Choosing BigCommerce or Shopify for Headless Commerce

Choosing BigCommerce or Shopify for Headless Commerce

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Rise of Shopify and BigCommerce
  3. Understanding Headless Implementations
  4. Pros and Cons of Headless Commerce 4.1 Pros of Headless Commerce 4.2 Cons of Headless Commerce
  5. Shopify's Approach to Headless Commerce 5.1 Challenges Faced by Shopify 5.2 Perception Issues for Shopify 5.3 Shopify Plus vs. Shopify API
  6. BigCommerce's Execution of Headless Commerce 6.1 BigCommerce's Growth Curve 6.2 Advantages of BigCommerce APIs 6.3 Developer Experience Comparison
  7. Functionality Comparison: Shopify vs. BigCommerce 7.1 Feature-to-Feature Analysis 7.2 API Coverage Comparison 7.3 Bells and Whistles of Each Platform
  8. The Challenge of Granularity in Functionality
  9. The Role of Data Integration Platforms 9.1 API2Cart: Data Integration Solution 9.2 Limitations of Existing Integration Charts
  10. Striving for 100% Coverage: The Reality
  11. Conclusion
  12. FAQs

The Rise of Shopify and BigCommerce

In recent years, the e-commerce landscape has been dominated by two major players: Shopify and BigCommerce. These platforms have provided businesses with the tools to build and manage their online stores effectively. However, there is a growing trend towards headless implementations in the e-commerce space. This article explores the shift towards headless commerce and compares how Shopify and BigCommerce are approaching this new paradigm.

Understanding Headless Implementations

Headless commerce refers to the separation of the front-end (the "head") and the back-end (the "body") of an e-commerce platform. Unlike traditional monolithic platforms, headless commerce allows businesses to decouple the presentation layer from the backend infrastructure, enabling greater flexibility and scalability. This approach has gained popularity due to its potential to improve site speed and enhance the customer experience.

Pros and Cons of Headless Commerce

Pros of Headless Commerce

Headless commerce offers several advantages for businesses. Firstly, it provides unparalleled flexibility in design and user experience. With headless architecture, businesses can create custom front-end experiences tailored to their brand identity and customer needs. Secondly, headless commerce allows for seamless omnichannel experiences, as content and data can be easily distributed across multiple platforms and devices. Lastly, headless implementations enable faster development cycles, as changes can be made to the front-end without affecting the underlying infrastructure.

Cons of Headless Commerce

Despite its benefits, headless commerce also presents challenges for businesses. Firstly, it requires a higher level of technical expertise to implement and maintain. Businesses will need skilled developers to handle the complexities of front-end development and integration with the backend. Secondly, headless commerce may not be suitable for all businesses. Smaller companies with limited resources may struggle to justify the investment required for a headless implementation. Lastly, the separation of the presentation layer from the backend may lead to a disjointed user experience if not executed correctly.

Shopify's Approach to Headless Commerce

Shopify, the leading e-commerce platform, has been making strides towards headless commerce. However, they face challenges in breaking away from the perception of being solely focused on small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). While Shopify Plus offers enterprise-level features, some enterprises still view Shopify as a platform solely for SMBs. Shopify needs to overcome this perception to compete effectively in the headless space.

BigCommerce's Execution of Headless Commerce

BigCommerce has been making significant progress in the headless commerce arena. Their fast-paced execution and comprehensive API offerings have positioned them as a formidable competitor to Shopify. Their growth curve in comparison to Shopify suggests that they are catching up in the headless space. BigCommerce's APIs are considered robust, offering developers a better experience and more granular control over the checkout process.

Functionality Comparison: Shopify vs. BigCommerce

When comparing Shopify and BigCommerce, it is essential to consider the functionality and features offered by each platform. While some features may be similar between the two, there are nuances that differentiate them. API coverage plays a crucial role in determining the level of functionality offered by each platform. A detailed comparison chart would provide valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of both platforms.

The Challenge of Granularity in Functionality

As e-commerce platforms evolve and introduce new features, the level of granularity in functionality becomes a critical consideration. While basic functionality may be comparable across platforms, the way each platform executes specific features can vary widely. The challenge lies in finding a platform that aligns with the specific requirements of a business and offers the desired level of granularity in functionality.

The Role of Data Integration Platforms

Data integration platforms, such as API2Cart, play a vital role in facilitating seamless communication between different e-commerce platforms. These platforms enable businesses to sync data across multiple systems, allowing for easier management of inventory, orders, and customer information. While existing integration charts provide some insights, a more comprehensive and objective comparison is needed to evaluate the capabilities of different platforms fully.

Striving for 100% Coverage: The Reality

While businesses may strive for 100% API coverage when selecting an e-commerce platform, achieving this goal is challenging. Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, and achieving comprehensive coverage can be a monumental task. Understanding the limitations and trade-offs of each platform is essential to make an informed decision.


As the e-commerce landscape continues to evolve, the demand for headless commerce solutions is growing. Both Shopify and BigCommerce are navigating this shift in their own unique ways. While Shopify faces perception issues and a perception as an SMB platform, BigCommerce is gaining ground with its fast-paced execution and robust APIs. Businesses must carefully consider their specific needs and requirements to choose the platform that best aligns with their goals.

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