BigCommerce or Magento
If you’ve grown your online business to the size where you are now considering a platform change, chances are you are looking at some of the free, open source options out there like Magento. Now when we say “free” there is indeed a catch.
Open Source Platforms Usually Cost a Lot More to Run
It may be free to use the open source platform, but the costs to setup and maintain your Magento store isn’t cheap and it adds up quickly. So, don’t be surprised when a freelancer or a web agency gives you a much higher quote for an open source solution than they might give you for a hosted platform (SaaS – Software as a Service).
Why will the quote be higher? With an open source platform, there are a significant amount of moving parts that make up your store. If a module is modified, or a new feature or integration is added, it can impact the entire store. So in order for the web agency to make sure they are covered to go through and test the entire site after an update, troubleshoot issues as they arise, and make modifications to modules and the site itself, it takes time.
How are Hosted E-Commerce Platforms Different?
A hosted e-commerce platform has a monthly fee for hosting and using their software. You do not have access to the code that runs the software (like you do with an open source solution), but you do get 24/7 support and access to an API that will often allow you to achieve your technical goals through a widget or a custom solution.
How Open Source Systems Like Magento Work
You will need a team to maintain the software on an on-going basis – As we touched on above, the cost to maintain a Magento store on an on-going business is not cheap. Why? The short answer is that it’s a ton of work, and every update or change you make can impact your entire store.
There will be a lot of different people that you need to talk to – Most modules are built by a different developer, so in addition to your web team, Magento, and your customer service department, you’re going to have to spend time managing conversations and status of tasks.
Your company is responsible for the administration and maintenance of the core application level software – If you aren’t on top of things, you will leave yourself open for malicious attacks, or simply outdated solutions that are no longer compatible.
So, Why BigCommerce Over Magento?
Pricing that encourages growth (they don’t hinder it)
Prioritized support & security to increase site reliability (instead of draining your resources)
Automated updates & new features that don’t require installation fees (adding modules to Magento can impact your entire store & they take time to troubleshoot)
Ability to add custom solutions & new functionality to your store, as needed through their robust API
If your online business generates over $1 million in annual revenue, has at least $50,000 to fund design and development with a budget of at least $5,000 for monthly maintenance and support, and you need super unique functionality that cannot be achieved with a hosted platform, an open source platform like Magento might be what you need.
For those that do not fit the above description, BigCommerce is a great solution that will support your business as it continues to grow, and will offer you the help and features you need.
Next Steps for Determining Which Platform is Right for You
We recommend running a cost analysis to see which platform would be the most cost effective option for you, as well as documenting the features and functionality that are a “must have” in order to run your store.
Chances are that BigCommerce is going to be not only the most cost effective option for your business, but it will also be the most secure and supportive.
Have Questions for Our Team?
We’ve been helping e-commerce companies transform their online businesses for over a decade. If you have a question for our team, send us a message, or post a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!