We look at the pros and cons of each platform (BigCommerce and Magento) to see which is right for retailers who are dedicated to growing online sales.
BigCommerce v Magento
For years the go-to platform for online retail has been Magento. The cost was high, and so too were the IT and designer skill levels needed to build bespoke stores through an on-premise solution.
BigCommerce has laid down a challenge to this approach and has been identified as a “lead platform” for online retailers with a growth mindset by both Gartner and IDC for good reason.
It offers a new approach to building an online store. Instead of buying a platform that is installed and run in-house, the BigCommerce model is to provide everything in the cloud so the hassle is taken out of setting up and running a store with every feature a retailer might want available on a plug and play basis. Crucially cost is kept low and predictable through this approach.
Benefits of using BigCommerce
Cloud SaaS Model
BigCommerce is a cloud-based SaaS eCommerce platform that has 99.99% uptime without requiring merchants to constantly work on patches and downloads. All the technology that keeps the platform operational is handled for them and because it is cloud-based, an online store can scale at pace with no IT issues.
Maintenance and 24/7 support
The beauty of Big Commerce’s cloud platform is that all routine maintenance is done for retailers behind the scenes. Without having to lift a finger, the software running the online store is always up to date.
For those moments when a retailer might need a little help with an issue, there’s 24/7 support included in packages.
Fraud and security
The BigCommerce platform offers real-time fraud protection as standard and brings PCI compliance as standard. That is another major IT integration and additional service merchants do not need to worry about or pay extra for.
Predictable and known low cost
With no hosting, maintenance and updating bill added on top, Big Commerce works out at around a quarter of the price of using Magento, freeing up budget and resources for merchants to grow their business.
BigCommerce has many eCommerce partners’ applications available on the platform to allow retailers to add advanced merchant tools as simple as downloading an app on a smartphone. The platform offers unparalleled ease of use, empowering users to test new features and designs, as when live, to build a seamless customer journey that leads to a one-click checkout page with abandoned cart retargeting, and much more.
The infrastructure and navigation features of BigCommerce sites offer merchants an SEO boost. AMP support ensures pages load at speed to give its retailers an advantage on mobile devices, as well as desktop.
BigCommerce’s potential problems
The BigCommerce platform is provided on a SaaS model and so offers the flexibility nearly all retailers crave. It is highly scalable but at some point, a global retailer setting about a massive scaling up programme may find the platform limiting. For the vast majority of retailers, though, this will never be an issue.
Lack of customisation
BigCommerce is simple to use because it does not open up its core code for developers to play with. This is good news if you want to concentrate on selling merchandise, rather than writing code, but it can be a drawback for retail brands with skilled IT and design teams who want to get under the skin of a platform and customise a store to ensure it is completely bespoke.
The Magento proposition
For many years, Magento was virtually the only option available to any brand looking to set up and run an online store with all the features needed to look slick and professional. It most certainly has a first-mover advantage.
It is arguably the best-known eCommerce platform available to merchants today, although that is now starting to change as BigCommerce continues to innovate around a cloud-based, more convenient SaaS model which offers a more affordable, hassle-free and flexible route to market.
Benefits of using Magento
The name Magento
The one that will strike most retailers is it has been operating for several years and so has a strong brand name and market presence.
Scale and product bundles
The Magento platform supports huge product catalogues and is able to handle multiple variations for an individual unit.
Although setting up and maintaining a site on Magento requires in-house IT skills, there is technical support available, although this does not apply to its free version, Community Edition (CE).
The platform supports Minimum Advertised Price settings which can be useful for retailers who are working with a partner who requires products to never be sold below a prescribed level.
The platform allows IT execs and designers to get under the hood of the platform by sharing its code. This makes the platform hugely adaptable, for merchants with the necessary IT skills, offering multiple eCommerce attributes and filters to customise a site and integrate new features.
So long as a retailer has the in-house skills, Magento is well known for allowing a merchant to customise a site to its own design and with its own set of features.
Despite the familiarity of its brand name and its strong market presence, there are some very obvious drawbacks of using Magento. Setting up a Magento implementation takes a lot of internal IT resource and since the end of June 2020, Magento merchants have faced a difficult choice. If they stay on the first iteration of the platform they risk losing their PCI compliance.
However, moving to Magento 2 is more than just a system upgrade. It is a re-platforming to completely new architecture and databases for its customers. It represents the equivalent of starting up again for retailers and significant reinvestment in the platform.
Where’s the support for Magento 1?
Magento may be very well known but it is limited by being a fixed platform that requires constant updating and patching. The full extent of not being a cloud-based solution, that is constantly being kept up to date behind the scenes, came to the fore in June 2020 when support for Magento 1 was withdrawn. High and uncertain costs
Magento has high costs, particularly at the set-up stage, even for a basic and small store.
Not only are the costs high, though, they are also unpredictable. As the withdrawal of support for Magento 1 underlines, the cost of operating a store on the platform can suddenly rocket. Retailers have no idea when they might be expected to shut down one version and move to another, nor the cost of doing so. Merchants also do not know how much time and cost will be needed into maintaining a site by requiring their own IT staff to patch and update the platform.
Setting up a store is expensive and requires detailed IT knowledge. This only gets worse. The more a site is customised, the more complex it becomes to manage and maintain.
Magento does not offer PCI compliance as a standard and places the onus, and cost, of ensuring this is in place on the retailer.
The platform also does not offer an abandoned cart saving feature as standard.
BigCommerce vs Magento 2
As the checklist above shows there is not much that BigCommerce cannot do better than Magento 2 (its latest version). The only real advantage Magento has is in providing source code that allows a retailer to let loose its IT and design team to create a truly bespoke online store. The problem is, that takes a lot of budget and resources.
BigCommerce holds the aces when compared to Magento 2. It is more cost-effective and the total cost of ownership is predictable and known in advance. Despite the low price tag, it offers PCI compliance as standard as well as a host of other features, such as an abandoned cart saver.
Ultimately, retailers will find the hassle-free, ease-of-use offered by BigCommerce the most attractive feature. The platform offers sites that are quick to roll out and simple to update, allowing merchants to leave the complicated IT work to the BigCommerce team and concentrate on growing sales.
To find out about the real-world experience of Raja Workplace switching from Magento 2 to BigCommerce, click here. It not only found the system far more cost-effective and simpler to run, it also achieved a 61% increase in online transactions after go-live.
Greenlight Commerce is a BigCommerce Elite Partner. Get in touch to find out how we can help grow your business by moving from Magento or Magento 2 to BigCommerce.
Greenlight Commerce remote working
If you are concerned that any future Covid-19 restrictions could delay your eCommerce project, rest assured that we have been fully set up to work remotely for many years now. We can remotely consult, demo, scope, setup, onboard, host, train, support and continue to partner with you. All of our systems are cloud-based so our clients can check progress, reporting and even access ‘show and tell sessions’ during a build, at any time and from any device.