BigCommerce vs. 3dcart vs. Shopify
Are you ready to start an online store, but not sure which e-commerce platform to use?
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There are a lot of good e-commerce platforms out there. Three top contenders are BigCommerce, 3dcart and Shopify — and they're constantly duking it out for new customers.
Compare BigCommerce, 3dcart and Shopify e-commerce platforms
How much do they cost?
Let's lay out the pricing for each platform's main paid plans. Keep in mind that Shopify's plan pricings are all conducted in US$ (we've indicated this below). Make sure to convert these amounts into Australian Dollars so you can get a clearer comparison.
Judged solely on monthly price, 3dcart comes out on top. It's about $10 cheaper than BigCommerce and Shopify.
You'll want to look at other features to compare, of course. But if you plan on running a smaller store, 3dcart could win this battle.
|Standard||$29.95 a month|
|Plus||$79.95 a month|
|Pro||$299.95 a month|
|Startup||$19.00 a month|
|Basic||$29.00 a month|
|Plus||$79.00 a month|
|Power||$129.00 a month|
|Pro||$229.00 a month|
|Basic Shopify||US$29.00 a month|
|Shopify||US$79.00 a month|
|Advanced Shopify||US$299.00 a month|
Comparing the features
To compare the three services, we'll compare each of the entry-level plans: BigCommerce's Standard plan, 3dcart's Startup plan and Shopify's Basic Shopify plan.
|BigCommerce (Standard)||3dcart (Startup)||Shopify (Basic Shopify)|
|Transaction fees||None||None||None with Shopify Payments; 2% with external payment gateways|
|Abandoned cart recovery||No||No||Yes|
|Real-time shipping calculation||Yes||Yes||Yes|
For more information on how Shopify works, check out our guide to selling on Shopify.
All three have unlimited product limits, meaning they'll let you stock unlimited products. Considering they are fare the same in this aspect, the cheapest option would be giving you the best product value.
The major weakness of BigCommerce and 3dcart are their sales limits — both $50,000 on their entry level plans. 3dcart edges slightly ahead in their more expensive plans, which give you better value sales limits the higher you go. Shopify, on the other hand, has no sales limits.
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 (1.3% + $0.25 or lower)
- Abandoned cart saver
- Product filtering
- Dedicated SSL
- Unlimited API calls
3dcart does not offer a micro plan anymore; its lowest-tier plan is now the Startup plan.
It does have a couple of options for Enterprise plans, however, which comes with:
- 24/7 access to dedicated tech support
- $5 million+ in yearly sales
- 20+ staff users
- Unlimited email hosting
- Unlimited disk space
- DDOS protection
Shopify's micro plan is Shopify Lite, which is just uS$9 a month. This plan doesn't come with an online store — instead, Shopify Lite lets you sell on Facebook and connect to your customers via Messenger.
If you're an established brand or running a store that sells at a heavy volume, you should considering taking a look at Shopify Plus. You'll need to contact Shopify directly to get pricing and details.
In addition to selling online, you might also want to sell in person. All three e-commerce platforms offer this capability.
BigCommerce integrates with a couple of different point-of-sale (POS) platforms, such as Square, Shopkeep and Clover, but it doesn't offer its own POS hardware.
However, 3dcart and Shopify do offer POS hardware, including:
- Cash drawers
- Receipt printers
- Barcode scanners
- iPad stands
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 April 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 US$145 and US$200.
3dcart offers over 40 free themes, including:
You can choose from more than 40 paid themes, which generally range from US$149 to US$199.
Shopify offers eight free themes, including:
You can choose from over 70 paid themes, typically ranging from US$140 to US$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:||3dcart|
|Lowest monthly price for a micro plan:||Shopify|
|Best for unlimited products:||BigCommerce, 3dcart and Shopify|
|Best for unlimited sales volume:||Shopify|
|Best for POS hardware:||3dcart and Shopify|
That said, the overall winner will be the one that works best for your own needs. It's always worth shopping around to find the best option for you.
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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