BigCommerce vs. Magento, Which is Better?
As brand managers paint the picture of their future, there is a common thread that binds all of these conversations together; the need to increase sales, as well as reduce the cost of operations. In both cases, it seems that SaaS Solutions are the wave of the future. As a result, Enterprise eCommerce businesses are comparing BigCommerce vs. Magento, and BigCommerce is coming out on top. There is a shift of dozens of our clients moving away from Magento on-premise, and into BigCommerce. But why?
With the increased needs of managers and operational logistics personnel alike, it is clear that ease of use and scalability are the call tags of transition. Mid-Market and Enterprise organizations (doing $1 Million and up) are rapidly choosing BigCommerce as their new home, and this trend seems to be a never-ending line of excited brand owners and marketing managers alike.
Our BigCommerce web development teams regularly have dozens of stores and new BigCommerce migrations in the works. But, why on BigCommerce specifically?
The reasons for the change ranged from improved security to lower monthly expenses, to eliminating the need for in-house developers, or reducing additional payments for extensions that were needed to scale the business. Although Magento may be right for some businesses, many of the mid-market business customers we spoke with, wanted to scale faster, as well as to provide a better user experience overall.
In the current business environment, where eCommerce SEO services and online selling outpaces retail, choosing the right platform can make or break your sales. When it comes to deciding between BigCommerce vs. Magento, it can be a tough call. Here’s a look at ten important areas our clients noted as their deciding factors.
Magento had more competitive entry-level plan options than BigCommerce, so it might be the cheaper cost from a start-up point of view. However, brand managers noticed that the pricing structure adopted by BigCommerce allows for more options for bandwidth and file storage. Also, the plans provided by Magento were not as spec’d out as those offered by BigCommerce, which made many operators weigh their options before making the final decisions.
Many of the respondents also discovered lacking key functionalities within Magento as compared to the out-of-the-box experience BigCommerce offered. Value was of uttermost importance to everyone. Instead of making their decision based on price alone, the focus was on weighing price against functionality. Overall, BigCommerce provides the most cost-effective ‘out of the box’ package, resulting in the sign-off and re-platform for many clients that we spoke with.
Thanks to the templates provided by both eCommerce solutions, it was easy for users to get a sense of what look would suit their online stores the best. In the battle between Magento vs. BigCommerce, both offer a variety of free templates, most of which are similar in quality.
Apart from allowing users to choose from a broader range of free templates than Magento, BigCommerce offers Mid-Market and Enterprise clients templates that are easier to preview and apply. Users mentioned needing development and coding experience to work well with many of the themes provided by Magento, which was a big downside to their experience. Teams were better off with solutions that didn’t require hefty overhead costs just for test-driving templates or theme variations. BigCommerce offers a way to avoid all of those additional overhead costs.
Moreover, one of the biggest platform-side enhancements that drove higher BigCommerce migrations, was the recent release of Stencil. The new framework allows for deep-dive customizations of templates both in the cloud, as well as on localhost CLI. This meant that users could create powerful, beautiful, and SEO-optimized storefronts with ease, and without extensive agency retainers in place. After all, the average Magento development cost goes well into the 6-figure range for our Mid-Market and Enterprise clients. That initial investment was something everyone mentioned they wanted to drive down; in both upfront, as well as ongoing cost structures.
Ramp Up Times
Users mentioned that BigCommerce is easier to use shortening ramp-up times. The BigCommerce quick-launch wizard guides user teams through the different features and components, allowing for quick adoption and faster launch times. In contrast, there was no hand-holding with Magento, and many clients were left to figure it all out on their own.
Magento often had complicated software updates that featured licenses, plugins, and very rapidly raised the total cost of ownership. Almost all users mentioned that the cost of operation on a Magento self-hosted platform became a revolving labor cost; both internally, and at the agency retainer level. The fact that BigCommerce features were mostly native also made it more reliable, stable, and provided an intangible peace of mind.
BigCommerce integrates with a broader variety of payment gateways. BigCommerce developers were able to increase conversion rates, as well as customer satisfaction after making the switch very quickly. Allowing for more payment options like Amazon Pay and Digital Wallets was a huge selling point to many clients, and the ability to do this quickly and easily was the cherry on top.
While BigCommerce integrates with more than 60+ different payment gateways, Magento only offers integrations with 14; not bad, but 60+ was the magic number, providing more flexibility, as well as driving many clients to find new ways of integrating retail and wholesale account management together with more efficiency.
Magento’s standard front-end features include zoomable images, product reviews, responsive designs, and order statuses. The package also comes with cross-sells, upsells, wish lists, and quantity discounts. Related products, coupon codes, polls, and newsletters are also available. So in short, with Magento users were able to customize the frontend, but achieving this required development experience; and in most cases, Magento developers would cost brands more per hour than BigCommerce editing would.
On the other hand, BigCommerce features one of the most robust front-ends, particularly in the non-open source game. With built-in features that include several payment processors, product filtering, wish lists, deep search, live chat, and blogging, users found BigCommerce a lot easier to manage overall. BigCommerce also offers excellent social media integrations, as well as native Omni-Channel selling capabilities that many users wanted out of the box; and without the need for costly additional customizations.
Hosting & Security
Adopting the Magento license with on-premise also did not offer to host, if users went that route. As a result, many had to go out of their way to find a hosting partner. This meant additional cost, as well as ramp-up time. While there were many hosting partners to choose from, not all offered top-tier services; and this meant that choosing the most reliable vendor was a daunting task of more discovery, more calls, more evaluations, and additional headaches for all involved.
On the other hand, BigCommerce is a self-hosted solution, which makes it much easier for most brand managers to get up and running. With features like built-in hosting users don’t need to edit the code base behind BigCommerce, or partner with multiple organizations with different payment schedules. With enterprise-level security features, BigCommerce also provides a solid architecture, as well as a 24/7 US-based support team behind it. BigCommerce also offers to host through certified servers, specifically SAS 70 Type II. This means that hacker prevention, load-balancing, and 99.99% uptime is a Day 1 provision and not an add-on that users have to build into the cost.
Since it is a community that runs Magento’s support forum, most users did not want to spend time searching for threads for any unaddressed topics and bugs. The objective was the ease of use and simple operation, not flooding a message board, or always being reliant on agency retainers.
Although support forums allow interaction, it is not focused on an end-user and triage approach. Instead, forum threads would include conversations around other brands, multiple issues, and often go unresolved for weeks if not months. This is unacceptable as brand teams need and want a dedicated support team to call when problems arise. When something happens, it usually costs thousands of dollars for every hour of downtime, and not having a dedicated support team is a deal-breaker.
On the deciding factor, BigCommerce provides support 24/7, along with training, blogging, email, telephone, and live chat. The constant availability of their Austin, Texas-based support team means further peace of mind.
Search Engine Optimization
When it came to SEO, Magento was relatively friendly - most brands were okay with this. The solution allowed users to create search engine-friendly URLs, as well as gather metadata for the featured products and categories. Aside from featuring a Google sitemap, users could access the Google Content API, as well as view the most popular search terms.
On the other hand, BigCommerce SEO companies argued that BigCommerce SEO is the better solution, particularly since it features a sitemap and the robots.txt file. In addition to product-specific SEO keywords, both alt tags and image descriptions are easily customizable through the GUI backend. BigCommerce also allows users to change title tags, headers, and automatically create SEO-friendly URLs. Users would also get native Google Shopping, 301 redirects, and file hosting features on quick CDNs with many other mission-critical site configuration options.
There are various apps and integrations that offer social sharing and buttons for selling on Magento, they do not offer any social media features built into the system. In this area, BigCommerce has a winning option. They offer a native Facebook Shop. BigCommerce also allows users to publish a Facebook "Like" button on their products and integrates natively with trendy 3rd party tools like Klaviyo Email Automation (more on that in our next release!).
Although Magento offers endless options for selling on other channels, this feature required a lot of development know-how and created additional overhead expenses very quickly.
BigCommerce, on the other hand, has built-in support for Google Shopping, Amazon, eBay, and other storefronts, making it the perfect choice for brand teams and BigCommerce store designers to quickly integrate and push feeds from their stores. No additional coding or technical experience was necessary, and as a result, the decision to move forward with the platform was clear.
This is a big selling point pointed out by teams who want to self-manage their inventory without having to rely on hiring a full-time developer.
The performance of Magento builds depends entirely on the hosting environment, build quality, and server setup. Each element can greatly impact the quality of the customer’s experience. If management chooses the wrong apps and integrations for the store ecosystem, often Magento customers must pay for services they don't need, or not have enough services such as load balancing for the Black Friday shopping rush. BigCommerce, on the other hand, overcomes these inconsistencies Day 1 by taking care of all the uncertainties upfront with out-of-the-box solutions.
The ability to quickly ramp up the store on multiple CDN’s, as well as achieve optimal page load speeds, were frequently mentioned as the pillar points of adoption. In addition to the guaranteed 99.99% up-time, BigCommerce also consistently delivered page load times of 0.3 of a second; regardless of the catalog size.
Both BigCommerce and Magento provide a relatively comparable set of features like template customization and broad stroke capabilities. However, there were other areas of difference frequently noted in this review.
Abandoned Cart Reminders
The abandoned cart system provided natively by BigCommerce is rated one of the best. This feature allows users to create and send out automated emails to any website visitor who went through the sales funnel and left without making a purchase. Magento does not come with any built-in cart abandonment products. Brand teams need to search for a 3rd party application, connect through developers, and customize HTML as well as other feature sets. This creates a hefty additional workload that many users say is unnecessary.
BigCommerce also comes with proper built-in blogging functionality, which made it a vital consideration for brand managers when comparing BigCommerce vs. Magento. Although Magento allows users to crowbar third-party blogging tools, the built-in solution offered by BigCommerce is neat, simple, and more suitable for companies requiring content management. SEO-friendly URL structures at both product and blog levels are a benefit.
Demo, Decide and Deploy
Everyone has different criteria with which they judge their needs or wants. For some managers, the cost is the final deciding factor, for others, it was the built-in omnichannel, and yet for others, 24/7 tech support is a big issue.
In the BigCommerce vs. Magento competition, we feel comfortable asking our clients to migrate to BigCommerce.
If you have questions or would like to experience a personalized demo on how best to re-platform for your Enterprise, ask our certified BigCommerce developers. Please reach out via the form below and schedule a consultation. We will provide scope documentation, and help you determine what SaaS product is the best fit for you and the marketing ecosystem.