You are ready to launch an online store! How exciting! Now it’s time to choose between the different platforms to start your store. This research can be a bit overwhelming. Therefore, let’s take you through the pros and cons between two of the most popular platforms: BigCommerce and WooCommerce. What are the differences between these two eCommerce platforms and what are their positives and negatives?
Comparing BigCommerce and WooCommerce for your online store
What do you need for your online store?
Operating an online store shouldn’t be a burden. Let’s first consider some financial and operational aspects of choosing an eCommerce platform for your shop.
- Ease of Use – You don’t want to get frustrated when using your eCommerce platform, it has to be user-friendly, so that you can quickly handle issues at the time of need. It shouldn’t be a burden or overwhelm business operations to operate your store.
- Budget – If you are a new startup, you need to watch your cash-flow and keep expenses under control. Make sure you know the initial costs of starting a website, but also check the recurring (yearly or monthly) payments you have to make to use the platform.
- Payment Methods – You want to make payments as safe, easy and straightforward as possible for your customers. Check if the platform supports the payment systems you want to use. Giving customers multiple payment options is best.
- Scalability – You may be small now, but you hopefully won’t be anymore in a year! Make sure that the eCommerce platform has the ability to scale up when your store grows.
- Support – You need a good support help desk or customer service behind your eCommerce platform. Any errors or glitches need to be solved immediately.
The overview: WooCommerce vs BigCommerce
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is the free eCommerce plugin for WordPress. If you have a WordPress site already, you can quickly transform your blog or website into an eCommerce store. All you need to do to start a WooCommerce store is to buy web hosting, install WordPress, install WooCommerce, and then add different marketing tools.
Main features of WooCommerce
- Works with payment gateways Stripe, PayPal, Amazon Pay, Square and many others.
- Options to offer free shipping or flat rate shipping.
- Reporting on incoming sales, reviews, inventory levels and general store performance.
- Ability to configure tax settings with tax classes and local tax rates.
- Launch marketing campaigns (discount options, usage limits, etc.).
- Built as a WordPress plugin and available from WordPress admin on your site.
BigCommerce in short
If you are looking for an all-in-one solution, BigCommerce is offering just that. It is a fully hosted eCommerce platform, giving you a big package of services including hosting, design, content, SEO, payments, and marketing features. Purchase a subscription plan and you can create a BigCommerce store pretty quickly. If you love customizing things, this platform is less suitable due to its lack of customization abilities. Being a SaaS (software as a service) platform, you will be limited to the tools available. However, you can use the BigCommerce WordPress plugin to allow you to run your online store along with an existing WordPress website. Despite its great features and its friendly layout, BigCommerce doesn’t offer a free plan or a cheap entry-level plan.
Main features of BigCommerce
- Built-in marketing features
- Design options: themes, point-and-click tools, customizable CSS/HTML
- Integration with leading accounting, marketing, and inventory management systems
- You can use your own domain name.
- Reports, and payment gateways built-in
BigCommerce vs WooCommerce: How user-friendly are they?
No busy eCommerce store owner has time to struggle with complicated IT stuff. When you launch your online store, you want to be able to quickly upload your products, deal with orders and get the money in. Therefore choosing an easy to use platform is essential.
Is BigCommerce easy to use?
It is quite straightforward to start and maintain an eCommerce store with BigCommerce. As a fully hosted platform, there is no need to set up hosting or install software. Security, backups, and performance issues are also taken care of. Even though the actual subscription is not free, you can sign up with their trial plan and set up your store. It only takes a few minutes to set up a store on BigCommerce. Once you’ve registered your store, you can see your BigCommerce dashboard with options to preview your store, add products, and customize.
BigCommerce will provide you with a subdomain for free, which looks something like this: https://mystore.mybigcommerce.com. You can, of course, use a custom domain name, which you can buy directly from BigCommerce or any other domain name registrar.
Is WooCommerce easy to use ?
One of the biggest differences between WooCommerce and BigCommerce is that WooCommerce is not a hosted platform. Being a WordPress eCommerce plugin, you will need to install it on your WordPress website to work. If you are starting a completely new store, you will also need to buy a domain name and hosting account.
To make life easier, you may want to go for a WooCommerce hosting provider, which takes out the time and effort to install them manually. For instance, hosting services like WPHost, GoDaddy, and Bluehost offer WordPress sites pre-installed with WooCommerce. Once WooCommerce is installed, you run the setup wizard. After that, you can add the basics such as payments, currency, shipping, taxes, and more. After the setup is complete, products can be added to your store.
Although the setting up part is not overly complicated, WooCommerce takes a bit of time to learn. Because it isn’t an SaaS platform like BigCommerce, you need to take care of your own security features, backups, caching and performance aspects. You’ll have to put in some time and effort to make your store powerful. If this sounds too much of a headache to you, you may want to choose BigCommerce instead.
Inventory management and order fulfillment: how does each platform integrate to Zenventory?
You’re probably here because you’re not only interested in a platform for your new ecommerce store, but also improving your warehouse operations. Both WooCommerce and BigCommerce can provide your customers with an amazing shopping & checkout experience. However in e-commerce, getting an order is only half of the battle. The rest of the customer’s experience is defined by fast, accurate fulfillment of the order, and that is where Zenventory comes into the picture.
Zenventory integrates with all major e-commerce platforms and provides better business operations than an ecommerce platform. For instance, Zenventory’s inventory management, order fulfillment, and shipping capabilities far exceed the capabilities provided by BigCommerce or WooCommerce. You can even manage inventory and orders from multiple storefronts, even if they’re on different platforms. For example, maybe you have one store using WooCommerce, another using BigCommerce, and also have an Amazon storefront. Zenventory ties the operational processes for inventory and orders into a single unified platform. Above all, your team will seamlessly fulfill orders correctly and as quickly as possible between all of your online shops.
Adding Zenventory to BigCommerce
If you’ve decided on BigCommerce, Zenventory is in the BigCommerce app store. Login to your BigCommerce store and select “Apps”. Search for Zenventory and click “Get This App”. Follow the process for installing Zenventory located on our help page here
Data exchanged between Zenventory and BigCommerce
- Imports any new items and quantities from BigCommerce into Zenventory Note that product thumbnail images do not import from BigCommerce to Zenventory currently.
- Downloads orders from BigCommerce into Zenventory that are in the “Awaiting Fulfillment” status
- Pushes inventory stock levels from Zenventory to BigCommerce (“Sellable” quantity for regular items, “Buildable” quantity for kits)
- Posts shipment info from Zenventory to BigCommerce, including tracking information
- Updates order status from Zenventory to BigCommerce when orders are completed, cancelled, or shipped
Adding Zenventory To WooCommerce
WooCommerce is a platform that is more geared towards technical users, and the integration setup process to connect it to Zenventory is no exception. There’s a little more to it than connecting BigCommerce, however it’s still very easy to do even for non-technical users if you follow our step by step guide located here on the Zenventory help page. Zenventory’s friendly support team is also standing by to assist if you run into any trouble.
Data exchanged between Zenventory & WooCommerce
- Imports initial items and quantities from WooCommerce into Zenventory
- Imports new items from WooCommerce into Zenventory
- Downloads new orders from WooCommerce into Zenventory that are in the “Processing” status
- Pushes updated inventory stock levels from Zenventory to WooCommerce for matching SKUs
- Posts order status update when completed, shipped, or canceled from Zenventory to WooCommerce
- Pushes shipment data from Zenventory to WooCommerce
What will I be paying monthly?
It’s all very nice that an eCommerce platform is free to set up…but what are the hidden costs? How much will you be paying in the long run?
BigCommerce pricing plan and features
BigCommerce has three essential plans for small eCommerce businesses. What do they cost and what do you get in return?
|Standard||$29.95 per month + optional $12 per year for own domain name||
|Plus||$79.95 per month||
|Pro||$249.95 per month||
WooCommerce true cost
When you’re first starting, WooCommerce is a more cost-effective platform than BigCommerce. WooCommerce is a free plugin in principle, however there are costs involved to get your eCommerce store up and running. For example, you’ll need a domain name, a website hosting account, and an SSL certificate prior to starting. WooCommerce and WordPress both recommend hosts like SiteGround, Bluehost, and Pressable. WordPress itself also offers a Business plan, which allows plugins. Here is an idea of average costs, when you choose WooCommerce:
|WooCommerce Domain||Web hosting||SSL certificate||Payment gateway costs|
|$14.99 / year
|$7.99 / month on average||$69.99 / year on average||2.9% + .30 cents per sale plus a monthly fee of $0 – $30 per month on average|
Conclusion: BigCommerce or WooCommerce for your eCommerce platform?
Whether you go for BigCommerce or WooCommerce comes down to your technical skills, estimated budget, and personal preferences. Above all, the platform you choose needs to not to be a burden on business operations.
The BigCommerce platform is easier to use because it is an all-in-one solution. This is great if you want to start quickly. The downside of BigCommerce is that you have limited control over your store, especially in terms of customization. You do get fixed pricing plans, limited themes and apps to facilitate business operations like Zenventory. BigCommerce also offers marketing tools to scale up your business. In addition, a big plus BigCommerce offers is great in-house support and services, 24/7 chat, email, and US-based phone support for technical issues.
For those of you who are looking for full control over your website, WooCommerce is a better choice. It is a self-hosted platform that allows you to shop around for different third party services and start with the best-priced plan. If you are savvy, you can begin a WooCommerce store at a lot lower investment than with BigCommerce. However, WooCommerce is harder to understand for beginners, especially in terms of the scalability challenges that you face as you grow.
Since WooCommerce is an open-source, free WordPress plugin, there is also no dedicated support or helpline. If you have specific questions or problems, you kind of have to figure it out yourself, or hire a developer to help you with the tech bit. However, you are likely to find support in the active WooCommerce community. Other users can share some advice there. WooCommerce also has an active Slack channel, where you can chat with developers and backend users.
If you’re ready to watch a demo of Zenventory, see our on-demand video here.