BigCommerce vs Magento: Which is the Best for Your Business Model?

BigCommerce vs Magento

With the final curtain call for Magento 1 out last year, a number of my clients using the Magento platform were left wondering – where do we go from here? Businesses using Magento 1 had two options – either upgrade to Magento 2 or explore other platforms.

BigCommerce was the next platform giant most businesses were willing to consider. After realizing that the battle for the most powerful platform was a close one, I decided to do extensive research on both these platforms on key areas of performance.

Whether you are starting or planning to switch platforms, deciding between the two is a tough task. The market share of BigCommerce in the top million sites by traffic is about 0.19%, and that of Magento is 1.06%. BigCommerce powers around 50,880 websites and more than 195,425 websites run on Magento. While the numbers are impressive, they don’t usually tell the whole story.

Before we start comparing BigCommerce vs Magento, let’s quickly get an overview of both platforms. BigCommerce is an affordable cloud-based SaaS platform. You can have your business up and running fairly quickly.

Magento, on the other hand, is a PaaS cloud-based platform. They also offer an open-source framework for developers to customize solutions. You get a fully customizable and scalable platform for your store.

Considered Criteria

Having been consulted on developing numbers of BigCommerce, and Magento stores, I can safely say (with some authority!) that each business is different and its needs are unique. Depending on your business model, you’ll be able to decide which platform is the right fit for your business.

Both Magento vs BigCommerce are great platforms but they have some significant differences that might impact your business. I have weighed each platform on various parameters –

  • Features and Functionality,
  • Pros and Cons
  • Usage, and
  • Pricing

Let’s dive in together and analyze these platforms on their merits.

BigCommerce vs Magento: Features & Functionality

Both these platforms fully satisfy your basic eCommerce needs – such as customizing your store’s theme, managing products or creating checkout pages. However, I would suggest you look at these platforms keeping your specific business needs in mind. If you have a unique or specific requirement, open-source platforms can be your best bet. That’s because, even if Magento
doesn’t natively provide your particular feature, you still can build one yourself. With BigCommerce, you might find yourself stuck with the available feature set.

  • SEO and Marketing

    BigCommerce vs Magento on SEO brings a considerably balanced verdict. Meta information, Google site mapping, and customizable URLs are some of the SEO features available on both platforms. However, you would have to go in for third-party integrations with Magento, unlike BigCommerce.

    Marketing features such as AdWords integrations, email-marketing tools, promotions and coupons, and build-in blog are available in BigCommerce. You also get the reporting and analytics feature with it. Similarly, with Magento, you get Google Analytics integration, cart abandonment emails, personalized coupons, promotional pricing, and email marketing features.

  • CMS:

    Ecommerce stores need a fully-fledged CMS to manage products and pages on their e-stores. BigCommerce has the ability to publish pages, make and review changes in real-time. Moreover, with its headless API, it is easier to integrate with merchant’s choice of CMS seamlessly.

    Magento also boasts of running many front-ends from a single back-end, processing orders, and managing promotions. Due to its apparent lack of flexibility, many stores choose to integrate Magento with other CMS. However, to take full advantage of Magento, you can still go in for CMS widgets, customized modules, and extensions.

  • Omnichannel Selling:

    Magento is usually considered to be at the forefront of platforms offering omnichannel functionality. This platform offers cross-channel inventory visibility, social media integration, ability to customize and integrate with third-party solutions, and offers a connected shopping experience spread across various selling channels and multiple devices.

    BigCommerce’s omnichannel functionality allows stores to manage inventory from a single location and provide better product visibility. And, it allows you to coordinate inventory across other selling channels such as Facebook, Amazon, eBay, Instagram, and more.

  • Multi-country and Multi-store Functionality:

    As businesses keep growing, they need multi-country and multi-store functionality. Magento allows brands to work on different languages, host stores in various locations, and provide a variety of payment methods to brands. BigCommerce, on the other hand, offers multi-location inventory tracking, ability to create multiple stores in a single account, multi-language usage, multi-vendor functionality among others.

  • Support:

    Although Magento doesn’t provide on-site support, its robust community of supporters and developers is unparalleled. BigCommerce too offers a dedicated support system to its clients.

  • Apps and Extensions:

    Both platforms provide extensive customization options, but the BigCommerce app store is considerably smaller than the Magento marketplace. The installation and maintenance process is different in each platform.

    Magento makes use of the traditional installation process where you would be required to install, maintain and upgrade periodically. With BigCommerce, you can directly install apps to your store, and the developer supports it in the cloud.

  • Scalability:

    I have seen many businesses ignore this important feature when deciding on the right eCommerce platform. Although BigCommerce offers unlimited bandwidth and space, you would be moved to a higher pricing plan if you need to scale up.

    Magento’s scalability is unrivaled; it can scale up as your business grows. The ERP integrations and inventory management are seamless as well.

  • Website Build Time:

    Build time and ease of use go hand in hand. Compared to Magento, it is easier, faster, and less tedious to build your store using BigCommerce.

BigCommerce vs Magento: Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of both platforms.

BigCommerce vs Magento Pros & Cons

BigCommerce:

Pros Cons
It is easy to set up and use It doesn't come with a mobile app
Provides extensive free and paid templates Complex terminology used can be overwhelming for beginners
Highly affordable Editing can get complicated
Fairly easy to learn and doesn't require coding knowledge Adding extensions and apps can make the platform quite expensive for small/medium business owners
It is a feature-rich platform The selection of free themes is limited
It offers Multi-channel selling and comes with abundant SEO options. Certainly not as customizable as Magento

Magento 2:

Pros Cons
It is free with a large developer community It definitely demands extensive coding language
The scalability is one of the best offered by any platform It has a steep learning curve –not suitable for beginners
Offers advanced features through its add-ons and extensions Time-consuming to set up store
Works well for SEO use You have to pay extra for apps and hosting
It comes as a fully customizable platform It can get expensive and complex to develop
It is feature-rich and gives immense design flexibility to developers You might require Magento developers to help you out

BigCommerce vs Magento: Pricing Structures

As far as pricing is concerned, Magento vs BigCommerce is unique in their offerings. BigCommerce has two plans – Standard and Plus – for its emerging brands. And Pro and Enterprise plans for its established businesses. The Standard plan starts at $29.95 per month with an extra transaction fee of 1.5%. It’s Plus, and Pro Plans come at $79.95 and $199.95 per month, respectively. Established merchants with higher sales volume can opt for the Enterprise plan, which offers tailored pricing.

Magento offers a free community edition and paid Enterprise edition. The licensing cost for the Enterprise Edition is pretty steep – $22,000 per year, which includes hosting, support, and additional features.

BigCommerce vs Magento: Usage

If you are setting up your store, you’ll find it easier to do it on BigCommerce than on Magento. BigCommerce requires a significantly minimal amount of coding knowledge. With its intuitive dashboard, you can have your store set up within hours. To help you through the set-up process, BigCommerce has many tutorials, tooltips, and step-by-step instructions. And when you choose the paid plan, you also have access to dedicated customer service.

Even if you don’t need technical prowess to work with BigCommerce, you will have to spend a considerable amount of time and energy learning your way around.

Unlike BigCommerce, Magento can be a bit tricky to work on. It demands a higher level of technical know-how to be able to set up a store. However, since the platform is written on PHP, the customization options are virtually limitless.For confident coders with ample time at hand, Magento offers umpteen customization possibilities.

Magento certainly is not an easy platform for beginners. Complex technical jargon aside, Magento’s set-up process can be complicated and time-consuming.

BigCommerce vs Magento: Usage

If you are setting up your store, you’ll find it easier to do it on BigCommerce than on Magento. BigCommerce requires a significantly minimal amount of coding knowledge. With its intuitive dashboard, you can have your store set up within hours. To help you through the set-up process, BigCommerce has many tutorials, tooltips, and step-by-step instructions. And when you choose the paid plan, you also have access to dedicated customer service.

Even if you don’t need technical prowess to work with BigCommerce, you will have to spend a considerable amount of time and energy learning your way around.

Unlike BigCommerce, Magento can be a bit tricky to work on. It demands a higher level of technical know-how to be able to set up a store. However, since the platform is written on PHP, the customization options are virtually limitless.For confident coders with ample time at hand, Magento offers umpteen customization possibilities.

Magento certainly is not an easy platform for beginners. Complex technical jargon aside, Magento’s set-up process can be complicated and time-consuming.

How to Choose the Right Platform:

Before picking the platform for your business, you should consider other features such as themes, migration, security, and hosting. BigCommerce offers 12 free themes and more than a hundred paid themes ranging from $150 to $300. Magento offers 15 themes (of which 10 are mobile optimized) compatible with the Magento 2 version ranging between $30 and $499. You can always choose third-party themes or create one from scratch.

When it comes to hosting, BigCommerce is a winner as it is a hosted solution. Magento requires you to hunt for hosting partners – you should take this extra expense into account when deciding the platform.

Both BigCommerce vs Magento are on par with security – providing integrated SSL certifications, multi-layer protection, PCI Compliance and more.

When Should You Go With Which One?

BigCommerce works best for businesses looking to grow into large enterprises. You can build your store in no time with limited coding knowledge. You also get endless customization options with its apps, integrations, and flexibility. It can work on a limited budget, and you don’t have to have a dedicated IT team to help.

Magento is the best bet for established or large enterprises that require immense customization and unique features. With its scalability, your store will be able to keep pace with surging sales. If you are not in a rush to develop a website and have a considerable amount of time (and money) at your disposal, you can choose Magento. Its extensive community support will also come in handy.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, I will repeat what I usually tell my eCommerce clients – before deciding the perfect platform for your business – you have to determine what kind of business merchant you are. If you are a small/medium scale store owner looking to set shop and get going, BigCommerce will satisfy all your needs and more. If you are a large-scale enterprise that needs extreme customization and flexibility, then Magento is the best bet.

John Ahya

John Ahya

John is the President and Co-Founder of WebDesk Solution, LLC. Living the digital agency life for over 10 years, he explores an extensive eCommerce world. He has immense experience in all major e-commerce platforms. Being a nature lover, he likes to breathe the fresh air on the hill stations during vacations.

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