Magento vs BigCommerce — Which One is Better?
Like Magento, BigCommerce is an ecommerce platform designed for large businesses; particularly those operating large scale product inventories. BigCommerce has a vast array of features, and like Magento is capable of being customised to the specification of developer and client alike. With both these platforms, there are huge opportunities for maximising sales and growth.
First things first, let’s get started with a side-by-side comparison of the two platforms. In both cases, it's the premium and current versions we'll be focusing on - suitable for medium to large scale enterprises.
|Features||Magento Commerce||BigCommerce Enterprise|
|Large no. of extensions||Yes||No|
|Open source option||Yes||No|
As you can probably see, the two ecommerce suites are very evenly matched. As we delve in a bit deeper though, we’ll see that the two platforms diverse in a number of crucial areas.
In terms of design, both platforms provide a variety of options to get you started. Both packages come with free themes, and both BigCommerce and Magento have online marketplaces where additional free and paid themes can be downloaded and installed. When it comes to implementing these template designs however, there is a big difference in how the two platforms work. Given Magento has an open source versions (with many of the same built in features) third-party developers have much more scope in creating new themes. By contrast, BigCommerce is a closed propriety system, and therefore harder to access and tweak.
In addition, without paying for BigCommerce, it is much harder to get a sense of how the platform works. With Magento however, free versions can be downloaded allowing you to try it out before committing.
Ease of Integration
When creating an ecommerce store, it's important to take marketplace integration into consideration. You may want to create a marketplace where multiple vendors can sell their products. Though BigCommerce comes with these capabilities, there is no way to create a marketplace within a BigCommerce store. By contrast, Magento is optimised for just this task, and there are a host of Magento extensions to extend this functionality even further.
There's also off-site selling to consider. As well as trading on your own site, you may wish to sell on third-party sites like eBay, Amazon or Google Shopping. Whereas in the past products had to be added to these platforms, or expensive middleware purchased to bridge the gap, now all of this can be done within Magento as well as BigCommerce as standard. In this respect, the two products are very evenly matched.
This is one of the main points of departure for the two products. BigCommerce, unlike Magento, does not permit self-hosting. It is a saas platform with hosting locked in. Although there is nothing wrong with cloud hosting per se (Magento provides its own cloud service; Cloud Commerce) like everything, it does come with in-built limitations. If, for instance, you decided to host with BigCommerce and decided to switch over to a self-hosted plan on another platform - as with Shopify - you'd have to bare the switching costs. You’d also have to export your products into Excel and scrape your content, though this might not be achievable in practice.
In general, while sharing content with their provider is fine for small and new businesses with minimum costs, for large or established enterprises, you will almost certainly want the freedom to host your own site, giving you security of content and peace of mind.
This is perhaps the most important point. While Magento's enterprise edition (Magento Commerce) starts out at $22k for a license, BigCommerce's enterprise plan requires you to contact them for pricing. From quotes and first hand experiences freely available on the internet, these costs can rack up to $1,499 per month. But such prices - as in common in enterprise editions - are staggered depending on earnings. For instance, if you are making $400k in sales each year, you’ll have to add $150 extra a month for each additional $200k in revenue.
It's tough to gauge the exact amount you are likely to pay for BigCommerce though. In practice, to find out the real cost, you should always contact the company directly. Magento, by contrast, is generally more transparent with its pricing. For a full breakdown of how much you are likely to pay with the Commerce Edition, see our in-depth article here.
Though Magento and BigCommerce are closely matched in features, when it comes to customisation - whether modifying your themes, integrating with other platforms, or managing and hosting your own data - we feel that Magento wins out. Of course, not everyone will need the full menu of features Magento has. Small-business owners will likely be better off with a more managed platform like BigCommerce, but for medium to large enterprise anticipating scale and growth, Magento is almost certainly the way to go.
Not just the size of your business, but the size of each platform's customer base, should also be taken into account. To date, Magento has powered 250,000 online stores. By comparison, BigCommerce has brought 100,000 online retailers to market. In practice, this makes Magento a much more tried and tested product. It has a much larger community of users, and this means - via the Magento exchange - virtually every issue and customisation query will already been asked and answered. When it comes to creating a fully featured future-proof site, Magento's popularity is another plus in its favour.
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