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BigCommerce vs. Shift4Shop vs. Shopify
Are you ready to start an online store, but not sure which e-commerce platform to use?
There are a lot of good e-commerce platforms out there. Three top contenders are BigCommerce, Shift4Shop and Shopify — and they’re constantly duking it out for new customers. But which is best for you depends on the needs of your business. We've broken down all the ways these e-commerce giants compare to help you decide.
Which platform should you pick?
Comparing BigCommerce, Shift4Shop and Shopify across five main categories, Shopify comes out in the lead, with Shift4Shop in a close second.
That said, the overall winner will be the one that works best for your store and will depend heavily on the size of your business.
Lowest price for a standard plan:
Lowest monthly price for a micro plan:
Best for unlimited products:
Best for unlimited sales volume:
Best for POS hardware:
Shift4Shop and Shopify
How much do they cost?
Let’s lay out the pricing for each platform’s main paid plans.
Technically, Shift4Shop comes out on top, but only for those who sign up for its End-to-End plan. Shift4Shop's End-to-End plan is free to use but only if you opt into payment processing from its parent company, Shift4 Payments. Otherwise, you're looking at one of its paid plans which start at $29 monthly — the same as BigCommerce and Shopify.
You’ll want to look at other features to compare, of course. But if you plan on using Shift4 Payments as your payment processor, Shift4Shop wins this battle.
$0 — if you use Shift4 Payments
Comparing the features
To compare the three services, we’ll compare each of the entry-level plans: BigCommerce’s Standard plan, Shift4Shop’s Basic plan and Shopify’s Basic Shopify plan.
None with Shopify Payments; 2% with external payment gateways
Abandoned cart recovery
Real-time shipping calculation
All of these platforms allow you to stock unlimited products.
Winner: 3-way tie
Both BigCommerce and Shift4Shop set sales limits on their service tiers — a limitation Shopify doesn't impose on any of its plans.
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 Shift4Shop charge additional fees for any payment gateway.
Winner: It’s a tie — BigCommerce andShift4Shop
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, Shift4Shop and Shopify.
Winner: 3-way tie
BigCommerce and Shift4Shop 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, Shift4Shop 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
- Product filtering
- Dedicated SSL
- Unlimited API calls
Shift4Shop does not offer a micro plan anymore; its lowest-tier plan is now the Basic 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
- DDOS protection
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 bandwidth
- Unlimited sales transactions
- Dedicated support manager
- Multichannel sales
- Unlimited email hosting
- Infrastructure to handle product launches, flash sales and special events
- Fraud detection
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, Shift4Shop and Shopify do offer POS hardware, including:
- Cash drawers
- Receipt printers
- Barcode scanners
- iPad stands
Winner: Shopify and Shift4Shop
Shopify and Shift4Shop have their own POS software, making it easy to integrate your online and brick-and-mortar stores.
Let’s see how BigCommerce, Shift4Shop and Shopify stack up for free and paid themes.
Looking only at the number of free themes offered, Shift4Shop comes out on top. As of February 2021, it offers more than 100 free themes. Compare this with BigCommerce's 12 and Shopify's eight and the victor is clear.
Since picking a winner depends on your personal preferences, 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 100 of them. Prices for the paid themes are typically between $150 and $300.
Shift4Shop offers over 100 free themes, including:
Shopify offers eight free themes, including:
You can choose from over 70 paid themes, typically ranging from $140 to $180.
Compare e-commerce providers
Frequently asked questions
Do any of these three e-commerce platforms come with contracts?
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.
Do I need my own web hosting when I sign up for one of the e-commerce platforms?
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.
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