BigCommerce and Magento 2 are behemoths of the ecommerce industry. Both offer everything you need to start an online store, so choosing one over the other can be challenging.
When you compare the popularity of BigCommerce vs. Magento 2, Magento has the upper hand. Data from BuiltWith reveals that there are three times as many Magento stores on the internet as there are BigCommerce stores.
But choosing an ecommerce platform shouldn’t be based on popularity. It should be based on facts.
To help you decide, we’re comparing BigCommerce vs. Magento and highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each platform. We’ll tell you exactly what each one’s good for so you can choose the one that ticks all the right boxes for you.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Pricing and Subscription
- Hosting and Maintenance
- Ease of Use
- Ecommerce Functionality
- Storefront Design Capabilities
- Customization Options
- Marketing and SEO Tools
- Performance and Security
- Default Integrations
- Platform Scalability
- Help and Support
- BigCommerce vs. Magento — The Final Verdict
Note: Although Magento and BigCommerce offer enterprise solutions with advanced features, we’re only comparing the open source version of Magento with BigCommerce’s non-enterprise plans.
Pricing and Subscription
Magento is an open source platform that’s free to download and use. Your only expense with Magento Open Source is the costs of hosting it. Magento hosting can cost anywhere from $20/month for a DIY server to more than $2,000/month for a managed, enterprise-grade server.
BigCommerce is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform with three sales-based pricing plans. BigCommerce’s plan pricing starts from $29.95 and goes up to $299.95 per month.
BigCommerce supports multiple payment gateways and doesn’t charge you any transaction fees. However, it determines plan eligibility based on online sales in the past 12 months which can increase the cost of ownership.
If you operate a low-traffic ecommerce store but sell a high-ticket item, you’ll be forced into a more expensive plan even if you don’t need the additional features it offers.
Similarly, once you exceed $400k in online sales — the sales limit of its Pro plan — BigCommerce will charge you an additional $150 per month for every $200k in online sales. So if you reach $1 million in annual sales, you’ll pay $750 in subscription fees each month.
BigCommerce vs. Magento Pricing Verdict: Magento wins. Although BigCommerce’s pricing is transparent, Magento is free software and doesn’t make you pay more when you sell more.
Hosting and Maintenance
The downside of Magento’s open source license is that you’re responsible for hosting and maintaining the software. If you know your way around a server, that won’t be a problem for you.
Adobe’s comprehensive knowledge base will simplify your task. But if you don’t have any technical skills, you’ll need to hire a Magento developer or sign up for a managed hosting service.
As a SaaS ecommerce platform, BigCommerce handles hosting and maintenance for you. You won’t need to worry about platform upgrades or server optimization. BigCommerce’s team of experts will handle everything for you.
BigCommerce vs. Magento Hosting Verdict: BigCommerce wins. It eliminates the hassles of hosting and maintaining software so you can launch quickly without hampering productivity.
Ease of Use
Magento’s backend admin panel is extremely intuitive. You’ll have no issues navigating everyday tasks like managing orders and inventory. However, if you need to install a Magento theme or add Magento extensions, you’ll need to use the Magento command-line interface (CLI).
In contrast, BigCommerce requires no technical knowledge. You can manage your online store operations and add and remove themes and extensions using a web browser. Thus, you can spend more time running your online store and less worrying about routine tasks.
That said, BigCommerce still has a learning curve. You’ll need time to figure out how it works, but you can expect it to be significantly easier than finding your way around a CLI.
BigCommerce vs. Magento Usability Verdict: BigCommerce wins by a small margin. Magento’s admin panel is more intuitive, but you need to know your way around the CLI to manage themes and extensions.
According to a 2022 report by GRIN, 54.35% of retail consumers in the U.S. like to buy non-essential items online instead of in-store. That’s because online shopping is convenient.
Magento’s ecommerce features are some of the best on the market. It provides a product management system that can support an unlimited number of products, multiple product types, a robust order management system, and user-friendly customer management features.
BigCommerce offers all essential features with one key difference — it limits access based on your subscription plan. For example, only the Pro plan provides access to product filtering and multi-storefront features.
In contrast, Magento doesn’t restrict access to features. You get access to everything from day one.
BigCommerce vs. Magento Features Verdict: Magento wins. It offers more ecommerce features like product filtering, multistore support, and persistent shopping carts at no extra cost.
Storefront Design Capabilities
Magento provides a free, mobile-friendly theme called Luma and allows you to customize your store content with its free page builder. Although the Magento Marketplace offers a limited selection of themes, you can find hundreds of third-party themes on sites like Themeforest.
Moreover, you can customize your Magento store appearance from scratch using popular frontend technologies without any limits. Magento also provides a collection of developer tools to build Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) on top of your store.
That’s important because a 2022 report by The Software House found that 42.6% of developers believe PWAs will become more popular by 2024. With Magento, you have all the tools you need to stay a step ahead of your competition.
BigCommerce offers a large marketplace with both paid and free themes. That makes it more convenient for those who want to use an off-the-shelf theme that can be customized easily.
Like Magento, BigCommerce’s website builder tool is intuitive as well. However, If you need a custom theme, you’ll need to hire a development team with experience using BigCommerce’s custom templating framework — Stencil.
BigCommerce vs. Magento Design Verdict: Magento wins by a small margin. Although BigCommerce is just as customizable as Magento, you can only customize it using its proprietary theme engine.
Magento was developed to be customizable from day one. Modularity is a fundamental architectural principle that’s driven the development of Magento. Thus, all its features exist as self-contained modules.
Magento’s modular architecture lets you add and extend its core functionality by creating custom modules and adding third-party extensions. You can build customized shopping experiences without limits.
BigCommerce allows you to customize the design and functionality of your online store within the limits of its platform. As a SaaS software, you don’t have access to its codebase, but you can extend its features using third-party apps from its marketplace.
BigCommerce vs. Magento Customizability Verdict: Magento wins. Although customizable, BigCommerce limits core customization. Magento lets you do it without any limits.
Marketing and SEO Tools
Magento offers several default SEO features, such as a product template with structured data markup and built-in features like sitemap and robots.txt. More importantly, what it lacks, Magento lets you add using extensions.
Magento gives you access to cart and catalog price rules to create complex promotions and discounts. You can create customer groups and offer custom pricing and discounts to improve conversion rates.
BigCommerce offers all essential marketing features like Magento. Although it supports fewer integrations with email marketing tools than Magento, BigCommerce’s marketplace offers apps to integrate with popular tools like Mailchimp, Klaviyo, and Omnisend.
And unlike Magento, BigCommerce limits its custom pricing feature to BigCommerce Enterprise accounts only. So if you want to sell B2B or offer custom pricing, you’ll need to upgrade your subscription.
BigCommerce vs. Magento Marketing Tools Verdict: Magento wins. Although Magento and BigCommerce SEO features are similar, Magento wins due to its versatile price rules.
Performance and Security
As a self-hosted solution, Magento puts you in charge of your store performance and security. So unless you’re an experienced ecommerce veteran, you’ll find yourself struggling to get the best out of your Magento store.
As recently as Feb 2022, Adobe identified and fixed two zero-day vulnerabilities in Magento that affected thousands of Magento stores running versions 2.3.4 and above. So if you aren’t up to speed with your Magento store security, you risk being hacked.
BigCommerce simplifies store performance and security by managing it for you. Your online store is hosted on highly secure and PCI-compliant servers, and BigCommerce automatically deploys security patches and performance updates to your servers.
It’s worth mentioning that BigCommerce suffers from vulnerabilities and performance issues occasionally. However, its proactive security minimizes the likelihood of a breach compared to a self-hosted Magento store.
BigCommerce vs. Magento Performance Verdict: BigCommerce wins. Although both platforms are inherently secure, BigCommerce eliminates performance and security management for online store owners.
Magento 2 has API support built into its core. As a result, it can support powerful integrations with virtually any software. BigCommerce also offers a suite of APIs that allow you to integrate with different technologies to run your online store.
But when you consider the default integration capabilities offered by both platforms, BigCommerce wins. Besides the traditional online storefront, BigCommerce offers integrations with Amazon, eBay, Facebook, and Walmart.
Although you can integrate Magento with alternate sales channels using extensions, BigCommerce does it natively.
That is important because online customer touchpoints exist beyond your store. Data collected by Statista reveals that 55% of social media users in the U.S. between 18 and 24 made at least one purchase through a social channel in 2021.
BigCommerce vs. Magento Integrations Verdict: BigCommerce wins. It supports omnichannel shopping natively.
The convenience of online shopping is pushing retail ecommerce sales to new highs every year. Statista predicts that online retail shoppers in the U.S. will spend more than $1.3 trillion by 2025 compared to the $767 billion spent in 2021.
As your online business grows, so will your ecommerce needs. If your ecommerce platform isn’t scalable, it will impact your business growth. Magento’s powerful product catalog and inventory management systems can support millions of product listings.
More importantly, with control over the hosting environment, you can leverage Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), custom caching, and enterprise-grade hosting to meet customer demands.
BigCommerce offers a scalable platform with a global CDN network that can handle large amounts of traffic. However, BigCommerce’s status page shows that it suffers from availability issues from time to time.
Although achieving 100% uptime is virtually impossible, SaaS solutions limit your ability to diagnose and fix issues. With Magento, you can implement fallback mechanisms to deal with sudden spikes in traffic and downtimes.
BigCommerce vs. Magento Scalability Verdict: Magento wins. Both BigCommerce and Magento are scalable, but Magento gives you more control.
Help and Support
Online businesses using Magento’s open source version don’t receive any technical support from Adobe. Technical assistance is only available for Magento’s premium version — Magento Commerce — also known as Adobe Commerce.
Although Magento’s global community of developers and business owners and detailed documentation are great resources for help, it doesn’t provide the same convenience as on-demand customer support. Your only option for real-time support is hiring a Magento agency.
BigCommerce offers complimentary 24/7 tech support over multiple channels, including chat, phone, & ticket. You can jump on its tech support chat or create a ticket for instant access to its in-house experts.
BigCommerce vs. Magento Support Verdict: BigCommerce wins. Magento’s community forums and helpful documentation are no match for BigCommerce’s dedicated support team.
BigCommerce vs. Magento — The Final Verdict
With a final tally of 5-6, Magento wins the BigCommerce vs. Magento matchup. Magento offers more customizability, scalability, and control over the customer experience.
That isn’t to say that BigCommerce isn’t a great ecommerce platform. What BigCommerce lacks in control and flexibility, it makes up for with ease of use. If you’re willing to trade the ability to customize core functionality for a code-free experience, BigCommerce will be perfect for you.
However, if you want unrestricted control and unmatched scale, Magento’s outstanding features and open source codebase won’t fail you.
And if you’re worried about dealing with the technicalities of managing a Magento server, sign up for fully managed Magento hosting with Nexcess. You’ll get access to fully managed servers, nightly backups, and 24/7/365 support — a SaaS-like user experience without the trade-offs.
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