WooCommerce vs BigCommerce – the names might be similar but they’re very different ecommerce platform, for different levels of user. Big is SAAS whereas Woo is self-hosted, using the hugely popular WordPress platform. Similar companies selling similar products could be equally at home on either platform, so it’s important to make an informed decision. Our guide puts WooCommerce vs BigCommerce and shows you their pros, cons and costs – and will help you find the best ecommerce platform for you.
Small business owners that have built a modest eCommerce store with WordPress might want to take a look at the WooCommerce shopping cart. The plugin is free and providing you don’t need too many extras, WooCommerce software presents an affordable and user-friendly option.
Is WooCommerce SAAS?
No, WooCommerce is an add-on to WordPress and you’ll need to pay for hosting of WordPress and then use the WooCommerce plugin to convert WordPress to an e-commerce store.
WooCommerce Setup Costs
The WooCommerce plugin is free from WordPress. For small businesses on a budget, this provides you with all the functionality you need to get your eCommerce store up and running at low-cost. However, if you want to add more functionality, you’ll need a handful of plugins, which cost around $49/£35 each.
On top of that, there is a £70 fee for an SSL certificate and web hosting costs together with domain registration fees. Some web hosts offer SSL certificates and domains for free as an incentive for customers to sign up. Realistically, you can set up a fully-functional eCommerce website with WooCommerce for under £1000 if you do it all yourself.
WooCommerce Monthly Costs
WooCommerce is a free plugin which reduces your monthly running costs. Basic eCommerce sites can be as little as £15 a month for the first year if all you need is web hosting. Monthly costs, therefore, depend on your hosting package and could ultimately, be as high as £350 a month if you use a dedicated server.
WooCommerce Hosting Options
WordPress, and thus WooCommerce, require third-party hosts. Hosting plans are well represented across the board and for the most part are reasonably priced. You can get premium hosting plans for as little as £200 a year with unlimited bandwidth. The cost of WooCommerce really depends on how much you develop the platform from the standard install.
WooCommerce Set-up Skills
Setting up WooCommerce is as easy as installing a plugin into the backend of your WordPress website. Okay, there are other more technical functions to perform such as setting up buy buttons and syncing them with payment gateways, but if you are already familiar with WordPress, this is not too difficult to do.
Having said that, it is easier if you have some coding and WordPress knowledge – although your host support or development team should be able to guide you through most of the setup functions. If you need visual aids, use the WooCommerce setup wizard. That walks you through everything you need to know in less than five minutes.
You also have access to Storefront Powerpack which hosts easy-to-use tools and enables you to make customisable designs to the template without needing any coding skills. Again, this is much easier if you already have some understanding of how WordPress works, but in all honesty, it’s not too difficult to pick up if you are given the right guidance to get you started.
WooCommerce Theme Availability
Templates for WooCommerce are scarce in the WooThemes Storefront, but at $39/£29 are not expensive. However, you will find plenty of pre-formatted design options through WordPress themes and other third-party sources – although you may have to pay twice as much for a theme. Marketplaces like ThemeForest are a great source of themes.
WooCommerce Day-to-Day Running
Together with Shopify, WooCommerce is the easiest interface to navigate. You access WooCommerce through your WordPress dashboard and can see pending shipping orders, product information and inventory tracking at a glance. Shipping details are built-in automatically so customers can select their preferred method. Adding products is performed through WordPress.
WooCommerce Payment Options
WooCommerce software offers five built-in payment gateways including PayPal (and Simplify for US users). Customers also have the option to pay by direct bank transfer, check payment or cash on delivery.
In addition to the free options listed above, you can install the following payment gateways:
- Amazon Payments
- Stripe (supports Apple Pay)
- PayPal Pro
WooCommerce Product Attributes (whether unlimited or not)
Because WooCommerce is open source, one of the advantages the software offers is unrestricted customisation. However, some WordPress themes present obstacles which can only be navigated with additional code which subsequently slows download speeds. Because the WooCommerce shopping centre is hosted by a third party, file storage depends on the package you have with your web host.
WooCommerce Typical Annual Running Costs for the first year then ongoing years
The WooCommerce platform is free and unlimited – if you choose it to be. However, on-running costs will depend on how much you want to enhance your eCommerce store. Remember that extensions, shipping options and payment gateways carry individual fees but you only have to buy these once. Hosting plans and SSL certificates may change yearly so check with your web host.
WooCommerce Customer Support Options
WooCommerce does offer customer support, but it is a ticket system and replies typically take 48 hours. Support options are limited, particularly if you have a customised website. The tech team at WooCommerce will just refer you to your web developers or ask you to disable third-party products before they help you. There is also a self-support forum which features useful documents, tutorial videos and tips from other users.
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|
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.
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.