Choosing an ecommerce platform is one of the first choices you’ll make as an online store owner, and it’s not an easy one. If you find yourself trying to decide between Magento and BigCommerce, we can help you! This article goes over what each of the platforms has to offer, their price points, similarities, and differences. We will also give our own advice on the best course of action depending on your business. Hopefully, this will help you make an informed decision.
Magento is one of the most popular choices for big companies looking to make a store. Magento 2 is an open-source, free-to-install platform, and Adobe Commerce is its paid, hosted counterpart. There are currently more than 160,000 stores using various versions of Magento as their platform, with gross merchandise volume higher than $100 billion.
Many enterprise-level businesses choose Magento as their platform, including Ford, Land Rover, Christian Louboutin, and ASUS.
BigCommerce is a hosted ecommerce platform (you don’t need to find your hosting) with a similar business model to Shopify. It’s less popular than Magento (with just under 50,000 live stores) but nonetheless used by some big names like Sony, Toyota, Ubisoft, and Ben&Jerry’s.
There are several versions of Magento, and the price will vary depending on which one you use.
First, there is Magento Open Source, that’s free to install. However, since it’s self-hosted, you’ll need to find a hosting and pay for it.
Adobe Commerce (previously Magento Commerce, Magento Cloud Commerce) is a platform based on Magento with some added functions, like:
Adobe Commerce also comes with hosting. If you want to use the benefits of Adobe Commerce but don’t need the hosting, you can choose Adobe Commerce on-premise – it offers all the features of Adobe Commerce minus the hosting at a reduced price.
The exact pricing of Adobe Commerce isn’t available to the public since it depends on the size and revenue of your store, but the cheapest hosted version starts at $24,000 per year for a store with less than $1,000,000 of annual gross revenue.
Also, the price of development will be a significant expense. Unless you have a lot of experience with PHP, you will have to hire a developer (or several) to make a store for you. It can cost you anywhere from $10 to $300 an hour. The price depends on how experienced the developer is and their location. You don’t need to pay for the most expensive development agency to get a high-quality store, but we should also warn you against going with the cheapest option.
We recently wrote an entire article on the cost of the average Magento website, so if you want to learn more, you can read it here.
BigCommerce has a more transparent pricing model.
They don’t offer free plans, but their Standard one is very affordable at only $29,95 a month. However, it only allows up to $50k of online sales yearly. It also has some other limitations, but will be good enough for a small business.
Next, the Plus plan offers a bit more functionality (for example, customer segmentation, abandoned cart saver, and stored credit cards). Depending on if you pay annually or monthly, it can cost you $71,95 or $79,95 per month, with yearly online sales capped at $180k.
The Pro plan costs $269,96 per month if charged annually or $299,95 monthly. Here, the limit to online sales is at $400k, +$150/mo for each additional $200k in online sales. With this plan, you’ll get even more features, like product filtering and Google customer reviews.
For big companies, BigCommerce offers an Enterprise plan. Same as with Magento, the pricing details aren’t open to the public and are decided on a case-by-case basis. Enterprise plan introduces features that make sense for established companies, like multi-storefront.
To get a more detailed overview of BigCommerce features, check their pricing page.
Another bonus of BigCommerce is a free trial: you can test all of their functions for 30 days, and get a free onboarding + 1-hour consultation without needing to enter your credit card information.
If you know you’ll need a developer, the average hourly price for BigCommerce will be around $15 to $90 per hour.
Generally, Magento will cost you more than BigCommerce, especially given the development price. For companies that would be interested in cheaper BigCommerce plans, Magento would be out of the price range. The prices get more comparable at Enterprise and Adobe Commerce levels. Here, we would suggest going with Magento because it offers more features.
BigCommerce is fairly easy to set up, even without the technical background. Coding skills are not required to get the store up and running, so those who are just starting with their online store and need something simple won’t need to hire a developer.
Also, since it is a hosted platform, you don’t need to be responsible for hosting your store, which adds to its ease of use.
Some users say the interface of the platform can be counterintuitive to navigate, but with enough research still manageable for someone who doesn’t know how to code.
Compared to BigCommerce, Magento is definitely not as easy to understand. When you are just setting up your store for the first time, you’d need someone who is proficient in PHP to help you out. For this reason, we recommend hiring a developer for the development process.
Daily procedures are easier to figure out. Magento 2 was an upgrade in this aspect compared to Magento 1: the updated version provided an easier-to-understand Admin panel. So you’d be able to add new products and make basic changes without knowing how to code.
However, don’t forget about maintenance: from time to time, Magento needs to be updated, and you’ll need to change something in a design or install new extensions. All of this will have to be done through a developer.
For those without technical knowledge, BigCommerce will be much easier to understand. If you want to make a store yourself, this is a strong advantage – since you won’t have to pay for professional development services.
As for ease of use for routine tasks, both Magento and BigCommerce take some time to get used to, but generally are easy enough to understand.
Since customization can be difficult with BigCommerce, you will mostly have to rely on native features.
Some of them are:
Most of these are a necessity in an ecommerce business, with some extras added. Some features also depend on the pricing plan you choose — for example, Multi-Storefront is only available for Enterprise users.
Magento also offers all must-need features out of the box, the same as BigCommerce. Similarly to BigCommerce, some options (like B2B functionality) are only available for Adobe Commerce users.
Its major strong suit, however, is customization. You can add new features through extensions and make your store look and function the way you want.
Magento wins this one. It offers wider functionality out-of-the-box, and the customization process is significantly easier than in BigCommerce.
Adobe is committed to making Magento a complete secure ecommerce platform. For that reason, they frequently provide security updates. It is also PCI compliant, ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certified, and supports SSL certificates. If you need extra security, there are extensions on Magento Marketplace that can address any issues you may have.
However, the open-source nature of the platform can potentially provide security risks. It can be extremely secure or prone to security risks, depending on how you configure it. For example, adding extensions, not from Magento Marketplace can open your store up to potential breaches. Your hosting (since it isn’t a hosted platform) also influences the security of your store.
BigCommerce also provides (and installs automatically) security updates for their clients. They are also PCI level 1 certified, and ISO certified, so all financial transactions your clients will make will be encrypted and secure. They also provide free and paid SSL certificates, firewalls, intrusion detection software, fraudulent transaction protection, and many other features.
If you have a security concern, you can write to BigCommerce support, and they will help you figure it out.
Both platforms take security seriously and provide regular security updates. If your store has a person responsible for installing updates and upkeeping security, both options are a great choice since both can be set up to provide airtight security. However, if you’ll be doing all the maintenance on your own, you probably should stick to BigCommerce, since they take care of most of the security risks for you, and you don’t have to set up anything on your own.
If you work in a niche that requires additional security regulations or want to be in control of the security, go with Magento. You can set up everything the way you want and will always know what goes on with the security of your store.
Magento distributes third-party themes and extensions through Magento Marketplace. It is their official extension store, where you’ll be able to find both free and paid extensions. Official integration extensions (for example, the Amazon Pay extension provided by Amazon) and simple solutions are mostly free, and the most complicated ones can be sold for as much as $10,000. But as a rule, most extensions will be reasonably priced ($50-$500).
The selection of extensions is very wide, so no matter what you are looking for, you’ll probably be able to find it on the Magento Marketplace. If you want something truly custom, it is also not a problem: you can hire a developer to make a custom extension.
As for themes, they can cost anywhere from $0 to $1000. You can go for a basic one and customize it to your liking later, or get a more sophisticated product, and the price will reflect that. In general, though, there are many great options for different budgets.
As a PaaS, BigCommerce strives to provide many built-in features, so you won’t have the need to get something extra. In reality, however, you will inevitably find a feature that you need that’s unavailable by default. For cases like these, BigCommerce offers their App store where you can find more than 600 apps from different categories, from marketing to accounting to security.
Same as with Magento, there are free and paid apps. A popular pricing model is an extension subscription: for example, Google Shopping Ads extensions will cost you $10/month.
BigCommerce currently provides 12 free and 100+ paid options to choose from. For paid themes, the prices vary from $150 to $300. All of the themes are responsive and easy to customize.
Both platforms provide extra themes and extensions, but Magento definitely wins this one. They provide way more extension options, and it is significantly easier to customize your store to your liking.
The level of support you’ll be getting with Magento depends on what version of the platform you’ll be using.
For those using Magento Open Source, there is no official support. If you have any issues with your store, you can ask on the Magento Community forum and hope you’ll get a reply or browse the existing topics. Alternatively, you can hire a developer to fix the problem for you.
Adobe Commerce does come with free support by phone, email, or online chat.
BigCommerce offers 24/7 support for all of its plans. You can ask your question using an email, phone call, or live chat. With an enterprise plan, you get priority support. And as we’ve already mentioned, with your free trial you’ll get a free call with an onboarding consultant.
If you are choosing between Adobe Commerce or the enterprise plan of BigCommerce, both platforms are good. They can offer qualified help 24/7 by whatever way of communication you’ll find the most comfortable.
However, if you are thinking about going with Magento Open Source, you’ll be at a disadvantage without any proper support. In this case, BigCommerce is a winner in this category.
As you can see, both of the platforms have their strong suits and downsides, so which one is right for you depends on your business.
Magento is better for established companies and those with big catalogs. They will appreciate the scalability and the level of customization the platform allows. The project will be more expensive and take more time, and you’ll likely need outside help, but in the end, you’ll get a store you won’t outgrow or feel limited by.
BigCommerce will suit companies that don’t need a complicated solution and those just starting out. It doesn’t require technical knowledge and is easy to set up. With time, you may feel like you need more customizability than BigCommerce can provide, but before that, it will still serve you well, and you can always migrate later. For those looking at this option, some alternatives will be Shopware or Shopify.
We wrote about them as well, which you can check out here:
If you’ve decided on using Magento, let’s work together!
At BroSolutions, we’ve been providing our clients with fully custom solutions of the highest quality for more than 7 years. Our certified Magento developers have experience with everything, ranging from making custom themes and extensions to building an entire store from scratch. We are a Magento development company that puts the needs of our clients first. With our help, you can feel at peace, knowing your project is in good hands.