Starting up with an eCommerce platform can be a challenge. You want to make sure you use the best platform for what you need and what your expectations are. That said, how are you supposed to know what the best strategy is? You may be new to the eCommerce space and have questions as to which platform will work best for you.
That’s what we are here for, at 1Digital Agency. We are experts and have worked with numerous clients on each of these platforms to bring better results. Today, we’ll look at three major players in the eCommerce space: BigCommerce, Shopify, and Magento and what makes each unique and why you should choose that platform.
Magento came onto the scene in 2008 and certainly became popular when eBay invested in 2010. Magento unleashed a new update in 2015 with the release of Magento 2.0, which helped make improvements to the platform.
There are three different options for eCommerce merchants to choose from in Magento. Magento Open Source is a free download and is perfect for a growing business that wants a full-scale website with customization options. Magento Commerce is for larger and more established businesses with additional features that give added B2B sales functions, more advanced marketing tools, better search capabilities and more. Magento Commerce (Cloud) offers expanded cloud hosting capabilities, which allows for faster loading speeds and better optimization while eliminating the need for a self-hosting platform.
Pros of Magento
Magento certainly has a lot of features as explained above and having the option to pick a level that fits where your business is, what type of business you have and what your needs are is great. There are also many available extensions due to the flexible API architecture that can expand on your store, and you can manage multiple stores under one account as an administrator instead of needing separate accounts for different stores and businesses. In addition, Magento is an open source platform. This makes customizations easier and much more available than others. You can also customize a Magento store on the backend, which is something a self-hosted platform will not allow.
Cons of Magento
Magento is a more technically involved platform, in comparison to hosted solutions. It may not be right for people who aren’t tech savvy or don’t have someone on their team who is tech savvy. The free download of Magento Open Source is self-hosted, so it requires a hosting provider which is an additional fee. The cost of upgrading over time as your business grows may also more than anticipated, so consider your growth path when selecting a platform.
BigCommerce started in 2009 but really picked up steam after securing additional funding in 2012. BigCommerce has a number of levels available, adding an Enterprise version in 2015 for high-volume merchants.
The BigCommerce platform is known as a software as a service (SaaS) and is self-hosted, which means that, unlike Magento, BigCommerce handles the hosting for customers. In addition, BigCommerce is a great platform for businesses for all sizes and has a wide range of features.
Pros of BigCommerce
BigCommerce really is an all-in-one solution and, because it is a self-hosted platform, there is no additional hosting cost. The dashboard is user-friendly and allows for easy customization. It has a number of features that users can experiment with and add to their eCommerce store without worry. Unlike Magento, BigCommerce does not require a high level of technical expertise in order to use.. There is also built-in selling on third-party marketing sites like Amazon and eBay, helping to expand reach.
Cons of BigCommerce
There are some customization limitations to BigCommerce because much of the platform is template based. There have been outage issues in the past with BigCommerce hosting, but this is uncommon. BigCommerce regularly reports 99.99% uptime year over year.
Shopify was founded in 2004 and since that time has established itself as one of the top eCommerce platforms available today. In 2017, the platform also announced a partnership with Amazon and rolled out integration features that can let merchants sell on Amazon from Shopify stores. Shopify is powering over 550,000 websites.
Pros of Shopify
For starters, Shopify is very user-friendly and easy to set up. They are also self-hosted so there is no additional fee needed for hosting. Shopify also has a great technical support team and comes pre-installed with a number of payment options that are essential to an eCommerce store.
Cons of Shopify
Shopify has different plan levels for store setup and depending on which one you choose, there may be restrictions to inventory. Shopify also has a limited number of available add-ons with standard functionality, so if you are looking for something feature-heavy, you may have to make a lot of additions to apps to do it.
Enterprise eCommerce Platforms
BigCommerce, Shopify and Magento all have enterprise platforms which are specifically designed for the requirements of midsize-to-large eCommerce businesses. This is essential for businesses that are making one million or more per year in sales.
Each enterprise platform is unique and has its own features and capabilities. Just as if you were just starting out and wanted to pick a new platform, the one you should do depends on your business and what you are looking for in an eCommerce platform. We at 1Digital Agency have compared the three enterprise platforms as well, where you can get more information on what each offers.
Which Platform is Best?
Decision-making comes down to the individual. Whether it is starting a new eCommerce store, buying a car, or choosing one brand of cereal over another at the supermarket, we are all faced with these decisions and there are going to be pros and cons to every option.
The two main factors in deciding which platform is best for you comes down to affordability and scalability. You want to build toward the future, but you may not have the funds now or you may just be getting started and want a simple start. It really all depends on where you are as a business and what your goals are for the future.
Need help choosing the platform that is right for you? At 1Digital Agency, we are partners with BigCommerce, Shopify and Magento and experts in all three platforms to try to help you make a decision that works for your business and allows you to grow. Contact us today to find out more about Magento, BigCommerce, or Shopify and find out which platform works for you.
- Dan Kogan
- October 24, 2018