Joel Gross

Ecommerce Website Design- BigCommerce vs. Magento

Here at Coalition Technologies, our web design and development team is quite used to building successful ecommerce sites for a number of different vertical industries. We’ve build extensively on BigCommerce, Magento, Shopify, Volusion, OSCommerce, and Zencart. Our clients, regardless of platform, received the same attention to deal, custom layout and design creation, and a significant focus on SEO and conversion optimization.

Today we wanted to review the pros and cons of two of the biggest ecommerce platforms out there. BigCommerce and Magento. We enjoy working with both of them although they present different challenges and benefits as we plan our clients businesses. We felt a review would be helpful for you, the consumer/business/client, to understand why we might recommend one or another.

We’ll start with BigCommerce. This shopping cart platform scores huge marks from us for its core featureset. As a supported and backed ecommerce shopping cart, BigCommerce has a great tech and development team who manage the growth and updates to the features and options that are available to its users. They also provide A+ customer support to ensure that if anything goes wrong with outside APIs, payment gateways, distribution partners, that they get them addressed quickly. Not only that, this is one of the few shopping cart sites built with a significant emphasis on SEO. It helps even the most basic of ecommerce businesses establish themselves with an online presence and ranking that captures traffic and sales right from the get go. Between the support of the BigCommerce team, the ease of implementation, and the massive suite of marketing features, this shopping cart is a winner. It is especially great as a solution for businesses that have traditionally sold through retail stores or are looking at generating business with as little technical knowledge and cost as possible.

Magento is a different animal altogether. Recently purchased by eBay, Magento is an open source shopping cart platform that focuses less on providing the features to its users, and more on encouraging outside developers and programmers to build the functions so that they can be easily implemented on our clients’ sites. Because they don’t have a support team backing it up, and there is less emphasis on providing the product direct to businesses, Magento can be more difficult to manage, update, and upgrade for most of our clients (if they’re on their own). But if a client is looking for an opportunity to constantly be adding new features, tweaking old ones, or customizing existing options to the site, Magento is a great selection. It requires more development time to get up and running, and more development cost to keep it going as you look for upgrades, but its powerful features and extensive options all make for another winner.

So which should you pick?

If you’re looking for a great first foray into ecommerce or if you’re looking at moving to a more user friendly shopping cart, BigCommerce is the way to go. It takes minimal time for you to get a grasp on the CMS and minimal time to get your business off the ground. The downside? You have to wait for some new features to be released by the BigCommerce development team, or have them programmed outside of the shopping cart. (This could be a negative for an enterprise etailer). But if that is not you or your business, you’ll love BigCommerce. Great core features, powerful marketing, and impressive support for a low cost.

If you’re looking at rapid growth and you don’t mind learning a bit more to keep the site going, then Magento is a good pick. You can customize your features on a daily basis if you want, and modify functionality just as frequently. There are thousands of different combinations of extensions and plugins already available, so you’re never without an option for some feature or another. It does take more money to launch (usually around 25% more then BigCommerce) and generally more development time to keep up to speed and fully functioning (no support means that if USPS changes their API, your developer has to make the adjustments).

Let us know if you want to see what we’d recommend. Use the contact form above, call us, or visit our portfolio.

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