3dcart may have the lowest price point, but it comes with a disadvantage: It caps the number of products you can list in your store. Meanwhile, BigCommerce and Shopify both let you stock unlimited products.
Winner: It’s a tie — BigCommerce and Shopify
One big weakness to BigCommerce is its sales limits — $50,000 on the Standard plan, $150,000 on the Plus plan and $1 million on the Pro plan. Neither 3dcart nor Shopify have sales limits.
Winner: It’s a tie — 3dcart and Shopify
You’ll pay credit card transaction fees of between 2% and 3%, regardless of which payment gateway you use. However, some e-commerce platforms charge additional transaction fees.
Shopify, for example, charges a transaction fee if you accept credit card payments outside of Shopify Payments — 2% on the Basic Shopify plan, with a smaller percentage on the upper-tier plans. Meanwhile, neither BigCommerce nor 3dcart charge additional fees for any payment gateway.
Winner: It’s a tie — BigCommerce and 3dcart
Micro and enterprise plans
Some e-commerce platforms offer a micro plan that comes with very few features at a very low price. Most e-commerce platforms also offer enterprise plans for very large brands. Let’s compare these plans among BigCommerce, 3dcart and Shopify.
Winner: 3-way tie
BigCommerce and 3dcart don’t offer micro plans, while Shopify does. Each company’s enterprise plan is highly capable, making it tough to anoint a winner here. Consider contacting BigCommerce, 3dcart and Shopify support teams for platform demos.
BigCommerce doesn’t offer a micro plan. Its lowest-level plan is the Standard plan.
BigCommerce’s Enterprise plan comes with such features as:
Unlimited yearly sales volume
Priority customer support
Special credit card rates (2.2% + $0.30 or lower)
Abandoned cart saver
Unlimited API calls
3dcart does not offer a micro plan anymore; its lowest-tier plan is now the Startup plan.
It does have an Enterprise plan, however, which comes with:
Dedicated support team
Unlimited sales volume
Unlimited monthly visitors
Unlimited staff users
Unlimited email hosting
Unlimited disk space
Shopify’s micro plan is Shopify Lite, which is just $9 a month. This plan doesn’t come with an online store — instead, Shopify Lite lets you sell on your own website or on Facebook, Pinterest or other social media.
If you’re an established brand or running a store that sells at a heavy volume, take a look at Shopify Plus. With this enterprise plan, you get:
Unlimited sales transactions
Dedicated support manager
Unlimited email hosting
Infrastructure to handle product launches, flash sales and special events
In addition to selling online, you might also want to sell in person. All three e-commerce platforms offer this capability.
BigCommerce integrates with Square’s point-of-sale (POS) platform, but it doesn’t offer its own POS hardware.
However, 3dcart and Shopify do offer POS hardware, including:
Winner: Shopify and 3dcart
Shopify and 3dcart have their own POS software, making it easy to integrate your online and brick-and-mortar stores.
Let’s see how BigCommerce, 3dcart and Shopify stack up for free and paid themes.
Winner: 3dcart by a hair
Looking only at the number of free themes offered, 3dcart comes out on top. As of January 2020, it offers more than 40 free themes, compared with BigCommerce’s 12 and Shopify’s eight. Meanwhile, BigCommerce offers more paid themes than 3dcart and Shopify.
Since picking a winner depends on your own tastes, it’s a good idea to check out the platforms’ theme pages for yourself.
BigCommerce offers 12 free themes that include:
If you’re willing to pay for a theme, you’ll find many more options — around 80 of them. Prices for the paid themes are typically between $145 and $200.
3dcart offers over 40 free themes, including:
You can choose from more than 40 paid themes, which generally range from $149 to $199.
Shopify offers eight free themes, including:
You can choose from over 70 paid themes, typically ranging from $140 to $180.
Which platform should you pick?
BigCommerce, 3dcart and Shopify are all highly capable e-commerce platforms.
We can pick winners in a few categories.
Lowest monthly price for a standard plan:
Lowest monthly price for a micro plan:
Best for unlimited products:
BigCommerce and Shopify
Best for unlimited sales volume:
3dcart and Shopify
Best for POS hardware:
3dcart and Shopify
That said, the overall winner will be the one that works best for your own needs. And if none of these sound like what you’re looking for, compare other e-commerce platforms to find the right choice.
Frequently asked questions
No, none of the standard plans with Shopify, BigCommerce or 3dcart come with contracts. However, you may be asked to sign a contract if you sign up for an enterprise plan.
No, each platform provides web hosting. You’ll need your own website only if you want to add buy buttons or if you’re on the Shopify Lite plan, which doesn’t offer a standalone e-commerce store.
Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards writer whose work and analysis have appeared on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, The Dallas Morning News, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order and expertly navigate the cutting-edge financial tools available -- including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.
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