the e-commerce site platform. I I have basic knowledge and experience about wordpress but I don’t know any code writing etc. Do you think BC is a good choice for almost layman like me ? Is its support so bad that it will effect the business still ?

            Please help me if possible.


          • says

            I replied offline to you Anish because I was having technical issues.

            BigCommerce is wonderful for laymen, and support has improved out of sight in recent months,you will be in good hands with BigCommerce.

  13. Frank says

    Good writeup!

    I have been with Volusion for 5 yrs. Ever since I upgraded my store to W09, it has been down hill. It has so many bugs & issues. It seems like everyday I find something wrong with it. I must have put in 10 support tickets since the upgrade. This last issue with Volusion, still hasn’t been fixed, third party companies like Shipworks, which I use, will no longer change order status to shipped after it has been processed. So now, my staff has to go to each order and change the order status to shipped. This is a complete waste of time & costing me more money. In the past I could process, print shopping labels, through Shipworks, & update the orders status to shipped on Volusion within 15-20 for 100 orders. No it’s taking me bourse.

    That is why I’m leaving Volusion & looking at BigCommerce as my next possible shopping cart.

    All the bills & whistles in a cart are great. But it has to have a solution to be able to process orders in the least amount of time. I need to be anle to proccess & ship 100+ orders a day within a few hours. Not all day! Hopefully BC has this ability.

  14. Eil says

    Hm, that’s odd – think my comment disappeared from the site….

    Just wanted to say thanks for the reviews, it makes it alot easier for me to compare different carts. I love the simplicity and user interface of Shopify, even though I miss some key features (user accounts among other things). Unless I’m mistaken, Big Commerce doesn’t have any other storefront language than English and that is a really huge drawback for me, since I only plan to sell to Scandinavian customers.

    Do you know anything about PrestaShop, by the way?

  15. luis says

    nobody mentions anything about per transaction fees, as far as I know bigcommerce doesn’t charge any

    • says

      I will update that (it is mentioned i other reviews, I don’t know why I left it out of this one). Big Commerce charges no per transaction fees. Shopify charges between 2.0% and 0.5% depending on the monthly package you get, the premiere package ($699/month) has no transaction fees.

      • Dena says

        I have been doing research on Big Commerce and came across this review. Very helpful thank you. But, I did see a review on another site where it was mentioned that Big Commerce is located in UK. So, any customers in USA will have to pay a foreign payment transaction fee when paying the monthly bill to BC. The reviewer said it was not a lot, but it was an extra expense they were not expecting.

        • says

          BigCommerce is located in Austin, Texas (USA) with an office in Sydney Australia there are no extra bank fees charged to US customers for foreign transactions – sounds like your friend has it backwards

          • Jason says

            Wrong. They charge your card out of the UK, so you get hit with International fees by your bank. Happens every month.

  16. Joel Young says

    Andrew, good review…and based on it, I decided to try BigCommerce for my own store.

    There are usually two or three things that are dealbreakers when it comes to features that are above and beyond the average shopping cart software.

    1. taxes
    2. shipment tracking
    3. payment processing

    BigCommerce, I just discovered, does not support a two tax system like we have in Canada.

    Therefore, in my books it doesn’t pass the mustard. If the customer shopping an ecommerce site is not shown the correct price with taxes and shipping that will be chargeg to their credit card, then the chances of them doing business again are slim to none.

    I have not checked out the shipping integration and payment processing, but if I had to guess, its not as easy as you nad they says it is.

    I just hope that in future, there will be much better technical analysis and reviews from you and others.

    • says

      Big Commerce supports a fully configurable tax system that is working for many Canadian businesses.

      There is an active discussion on the Big Commerce website now about how to handle tax going forward – including the pending changes in places like Ontario where they are moving from GST+PST to just HST. [see

      If you are having issues configuring your software drop some information into my contact form and I will help you get Big Commerce configured to suit your requirements.

    • kerry says

      I recently tested Big Commerce – and will w be using it with clients – and it DOES support Canada 2-tier system. I believe this is a revamp of their tax configuration system.

      I am a Canadian developer and I mostly create sites for Canadian merchants, and Big Commerce does fill the bill. It is extremely easy to set up GST, PST and HST, and if I am recalling correctly you can also compound GST & PST for QUE. Display is correct at checkout.

      I am very happy with Big Commmerce – it does some seriously complex tax, shipping, product attributes set-up. Very nice. The other cart that ROCKS for Canadian tax set-up, by the way, is Zen Cart.

  17. Matida says

    Gees. Thanks to all of you for all these useful insights. I am a newcomer on the scene but have been at a cross roads for too long not knowing which way to turn. I almost turned to Volusion but without enough research. After reading this review and everyone’s comments , I feel I am now armed with more information to make a sound decision. Andrew thank you for your work in this and your timely responses. I appreciate the clarification over the tax issues. That’s huge. I am going to take advantage of the free trials and do my test runs and in a few weeks I hope to update everyone here that has stopped to share words of wisdom. Keep it up everyone.

  18. Brenda says

    THANKS so much for your review of BC. I have been looking and looking to upgrade my OsCommerce site just for all the reasons you mentioned – SEO, ability to self-manage, ect! I just signed up for the BC free trial and am very impressed. I especially love the handling of variations. I sell mostly towels and have nightmare sometimes on upgrading my site just thinking trying to list them again! It seems sooo easy on BC! The biggest drawback I see is as far as I can tell – the agreement/interface with ShipWorks has not materilized. Any updates on that??? That is the deal breaker for me right now.

    Thanks again for such a pertinent review!!

    The Gentle Bath & Company

  19. Dana says

    We are also looking to switch from osCommerce and are concerned about a shipping integration. We also use shipworks. According to the BigCommerc blog they will be adding a “Printable Shipping Labels” feature in their next update 6.0

    Is there anyone using BigCommerce that can tell us how they are handling shipping and printing labels?

    Thanks for the review!

    • says

      Big Commerce has it’s own built in News feature and lets you add static pages, which a lot of people use to make a blog of sorts but it just doesn’t get the traction in search engines that WordPress does.

      You need to setup a WordPress blog in a separate hosting account (you can get hosting for $5 a month so it isn’t terribly expensive), and you need to use a sub-domain like (you maybe able to use Big Commerce redirects feature to use It is quite simple and works well, especially if you style your blog to match your shop.

      I will look into this over the coming weeks for everyone – in the meantime feel free to contact me if you want to know anything more specific.

  20. Jeremy Hunter says

    We’re an established store and we changed from ClickCartPro in May of last year to Magento. I have a technical background but these days I don’t do technical work and have no desire to do so – I want to focus on products and marketing and growing sales. At this point we believe that Magento was a mistake.

    It’s complicated software and if anything goes wrong it’s difficult to determine the cause without serious technical capabilities and worst of all is they offer NO support. They’ve done away with paid support programs on the Community Edition so even if you wanted to buy a support program, you can’t. If you aren’t highly technical you need a tech guy and you have to worry about your own PCI compliance and if your server has the current version of php at some point, etc., etc.

    I believe they are considering a hosted version given that they recently had a job posting for a General Manager for Small Business and Software as a Service. This really is where they should have gone with the software a year ago. It’s a much, much better model for that software given it’s complexity.

    So we’ll look at BC and Shopify and Volusion and have to switch again, which we aren’t looking forward to.

    In regards to the other comments we use Endicia for shipping.

  21. Brandon says

    Hey Andrew,

    a company i worked for wants to sell there products online. so being the web designer i decided to tackle it myself. i have been researching for the last week and have stumbled on both of your comparisons with Big Commerce. Although i consider myself a great designer….i could care less about trying to customizing the shopping cart and rather go with a company who makes good templates. the only things that scares me with doing this is figuring out the shipping. So im pretty sure you have to enter the weight and the dimensions of the actual box size which the products are being shipped in….does Big Commerce automatically just figure out all the shipping costs? like is the program integrated with several shipping companies such as UPS, Canada Post, US Postal Service, and or Fed EX.

    thanks for your help

    Surrey, BC

    • Dave Sheffield says

      Big Commerce doesn’t factor in dimensions into their shipping calculations. I was told this by a customer service technician. So if you have an oversized item the built-in calculators will only take into account the weight.

  22. Brandon says

    so i have a decent question. so I’m setting up my free trial on Big Commerce and I’m at the Checkout Settings area where you let them know how your going to deal with credit card Authorization. it has 2 options at the top:

    1. I would like to use the Interspire Secure Payment Gateway (which is recommended)

    2 .I already have my own merchant account or payment provider setup

    im sure this Interspire is great and as they say…much cheaper as they have $0 Monthly Gateway Fee, $0 Application Fee, and $0 Setup Fee. So i decide to choose option #1 (interspire) as it probably is a great deal and it probably works smoothly with BIG COMMERCE…unfortunately i started filling out the application for Interspire and it says “sorry for USA only” so now i am forced to pick option #2 and set up a merchant account with some other program. when you selct the option they have a massive list of merchants to choose. i have absolutely no clue which company to go through. Would you happen to know which company is cheapest but also offer the same type of features as Interspire such as accepting major credit cards, easy to use? I’m hoping you have some experience in this area!

    thanks for your advice!


    • says

      At the moment the Interspire Gateway (which does look very competitive) is USA only, but there are definite plans to spread to other countries over time.

      If you use my contact form and let me know what country you operate form I will send you any information about payment gateways I can.

  23. Brandon says

    by the way i had a question for BIG COMMERCE and called there 1-800 number. i was only on hold for about 1-2 minutes and they were very helpful, easy to understand, patient and non rushed. SO for anyone who wants to know what its like to know what the tech support is like…there you go. also i was only doing a free trial…so pretty good service considering that i’m a non paying customer at this time.


    • says

      Thanks for leaving that note, a lot of people have been looking for stories about the quality of the telephone support at Big Commerce

  24. Bradley says

    A huge thank you, Andrew, for the comparison. I got to your site from the WordPress E-Commerce developers page (because I’m in some desperate (and unfortunately: regular) need of some help) and found your Shopify and BigCommerce comparison.

    I’m going to check out BigCommerce for a client’s busy e-commerce store (writing classes with several options (location, member/non-member, etc.) and am looking forward to the help at BigCommerce.

    Thanks again!


  25. Warren says

    I need to create an e-commerce site that has a Hulu like home page (for marketing specific products in the header), allow each customer to create a stored account and profile, and give each purchaser the ability to invite guests to the site via a url, for the guest to create an account and communicate with just the guests of said purchaser, all based on the product purchased (which is story based, so each item in the line has different support materials). Is there anything in BigCommerce or coreCommerce that would let me do that?

  26. Jeremy Hunter says

    We’ve been looking at every cart under the sun for the better part of three weeks now. We’ve narrowed down to BigCommerce and coreCommerce but have a key problem. Neither of them can provide a customer who does more than $300K in annual sales as a reference. Do you believe this is because they don’t have customers of that size? Every site they both include in their samples of live sites have Compete traffic charts that show they are, just about every one, brand new sites. Does anyone know a retailer doing that type of annual sales on these platforms they could reach out to and see if they would provide a reference?

    • Kerry says

      One oddity of corecommerce – and the reason I don’t use it – is that you can only configure tax to ONE country at a time. SO if you want to set up tax in Canada you can. 2-tier system is nicely in place. But if you do that, then you cannot charge tax into the United States. And if you configure tax for US, you cannot also tax into Canada.

      I asked them about this and they seem baffled as to why anyone would want to charge tax in more than one country, but I have had a few clients with this need.

  27. Crew says

    Hi Andrew,
    This article and the one with volusion were quite helpful. Just want to ask some stuff that are conerns of non-North American star-up wannabes like me.

    I plan to sell products from Japan targeting people in the US and Philippines. BigCommerce indicates in their website that you can input a currency converter in the site and the site also lists prices based on the browser’s location. I haven’t heard anything about multiply currencies on I have not heard from neither however about multi-language support such as checkout pages in Japanese etc. Volusion mentioned that they can do this in their site but from what I have read here, Volusion isn’t a good idea.

    From you analysis, which of these three (or other) would you recommend for my situation?

  28. mack says

    Volusion has better on deck metric capabilities out of the gate. Based solely on the fact that Magento is free, I would go with that though. It is fundamentally as poweful as volusion just not quite a polished yet. That said, Magento will be shortly. You have to watch out for a few duplicate content issues currently with Magento, in terms of seo, but short of that it is very cool stuf. It is cheaper to get your own server and ssl than it is to use Volusion if I remember correctly.

    Magento is structured such that you can do just about anything with it. I am personally a fan of complete separation of design from the logic bits. I seem to be harping on that alot around here lately.

  29. Judy B. says

    Hi Andrew,

    Wonderful articles & comments ref BC. Really enjoy.

    My future BC site might have a different direction than others. The business main focus is the custom design and the screen printing of T-shirts for the customers and a secondary focus would be the eCommerce selling of our own designed t-shirts on the web site (i.e. future BC web site). I am hoping to find some well designed real life examples of a BC site where product selling is secondary and product or service offered is primary for the business revenue stream. All BC sites I see (and other eCommerce sites) are selling from the page load get-go. I have talked with the sales staff at BC but they said because of privacy issues they can not tell me any store names other than those listed on the BC site. Do you know of any BC sites (or other sites) where the product selling is secondary and not in your face when the site comes up?

    Thank you for any ideas you have for me.

    • says

      You can certainly have the kind of website you are thinking about using Big Commerce (or Shopify or Core Commerce – most really).

      In short you build a “normal” website at and create a sub-domain that will become your Big Commerce shopping cart.

      Your normal website can be anything you like. This is the same thing you would do if you wanted to integrate big commerce and wordpress

  30. Nicole says

    Thanks for the great review Andrew.

    I’m thinking about moving my business from Yahoo to Shopify. After reading other blogs it seems like Shopify does not have enough power for larger retailers. Does anyone know at what revenue point users begin to outgrow the Shopify model?


    • says

      I don’t think anyone “outgrows” the Shopify model as such, the transaction fees decrease to 0% as your store grows and the plans are generous enough – what people outgrow though is the limited feature-set (no Facebook store, no eBay or Amazon integration, limited payment or postage gateways, internationalization, complex product configurations). Online retailers these days are demanding more and more features from shopping carts (even if they don’t want to use them right away). If you opt for Shopify (it is very elegant to look at and use) make sure you have a clear goal for the next few years and that the current feature list at Shopify meets those goals – if in doubt look at CoreCommerce

  31. Don says

    This blog is probably the best I’ve read yet comparing Shopify, CoreCommerce and BigCommerce to date – about two weeks digging about now! I’ve narrowed it to Big vss Shopify – I just finished building a store with CoreCommerce, and I’m frustrated with the inability to modify the basic layout of the pages. They have some new samples on display that are not yet available… grrr. I must start building tomorrow! So here’s my question: Will Shopify support multiple add ons for products easily? ex: color options (with sample swatches), various models of the same product (selling mobility scooters and power wheelchairs that support various weights and speed requirements)… and lastly, I’d like to add upselling options – “You might want to consider – A Basket Attachment $29.95 – then a check box next to it, and several more upselling options listed. Is this a Shopify nightmare or simple solution? They don’t answer the phones after 4pm Pacific time, so I can’t call – I appreciate any advise on this! The other thing that neither Big or Shopify do is support automatic drop shipping! I wish someone would implement auto email orders to my suppliers for drop shipping!!!

  32. Dave Sheffield says

    Big Commerce doesn’t factor dimensions into their shipping quotes.

    Example: If a UPS package is over 60″ they charge an extra $8. Even though there are dimension fields in BigCommerce their calculator doesn’t take it into account. It’s the same for USPS calculations as well.

  33. Tara Owens says

    I have been in eCommerce for 10 years now so have plenty experience with shopping carts.

    I even played with Shopify. Ok for a generic looking website….plain jane. Hard to get to look very professional and buyers shop porofessional sites.

    Big Commerce is a bunch of hype about Aaron Wahl looking at the code for SEO opt. That is a joke because the header tags aren’t even right. <h1) on the product page is set for the LOGO. No header tag at all is set for the item title.


    Easy to customize and nice clean templates BUT if one has to modify the code right off the bat the price hardly justifies it.

    Of course, I took a demo and BC can email me 5 times a day but can't respond to my email asking about the header tags. LOL

    • says

      I understand what you mean about the hype around Big Commerce, but that is to be expected, the guys behind it are marketing machines.

      Not sure why you had issues with modifying Shopify it is the easiest for mine, they give you full access to both the HTML and the underlying business objects. Happy to point you at some resources if you want to look at it again.

      You have hit the e-commerce nail on the head though when you said “buyers shop professional sites” – I see so many shops fail because they look crap or plain, when you look at the returns there is no money better spent on a shop than getting the front end tight and polished.

      Thank you for your comments, they are much appreciated

  34. Pashmina says

    On price, I found BigCommerce to be cheaper. Do a deeper comparison. If you want a lot of features that come for free with BigCommerce on Shopify, you’re paying an extra $10 here, $5 there, another $10 there to get them. For a startup small business with importance placed on integration, & social media, Shopify comes out o 3x more expensive than BC.

    • Dwayne says

      I sell items that retail at almost $3,000, with a goal of selling an average of 10 per month. I like the templates on Shopify better and started there, but figured out that it would be twice as expensive at one unit per month because you pay a percentage transaction fee on top of card processing. Multiplied to 10 units, the difference is still roughly twice as expensive–almost $500-800/month more depending on Shopify plan. I don’t anticipate large data volume because outbound is probably better ROI for my product. The choice is pretty clear.

  35. Sherry says

    Hi, I was looking into Bigcommerce, however I still wanted to confirm a few things, such as does BC support Dropshipping, such as multiple shipping options? Auto Data Feeds? OR something related? Secondly, how would you compare 3dcart and bigcommerce?

  36. Kerry says

    3dcart has some great features but I have found their sales and support staff to be HORRIBLE – in any dealings I have ever had they are impatient and sometimes even rude. They are not willing to take any steps to help that they don’t absolutely HAVE to take. Google “rude 3dcart” and see what comes up. Apparently my experience is not unique.

  37. April says

    This is one of the most informative blogs I’ve seen on the topic. Comments are also useful. Thanks!

    BTW I’ve choosed Miscake Stores finally.

    • Amanda Richardson says

      I’ve also choosed service, because it was really easy to use. Moreover, they helped me to configure my first store and I didn’t have to pay anything for support.

  38. Phil says

    Hi Andrew, very instructive blog. Is it possible to get a warning first page for adult oriented shop with BC,Volusion etc. ? Thanks from Switzerland

  39. JG says


    I notice on my BC trial, I can create a nice wide top promo banner – however, if I view it on a smaller screen, (like an older monitor, which many people still have) the promo banner now hangs OFF the right side of the page. Any fix for this that you’re aware of? BC had no good answer.

    • says

      JG, It’s a problem that every web designer has faced at some point. You just need to make banners a size appropriate to most of your visitors. There will always be too big or too small for some, you just have to look at your website statistics and find out what the majority have and aim at that resolution

  40. Mauricio says

    Hi Andrew,

    I’m looking for an e-commerce solution and your post is really instructive and helpful. Now I’ll be happy if you can response some questions to me..

    1. Is BC really useful in Europe? or you recommend another solution for Spain?
    2. Is it possible and easy to adapt another european pay platform to BC?
    3. Can I personalize all the look and feel of the site with BC?

    Once again congrats for your post and many thanks for your help


  41. Nick says


    You say that Big Commerce is preferable over Shopify if you’re based outside North America but don’t actually say why…

    I’m in the UK, prefer the look and feel of Shopify, but don’t want to commit if Shopify can’t adequately handle international shipping, which is important to me.

    What exactly is it that you don’t like about Shopify’s international shipping options…?


    Great blog!

    • says

      My problem with Shopify shipping options for international sites is that they don’t exist Nick – last time I checked you had two options – create fixed rate shipping tables or use UPS or USPS – neither of these are particularly handy for Australian’s or Pommies

      • Paul says

        I use Shopify from the UK. It’s dead easy to set up the shipping using weight based fixed rates. The main problem with Shopify for UK users is that it doesn’t properly handle tax-free sales to countries outside the EU. Otherwise, Shopify does what it says on the tin, works reliably, is VERY easy to use and the support (email, forum, wiki) is to a very high standard (speed and quality of response).

        Shopify has less features as part of it’s core product, but there are now hundreds of apps that can be easily and reliably integrated.

        Hope this helps.

  42. Glenn says

    Big question is when will BigCommerce become PCI compliant?? Their CEO said by June 2010, We’re almost into 2011 – no way I’d use that cart without it. Now deciding what other carts to look at? Already have a successful online business that I use frontpage – (I know – way behind, but lots of business)

    I really like the feel of BigCommerce – (2 areas their lacking) 1: ability to block IP addresses (this is implrtant for fraud reasons) and of course 2: no PCI compliance

    What other carts to look at??

  43. Lori Appleman says

    Lisa, if you’d like to email me for more details, please do. loriappleman at gmail dot com.

    I cannot speak to Shopify, but I ran a large Yahoo store for 3 1/2 years and am in the process of setting up a new store on Big Commerce. I just left the Yahoo store in Sept of this year.

    Here’s some highlights of differences that I’ve experienced:
    1. Yahoo – We spent about $15K to developers to get the Yahoo store to do everything we wanted it to do. They’ve supposedly added some of the features we had to buy – like a mini cart, but we had to create custom fields, added a reviews module, a shipping manager, live chat, and had custom scripts built to handle up to nine additional images (yahoo supports 2)(BTW, Solid Cactus sucks, use EY Studios)
    2. Yahoo will take a percentage of every dollar sold.
    3. yahoo won’t let you integrate Google checkout
    4. yahoo uses RTML which is similar to, but not the same as, HTML. You have to find a developer that can write in that language.
    5. No attribute/option/variation libraries, cannot copy a product listing, can do a bulk image upload only for the main product images
    6. You have to have someone show you how to create a page to control the url of that page (for seo). By default the page names are awful, but at least they are static
    7. Yahoo’s reliability was stellar. Support is available 24/7. I can only recall one “down” in all that time.
    8. Yahoo is PCI compliant
    9. yahoo is infinitely scalable

    Big Commerce has a significantly nicer backend. It’s easy to use and you can manage your business pretty well with it. Many marketing features are built in. #1 favorite feature – shopping feeds are FREE on Big Commerce. We paid $100 a month for shopping feeds off the Yahoo store. Also the mobile templates on BC are automatic and nice.

    My frustrations with Big Commerce are:
    1. the current variation/options do not meet my very complex needs. I carry customizable products with many choices. They are supposed to have this revised within the next 3 months. They should be fine if your product isn’t terribly complex (one of my chairs can product 35K skus!)
    2. They are not fully PCI compliant. I got an email from Lee Sellers saying they think it will be this month. I’ve heard from my developer maybe never. We will see.
    3. Customer support is not 24/7 and you have to prod to get great answers. I’ve found I get my answer when I’m detailed and firm.
    5. no mini cart

    Overall, BC is much, much cheaper and has a much richer feature set. I will be able to launch a complex store in less than 90 days. A simple store might take a couple of weeks. My development cost was $1200. We can move to Interspire (same software) on a Rackspace server if the PCI thing isn’t handled before our credit card company gets nasty.

    My developer has recommended Pinnacle Cart. It looks good and I can’t find anything nasty written about them. For now we’re sticking with BC but if we have to, we may move on to Pinnacle.

  44. Cook says

    Lori – Do you know anything about how Yahoo Store compares to BigCommerce in regards to search engine optimization? Is there an advantage either way? We were once told that Yahoo Stores have a distinct advantage in Yahoo search results.

    My deal is this. I’m attempting to build and maintain an ecommerce store for a family member while holding down my normal job. I ruled out anything that isn’t SaaS, which led me to this search comparing Shopify and BigCommerce… and Yahoo Store. I realized the hard way that osCommerce, ZenCart and Magento require too much development and maintenance… especially osCommerce with all its security issues.

    • Lori Appleman says

      Outside of Yahoo shopping, I don’t see how you’d get an edge on Yahoo given the actual search engine is Bing (used to be Google). The directory is a paid submission. Given the market share consumed by Google and Bing, I don’t even hear much about anyone optimizing specifically for Yahoo. It does get you preference in Yahoo shopping but we did not derive much business from that source.

      Keep in mind that Youtube is the second most used search engine. We also kicked butt on Youtube anytime someone searched for our products (yes, there’s a video out there of me that’s been hit 11K times). This definitely drove traffic.

      I was able to do extremely well with actual SERP results with the Yahoo store, but I”m not sure I’d credit the cart as much as knowing how to write content, a niche market where few know anything about SEO, and the quality of our content which presented us as more trusted as experts. We had a lot of great [unsolicited] back links and a well-respected blog.

      However, in terms of the mechanics of SEO, Big Commerce offers way more control of the process and more places to seed in keywords. BC lets you control all alt names on all images. You control the cookie trail, you can add in tags, in addition to meta keywords (yahoo has meta keywords). These can make a difference.

      Quite frankly, as a new business, one of the best ways to be found is via the shopping engines. Some are paid, some are free, but all require a data feed. I wouldn’t use a cart that didn’t produce one as part of the package.

      None of the open source carts are PCI compliant, or are easy to set up if you’re a rookie. Plus the hosting becomes an issue.

  45. Lisa says


    Thank you for the comments. We’re attempting to launch a store selling less than 50 products in two to three weeks. So, we’ll likely be making a decision between BigCommerce and Yahoo Store within the next 48 hours.


    • Lori Appleman says

      If I had only two weeks to go, and it was one of those two, I’d totally go BC because it is really easy to set up and has most of the marketing tools built in. Have you done the free two week trial and played with it? Building a site is the easy part, marketing it so people will find it is the important part.

      I’d also look at Pinnacle though with 48 hours to go you may well already be on information overload. Main differences is the 24/7 support (and I asked questions and got good answers) and the fact it’s already PCI compliant. I’m hearing nightmares from people already being assessed $100 penalties for carts that aren’t. This issue very nearly booted us off BC this week. However, we’re so close to launch, I need to march forward. After launch we’ll prepare for a quick change if we have to make one. Just know that such a change is time consuming, costs money, and can cost you SERP rankings.

      Better to pick well than have to move.

      Oh, and BC completely leads you to believe they are PCI compliant when they are not. That issue was important for me and I thought I had that base covered. I’m quite angry at them for this.

      • Lisa says

        Thank you so much for the information. I’m prepared to go with BigCommerce right now, but am struggling with the PCI Compliant issue.

          • FS says

            Why have you chosen to NOT use Shopify?

            I am in the same boat and about to choose but BC do not have carts in spanish so i am looking towards Shopify.

            Please advise

            Thank you

          • Lori Appleman says

            @FS – Shopify doesn’t have the feature set I want. They also charge a transaction fee, a set percentage of sales. Yahoo does that too. There’s no way I’m going to pay more per month AND a transaction fee. ( I did notice though that storage space and max products is bigger on shopify for their various tears which ARE higher than BC to begin with). My prior company paid Yahoo $13K a year in transaction fees. I’ll pass on that!

  46. Lisa says

    BigCommerce is now out with 3DCart, CoreCommerce, and Volusion now on the consideration list. If anyone has any info to share on any of these carts, please share. Thanks!

    • Mike says

      I too am looking to get away from my Yahoo store. For what it is worth here is what I have run into so far.

      Got a free trial from Interspire, e-mailed the a template question and was told that they do not support that product look on the message boards for answers.

      Got a free trial from pinnacle that worked great and actually paid for the service only to find the paid product did not work as well as the trial. I called support and was told I needed to submit a trouble ticket online so I did. After 6 hours without an answer I called to cancel my account and ask for a refund (about 24 hours after I signed up) I was asked what they could do to save my business. So I told them to get all 5 of my issues fixed in 12 hours or cancel my account refund my credit card. I just got a canned reply that it will take 12 hours for someone to look at a trouble ticket.

      I don’t know how a non PCI compliant site can even be considered, Volusion is very slow (the site response) and the sites I have seen are ugly, Shopify is very limited and Uber expensive. I guess we will both have to keep looking for now.

      • Lori Appleman says

        I have little choice but to finish out my BC store and pray they get their act together in the coming months on the PCI issue. Every day of delay costs my company money. I’ve resolved all our issues except the two known ones – PCI compliance and their options (they call them variations) which are supposed to improve significantly in the next couple of months. We have complex needs that challenge most carts. I didn’t want to go with Magento because I’ve seen that one up front and it’s development intensive. There’s no way I’d have a Magento store up in 3 months (not with our complex needs and catalog).

        Once launched, we’ll work on our contingency plan should BC not work out and we need a fast escape.

        • says

          I am terrified about what will happen when they rework the variations – I think it will be weeks of headaches and days of re-entering data

          As for PCI I don’t mind that it is taking so long – that is just the proces – but I am sick and tired of bigCOmmerce management coming out every other month with unrealistic timelines they have no chance of meeting – it makes consultants like me look like ass-hats when we have to tell clients they missed again

  47. Lisa says

    I signed up with 3dCart and am liking what I see so far. I don’t think setting up the domain and FTP access are available during this trial period.

  48. DropShip_Fan says

    Hey everyone,

    I have tried both BigCommerce, Shopify, Volusion etc and when they work they seemed great, but they all have the same major down side is that for people who just want to dropship, they have no products for you to pick from to add to your store.

    I have found a new solution which for the last 3 months has been working out GREAT – Get Selling Today

    They have 1.2 million dropship products for you to add to your website with a simple click, you get to set your own profit margin, you dont have to buy a Payment Gateway (normally 50+/month) they include it for you, you dont have to worry about the logistics of shipping / buy the product etc they take care of all that for you.

    So once your store is setup with Get Selling Today (very easy) all you ever need to worry about is promoting your store to get website traffic. Even if you dont there templates are Search Engine Optimized and will after time start generating its own traffic

    I found Get Selling Today’s pricing to be low if anything for the services you get, and the promote tools you get, and the fact you can create your own logo with an easy to use logo creator.

    Get Selling Today is slick for sure and great for anyone. There support is very good I have found as well.

    Hope this helps people when making a decision

    DropShip Fan!

    • Lori Appleman says

      Yeah, this post sounds like spam. We drop ship almost everything and had no problem contacting manufacturer’s directly and we get MUCH better pricing than if we go through a consolidator like Get Selling Today.

      • Simon H says

        I am also using Get Selling Today – What DropShip-Fan is saying is true. These guys dont seem to increase the “price” and give legit wholesale pricing.

        Its great for me, becuase

        1. I dont have to contact the wholesalers and build a relationship myself
        2. i dont have to copy/paste 1000s of products into my admin pannel
        3. I dont have to monitor and update the “wholesale base price” these guys do it automatically for me
        4. I dont have to worry about the Photos, Descriptions, Stock, these guys take care of it for me
        5. They have great Promo tools to help me Succeed.

        Just my thoughts!


  49. JD Mulder says

    I have also tried Magento, Volusion, Big Commerce and Shopify plus a whole host of others that I simply discounted as I really think the decision is between these four. I run a web design company and my online store is my own little side project selling t-shirts I’m a graphic designer not a programmer or coder so I need a simple, elegant low cost, stable ecommerce site. The coder bloke who builds our WordPress sites swear by the WordPress ecommerce plug-in ( but I feel it lacks function. Anyway been messing around for nearly two years and finally nailed my decision to Shopify – here’s why. Hope it helps.

    Pros: Open source, incredibly powerful and flexible, expensive £3k-$13k per year, longevity
    Cons: Very steep learning curve, to big and cumbersome for small shops, expensive
    Note: Magento has split it’s products into Community, Professional and Enterprise and only the Community edition is free now and has no support and few features

    Pros: Loads of features, low price
    Cons: Rubbish free template, very expensive paid for template $600+, annoying admin suite, problems loading images

    Big Commerce
    Pros: Loads of features, low price, decent free templates (not brilliant though)
    Cons: No 24/7 support, admin suite not brilliant

    Pros: Beautiful design, great free templates and low priced well designed ones ($80-100), easy to use admin suite. 30 day trial, great online documentation
    Cons: Limited functionality, expensive compared to above

    Magento: Way too complex for me and I spent nearly five months trying to get my head around it.
    Big Commerce: Lack of support is a major problem for me.
    Volusion: Tried to import my own banner as .gif. .jpg and .png file and the programme kept telling me it was in the wrong format. Plus their free templates are rubbish
    Shopify: If I want to use discounts as a feature I have to pay $60 per month but it is soooo easy to use and very pretty. No coding errors and online support is excellent.

    So in the end would have liked to have utilised the features of Big Commerce and/or Volusion but they both do not appear to be very stable so have plumbed for Shopify. For all it’s faults I have had no problems with it at all and as a designer it just looks great. Took me ten minutes to integrate with Google analytics, am using Mailchimp as a marketing tool and the PayPal integration was a doddle. I’m sure they’ll keep adding features. If my shop gets big will swap to Magento (paid for version).
    Only Magento offers the flexibility I want but can’t afford it and am not willing to part with £3k at this stage so I have had to accept my store won’t be exactly what I want but it will function and it is stable- and for a budget ecommerce site that that’s not bad.

    John Mulder

  50. Iris says

    I was looking into changing my cart out of frustration in ease of use. I am currently using Sunshop and not very happy with the ease of use. With BC can I remain with my current host? With the trial does it actually change your live website or is this an offline version that allows you to set it all up and do test sales from?

    • says

      BigCOmmerce is hosted so it uses it’s own hot for the shopping cart – you can keep your own host for a blog or email if you choose (but you do not have to)

      The trial is done using a temporary URL so it won’t effect your current site at all.

  51. Greg says

    I also found this site very useful and do like the BC software. I believe it is very user friendly and your review to be accurate. Appreciating your opinion here is my next question.
    What would you reccomend for software for building a non -ecommerce site that would be user friendly that offers a good content manager?

      • Jeff says

        Hey Andrew,

        Are you familiar with the WordPress Shopp plugin and how that may fit into the shuffle here vs. Shopify, Big Commerce, or other third-party hosted options? Thanks.

  52. jordan says

    I have used yahoo store for the past year and I did pay for a developer because I intend to run my store for 10+ years and then sell or pass along to executive or family, but we have been thinking about changing our cart.

    After reading all the reviews about how bc is bad support, mang is good for larger shops but sometimes bad uptimes and then shopify not enough features, so I guess if you are reading this and a yahoo store owner you could move but after reading this, I would rather stick with yahoo store until we grow our company and develop in-house.

    We understand that other big companies like organize use yahoo store for the cart and they are making millions, im sure they have a good fulfillment process, media campagin and marketing budget, but it does show that yahoo is alright.

    I understand they do charge and that is one thing I dislike as we already pay merchant, hosting, ssl, transaction fee, shipping fee, then the cost of product, but again we will have in-house when the time is right to reduce the fees that constantly build up every month.

    I know this was for shofiy and big commerce, but yahoo store owners are always looking for insight about if they should move, because rtml sometimes is a pain(yahoo’s custom coding)

    hope this helps anyone with a yahoo store whos thinking about moving.

  53. Rayna says

    I personally found Shopify a bit too simple for me.

    The functionality of BigCommerce really amazed me. I found it extremely easy to set up and navigate through the settings. It is great for marketing and loaded with features that can be added on as a store grows. Editing the template is rather simple once you get a feel for the file structure and layout. Support returned emails within 24 hours.

    BigCommerce gets my vote.

  54. NT says

    Any recent experience with Pinnacle or 3D Cart (or both to compare)? I love the features of BigCommerce, but the issue with QuickBooks integration is a deal breaker, Pinnacle and 3D Cart both seem to offer what I need, but I’m not getting too much of unbiased feedback on either.

    • says

      You can read my 3d Cart review to get my initial impressions (it is only a week or so old)

      I liked it, and enjoyed using it. There are a few things that I would change but that is true for every bit of software I have ver used or created.

      Pinnacle is great, I will have a review online in a few more days but I was very happy with it. Some issues with templates but that is all. Either one you choose should serve you fine.

  55. Audrey Haas says

    I’ve gotten little gleams here and there of limitations on the amount of products listed on the site being limited to only 100 with BigCommerce, is this true? Where can I find info on whether any of the eCart products limit the number of product listings? This is a huge deal for me, as what I’m hoping to launch will have a catalog of 500 things or more, hopefully. And no, I’m not counting colours or sizes as different things- quite a large amount of them will come in different sizes and colours, (I sell work gloves and clothing) which I hope to set up as options on an individual product’s page, otherwise.. yikes, the numbers of stuff to create pages for, what a waste of space! Would love an opinion on this.

    • says

      Hi Audrey, all the carts have some sort of limit – but you simply upgrade your package to allow you to have more products (you can upgrade at anytime with no work required)

  56. uli says

    Hi Andrew,

    While my WordPress (Thesis framework) website is being built, I have been trying out various “e-commerce” programs – and find it more and more difficult do make a decision as to which way to go.

    I started out with the Yahoo store which I found very clumsy, then went to GoDaddy – as clumsy, but I like that, as least theoretically, this programs is supposed to work with QuickBooks, which is the accounting program I have been using for 10+ years, recently with QBMS. Because of QBMS, I also played around with IA Modules, which actually lets you upload your products directly from Quickbooks. The latter program does not allow for variations of the same product, but I can run separate sites for retail and wholesale customers, all from the same QuickBooks database. Recently acquired by QuickBooks is Homestead, but that program seems to need go a long way before it can be truly made from a blog page into a shopping cart application.

    Since I am a dinosaur as far as programing is concerned, I also tried out WP e-commerce from insight which I liked for its ease of use – alas, this program is not set up for use with QuickBooks.

    From your blog, it looks like my e-commerce needs are most similar to those of Lori Appleman, though I do not nearly have her experience with e-commerce:

    1. Product set-up that allows for several variables.
    2. A cart that allows product listing in several categories.
    3. A cart that can easily be integrated with my WP website.
    4. Since I also have service clients and wholesale customers who do not (yet?) buy off the internet, and to avoid having to use two accounting systems, I would want the program to REALLY work with QuickBooks.

    1. Is BC now PCI compliant?
    2. In your experience, does BC really work with QuickBooks (I found a blog from Joshua of BC who says that he and about 30 BC clients have managed to make it work)?
    3. If BC does not yet work with QB, are there/what are the options to avoid having to manually input e-commerce orders into QuickBooks for a unified accounting/inventory tracking system.
    4. If QB works with BC, is it correct that then a plugin program like ShipWorks is not needed?
    There are probably more doubts I have about BC, but for now let’s stay with these.

    Thanks for this blog.

    • says

      1. Is BC now PCI compliant?

      Yes BigCommerce is PCI Compliant now

      2. In your experience, does BC really work with QuickBooks (I found a blog from Joshua of BC who says that he and about 30 BC clients have managed to make it work)?

      It’s like the lotto, some people get lucky and everything is fine, other people go broke trying to make a dollar. Do you feel lucky?

      Seriously though, they know it is problematic, but it does work for some people quite well and BigCommerce are working to make it work properly for everyone

      3. If BC does not yet work with QB, are there/what are the options to avoid having to manually input e-commerce orders into QuickBooks for a unified accounting/inventory tracking system.

      Exporting the records and importing them

      4. If QB works with BC, is it correct that then a plugin program like ShipWorks is not needed?

      Shipworks provides a lot of functionality that make it useful with or without Quickbooks integration

  57. uli says

    Thanks Andrew,
    Your comments are helpful. From yours and Lori’s entries I conclude that it’s time for me to make a decision and just get my cart set up and then deal with whatever might be a challenge later, even if I have to switch to another program.
    From my training in statistics I remember that “lucky” was how I felt when I managed to take all the different variables into consideration ahead of time, but you never know until you’ve put it all together whether you actually did.

  58. dack says

    I’ve played with both demos and really, really like BigCommerce admin tool; it makes Shopify look anemic by comparison. One major limitation — and the reason we cannot use BigCommerce — is that unless you think of selling products based on categories, you’re kind of stuck since there is no access to the source code and no programming language like Shopify’s liquid. My client simply wants to list all the products (in a single category) and then provide filtering tools in the left-hand column to narrow the result set. Based on my understanding (and verification from Brian from BC) this is not possible. Andrew, if this is incorrect please reply because the admin tool is pretty awesome.

  59. Ayden @ Look At BigCommerce says

    Hey Andrew,

    I agree that “unless you live in North America (or have very basic shipping needs) go with Big Commerce.” They look after that Australian market well as that’s where Big Commerce is based, so we get some nice features like integration with Australia Post, and with the four major banks here as well.

    • daniel says

      Our entire store has been shut down and they are holding our entire business hostage. All we need is someone to change one simple little setting on the server so that we can access our store and ship our orders before the customers get so fed up with us that they charge back their orders orders and NO ONE at Big Commerce has lifted a finger do actually get anything done other than keep us on the phone for hours with empty promises.

      • Paul says

        I see several stories like this about BigCommerce. Just can’t risk that sort of thing happening.

        • Maggie says

          Hi, me too, I’m very dubious about going with Big Commerce due to their bad support. I used to have an online business and when the things go wrong, your site is down and you loose sales, it’s no fun to know there’s no one to help you instantly to resolve it. It can be very frustrating, so for me the customer support is priority. I’m considering Shopify – is their phone support decent?

          • says

            I have had no trouble getting help from Shopify (or Bigcommerce). Shopify also have very active user forums where support technicians participate

            Best bet is to call and see if you get through and if you like what you here. One test phone call could save a lot of guessing

  60. daniel says

    Good luck getting anyone here to help you. They will tell you they will help you and make promises they never keep. Our entire store has been shut down and they are holding our entire business hostage. All we need is someone to change one simple little setting on the server so that we can access our store and ship our orders before the customers get so fed up with us that they charge back their orders orders and NO ONE at Big Commerce has lifted a finger do actually get anything done other than keep us on the phone for hours with empty promises.

  61. Anna says

    Shopify usually falls short for Europeans and Australians.

    Thank you that useful, time-saving information, which pretty much rules out Shopify.

  62. Sonali says

    I am trying to find the best ecommerce platform for my client, who is bought on BigCommerce. How would you compare it against Opencart?

    • says

      Big Commerce has many more features and is more stable. open cart is probably easier to make the templates for.

      BigCommerce is easier to manage and use for the client and integrates with a lot more payment providers and postage handlers

  63. Gary says

    I’ve been using BigCommerce for about 1 year and i wish i hadn’t committed myself to them. The product is full of bugs which take ages to get fixed and when a new version comes out a load more bugs appear, it’s very frustrating.

    Support are completely useless and usually say that the issue will be resolved in the next update.

    It’s a shame as the product is easy to use and has many great features (when they work correctly).

    • chris says

      BC upgrades cost us at least $50,000 when our site was down and no transaction can be made. I wish we didnt commit to this piece of crap.

      We are about to move forward with other packages. But m here to collect information from any unsatisfying customers from using BC and Im going to document it and put it on a website. I want everyone to know about this and stay away from this piece of junk and terrible software developer.

  64. Eric Brown says

    I actually recommend using both Big Commerce & Shopify. I own a order fulfillment company and we find that Big Commerce has a slight advantage over Shopify. Both are great though.

    I thought it was interesting about your comments about international shipping regarding which cart was better than the other (Big Commerce more flexible for international sales and shipping).

    Eric Brown

  65. Ger says

    Hi all, interesting read so far
    We are currently in the process of setting up our new business. Our current choice for the online shop side of things is BC, although nothing have been decided yet… important decision and all that so we are trying to do as much research as possible before committing to one solution.

    We are based in Ireland and our market will be mainly here and the UK to start with.
    We will have approx 50 products to start with and would like to accept payment via paypal/ google checkout

    Any advise or comments would be great.

    Also one question we have is regarding BC and the location of the servers. We were told that this will have a negative impact on our google traffic, eg our business in Ireland and the server elsewhere….

    • Jonathan says

      I have looked at all of the available carts plus several others. I used this comparison chart (ecommerce-software-review toptenreviews com) and read many blogs, including Andrew’s. If you have a smaller store, I would seriously consider Big Cartel, Shopmania and possibly Litecommerce 3.0. I am currently reviewing LiteCommerce for a small sub-store, but functionally, it looks pretty good.

  66. bob says

    Interesting comments and helpful…

    I am using BC (should be ready to go in a couple days)

    It “says” it integrates with QB but first, you have to download it to excel…

    I also need it to work with an affiliate tracking program and wonder what AFTP works best with big commerce and QB?

    And thirdly, is their one program that can integrate BS, QB and affiliate program so, I only have to go to one place and handle everything from there??

    I”m not the programmer so, any complaints about the web site should be directed at him:) (and i’ll pass them along)

  67. David says

    Great review and very helpful comments. I’m looking for a new e-commerce platform for an existing webstore located in the US. I have basic HTML skills, but not much else, so I need something simple to use. Here are my requirements.

    1. I sell one-of-a-kind art. Once sold, the item needs to be shown out of stock or disappear.

    2. I ship worldwide via USPS only – Priority and EMS.

    3. Need to charges sales tax for customers in my state.

    4. I have lots of categories

    5. eBay and Social Networking integration would be nice.

    6. Probably will have 200 items to start. Each item has at least one 150 kb image and some have two or three, so storage space is important. Same with bandwidth.

    7. Don’t have a big budget!

    I don’t want to pay commission, so Shopify is out. BC looks like overkill. Anyone have experience with Highwire? Big Cartel looks nice, but I don’t think they do sales tax. Would also like a friendly community to get help.

    Any ideas? Thanks (-_-)

  68. Tim says

    For all those who might be interested, I posted an in-depth review of BigCommerce over at All in all, it’s definitely one of the most polished carts out there. I’m currently in the process of evaluating Shopify too, but in my opinion, the feature set just can’t compare.

  69. Luca says

    Don’t trust the company behind BigCommerce. Interspire completly forgot the customers of their other products (ie: Email marketer), stopping releasing any updates, leaving us with a buggy product.

  70. Ladena says

    Hey there!
    Thanks for this comparison. We are currently looking at upgrading our online store to one of these programs.
    I’ve heard that Shopify charges a few per transaction, can you confirm this? I’ve also noticed that Big Commerce just came out with a new version. Have you tested this out yet?


  71. Lori Appleman says

    Update. BC has fixed pretty much all of my issues. The new options meet my needs and are a huge improvement over the old ones. There are still minor quirks in the interface. Not everything can be handled via CSV and when you sort the products, alter one, then try to go back it doesn’t save the sort. I’d say that at this point, this is the most sophisticated and easiest to use cart I’ve used in the past five years.

    They will soon go to 24/7 support.

    Nothing out there is perfect but overall I’m pleased.

  72. Shopwow says

    Yes BigCommerce means SMALL service. Their support staff take offs on weekends. Incidentally that is the time when your mobile set probably gets most hits too. The service phone is I think, diverted to some at home technicians, through some cheap VOIP driven call service.

  73. Derek says

    Hi Andrew,

    This is the best site for discussion regarding shopping carts that I have come across. I have read through the comments and learned quite a lot, but I wonder if you could comment on my situation?

    I am considering Volusion, BigCommerce and Shopify. I am based in the UK and will initially be selling to mainly UK clients before broadening out to the EU. I have 60-100 physical products to sell with few options to consider.

    My main concerns are that the site is stable, looks professional, is easy to customise is SEO friendly and can grow with me.

    I have quite tech savvy, but by no means a pro.

    I’d be really grateful for any input you can share.

    • says

      Sorry for the delay (and sorry this reply is brief) – For so few products Volusion is overkill. For the UK & Europe Shopify is not ideal. So I guess that leaves BigCommerce. You could also look at CoreCommerce I have had many good experiences with it.

  74. Derek says

    Thank you Andrew. No delay at all and your opinion is valuable however brief. I was kind of hoping you’d plump for BigCommerce, as that is the conclusion I had tentatively reached.

    I’ll also have a look at CoreCommerce, before I jump.

    Just one thing to throw in re: Shopify.

    I think I picked up somewhere that when your client moves into the payment pages, the URL changes to a Shopify one (i.e not your own site). This would seem off-putting to me and I don’t think the others are the same. I may have got it wrong, but if anyone has any input it would perhaps be useful to others.

    Thanks again.


    • says

      That is correct about Shopify URL’s during the checkout procedure – but that being said unless you get an SSL certificate most of the other shopping carts will redirect to there own domain as well (to ensure a secure checkout)

  75. Sheila, ArrowStarr Sales Video Producer says

    Andrew, thank you for the information regarding the shopping carts. I am considering BigCommerce and am currently comparing it to CS-Cart which seems to have very robust features as well.

    Does anyone have any experience with CS-Cart shopping cart? Do you know anyone who has used or considered CS-Cart. I like the idea of not being on a payment treadmil since I can make a one time outright purchase of CS-Cart.

    Andrew, what are your thoughts? Do you compare any other shopping cart other than the ones you have mentioned?

    Thanks again,

    Sheila, ArrowStarr Sales Video Producer

  76. Ron says

    I am looking at BC, Pinnacle, X-cart and a few others. What’s the real benefit of hosted vs licensed solution (other than $$$)? I’ve heard CS cart was started by disgruntled X-cart employees and that their platform is VERY slow. Any thoughts? My #1 need is a great SEO platform; but also want ease of use, top marketing features, etc. Nothing out there is perfect — but can you recommend an affordable ecommerce platform that will offer great support, as well as continued development, for a small online biz with potentially 1000’s of products ?

    • says

      BigCommerce fits all those requirements, as does CS-Cart and Pinnacle. X-Cart is all kinds of awful at the moment but there is rumours of new versions that keep us ever hopeful.

      Regrading SEO, you will have a more negative effect on your websites search engine optimisation that your ecommerce platform will.

      I have often said there are very few carts easier to use than BigCommerce and I stick by that.

      The real benefit of hosted vs licensed is that you do not need to look after hosted shopping carts – that can be very reassuring and beneficial to a lot of businesses

  77. Marc says

    Thanks so much for the in-depth reviews. I am currently in search of an e-commerce company that will allow my customers the ability to create an account and receive a username and password. I have been working/searching e-commerce sites since January and have used Moonfruit, Vendio, Wix, Hostgator, Vistaprint to name a few. I am not very tech savvy but I like the idea of creating my store personally as web design can be expensive. I don’t want to have to use html and content to make my site so i’m looking for a template I can either make from scratch and immediately use or upload one and do the same. I’ve used osCommerce, SiteBuilder, Zen, and found them all to be pretty user friendly. Because of your reviews I think I will check out Big Commerce. I want to manage my own content and have become quite the novice with adding pics, descriptions, pricing, etc. I think i’m looking for an all-in-one site that can host and has decent templates with some flash and will also allow me to control my own content. Thanks for your posts.

    • says

      My pleasure Marc, BigCommerce has nice drag and drop template tools and sufficient options to personalise the free templates, you should have no issue. Failing that try Americommerce, I like the template tools they have

  78. Jeff says


    Great overview of both products. Have tried Volusion and was really impressed with their service and features, but am looking closely at Shopify for another project. Would love to get your advice.

    Will be launching a new ecommerce site within the next 30 days and am looking for the best shopping cart solution. My needs are pretty simple. I’ll be offering one ebook—nothing more—but am trying to find a provider that offers flexibility on the design side, integrates well with credit card gateways, and allows for immediate approval and a download link. I’d also like to provide coupons and an affiliate program.

    Volusion would be perfect and has a strong affiliate component, but is probably a bit too robust. And the approval and download link process is a little cumbersome. Looked at EJunkie, PayLoadz, and ClickBank—and know that they’re built for digital delivery—but I’d ideally like something a lot more professional and polished.

    Shopify seems interesting and can be combined with the Fetch app. Seems a little weak on the affiliate side, though. Also considering a few of the WordPress ecommerce plug-ins, like WP E-Store.

    Any suggestions?


  79. YoungSoo says

    Hello Anderw, like the dialog on your site. I am considering Magento Go and there hasn’t been any reference about it since posts going back to early 2010. Any updates or comments on how it compares to what seems like a BigCommerce, Shopify, Volusion race? My needs are pretty simple with a half dozen products for sale, need to be able to upload minimal content with testimonials, video uploads and such. I have no knowledge of programming and anticipate using a designer to design the look and feel.

    Thanks for your help!

  80. rchad says

    do you know of any hosted signup forms with customizable fields? It will manage registration of users, passwords and then re-direct to a chosen website on shopify…? like the first page to a private buyers club. thanks very much-rc

  81. Ariel says

    I currently have a Shopify store and I think Shopify is the Apple of shopping carts…. its simple clean and easy to use. A dream for a nonprogammer like myself…. Doesn’t have all the “features” as BigCommerce but man does it make up for it with better storage/bandwidth/products and the fact that its hosted by Rackspace is phenomenal.

    When I started searching for a shopping cart, i went through all the free trials of Bigcommerce, Corecommerce, Volusion and Shopify…At the end of the day, Shopify won me over with how beautiful the templates were and how cool vibe of the store was. My store looks professional and expensive.

    Bigcommerce sent me too many got damn emails and the site was SLOW loading.

    Corecommerce was a CLOSE runner up but the templates were awful looking.

    Volusion is off their rocker by asking $700 for those cheesy dated looking templates that clearly haven’t been updated since the day they began. I mean really $700???? Smoking crack. Also, their sales team was rude and lied.

    Shopify = Winning!!

  82. Tina says

    Andrew, thanks for this great article.
    I have used BigCommerce for 3 sites and have found it very easy to use, esp. when it comes to adding products w/ variations/attributes, marketing (Facebook) and reporting. Where they are lacking right now is integration w/ a POS. BC does have a 2-way API that you can use to develop your own application but I’d rather not spend our time doing that.

    This is where Shopify looks attractive to me. They have an app store and integrate with many 3rd party tools such as Quickbooks POS, and Facebook, BUT — I am aware of the risks in using 3rd party apps (do they stay up to date, will they be around for the long run, tech support avail, etc.)

    I also love the clean look of Shopify’s front end.

    One thing I don’t like is the shopify URLs in the checkout process. Does anyone know a way around it. Is getting a SSL the answer so it stays under your own domain name during the entire shopping experience?

    If someone can

  83. nsikub says

    Read all comments from start to end. Thumbs up to Andrew and all sensible contributors. I encourage everyone to continue sharing experiences and keep this thread alive. It’s one of the best on eCommerce reviews I’ve come across so far. Thank you!

  84. shadi says

    wow i m glad i found this blog i learned alot.

    I have an ebay store and i m not happy with them too many issues.
    i m trying to expand so i started my own website , at this time it just points to my ebay store to buy items, i want to make it into an online store and after shopping around its clear to me now hiring someone to build a store for me will cost alot, at this time i m looking at shopify but my situation is different.

    i make and sell custom graphics i have many designs. each graphic can be sold at different size and color , is it easy to do that with shopify

    also will i be able to have installation instructions available for download on my site .

    Is there another service that’s easier for someone like me to use rather then drop-shippers and retailers.

  85. Rumi says

    Anyone know much about Ashop Commerce?

    I’ve tried to find user reviews but nothing comes up to the level of detail I have found on this website.

    I’m completely new to this all and hope someone can help.

  86. Josh says

    I am wondering the same thing Michael is. I will tell you one thing. I have been a Volusion customer for almost 5 years now. While people gripe about Shopify’s transaction percentage (which is not even on their $179/mo. plan) the unlimited bandwidth alone could be worth it. Our Volusion bill last month, with bandwidth overages = $540+! Interested in AmazonWebstore and Shopify although Shopify has a limit of 3 options per product – we need 6 per. Otherwise, would have been on Shopify weeks ago.

  87. Sean Langlands says

    A warning to any individuals or business looking to switch to Shopify. They do not provide a way to fetch UPS user account negotiated shipping prices.

    This alone deterred us away from them.

  88. A_W says

    So glad to have stumbled upon your blog! Andrew (or anyone else), do you have a recommendation for which platform to use for a website intended to selling food products directly to japan? I had previously been looking into jpsoft but am glad to have stumbled across your blog.

    I understand that Shopify may not be the best in terms of shipping internationally but if BigCommerce has difficulties displaying asian characters then that would be a problems too.

  89. Al says

    I have been a BigCommerce customer for 6 months, what a nightmare! It is the absolute worst thing out there. The keyword is unreliable. It looks nice and things are working, but then with no feedback, no orders for a couple of days to find the system broken, then they cannot fix problems for 3 days (shipping modules unreliable!), you end up losing big money, and you look like an a** in front of your customers. STAY AWAY from BigCommerce like the plague! Volusion is more reliable, shopify, even a monkey with oscommerce is better for you in the long run, we are frustrated and it is not easy to move away from their system. It sucks! We invested so much time and effort into it. MagentoGo for $50 a month for the same features of BigCommerce (We pay them $149/month) for half the features. E.g. no translation or multi-langauange with BC.

  90. Vladimir Lerner says

    My company is looking at Volusion or Shopify. Any thoughts as to which would be better?

    It looks like Shopfiy is really nice but Volusion offers some cool features and Volusion has no transaction fee – shopify does have a 1% transaction fee (and their most basic plan has a 2% transaction fee).

  91. casey says

    Hi Andrew,

    after doing some intensive digging around trying to compare all the different shopping carts, I guess at this point I am gravitating slightly towards Bigcommerce. However, I do have some doubts as to wether my location being based in Australia could actually affect the payments issue particularly with Paypal. I read a reader response to one of your articles & he complained about the fact that being based in Australia, he couldn’t use paypal with bigcommerce unless he opened a US bank account. Is this true?

    I was just wondering if you have any information regarding this issue? I would really appreciate it as it would be deciding factor for me as to wether I will go with Bigcommerce.

    Hope to get a response :) Thanks for a great blog and all the reviews by the way.


    • says

      There are no issues at all with using BigCommerce in Australia – BigCommerce is after all an Australian company

      You can very readily use your Australian setup Paypal account with BigCommerce

      • Dwayne says

        Any truth to the rumor that all monthly charges are billed as foreign transactions to US users? That seems so easy to fix if true.

        • says

          They do bill everyone in USD if that’s what you mean, there are no extra charges though unless your credit card company is levying them. They are a US based service so depending on the exchange rate that can save you some money -it did for Australian’s in 2010 & 2011.

          • Marc says

            BC Monthly charges are billed in US Dollars even if you are in Australia. This is a little strange considering they are an Australian company but I guess they are more focused on the US market.

  92. ALASTAIR says


    I have looked at all the platforms mentioned here but as in the UK and have a small catalogue no added options to list etc is BC the best for uk delivery?

    Thanks Andrew

  93. Jimmy Sims says

    I recently signed up for Shopify because i found out that they have a new App in the Shopify App store that integrates directly with FulfillRite Fulfillment a full service order fulfillment processing center, its totally hassle free! All my orders pull straight into the fulfillment center then they fulfill and ship my orders for a great price too….. then we get the tracking inserted back into the orders automatically on Shopify! its lets me focus on doing more marking.

    Good Luck

    Jimmy Sims

  94. Neel says

    I’m trying to decide which ecommerce platform to use, and was wondering if someone could tell me how many products I can list with 100MB (Shopify)? BigCommerce says 100 products, but I have no idea how products translate to size.


  95. John Wilson says


    I am in a strange situation. I promised a friend before he passed away that I would publish his book. So his widow and I agreed that I would create an ebook from his manuscript and sell it. My friend did not want me to go down the vanity publishing route on his behalf. So I am going to sell it on Amazon and also from a website I am creating.

    Now here’s where it gets interesting. I have been approached by other people, who have heard that I am doing this, to publish their writings also. So now I have found myself in the position of setting up a digital book publishing site. I want to be clear that I don’t expect to make any money out of it (All proceeds minus costs will go back to the Authors) but I don’t want to lose any either.

    I need to select an ecommerce platform that will enable me to reliably charge for ebook downloads and not cost anything up front to set up! Also it needs to be ultra secure because if I am very concerned that if someone entrusts me with their credit card details I need to protect them. If it had simple elegant website templates that I could use to design and set up the whole site, that would be nice.

    Physical fulfillment is not an issue here but digital fulfillment is! Also the ability to pay for the ebook using different payment methods is important. I have also been asked by one author to sell his work in different ways. so the ability to select an item and pay for different versions of it is relevant. (Having said that I suspect that he’s just yanking my chain).

    Lastly, for transparency I need to be able to allow the authors to log in and see how their work is selling and it would be nice to have a “buyer login”/community too!

    Tall order for a newbie like me but thanks for any advice folks,


    • says

      BigCommerce can handle digital (ebook) downloads, multiple payment methods and credit card security. As can CoreCommerce, Volusion and Americommerce

  96. Paul says

    Thanks for the information! Our situation is rather unique in that we sell products that need bundling. We were using oscommerce for several years and their bundling process is the best we found, but as you said, SEO is rubbish. We looked at Magento, Shopify and Volusion but none of those offered bundling of products. When we first started looking at Bigcommerce, they didn’t offer it either but they quickly implemented it. We just launched our new site a week ago and so far, all our customers like it. The one feature we would like that we had with oscommerce is the ability to have more than one item in each option (each option having more than one item, such as 4 spark plugs instead of only one). Other than that, everything is easy and relatively intuitive to set up.

  97. Randy says

    Hi Andrew,

    I have a small site that sells PC backup software. At least to start with, I assume I will be selling under 100 units per month. My sales will be download only. I need to issue an activation code with each sale, and I’d like the cart pages to look like they’re integrated with my website.

    I’m a little overwhelmed with the choices I’m faced with. Trying to decide on BC, Volusion, Shopify, or Pinnacle. Don’t really like the idea of paying a percent of sales.

    Can you recommend my best choice from these 4, or is there someone else I should look at?


    • says

      Your best choice for delivering product keys to customers automatically is Volusion. You will have a little trouble exactly matching your website (depending on your site) but it should be doable.

      The others will better allow you design your website properly but you will have to manually email product keys to customers after they have paid an downloaded the software.

      Personally I would go with Volusion to save yourself the extra workload and your customers will appreciate the full service delivery over a few minor visual differences with your store and site

  98. James says

    Great great blog Andrew. I, like Randy am a bit overwhelmed with all the comments about the programs. Maybe your recommendation will help me a bit. I have an online clothing store that I started. Right now I’m using a wordpress plugin named WP Online Store, which is alright but I’d like to take my business to the next level. So far I’m on the face with Shopify and Volusion, which do you think would be a better fit for a clothing business and if there is a program better than those 2 that you feel may be a better fit (except Magento…it’s out of my price range) which would they be?

    Thank you in advance

    • says

      Volusion has some great product option features that make is a good choice for a clothing store including colour swatch selector and great inventory control.

      You will pay more to make it look good than you would with Shopify but depending on your market/niche that may or may not be a high priority.

      Magento Go is a hosted pay by the month Magento solution that cost the same as BigCommerce or Volusion if cost is the only reason you are discounting it.

      If you want a final answer use Volusion the better end user experience and inventory management will make it more suitable

  99. Jim says

    Amen to Big Commerce going down hill, we have been with them 2 years and have seen service go way down, and lots of changes they made just made things worst. When they changed the Product Option set up I got lost and still can’t seem to fully understand how to do it. Needlessly complex. It is very difficuly to change the design without HTML knowledge. Looks like the programmers and marketing division are in control and they don’t care about what their want customer want, need, or even think about some of the changes made. We are looking at Shopify and a few others to change over. Wish I had never gone to them, but the experience give you a better idea of what to look for in your next site.

  100. Dane says

    Andrew, Thank you very much for your shopping cart reviews. Your genuine approach to cutting the crap and descibing products in terms we can all understand is much appreciated.

    After a couple of weeks comparing all the online shopping carts available I have narrowed it down to BigCommerce and Shopify. BigCommerce looks like it will cover all my needs but Shopify has a sexy simple look that I want. Shopify doesn’t quite cover all my needs, like Australian shipping and invoicing, but the app approach seems to be the way of the future.

    I have decided to try both as I have 2 very different businesses that need online stores… and I have a habit of regularly swapping between PC/Mac, Android/iPhone to try understand each. I’ll let you know how they are going in a month.

    • says

      Thanks for the nice words dane – much appreciate. I look forward to hearing how you go. Congrat’s on being the 100th comment as well – wish I had some swag to send your way – if I can think of something I will email you.

  101. Barbara says

    Hi Andrew, I am really thankful to you for putting this review together! I have learned a great deal. I am wondering if I can get your thoughts on the best option for my business. We are opening an online Christmas store that we are planning to go live in September of this year. I am completely new to this and am learning as I go. We will carry somewhere around 500 products but that may increase over time. I want to be able to have multiple images per product, have a clean and easy to use website for our customers, payment options would be credit/debit card and paypal. I want to be able to offer specials and discounts, login capabilities for returning customers and guest checkout for those who don’t want to give us information. I would also like cross selling features and tell a friend options. I need the storefront to communicate with Quickbooks online and I want to easily track inventory and have items removed or hidden from the site (temporarily) automatically when we are out of stock. I would also like to be able to send emails to my entire customer base as needed. I have pretty much narrowed it down to three options. Volusion, BigCommerce and Shopify. I am leaning away from Shopify beause of their transaction fee. I am concerned about customer service with BigCommerce if I can get help on evenings and weekends. I’m not sure that Volution can communicate with Quickbooks and I know they have bandwith overage charges. Any help, input, thoughts would be very much appreciated!!

  102. Larry says

    This is with regards to my question on Florida tax and surtaxes.
    I went in last night in Shopify and they have a beta testing solution
    for the problem with diferent surtaxes by county, they have all the counties and all the zip codes for Florida and they are ready to be used, that is good news. I keep testing both services and so far I like Big Commerce better, their web sites look more professional for IT products, items can have shipping dimensions, Shopify only consideres the weight, and one can lose a lot of money if the incorrect freight charges are applied, the dimensional weight plays an important role and I do not see Shopify considering it. Regards and thank you for your reviews.

  103. Solmadrid says

    Great info here.

    Like many others I’m a bit overwhelmed with the options and keep going back and forth in my head.

    I’m going to open an online store that sells martial arts gear and apparel. So things like boxing gloves, shorts, shirts, head protection, etc..

    I’m looking for a solution that is cheap, easily customizable, SEO friendly, reliable, easily viewable on mobile devices, integrates with social networks, easy to upgrade the plan as the site grows, and accepts Credit Cards and Paypal.

    Based on that list, which ecommerce solution do you guys suggest?

    Long list, I know, hah, but appreciate you guys taking the time to review.

  104. Annie D says

    Hi Andrew
    I am looking to create a new website as my current one is not working for me. Have looked at Shopify and BC but was concerned about them not being UK hosted, is this a problem as i only sell in the UK. Would this be a problem for SEO and google rankings.
    After reading all your reviews now have some other worries such as the VAT issue on checkout for Uk customers, foreign payment transaction fees and PCI Compliant.
    Could you give me some advice please.

  105. Kirsty says


    We are a small Natural Remedy business and are currently using OS commerce through our website designer but are considering moving our website to WordPress to improve SEO and our ability to control the content.

    We are in Australia and sell mainly here although will sell in the future to Sweden, HK and States.

    Any advice on whether a WP online store would be suitable.

    Thanks for all that you do!

    • says

      WP with Wp e-commerce would be fine and will give you what you need (control and SEO) install the free WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast as well – it is the best

  106. Gearóid Ó Riain says

    Just to pick up on one of the comments above Andrew, it is regarding not being hosted in your own country. What are the implications of this? I want to commit to shopify as they tick all the boxes for me. I’m based in Ireland so being hosted on the U.S will impact my load speeds, google ranking ect… right?

    Also regarding the payment page, say I am using paypal to take payments.
    What is the customer presented with?, is it or

    Love the blog BTW.

    • says

      The SEO advantage of being hosted in you target market is minimal. 0.01% at most. By properly identifying your website and using local top level domains, address tags and the other available meta data you can easily counter any negative effects of being hosted overseas.

      For checkout your users will be presented with – despite all testing it seems to have no effect on conversions – I am always surprised but people don’t seem to mind, I guess Shopify has built up a brand and people are starting to recognize it

  107. Aaron says

    Hello Andrew/Community,

    I was hoping others with a bit more experience might weigh in/comment/correct my thinking here. Folks keep talking about he transaction fees being a deal killer on Big Commerce, but I was comparing that to the low bandwith caps on BC, and have come to the conclusion that Shopify is actually cheaper. I look at it like this, I’m estimating a 2% conversion rate, an average cart size of $20 and approximately 5MB of transfer per visitor. So, with a 2% conversion, this equates to 1 customer per 50 visitors. If each visitor uses transfers 5MB, we’re looking at approximately 250MB per conversion/customer(50*5). Big Commerce charges 5.12 per GB of transfer over your plan allotment. So, 250MB is 25% of a GB, so each customer will have a maginal “bandwith” cost of .25×5.12, or 1.28 per transaction. To me, that a whole lot more expensive than Shopify, at $20×1% =$.20 per customer. Anyone care to confirm/disagree/agree?



    • says

      I don’t follow your hypothetical here Aaron. Where have you deducted the 2-45Gb bandwidth that is included with each plan? How many people visited the website (I see 1 in 50 bought something) but how many in the month visited?

      Looking at these numbers 2 things come to mind (assuming it is a real world example).

      1) Why is the conversion rate at 2% – that seems very low – I would be working to improve that conversion rate before I worried about the possible excess bandwidth charges I may or may not have to pay

      2) 5Mb per customer seems high you should be easily able to reduce that

      You can manipulate the data/bandwidth argument anyway you need to to make any cart appear cheaper – in fact most of the vendors do. For instance if you never sell anything Shopify is the second cheapest shopping cart on the market behind Core Commerce.

      I think you will find the people that are complaining about the price difference are store owners with high volumes or high priced sales (average carts well in excess of $20).

      As an example. If I had an online furniture store that got 100 visitors a month and only one of them bought anything but what they bought was a $10,000 leather lounge the transaction fee on that one sale alone is equal to 6 months BigCommerce hosting.

      The take away would be look at the data from your own store and do the math – there is every chance Shopify could work out cheaper for your situation and thats fantastic, it is a beautiful cart.

      • Aaron says


        Thanks for the feedback, exactly what I was looking for. In all honesty, I really prefer the BigCommerce platform. Its far more feature packed and I don’t find the templates cumbersome to customize at all. I do, however, feel Shopify wins hands down when it comes to the elegance of their stock templates. In response to my assumptions, they are not coming from a real world store. I estimated a 2% conversion because I found some search marketing company’s data published online that looked at conversion rates for various industries. For my industry, it was 2.2%, so thats where that came from. My 5MB/visitor transfer is a guess as well. That comes from the fact that I’ve alreay trasfered about 50MB in about 13 days, and that comes from me just adding a couple products and working on customization. So I couldn’t image a visitor looking at *hopefully* a dozen or more pages wouldn’t pull 5MB. Maybe you could clarify, but it doesn’t look like Big Commerce supports browser cache, which would help a bit.



        PS, the reason I didn’t included the 2-45GB in my calcuation is because I’m trying to look at MARGINAL cost, i.e., the cost of one additional product above a certain base. In this case, the base was the 2-45GB that would potentially be taken up with just a few sales, at least when talking about the 2GB plan.

  108. Gearóid Ó Riain says

    Aaron, would you mind sharing the link to the search marketing company’s data that they published online. Sounds like an informative read.

    Thank you

  109. Martha says

    I noticed that some of the testimonials from Volusion and Magento AND BigCommerce website’s are NOT W3C compliant. Is there anyway to have this fixed by someone who I hire or am I locked out from touching the code to make it ADA and W3 compliant?

    For example, Volusion doesn’t have any of its picks with alt tags. That not good for ADA.

    • says

      BigCommerce and Magento can be fixed with very little effort.

      Volusion and Core Commerce spew huge chunks of code into the centre of your template so you can’t do anything to correct it. Core Commerce is generating more compliant and accessible code with every release.

      Americommerce can be made compliant – it mostly is though especially with the new templates.

      Shopify is obviously as compliant as you want it to be and is the easiest to make W3C and ADA

      • Martha says

        Thanks for the fast reply, Andrew!

        What about Pinnacle Cart in making it W3C and ADA code compliant?

        And, I meant to say, “pic” not “pick” to depict “picture”. Sorry for that….My ipod autocorrected, incorrectly.

  110. Aaron T says

    Hi Andrew,

    Great article and the post/replies are even more valuable.

    We’re setting up and e-commerce store where we expect people to repurchase the same or similar items again and again. For example, if we were going to be selling groceries, a person who bought Ben & Jerries, Fruit Loops and Kraft Mac & Cheese would most likely want to purchase these sames items on their next visit. As a result, we’d like their shopping history to help them with their future puchases by ‘remembering’ their past shopping habits and making it easier for them to purchase these items again.

    Do any of the e-commerce options that you have discussed or know of support this functionality or something similar?

    Aaron T

    • Aaron T says

      One more important consideration. We’re a South African business and as far as I can tell, none of the major e-commerce offerings integrate with any of our local payment gateways by default (we have our own merchant account). Do any of the options provide for custom integration? Even if paid?

      Aaron T

    • says

      Using Cookies and Javascript I have created this functionality in both BigCommerce and Shopify – I haven’t found a cart that readily supported this feature but to be honest I didn’t look very hard

  111. Scott says

    Andrew – Love your reviews — and also have found the COMMENTS here every bit as helpful. Great stuff!

    A few thoughts — and questions for all hands…

    We are a small family-run start-up seeking to bootstrap a premium, niche pet brand. Initially, we will be launching with only a dozen SKUs (albeit relatively high margin), and currently have offline preorders exceeding an ~$1MM per annum run rate. We will be retailing online, as well as pushing wholesale distribution of, our product. I’ve wasted an ENORMOUS amount of time during the past 8+ weeks in “paralysis by analysis” with respect to looking at the various commerce platforms/carts – i.e., specifically, Pinnacle Cart v. Shopify v. BigCommerce.

    I need an aesthetically-TOP-NOTCH custom template (and < 10 pgs) that (i) adopts "responsive design" (i.e., generally, clean compliant code and device-agnosticism) or at least offers scalable "m-commerce" functionality; (ii) includes fulsome order fulfillment and marketing functionality and analytics, along with general social media integration, QR code campaign functionality, and integration with MailChimp/Constant Contact, etc.; (iii) accommodates fulsome wholesale customer shopping as well as standard retail; (iv) offers a white-label, one-page checkout; and (v) is SEO friendly.

    Design budget = $10k MAX. Timeline = 30 days. I have a logo, url, tons of product, some minimal content, and many solid ideas of what I'm looking for.

    Here are experiences to date:

    1. Pinnacle Cart: Current hosted version has everything I want now and everything I could foresee needing in the near future. Platform blows away competitors', from a functionality standpoint. While I'm not familiar with how their m-commerce capability works under the hood, they have it, at least — along with excellent SEO and marketing functionality (QR codes rock), great admin analytics, and functionality to accommodate wholesale and retail customers. However, P.C. is a mighty lean company (concern: will they be here two years from now?), and notwithstanding that anyone with API access SHOULD be able to toss up some nice custom designs, the online portfolio looks atrocious and circa 2005 (akin to Volusion's). Hopefully, their recent move to in-house design will improve things. That being said, they have been the most responsive to date, and have acknowledged that, with access to API and HTML, folks with PHP experience and ninja HTML/CSS skills should be able to template and design a great looking site. They also offer, worst case, in house design (but no examples online to assess). And, by the way, they offer in-house payment gateway/card services at the lowest rates I've seen (and without monthly or per-x fees). For the life of me, I haven't a clue as to why P.C. is not THE #1 undisputed cart-king (what am I missing here, Andrew?).

    2. Shopify: Pure elegance in design (and generally device-agnostic thanks to HTML5), and the darling of an exponentially-growing following of designers and several prominent angel investors. They've made several recent acquisitions in the mobile space, and are probably the most plugged-in cart among VC friends. I like RoR under the hood, and the platform has much potential. HOWEVER, while they are probably the nicest-looking cart by far, one could get 10X more functionality through Etsy! Yes, the Liquid templating makes for gorgeous designs; however, the built-in functionality is UNQUESTIONABLY abysmal. No doubt one could build a 90% proficient Shopify platform; however, once one tacks on the monthly fees to avoid Shopify's 1% to 2% transaction commissions, and the hundreds of dollars per month to purchase even market-grade functionality via the App store, I think it's safe to say that one should be more inclined to jump up to an enterprise platform. Regarding customer service, I would rate them as THE worst I've encountered. I have left numerous VMs with sales at HQ (requesting a referral to one of their "Experts") — all calls, unreturned. I've also previously discussed at length my project with one of their higher-ranking “experts” that I cold-called (a/k/a the Chief Funness Officer — re: title, REALLY?), only to have the resource fail to provide any timely follow-up and flake out. As someone who sleeps with an iPhone and responds to clients 24×7, I deem Shopify's support among the worst I've ever encountered among service providers. Furthermore, I would encourage folks to watch the Feb 29 video unveiling of the "Build a Biz" contest a la Gary Vaynerchuk (a SECOND-gen entrepreneur, who Shopify et al somehow deems on par with the likes of Seth Godin and Tim Ferriss… Again, REALLY?). By my math, BEST case, the participant Shopify merchants are averaging ~$15k annualized revenue. I think SpreeCommerce hosted on Rackspace literally would knock the block off of Shopify's hype, given more exposure. IMHO, Shopify is best suited to the Etsy/Big Cartel crowd. Sad, as it is the only cart smart enough to have effected solid acquisitions in the mobile space, and is near to entrenching itself as the "darling" of the design crowd.

    3. BigCommerce: Seems like a really good, fresh cart; however, client feedback indicates considerable lack of satisfaction with support and billing. They appear to be the "GoDaddy" of cart platforms (NOT a complement) — if they spent as much capital on support and development as they have on marketing, self-promotion and commissions, I would be more impressed. I would say that at least 50% of the functionality (e.g., Mail Chimp, Shipwire, Quickbooks, Facebook shop, Live Chat, etc., etc.) that I — and most folks — complain about with respect to Shopify's shortcomings are likewise merely pay-per-view plugins on BigCommerce (…but standard on Pinnacle Cart). I've had discussions at length with BC's largest U.S. design partner, who quoted approx. $11k to produce a custom template and, IMHO, a simple build (as indicated above) by the first week of April (specs: ~70 man-hrs allocated, but no guarantees)! Similarly to Pinnacle Cart, B.C.'s templates look atrocious — I dare say we aren't likely to see any raw B.C. designs win any "CSS site of the month" contests. Coupling my experience with the comments above, I'm less than impressed…

    Soooo… I am honest to God at a loss as to how to proceed. Frankly, if this is the best of breed of 2012 ecommerce, I feel that I should hang up my hat and resume my law practice! Surely, SOMEONE, at SOME price, offers an A+ lower-middle-market solution that suits the needs of folks like me and the commenters above. WordPress + GoldCart hosted on Rackspace is faaaaaaar better than anything I've encountered with the carts at hand.

    I look forward to hearing others' comments, as well as Andrew's valuable insights. Thanks all.

    • says

      We have spoken off the blog, but for everyone else I will leave some notes here.

      Pinnacle Cart – sounds like your only issue is with there longevity? If it was a wholly hosted cart that would be troubling but Pinacle Cart offer a downloadable version that you host yourself with full source code. That should keep you safe and sound regardless of the companies future.

      Go with Pinnacle it is an awesome product who’s biggest downside is the lack of marketing and affiliate commissions they pay out. They appear to be ramping that side of the business up so expect to see much more of them in 2012. I love working with the product and while the templates a re a little harder to make everything else (especially the marketing tools) are wonderful. It is primarily for USA and Canadian businesses though but they are working on adding better international support.

      Shopify does have a very limited feature-set – but too be fair that is not something they have ever denied. There legion of designer fans are responsible for the rumours that it is anything other than a very simple, very elegant shopping cart. I love Shopify and go right to it when the jobs permit or the client budget allows for a few app store purchases but if you are looking at replicating real world retail on a website Shopify is not the solution. If you want a cart so beautiful people visit just to look at it and a backend so simple you can employ you children sign up today. It’s a shame you had such an appalling experience with Shopify’s support people I would love to hear what other people’s Shopify support experiences have been.

      Its no secret I am a huge BigCommerce fan. But I am not blind to its short comings and the issues real world customers have with the cart. Customer support has improved significantly since the early days but they still spend more on telling you how good the product is than actually making it good.

      Given your needs and experience definitely go with Pinnacle Cart, there is no perfect solution unless you build it yourself to specification but that doesn’t mean that the carts are not good. I guess if there was a “A+ lower-middle-market solution that suits the needs of folks like [you]” I would have nothing to blog about

      • Scott says

        Andrew –
        Thanks so much for your advice.

        By way of update… I’m officially (and unexpectedly) onboard BigCommerce. I happened upon a great full-service agency in the U.S. that offered me everything I needed in terms of timing, fees, good track record, ongoing support, PR, social media marketing, branding help and product packaging design. And… OF COURSE, they are a BigCommerce shop. 😉

        All things being equal, this was the best solution for my current situation (as a start-up, there are soooooo many tasks to undertake, and a full-service shop seems a good fit — flying solo had proved an unexpectedly lonely exercise, and this route assuages some of those personal issues).

        I will keep y’all in the loop, as things progress. Hopefully, it will prove a great decision/experience; however, as with most things in Life, nothing is set in stone — and so long as we learn from our “failures” and quickly change course, there aren’t many goals we can’t accomplish, one way or the other.

        • Salman says

          Hi Scott,

          I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing the name of the design company (either through these forums or by e-mail/phone) you used for your BigCommerce design work? I’m in a similar phase in terms of finding the right firm to use to launch my start-up site, but I don’t want to kill my available funds/budget in the process.



    • says

      All comments on my blog are moderated. They don’t appear until I check them out, not that I have ever not approved a valid comment I am just a bit of a control freak

      Your earlier comments are live I will respond tomorrow

  112. Steve says

    I posted this in response to your another comparison, but believe it would be better suited to this article.

    I have been on Shopify for just under 2 years.
    Their inventory system DOES NOT WORK.
    It will randomly change inventory levels of your products. They have been aware of the problem (as I was forced to provide them with proof) and they have done nothing to fix it in over a year. They added 1 new feature and held a contest though…
    …because that’s really important to my 1000′s of customers wondering wtf is going on…

    It’s sad because as helpful as your article is, it just touches the “sales pitch” surface. Reviewing the actual functionality of a site would take 6-12 months of day to day use, (to really uncover all the real issues). It took me over a 1 year to absolutely confirm (without any doubt) that it is a Shopify issue, not human error that was screwing up my inventory.

    How do I get compensated for the lost sales, insane stress (the larger the order I received, the more stressful it became due to inventory inconsistencies) and the burden of now having to transfer just under 10,000 products to another provider.

    At this moment Sunday, 9:42pm, 3/18/2012 EST, I am awaiting Shopify’s response to the “minor” issue of their software randomly changing the inventory values of my 9811 different SKU’s. Unfortunately, unlike the 100′s of people that are shopping at my store today, Shopify offices and support are “closed” on Sunday.

    Stop and think about that for a moment…

  113. Steve says

    Update 10:51am, 3/19/2012;

    I just spoke to Shopify support today. Their solution to this weekend’s inventory crash;

    “Export ALL of my 9811 Sku’s to a CSV and MANUALLY update each one individually.”

    When I asked them about having some sort of redundancy system in place, to restore the inventory values, I was told “they can not do that. That data does not really exist or has been effected as well.” (The support guy could not really give me a clear answer as to why the data could not be restored.)


    How does THAT happen?! What kind of operation has a system where your back up data is vulnerable to the same “problems” your current data is. Is this not what I am paying them for. Hello, data security?!

    I also posted a history of the inventory problems I have faced over the past year+, on the Shopify forum last night, with confirmation from another Shopify service that a number of their customers were experiencing similar problems. Shopify has PROMPTLY deleted the post this morning. It’s amazing how quickly they got THAT job done.

    Anyone reading following this thread, I HIGHLY recommend you read this, before they delete it as well;

    Meanwhile, I’m calling a lawyer…

  114. ian says

    We are using Shopify and we love it but they really need to have tier pricing. This should be a given with any serious e commerce solution. Also they need to have a better way of creating categories. Other than that it is a great solution.

  115. Facials Jacksonville says

    Hi thank you so much for doing this review for me. I had been looking into who was the best at building an eccomerce store. I knew Big commerce was up there in rankings but had not heard of shopify. I will check both of them out today. Thank you! :)

  116. hector moreno says

    Good Morrning.I just started my company for women hair accessories.I had a deal with henri bendal but that didnt go through.Now Im doing plan B that’s opening a online store.I have 10 sections.Each section ranges 5 to 15 products.My online store budget is $1,500.I need to know what service do i need to start my site.I already know ima need dynamic platform.who should sign with?im based in nyc.i want something real not a computer wiz at all .i need help asap lo.

  117. Mahmood says

    Hi All,

    I’m wondering if any of you know what is the best e-commerce platform for supporting multi-languages such as Arabic?

    please help and advise me.

    thanks alot

  118. Riley Kemp says

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the article (and a few others I’ve read on your site). It helped me a lot with my research. Being based in Australia and primarily for shipping reasons (as you have listed), we went for Big Commerce. So far so good.

    Thanks again,

  119. Luke P says

    Hi Andrew,

    First of all – thanks a lot for the review. Has really helped me get a better understanding of carts out there.

    We started off with OpenCart (PHP/CSS) – and without a developer, we’re finding it harder to update and get the features we want. The site also looks really crappy and we’re spending endless hours trying to learn how to make it look a little better.

    We’re leaning towards Shopify – you simply cannot beat the features available. Looks really sexy and the back-end looks great.

    Would you recommend something like this over OpenCart?

    Couple of questions:

    – How scalable is Shopify?
    – If our store grows too big – what do you think would happen?
    – Is it very customizable? If there’s a feature we REALLY need and it’s not in the App store – can it be done?

    Thanks in advance.

  120. Al says

    I have been a customer of BigCommerce for 2 years.. and this is what i have to say AVOID IT LIKE THE PLAGUE…The backend is extremely weak, we lost thousands of dollars in orders because the hosting company they use is unreliable… we periodically have the website only showing Unable to Connect: Too Many Database Connections… for many months, they have not addressed the issue.. they do overload their servers with too many accounts. When the server works, great. but when it does not, it is a piece of junk… the server reliability for us is 93% which is unacceptable. if you have a busy site, this means you are losing $500 to $1000 in orders, and wasting your CPC money

  121. game writer guy says

    Andrew, love the nuts-and-bolts straight-to-the-point review. Just what the doctor ordered.

  122. juizy4apple says

    Hi Andrew,

    As I am currently based in Singapore. I would like to check if Shopify/Volusion/BigCommerce accepts paypal account that are setup with Singapore bank accounts? Will there be monthly admin fees charged on a Singapore setup paypal acccount?


  123. OC says

    I was thinking about moving to BigCommerce from Shopify but thanks to the comments. I saved myself. I’ll stick with Shopify for now! Thanks a lot, Andrew. You saved me a lot of trouble!

  124. David says

    Hello Andrew,

    I am looking to set up a flash sales site. I have narrowed my options down to BigCommerce and Shopify as they have unlimited bandwidth amongst other reasons.

    I am tending towards BC as I have read their better back-end functionality enables you to sell products at a discount for a set period of time. Slightly concerned by what I’ve been hearing regarding BigCommerce’s customer support however.

    On the plus side for Shopify I have read that their themes are very good but on the downside I’ve read they have a three page checkout process?

    If you could shed any light on my situation that would be hugely appreciated!

    Thank you

  125. Deepak says


    Which one would you recommend for a service like Netflix? I’m quite scared of Bigcommerce after reading above reviews on customer support etc. But shopify seems to be lacking in features? The requirements are –

    a) Streaming Video service (no downloads)
    b) Integration with video hosting providers (Brightcove etc)
    c) Easier to manage on our own and update during A/B Testing
    d) Relevant reporting tools
    e) Not too expensive to start with and getting customized from experts

    Would greatly appreciate your help in this regard!


  126. Marty says

    Shopify looks terrific, but dang, it’s relatively expensive for someone like me. Paypal fees on top of Shopify transaction fees, yikes. Real time shipping is pretty important and it’s pretty much standard with all other companies even with their cheapest 100 product levels, but with Shopify, you got to hop on their $99 plan to get the real time shipping, and still they want 1% for transactions.

    I’m surprise I don’t see more complaints about their pricing.

  127. marwa says

    you mentioned that Big commerce is better in handling shipping if you are from outside US. iam from Egypt so is Big Commerce the best choice ?

  128. princess says

    Im living in middle east, and im i have no idea with programming and codings.

    Which one is better? Volusion or Shopify or Magento or Big Commerce?

  129. Larry Miranda says

    Hello princess,
    Is impossible to evaluate thoroughly all the services available, but I spent about two months evaluating about four of them, and found that for the amount of products and my budget was the best for me, I have been a customer since Feb 2012 and so far I have not had one day of downtime, their tech support, help and training videos are excelent. If you need additional info send me your email and I will gladly provide it.


  130. tybrid says

    Thanks again, Andrew for this article and thanks to all who added comments and experience. I have been looking into this since earlier this year but now have to decide which ecommerce shopping cart to go with for me and some of my clients. I own a marketing consulting biz where we do SEO, PPC and online marketing and although I know online marketing like the back of my hand, I am a newbie when it comes to ecommerce and shopping carts. I have some clients that want us to assist them in ecommerce and I too am looking for best solution for my own side project for my online health foods/snacks site. Many shopping carts out there but I want to find something simple to use and setup but also robust as I do not want to have to keep switching. I started with americommerce which I really liked and the fact that they seem to always be updating and improving their products. What I did not care for were there simple theme templates and because I have thousands of products/skus, it did not integrate with what I am doing to manage inventory. So, now I am looking at shopify and BC. I, like most others here are concerned about their transaction fees. We all have to pay transaction fees to merchant account processors and paypal, so additional fees add up. Are there any satisfied shopify users here care to share how the transaction fee they are paying calculates to less than BC or Volusion as I believe thy both have caps on bandwidth/data that can get expensive? I like the fact that shopify offers unlimited but again, I want to choose the shopping cart that makes the most sense for us. I like where aaon was going when he was trying to make sense of shopifys transaction fees vs other shopping carts depending on conversions. Bottom line, I want a reliable shopping cart, that supports 1000’s of products, ability to offer free shipping (shopify has implemented this recently), real-time tracking, analytics and statistics, real-time shipping, real-timne inventory, etc. BC seems to have this however, the horror stories I hear especially for my budget with the extensive data cap charges and not as user-friendly setup, I am still leaning towards shopify but am hesitant due to transaction fees, lack of real-time shipping ( i need visitors to know exactly what their shipping costs are going to be), lack of single page checkout, redirecting to shopify site when checking out instead of staying on my site, etc.

    Any current shopify users care to chime in that sell thousands of products who can weigh in on this? Or is there another shopping cart that is stable that others are using for their shopping carts and stores that they are happy with overall (service, pricing, features, ease of use, support)?



  131. SoundsGood says


    I’m looking for some specifics on BigCommerce vs Shopify, please.

    For example, can anyone tell me a specific reason why someone might be better off with BigCommerce rather than Shopify… or vice-versa?

    And likewise, any specific reason why someone might want to AVOID one service over the other?

    Thanks in advance!

  132. Daniel Harrison says

    Merry Christmas Mate!

    Just a quick question before you tuck into your turkey…

    I’ve a product that a I’m

  133. Daniel Harrison says

    Merry Christmas Andrew!

    Just a quick question before you tuck into your turkey…

    I’ve a product that a I’ll be selling in 2013, I’m based in London, England and wondered if you’d recommend me using BC as apposed to Shopify? I just can’t get over the transaction fee on top of the monthly one, so if you reckon that BC will be able to do the same job as Shopify then I’m all in!

    Many thanks,

  134. Daniel Harrison says

    Merry Christmas Andrew!

    Just a quick question before you tuck into your turkey…

    I’ve a product that a I’ll be selling in 2013, I’m based in London, England and wondered if you’d recommend me using BC as apposed to Shopify? I just can’t get over the transaction fee on top of the monthly one, so if you reckon that BC will be able to do the same job as Shopify then I’m all in!

    Many thanks,

  135. Tim says

    Spot on with this write-up, I honestly believe this amazing
    site needs much more attention. I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the information!

  136. Catherine says

    Hi Andrew, I am looking right now into switching my current site into an ecommerce site and even after reading all the details above am still a bit torn :)! It is a clothing line with good traffic but definitely not thousands/millions of dollars worth of transactions. On a very tight budget and I would like to be able to customize the template to look as similar to my current website as possible ( I am leaning towards Shopify (I love their templates), but I hear their functionality is lacking; I hear Volusion is good too but I find their free templates not pretty and their paid templates too expensive.

    I would like:
    -Easy to upload/edit/customize – I have zero coding experience
    -Automatic shipping calculations based on customer’s address
    -Website traffic monitor
    -Customer history on orders
    -Currency conversions
    -Sales/Discount coupons/gift certificates

    Any recomendations would be great!

      • Catherine says

        I looked on their website and couldn’t navigate to see their template options???? The look of the website is very important; I also heard it is a bit of coding??? I am the worst at coding! Would you recommend Big Commerce based on what I am looking for? Thanks!

        • says

          They seem to have taken the templates off the website, if you signup for the trial (it only takes a minute) you can browse them and see the drag and drop editor and other tools that allow you to edit your site without code.

          Based on your list it would be a good fit

  137. Laura- says

    One important question I haven’t seen addressed anywhere — which platform is most developer-friendly (BigCommerce of Shopify)?

    We have a strong development team in-house, and I’d love to see thoughts on which of these 2 platforms would get in their way the least.


  138. DLassar says

    Thank you for the comparison. It’s really great.
    Both shopping carts have their pros and cons. And before you make a decision try to realize your needs and opportunities.
    I found a good article about BigCommerce and Shopify.
    I think it can help to make a final step.

    Good luck!

  139. David says

    Hi Andrew,

    my question revolves around drop shipping in the UK. I need a provider who can handle multiple warehouses where I will request a Next Day or 2 Man Delivery team to collect from for onward delivery.

    UK specific- which of the current e-commerce providers is best for this distinct feature?



    • says

      Volusion has always had the best understanding of Warehousing but it is cumbersome to use. Bigcommerce has several “apps” (for a fee) that can help, my personal favorite is Doba – sign up for the Bigcommerce trial and Doba trials and poke around it should be a good fit for you in the UK

  140. David Miller says

    Yeah It totally depends on your needs. It is easy to set up the Shopify platform. It offers great responsive design means you can easily build a website which looks good on desktops, tablets and mobile devices. While Big commerce is easy to navigate and includes best SEO configurations. I would advice Big commerce because if you want to succeed in eCommerce, good SEO is absolutely essential. You can find better comparison here

  141. liz says

    Thanks for your review. There are so many different shopping carts to choose from and I’m new to all of this.
    You’re reviews have been great for bringing me up to speed :)

  142. onlinestoreowner says

    I’ve always used open source carts on my own server but have decided to try a hosted solution to ease management workload and simplify.
    Signed up a little too hastily with Shopify and purchased a $140 template. Then noticed that they wanted a 2% transaction fee – nearly fell off my chair. Paypal fees of 2.4% + $0.30 with added 2% to Shopify means profit margin close to 0%.

    The moment I noticed the 2% transaction fee detail I requested the cancellation of my Shopify account and a refund on the template (I had only just signed up and hadn’t designed/activated my store yet). They pointed to fine print and refused to refund. Absolute bastards.

    Setting up now with Volusion – so far so good. All the best!

  143. Larry says

    Hello Andrew,
    Florida has counties with different surtaxes, BC offers a solution in which I have to enter every zip code and/or use wild cards for every county in , but this is a very lengthy process, and requires some updates if there are changes in the zip codes contained in counties. I would like to see a solution in which the customer as soon as he picks Florida for a state or as soon as the customer enters the zip code, an option for selecting a county with the appropriate tax rate will come up, this approach is simpler and cleaner vs having to add all the zip codes for Florida.

    To tackle this problem with zip code as the flag for selecting the appropriate tax rate poses a problem, two or more counties could be sharing the same zip code, all orders need to be checked and the customer needs to be charged an additional amount if the incorrect tax was used, this could be annoying for for the customer and for the online store.

    Someone suggested to leave the option for the customer to enter his/her own tax rate, if the incorrect rate was entered, the online store will charge and additional tax, with the approval from the buyer before completing the order.

    Does shopify has an easier approach to this problem?

    Thank you for your answer.

      • says

        I’ve just started yesterday with Shopify so I don’t know if there is another solution out there but it seems to me that this feature is already included by default in Shopify.

        I started a new store and entered my store location and when I checked the settings -> Tax page, all the additional surtax by county was already added under “United States”.


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