BigCommerce vs Magento is a matchup between two gladiators of ecommerce. Deciding which is the mightier platform is tricky, but we’ve done our research, comparing the two in all the key areas for selling online.
Before the two platforms step into the colosseum and unsheathe their swords, let’s highlight some user numbers to find out which one is the people’s champion.
BigCommerce has helped almost 100,000 people start selling online, offering the most built-in features of any ecommerce platform.
It also boasts some big name clients, including Toyota, Kodak, and Ben & Jerry’s. As you can see, it’s for big businesses looking to grow fast.
Magento currently powers 250,000 online stores, so it’s clearly a popular choice. However, it’s an open-source platform, meaning anyone can use it for free, but only if you have ample coding knowledge. As you can imagine, it’s not for everyone.
You should know that Magento 1 has been phased out in June 2020. This affects 115,000 online stores – if you’re still using Magento 1 then it affects you, too!
What does this mean? Well, Magento is no longer be supporting version 1 – that means no more product updates, security patches, or support. In short, it’s bad news for your business.
What can you do? All website owners still using Magento 1 must migrate their store to Magento 2 or move to another ecommerce platform, like BigCommerce.
Is switching worth it? Moving from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is quite an upheaval – in fact, it’s a full replatform. You need to make sure the transition is worth it for your business. If you decide it’s not, you can switch to a different platform instead.
What are the alternatives? You can switch to a different ecommerce platform! BigCommerce is offering four months free to anyone moving from Magento to BigCommerce, which is an appealing incentive!
This article will compare Magento 2 against BigCommerce, as Magento 1 is being phased out.
This article will uncover the strengths and weaknesses of each platform, covering everything from ease of use to marketing capabilities.
We carried out some thorough research on each builder, and asked people just like you to test them too. This way, you’ll have a good idea of which ecommerce warrior to bet your last gold coin on.
Let the battle commence…
BigCommerce Pros and Cons:
|BigCommerce Pros||BigCommerce Cons|
Magento Pros and Cons:
|Magento Pros||Magento Cons|
Magento vs Shopify – How do the two ecommerce giants compare?
Top 5 Online Store Builders – An at a glance comparison of the best ways to start selling online
7 Best Ecommerce Platforms – A deep dive into the best ecommerce platforms on the market today
BigCommerce is an ecommerce platform, and it comes as an all-in-one package. You pay one monthly fee, and then get to build your site using a BigCommerce ‘theme’, which acts like a customizable template. It’s not the cheapest platform of its kind, but it’s designed to help you scale your brand, with plans to support you to several hundreds of thousands in revenue. You don’t need any tech skills to build a site with BigCommerce.
Magento is an open-source ecommerce software, and its open-source edition is totally free. That said, there are costs you’ll need to arrange separately – like hosting, security measures and SEO apps. It’s also a powerful platform, and offers total flexibility – the snag is you’ll need to know how to code to personalize your site beyond its theme, so the average person will struggle to use it to its full potential.
This makes Magento best for large, enterprise-level businesses with development teams, or a large budget to hire someone to design their site.
You Should Use BigCommerce If….
- You value easy setup, with all the tools you need already at your disposal
- You’re happy to pay slightly more for the convenience of an all-in-one package, and a dedicated help and support team
You Should Use Magento If…
- You have some experience in coding or building websites
- You’re happy to take on a larger project when it comes to your website
There are so many things to consider when running a business. You want to spend time focussing on your customers, products, and brand – not on building, customizing and editing a website. So just how easy is it to use BigCommerce and Magento?
In our ‘ease of use’ testing, BigCommerce performed just about OK, scoring 3.3 stars out of 5. You don’t need tech skills to build with BigCommerce, but you will need some time and patience to learn your way around.
The editing interface is split between two areas: the storefront (what your customers see) and inventory (the backend). It also uses complex terminology like SKU levels and CSV files, so it’s definitely aimed at more techy users.
However, it does offer keyboard shortcuts, like typing ‘AP’ to start adding products. It has also recently introduced ‘Store Design’, which lets you track the effects of your edits as you go.
One of our tested users said about BigCommerce:
It was tricky, but the platform was a much more powerful system, so challenges are more likely.
Magento is similar to BigCommerce, in that it uses complicated terminology on each page. However, it is more difficult to use overall, because you also need to know code. With BigCommerce, everything can be done with a few clicks, without any coding.
Magento scored poorly in our ease of use testing, coming out with a disappointing 2.5 stars out of 5. If you’re a confident coder and have plenty of time to set up your store, you shouldn’t struggle too much, but we certainly don’t recommend Magento for absolute beginners.
This is because Magento comes with an advanced setup process that’s pretty complicated. Aside from the technical jargon, Magento can be a challenge to install, as a lot of hosting providers don’t provide automatic installation. If you choose Magento, be prepared for a longer setup process!
This means you’re more likely to run into trouble on Magento, simply because there is so much more you need to do. What’s more, if you do find yourself in trouble, there’s no 24/7 phone support to get you unstuck (but we’ll get into this later).
You’re more likely to run into trouble on Magento, simply because there is so much more you need to do. What’s more, if you do find yourself in trouble, there’s no dedicated support on the free version to get you unstuck (but we’ll get into this later).
BigCommerce vs Magento – Ease of use: The Verdict
BigCommerce is easier to use than Magento, primarily because it doesn’t require hosting integration. Also, unlike Magento, you don’t need to know any code to customize your website – all the tools you need can be found in the dashboard.
BigCommerce has seven free themes to choose from, with 50+ paid options costing $145 to $235 each. The templates are flexible and mobile responsive, too, with industry-specific features and the ability to switch themes at any point.
The newly introduced ‘Store Design’ lets you customize your store right in front of you. Simply click an area, and update. It’s super simple.
Magento only provides 13 themes in total, both free and paid, although only 10 of those are for Magento 2 – so make sure you choose an updated theme! Out of those 10 themes, only one is free, with the rest costing between $40 and $500.
You can create your own theme from scratch, but this will require some serious coding – or a few hundred dollars to pay an expert! You can pay for a designer and/or developer to create a custom Magento theme for you – this costs around $5,000 on average.
However, if you’re a confident coder, your Magento theme really is what you make it. It’s much more flexible in terms of design, but of course, it will take much longer to construct than with BigCommerce.
When you browse Magento’s theme library, you’ll notice there are thousands of extensions listed too. This is because Magento’s platform relies largely on extensions to add features to your store.
We’ll talk more about these extensions later, but it’s worth noting now because, unlike BigCommerce, Magento doesn’t automatically incorporate the features you need into its themes.
BigCommerce vs Magento – Design: The verdict
Although Magento gives you more freedom in terms of customization, BigCommerce wins the design round because it offers more choice, and doesn’t rely on coding to create a unique storefront. BigCommerce’s templates benefit from tons of built-in features, whereas Magento relies on extensions, which can become pricey.
The time it takes to build a store goes hand in hand with ease of use. If it’s easier to work your way around the platform, it should be quicker to get online, right? With BigCommerce vs Magento, this is definitely the case.
With BigCommerce, everything you need to build a store is in one place. This means you can build an ecommerce website in just a few hours. It requires little tech knowledge because there’s no coding needed.
Transfer Your Magento Store to BigCommerce With Ease
BigCommerce makes it simple to migrate your store from Magento – it even has an app to make your life as easy as possible!
The app is called Catalog Transfer: Magento. It’s totally free and removes the hassle of moving your products, categories, options, and customers from Magento to BigCommerce by automating the process for you. This means you can get to selling faster, rather than wasting time ironing out technical difficulties or re-uploading products one by one.
BigCommerce’s in-house Catalog Transfer Team will walk you through the process and get you set up on your new platform, minus the headaches and frustrations of doing it all manually.
Creating a Magento store takes much longer. Not only do you need to create a store, but you’ll need to connect it to a host as well.
Overall, it’s more technically demanding, requiring coding and total customization – ideal for tech savvy perfectionists, but not for time restricted users with no coding experience.
BigCommerce vs Magento – Build time: The verdict
It’s quicker to build a site with BigCommerce than Magento. Magento is far more time consuming, given the fact you need to create your store and take care of hosting, whereas BigCommerce is essentially ready to go after a few edits. Magento gives you total control, which takes more time.
This is where BigCommerce really steps up. It has the most built-in features of any ecommerce platform, and it’s the only builder we tested that lets you sell physical, digital and service-based products.
You can also access over 600 apps. This is fewer than most other platforms, but only because BigCommerce has so much power already built-in.
In terms of BigCommerce’s selling features, some of the best include:
- Abandoned cart recovery – BigCommerce wins back 12% to 15% of customers with its recovery emails, which are sent when customers leave items in their cart without checking out
- Analytic tools and reporting – Manage your site’s performance, looking at campaigns, sessions, and overall sales
- SSL certificate – Every payment is made safe by encrypting the user’s data
Magento also prides itself on a generous range of features. You can sell physical and digital products, ship to multiple locations in one order, and pick from over 3,000 free and paid extensions.
Magento is heavily reliant on extensions for its features, although some key sales features come built-in. These include:
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Customer logins
- Staff accounts
- Gift card payments
Where Magento really excels is its inventory system, which includes bulk product imports, revenue reports, multiple product variants, stock management, and more.
That said, most features are either self-coded or paid extensions, so if you want built-in tools, then BigCommerce is a much better choice.
Adding extensions doesn’t have to break the bank – Magento has 1,970 free extensions, and 10% of its extensions cost less than $30. However, costs can quickly add up, and paid extensions can reach upward of $2,000!
Magento 1 extensions are being removed from July 7th 2020, so make sure you choose Magento 2 versions for your store! If you’re using M1 extensions, you’ll no longer receive quality fixes or security patches, which could risk the performance of these features on your site.
Some of the best things you can do with Magento’s apps and extensions include:
- Add custom coupon codes – Personalizing discounts encourages customers to repeat purchases
- Insert advertising banners – Adding targeted links to your website banner will increase conversions
- Integrate pre-order features – Automatically send customers an email before a product is released
Bigcommerce vs Magento – Sales features: The verdict
BigCommerce has better sales features than Magento. It has the most built-in features of any platform, giving you the most selling power. This is why it’s best for large businesses. While Magento lets you customize your store with 3,000+ extensions, these are all third party applications.
BigCommerce supports over 40 payment options, including big names like ApplePay, Stripe and Square. It also comes with no transaction fees on all price plans and pre-negotiated rates with PayPal, saving you even more money.
Not only that, it’s quick and easy to integrate each payment gateway, so you’ll get paid fast.
Magento makes it harder to earn money. How so? Unlike BigCommerce, you need to integrate apps for payment processors.
After doing so, you’ll have access to the major gateways like PayPal, AmazonPay, and Stripe. It’s worth noting there are 148 payment apps to choose from, which will take even more time to integrate.
However, it does provide other gateways which support other countries and languages – ideal for businesses with international ambitions.
Magento does have some payment options built into its platform, but they’re mostly large business solutions, such as Worldpay.
BigCommerce vs Magento – Payment options: The verdict
In terms of payment options, BigCommerce makes it quicker and easier to get paid, without including transaction fees on any price plans. Adding payment gateways can be done with just a couple of clicks from the dashboard, whereas adding payment processors on Magento requires selecting and integrating apps.
Search Engine Optimization is important because it gets your store found on Google. If customers can’t see your site, you won’t make any money – and your competitors will benefit.
BigCommerce scored full marks in our SEO testing, offering everything you need for a Google friendly store. But Magento has some great functions, too. On both platforms, you can:
- Edit page title and meta description – this tells Google what your store is about, and helps it categorize your website
- Add alt text to images – helps Google, and ultimately, customers, find your images more easily
- Customize URLS – making URLs topical and keyword rich will help bring paying eyes to your website
Where Magento falls short is with the cost of apps. If you want to make your site even more SEO friendly you’ll need to pay for third party integrations, which all come built-in with BigCommerce.
BigCommerce goes big in this category. It offers built-in selling on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, eBay, Amazon, and more. This really opens up your opportunities, and you can manage those sales with its data reporting tools.
As you may have guessed, Magento relies on its huge marketplace for multi-channel integrations. To sell across different channels, you’ll need to add some extensions. You can add all the major brands, including Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Facebook and more.
Heads up, though – you’ll need deep pockets to fund these multichannel integrations. The Facebook extension costs $199, whereas the Instagram integration can cost over $300 once you’ve added support and installation fees.
If you want to sell through Amazon, we recommend using Magento’s free Amazon Sales Channel extension instead of picking a paid version, which costs about $499.
The eBay extension costs a minimum of $499, and synchronizes product listings between your marketplace and your Magento store.
BigCommerce vs Magento – Marketing tools: The verdict
Although it comes with a price tag, Magento beats BigCommerce with its huge set of marketing tools. Magento’s marketing extensions offer powerful SEO and multi channel capabilities, and you can pick and choose the features you need for your business.
On all price plans, BigCommerce provides 24/7 phone and live chat support. This means you can get a quick fix, whatever the hour. Despite this, it only scored 3.2 out of 5 stars for help and support in our user testing. We found its knowledge base to be a particular letdown.
There’s more – if you opt for the Enterprise price plan, you’ll get priority support. This means your phone calls go to the top of the list, and you get a dedicated help consultant.
Magento scored full marks in our testing for its help and support!
You can contact Magento’s sales team via phone, or submit a tech support ticket, but Magento’s finest support offering is its forum.
You will find answers to everything you need from other Magento users, and there are some really handy tutorials. However, it doesn’t provide 24/7 support, so you’re essentially completely reliant on FAQs – which might not be enough to answer your question.
It’s worth noting that Magento’s open-source community edition, which is the free version of its platform, does not come with any professional support. Also, don’t be surprised to see extra support costs when you’re buying extensions – you’ll see the option to add support, which can cost up to $100 depending on the length of service you need.
BigCommerce vs Magento – Help and support: The verdict
Magento offers better support than BigCommerce, as long as you’re willing to put the time (and, sometimes, the money) into exploring all its support options. Its help center is extensive, and you’ll find FAQs, developer documentation, tech resources, and forums to help answer your questions.
BigCommerce has three main price plans:
- Standard – $29.95 per month
- Plus – $79.95 per month
- Pro – $249.95 per month
The Standard Plan is perfectly suited to smaller businesses which sell up to $50k per year. It comes with unlimited products to sell, a coupon generator, 24/7 support, and more.
The Plus plan includes abandoned shopping cart recovery features, and can store credit cards. Pro comes with added Google customer reviews and product search filtering, making it most suitable for bigger businesses selling up to $400k per year.
BigCommerce also offers an Enterprise plan which is for much bigger companies, and offers the most advanced tools. The price will depend on the quote you are given, and you’ll need to call BigCommerce directly to get one.
Still not convinced? Not to worry – you can test BigCommerce with a 15-day free trial, so you can try before you buy.
All in all, BigCommerce scored pretty well in our testing – it received 3.7 stars out of 5 for value for money, whereas Magento, which we’ll talk about next, only scored 3.5 stars for its pricing.
Magento can cost four times as much as BigCommerce
Yep, you read that right – BigCommerce states that sellers can reduce costs by a whopping 75% by migrating away from Magento. Now, we know what you’re thinking – of course BigCommerce would say that! But it actually checks out.
That’s because with BigCommerce you don’t need to pay for:
- Hosting costs
- Server maintenance or equipment
- Bug fixes
- Software upgrades
- Security patches
- Extra server capacity (to handle traffic fluctuations)
Of course, in reality the savings will usually be less than 75%, but there’s no denying that BigCommerce has the potential to work out much cheaper than Magento based on its monthly price.
It’s also estimated that you can go to market 50% faster on BigCommerce than with Magento, meaning you can start bringing money in much sooner!
When it comes to pricing, Magento is a mixed bag. It has two main versions of its platform – the free version, and the paid version.
Magento Opensource is the version most people mean when they say Magento. This is the free, open-source version that anyone can download. It’s meant for small businesses and developers, doesn’t have tons of built-in features, and doesn’t come with support. You also need to pay for hosting for this version.
Magento also has a paid version of its platform called Magento Commerce, which is a more advanced version designed for larger enterprises. You get cloud hosting included in the fee, plus premium features and support. It’s pretty expensive though, starting at $22,000 per year!
The free version is more appealing because, well, it’s free! But there are other costs involved, such as hosting. You’re likely to spend more money on adding extensions too, which can easily see your end total reach into the hundreds.
We recommend SiteGround’s Magento hosting plans, which start at $6.99 per month, because they’re specifically tailored for Magento. This makes your life easier – for example, all plans come with free Magento 2 installation.
There are three plans, ranging from $6.99 to $14.99 per month for new users. Renewal prices will be higher, up to $39.99 per month on the most expensive plan.
BigCommerce is easier to budget for, because it has set pricing plans. Magento is harder to predict because its cost depends on the hosting plan you choose, the extensions you find, whether you need a custom theme, or if you hire a developer to help you.
So, depending on the size of your Magento store, the prices can vary massively. It could be anything from $4 to $1k per month!
BigCommerce vs Magento – Pricing: The verdict
Overall, BigCommerce wins the pricing round over Magento. That said, BigCommerce and Magento both approach pricing very differently, so it’s hard to say which will work out more expensive. BigCommerce provides clearly laid out price plans with lots of built-in features, so it’s good value for money. However, Magento allows limitless customization, so it could potentially cost just few dollars a month (or more than a grand – it’s up to you!)
After looking at all the key areas for selling online, it’s now clear which platform is the better all-around choice.
While BigCommerce isn’t the easiest software in the world to use, it’s more simple than Magento. It doesn’t require any coding knowledge, and all the tools are in one place.
With its limitless customization, Magento gives you loads of design flexibility. However, it needs far more technical knowledge than BigCommerce, given the fact you need to code everything and connect to a host yourself.
Let’s quickly recap each round to see how we got here…
|Ease of Use||Simple after a while, but slightly confusing at first with its terminology.||Very difficult without coding knowledge, and requires host integration.||BigCommerce|
|Design||Offers 7 free and 50+ paid themes which are easy to customize.||Unlimited customization gives you complete creative freedom – but you need to know how to code, or hire someone to help.||BigCommerce|
|Build Time||All your building tools are in one place, so you can get online quickly.||Lots of freedom means much more time is spent building your store.||BigCommerce|
|Ecommerce Features||The most built-in features of any ecommerce platform.||Restrictive built-in features, but allows access to 3,000+ apps.||BigCommerce|
|Payment Options and Fees||Supports over 40 payment processors, with no transaction fees.||You need to choose from 148 payment gateway apps, costing time and money.||BigCommerce|
|Marketing Tools||Lets you customize meta descriptions, URLs, and more. You can also sell across multiple channels.||Provides some good built-in SEO functions, and you can add apps for multi-channel selling.||Magento|
|Help and Support||24/7 phone and live chat support, as well as email help and a forum.||Has a vast help center, along with a user generated forum, although there’s no 24/7 support.||Magento|
|Pricing||Three main pricing plans, costing from $29.95 to $249.95 per month.||Free to get started, but costs may add up with hosting, themes, apps etc.||BigCommerce|
BigCommerce is best for those who need to get a large, fast-growing business up and running online quickly, whereas Magento is for technically savvy business owners who don’t mind spending time (or money) customizing their store with code.
BigCommerce is fairly simple to use, and provides all the tools required to build an ecommerce empire. While it takes longer to build an ecommerce website with Magento, the platform does offer total creative freedom, which may appeal to perfectionists.
BigCommerce can be used by anyone to create a store, whereas Magento is unsuitable for beginners, being better suited for enterprise-level businesses.
Overall, we’re giving the thumbs up – and ceremonial wooden sword – to BigCommerce.
When it comes to building your online store, it’s the complete package. Everything you need for your store to flourish is right there in the dashboard, so with BigCommerce, you really can dream big.
It all comes down to your technical knowledge and prowess with the keyboard.
BigCommerce is a one-stop-shop – it has everything you need for building a successful store in one place, so it’s quick and easy.
Magento requires lots of coding, as well as integration to a host, and is better for large, enterprise-level businesses.
On a basic level – yes. Magento is initially free to use, but you’ll need to purchase hosting and third party apps, which can really rack up the costs. BigCommerce has three price plans ranging from $29.95 to $249.95, so it depends on just how big you want to be.
Our independent research found Shopify to be the best ecommerce platform. Shopify is quite simply the most comprehensive ecommerce platform on the market today, scoring an impressive 4.7 out of 5. See our side by side comparison of the best ecommerce platforms to find out which platforms were hot on their heels.
If you decide to go with Magento, you’ll need to arrange a hosting provider. And which is the best hosting provider, we hear you ask?
If you want a host that provides Magento installation (which we recommend), check out SiteGround, which scored 4.2 out of 5 stars overall and starts at $6.99 per month.
Check out our review of the top hosting providers for more info.