EKM and Bigcommerce are two popular options for UK business to start selling online, but which one is better out of the two?
EKM vs Bigcommerce: What is the Difference?
Both EKM and Bigcommerce are fully hosted ecommerce solutions, with similar pricing structures and features but their target market differs. EKM is primarily targeted at the UK market and offers all user access to their UK based support team. Bigcommerce operates on a global scale and has user from all around the world, to accommodate this they offer 24/7 support.
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EKM Basic: £34.99/m (*£50k)
EKM Standard: £69.99/m (*£150k)
EKM Advanced: £209.99/m (*£1m)
EKM Pro: £599.99/m (*£1m+)
Standard: $29.95/m (*$50k)
Plus: $79.95/m (*$180k)
Pro: $299.95/m (*$400k)
Enterprise: Custom Pricing (*$400k+)
*Annual Turnover Limit
Even though the basic package is more expensive, for UK Businesses, EKM does work out the cheaper option overall. This is because it offers higher turnover limits (Bigcommerce turnover limits are quite small in GBP) and the larger Advanced and Pro packages work out to be cheaper than the equivalent offerings from Bigcommerce (Enterprise usually starts from $1500/m)
With EKM, the larger packages do also offer more in terms of support to help you run your business.
As standard EKM offer a 14 day trial but if you go through any of the links in this post, you will get an exclusive 28 day free trial. You will need to provide payment details at choose which plan you would like with EKM and if you wish to cancel the trial period, you will need to let the EKM team know before your trial ends.
Bigcommerce offer a 15 day free trial and no payment information is required to test out the Bigcommerce platform.
One of the main selling points of any ecommerce platform is the features that they offer for their users, so what do these two platforms offer?
- Free 03 Business Phone Number
- Facebook Messenger for Live Chat
- Customer Reviews
- Related Products
- Promo Stickers
- Product Attributes
- Recently Viewed Products
Marketing & SEO
- Email Marketing built in
- ChannelGrabber (Cross platform selling)
- Google Tools (inc Analytics & Shopping)
- Loyalty Points
- Discount Manager
- Social Share
- WordPress Blog
- Custom Meta Data
- SEO Friendly URL’s
- Order Breakdown
- Best and Worst Selling Products
- Search Statistics
- Web Statistics (Premium)
- Barclaycard EPDQ
With the EKM platform, you do get to pick and choose many of the features that you have on your website as they work in a very similar way to apps. This is because they are single click installation/removal and in total, there are over 40 of these to choose from and most of them are free to use.
One of the best features of the EKM platform is their Evolution Mode. With this, you get a review of your site by EKM’s specialist Evolution team, who will give you advice on how you can improve your site from design to functionality. The best thing about evolution mode is that if you agree to the changes, the team will implement the for free on your behalf.
- Single Page Checkout
- Product Ratings and Reviews
- Side by Side Product Comparisons
- Promotions and Special Offers
- Discount Codes and Coupons
- Google Trusted Stores
- Abandoned Cart Recovery
Marketing & SEO
- Social Selling
- Email Marketing
- Price comparison site integration
- Loyalty Program
- Google Shopping
- Social Sharing
- Custom Meta Data
- SEO Friendly URLs
- Number of Orders
- Total Revenue
- Number of Visitors
- Conversion Rate
- Average Order Value
The standard features of the Bigcommerce platform are very good and in most cases will be more than enough to get your ecommerce store up and running. But if you find that there is a feature or functionality missing, you can always search the Bigcommerce App Store that has over 700 apps for you to choose from.
Unfortunately though, not all of the apps are free to use but there is a nice selection of free ones. The paid ones do generally offer a free trial or package but to get all of the features, you will need to opt for the paid package, which is charged on top of your existing package and you do need to be careful as to not end up spending too much money on apps!
Theme Selection & Customisation
EKM have one of the largest selection of free themes of all the ecommerce platforms with over 60 mobile responsive ones to choose from. They do not offer any paid themes but you can have a custom theme built by the EKM team for £1999.99 + vat.
While the theme customisation within EKM is pretty good, the workflow to do it isn’t the easiest, this is because the elements for customising your theme are split across the Shop and Design sections of the EKM dashboard.
In the main design section, you can:
- Change the theme
- Reorganise the layout of some pages
- Edit, upload or create a logo
- Change the theme colours
- Add custom CSS and HTML code
If you want to change your images or the copy on your site, you need to go into the Shop section and click on the Edit Content button.
Having to work over two sections of the dashboard doesn’t provide a good workflow and you may find yourself going backwards and forwards between the two sections trying to get things right, which is a little annoying, especially as they have some good tools. It would be a big improvement to combine all the design elements into one section.
Bigcommerce has one of the largest selection of themes available within their ecosystem, with 151 themes that you can choose from. But Only 12 of these are free to use and the paid themes range from $150 – $300. On Themeforest there are an additional 92 themes that you can choose.
Customising a theme on Bigcommerce is pretty easy to do but it can feel a little restrictive at times, especially when it comes to the layout of your site as you can only edit the sections that are included with the theme. There isn’t a choice of additional sections that really allows users to customise the look and feel of their site.
This means that it is more important to choose a theme that you like and can work for your business. Now while it is a bit restrictive, it is a really easy system to use and there is a logical flow to how you work through the process.
One of the reasons why people choose a hosted ecommerce platform such as EKM or Bigcommerce is that they get help and support to run their website. But how good is either platforms offering?
While EKM’s support is not 24/7, unless you are on their top Advanced Package, EKM still pride themselves on offering their users very good levels of support and a variety of different mediums by which you can contact them such as over the phone, via live chat directly within the dashboard and also by email support tickets.
And if you contact them outside of normal support hours, they will aim to get back to you as soon as possible. On the larger packages (Standard and above), you also get your own account manager, which is something which is usually only available on top packages for most platforms. You also get access to EKM’s Evolution Mode as mentioned above.
Bigcommerce have a very good offering when it comes to the support options available, including email, live chat and phone support, all of which can be easily accessed from the admin dashboard. There is also no restriction on support hours as they offer 24/7 support to every user.
Outside of contacting the Bigcommerce support teams, there is also a community forum and this can provide answers not only from the bigcommerce team but also other users and developers, who may come up with different ways to resolve issues.
Hosting & Performance
On paper, there is little to choose between the two platforms when it comes to their hosting as both offer:
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Unlimited Storage
- PCI Compliant Servers
- 99.9% Uptime
- Most Importantly Fast Servers
Now this all sounds fantastic but I don’t take these platforms at their word, instead I like to put them to the test. To do this I took three of their customer example sites, that were all in the industries and had similar levels of content and ran them through Pingdom’s speed tool using their London, UK server and Google’s page speed insights. I did this once a day for five days to get a nice spread of data, so how did they do?
Pingdom: 1.12 Seconds
Google (Mobile): 55/100
Google (Desktop): 83/100
Pingdom: 2.95 Seconds
Google (Mobile): 17/100
Google (Desktop): 57/100
A definite win for the EKM platform on this one as they were not only better on all of the test but they were also more consistent, especially on the load times.
There seems to some issues with the Bigcommerce hosting set up as they struggled in every test and were always near the bottom of the results table (you can see all of my results in the Fastest Ecommerce Platforms post). While the load times are really not great, the mobile performance is a cause for concern, especially with how mobile ecommerce is growing.
Ease of Use
Now I do know that ease of use is subjective to the person using the site so the following is just my opinion and should only be used as a guide.
To get started with EKM, they do require you to enter your credit card details before you can sign up to the free trial.
Once you have signed up, you do a lot of support from the EKM team. On your first sign in, you will be greeted by a comprehensive set up guide that takes you through pretty much everything you need to know in order to get started.
You also get a 30 minute welcome call from one of the the team to help you get started and also answer any questions you may have about the platform.
Navigating your way around the EKM dashboard is a little different to most of the other platforms as they have opted for a top navigation bar rather than a sidebar.
While the majority of the EKM dashboard is easy to learn where everything is, the Shop section can be a little confusing to start with as it isn’t clearly defined as to what this section is as it contains quite a few different things including where you add new products and categories along with a live editor for your shopfront and this does take a little getting used to.
Getting started with Bigcommerce is really quite easy, once you have signed up to the platform (for the free trail, you only need to an email address and to create a password), you will go straight into the main admin dashboard.
Bigcommerce have a really good system in place to get you up and running, with a very well structured set up guide to help you get your store ready to start accepting orders as well as some info boxes that encourage you to learn more about the platform and what it can do.
Navigating your way around the Bigcommerce dashboard is very easy to do as the sidebar navigation menu is clearly labelled and all of the sections are laid out in a logical fashion. It really doesn’t take long to get up and running the Bigcommerce.
Adding and Managing Stock
Being able to manage your stock efficiently and effectively is a hugely important part of running an online store and for me there are three main areas to this and they are:
- Adding products
- Organising your Products
- Managing your inventory
Adding new products and categories in EKM is really simple and can be done with the click of a button. You then get a pop-up, that has a tabbed layout with all the sections required to add a product including pricing, images, description and options such as product variations.
Adding a new category is very similar to adding a new product, only with less sections that you need to fill out. With EKM, you can add parent and sub-categories, which makes creating a hierarchy really easy to do.
To easily manage your inventory, you do need to install the Advanced Inventory Manager feature. Without doing this, managing your inventory isn’t the easiest thing to do. With this feature installed you can manage all of your inventory from the product overview page including product title, stock levels and pricing.
When it comes to adding a new product, the Bigcommerce set up is one of the better ones I have used. The single page layout has a good number of options you can easily navigate between the sections on the page using the pop up sidebar. This sidebar makes it really easy to go in and edit your existing products.
To organise your inventory, Bigcommerce has gone for the tried and tested category method and it allows you to easily create parent and sub-categories which makes it really easy to create a good product hierarchy. Setting up a new category is easy as they use a simplified version of the add product page.
To manage your inventory, Bigcommerce use a really good system that allow you to quickly make changes to your products and this can be done individually or in bulk. The bulk editor allows you to make a number of changes including title, category, price and inventory on one page, making it a great tool to use if you have a very large product range.
EKM – You can manage orders in bulk or on a individual basis with EKM. From the order overview page you can print orders directly and there are four options for the layout of the invoices/packing slips, you can also update the order statuses. If you use any third-party software for your order, then you can export all of your order information in CSV format.
If you need to manage or update an individual order, you can do this from the overview page or by going into the order.
Bigcommerce – The Bigcommerce order management system is arguably one of the best out there as you can manage your orders individually but if you are going to be having lots of sales then you want to take advantage of their bulk features. The bulk feature allows you to print off invoice and packing slips, resend invoices, update order statuses and export orders directly in the order management area.
• Excellent Support
• Evolution Mode
• Theme Selection
• Order Management System
• Very Good Performance
• Theme Customisation could be better
• Credit Card info required before trial
• Easy to use dashboard
• 24/7 support
• Social media integration
• Bulk product editor
• Order management system
• App store
• Theme customisation could be better
EKM vs Bigcommerce: Which One is Better?
Both platforms are good options but for UK based businesses, EKM is the better option as the platform is geared towards the UK market and offers UK based support.
As a whole, the EKM is a very good all round package and offers all the tools needed to create a successful ecommerce website.
While Bigcommerce offers a very good platform and is easy to use, the performance issues that the platform has are a cause for concern, especially on mobile devices. The lower turnover threshold when converting USD into GDP can also make the platform more expensive in the long term.
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