These organizations, while revenue generating, may still have some way to go before they can reach a stage where their revenues and costs are predictable and the business model sustainable.
For those interested in the history, BigCommerce is the SaaS delivery of Interspire. You can’t buy Interspire directly anymore, I think. But I did have the displeasure of customising an Interspire source-code installation many years ago and finding it to be clunky and poorly structured PHP. I haven’t seen under the bonnet of Shopify but I found it much easier to build and integrate for. They talk about their architecture and engineering often at Rails conferences, and I find this a deal more confidence inspiring.
I worked there for 2.5 years (a great experience) and it mostly felt like a mature business rather than a growth stage startup.
Shopify looks decent, I let my inspiration come from it.
I was so jealous (as I was creating hundreds of duplicative templates) of Shopify and their Liquid templating language.
I now hate BigCommerce for being so hard to work with.
It does work slightly differently in terms of functionality to what Shopify call Multipass, which is probably worth calling out. Ultimately you can accomplish the same functionality (on the fly account creation, address management, and SSO based login) with a few calls to the customer API endpoint.
We talk more about the API endpoint here: https://developer.bigcommerce.com/api/v2/#customer-login-api
[Disclosure: I work on various infrastructure related things at BigCommerce]
I did try BigCommerce, but there were many issue with them. The software was very slow, and the app ecosystem was rather incomplete. From what I understand from talking to one developer, they weren't able to dependibly connect to the API without throttling or losing connection.
I don't really know if BC is a viable alternative to Shopify, but the e-commerce space is very much unsolved. No other industry in the world would tolerate Shopify, Solid Commerce, Channel Advisor, and Megento, and so on, as their top platforms. It's a sad mess of uninformed companies attempting to build for an industry they have zero knowledge of, and the sellers are squeezed dry for systems with broken and missing features.
It confirmed what was obvious as a customer. None of these companies have anyone working for them who was in the space. The founders mainly see an opportunity for disruption, which is trying to kill off an infinite hydra.
If any of them were knowledgeable of the space, they'd know that absolutely no one in e-commerce earns more than $20 per hour, even after a good 10 years in the field. Experts are cheap to pluck up. Crazy.
It's impossible to customize the information collected at checkout, including structured shipping instructions, so there are various hacks around doing this on the cart page. It's impossible to customize pricing for certain classes of logged in users, beyond simple discounts that wreak havoc on your accountants trying to get effective line item prices into their systems. Adding structured data to any objects requires parsing description text in the template language and makes you wish you had the flexibility of the Salesforce API... and just typing that sentence makes me shudder.
For those without the training or resources to build a full-stack modern website, Shopify is far better than the alternative of adding shopping cart widgets to Wordpress or Squarespace. But it's far from perfect, and its capabilities as a frontend platform have stagnated: https://developers.shopify.com/api-changelog . Knowing what I know now, I'd recommend that anyone with full-stack experience jump directly to https://spreecommerce.org/ or http://getsaleor.com/ - a higher learning curve, but when you inevitably hit the ceiling of Shopify's capabilities you'll wish you'd used one of those.
After I signed up they basically said tough sh!t, they don't actually have a way to change the button text colour.
I did mention that when they said some rubbish about it being for security etc. If it's insecure then why allow it if I pay more?
But yeah, you're right. I guess they lied to me twice.
To be clear, they did say they'd change it for me if I signed up to any plan.
There are soooo many different combinations of how you can do certain thing, and in most cases you need to adapt the software to existing process instead of improving it. There was a comment that most of these solutions are slow, know you know why.
We do a lot of integrations with ERP systems and that is another big headache. Their support, not working software, bad or no API support, and their hidden fees are just awful. Then you realize that there are about 10-15 big ERP players in the world, and about 20000 smaller ones (probably every small village has one ERP provider).
All apps break, costing incredible money, hyperactive policies that toss sellers under the bus, they blame everyone else and nothing is their fault. Well, okay, every developer is a moron and Shopify is perfect.
To get a Shopify store configured to the B2B & enterprise features of BigCommerce you need a fair amount of 3rd party apps, bubblegum and duct tape
There are so many issues with Shopify Plus for B2B use cases that it's hard to recommend unless the store is very simplistic.