In the ecommerce world, Magento has positioned itself very nicely as the go-to platform for large enterprise retailers.
However in the past few years both Shopify and Bigcommerce have put up challenges to the throne in the form of Shopify Plus and Bigcommerce Enterprise.
All 3 packages are designed for larger retailers who demanded larger product storage, increased bandwidth to meet traffic demands, more advanced features and dedicated account support.
However as both Shopify and Bigcommerce are cloud based platforms, there are still the sceptics who insist an on-premise solution like Magento is faster, more reliable and secure.
Is this still the case? Have the challengers done enough to knock Magento off its perch?
If you are reading this then your store must be doing well. So congrats for that!
Also, as this is a comparison guide, you must be doing some research at what else is on the market, and there’s nothing wrong with that!
Hopefully this article will clear up all the questions you had before. If not, leave them in the comments below and we’ll do our best to answer them.
It’s Shopify Plus vs Magento vs Bigcommerce Enterprise.
Website security is absolutely paramount when it comes to customer trust. It’s not rocket science, but someone giving you their bank account information wants to feel secure.
Both Shopify and BigCommerce are hosted in their own environment, which allows for prevention against coding instabilities.
They both have PCI Level 1 Compliance, which is essentially the same security as your bank. Additionally, there is SSL encryption across the whole of your website that not only protects against card fraud, but also protects all data, pages and other content.
The padlock and HTTPS you see is a vital visual for customers, who can then relax knowing their data is secure. Site encryption is also great for SEO, as Google rewards this.
HTTPS security not only builds trust with customers, but it is also rewarded in SEO value by Google
As Magento is not cloud based, you will have to ensure that the data is secure on your chosen hosting provider’s server. Not only will you be investing time in this, but it will also cost you financially. The burden of security will be on you then, so no pressure!
Score: Shopify – 9 Bigcommerce – 9 Magento – 5
2. APPS & ADD ONS
Another benefit of cloud based platforms is that apps and additional add ons essentially become ‘plug and play’.
Both Shopify and Bigcommerce have an extensive app-store. Shopify’s overall offering is better and they have 17 featured Enterprise apps, whereas BigCommerce only offer 3.
Shopify Plus and Bigcommerce Enterprise customers are both able to take advantage of discounts on the App Store. However Magento’s Enterprise extensions are more expensive than they are for people on the Community package.
Further to this if you wanted to implement one of Magento’s extensions you would have to consider costs for a developer to add it on top of this. There a plethora of Magento developers worldwide, but if you are using an agency you will also have to factor in the time it will take them to do this around other work.
You will have to factor in development time and costs for extensions, when you use an on-premise solution like Magento
As Magento is very developer heavy, there are a fantastic amount of themes available for your store. Template Monster alone has near 800, whereas Shopify offer 152 premium themes and Bigcommerce 67.
Bigcommerce has less apps and themes overall to Shopify’s store, but it is worth noting that they offer a few extra features off the bat compared to Shopify such as customer wish lists, product reviews and recommendations.
Lastly of note, Shopify Plus has server-side scripting available. This essentially means that your developers can write Ruby scripts directly to the server, very handy.
Score: Shopify – 9 Bigcommerce – 8 Magento – 6
Inevitably you will need support in the form of design, development, initial set up, marketing and photography.
A lot of independent agencies and the developers within them, are very familiar with Magento so there’s a whole host of support available if you are looking to hire a digital marketing agency.
Shopify’s ecosystem is gradually gaining tracking traction and these two platforms far outweigh Bigcommerce when it comes to expert developers. In terms of credibility Bigcommerce is less superior to Shopify and Magento, and this is reflected in the number of developers familiar with the platforms.
As for bug fixes and updates carried out within the platforms, both Shopify and Bigcommerce use internal programmers ensuring that everything is done automatic. Whereas if Magento released a new update, you would need a developer to carry this out, which again will cost you time and money.
These sorts of costs are sporadic so it’s hard to work out initially, but they will add up!
Another advantage of Shopify particularly over Magento is the ease at being able to make quick changes that would normally require a developer. Need to add a quick pixel code for Facebook tracking? No problem, you can do so through the admin panel.
Need to add a pixel code for Adwords or Facebook? SaaS platforms allow you to quickly do this through the admin panel
Shopify Plus’ new Scripts and Checkout API will also allow your developer to quickly access and add templates such as $ off, % off, tiered discounts and BOGOF to your store.
Score: Shopify – 9 Bigcommerce – 7 Magento – 6
Support can come in many forms when it comes to running an ecommerce site and all of these platform offer it in abundance.
Both Shopify and Bigcommerce offer 24/7 live chat, email and phone support. They also are veryproactive in suggesting apps for your site and are very knowledgable in their partner base.
On the other hand Magento support is global in the form of partners, forum, merchants and developers who are all happy to help. Due to Magento’s truly global reach, there are regular ‘meetup’ groups for affiliates of the platform.
Magento ‘meetups’ are a great way of meeting affiliates from the platform
Theres no real separation here and it depends on whether Magento’s face to face meetup’s would be beneficial for you. Draw.
Score: Shopify – 8 Bigcommerce – 8 Magento – 8
If you are contemplating moving platforms you maybe worried about the effect this will have on the SEO value of your site.
Shopify has a ‘traffic control app’, which will successfully redirect all traffic that you had built on your previous platform. This won’t comprise your rankings, which is a big plus.
Looking to move to Shopify? Worried about losing SEO ranking? Check out the Traffic Control App
As we touched on earlier Shopify’s and Bigcommere’s SSL protection is great for SEO as Google crawls sites for this and rewards them.
Another advantage of these platforms over Magento again is the ability to edit page titles, URLs, meta descriptions, H1 headings, image alt tags to from the admin panel. Little tweaks like this can help boost your rankings significantly.
Score: Shopify – 9 Bigcommerce – 7 Magento – 6
This is a difficult topic to broach, as all price packages are unavailable to view on the website and are specific to your business.
However, over the long run a SaaS solution is much more cost effective than on-premise. We touched on this earlier, due to development costs, plus added security and hosting.
What Bigcommerce have done well is they have made a total cost of ownership calculator. This shows the amount of money you would save if you went for a SaaS product. Let’s say you your annual revenue was $500,000, they calculate you would save around $260,000 a year. This is in part to the low costs for design, software upgrades, development and support with SaaS.
Design, Upgrades and Development will save you significant money with Shopify and Bigcommerce
The one criticism of Bigcommerce’s pricing structure is that they look to move customers up to enterprise too early. This is due to the 3K order limit per year on the Pro plan. If you exceed this an extra $80 is added per month for every additional 1K orders. Many in forums and blog comments have criticised this as feeding off the success of the store.
Therefore, many are reluctant to move up to the Enterprise plan as due to the distrust in the pricing structure.
The biggest downfall for Shopify was their transaction fees for third party gateways, however their transparency in this is commendable. The last thing you want as a retailer is a nasty surprise in your bill at the end of the month.
Shopify Plus pricing is unique based on volume, but SaaS looks a far better options for price, along with the fact that they have the bandwidth and storage capabilities to handle large volumes.
Score: Shopify – 9 Bigcommerce – 7 Magento – 4
Magento is an extremely popular platform, it has the 2nd largest market share behind WooCommerce at 22%.
In comparison to this Shopify has just under 6% and Bigcommerce just over 3%.
Magento has historically trumped its SaaS competitors, this is heavily due to the amount of developers versed in it. Therefore a lot of agencies encourage their clients to use it.
Shopify’s growth is remarkable when compared to Bigcommerce and Magento
With this trajectory it would be interesting to see how different these statistics are a year from now.
Score: Shopify – 8 Bigcommerce – 6 Magento – 9
I decided to include a section on extras. These could sway your decision on your platform, but they won’t be relevant to every business. Here’s what I consider the best standalone features/extras the platforms offer.
Bigcommerce offer an integration with Alibaba, which is a very popular wholesaler with retailers. Enterprise users can access 300 of Alibaba’s gold suppliers (the good ones which have been vetted). This is great if you are looking for new stock, or generally have stocking issues.
Magento’s greatest unique offering is that it supports B2B sales. If you are company that deals with both B2B and B2C, and a lot are, then Magento is a great choice for you.
If you have different negotiated prices based on relationships with customers, then Magento can implement this. It also handles bulk orders and complex payments which are critical for B2B.
Shopify Plus now comes with Avalara included – this is of great benefit to merchants
selling internationally or in different provinces, counties or states. Tax can get very complicated and take up much of your time, this streamlines that whole process.
Score: Shopify – 8 Bigcommerce – 8 Magento – 8
Concerns over the reliability, security and speed of SaaS have been eradicated in recent years. As Shopify particularly increases its growth, it will be interesting to see how many people make the switch from Magento to a SaaS platform.
Cost implications make Shopify and Bigcommerce much better options that Magento. Along with this, SSL certificates and its benefits for security and SEO, their plug and play adds-on and it’s increasing credibility will only improve their ecosystem.
SHOPIFY PLUS – 69/80
BIGCOMMERCE ENTERPRISE – 60/80
MAGENTO – 52/80
Written by Richard Protheroe
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