A race of the stars: BigCommerce vs. Magento

BigCommerce vs. Magento: Head to Head Comparison

The world of websites, online stores, CMS platforms, etc., is a wild one. As technology exceeds all expectations in terms of growth and usefulness, making the right decisions has never been more challenging.

BigCommerce vs Magento article cover image

Users are faced with many questions and many different answers to those questions: Which CMS is good? Is this CMS suitable for me, or is the other one better? Can this CMS help me achieve my goals?

All these questions can be overwhelming for anyone, especially for those who want to build an online store but have no technical expertise or knowledge.

But fear not, I got you covered. Besides, what’s the point of my Vendor vs. Vendor series if it doesn’t help anyone? This article aims to break down the two competitors of today and compare their performance across multiple categories.

We have BigCommerce and Magento on the list for today’s race of the stars. So, let’s begin by getting to know them a bit more.

About Magento

Magento is a PHP-based eCommerce platform that is open-source. On the 31st of March, 2008, Magento was first released. Adobe Inc. purchased it in 2018. Magento is a popular eCommerce platform that is suitable for both small and large organizations.

Magento is available in three versions: Magento Open Source, Magento Commerce and Magento Commerce Cloud. Magento Open Source is a free self-hosted version of Magento that allows users to create their own online store from the ground up using a variety of features. Magento Commerce and Commerce Cloud are paid premium editions that are recommended for businesses and developers looking for an all-in-one cloud platform that can improve the performance and sales of online store websites.

Magento Hosting

So, where hosting is concerned, Magento doesn’t offer it. This means that users can pick the provider they want as a host by themselves, and not have a provider chosen for them. So, this could be a great advantage and a way to have more control over your online store.

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However, there are a few requirements that you need to meet to get the best Magento hosting experience and guarantee your success, and some of them are Magento’s technical hosting environment, Magento hosting plan and Magento hosting provider.

So, you need to make sure that the provider meets the above mentioned requirements in order for it to be compatible with Magento. Once you find the appropriate provider that meets these requirements and all else they entail, it’s nowhere but up for you, your customers, and your store.

Also, you can choose from shared, VPS, dedicated and cloud hosting for your Magento hosting, depending on which suits you and your business best. The most recommended out of these is cloud hosting, but all types are compatible with Magento hosting if they meet all the requirements of course.

However, the final choice for what provider you should choose and what kind of hosting you should get, whether managed or unmanaged, cloud or VPS, etc., depends entirely on what you want and need.

The Good

Let’s take a look at some of Magento’s benefits:

  • Extensive community and great support for users
  • Flexible platform with lots of customization options
  • Good range of themes to choose from
  • Phone support available
  • No actual coding knowledge needed for Magento commerce
  • Magento is open-source and free to use
  • Magento 2 extensions
  • It is built exclusively for eCommerce
  • The SEO Edge feature
  • Multiple store management possible

The Bad

Of course, where there is good, there is always bad, so let’s look at some of the disadvantages of Magento:

  • There is a learning curve
  • Quite difficult for beginners
  • You’ll spend many hours in setting it up
  • Numerous costs that come with having an online store

screenshot of Adobe Commerce page within Adobe Experience Cloud website

About BigCommerce

Now, onto BigCommerce. It’s a CMS founded in 2009 in Sydney, Australia. It’s a NASDAQ-listed platform with offices in California, Texas, and Australia. It was featured in the Forbes list of the World’s Best Cloud Companies in 2016.

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BigCommerce is a self-hosted company which means the platform itself takes care of all technical issues, allowing the user to not worry about that aspect of their online store. It is home to many big names across different industries and has all the tools and features necessary to sell across multiple channels, like social media platforms. It is a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) platform that was initially meant for fast-growing businesses but has recently improved its capabilities in housing more complex companies. The company offers four plans to its customers for a monthly fee.

The Good

Let’s look at a few of BigCommerce’s advantages:

  • Fewer fees per transaction
  • Well-organized admin
  • Users can build an eCommerce store without prior coding knowledge
  • Many payment methods are built-in and supported
  • The setup is quick and simple
  • Excellent designs
  • Affordable pricing
  • Smart solutions
  • Incredible SEO features

The Bad

Now, for the disadvantages:

  • Plans have limited annual online sales
  • The free themes are pretty similar
  • Many of the paid themes are pretty expensive
  • Built-in dropshipping is not available

screenshot of BigCommerce website

Security Is Essential! But, Who’s More Secure?

It’s time to move on to the platforms’ features in specific categories. And, as security is one of the essential factors for anything done online, I think it’s an excellent place to start.

Magento is up first. Magento permits users to improve the data security of their stores on their own. Installing the Magento extension in the payment and security section can add extra protection and secure business data.

Magento, though, is as secure as you want it to be. Certification and upkeep will be required even for simple things like SSL. Magento will issue fixes to address identified security flaws, like the SQL site injection vulnerability that put over 300 000 Magento stores at risk in 2019. It is still your team’s responsibility to keep your site up to date. Also, if you use Magento, you will be responsible for complying with PCI standards. Magento does not do that for you.

screenshot of Security Center page within Adobe Experience Cloud website

BigCommerce is quite different from Magento in terms of security. As a self-hosted platform, BigCommerce takes care of all things related to security and protection as part of the monthly subscription fee users pay.

BigCommerce comes with strong anti-hacking protection. BigCommerce is also PCI compliant and ISO/IEC 27001 certified, which is the industry standard for data security. In addition, all of BigCommerce’s plans include free and paid SSL certificates. Many layers of protection protect BigCommerce stores to prevent unwanted access.

Also, other security features are available with BigCommerce:

  • Server-specific firewalls
  • File integrity scanners
  • Software for detecting intrusion
  • Non-stop human monitoring
  • Protection against fraudulent transactions

screenshot of BigCommerce security page

So, I declare BigCommerce the winner for this category, as it offers more security features included in the plans. Also, with BigCommerce, the team helps users with the whole process, which can be helpful for time-limited users and those who aren’t tech-savvy.

A Brief Financial Showdown

Before I say anything, I would like to point out that Magento is an open-source platform, while BigCommerce is self-hosted.

As Magento is open-source, it is free to install, but all additional features, such as web hosting, security, extensions, and domain registration, are not. As a result, the total cost of using Magento is determined by various factors and the features you desire. You’ll also have to pay for themes and extensions, which vary in price. However, it’s worth noting that Magento caters primarily to businesses and enterprises, which can, in most circumstances, afford to spend extra money. Magento also does not require its users to pay a monthly fee.

screenshot of Magento banner

BigCommerce is structured differently than Magento, and its users can choose from four different plans. The plans, of course, vary in price and features they offer, but all of them provide the essential features that help their users build their stores more quickly and efficiently.

Some features that are available with all plans are the following:

  • Single-page checkout
  • Unlimited products
  • Responsive website
  • Free transaction fees

Another good thing available with BigCommerce is the 15-day free trial option. However, some additional costs come with choosing BigCommerce, like costs for domain names & SSL certificates, paid themes and add-ons, and partner support fees.

screenshot of BigCommerce plans

This category marks another win for BigCommerce in my book because it is easier to use, and users do not need to hire expert help to build their website.

Customer Service And Support

No business would be complete without good customer service, so it’s good news that both platforms provide fantastic customer service and treat their users with respect.

Let’s have a look at Magento first. It offers user instructions that walk you through the entire process of creating an online store because it is a community-based platform. Step-by-step instructions are included, as well as a multitude of helpful information from other Magento developers. However, because Magento is a self-hosted platform, it does not provide any typical support options, such as live chat, phone, or email help, unless you sign up for the Magento Commerce Cloud plan for B2B. Regardless, Magento provides other features such as troubleshooting, a help center guide, and support tools.

screenshot of Adobe Help Center page

When it comes to BigCommerce, it has multiple channels for support, like 24/7 through phone and live chat, email, and help center included in all plans. The help center has an extensive knowledge base, a great community, video tutorials, guides, and API and theme documentation. Another feature that BigCommerce offers its users is that when someone signs up for a free trial, BigCommerce sends them an email to provide a 10-minute call appointment to discuss what they want to achieve and how BigCommerce can help them.

Users who sign up for enterprise plans get priority support, which includes a consultant who is available to that user specifically and prioritized phone calls. Also, users can directly connect to expert staff who can help with any issues they might encounter.

screenshot of BigCommerce Knowledge base

In my opinion, the winner of this category is a no-brainer. Although both platforms have excellent customer support, BigCommerce exceeds Magento as it offers many features, multiple support channels, an intuitive help center, and phone support.

Who’s Easier To Use?

In this regard, Magento and BigCommerce are a bit different. Magento has a more demanding learning curve. To develop an online business, you’ll need some technical knowledge and expertise, as well as an understanding of internet jargon and code. So, if you’re not too tech-savvy, you’ll have to employ a web developer to do the work for you.

screenshot of Products page within Adobe Experience Cloud website

On the other hand, BigCommerce can boast about its ease of use and simplicity of the instructions for setting up the store. In general, certain things need to be done before a user can have an active online store, and they are the following:

  • The store profile
  • Available currencies
  • Payment methods
  • Store settings
  • Shipping, tax
  • Point of sale
  • Accounting

Additionally, the BigCommerce dashboard is easy to navigate, and the interface runs smoothly. However, a negative aspect of BigCommerce that impacts the ease of use is that the platform uses tech jargon that non-tech-savvy individuals may not understand. Moreover, tech terminology is used for something as fundamental as adding a product to the store. Also, the design interface can be quite confusing and at times difficult to navigate because it is split between an area where products are added and another area where the editing of the store is done.

screenshot of User Docs page in BigCommerce Help Center

The crown for more user-friendly CMS goes to BigCommerce. It has a simple setup process with clear and detailed instructions. Also, the customization process does not require users to have any technical knowledge as all relevant functions are included on the dashboard.

Extensions, Plugins, Add-Ons

Add-ons are an integral part of any CMS, as they create more room for users to build the store according to their personal preferences and ideas. So, let’s see how the platforms do in this category.

Magento has over 4000 extensions, both free and paid, and installing them does not require extensive coding experience. The following are a handful of the most popular Magento extensions:

  • Amasty Multiple Coupons can be used to add custom discount coupons to orders, and multiple discounts can be applied to a single transaction, making customers feel appreciated and encouraging them to buy again.
  • When a new product is available, Product Pre-Order sends automatic emails to customers to gauge interest in your current offering.
  • Remarkety allows you to link your store to email marketing campaigns and social media.
  • By adding advertising banners with personalized URLs to your store, Banner Slider improves revenue.

screenshot of Extensions for Adobe Commerce page

There are almost 1,000 official extensions available on the BigCommerce market, both paid and free. They can be downloaded straight from your store’s admin page, so there’s no need to worry about installation. BigCommerce has a variety of extension categories such as Marketing, Analytic & Reporting, Payment & Security, and Accounting, among others.

Additionally, BigCommerce offers the MailChimp app extension for free. One of the highlights of this extension is the automatic product recommendations based on customers’ previous purchases, which is an excellent feature to have.

screenshot of BigCommerce ecommerce apps

So, it is clear that both platforms offer freat add-ons. However, the winner of this category is Magento because it provides a larger quantity of extensions of higher quality than BigCommerce.

Who’s The Better Seo Integrator?

In the ever-changing world of technology, your website should undoubtedly rank in the top ten results in the majority of search engines. As a result, SEO is one of the most crucial elements to consider when selecting a platform for your company. Let’s see if one of today’s platforms can do this better than the other.

Magento excels in SEO and provides a plethora of SEO tips to assist users in getting started with the SEO integration. Users can update picture alt tags on the image search platform, which helps search engines categorize images. Magento also customizes URLs in order to make websites more discoverable. And, if that wasn’t enough, all of the above features are built-in.

Magento further helps with SEO integration through some of the apps it offers, like the SEO Toolkit app and the Advanced SEO Suite, which have incredible features.

screenshot of SEO and Search page in Adobe Commerce User Guide

BigCommerce also allows its users to edit titles and meta descriptions, edit alt tags of images, and customize URLs. However, BigCommerce surpasses Magento in this category because it offers more built-in SEO integration features, such as generation of new URLs when a product’s name is changed, CDN or Content Delivery Network, unique URLs, etc.

Also, it offers apps like Shogun page builder and FavSEO that further enhance SEO integration.

screenshot of BigCommerce SEO page

So, although both platforms have excellent SEO integration tools, I will crown BigCommerce as the winner because it offers a broader range of built-in SEO features compared to Magento.

Aesthetics – Themes, Templates, Designs

A CMS is not a CMS if it doesn’t offer an acceptable range of both free and paid themes and templates. One of the crucial elements of any successful online store is how it looks, so it is of great importance that the CMS you pick has a broad theme selection.

Magento has 11 fully mobile responsive themes and many pre-made and custom themes. While the pre-made themes do not demand any coding changes, custom themes require developer-level technical abilities. The following are some of the features that Magento provides in the theme area that are worth mentioning:

  • It enables you to add animations to your store to make it more engaging (as long as you have a stable technical base)
  • It allows for more customization possibilities (as long as you have a firm technical foundation)
  • Include a featured product slide on your homepage
  • Cross-selling blocks‘ are placed on your product pages
  • You can have subscription options in the footer of your website

screenshot of Themes for Adobe Commerce page

When it comes to BigCommerce, it offers its users 12 free and over 100 paid themes, which are all mobile responsive. The templates are also flexible, with industry-specific functionality and the option to change themes at any time. All available themes are easy to customize using BigCommerce’s front-end development framework, Stencil. BigCommerce does not require its users to have any technical knowledge or expertise for anything theme-related, including customization.

screenshot of themes for BigCommerce

When it comes to themes and templates, BigCommerce offers a wide range of themes to choose from, while Magento provides immense flexibility to design. However, Magento’s flexibility can be fully utilized only if the users have technical expertise. That’s why I will declare BigCommerce the winner of this category, as it allows users to seamlessly manipulate the aesthetics of their stores with no need for expert knowledge.

Category Overview

Ease Of UseDifficult for beginners, technological expertise neededVery easy to use, no need for technical knowledge or expertise
Design flexibilityHas excellent design flexibility that requires expert knowledgeLower-level design flexibility but no expert knowledge needed
Sales FeaturesOffers high-level sales featuresOffers more extensive sales features
Website FeaturesOffers a wide range of featuresProvides a wide range of features
Customer SupportAdvanced level of expertiseProvides multiple support channels
SecuritySecurity features have to be purchasedOffers more built-in security features

Where BigCommerce And Magento Differ

Best forEntreprise-size businessesSmall and medium-sized businesses
DropshippingBuilt-in featureDropshipping integrations including Ali-Express Dropshipping, Inventory Source, Modalyst, Printful, and Sprocket
  • Security Scan
  • Security extensions
  • Compliant with PCI in the Commerce edition only
  • Server-specific firewalls
  • File integrity scanners
  • Software for detecting intrusion
  • Non-stop human monitoring
  • Protection against fraudulent transactions
Supported currencies200100+
InventoryUnlimited number of productsUnlimited number of products

Additional Features

Instant CheckoutAbandoned Cart Saver
Advanced site-management abilitiesIntegration with a variety of payment methods, including PayPal and others. There are no additional transaction fees.
Payment gateways like PayPal and Braintree are available and has integrations with over 300 moreAn easy-to-use page builder with a drag-and-drop interface
Includes 100 predefined reports, nine reporting dashboards, and the ability for users to create and edit their own reportsUsers have complete control over how many digital or physical things they sell. Users can also choose from a variety of shipping options and product categories
Numerous ways to engage and support your customers like guest or login checkout, email marketing campaigns, coupons, promotions, and othersConvenient for blogging
Global SellingProfessional reporting tools

And The Crown Goes To – BigCommerce!

There is a reason why these platforms are one of the most popular today. As we’ve seen from the information provided above, both platforms excel in all of the categories I reviewed. And while there are some similarities to these platforms, they are essentially quite different.

Magento is better suited for tech-savvy individuals who do not mind spending extra time and money to customize their store. Also, large-scale organizations can benefit more from using Magento. Additionally, Magento hosting enhances the Magento experience and allows users to pick the provider they want as their host.

BigCommerce is better suited for beginners or individuals who do not have any technical expertise and own a fast-growing business.

However, although our two competitors of today are pretty different, I believe that BigCommerce deserves to be crowned the winner. It is less expensive, has more built-in features, and is incredibly beginner-friendly.

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