Joel Gross

BigCommerce Review: Shopify vs. BigCommerce vs. Magento vs. Volusion vs. 3D Cart

People constantly ask me to recommend the best online shopping cart platform, because I work with these platforms every day, and I know them inside and out. I run a web design company called Coalition Technologies, and I have built over a hundred ecommerce stores across multiple platforms using a variety of different approaches. I’m happy to say that many of my clients have seen tremendous success.

When it comes to online shopping carts and ecommerce content management systems, you have a lot of options to consider: BigCommerce, Magento, Shopify, 3D Cart…the list goes on. All of these platforms will allow you to set up an online store, but not all of them offer the same benefits in terms of usability, stability, customization and value.

Big Commerce

bigcommerce review

Many of the aforementioned platforms have made some much-needed improvements in recent months, but BigCommerce is still your best value. BigCommerce is easy to set up, easy to navigate, and includes the best SEO configurations of all the major platforms. BigCommerce also offers excellent customer support.

BigCommerce has a large international presence, so the company’s shipping network is also superior to many of the other platforms, including Shopify. With BigCommerce, you can ship to your customers all across the world with ease. The platform isn’t perfect, of course. For instance, BigCommerce still has a long way to go when it comes to responsive design integration, but overall, it’s still your best bet for an online shopping cart.

Score: 9/10

Shopify

shopify review

Shopify is another popular choice. Like BigCommerce, Shopify is user-friendly, versatile, and easy to use, but unlike BigCommerce, Shopify also makes great use of responsive design, which means that you can easily build a 21st century website that looks every bit as good on desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices.

Unfortunately, though, Shopify has some distinct disadvantages. For one thing, the platform uses its own programming language, called Liquid. This can get pretty confusing, and it’s completely unnecessary. BigCommerce, by constrast, uses HTML/CSS/Javascript. The price is also a drawback for Shopify. BigCommerce offers a better value for a greater array of features. Still, if you have limited experience with ecommerce or CSS, Shopify can make an easy, user-friendly solution.

Score: 8/10

Magento

magento review

Magento was built with developers and designers in mind, so if you have a fair amount of technical knowledge, you can customize just about anything to your exact liking. This is the biggest advantage of Magento, but it’s also one of the biggest drawbacks. It’s not the easiest or most user-friendly platform, and it also runs a bit slower than BigCommerce and Shopify. This disadvantage can be attributed to a slow PHP code and hosting environment.

Magento is comparable to Shopify in terms of features and value, but it may have a slight edge over Magento. The platform offers full programming access, features a really stable core and has an impressive selection of simple-to-use plugins. While still not quite in the same league as BigCommerce, it’s still pretty impressive, so if you’re looking for the ability to take full control over your site, you might want to see what Magento has to offer.

Score: 7.5/10

Volusion

volusion review

Volusion is another choice that you may have heard mentioned a time or two. This extremely popular platform has been around for quite a while now, and the company is constantly expanding and improving the available features. Volusion offers good SEO tools, easy setup, one-page checkout and a reasonable price tag. BigCommerce offers more data for the same amount of money, though, while boasting all of the same features, so you must consider the financial aspect as well.

The Volusion interface and templates aren’t as stylish as the ones you’ll find on other platforms, and Volusion has yet to offer a simple drag-and-drop feature, so it’s not the greatest overall. Still, there are enough good features to make Volusion worthy of high placement on the list.

Score: 8/10

3DCart

3dcart review

Finally, we have 3DCart. Unfortunately, 3DCart just doesn’t compare to the versatility and customization abilities of the other platforms. With fewer shipping providers and a clunky content management system, 3DCart just isn’t your ideal choice. Of course, you’re encouraged to review all of the platforms and see what works best for you. Most of these platforms even offer a free trial period. Our biggest recommendation, though, still goes to BigCommerce.

Score: 5/10

General Considerations

When choosing any online shopping shopping cart platform, it’s essential to consider the following components:

Price: This doesn’t mean you should automatically go with the cheapest service, because quite often, you get what you pay for. But it is important to get the most bang for your buck. Be wary of companies that charge transaction fees. These can add up fast and add dramatically to your investment. When it comes to value, BigCommerce is your best bet.

Ease of Use: To take it a bit further, it’s actually important to strike a balance between ease of use and customization. For instance, you don’t want to waste your time with a platform that’s easy to use but impossible to customize, and likewise, you don’t want a platform that offers full customization but is extremely complicated to navigate. If you’re a beginner, you may want to consider Shopify for ease of use.

Marketing Tools: You can’t have an online store without a marketing plan. You need a shopping cart that provides convenient email marketing options and other marketing tools. BigCommerce lets you run promotions, coupons, newsletters and more, all of which you can set up easily.

Conversion Tools: A high conversion rate is essential. To have a high conversion rate means that your website visitors are actually buying your products. You should be able to post product reviews, share products on social networks, recommend similar products, and allow for one-page checkout. When it comes to available conversion tools, it’s a close race between BigCommerce, Shopify and Magento.

SEO: Even if you sell the best product in your industry, it’s not going to matter if nobody can find it. That’s why you need a site that’s effectively search engine optimized. In this category, BigCommerce wins hands down.

The Final Verdict

BigCommerce is an all-in-one solution that allows you to set up a website, domain name, shopping cart, email account, payment gateway, product catalog and much more, all in one streamlined process. Plus, as previously mentioned, their SEO is second to none. And if you want to succeed in ecommerce, good SEO is absolutely essential.

Additionally, BigCommerce features a wide array of built-in marketing tools that will help you not only build your website, but your brand as well. With a competitive rate, no transaction fees, and some of the best customization tools in the industry, BigCommerce is the obvious choice. But don’t just take our word for it. Check out their service for yourself.

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