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BigCommerce, Shopify, Magento: Which Platform is Best?
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 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 down 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. Cons of Magento Magento is very technical and complex, so it may not be right for people who aren’t tech savvy or have someone on their team who is tech savvy. The free download of Magento Open Source is still self-hosted, so it requires a hosting provider which is an additional fee. The cost of upgrading is also significant and can cost twice or three times as much as the annual hosting costs. Magento also talks a big game with expertise of their support staff and developers, but a site can be completely changed with an improper customization. BigCommerce BigCommerce started in 2009 but really picked up steam after gaining funding in 2012. BigCommerce has a number of levels available, adding an Enterprise version by 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, with it being a self-hosted platform, there is no additional hosting cost. The dashboard is user friendly and allows for easy customization and has a number of features that users can experiment with and add to their eCommerce store without worry. Unlike Magento, it doesn’t seem that BigCommerce requires the level of training or technical knowledge to use the interface. There is also built-in selling on third-party marketing sites like Amazon and eBay, helping to expand reach. Cons of BigCommerce There are customization limitations to BigCommerce because much of the platform is template based and there is limited scalability as well. They have had outage issues in the past with the hosting, which can obviously create serious problems for an eCommerce business. Shopify Shopify was founded in 2004 and has established itself as one of the top eCommerce platforms there is. 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 use and set up. They are also self-hosted so there is no additional fee needed for hosting elsewhere. 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. There are also a limited number of free themes, meaning that you will either have to purchase one or have limited selection. Shopify also has a limited number of available add-ons, making it not as feature friendly as BigCommerce. Like BigCommerce, a self-hosted platform like Shopify can experience outage issues and there have been issues with payment gateway restrictions as well. 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.