ShopWired and Bigcommerce are two popular options for creating an ecommerce store in the UK, but which one is better?
ShopWired vs Bigcommerce: What is the Difference?
Both ShopWired and Bigcommerce are dedicated platforms for building ecommerce websites. The main difference is that ShopWired is primarily focused on the UK market and offer tools for B2C and B2C website. Bigcommerce operates on a global scale, with users all around the world and primarily focuses on providing a platform for B2C ecommerce websites.
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Pro – £29.95/m (£75k*)
Advanced – £69.95/m (£200k*)
Premium – £119.95/m (£500k*)
Enterprise – From £149.95/m
Standard – $29.95/m ($50k*)
Plus – $79.95/m ($180k*)
Pro – $299.95/m ($400k*)
Enterprise – Custom Pricing
*Annual turnover limits for respective plans
Both platforms offer a selection of three standard plans and then custom plans for larger ecommerce business, whom may require more in terms of server resources, custom features and support.
Both platforms also operate on the same turnover based pricing structure, which means that when you hit the pre-defined limits, you are automatically moved up to the next package, with ShopWired, the larger packages include more apps included with the package and also better support from the ShopWired team.
In terms of pricing, all ShopWired plans will also be charged +VAT (20% at the time of writing) but this only really impacts the entry level pro package as by the time you hit £75k turnover in a year, you are very near to the UK VAT registration limit.
ShopWired’s plans do include larger annual turnover limits, especially when you factor in the USD to GBP conversion rate, which makes the Bigcommerce allowances quite small for UK businesses and on the larger packages, ShopWired does also work out cheaper than the equivalent Bigcommerce plans.
Both platforms let you try their respective platforms out free:
So both platforms are pretty even when it comes to pricing but what about features?
For this I am going to give an overview of the main features that are available on both platforms in four main categories.
ShopWired offers an extensive list of features for their platform, some of these are included with the core ShopWired system, while others can be added by installing apps or extensions.
The one set of features that does stand ShopWired apart from the other platforms are their B2B features which includes Trade Accounts, Quotations and Bulk Discounts. This makes it a very good option for wholesalers or manufacturers.
- Multi-buy Offers
- Product Extras
- Product Reviews
- Ebay Integration
- Digital Downloads
- Gift Vouchers
- Reward Points
Marketing & SEO
- Google Feed
- MailChimp Integration
- Discount Codes
- Abandoned Cart Recovery
- Create Sales
- Social Share
- Custom Meta Data
- SEO Friendly URL’s
- Gross Profit Report
- Sales by Product
- Sales by Category
- Payment Methods
- Sales by Month
- Failed Searches
- PayPal Express Checkout
- Amazon Pay
- Barclaycard EPDQ
To see a more detailed breakdown of all the features that ShopWired has to offer, check out my full ShopWired Review.
Apps & Extensions
As mentioned above, ShopWired offer a range of apps and extensions for their users but what is the difference between the two?
Apps are features that can be added with one click installation. For the entry level Pro package, there is a mix of free and paid apps, with trade accounts being the most expensive at £10/m but on the Advanced package all of the B2B apps are included for free and all apps are free to use on the premium package.
Extensions are free to use but they do need to be coded into your site, you can do this yourself if you have experience of coding (CSS is very helpful) and they do provide guides to help you do this or you can pay a one off fee and the ShopWired team will do it for you.
As one of the main players in the world of hosted ecommerce, it is unsurprising that Bigcommerce offers a very good selection of features for its user and you can see the main ones listed below:
- 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
To see a more detailed breakdown of all the Bigcommerce features, take a look at my full Bigcommerce Review.
Bigcommerce App Marketplace
To help create lots of options when it comes to functionality, Bigcommerce have opened their platform up to third party developers and created their very own app store, which currently offers over 700 apps that you can choose from.
These apps are available in a wide range of categories including Analytics, Order Management, Marketing and Sales Channels.
But unfortunately, 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
ShopWired overhauled their theme selection and customisation offering in 2020 with their new version 4 framework and this includes a selection of 20, free to use, mobile responsive themes. There is also a paid options for all of these themes, which includes the installation and configuration of a few extensions and these can be purchased for £89 + vat.
If none of the standard theme selection does it for you, then you can have the ShopWired team design build a custom one for you by choosing their Pro Package at £3495 + vat or the Advanced Package at £3995+vat.
The Version 4 update includes a live preview, which is a first for ShopWired and this does improve the customisation process.
However, there is still quite a limitation on what you can actually do as the options are pretty much limited to changing the colours, text snippets and links lists. There isn’t any layout options or the ability to add/remove sections from your front page, which is a shame as the themes are beautifully designed.
However, if you know about PHP, CSS and HTML, then you can do a lot of customisation as you do have access the theme source code, meaning that you can make as many changes as you want.
Bigcommerce does have a far larger selection of themes with over 150 to choose from but only 12 of these are free to use and the paid ones range from $150 – $300. One good thing about the Bigcommerce themes is that nearly all of them offer multiple layout options, which offers much more flexibility.
There are also an additional selection of over 90 themes available on the Themeforest marketplace.
Bigcommerce also overhauled their theme customizer in 2020 and introduced a new page builder tool, that uses widgets to add custom sections to your homepage and also build custom pages on your site.
This is definitely an improvement but there is still a downside as you cannot change the layout or add/remove the pre built sections of your chosen themes homepage. If this was included with the new page builder, then Bigcommerce would have had one of the best customizers of all the fully hosted platforms.
There are also a range of other customisations that you can do, including changing the colour and fonts along with some visibility and general settings. Overall the new customizer is pretty easy to use, although the theme styles section does take some working through to understand it properly.
Support is one of the reasons why you would choose a hosted ecommerce platform as you have someone you can contact if you can’t figure out how to do something or something has gone wrong.
ShopWired offers all users access to their UK based support, which is available between 9am and 7pm, Monday to Friday and between 11am and 5pm on Saturday. They also offer support through a variety of mediums including live chat, email support tickets and telephone support.
Users on the Premium package also get access to priority support and those on the Enterprise packages will get premium support and dedicated account management.
Contacting the ShopWired support team is very easy to do as there is a live chat option directly within the admin dashboard and other contact options are easily found in the help section.
Bigcommerce offer all of their users 24/7 support and there are a few ways in which you can contact them including over the phone, via live chat or email support ticked. They have also made it very easy for their users to find this contact information with it being displayed within the admin dashboard.
Outside of the main support options is the community support forum, where you can ask questions to not only members of the Bigcommerce support team but also developers and other experienced users of the platform and they may offer alternative solution to the problem.
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
- Global Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- 99.9% Uptime
On this there should be little to no difference in the performance of a website using either of these platforms right? Well I decided to put both of these companies to the test by taking 5 of their customer example sites and running them through Pingdom’s speed test tool and Google’s pagespeed insight once a day for five days. So how did they do?
Pingdom: 1.17 Seconds
Google (Mobile): 42/100
Google (Desktop): 81/100
Pingdom: 2.95 Seconds
Google (Mobile): 17/100
Google (Desktop): 57/100
ShopWired is a pretty clear winner on this one and it is very much down to their new version 4 framework, which is a marked improvement in terms of performance, especially on the Google scores and puts them towards the top of the leader board for UK platforms (you can see the leader board in my Fastest Ecommerce Platform post).
There are some pretty serious issues when it comes to performance from the Bigcommerce platform, which is surprising, considering their size and chosen hosting environment. Mobile scores are probably the most concerning at just 17/100!
Ease of Use
Facts and features are one thing but how easy are these platforms to use? In the second part of my comparison, I look at some of the main things that you will do on these platforms and see how the two compare.
Getting started with ShopWired is a very simple process, all you need is an email address and a password and you are ready to go. No credit card is needed to start the free trial.
The ShopWired dashboard is also very easy to use as they have gone for a sidebar navigation menu. All the main section headings are well labelled and it won’t take you long to learn where everything is. If you do get stuck, the ShopWired team have written a really good selection of guides to take you through most of the things you will need to do.
If you do need to contact them about anything, you can easily start a live chat session directly from your dashboard, so no need to go hunting for how to speak to someone.
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 Products
The complete inventory management process on ShopWired is well laid out and easy to use.
Starting with adding a new product, they have opted for a single page layout, which has a good flow from one section of the page to another. This makes it really easy to add and also edit products on your website.
To organise your products, ShopWired have used the tried and test category method and this allows you to create parent and sub-categories. Being able to do this, enables you to have a nice hierarchy for your products, which is not only good for SEO but also user experience.
When it comes to managing your inventory, the majority of this has to be done on a product by product basis as there is limited bulk editing but you can update stock levels using the manage stock section.
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.
The order management process with ShopWired makes managing your orders very simple to do, whether you have a large or small number of orders.
From the main order management dashboard you can print off invoices via PDF or export them via CSV file, this can be done for single or multiple orders. You can also update order statuses directly from the order overview page.
All of this can also be on an order by order basis by clicking on the order and then making changes within the order summary page.
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
• Product Management
• Theme Selection
• Order Management System
• Very Good Performance
• Theme Customisation isn’t very good
• Having to code in extensions
• Easy to use dashboard
• 24/7 support
• Social media integration
• Bulk product editor
• Order management system
• App store
• Small annual turnover limits
ShopWired vs Bigcommerce: Which one is the best ecommerce platform for UK Businesses?
ShopWired does come out on top as it just offers a better overall package for UK businesses due to focus of ShopWired on the UK market, a good feature set, UK based support and good hosting performance.
ShopWired also works out as the more cost effective option due to the turnover limits being more generous when conversion rates are factored in. The only real drawback with ShopWired is the limited them customisation.
Bigcommerce is still a good option and offers lots of features as is very user friendly but the performance is a cause for concern, especially on mobile devices.
But I would highly recommend trying both platforms out for yourself to see which one you feel fits your business the best and you can do that by clicking the buttons below.
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