Shopify vs. Magento vs. BigCommerce – Top 3 Ecommerce Platforms Compared
So, you are looking to start up your own online store? That means that you are going to need an ecommerce platform from which to sell your products.
I’m sure that you have figured this out for yourself by now, but the market is absolutely saturated with options and figuring out which of the many platforms will best suit your particular needs can be an arduous task indeed.
If you have been doing your homework then you have no doubt stumbled across the three platforms that we are comparing for you today. As three of the biggest names in ecommerce out there right now (honourable mentions also go to BigCartel, Volusion and 3dCart) these big dogs are ideally placed to offer a range of solutions to your online shop keeping needs.
Magento is free at the point of entry. You can download the open source community edition, complete with community forum access, mobile optimised themes, an app store and unlimited product selling – without spending a penny. Although you will need to establish your own domain name and purchase your own hosting service and you will need to request a quote to upgrade to the enterprise edition.
Shopify and BigCommerce both offer tiered pricing schemes that range from $24.95 per month, right up to $299.95 per month. Each tier offers incremental increases in the number of items you can sell and the amount of storage and bandwidth you have.
Shopify offers discounts if you pay annually or biannually upfront and a 30 day free trial, as well as Google Adwords and Amazon Ad credit included. BigCommerce charges no transaction fees across its plans (only Shopify’s highest tier offers this) and offers include Adwords and a 15 day trial.
In our opinion Shopify offers slightly more bang for your buck over BigCommerce, but if you are not looking to start spending money straight away then Magento is well worth a look.
Magento’s theme marketplace offers around 120 themes. Whilst some of these are free to use, you should expect to pay around $50-150 for a decent one. Also the open source nature of Magento’s community edition means that we cannot guarantee the quality of the themes. Advanced users can counteract this somewhat by editing the files through the FTP client.
Shopify has around 116 themes that come with the paid packages. There is no need to mess with the code as they are all sleek and powerful (although many do look very similar). FTP accounts are not provided, but the source code is available to anyone who requires it.
BigCommerce’s themes are a little thinner on the ground and the quality is somewhat lacking compared to Shopify. It does offer a FTP account but overall the options for adding and editing themes are not as complete or as robust as those offered by Shopify.
Features at the Frontend
Magento has many of the features of its more premium competitors. You get a customer dashboard, discount codes, a sleek checkout and gift vouchers. You can also have related products, up and cross sells, wishlists, discounts for quantities and saved shopping carts. Product reviews, reorders and image options are also included.
Shopify’s storefront is optimised for mobile devices and has social media integration. You also get a website and blog along with many other basic features such as vouchers. Shopify’s frontend is more about letting you add apps to incorporate the
features that you need, whereas BigCommerce has most of its stuff built-in. It’ll be up to you which are more desirable, however we feel that BigCommerce pips it slightly by offering more out of the gate.
And at the Back
Although its product pages are a little more complicated than Shopify’s and its backend a little more initially confusing – Magento offers a bunch of features such as reports and analytics accessible right from the dashboard.
Shopify has options for both beginners and more advanced users and keeps the variables and options to an absolute minimum. It still provides everything that you need and the option is there to open up the advanced setting for when you are feeling more confident with the system.
BigCommerce’s backend ids too close to call with Shopify’s, but it does offer a comprehensive tour for those who are unfamiliar with the system.
So there you have our quick comparison of these three big boys of ecommerce platforms. We hope you find them useful and wish you all of the success in your foray into the world of online store management.
Please let us know of your experiences with any of these platforms, or maybe you use one of the others and would like to tell us about how things are going? Either way head to the comments and let us know.