Shopify vs Magento vs BigCommerce Coalition Comparison

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Coalition Technologies can help you decide which platform to use if your company is having a hard time deciding. We are a Shopify Expert and Magento Partner, as well as BigCommerce Elite partners, so we have unique insights into the workings of these platforms. These platforms have been our business for more than a decade. We have many successful storefronts that use each one.

Let’s take a look at Shopify vs. BigCommerce and Magento to see which platform is best for your business. We will be evaluating five criteria that affect every business: platform features; total cost of ownership; ease of use; marketability; and business viability.

Before we get into the detailed review, let’s first say that our current rankings place BigCommerce at the top of the list for merchants selling online between $1M to $5M each year. Shopify is the leader in the below-$1M category. BigCommerce Enterprise and Shopify Plus are roughly equal in annual revenue, with each having unique challenges. Magento Community is a more flexible and scalable SaaS competitor than Shopify Plus, with an average annual revenue of $5M+. However, it has its drawbacks. Beyond $10M, we begin to notice that the playing field becomes more complicated based on specific business types. Magento Enterprise rises to the top for merchants that sell more than $25M. However, features for Shopify Plus or BigCommerce are still in beta and may be able to close that gap.

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Click the links below to jump ahead and find out our recommendations based upon ecommerce company size or platform.

Ecommerce Platform for Small Businesses (less than $1M in Online Sales)

Shopify will be more likely to find a small business the right ecommerce platform. Magento Enterprise and Magento Community are not options because of their high total cost of ownership (TCO), which makes them prohibitively expensive for small businesses.

Shopify’s selection as the best option for smaller companies is especially warranted for what Coalition calls micro-merchants–individuals who use a primary source of income to fund ecommerce dreams as a side gig, but who have little-to-no specific ecommerce or business management experience. Micro-merchants typically sell less than $50,000 through their online shop.

Although micro-merchants are one of the largest segments in the ecommerce market, they tend to be the most short-lived (meaning that their stores are often cancelled quickly).

Although BigCommerce and Shopify were equally positioned in the micro-merchants category a few years back, there has been some divergence between the two platforms. This is due to their different ideas about the core software consumer.

BigCommerce shifted to focusing on small businesses to the mid-market and, lately, the small enterprise categories. Shopify, however, has spent the past several years aggressively marketing and selling to small ecommerce entrepreneurs and micro-merchants. Shopify only recently made the move to target larger ecommerce companies.

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The rankings are based on five categories of evaluation.

Features

BigCommerce is the winner of this category due to its better integrated marketing tools, better discounting and sales features, as well as better out-of–the-box (OOTB), integrations with other sales channels or marketplaces. BigCommerce’s small business merchants can access great shopping feeds from Amazon, eBay and Facebook. You can also create discount codes and other conditions, such as sale in thiscategory or period, or even shopping cart conditions (buy one product, get a discount).

Shopify is affordable for most micro-merchants (since they have lower expectations and more demands for their platform). Smaller ecommerce companies may be frustrated by the constant referrals to the app shop for additional capabilities in Content Marketing and SEM, SEO. Shopify has worked to close this gap over the past two years. They have launched gift cards, BOPIS, more extensive discounts, and partnerships with Walmart’s Marketplace.

Both platforms made significant commitments over the past year to improve page builder functionality. Shopify was clearly ahead of Shopify on this. Merchants can drag and drop pre-designed visual elements onto a page to create unique content experiences. BigCommerce’s launch closes this gap. Because they are less dependent on technical support and staffing, page builders are very appealing to small merchants.

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Total cost of ownership

Shopify’s total cost of ownership is what determines whether BigCommerce and Shopify are able to compete for the category below $1M. Shopify wins the TCO category, even though it is smaller than BigCommerce (less than $100,000 in online revenues), and holds an edge over BigCommerce up to $500,000

First, Shopify’s Theme Store is much more mature than BigCommerce. This maturity is evident in the variety of designs and the availability of viable options to support businesses in all categories, from fashion to consumer electronics to home goods. Although BigCommerce has made great strides in this field, themes are not ‘one-size fits all’ and share many visual properties. This is due to the fact that the majority of BigCommerce premium themes are developed by a single agency, which may be less creative. Shopify, on the other hand, has many more agencies and partners involved in designing and developing modern themes. BigCommerce has worked to close the gap between BigCommerce premium themes, and Shopify premium themes.

Shopify’s second advantage is its ability to make customizations that are easier for new users and developers. Shopify has been using Liquid for many years, which is an open-source template language. It is very easy to adapt to. BigCommerce is more difficult, especially when using its new template framework, Stencil. Shopify has made it much easier for novice users to make theme-related edits without having to interact with the code. Shopify is a better option for micro-merchants or small businesses that cannot afford designer or developer fees.

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These advantages start to disappear as Shopify grows and businesses need custom-theming/development. Shopify tends to require more paid applications at every business tier than BigCommerce. This can lead to a dramatic increase in the total cost of ownership for longer-lasting stores.

Ease-of-Use

Other than the coding languages, managing BigCommerce or Shopify stores is easy. Merchants looking to open their first ecommerce store used to be told that BigCommerce and Shopify were more complex than managing a Gmail account. It hasn’t changed much since then.

Gmail accounts are easy for almost everyone to manage. Shopify and BigCommerce are great options for small businesses with simpler business needs. The backend administrative functionality is clearly labeled. It’s supported by great documentation, tool-tips and tutorial content. Many different navigation paths are available to access most functionality, which is intuitive and logically designed.

Small businesses have responded most positively to ecommerce’s ease-of-use. On the basis of the Shopify and Bigcommerce approach, we are seeing more enterprise-grade software focusing on improving their ease of use.

Marketability

Many people think Marketability is similar the Features category, as many ecommerce platforms have features that improve store marketability. Our analysis of the various software options in this category closely matches our Comparisons for Features. However, Coalition’s reputation in ecommerce marketing has allowed us to highlight subtleties that can make a difference.

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BigCommerce offers marketing advantages that Shopify cannot match. BigCommerce, with its lowest-level plans, allows merchants to post products quickly and reliably to major shopping platforms or to various advertising channels via feeds.

BigCommerce consistently outperforms Shopify when it comes to organic search engine optimization. BigCommerce has more ecommerce websites that rank well in Google and other search engines. This is independent of previous business success or other marketing channels. This battle is won by features like auto-generated HTML sitemaps and easily-managed robots.txt file, faster load times, and many more.

Business Viability

We don’t see viability as a key factor in evaluating ecommerce platforms often. We’ll be discussing platform viability in relation to the size of the store, as we are breaking down platform recommendations on the basis of business size.

Shopify wins again in this category. There are many reasons why Shopify is the winner again, but the most important one is its larger customer base in small and micro businesses. This group has tens to thousands more merchants than all of BigCommerce. Shopify wants to be seen as an enterprise-ready platform, mainly because it is able to share pricing. However, it knows that it needs to have a steady stream small business sign ups in order to maintain its current price. Shopify has been putting forth a lot of marketing effort to keep this small business niche buzzing.

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Shopify’s public trading status and numerous income streams (via store plans or retail, payments, shipping, kit, etc.) make it more viable. Shopify’s business focus and direction as well as the possibility of competing for hundreds of thousands merchants is likely to remain constant.

BigCommerce’s recent IPO with Coalition has only increased its business viability score. We had previously viewed BigCommerce as a mature platform that we could make a commitment. However, with a significant new valuation from its IPO, BigCommerce is now almost certain of its future.

Ecommerce Platform for Mid-Market Ecommerce Merchants (from $1M to $15M).

It’s important that we remember that although reviews like these are valuable as a guideline, they lose some value in specific cases. Professional agencies such as ours that specialize in finding the best ecommerce platform are essential for the ecommerce market.

We’ve seen agencies change banners and choose platforms to serve their clients, as the market for ecommerce platforms has settled around a handful of key players. Instead, they are driven solely to promote leads and make high-paying affiliate deals through their chosen platform.

Coalition is one of the top SEO agencies in the country. We have been able sustain and grow our company through solid marketing strategies. We are likely to rank in the top three spots in any major US metro area, even though we only have one office in Los Angeles.

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Although we do receive marketing dollars from selected platforms, we don’t rely on them for large amounts of our revenue streams. We also do not rely on one ecommerce platform to generate leads, as opposed to most agencies. We provide clients with more prescriptive and qualitative recommendations. Contact us if you have been frustrated by the sales pitches made to you by other partners.

Now, back to your business!

Which ecommerce platform works best for mid-market ecommerce merchants and is it worth the investment?

In this category, BigCommerce, Shopify and Magento Community are the most prominent players. Then comes Magento Enterprise.

BigCommerce is a strong contender in the $1M-$5M category. Shopify Plus, which is available in a range of $5M to $10M, is a strong competitor with BigCommerce Enterprise. However, Magento Community and Magento Enterprise also have valuable use cases.

Let’s take a look at our five evaluation criteria to see why we rank.

Features

Mid-market merchants often make their ecommerce platform selections based on what they do now and what they want to do in the future.

BigCommerce is the clear winner for most mid-market ecommerce merchants. This is especially true for those with annual revenues between $5M and $7M. BigCommerce’s OOTB features across all plans (including the introductory Enterprise plan), are far more robust than Shopify’s comparable offerings. The company has also been more ecommerce-focused in its feature development than Shopify. This holds promise for mid-market merchants who want to secure their future with the next ecommerce site.

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Although Magento’s features are competitive, they aren’t necessarily a stronger OOTB offering than BigCommerce. They will often need several extensions to make up the difference with our pick. Magento will not score as high.

What are the key features that make BigCommerce superior to Shopify and Magento

BigCommerce offers this merchant class 600 SKUs per products with up to 250 options. This is significantly more than Shopify’s 100 SKUs/product and three options per item. This flexibility is particularly important for businesses offering customizable products and products that can be marketed via multiple channels.

Magento is able to match BigCommerce in product customization, but the platform’s ability quickly deliver more complex products on its front-end doesn’t quite match BigCommerce’s. Magento makes use of Attributes to enable store administrators to add custom informational fields, options or configurations to products. This was for a long time a key reason Magento Community was the preferred platform for merchants at this level.

BigCommerce integrate options for discounting go far beyond what coupon codes can do. This is one of the main reasons Shopify leads are leaving Shopify. Shopify merchants are frustrated that new features don’t seem to be available for small businesses (more DIY-type features) or the enterprise category (plus customers who typically pay $2k+ per month).

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Shopify cannot match Magento or BigCommerce in customer-group segmentation and customer-group-based content (including product catalogue restrictions) at all plan levels. Shopify cannot also compete with Magento and Magento in customer-group-based promotions. Shopify Plus begins to address certain use cases via its Wholesale feature set. However, it is more focused in intent than the similar BigCommerce plan. Customers-groups are useful for marketing to customers with higher values, segmenting catalogs for consumers rather than retailers, and creating promotions for affiliates or partners. Magento’s customer-group feature is comparable to BigCommerce. However, Magento can also be used to ‘go beyond’ by using its multi-site, multiple-store capabilities that allow for almost endless segmentation.

We saw BigCommerce lose to Shopify in channel sales in 2020. Shopify used its size to secure commitments from Walmart. These commitments are only currently available through BigCommerce 3rd party partners. Both platforms were part of the Instagram Shop and Facebook Shop launches. This was something that was not considered in many platform evaluations.

Shopify and Magento are falling short in the mid-market segment in key areas like its analytics and reporting capabilities. The reason is that the Plus plans have more powerful offerings, but come at a higher price than the Advanced plans.

Magento Community is often used by merchants in this market as a legacy solution. However, most merchants are now moving on as growing concerns about security, speed, uptime and speed have made Community’s hosted or owned approach seem outdated. These were once considered a part of ecommerce’s total cost of ownership. However, most merchants now view them as a platform feature.

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Magento Enterprise can compete with BigCommerce in feature category but falls prey to the same issues as the hosted approach. Although Magento offers a cloud solution now, the pricing is prohibitive for most merchants in this segment, so it’s not a viable competitor for this market segment.

Shopify Plus begins to rise in this segment’s top-end, along with Magento Enterprise. This is due to the fact that its fees are more accessible for merchants who handle over $5M per year. Shopify Plus still lacks many features, but the Shopify product team has filled in some of the gaps. Shopify can now offer promotional discounts and other offers through new scripting and API functionality. Shopify Wholesale closes the ecommerce gap that Magento and BigCommerce have exploited over time for B2B merchants.

Total cost of ownership

Again, the pecking order here is BigCommerce Enterprise and Shopify Plus, Magento Community and Magento Enterprise.

TCO is primarily determined by the cost of maintaining the hosting speed, security, and uptime for mid-market merchants. BigCommerce Enterprise and Shopify Plus both effectively address this as part their billings. Magento Enterprise and Magento Community rely on third-party hosting providers to keep them up to date. This can lead to additional maintenance costs that run into the thousands of dollars per year, but does not address hosting speed or uptime.

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BigCommerce Enterprise plans start at $1,500 per month. However, there are promotions and offers for annual contracts that can lower that cost. Shopify Plus typically starts at $2,000 per month. However, due to some transaction fees and other pitfalls, many Shopify Plus merchants start closer to $2,500 per month. Shopify, like BigCommerce, is quick to offer discounts to merchants who are prepared to sign up to long-term contracts.

Magento Enterprise and Magento Community hosting are usually priced between $300 and $500 per month. Prices will rise as server demand increases. As Enterprise customers are the focus of many partners for Magento Enterprise hosting, it is worth noting that many will offer faster hosting. Hosting can be too expensive for the lower half of this segment. On-demand and cloud services are better options to avoid excessive costs. Starting quotes for Magento Enterprise small customers are usually around $1,000 per month.

Magento Community and Enterprise both lose control over the total cost of ownership. Security and maintenance can be costly. Support for custom Magento storefronts can easily run to $15,000 per year, without considering new features and enhancements.

Shopify Plus has a lower upfront cost than BigCommerce, but this is offset somewhat by the lower transaction fees. Shopify Plus is also more dependent on custom scripting, development, and may still find that they have to pay a lot for third-party apps to access functionality that’s available to BigCommerce Enterprise customers.

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Ease-of-Use

We already covered BigCommerce, Shopify, and Magento Enterprise in the lower tier. Once we have passed the actual rankings, we will spend most of our time with Magento Community, Magento Enterprise, and Magento Enterprise.

BigCommerce is narrowly ahead of Shopify in ease-of-use in this segment of ecommerce. Although we appreciate the ease of theme editing and certain actions, such as launching promotions, Shopify is still ahead of BigCommerce. However, Shopify’s dependence on third-party apps and custom scripts for many merchants within this category causes problems with ease-of-use. Merchants will have to deal with problems if the store’s ecosystem becomes less cohesive and regulated.

Magento Enterprise and Magento Community saw a major upgrade in ease of use when they switched to v2. They adopted many of the same look and feel as BigCommerce and Shopify merchants from years past. Two things are still limiting their potential.

First, the overall platform language is still a little clunky. This speaks to Magento’s early days as a developer-first platform. Many merchants will not be able to identify an attribute or set. It is possible that they may not be able to quickly understand what a static block looks like. It may be difficult for some to distinguish between Magento’s two main discounting segments. HINT: The first is what the customer has in their cart and the second is predefined sales and promotions that are available throughout a store.

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Shopify and Shopify Plus are two examples. Secondly, the dependence on apps and customization tends to blur the UX. It becomes more difficult to maintain institutional knowledge and training for complex ecommerce businesses. You pay for the cost elsewhere, even though some customization and app integration might allow you to do more with the platform.

Marketability

The marketability of ecommerce platforms at this size of business makes things more interesting. Why?

For one, businesses tend to be marketing to more diverse customer groups when in the ‘million-dollars-plus’ ecommerce category. Ecommerce platforms will be able to offer more tailored marketing offers to certain channels, whether they are major or minor.

The major marketing channels are SEO (organic Search Ranking), PPC, PPC (paid advertisement through other networks than Google), social media marketing (except paid social), email marketing and affiliate marketing. Retargeting and marketing are often combined with paid advertising formats. Things like influencer marketing tend to be placed in the PR or affiliate category. Non-digital formats such as radio and television are excluded because they can still be ambiguous for most ecommerce companies.

BigCommerce Enterprise is our favorite platform for SEO. It has a clear advantage with built-in XML sitemaps and HTML sitemaps, as well as alt image tagging and the ability to provide proper headings.

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Magento Community and Enterprise are able to compete in many of these areas. However, slower load times and higher costs of speed optimization can deter them from winning.

Shopify Plus scores well in speed (Shopify’s theing language is fast, as we have previously discussed), but fails in all other areas. However, Shopify Plus’ SEO shortcomings don’t quite reach the level of being serious, ‘look-at-another-option,’ drawbacks. Shopify Plus stores with great SEO strategies, rich content, and strong in other areas (link building, et cetera) will rank alongside BigCommerce merchants.

You’ll notice a large number of Magento Community stores when you look at top-ranking sites in certain key categories. However, this number has decreased over the years. This doesn’t mean Magento Community is better than other SEO platforms. It just means that it was more popular among ecommerce merchants who have invested in SEO.

BigCommerce Enterprise is the clear winner in the SEM category for this merchant class. BigCommerce Enterprise’s OOTB feed capabilities make it easier to use and maintain than Shopify Plus and other Magento options. Its tagging tools and capabilities allow you to incorporate more complex data layers than those offered by Shopify Cart and checkout experiences. This allows you to do more with your SEM advertising efforts as well as their automation.

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One important feature makes Shopify the winner in social media marketing. Social media marketing is, frankly, a tough choice. Each of these services offer very little in the way native social media marketing support (nonpaid advertising), so most businesses will choose to use a paid SaaS for social media marketing to manage their content distribution and publication. Shopify’s biggest advantage is how easy and robust they make it possible to create buyable content from anywhere. Shopify allows for more decentralized buying than other platforms. This is a big advantage in social media.

All of the PPC platforms discussed today offer major, non-search, pay per click advertising opportunities. Due to their built nature, Magento Enterprise and Magento Community are more flexible to support PPC advertising efforts that target specific niches or industry verticals.

Magento store owners have greater opportunities to integrate their store data with paid advertising channels if they are properly implemented. Data can be more actionable, and, as we have already mentioned, automated, if there is more communication between the ecommerce platform and advertising platform. This advantage could be significant over the years, as more machine learning and AI tools enter this space.

Magento Enterprise and Magento Community are the leaders in email marketing options. This is because their integrations to enterprise email marketing tools like Klaviyo and Bronto are more mature than those offered at BigCommerce or Shopify. Like the PPC or SEM categories, there is less flexibility when it comes to capturing and retaining customer information for audience segmentation and remarketing.

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Magento Community and Enterprise are also tops in affiliate marketing because they offer deeper integration for homegrown or affiliate marketing networks, which is more common in this business level. BigCommerce and Shopify tend to keep affiliate marketers in their grasp (integration usually occurs via JS tagging or post-transaction API connections), making it more difficult to understand what is driving a business’ affiliate results.

PR activities tend to take place outside the platform. Also, since all ecommerce platforms have more strict OOTB support to provide unique content experiences, there is no one platform that stands out more than any other. It is worth noting that both BigCommerce and Shopify hosting are capable of handling huge spikes in traffic associated with successful PR campaigns. Clients on Today, GMA, Ellen, and the NYT have experienced massive, sustained traffic to their websites at different plan levels, without any significant impact on site performance. Although a Magento environment properly configured could achieve the same result, the merchant might have to bear more of the costs.

Business Viability

This segment is the most competitive in the ecommerce marketplace. Although there are plenty of ads that target enterprise merchants larger than this, the top of the ecommerce market is very invested in homegrown solutions. These solutions are so closely tied to other business operations it would be difficult to separate them.

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We believe that our three competitors are fairly evenly matched in this area. So we’ll briefly outline why we believe they’re viable and what concerns we have.

  • Shopify and Shopify Plus. Shopify, a publicly traded company, generates revenue from a wider range of categories than BigCommerce and Magento. This creates stability which can be both promising on the surface but worrying at the deeper levels. Shopify is dependent on where its money comes from. This means that businesses may not feel as motivated to invest in ecommerce. It has achieved great success in the ecommerce market and is likely to have a better market position that BigCommerce and Magento because of its affiliate marketing efforts, marketing budget and marketing budget.
  • Magento Community and Enterprise. Over the past several years, Magento has been struggling in the viability category. In recent years, it has been under different ownerships and each time it changes, it seems to try to redefine itself and which market segment it wants to be. It has been able to offer tried-and-true small business products using Magento Go. However, it has also been able to monetize the mid-market category with some packaged offerings for Magento Community. Now, it seems that it wants to go upmarket with Magento Enterprise Cloud and Magento Enterprise Cloud. BigCommerce and Shopify have both taken advantage of the uncertainty surrounding the business to move into larger merchant categories than they would have if Magento had not failed. It is the most important one of the three that we are concerned about for the long-term viability of the business.
  • BigCommerce is the smallest entity of the three, but it is well-positioned to succeed in the long-term and short-term. It has a well-funded team with partners who have extensive digital experience and are interested in it. This allows it to gain a foothold within the small-enterprise and mid-market space, which is something that many other companies struggle with. The merchant count is impressive and we expect it to grow with the faster growth of its higher volume ecommerce merchant categories. Rumours have also suggested that it may be looking at an IPO to raise awareness and cash for the product.
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If we had to rank them, Shopify and Shopify Plus, BigCommerce, and then the Magento offerings would be our top choices.

Phew! We’re now on to the last merchant category. We’ll keep it short, as much of what we have already said still applies. Before we get to the standalone platform overviews, we’ll make a few last differentiations.

Ecommerce for Small Businesses, Larger Companies ($15M+).

We are primarily focused on ecommerce platforms and not ERPs or custom ecommerce platform. This is why we don’t work as often with this type of ecommerce site. This space is not something that most of our ecommerce platforms engage in as often.

This doesn’t mean Shopify Plus, BigCommerce Enterprise and Magento Community won’t make occasional appearances above the $15M threshold. They do, however, with more than one store each. This is just to state that this isn’t their main focus and they have a lot of work ahead.

What types of businesses could make $15M or more on our selections?

They are usually direct-to-consumer companies that have substantial retail presence or distribution and significant brand awareness. This drives revenue to their online store. The ecommerce store is secondary and therefore has lower performance requirements than other sales channels. This also meant that executives were less confident about the ecommerce website’s competitiveness and quality.

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That is changing quickly, however, and one of the greatest greenfield opportunities for ecommerce platforms, is their ability successfully to transfer retail store success to an online store success for merchants.

In our profile of a typical small business customer, we also noted that they often offer a direct-to consumer product (but not necessarily selling directly). Why? Why?

These are not hard and fast rules. We’ve worked on many projects which broke all of these assumptions and then ground them underfoot. However, this category is often more difficult to type.

Who are our top picks for this space?

Magento Enterprise is the first. Shopify Plus and BigCommerce Enterprise are close to each other in this category. BigCommerce may barely be able to edge its mathematically named rival. Magento Community is not a contender in this merchant tier. Let’s take a look at our five categories and see why.

Features

Magento Enterprise, or Adobe Commerce Cloud, is focused on this market more than any other ecommerce platform. This platform also has a lot more history, as it has been supporting this market for almost ten years.

It can be deployed on-premise or hosted, and it also offers a cloud option. This is a great choice for IT professionals and CTOs who have different requirements to support their ecommerce projects. It’s also very feature-rich and can be easily extended and customized. It also allows for more customizations than our SaaS platforms BigCommerce Enterprise and Shopify Plus, which is important from an integration perspective.

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Although more IT professionals and CTOs are adapting to SaaS’ limitations, some are still resistant to the possibility that their primary software vendor might say ‘no. This resistance can be exacerbated by the cost of additional business-software and operations systems. Many ERPs are more rigid and difficult to replace or integrate than SaaS ecommerce platforms. They also require more flexibility to add new features to the ecosystem. Magento Enterprise offers the greatest opportunity.

Although we’ve covered some of these features in the mid-market section of this article, I will highlight a few that are key to our ranking behind Magento Enterprise.

  • Magento Community almost got the axe due to security concerns and PCI compliance. Although they offer similar offerings to Magento Enterprise, concerns over its security and PCI compliance will quickly eliminate Magento Community from consideration.
  • Shopify Plus is able to surpass BigCommerce Enterprise in this market because of three features:
    • Shopify Plus is an international platform offering a wider range of native language support and robust multi-currency support. This makes Shopify Plus attractive to large enterprise brands.
    • Shopify Plus is also a better choice than BigCommerce because it allows non-platform specific developers to join. Our larger clients desire the ability to support their own development work. Shopify Plus makes it easy for them to bring their teams onto Shopify.
    • Shopify offers native integrations with Walmart Marketplace and Shopify, an app called Shopify, to allow merchants to sell natively through multiple channels. Shopify also recently announced partnerships with Google’s E-commerce offerings.
  • BigCommerce Enterprise does not just give this category to Shopify Plus. These are some counterpunches Shopify can’t block:
    • BigCommerce is able to handle more complex catalogues and audiences than Shopify, as we have seen in other areas. BigCommerce makes it easy to create stores for different audiences.
    • BigCommerce can also support international merchants. However, its offerings in international languages may leave you searching for a third party to assist with what it can do.
    • BigCommerce is also a leader in the headless space. BigCommerce stores such as those run by the Harvard Business Review are reliant on headless commerce for fast loading and unique shopping experiences.
    • BigCommerce’s API is a key reason why it won as a headless platform. It also allows BigCommerce’s e-commerce shopping Cart to be integrated into ERP, POS and PIM solutions for businesses that have more experience in these software categories.
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Total cost of ownership

TCO is not as important at this merchant size as in other areas. Many businesses have thrown their budgets away because they believe that, given their size, it is necessary. This is the main problem with most of the top ecommerce platforms’ ‘Enterprise Class’ partners. Many of them charge more because they are Enterprise Class.

There are differences between agencies in size, capabilities, processes and familiarity with the platform. However, they are not always reflected on the ecommerce platform’s ‘enterprise badges. These badges often reflect more on sales volume than actual client satisfaction or development capabilities. Coalition is a good place to start a conversation with small enterprises that are interested in ecommerce. We don’t pay any fees for our relationship with the platform. It was earned through work and client outcomes.

Despite this, the total cost to own Magento Enterprise is the same as elsewhere. Magento Enterprise will be the most expensive, despite being the winner in the feature battle. Shopify Plus and BigCommerce Enterprise have a greater share of ongoing costs. However, Shopify’s dependence on custom API development tends increase the cost for initial builds and migrations. This gives BigCommerce Enterprise a slight advantage.

Ease-of-Use

Another area in which our ratings and evaluations for small and medium-sized businesses still hold true is this.

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Ecommerce software can be a surprise to enterprise software users due to its intuitive interfaces and appearance. Our experience has shown that enterprise-grade software solutions can be unnecessarily complicated, require special language and training, and are often modified to suit one business unit only.

Ecommerce solutions that are designed for smaller customers who have worked their way up tend to be easier to use, especially if they were created for them. Enterprise users can be frustrated by the absence of certain features and back-end labeling. This may not seem like a big deal on a larger scale. The majority of ecommerce platforms that we are referring to lack the functionality that an enterprise tool may have for fulfillment, finance, manufacturing, or other functions that would be obvious to enterprise users.

However, BigCommerce Enterprise, Shopify Plus and Magento Enterprise remain the top three. BigCommerce Enterprise is able to hold its own due to its more integrated functionality and less dependence on custom development. Shopify Plus is a close second, beating Magento Enterprise due to a stronger and more intuitive admin feature set as well as a simpler language for site administration.

Marketability

We can almost duplicate the ratings we gave each platform in our previous ranking of mid-market merchants. Magento Enterprise is the overall winner, provided that all extensions and adaptations are made in a timely manner. Magento Enterprise offers a lot more flexibility than BigCommerce Enterprise and Shopify.

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Smaller enterprises often have more business units, contractors, and teams involved in marketing initiatives at scale. Many businesses will use their own software to track and report and will require access to the software.

Magento Enterprise has enough flexibility to meet these requirements. BigCommerce Enterprise offers a stronger integration option than Shopify Plus. However, Shopify Plus’ recent Launch rollout provides marketing teams with much-needed scheduling capabilities.

Business Viability

We have already discussed the business characteristics of Shopify and BigCommerce in previous sections.

It is important to remember that while BigCommerce and Shopify are trying to expand into this space, Magento Enterprise has lived in this area for most of its existence. BigCommerce and Shopify have core audiences that they need to keep running, so it is important to balance other requirements with the desire to expand into small and large enterprise ecommerce. Magento is not subject to the same consideration as BigCommerce, since it is its foundational area.

We believe Magento and its Enterprise team will be able to stabilize the platform’s industry perception, define their vision, and bring back key partners that were lost to BigCommerce and Shopify over the years. This would make it a formidable competitor.

These are not easy tasks for Magento. They will find out over time if they are able to get the ship right quickly enough to not have to take up two more seats at the table.

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