How does BigCommerce stack up against the Big Three of eCommerce?
A business is only as strong as its foundation and when it comes to eCommerce, the foundation on which to build your website can make major differences on how your business moves forward. Whether you’re launching a brand new eCommerce website from scratch or you’re overhauling an already-established one, choosing the right platform to power your website is an important decision to make.
At Diztinct, we prefer and specialize in the BigCommerce platform and many of our clients also find that the system best suits their respective business’ needs. But what if you’re on the fence about which platform to use for your site? You’ve done your research online and found out good things about BigCommerce, but you’ve probably also cross-shopped them against Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento. Understandably so. They are, after all, the three largest and most widely-used eCommerce providers on the Internet. So, if you’re having trouble trying to decide whether BigCommerce is right for you and your business, let’s compare against BigCommerce’s three main competitors.
BigCommerce VS Shopify
BigCommerce’s #1 competitor is Shopify. Both systems are software as a service (SaaS) and with that comes many shared advantages. Both BigCommerce and Shopify provide users with unlimited product inventories, unlimited disk space and bandwidth, Level 1 PCI compliance, automatic updates, SEO tools, 24/7 support, and both are optimized for mobile use. BigCommerce and Shopify also provide users with hosting, so that’s one more crucial aspect of running a website that’s taken care for you by the provider. Where BigCommerce and Shopify differ, however, is how they operate. The main point of contention with Shopify is that if you were to opt for their least-expensive subscription plan, Lite, your functionality is severely limited. Many core features which come standard on BigCommerce are missing until you step up to the next higher Shopify tier, Basic Shopify. BigCommerce also has the advantage of a broader availability of payment gateways; 65 pre-integrated gateways, plus one-click setup that will let you quickly accept all major credit cards and payment options such as Apple and Amazon Pay. There are also zero transaction fees when using BigCommerce versus Shopify, which only rescinds transaction fees when using Shopify Payments. In regards to setting up your store, Shopify makes it quick and easy with its automatic inventory categorizing but at the expense of limited (restricted) categorizing capabilities. For retailers with large, sprawling categories or complex inventory types, BigCommerce’s highly detailed product categorizing makes inventory management more efficient and accurate. BigCommerce is also the better choice for creating fully-custom websites as developers have greater access into the code.
- Unmatched brand recognition
- Wide selection of templates/themes, apps, and integrations
- Simple-to-use admin area and easy navigation
- Limited scalability
- Heavily-dependent on third-party apps for basic functions
- Payment gateways necessitate transaction fees, except Shopify Payments
BigCommerce VS WooCommerce
We’ve previously covered this topic in-depth in an earlier article but to summarize, WooCommerce is an open source, free-to-use plugin for WordPress websites. With an open source solution, there are no subscription fees involved and users are free to explore unlimited possibilities in code manipulation and customization. WooCommerce and WordPress allow far greater experimentation with custom web design and development than either BigCommerce or Shopify. WooCommerce also makes greater use of headless commerce; WooCommerce and WordPress are excellent content delivery systems, which takes full advantage of the selling opportunities that social media has to offer. WooCommerce is a favorite option for content creators, artists, and merchants who deal with non-physical, virtual or electronic goods. However, there are glaring negatives with using open source software. WooCommerce is extremely reliant–more so than Shopify–on third-party apps, plug-ins, themes, and integrations. While some can be had for free, most of the top-performing apps and add-ons will come at a premium and that aforementioned free-to-use part is no longer free-to-use; it can get exorbitantly expensive. WooCommerce, being open source, also does not provide their users with hosting, automatic updates, and security patches. These are all responsibilities of the end user. Also, with the absence of automatic security and how widespread WordPress websites are on the Internet (almost half of all websites), a WooCommerce store is more likely to be targeted by hackers and cyber criminals. It should be said that none of these make WooCommerce a bad system to use; quite the opposite, in fact, as WooCommerce stores hold the second largest slice of the US eCommerce market (after King-of-the-Hill Shopify). It’s just that the added responsibilities that go with running and maintaining a WooCommerce store are all items to be considered when BigCommerce takes care of these for you.
- Unlimited customization capabilities through open source software
- Zero initial startup cost (until the apps and plug-ins are incorporated)
- Top platform preference for headless commerce and content-driven merchants
- Can get VERY expensive
- Not appropriate for complex inventories and detailed product categorization needs
- Heavily increased end-user responsibility for security, software updates, hosting, etc.
BigCommerce VS Magento
Like WooCommerce, Magento is an open source eCommerce platform. In fact, it was one of the first major open source eCommerce platforms in the industry. Nearly 200,000 websites worldwide use Magento as their eCommerce service of choice. As the case is with open source software, Magento’s free-to-use open source model is attractive to budget-minded merchants or those who are new to eCommerce, as well as developers and designers who push the boundaries of custom web development and full customization flexibility. Unlike WooCommerce, Magento comes stock with a broad range of standard features such as multiple store management, multiple location support, international pricing/currencies, and language support. These features are highly sought after by merchants who deal internationally, especially large-scale merchants or those on an enterprise level. Being open source software also means that Magento has a strong, bustling community of users and independent developers; there is definitely no shortage of programmers who know the ins and outs of the Magento platform. Magento uses mobile-friendly responsive design and that’s important when half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Another positive Magento has over other open source solutions such as WooCommerce is that it’s inherently scalable; like BigCommerce, Magento can handle detailed product inventories and expansive cataloging. On the other hand, Magento also suffers from the same disadvantages of WooCommerce because it is open source. While Magento does boast a seemingly endless community of users, finding a true expert who is a master of all-things Magento can be a bit difficult. Magento is a complex system and its complexity is in direct relation to how modified a Magento-based website is. This can and will add extra maintenance costs. Magento is not a platform for beginners or programming novices. Magento is also known for having very slow loading times and slow loading times can be a surefire conversion killer (it’s also damaging to SEO which, in turn, will hurt your website’s visibility and hinder any potential for company growth). Speaking of SEO, Magento lacks in comparison to BigCommerce in the SEO department. BigCommerce comes standard with helpful built-in SEO tools whereas these features would have to be reintegrated into Magento VIA third-party app(s). When these apps are incorporated into a Magento website, its SEO capabilities can exceed BigCommerce’s own by a considerable margin–but not without an equally considerable cost (IE: pay to play).
- Expanded scalability and product cataloging versus other open source competitors
- Vast library of apps and add-ons
- Huge community of users and developers of various skill levels
- Necessary hosting and apps/add-ons make Magento astronomically expensive
- In-depth customization requires extended development downtime
- Difficult to find true Magento experts within its extended user community
Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento are among the most popular eCommerce platforms but when it pertains to your specific business’ requirements, they might not offer you the best value or the most well-rounded functionality. Ultimately, the decision is up to you, the eCommerce business owner, but we feel that BigCommerce is the jack-of-all-trades in regards to eCommerce platforms. BigCommerce takes the best of each of the three top platforms and combines them all into their own software package. We feel that BigCommerce offers the best value in features, security, user interface, and scalability. The BigCommerce business model is that it’s a platform designed to handle web stores of all sizes, from the small independent to the enterprise-level corporation, and any business of any size should not be quick to write them off just because they don’t have the brand recognition of the other, more famous platforms.
Why Consider BigCommerce?
- Optimized for mobile use
- Content RSS and purchase feeds
- 24/7 support
- Automatic software updates
- Hosting is included
- Level 1 PCI DSS compliant
- Multi-channel selling with Amazon, eBay, etc.
- Robust list of standard features including analytics, customer groups
- Built-in blog, SEO, and marketing tools
- Comprehensive product and inventory management
- Highly scalable and fully-customizable
- Open API
- Integration with industry-leading apps and business systems
- Easy integration with most major payment gateways and zero transaction fees
If this piece has helped you finalize your decision on whether to use BigCommerce or not, or if you’re still unsure as to which platform is best for you, reach out to us. In addition to our custom website design and development services, we also offer eCommerce consultation to help you make the best choices on how to move your Internet-based business forward. Diztinct has over 15 years’ worth of eCommerce web design and industry experience. Rest assured that when you contact us for assistance or to create your company’s new website, you’ll be working with dedicated eCommerce professionals. Get in touch with us today and get ready to make your website work for you.