The more brands of shopping cart software that become available, the harder it is for businesses to choose the best ecommerce platform. Currently, at least 12 brands of shopping cart software deserve to be considered major ecommerce platforms. However, three of them are frequently regarded as being better than the rest for their ability to meet the diverse needs of a broad range of small, midsize, and large businesses: Shopify, BigCommerce, and Magento.
If your business is debating about which of these platforms to use, Coalition Technologies can help. As a Shopify partner, Magento partner, and BigCommerce partner, we have a unique insight into how these platforms work. To start thinking about which one would be the best fit your business, let’s do a Shopify vs BigCommerce vs Magento review using four ecommerce platform criteria that impact every business: usability, plan features, cost, and SEO capabilities. While BigCommerce comes up on top in our ranking, there are many occasions when Shopify and Magento turn out to be better fits for our clients.
Our Shopify vs BigCommerce vs Magento review ranks BigCommerce – a leading ecommerce platform that launched in 2006 and hosts over 40,000 stores – at #1. The platform gets rave reviews for the ease of its design process. You can drag and drop most of the design elements for your store, which defies the difficulty of a traditional web development approach. Inventory management is another strong usability feature, especially when inventories are large.
BigCommerce has five plans: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond, which offer the storage capacities of 1 GB, 2 GB, 5 GB, 30 GB, and unlimited, respectively. Unlike with Shopify, you’ll need the Platinum or Diamond plan to get unlimited product listings, but you’ll never pay double transaction fees. Each plan comes with unlimited bandwidth, and the latter three come with an abandoned cart saver. Plans also come with a $100 Google Adwords credit.
BigCommerce’s plans are affordably priced by any standard. Bronze costs $24.95/month, Silver runs $39.95/month, Gold is $79.95/month, Platinum will cost you $149.95/month, and Diamond checks in at $299.95/month. Because BigCommerce is more feature-rich than Shopify, ad-on applications are typically less necessary. BigCommerce also has plenty of free design themes to choose from; however, the general consensus is that Shopify’s pay themes are the best.
Like Shopify, BigCommerce makes it relatively easy to handle your SEO needs. The process for creating page titles, URLs, meta descriptions, alt tags, and robot.txt is as intuitive as one could hope for. However, working with a BigCommerce SEO partner such as Coalition Technologies is still how you get the best SEO results from the platform. Unfortunately, BigCommerce doesn’t offer a blog, so you would need to shoehorn one in using Blogger or another blogging platform.
Shopify hit the ecommerce scene in 2004 and now hosts over 70,000 retailers. With an excellent reputation for usability, the platform is often considered one of the best for small businesses. From setting up an account, to getting the store up and running, to performing inventory management, this platform frequently receives rave reviews from business owners who know a lot more about business than computer programming and web development.
Shopify has three plans: Basic, Professional, and Unlimited. Each plan comes with unlimited bandwidth, limitless product listings, and a discount code generator that simplifies offering discounts. Basic has 1 GB of storage, Professional has 5 GB, and Unlimited has limitless storage. Professional and Unlimited offer professional reporting capability and abandoned cart recovery, and the latter has a real-time carrier shipping application for order tracking.
Shopify’s plans are nicely priced for what you get. Basic is $29/month, Professional costs $79/month, and Unlimited is $179/month. However, because Shopify isn’t especially feature-rich, you may need to purchase Shopify applications to operate your store efficiently, and the design theme you use could run between $80 and $180. Unless you use Shopify’s payment gateway, you’ll also pay double transaction fees: one fee to Shopify and another to a merchant service.
Like its competitors, Shopify lets you create your own page titles, URLs, meta descriptions and other SEO elements with relative ease. However, it has a decisive advantage over BigCommerce and Magento in terms of SEO: it offers a built in blog, which is great for boosting traffic to your website via inbound marketing. If you need assistance creating content for your store’s blog, Coalition Technologies will provide you with high-quality web content services.
The final installment of our Shopify vs BigCommerce vs Magento review focuses on Magento, which started in 2009 and hosts the stores of over 200,000 businesses. Magento’s ease of use depends entirely on which plan you choose. The platform’s plan for small businesses, Go, has a highly intuitive user interface, as expected. The ultra feature-rich Enterprise Edition plan and open source Community Edition plan, however, are for skilled users of ecommerce platforms.
Go has four sub-plans whose features are comparable to plans from Shopify and BigCommerce: Get Going, Going Places, Go Beyond, and Go Anywhere. Notable differences are each plan has limited bandwidth and 5 GB is the top storage tier. Enterprise has two sub-plans that offer enterprise-class web business features: Enterprise and Enterprise Premium. Community Edition’s open source platform can be configured to offer any features of Enterprise Edition.
Go has the most affordable entry point of the plans reviewed here, but with its limited bandwidth and storage capacity, this isn’t surprising. Licensing fees for Enterprise Edition start at $15,550 and top off at around $50,000, which isn’t bad considering that some enterprise level shopping cart software has a six-figure fee. The open source Community Edition, of course, is free; its true cost depends on the cost of the programming and web development you use to develop it.
Magento’s plans come with built-in SEO capabilities as a part of their “extensibility” options. The Go plans and Enterprise plans have a highly developed knowledge base that explains optimization strategies—information that’s most useful for Go plan users who are newcomers to SEO. Like BigCommerce, Magento also scrooges its users out of the opportunity to post entries in a built-in blog. Creating an offsite blog or inserting blogging platform is the only alternative.
Contact Us Today
While BigCommerce is our go-to platform, there are definite advantages to Shopify and Magento. We recommend all three platforms to our clients, depending on their specific needs. The Shopify vs BigCommerce vs Magento review above offers a basic overview of how the ecommerce platforms stack up regarding four areas that impact all users: ease of use, plan features, cost, and SEO capabilities. Depending on your specific preferences in these areas, you may now know which platform you wish to use, or at least know which one you would rather avoid. If you need help making a final decision, contact Coalition Technologies.
We have helped hundreds of businesses choose the right ecommerce platform. As a core BigCommerce partner, Shopify partner, and top Magento partner, we have helped numerous companies get the most out of these platforms in terms of web design, content creation, marketing, and SEO. To learn how we can help you maximize the productivity of your business’ shopping cart software, call us today at (310) 827-3890, or click here to use our contact form.