BigCommerce vs PrestaShop – SAAS vs Open-Source. The two solutions are very similar  in terms of their functionality but there are key differences as this comparison will show you. Our overview of both platforms, their pros, cons and costs will help you find the best e-commerce platform for you.

BigCommerce Overview

Ecommerce owners looking for a comprehensive tool kit and a platform that can leverage products to a wider audience should look no further than BigCommerce. The powerful shopping cart packs a serious punch – but does it measure up to other eCommerce platforms and is it the best option for your business?

Is BigCommerce SAAS?

Yes, bigCommerce is a fully-hosted SAAS option. You don’t need your own server host to run it.

BigCommerce Setup costs

BigCommerce is a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform which means set up costs are lower that eCommerce software that requires a web host. All you will need to pay for is a theme template, and possible development together with the signing on fee for the package of your choice.

New businesses are best advised to start with either the Standard or Plus plans and pay for the entire year so you get a 10% discount. Templates can be grabbed for free and there are other free features such as a handful of shopping feed plugins, such as integration with Google PLA (Google Shopping) that can help you grow without having to shell out setup fees. You can start an online store on BigCommerce for less than £1000, and even less than £100 if you go for a basic template and only pay the monthly sign on fee.

BigCommerce Monthly costs

The pricing packages at BigCommerce may appear slightly higher than its closet competitors, but the company does not charge transactions fees like Shopify or add-ons to boost performance like WooCommerce. Over the long term, monthly running costs are probably less than other options.  You will still need to pay the processing fees charged by banks and payment gateways, but that is standard across all ecommerce platforms.

However, there is one slight catch. Once you exceed the annual sales threshold BigCommerce has capped under any one pricing plan, they insist you move up to the next package. In one sense, this gives you more tools to improve your online store, but also means your monthly expenses increase. The steep rise from a Plus account to a Pro account could cause a setback for some businesses.

BigCommerce pricing packages:

Package Monthly Fee Products Storage Bandwidth Revenue threshold
Standard $29.95+/£22.50 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Up to $50,000/
Plus $79.95+/£60 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Up to $150,000/
Pro $249.95+/£188.50 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Up to $1,000,000
Enterprise Custom Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited

If you’re not sure whether BigCommerce software is the best option for you, customers are offered a 15-day free trial without you having to hand over your credit card details.

BigCommerce Hosting options

BigCommerce host your website as part of your monthly plan. This means that you save on hosting costs and are given access to unlimited storage and bandwidth. They also have excellent security measures to protect the bank details of your customers and back-up your data automatically. If you’re not technically minded, BigCommerce software offers a convenient solution.

BigCommerce Set up skills

The beauty of SaaS platforms is they practically remove the need to have computer skills. Unless you want to develop your BigCommerce theme, you can set up and launch your site within a couple of hours.

BigCommerce Theme availability

BigCommerce has over 100 free templates plus mobile-friendly themes that also include a blog. However, as with all software, the free templates have limitations and your store will be better equipped with a premium template you can customise to suit your brand and business needs. Templates range from $145-$235/£110-£177. However you may also need to factor in further customisation work to get the templates looking exactly how you want them.

BigCommerce Day to day running

Compared with other eCommerce platforms, BigCommerce offers a comprehensive stock of web tools. This will not make the day to day operation of the platform anymore difficult, but it will take you a little longer to fathom.

Having said that, the company has developed simple processes for essential tools. The form to add new products is very well designed and walks you through all the relevant details such as product description, tax class, pricing and shipping details.  You can also import CSV product lists which can save time if you have 100s of products in an existing store.

BigCommerce Payment options

BigCommerce integrates with around 60 payment gateways, which is substantially more than any of its competitors.

BigCommerce Product attributes

Together with offering unlimited products, storage and bandwidth, no other eCommerce software gives you the opportunity to boost your marketing as well as BigCommerce. Social media networks and eBay can be integrated into your eCommerce store together with shopping comparison sites Google Shopping, Nextag and Find It Quick plus others that charge a fee.

The powerful keyword search and advanced search tools make it easier for customers to find specific items and the option to request customers register an account enables you to offer exclusive deals and promotions via email.

BigCommerce Typical annual running costs for first year then ongoing years

Annual running costs depend largely depends on the success of your eCommerce store. BigCommerce does not increase the subscription fee on a yearly basis (although they may raise their fees in line with inflation), but if you surpass your annual earnings threshold (see pricing table above), you will be requested to move up to the next package which carries a significantly higher monthly fee.

BigCommerce Customer support options

Customer support lines are open 24/7 and includes phone support, online chat and email. Users also have access to video tutorials and online forums where you can tap into the vast knowledge base of other users.

Prestashop Overview

Companies that intend to build a unique eCommerce website from open source agents should take a look at the Prestashop eCommerce software. This slick and powerful platform provides users with a finely tuned website that delivers an impressive shopping experience and a heavy dose of statistics right from the dashboard.

Prestashop Setup Costs

Theoretically, setting up an eCommerce website with Prestashop can cost next to nothing, but in reality, a professional website requires a sizeable investment. The eCommerce software itself is free and whilst there are over 600 features built-in, Prestashop is not always a low-cost solution.

In order to build a shopping cart customers trust on Prestashop, you need to invest in other software such as integration with certain social media networks, third-party payment gateways and integration with the Amazon and eBay marketplace, both of which costs $229/£172 and $289/£220 respectively.

Prestashop is also a licensed web platform which means you have to find a third-party host. Other expenses will include web development and the purchase of a premium design template. Because of the setup costs and development required to make a Prestashop platform totally professional, it is best suited for mid-sized to large businesses.

Prestashop Monthly Costs

One of the benefits of a self-hosted eCommerce platform is you don’t have ongoing monthly expenses. Furthermore, Prestashop doesn’t charge users for a monthly subscription fee or take a cut of your revenue like other eCommerce websites. Monthly running costs should, therefore, be minimal.

The most likely expense will be additional modules you want to install to help you grow your business and potential development issues caused by technical errors. However, the latter can be avoided if you (or your developer) takes time to research which plugins are most compatible with each other.

Whilst open source platforms do have benefits, they can also cause problems. Because the software and plugins you install on Prestashop are all made by different developers, there is not guarantee they are all compatible with one another. As a result, you may experience more technical problems than you might on other eCommerce platforms. Ongoing monthly costs are therefore difficult to predict and will depend on the complexity of your website.

Prestashop Hosting Options

Merchants using Prestashop need to find a third party host. Prestashop recommend 1&1 hosting (presumably because they have a deal with them), but you will probably find better deals if you shop around.

Prestashop Set up Skills

Unless you intend to build a bog-basic online store, eCommerce owners looking to build a shopping cart with Prestashop will need some technical knowledge or hire someone that does. Set up can be overly complicated if open source software clashes occur during the building process.

Prestashop Theme availability

There is no shortage of design templated available from Prestashop or third-party sources. You will find over 2000 themes in the Prestashop store, 500 of which are premium templates and another 600 designed by certified partners specifically for Prestashop. Templates start from $84/£64 whilst premium templates start from $157-$220/£120-£168.

Prestashop Day-to-Day Running

Once you are set up with Prestashop, the day to day running is straightforward. The dashboard provides an overview of all the most important statistics you need to run your business, more than any other eCommerce software.

Managing your shopping cart is also easy. Adding products and other various types of content is intuitive and built-in SEO features also provide guidance about keywords, metadata and other SEO-related factors that improve visibility on search engines.

Prestashop Payment Options

Because Prestashop is an open source software, users are free to add whatever payment gateways you require. Purchase of the payment gateway is a one-off purchase, but there is a processing fee charged by the bank or payment gateway for credit card payments on each transaction. Prestashop does not charge transaction fees like some of the other leading eCommerce platforms.

Prestashop Product Attributes

There is a wealth of attributes you can add to your product pages which help to improve sales and SEO. The product creation page is particularly well designed and allows business users to include extensive information about products together with adding multiple images.

Prestashop Typical Annual Running Costs

The annual running costs will depend on the complexity of your shopping cart and the web hosting plan you opt for. Once the initial setup costs are cleared and any technical issues are resolved, monthly ongoing costs can be kept to a minimum. Until you intend to expand, ongoing costs will not change significantly, although you will have to purchase an SSL Certificate each year. These typically cost $90/£70.

Prestashop Customer Support Options

Prestashop provides a comprehensive customer support service including live chat, email and phone. There is also a diverse user community that has built an extensive forum of problem/solutions that could help you resolve issues or even avoid them in the first place.

As mentioned earlier, when you install software that is developed by multiple sources, there is a higher risk of experiencing technical problems. So when you originally build your shopping cart, it is recommended that you tap into the wealth of knowledge provided by the Prestashop community and avoid encountering problems in the first place.

 

How The Content Works can help

Here at The Content Works, we specialise in Technical Website Audits. We’re here to find the issues on your website that are causing you to lose visitors, see poor conversions rates and ultimately we highlight the issues costing you money. Take a look at our services page to see the technical website audits we offer. Call us on 0207 305 5599 to discuss your situation and we’ll show you how we can add value to your business.

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