BigCommerce vs. Magento

Looking for ecommerce software? Here's how BigCommerce and Magento stack up.

Matthew Taylor
Daniel Adams

Matthew Taylor and Daniel Adams

Last updated 10o July 2020


BigCommerce

4.4  Stackupp rating


Pricing from

$ 29.95 / month

Free Plan?

Trial


Best for

Small to medium retailers looking for a hosted and easy-to-use platform at a reasonable price-point.

Magento

3.8  Stackupp rating


Pricing from

$ 2200.00 / month

Free Plan?

Yes


Best for

Magento “Open Source” requires development knowledge and is suitable for large enterprises. “Magento Commerce”, a fully-hosted version of Magento Open Source, available on a range of plans, catering retailers from mom-and-pop stores to global enterprises.

BigCommerce or Magento: Which is best?

Can't decide between BigCommerce and Magento?

Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of BigCommerce and Magento. See how each platform stacks up across ease of use, design, support and value for money.

Let the comparison begin. Don't worry, we'll guide you.

Is BigCommerce right for you?

BigCommerce is a popular ecommerce platform with a number of solutions for small and medium-sized retailers. Custom enterprise plans are also available.

BigCommerce appeals particularly to users with limited development skills because of its usability out-of-the-box. That said, those wishing to make more complex backend changes can do so.

Smaller retailers experiencing growth are also drawn to BigCommerce because of its scalability features. The BigCommerce feature-set has everything you would expect, including responsive website templates, shopping cart, and payment integrations, single-page checkout, analytics, and more.

Retailers looking for a fully-hosted solution at a reasonable price point will find BigCommerce appealing. Customer service ratings are consistently high, and BigCommerce customers can take advantage of an active, helpful community of fellow users.

Advantages

  • Easy-to-use from the get-go and fully hosted, which removes the hassle of maintaining servers.
  • A wide selection of features with regular updates and a diverse addon market (with many free options).
  • No transaction fees for use of popular payment gateways.

Drawbacks

  • Some features, like price lists, are only available on the more expensive plans.
  • Can be difficult to make extensive design and backend changes.
  • Themes and add-ons are often quite expensive.

Use if you are a small to medium-sized retailer with limited development skills (or budget) and expecting your store to grow.

Is Magento right for you?

Magento is an open-source ecommerce platform owned by Adobe which is offered in a range of formats. The best-known option is a completely free, open-source version called “Magento Open Source”. Retailers that want to use the platform while taking advantage of cloud hosting, customer support, and additional functionality, can opt for one of the paid options under the “Magento Commerce” banner.

Because of its extensive feature-set, scalability, high customizability, and popularity among developers, Magento is particularly suitable for retailers running larger stores. Medium-sized retailers that need a comprehensive and feature-rich solution will also be drawn to Magento.

For smaller retailers without any development experience, however, a more user-friendly and streamlined solution will probably be preferable.

Advantages

  • Open source version is free.
  • Powerful, feature-rich solution that scales easily.
  • Completely customizable.

Drawbacks

  • Paid plans are expensive.
  • Open-source version will be virtually impossible to use for retailers without in-house coding expertise.
  • Extensions are expensive.

If you’re a large retailer that needs a customizable, powerful solution through which you can manage multiple sites in different countries. Remember to take care of hosting, security, and troubleshooting yourself if you opt for the open source version.

Ease of Use

Our first comparison criteria, ease of use. Why? Because it’s the most important.

Think about it. You don’t want to invest a lot of your precious time setting up an online store and tweaking the design only to find out that it’s a pain in the butt to manage day to day.

We take a look at how simple the BigCommerce and Magento platforms are to run.

How easy is BigCommerce to use?

Rated 4/5 for Ease of Use

BigCommerce is very easy to use. After signing up, you’ll be guided through the process of setting up your store.

You can access essential features from the central BigCommerce dashboard, including product listings, customer information, analytics, app integrations, and more. Once your store is ready to go, day-to-day tasks of managing orders and content can be handled easily through the main interface. Adding new products and running reports are straightforward tasks.

One reason that BigCommerce doesn’t score a straight 10 out of 10 is because designing extra functionality beyond what’s offered directly can be tricky.

What BigCommerce customers are saying...

I've been on BigCommerce since 2010 and it's terrific. Support is great, and they're always improving the platform and coming out with new features. The app directory is robust but almost everything you need is already part of the main package.
We have been using Big Commerce for over 7 years now and love the functionality of it compared to other platforms. The online technical support is great too and we use this very often!
BigCommerce has been good to work with. The e-commerce store is easy to manage.

How easy is Magento to use?

Rated 3.5/5 for Ease of Use

While advanced development knowledge is required to run the open-source and paid enterprise version of Magento, the management dashboard itself is pretty intuitive. That said, Magento does have a very large feature-set, so there’s a learning curve for new users.

The small business version has a page-builder for ease-of-use and assistance is available for getting set up. Smaller retailers interested in Magento should try the free trial to see if it fits with their needs.

What Magento customers are saying...

"Powerful e-commerce platform - if you are willing to get your hands dirty.”
“It's a great and versatile eCommerce platform, which gives plenty of flexibility and has support for a vast amount of features and products.”
“I like the security features that Magento offers. It is one of the more secure options out there. The support community is very large so if you need help or have questions, you can usually find an answer quick.”

BigCommerce is our winner for ease of use

Design

Powerful features are great, but we all know first impressions count. So, do BigCommerce and Magento templates actually look any good? See for yourself. We outline each platforms design options, plus showcase a few real life examples.

How good are BigCommerce's themes?

Rated 4/5 for Design

BigCommerce offers a robust default design along with dozens of free and paid themes in the theme store. The themes on offer are well-optimized and cater to a range of ecommerce sectors and site preferences, including for both large and small catalogs.

Crucially, BigCommerce offers an intuitive storefront editor for managing your store’s frontend design, and you can tweak most aspects of the default theme. It’s possible to make limited CSS and HTML changes. Developers that want to build a theme from scratch can take advantage of the BigCommerce framework.

One drawback is paid themes can be quite pricey, running into several hundred dollars for the paid options. Nonetheless, you have a range of free themes to take advantage of.

BigCommerce Examples

  • Avery Dennison
    Avery Dennison
Item 1 of 3

How good are Magento's themes?

Rated 4.5/5 for Design

Magento is arguably the most customizable ecommerce platform on the market. But there’s a big caveat. To make design changes to the open-source and enterprise solutions, development skills are a must.

Magento only comes with one built-in storefront theme but a range of third-party templates are available. The downside is that these can be very expensive.

Small and medium retailers that want access to a user-friendly site-builder and library of free templates will likely prefer solutions like Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly and Wix.

If, as a small retailer, you’re drawn to Magento because of its wide array of features, “implementation plans” are available.

Magento Examples

  • Kurt Geiger
    Kurt Geiger
Item 1 of 3

Magento is our winner for design

How much do they cost?

Everyone’s favourite topic - pricing. Let's dive in to see if BigCommerce or Magento offers better value for money.

How much does BigCommerce cost?

Rated 4.5/5 for Pricing

BigCommerce has three pricing options: £$29.95/month, $79.95/month, and $249.95/month. There is also an enterprise edition that includes unlimited API calls, price lists, and ShipperHQ (a leading rules engine for working out shipping prices). You can save a little on the monthly fee by opting to pay annually. There are no up-front fees for getting started, and 24/7 support is included at all price-points. There is also a two-week free trial to sample the platform before jumping in.

Features are generally uniform over most of the paid plans, although the middle “Plus” plan includes some features you may need which aren’t included in the “Standard” plan, such as the “cart saver” for remembering abandoned carts. Paid templates usually average around $200.

How much does Magento cost?

Rated 3.5/5 for Pricing

It’s always difficult to fault a free solution. What’s more, Magento comes with an extensive feature-set that would cost a significant amount of money on a similar plan from another provider. Open-source features include support for multiple languages, promotional tools, content management, order and shipping processing, customer service, and more.

But there are a few important points to keep in mind. For larger enterprises, the cost of maintaining secure servers and the need for an in-house development team will be high. And extensions often cost hundreds of dollars. Pricing for fully-hosted Magento plans is not published. The enterprise-level options, however, are reported to cost tens of thousands of dollars every month. Small business plans are advertised as “affordable”.

BigCommerce is our winner for cost

Help and Support

If things go wrong (and they often do) you need to know someone’s there to help get you back on track. So, how does BigCommerce's and Magento's support measure up?

How good is BigCommerce support?

Rated 5/5 for Help and Support

BigCommerce routinely ranks as one of the best ecommerce platforms for customer support. Seek out any review site online and you will find glowing praise for the level of customer service.

24/7 live agent support is provided on all plans. API and priority support is offered for the enterprise plan.

How good is Magento support?

Rated 3.5/5 for Help and Support

Technical support is limited on all plans on Magento. Users that have subscribed to a paid plan can submit support tickets. Additional support options - such as the “implementation package” for small businesses and “Magento Services” for enterprises - can be purchased for an additional cost.

If you decide to run Magento Open Source, you will need in-house IT support or an outsourced solution with an agency.

BigCommerce is our winner for support

The Bottom Line

The final say. Let's wrap up our thoughts on each platform.

BigCommerce: Our Verdict

BigCommerce is an excellent choice for small and medium-sized retailers that need an easy-to-use platform that is ready to scale. Superb management functionality, covering product listings, orders, and reporting, combines with an intuitive and easy-to-use dashboard. This streamlines the process of carrying out routine day-to-day ecommerce tasks.

Users also get a lot of bang for their buck. All plans allow for unlimited products and unlimited customer entries in your CRM. Furthermore, BigCommerce retailers can take advantage of a library of templates and add-ons (for Facebook, MailChimp, Quickbooks, etc.). 24/7 customer service is provided on all plans. On the downside, themes can be expensive, often reaching several hundred dollars. Equally, if you are eager to make extensive design changes to your frontend, BigCommerce might not be for you. That said, the development framework is an option for advanced developers.

Oh, and there’s a 15-day trial. So you can dip your toes in the water before diving in.

Magento: Our Verdict

Magento has an exhaustive of features. Enterprise-level stores should definitely consider it as a solution. Medium-sized retailers will also find Magento to be an excellent choice that scales as their store grows. The virtually unlimited scope for customization is another big plus.

Retail companies that don’t want to take care of hosting in-house can also opt for one of Magento’s paid plans. Just keep in mind that development knowledge is a must and that the cost of extensions and additional support packages can quickly add up.

For smaller retailers, there is a plan that provides full access to Magento’s features at a lower price. A free trial is available and well worth checking out. Just remember that simpler entry-level solutions - which are easier to use for people without any coding skills or access to developers - may be more viable.

Overall, we found BigCommerce to be the better ecommerce platform.

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