Subbly vs. BigCommerce

This visual representation of where Subbly and BigCommerce stand in relation to each other gives a good overview.

Let’s dive in

We frequently get asked about the similarities and differences between Subbly and BigCommerce, despite the two platforms being very different. We’re also often approached by business owners who already use BigCommerce and want to know how they can integrate it with Subbly (read about it here)

The main difference in the platforms is that Subbly is engineered specifically for subscription-first businesses, whereas BigCommerce primarily focuses on one-time purchases and will require that you use another platform or plugin to handle your subscriptions.

Now, let’s dig into the differences between Subbly and BigCommerce.

Subbly vs. BigCommerce

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Subbly

Pros

Best-in-Class Support

Get the help you need from our excellent support staff.

Automate Your Business

Automate marketing, management and operations with no code using complex business models.

Customizable Checkouts & Subs

Collect information from your customers, and even allow them to pick their products and configure their subscription.

Subbly was developed as a solution specifically built for subscription and recurring billing. This is indeed the biggest difference between the two platforms and, if you’re here searching for a better (and more affordable) solution for your subscription store, then you should really look no further than Subbly. With our all-in-one platform, you will be able to build your site, set up your products (both as subscriptions or one-time purchases), manage orders, customers, and inventory, and so much more without relying on any third-party solutions.

For those with a very clear vision about the design of their website, Subbly’s website builder offers extreme flexibility compared to what you’ll get on the likes of Squarespace, BigCommerce or Shopify, while still requiring no coding or design experience. Although many people are happy to rely on existing templates, because you can make so few changes to them, it's easy to outgrow them and wind up wanting to change it as your business grows. It may be worthwhile starting with a platform that offers flexibility from the very beginning.

The main Pro
Subbly - is a team of real people who have been with us from the very beginning [...]

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We make it super easy to migrate your subscription business to Subbly.

Cons

Given the amount of features catered towards stores selling one-time products, BigCommerce has some small advantages over Subbly. However, Subbly is truly built for subscription-first businesses, and so it should really only be used by those who focus on recurring revenue as a core part of their business model.

It is worth noting that Subbly does not offer as many payment gateways as BigCommerce and does not integrate with other sales channels like Amazon. It’s also worth noting that BigCommerce has features to manage returns and Subbly does not. This may be critical for many businesses as there are simple methods for managing returns outside of a platform - but this may be a con for others.

Finally, the number of integrations and apps that Subbly has to offer is currently smaller than BigCommerce. This may be a negative thing if you already rely on many third-party apps to run your business, but Subbly is built as an out-of-the-box solution which has all the features you’ll need right away, all included in the price! Plus, Subbly is adding more integrations all the time (we even take recommendations directly from our customers!).

BigCommerce

Pros

BigCommerce was founded in 2006 and has since grown to be one of the leading e-commerce platforms, offering core features like a website builder, SEO optimization and web hosting . It has a wide variety of powerful features and functionalities when it comes to running a store that doesn't involve any subscription products.

While Subbly’s website builder focuses more on flexibility and customization, BigCommerce may be somewhat easier to use, balancing drag and drop functionality and a library of templates (some free, some paid) to enable users to easily create their websites.

It’s undeniable that BigCommerce has an extensive list of advanced features, which is probably why they are so popular with enterprise level stores. Some of the most notable features (primarily for single-purchase items and NOT subscription) include a built-in weight-based shipping calculator, cart abandonment notifications, customizable email campaigns, customer segmentation, and integrations with many payment processing partners and sales channels such as Amazon and eBay.

Last but not least, BigCommerce has a very transparent pricing structure and offers 0% transaction fees on any plan.

Cons

The biggest drawback of BigCommerce as a platform is the platform's inability to handle recurring billing. You won’t be able to set your products as subscriptions which is the main reason we get so many inquiries from people already using BigCommerce for their single purchase store looking to integrate with Subbly!

There are some solutions for recurring billing listed on the BigCommerce app store (such as Paywhirl or Bold) but all of these will hike up the price you’re already paying for your BigCommerce store. Plus, using two platforms to manage orders and customers adds complexity and is not an ideal long-term solution.

In regards to the website builder, we believe that BigCommerce relies too heavily on templates, which can be extremely limiting. It’s clear that they have focused primarily on ease of use but it may be too simple for those trying to make highly personalized websites. Subbly’s website builder may thus be a natural progression for those seeking more flexibility after outgrowing their existing BigCommerce website.

TL;DR

In the end, it all comes down to what you actually need from the platform. Subbly and BigCommerce are very similar platforms but each technology caters for different markets and audiences.

Subbly does well with early stage and growing companies that depend upon recurring revenue (from startups to big enterprises including multinationals). BigCommerce, on the other hand, does well for one-time purchase ecommerce, especially for enterprise customers.

And, if you don’t mind paying extra to get the best of both worlds, don’t forget that you can always integrate Subbly as a subscription solution for your existing BigCommerce store!

When to use?

Subbly

  • If your main target is to set a subscription store, more specifically catered towards delivering physical products to the final customer.
  • If you need a flexible website builder solution that will make it possible for you to easily replicate more complex designs.
  • When you’re on the hunt for an affordable solution, packed with all the features you really need to run a successful subscription store.

BigCommerce

  • If you’re into running an online shop catered towards one-time purchases, seeing subscriptions as a secondary option (or not offering them at all).
  • When it’s imperative to be able to run POS sales or to offer a wide variety of payment processing solutions (including digital wallets such as Apple or Google Pay).
  • When you don’t mind paying extra on a monthly basis for a robust platform with tons of different features available.

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