What are we going to talk about?
- Prices, expenses – different constructions
- Appearance, design
- Installation and use
- Functions – where the competition is close
- Marketing opportunities
- Social media
- E-mail marketing
- Promotional features
- Support and community
- Summary – which is good for whom?
Magento CE is an open-source code system that is available and installable free of charge – in case of Magento, more significant expenses will emerge rather if you want to substantially tailor the ecommerce store to your own image, if you want new functions, new appearance, and so on. A package specifically tailored to large companies is also available, the Enterprise Edition, to which you can subscribe for an annual fee of $18,000. However, this is not the solution for the smaller online stores or for the beginner e-merchants.
There is no free version in case of Bigcommerce, therefore the system is at disadvantage in this field. Their smallest, Standard package costs 30 dollars per month, and their plan for large companies, which is also called Enterprise, contains individualized prices.
In case of Magento you do not have to pay for the transactions by default (naturally the online payment service you use can define a certain fee, this is, however, independent from Magento), while in case of Bigcommerce you cannot avoid that. In case of their starter package, the Standard, 2.9% + $0.30 while in case of the Enterprise version 2.2% + $0.30 is payable per purchase.
There is no major difference in the field of online payment options, both systems provide the opportunity to integrate several dozens of local and global payment options, therefore it is highly unlikely that you will have problems integrating these into your ecommerce store.
In both cases, you will have to separate a certain amount from the budget for the hosting service, and naturally, it is the business that will define how strong hosting you will need.
Bigcommerce offers plenty of free templates to make the ecommerce store more colourful, and they can typically be viewed and installed easily. You can find responsive themes among these that are optimized to smart devices, which is a great advantage in the field of search engine optimization and from the point of view of user experience. At the same time, it is worth being cautious, because not all appearances are basically like that.
Design in case of Magento is a more delicate issue. You can find free themes here as well, and the system of Magento is already mobile-friendly by default. At the same time, if you want to stand out from the crowd, you will need some kind of individual development.
Taking into account the fact that Magento is considered to be an especially complex system, individual developments are only worth having if they are done by professionals. This of course may use up some of the budget, however, experience shows that it is worth it, because you can gain a lot of functions and solutions thanks to it, to which you would not have access otherwise.
Obviously, you can find commercial edition templates for both systems, with which you may broaden functionality, however, a complete customization may require individual solutions that cannot be found among the downloadable themes.
Installation and use
Installation of the systems is not particularly complicated in either case. The online store of Magento can be installed and you can go live as a matter of fact within minutes, it is a fact though, that you may need significant fine-tuning after that in order to build an ecommerce store that operates in the desired way. Bigcommerce is somewhat at an advantage because there is a quick installation option (Quicklaunch) available, which quickly leads you through the process.
In the field of everyday use and simplicity, just like most ecommerce systems, Bigcommerce beats Magento as well.
User interface of Bigcommece is extremely simple and intuitive, even beginners do not experience difficulties finding the functions important to them.
Magento is an entirely different thing, its use requires greater competence. However, this is due to complexity, the great deal of various functions: Magento offers so many features and options that you will inevitably need some routine to be able to handle it. At the same time, you can find lots of training materials, tutorials online, which can help you understand the administrative interface.
In this field Magento totally beats the competition. This is because you can customize the system any way you please: you can set everything in a way so that you ensure the best user experience in the online store.
You can create as many products and product categories as you want, which would not really be special at all, but at the same time you can also freely modify the characteristics of the products: it does not matter at all what you are selling, you can define any kind of attributes, and with the help of the professional narrow-down search the users can quickly find the products perfect for them.
Magento also provides you the possibility of making and viewing reports of practically all activities and you can create exceptionally rich databases with its help: you can study the behaviour of the users, the purchasing habits, you can monitor which products or product groups perform better and so on.
Bigcommerce is not falling too far behind, it provides the most significant features for the webmasters among the systems which are not open-source. You have the possibility of filtered search here as well, the system provides you data for analytics on content, marketing, customers and products.
Management of the products in the system is quite simple, and it already rivals Magento, as it presents a great deal of features just like Magento. You can use individual settings for example when defining the price, you can combine products, create individual fields, and you can even attach videos, not only images, to individual products.
It is common in the two systems that the developers primarily thought of the ecommerce stores serving higher demand when they created them: they considered the online stores selling even several thousands of products, containing detailed product descriptions and are rich in attributes, having high traffic. Consequently, the most suitable choice for those who want to launch their first ecommerce store with only a few simple products, would be another system.
Magento is remarkably well search engine optimizable, among others you can enter meta information about the individual products, product categories, you can enter individual URLs, which will all facilitate that you reach higher rankings in the search engine results. You even have access to Google Content API and you can view the search expressions that your target audience uses. Naturally, Google sitemap is also accessible for the system. Its only disadvantage is that it generates several individual pages every single time when narrow-down search is used.
Bigcommerce does not fall behind in this field either, it does not lack sitemap and robots.txt, you can change the URLs and the pieces of meta information, and so on. The score between the two systems is practically tied in this field.
Magento does not really participate in the race in this field, you cannot find built-in features in the system. At the same time, with the help of extensions and individual developments you can remarkably strengthen social marketing.
Bigcommerce on the other hand already includes such features by default, you can sell through Facebook with the help of a program called SocialShop, you can even activate the share button. At the same time, there is no such direct link to other services like Twitter or Pinterest.
None of the two platforms offer too much by default in this field, however, Magento wins even with the limited features. This is because you can find an interface in the system where you can integrate your already existing newsletter service (like MailChimp) and you can also view the subscribers, you can manage them or send letters to them. On the other hand, in case of Bigcommerce you cannot send out letters even after the integration, but you can create opt-in forms, welcome e-mails and check-boxes.
Bigcommerce allows you to make various price discount offers, promotions with time limitation and you can integrate the price comparing websites as well, thus assisting the customers in finding the most suitable product. Magento offers more than that, it is amazingly rich in such features.
The users can prepare a wish list, you can set different prices for the individual user groups, you can create cross-sell and up-sell promotions (installation of additional extensions may be necessary for this in some cases), you can offer relevant products or products that are frequently bought together with the given product, or you can even offer them in packages, and so on. Therefore, the balance tips strongly in favour of Magento.
It is not the first time that we mention this: one of the biggest strengths of Magento is that every single tiny detail of it can be adjusted to your own special needs – since it is an open-source software application, you have several opportunities to do that. For example the enormous and enthusiastic developer community offers online hundreds of extensions and individual plugins, both free of charge and paid options are available.
However, you can also decide to apply solutions that are completely individual: in such a case it is worth working together with a professional Magento developer team, because you can get remarkably good results like that – at the same time that will require some portion of your development budget.
Bigcommerce can present an extremely diversified appstore as a counterbalance, where there is a good chance that you will find something that you need. However, since we are not talking about an open-source code system, your possibilities are obviously more limited as well.
Support and community
Should you have any problems, you can also ask your questions directly from the developers of Magento, the real strength here lies in the developer community. You can ask your questions on several different forums from several thousands of professionals with competence in Magento if you have problems or if you are just curious about something.
Obviously, there is no such community behind Bigcommerce, however, there is a 24-hour daily support on the phone, in e-mail or through chat included in the paid service.
Magento provides a great deal of training materials and tutorials, so you can find a lot of these on the internet, while Bigcommerce tries answering the most frequently asked questions and showing how to operate the system on its own blog page.
Magento is an already well-tried system that is specifically suitable for serving as the basis of ecommerce stores with higher traffic and larger supply. Many global brands use Magento as a basis for their online stores and all in all, it has shown a fair 25-30 percent market share for the last few years.
It is customizable up to a great extent and it has an extremely high number of features by default. Although, it may take time to find your way around them, you can still get a lot of help to succeed.
Bigcommerce is also a fair system, the use and the installation of which is simpler. It is falling behind in many fields concerning the number and diversity of the functions. At the same time, it is less complex and for that very reason it is much more recommended for those who have less expertise in the operation of ecommerce stores.
Price can also play a role in making the choice: while Magento CE is free of charge, occasionally you will have to spend on development, and Bigcommerce provides a stable system and support in exchange for the monthly fee, but at the same time individual development is not an option here.
Magento allows you bigger freedom and lets professionals do whatever they want, it charges a high price for that, while Bigcommerce is more of a “safe player”, thus it may be a good choice for those who are less of a free spirit.