Which one should I use? Subbly or BigCommerce

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 if Subbly can integrate our two platforms. We’re so thrilled to have this kind of interest! And you’ll be pleased to know that yes, Subbly integrates with BigCommerce and you can read about it HERE. The main differences in the platforms is that Subbly is engineered specifically for subscription first, whereas BigCommerce primarily focuses on one-time purchases and will require that you use another platform or plugin to handle your subscriptions. That may be why so many BigCommerce customers inquire about using Subbly as well.

Because we’re asked so frequently, let’s dig in to the differences between Subbly and BigCommerce.

BigCommerce

Pros

BigCommerce was founded in 2006 and was bootstrapped (just like Subbly is currently) for more than 5 years since inception. They have since grown to be one of the leading e-commerce platforms  with core features like their website builder, SEO optimization and web hosting provided. BigCommerce has a very wide variety of powerful features and functionalities when it comes to  running a store that doesn’t involve any subscription products. 

The BigCommerce website builder is very reliable and is somewhat similar to Squarespace; they balance between drag and drop functionality and using the existing templates to easily create a nice looking and customized website. In contrast to Subbly’s website builder which focuses more on flexibility and customization, BigCommerce may be somewhat easier to use. If you’re looking for a simple and reliable website builder with a wide variety of premade templates to build your website quickly  - out of which only 12 of them are free, and the rest can be used for an additional fee -  you can find that on BigCommerce. 

It’s undeniable that BigCommerce has a very extensive list of advanced features which is probably why they are so popular with enterprise level stores. You can find a pretty impressive list of clientele on their testimonial section of their website. Some of the most notable features (primarily for single purchase items and NOT subscription) include: built in weight-based shipping calculator, cart abandon and customizable email campaigns, customer segmentation, is it supports many payment processing partners and sales channels such as Amazon, eBay, and even point of sale via Square. 

Last but not the least, BigCommerce has a very transparent pricing structure and offers 0% transaction fees on any plan, which is indeed a big plus.

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, asking if it’s possible to integrate Subbly with their existing website. 

There are some solutions for recurring billing listed on the BigCommerce app store (such as Paywhirl or Bold) but all of these add onto the price you’re already paying for your store on BigCommerce. Plus, using two platforms to manage orders and customers adds complexity and is not an ideal solution. Technology should be simple and that’s why so many store owners want to just use one platform for everything instead of cobbling together multiple platforms.

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 some trying to make highly personalized and creative looking websites. Subbly’s website builder may be a natural progression for those in need of more flexibility and out growing their existing BigCommerce website.

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 that was 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. Subbly offers an all-in-one solution and covers every aspect of running a subscription business. With Subbly, you will be able to build your site on our builder, set your products (both as subscriptions or single purchase), manage orders, customers, and inventory, and so much more all within a single platform and without relying on third party solutions.

For those with a very clear vision about the design of their website, Subbly’s website builder  offers extremely flexibility (while still requiring no code or design experience) than what you’ll get on the likes of Squarespace, BigCommerce or Shopify. Many people are happy to rely heavily on existing templates, but because you can make so few changes to the templates, many people outgrow this solution and wind up wanting to change it as their business grows. It may be worthwhile starting with a platform that offers flexibility from the very beginning.

Lastly, for anyone whose primary use case is setting up a subscription store, Subbly is more affordable solution given the fact that you’ll get an all-in-one solution for only $39/mo, whereas for an equivalent package of features on BigCommerce you’ll have to pay for at least their mid-tier plan ($79/mo) plus the additional cost to integrate a subscription platform that will handle recurring billings. If you’re set on using BigCommerce with a separate subscription service, Subbly will still be the more affordable solution at only $19/mo (plus transaction fees).

The main Pro
Subbly – is a Team of Real passionate people who have been with us from the very beginning
Cons

Given the amount of features catered towards  stores that sell one-time products, BigCommerce has an  advantage over Subbly. A few examples of this include  built-in weight-based shipping calculator, customer segmentation or ability to set  digital and physical products. 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. 

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 a critical thing for all businesses as there are simple methods for managing returns outside of a platform - but this may be a con for some businesses. 

Finally, the number of integrations and apps that Subbly has to offer pales in comparison to 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. This method may not be preferred by all, but it does help Subbly remain one of the most affordable solutions as apps and integrations typically have an extra cost. With that said, Subbly is adding more integrations all the time because many sophisticated merchants need them (we even take recommendations directly from our customers!).

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 if you look at the details, each technology is catered toward different markets and audiences: BigCommerce does well for one-time purchase ecommerce, especially for enterprise customers. Subbly does well with early stage and growing companies that depend upon recurring revenue (although Subbly is also used by big enterprises including multinationals).. 

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

When to use?

BigCommerce

  • If you’re into running an online shop catered towards one time purchases, and offering subscriptions comes only secondary (or you’re not planning on offering subscriptions at all)
  • When it’s imperative for you 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 as well)
  • When you don’t mind paying extra on a monthly basis for a robust platform with tons of different features available.

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 replicate more complex designs and easily.
  • When you’re on the hunt for an affordable solution, but at the same time packed with all the features you really need to run a successful subscription store.

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It really is built subscription first. Where you would need a lot of plug ins and connecters to get started on other platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce, it's all built right in.

Charmaine Merriweather
Founder & Owner of HUES Book Box

Before I found Subbly I never had the ability or finances to have a subscription business platform which could meet my needs and expectations. Subbly has been there for me every step of the way!

NATALIE SEATON
Founder and CEO @ BathBox

Everything was so straightforward, the support team are AMAZING, I would not have been able to launch without Subbly.

ALEXANDRA HARVELL
Founder and CEO @ Little Bakers Club

We’ve used the software for over 3 years and it keeps getting better. It has everything you need to easily run a successful subscription box business!

LIAM BRENNAN
Co-founder @ Buster Box

Subbly is straightforward and easy to use. Designing your site is simple and allows you to control your entire business from one place.

GEORGE KLEANTHOUSE
Founder and CEO @ Model Box