BigCommerce vs. eBay

Looking for ecommerce software? Here's how BigCommerce and eBay stack up.

Matthew Taylor
Mark Hammersley

Matthew Taylor and Mark Hammersley

Last updated 10o July 2020


BigCommerce

4.4  Stackupp rating


Pricing from

$ 29.95 / month

Free Plan?

Trial


Best for

Small to medium retailers looking for a hosted and easy-to-use platform at a reasonable price-point.

eBay

3.5  Stackupp rating


Pricing from

N/A

Free Plan?

Yes


Best for

retailers that intend to sell mainly through eBay or want to expand their existing market.

BigCommerce or eBay: Which is best?

Can't decide between BigCommerce and eBay?

Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of BigCommerce and eBay. See how each platform stacks up across ease of use, design, support and value for money.

Let the comparison begin. Don't worry, we'll guide you.

Is BigCommerce right for you?

BigCommerce is a popular ecommerce platform with a number of solutions for small and medium-sized retailers. Custom enterprise plans are also available.

BigCommerce appeals particularly to users with limited development skills because of its usability out-of-the-box. That said, those wishing to make more complex backend changes can do so.

Smaller retailers experiencing growth are also drawn to BigCommerce because of its scalability features. The BigCommerce feature-set has everything you would expect, including responsive website templates, shopping cart, and payment integrations, single-page checkout, analytics, and more.

Retailers looking for a fully-hosted solution at a reasonable price point will find BigCommerce appealing. Customer service ratings are consistently high, and BigCommerce customers can take advantage of an active, helpful community of fellow users.

Advantages

  • Easy-to-use from the get-go and fully hosted, which removes the hassle of maintaining servers.
  • A wide selection of features with regular updates and a diverse addon market (with many free options).
  • No transaction fees for use of popular payment gateways.

Drawbacks

  • Some features, like price lists, are only available on the more expensive plans.
  • Can be difficult to make extensive design and backend changes.
  • Themes and add-ons are often quite expensive.

Use if you are a small to medium-sized retailer with limited development skills (or budget) and expecting your store to grow.

Is eBay right for you?

As an ecommerce retailer, you’ve likely already heard of eBay. Most people know it as the web’s leading auction site. But eBay also offers a suite of tools for businesses. Retailers can use the eBay ecommerce platform either as their sole store or in conjunction with their self-hosted website.

Tools for businesses include the “Selling Manager”, of which there is both a free and a paid version; “File Manager”, for high-volume sellers; “eBay shops”, which enable you to build your own dedicated storefront; and a large library of integrations and third-party tools.

Consider using eBay if you want to leverage the marketplace’s existing audience, or if you’re looking for a straightforward solution that doesn’t come with the hassle of building a store from scratch.

Advantages

  • Access to eBay’s existing marketplace.
  • Simple and easy to use.
  • The platform itself is inexpensive.

Drawbacks

  • Limited design options.
  • Comparatively high listing fees.
  • Difficult to promote your store outside of eBay.

you want to take advantage of eBay’s large marketplace, want to grow your sales by establishing a presence on eBay in conjunction with your existing ecommerce store.

Ease of Use

Our first comparison criteria, ease of use. Why? Because it’s the most important.

Think about it. You don’t want to invest a lot of your precious time setting up an online store and tweaking the design only to find out that it’s a pain in the butt to manage day to day.

We take a look at how simple the BigCommerce and eBay platforms are to run.

How easy is BigCommerce to use?

Rated 4/5 for Ease of Use

BigCommerce is very easy to use. After signing up, you’ll be guided through the process of setting up your store.

You can access essential features from the central BigCommerce dashboard, including product listings, customer information, analytics, app integrations, and more. Once your store is ready to go, day-to-day tasks of managing orders and content can be handled easily through the main interface. Adding new products and running reports are straightforward tasks.

One reason that BigCommerce doesn’t score a straight 10 out of 10 is because designing extra functionality beyond what’s offered directly can be tricky.

What BigCommerce customers are saying...

I've been on BigCommerce since 2010 and it's terrific. Support is great, and they're always improving the platform and coming out with new features. The app directory is robust but almost everything you need is already part of the main package.
We have been using Big Commerce for over 7 years now and love the functionality of it compared to other platforms. The online technical support is great too and we use this very often!
BigCommerce has been good to work with. The e-commerce store is easy to manage.

How easy is eBay to use?

Rated 4.5/5 for Ease of Use

eBay is very easy to use. Sellers without any technical knowledge or limited experience navigating an ecommerce dashboard will find it particularly appealing.

The business tools, like Selling Manager Pro and File Exchange, are intuitive and straightforward and come with extensive documentation. If you’re comfortable with the normal eBay dashboard, then you won’t have a problem adapting to the more advanced features.

What eBay customers are saying...

"It was through eBay that we were able to realise the potential we had."
"It was so incredible getting my first sale within 24 hours. We were literally jumping with joy."
“Selling Manager Pro suits me fine with only around 130 items per month going out.”

eBay is our winner for ease of use

Design

Powerful features are great, but we all know first impressions count. So, do BigCommerce and eBay templates actually look any good? See for yourself. We outline each platforms design options, plus showcase a few real life examples.

How good are BigCommerce's themes?

Rated 4/5 for Design

BigCommerce offers a robust default design along with dozens of free and paid themes in the theme store. The themes on offer are well-optimized and cater to a range of ecommerce sectors and site preferences, including for both large and small catalogs.

Crucially, BigCommerce offers an intuitive storefront editor for managing your store’s frontend design, and you can tweak most aspects of the default theme. It’s possible to make limited CSS and HTML changes. Developers that want to build a theme from scratch can take advantage of the BigCommerce framework.

One drawback is paid themes can be quite pricey, running into several hundred dollars for the paid options. Nonetheless, you have a range of free themes to take advantage of.

BigCommerce Examples

  • Avery Dennison
    Avery Dennison
Item 1 of 3

How good are eBay's themes?

Rated 2.5/5 for Design

eBay doesn’t offer much in the way of design flexibility. Shops and listings follow a standard template. In terms of the storefront, users can modify the logo, banner image, and description. It’s also possible to alter the navigation section on the left side of the store by creating various categories and subcategories.

In regards to the listings, sellers have control over the title, variation options (colour, size, model, etc.), and initial description.

The central overview area can also be used to add further product information and extra pictures.

If you’re looking for a high level of design freedom, then it’s probably fair to say that eBay isn’t the solution for you. If, on the other hand, you’re happy to work within the constraints of eBay’s storefront, then there won’t be any issues.

eBay Examples

  • Fishwest
    Fishwest
Item 1 of 3

BigCommerce is our winner for design

How much do they cost?

Everyone’s favourite topic - pricing. Let's dive in to see if BigCommerce or eBay offers better value for money.

How much does BigCommerce cost?

Rated 4.5/5 for Pricing

BigCommerce has three pricing options: £$29.95/month, $79.95/month, and $249.95/month. There is also an enterprise edition that includes unlimited API calls, price lists, and ShipperHQ (a leading rules engine for working out shipping prices). You can save a little on the monthly fee by opting to pay annually. There are no up-front fees for getting started, and 24/7 support is included at all price-points. There is also a two-week free trial to sample the platform before jumping in.

Features are generally uniform over most of the paid plans, although the middle “Plus” plan includes some features you may need which aren’t included in the “Standard” plan, such as the “cart saver” for remembering abandoned carts. Paid templates usually average around $200.

How much does eBay cost?

Rated 3.5/5 for Pricing

Depending on the specifics of your situation, including your volume of sales, the size of your existing market, and your return-on-investment from advertising, eBay may fall at either end of the spectrum when it comes to value from money, from absolutely excellent to jaw-droppingly terrible.

The business tools themselves aren’t particularly expensive - Selling Manager Pro will set you back by $15.99/month and a “Premium Store”, which allows for 1000 free fixed-price listings per month, will cost you $59.95/month. Compared to most ecommerce platforms, those fees are very good.

The main costs, however, lie in the “final value fee”. Whenever you make a sale, eBay will take around 10% of the sale amount (which includes the payment processing fee).

For smaller businesses, the total fee amount per month will likely be lower than what you would pay if you opted for your own store with a platform like Shopify or BigCommerce. For high-volume retailers catering to a market outside of eBay, however, final value fees will likely represent significant and unnecessary losses.

BigCommerce is our winner for cost

Help and Support

If things go wrong (and they often do) you need to know someone’s there to help get you back on track. So, how does BigCommerce's and eBay's support measure up?

How good is BigCommerce support?

Rated 5/5 for Help and Support

BigCommerce routinely ranks as one of the best ecommerce platforms for customer support. Seek out any review site online and you will find glowing praise for the level of customer service.

24/7 live agent support is provided on all plans. API and priority support is offered for the enterprise plan.

How good is eBay support?

Rated 3.5/5 for Help and Support

eBay’s help and support package varies depending on which type of plan you purchase. Higher-level subscription options come with “eBay Concierge”, in which users have access to additional support options compared to the basic package. Basic customer support is mainly provided through email and live chat.

“Concierge” includes lower wait times, access to highly-trained members of the support team, and sales and marketing training. You’ll also receive extra assistance with negative reviews and listings that don’t meet eBay criteria.

Generally speaking, we’ve found eBay response times and the quality of customer support to be very good. Sellers also have access to extensive documentation and training materials.

BigCommerce is our winner for support

The Bottom Line

The final say. Let's wrap up our thoughts on each platform.

BigCommerce: Our Verdict

BigCommerce is an excellent choice for small and medium-sized retailers that need an easy-to-use platform that is ready to scale. Superb management functionality, covering product listings, orders, and reporting, combines with an intuitive and easy-to-use dashboard. This streamlines the process of carrying out routine day-to-day ecommerce tasks.

Users also get a lot of bang for their buck. All plans allow for unlimited products and unlimited customer entries in your CRM. Furthermore, BigCommerce retailers can take advantage of a library of templates and add-ons (for Facebook, MailChimp, Quickbooks, etc.). 24/7 customer service is provided on all plans. On the downside, themes can be expensive, often reaching several hundred dollars. Equally, if you are eager to make extensive design changes to your frontend, BigCommerce might not be for you. That said, the development framework is an option for advanced developers.

Oh, and there’s a 15-day trial. So you can dip your toes in the water before diving in.

eBay: Our Verdict

Consider using eBay as your primary ecommerce platform if you want access to the marketplace’s large customer base or if you’re looking for a streamlined, easy-to-use solution that doesn’t come with many of the hassles of running your own independent store. It has a wide selection of seller tools, solid customer support, and won’t break the bank.

Many well-known brands, like Adidas and Dell, also run eBay shops alongside their main websites to reach new customers.

If, however, you want full control of your store and plan to market directly to customers, then you will likely need a more advanced solution like Shopify, WooCommerce or BigCommerce.

Overall, we found BigCommerce to be the better ecommerce platform.

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