If you are a business owner that is looking forward to having you own eCommerce store then you will need to make a choice between open source eCommerce platforms such as Magento and hosted solutions such as BigCommerce. Open source eCommerce platforms offer you the flexibility and freedom to customize your online store according to your exact requirements while hosted solutions are integrated and well-tested solutions that minimize costs for hosting and development.
When it comes to hosted solutions, BigCommerce is one of the most powerful and feature-rich options available in the market today. On the other hand, Magento is arguably one of the most popular eCommerce platforms with approximately half a million websites running the tool. However, if you feel confused about what you should choose for your business, here is all the information that you will need to make the right decision.
A hosted shopping cart software that offers a simple and quick solution to starting your own online store. The software has over 400 features that you can use to build your own eCommerce store. These features include social media integration, mobile optimization, and marketing tools that can be seamlessly added to your store. The BigCommerce store is filled with tools and professionally built themes that you can use to enhance your store’s functionality and appearance. Generally, hosted solutions such as BigCommerce are suitable for small business owners that are restricted to a budget.
An open source eCommerce platform that provides a customizable shopping cart software that gives you complete control over everything that goes into your online store. The tools offers powerful marketing tools, catalog-management tools, and search engine optimization that are essential for the success of your eCommerce store. Magento is highly regarded as one of the best eCommerce platforms available today especially for large-scale enterprises. There are various versions of Magento available too. These include free open-source solution and powerful Software as a Service (SaaS) systems.
Now that you have an understanding of what Magento and BigCommerce are, let us take a look an in-depth comparison of what each software has on offer for your online store.
Magento is an open source eCommerce platform which means that you do not have to pay a single cent to use it. You just have to simply download the software, install it onto your hosting account, and start building your website right away. There are no transaction fees, service fees, subscription costs, or anything for that matter. The software is free for everyone to use and build on.
With the free account, you get access to Magento’s vast community forum that is filled with tools and extensions that have been made by developers working on the platform. You can also download beautiful templates and powerful extensions by Magento from their official app store.
However, for those that are looking for the extra bit of functionality, there is also an Enterprise Edition of Magento that has much more powerful tools and extensions on offer with improved support from professional Magento developers. For the Enterprise Edition, you need to contact Magento directly for an estimate of the pricing.
On the downside, with both the free account and enterprise account, you need to bear the cost of a hosting service on your own. Furthermore, if you want customizations to you online store according to your business’ requirements, you will likely need to hire a Magento developer (another hidden cost that adds to it). However, there are numerous economical services such as webdeveloper.sydney that handle the development and hosting process for you at incredible rates without compromising on the quality.
A hosted eCommerce solution that has a number of packages available with different pricings and features so that you can choose according to your requirements. Sadly though, there is no free solution available like with Magento. Here are the packages on offer by BigCommerce:
- Standard: Priced at $29.95 per month, this package allows you to post unlimited products on your website with unlimited storage and bandwidth. You have access to all the basic functionalities such as responsive design and social media buttons but the shopping cart will not be hosted on your domain with this plan.
- Plus: Priced at $79.95 per month, this package has all the features from the Standard package with the functionality of customer segmentation according to buying preferences and other factors included. With this package, the checkout is hosted on your domain and you get the option to save abandoned shopping carts as well.
- Pro: Priced at $199.95 per month, this package has been made for high-volume businesses by BigCommerce. The package has improved security options that include site-wide HTTPS and fraud monitoring. Other features include product filtering and the addition of your online store to Google’s list of Trusted Stores.
- Enterprise: For businesses that are looking for the complete eCommerce hosting and shopping cart solution, BigCommerce has an Enterprise package that has all the functionalities and features (as well as customized ones) available for your business. However, the pricings are tailored to what you require from BigCommerce in this package.
When it comes to the selection of themes and designs, Magento is an absolute powerhouse because of its massive developer community. The platform is open-source and so numerous Magento developers have built beautiful, eye-catching themes that are openly available to everyone on the Magento Theme Marketplace. You also get access to the HTML and CSS files for all the themes so that you can make any customizations that you want to the theme directly.
At the same time, you can also purchase well-tested, high-quality themes from third parties working on the platform. All in all, there are over aesthetically appealing themes available on the Magento platform that you can use to enhance the appearance of your online store.
With BigCommerce, you have access to a total of 58 themes, 42 paid ones and 16 free ones. While these themes are professionally designed and offer exquisite looks to your online store, they are limited in their scope because most BigCommerce websites feature the same designs over and over again.
The only positive that BigCommerce themes have over Magento is that they are well suited and easy to use for both novice and advanced users. With Magento, you either need development experience or have to hire a website developer to work with the available themes. However, apart from this, Magento themes have an edge over BigCommerce themes in terms of both quantity and quality.
The frontend features define what you customers will look at when they visit your online store. One of the main reasons most people prefer Magento is because you have complete control over the frontend of your eCommerce website.
With a little development, you can integrate powerful features such as responsive design, product reviews, zoom-able images, and order statuses into your store. The best part is that each of these features can be customized according to your business’ needs to ensure optimal user experience for your customers.
The BigCommerce frontend is one of the most powerful ones on offer by non-open source shopping cart solutions. While it does not offer the customization capabilities that Magento does, the BigCommerce frontend has an amazing set of built-in features such as payment processors, wish lists, product filtering, live chat, social media integration and product searching.
It is also easier to manage and adapt to the BigCommerce frontend for beginners because of its easy to use dashboard. All in all, the BigCommerce frontend makes your online store highly interactive and functional that makes it much easier for customers to look for and purchase items from your website.
Though it is a bit complex, the Magento backend is powerful and highly flexible. If you have the services of a good web developer then the Magento backend is the perfect shopping cart solution for your eCommerce website. You can view statistics, generate reports, access customer service modules, integrate various payment methods, and customize your products easily with the Magento backend.
You also have an unlimited amount of customer records, product attributes, free shipping options, and product bundles that you can add to your store. In short, if you have an experienced Magento developer on board, you can customize your online store to have all the functionality you want.
The BigCommerce platform makes it super easy for beginners (and professionals) to setup their own online store. In the beginning, you are greeted with a tour of the actions that you can perform on the platform followed by a step-by-step process for setting up the basics of your eCommerce website.
There is a user-friendly dashboard that accompanies the service that has easy tools for navigating through the list of options available. From within the BigCommerce dashboard, you can customize analytics, marketing, content, products, and customers through the various options that are available. Creating products, managing customer groups, and adding details is a simple task with the BigCommerce backend dashboard. However, while it is much easier to use than Magento, it lacks powerful functionality and the same level of customization capabilities as that of the open-source platform.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Magneto has a range of friendly tools available for SEO. These include features for renaming URLs to be more search engine friendly and product metadata creation for improved search engine rankings. You also have access to the Google Content API and Sitemap that allows you to view what are the most common search terms related to your business’ niche (so that you can adjust the content accordingly).
- Social Media: Sadly, there are no built-in social media plugins with Magento. However, the workaround is to make use of the numerous apps and extensions available in the Magento Store. You can add features such as social media sharing and following buttons by adding these apps to your online store.
- Built-in promotion options: Magento has a wide range of promotional options available that include free shipping, promo-pricing, multi-tier pricing, wish lists, product bundling, and related products. You can use these options to enhance user experience for your customers.
- Selling on other channels: Within Magento, the Google Shopping API is available to you for integrating comparison sites to your online store. You can add support for Amazon, eBay, and other channels easily with Magento but you need to have a developer on board for integrating this into the software. Alternatively, you can use an extension or app to help you out with this.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): BigCommerce has a range of SEO friendly tools on offer that help you boost your site’s search engine rankings. The eCommerce platform has a sitemap, image descriptions, alternative tags for images, and product specific keywords for improving your website’s online visibility. The reviews section and support for Google Shopping further add to the SEO friendly features provided by BigCommerce.
- Social Media: Unlike Magento, BigCommerce provides you the option to link your online store directly with your social media accounts. Features such as social media buttons and a SocialShop (for selling product on social media networks such as Facebook) make it easier for businesses to keep their social media accounts in sync with their store website.
- Built-in promotion options: You can add timely promotions to your online store with the help of useful features such as gift wrapping and gift certificates. There is also a discount engine that automatically reduces the price of all selected product for a limited period of time. All in all, BigCommerce offers some nifty promotional features for your eCommerce website.
- Selling on other channels: The BigCommerce platform is ideal for cross-platform sales since it has support for all the leading channels including Google Products, eBay, and Amazon. You also receive added to Google Trusted Stores once you setup BigCommerce for your store.
The statistical tools offered by Magento are unmatched with any other. No other eCommerce solution has such an in-depth analytical tool as that of Magento. The dashboard provides you with the option to generate various types of reports, graphs, and spreadsheets that highlight all the information about your online store. From traffic information to analysis of sales trends, everything is a breeze with Magento’s powerful analytics.
The platform offers an overview of store activity with additional features such as order reports, traffic reports, and abandoned cart statistics. However, when compared to the analytics offered by Magento, we have to say that BigCommerce is far behind in the race.
As we mentioned earlier, Magento is an open-source eCommerce platform that means that it does not cater to the hosting requirements of an online store. In order to make the website functional, you need to find your own hosting for deploying the Magento platform. These hosting services can range from as little as $3 to as high as $50 per month, depending on how much traffic your website will generate.
Being a hosted eCommerce solution, BigCommerce offers you the comfort of having everything set up for you beforehand so that you can focus on building your online store. However, the hosting service that BigCommerce provides does come at a cost (that comes in the form of monthly subscription charges for their service).
As with the themes, Magento has tons of developers working on the extensions for the open-source platform. You can find thousands of useful extensions for Magento in its Extension Store. The powerful filtering and search options in the store make it convenient to look for an extension that you need.
While there is practically an app available for everything that you want on Magento, the process of integrating it into your website is not as easy. You have to download the app and then have to upload it to your website before you can begin configuring it.
The BigCommerce App Store has a number of apps available that add a variety of functions to your website. There are both paid and free apps available in the store that you can easily add to your online store with a few clicks. However, when you compare the extensibility with Magento, BigCommerce lags behind, especially in terms of quantity.
The support forums of Magento are run by a community that gives you access to the knowledge of thousands of individuals from across the globe. The forums allow you to search for problems that have occurred in the past. It also enables you to read advice and tips left behind by experience Magento users from around the world. You can also create your own threads to discuss topics or problems that are yet unanswered. However, the one downside here is that there is no dedicated customer support available with Magento as there is with BIgCommerce.
A 24/7 customer support service is available with all BigCommerce packages. You can call, email, or live chat with BigCommerce representatives directly at any time to solve an issue and keep yourself informed with the latest updates. This makes it easier and more convenient to find a solution because there is a dedicated representative handling your requests.
Magento and BigCommerce are inarguably two giants of the eCommerce development arena. While these solutions are an equal match for each other in almost every single aspect, Magento edges ahead because of its greater adaptability and customization options. BigCommerce is suitable for small businesses or organizations that are looking for an integrated solution without the need for much customization to existing store templates.
On the other hand, if you are a business owner that is looking for a beautiful and responsive eCommerce website that features powerful functionality and interactive design then Magento is the better choice. Your online store can be tailor-made to suit all your business requirements with the integration of Magento on your eCommerce website. Having said this, keep in mind that you will have to bear the costs of hosting and development on your own.