Both BigCommerce and Shopify give merchants the ability to edit page titles, and support sitewide HTTPs. Shopify merchants can enable a free SSL certificate through Let’s Encrypt. BigCommerce merchants can choose to enable a free SSL certificate through Encryption Everywhere or use/purchase a third party SSL with additional security features.
BigCommerce default URLs (products, categories and webpages) use a best-in-class format and are fully customizable to help improve search rankings. For many merchants, the ability to set the default URL structure for products and categories on the store level and still modify individual products and categories.
Shopify users have a direct disadvantage with how the URLs are setup, with no work-around available even with a plugin. Recently, Shopify published a blog post on site structure and SEO, highlighting a URL structure that not only matched the BigCommerce defaults but wasn’t achievable on a Shopify store. Shopify has clean URLs that are readable by both a human and search engines, but they’re not fully customizable — a longtime complaint among Shopify users for several years. For example, "/collections/", "/products/", or "/pages/" cannot be removed from a URL.
While Shopify stores have a reputation for being fast, they don’t have the same features BigCommerce stores include natively. Shopify and BigCommerce both have response themes and include a content delivery network (CDN) to help deliver photos and other files based on the location of the visitor. BigCommerce merchants also have Akamai Image Manager automatically enabled on all Stencil themes, which automatically resizes images to the best combination of size, quality and file format suited for each image and device.
Merchants on Shopify could use an app to resize images to a specific size in bulk, but there isn’t an equivalent feature available.
Additionally, BigCommerce offers a wide range of Google AMP (accelerated mobile pages) enabled themes which allow merchants to provide lightning fast product and category pages on mobile devices. Shopify merchants would need to use a third-party app to provide the same experience for their shoppers.
BigCommerce merchants also have the benefits of a traditional category/subcategory structure, which improves SEO by creating URLs and breadcrumbs that help search engines see the structure of your store. Breadcrumbs also help shoppers more easily navigate your store. BigCommerce enables merchants to easily filter products by brand and price. Merchants on a Pro or Enterprise plan also have access to faceted search, which allows for products to be further refined by option values and custom filters — giving shoppers the ideal shopping experience.
Merchants on Shopify use collections over traditional categories. This offers a simplified way to organize products using “collections” which auto populates based on conditions such as product type, vendor, tags, price, ect. While collections can be useful to creating a category to showcase products in a certain price range or items currently on sale, collections lack the benefits of a proper category/subcategory structure. Shopify merchants can try to gather some of the benefits such as breadcrumbs and URLs that are more search engine friendly by combining collections with basic filtering, or by using third-party apps to mock a full category tree — a daunting and time-consuming task.