I get so many questions about which shopping cart my clients should choose. You have so many options to sell your products online. I used to recommend Prestashop to all my clients but so many of them grew out of the software and upgraded to Magento. With Prestashop, I was noticing that if there were more than 200 products, it was really hard to manage the shop. The database was too large and making the back end run super slow. The same thing was happening with a smaller amount of products with tons of product options. Those clients that were having those issues moved over to Magento. Which was always a huge production, but I was more than glad to oblige and help them. That involved setting up temporary servers, installing Magento locally, then to the new server then transferring all of their data (customers, orders, products) to the new server. And, to top it off, making a new theme for Magento.
I’ve found over the years, Magento is fantastic to work with. A developer’s dream! I was able to customize and create fantastic options for the themes, custom landing pages, custom extensions for the exact need for my clients. But, again, as time went on, my clients expenses and resources grew with Magento. Now, when I say resources, I don’t necessarily mean money. Magento is very intensive. You literally need a team to handle one shop with it. If one person is managing it and uploading products, managing orders, etc. you need at least one other person to maintain the back end of the site (that’s the role I usually end up with – not a bad role either). Some have hired me for ongoing maintenance and some haven’t. Basically, if you have Magento, you need a support package. Whether it’s from me or someone else qualified to maintain your site on a regular basis, you need a Magento support package.
And, Magento and BigCommerce are set up for optimal SEO. Google loves both carts for their great built in SEO. Many high profile brands use Magento (Rebecca Minkoff, Vizio, Alex and Ani, etc.) and BigCommerce (Bulk Apothecary, Josie Maran, Martha Stewart Cafe, etc.).
This is How You Decide What To Do
I’m going to make this SUPER easy to decide whether or not you should use Magento OR BigCommerce to run your online shop. Ask yourself these 2 questions?
- How much money can I spend each year on my website to keep it up? (including website hosting, and hiring a developer to maintain my site)
- How much time can I devote to maintaining my own website above and beyond uploading products and processing web orders?
If you answered “Small Budget” for #1, use BigCommerce
If you answered “Large Budget” for #1, use Magento
If you answered “No extra time for I’d be doing it in my sleep” for #2, use BigCommerce
If you answered “I have tons of free time and lots of help from my staff or team” for #2, use Magento
Just so you don’t have sticker shock with Magento, these are the things you must buy to run your site:
- Dedicated server ($1200+ per year)
- Domain name (s) ($15 – hundreds of dollars a year, especially if you’re a domain name junky like me and buy up every variation of your business name)
- SSL Certificate ($100-$1200+ per year)
- Payment processor extension ($75-$200+)
- Payment processing (authorize.net, PayPal, etc.) ($25+ per month)
- Extra extensions to run your site if you need special features (up to $1000+)
- Web developer who can maintain your site ($500+ per month) THAT’S ME
- Extra support costs for priority support from you web hosting company ($$ monthly fee)
About a BigCommerce site:
- BigCommerce is self hosted, so your server, SSL, payment processing are all in one bill and a fraction of the cost of Magento ($29.95 per month to $199.95+)
- You do have to pay for most good apps (monthly fees of $10-$15+) On the downside, the apps leave a lot to be desired.
- Product filtering is only available on certain plans (sidebar searching and filtering by brand, prices, color, etc.)
- No real blog. Yes, there’s a blog that comes with it, but it’s not a WordPress blog and it’s not customizable and it’s not that great.
In conclusion, just to make this somewhat short and sweet and easy to understand, it’s all about money. It always is. They are both fantastic carts to work with. I personally love to work with Magento because it’s so customizable and I can do whatever I want with it. BigCommerce, not so much. But, it will still do a lot for your business! I go with what is the best option for my clients. If you’re tight on budget and manpower, go with BigCommerce.
Want to see what a site on BigCommerce looks like VS Magento? Check out Paula & Chlo! We started with Prestashop, moved to Magento then to BigCommerce. BigCommerce suits their needs perfectly and there’s no sacrifice of design and functionality.