Shopify? Magento? Bigcommerce? Which is Right For You?

Shopify Magento Bigcommerce Which is right for you

This post is by Catalin Zorzini, an online business enthusiast who manages the Ecommerce Platforms blog, where he offers advice to ecommerce entrepreneurs on choosing a webstore platform. To put his own advice into practice, he has launched his own online shop at

Think about your primary sales platform.

Is it Amazon? Etsy? Do you complete most of your selling on eBay?

The world is going the way of the multi-vendor marketplace, and as many of you have realized, there are a lot of sales to be made through online marketplaces.

That said, many businesses place a sole focus on selling through marketplaces, leaving one huge diversification option out. It’s the online store, a place where you can customize your website and build your brand so you’re not at the mercy of marketplace policies and performance metrics.

I’m sure you all know what an online store is, but what about taking the steps to build that store? Do you have any idea how to compare different shopping cart software to discover which of them integrate the best with your current marketplace systems? What about pricing and features?

When turning to a service that provides ecommerce website building tools, let’s look at the three top solutions and compare them to assist in your decision.

The usual suspects are Shopify, Bigcommerce and Magento Community Edition, each of which support some of the top online stores in the world. Technically, you could randomly select one of these platforms and most likely do okay, but our goal is to show you exactly which one offers the ideal settings to take your business to the next level.



Can You Sync Orders and Inventory Into One System?

Right out of the box, syncing your orders and inventory with other channels is not possible with Shopify. However, apps are what make Shopify so awesome, so you can choose one to consolidate orders and inventory listings from places like eBay, Amazon and your website.

We recommend either Stitch Labs or Ordoro, since they both provide a complete view of your business, connecting all sales outlets and keeping the backend of your sales channels organized.

Stitch and Ordoro are in the Web Retailer directory, along with several other inventory management tools that work with Shopify.


Shopify’s pricing can’t compare to Magento, but in terms of long terms savings, this is your best bet. The company provides more plans to choose from compared to Bigcommerce, which may be confusing, but it opens up more options for different-sized businesses. In addition, you receive a 14-day free trial.

  • Lite – $9 per month for a small website without an online store (You get a Shopify Buy Button instead).
  • Basic – $29 per month for an online store and social selling modules.
  • Pro – $79 per month for decreased credit card rates, gift cards, professional reports and abandoned cart recovery.
  • Unlimited – $179 per month for further decreased rates, an advance report builder and real time carrier shipping.

Top Features

What stands out in terms of features for Shopify?

To start, the templates are better than anything else you’ll find on the market. Not to mention, they are extremely easy to customize and brand for your own company. You can also sell on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, and connect seamlessly with your brick and mortar shop.

But the true outlier with Shopify is the app store, since you can implement anything you want from email marketing tools to receipt upsells, all with apps.

Overall Admin Complexity

Bigcommerce and Shopify look pretty similar on the backend, but Shopify has less built-in. This is a good thing for beginners who get intimidated by lots of settings. What’s nice is that you can still get all the functionality with apps.

Are you a Shopify user? We would love it if you could tell the Web Retailer community what you like and don’t like about this platform.



Can You Sync Orders and Inventory Into One System?

If you decide to amplify your syncing and organization system, consider the ChannelUnity app (in the WR directory here). Like Shopify, Bigcommerce is well supported by a range of multi-channel management tools in the Web Retailer directory.

However, Bigcommerce has the unique advantage of actually providing a few multi-channel integrations without the need of an app. If you’re selling on eBay, Facebook and Google Shopping Actions, Bigcommerce has the tools for you including a built-in eBay lister. Amazon integration is under development.


How much can you expect to pay for Bigcommerce? Well, it doesn’t have nearly as many payment plans as Shopify, but the Standard solution pretty much gives you all the tools you need. That said, we like Shopify’s structure better since you have more flexibility with what you can pay.

However, Bigcommerce has a 15 day free trial which is nice.

  • Standard – $29.95 for businesses with up to $50,000 in sales per year.
  • Plus – $79.95 for businesses with up to $125,000 in sales per year.
  • Enterprise – custom pricing for high-volume businesses.

Top Features

Some stand-out features from Bigcommerce include a wide selection of beautiful themes, which are all quickly modifiable. Your fully loaded store comes with things like several payment gateways, social selling, a nice website builder and more.

We like that many of the marketing tools are already built-in, which isn’t exactly the case for Shopify and Magento. For example, you can use email marketing, product ads and multi-channel marketing, all from the convenience of your dashboard.

Overall Admin Complexity

As stated above, Bigcommerce has more built-in than Shopify, but it’s still really easy to use on the backend. I would put this closer to the beginner category than the intermediate zone, but some people might be a little intimidated by the wide set of features.

Have you used Bigcommerce? It would be great to hear about your experiences with this platform. You can write a review of Bigcommerce here.

Magento Community Edition


Can You Sync Orders and Inventory Into One System?

As with Shopify, it’s not exactly the easiest to manage your orders and inventory across multiple platforms with Magento. However, extensions make it super simple.

Check out the following solutions for individual dashboards:

As with Shopify and Bigcommerce, Magento has excellent support from a range of other inventory and channel management tools in the Web Retailer directory. M.O.M., M2E Pro and Stitch are all listed.


The Magento Community Edition is completely free. That’s right. You don’t have to pay a dime to get your site up and running. It’s open source, meaning you can download and install it on your computer and benefit from the work of the many designers and programmers who have contributed to the project in the past.

Magento also has an Enterprise Edition with custom pricing, but companies generally opt for the free solution.

That said, the chances of you spending nothing on Magento development are slim. In fact, one could argue that most businesses will end up spending more money on Magento than options like Shopify and Bigcommerce. High costs come along because Magento requires you to pay for a separate hosting account, and needs a higher amount of technical experience. Most people hire developers.

Top Features

Magento is by far the most powerful in terms of features. It’s one of the reasons so many large companies use it. However, this also makes it extremely complex for small to midsize companies. A few stand-out features include catalog management, product browsing, one-page checkout and amazing customer accounts.

Overall Admin Complexity

Technically, it’s not that hard to navigate around the Magento backend. However, most of the power comes into play when you know how to tweak the code and implement more complex extensions.

If you’re looking to build a simple site, I would say that anyone could do it. But once you try to scale, you almost always need someone who’s good with development.

The Consensus

Which platform is best for building your own ecommerce site depends on your situation. Beginners are not going to have fun with Magento, so skip that unless you have the technical knowledge. However, if you can manage the development, Magento is wonderful for scaling fast.

On the other hand, Bigcommerce has the tools needed for multi-channel selling. Some of the connections are built-in while others are in apps.

Shopify doesn’t have anything built-in, but you can combine multi-channel sales through a simple app. Overall I’d say Shopify is probably the best bet for many businesses, but your budget and needs may be different.

9 comments on “Shopify? Magento? Bigcommerce? Which is Right For You?

  1. Those three were the giants, and how about woocommerce. I’ve heard its easy to manage. Mangento cms is really good. whereas shopify is something better for newbies. As you told its all about type of business etailler about to venture. Thanks

  2. Hey Caroline & Timothy, thanks for stopping by.

    WooCommerce is great as well but it’s a totally different beast. It’s fantastic for people familiar with WordPress and we might need to cover that in a separate post.

    As for Prestashop, that can be great option as well for some users, but so are other dozens of ecommerce platforms. On my last count there were 120+ in total 🙂 We’ve tried to keep it short and sweet but if there’s enough interest I can do a follow-up with more of a niche selection

  3. I’m a bit surprised the fee scraping by Shopify is completely ignored in the pricing discussion.

    Shopify pulls a PayPal and takes a bit off the top of every order. So not only are you paying a monthly fee, you are paying them for YOUR sales. At least Ebay and Amazon are marketing themselves and you by proxy, but Shopify… what value add exists to pay fees for YOUR sales? I couldn’t find one.

    Also, they won’t allow you to use your own credit card processor!!

    I was literally at the point of signing up but these 2 items were total deal killers.

  4. Nothing was Mentioned about 3Dcart….. should be right in the running against Magento, shopify and bigcommerce ???? or am I missing somthing

  5. Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce have big communities. Beside them, OpenCart anf Prestashop become the favorite e-commerce platforms in 2015. WooCommerce leads about speech of development. I really want to say about WooCommerce beside three above shopping carts. Thanks for your comparison.

  6. We’re about to open an online store for high-end clothing in Brazil, using Shopify. But I just realized that Shopify doesn’t support partial payment (“parcelamento”), which is very common in Brazil (typically up to ten monthly installment, drawn automatically from the purchaser’s credit card), even for relatively low amounts. I understand that there exists two Shopify-integrated apps for partial payment (DeferPay and Partial.Ly), but that both of these require Stripe, which currently is not available in Brazil. Does anyone know if it’s still possible to solve this in Shopify, or if any of these other platforms supports “parcelamento” in Brazil? Or do you know where I could find this information? Many thanks in advance.

  7. I like Magento and Shopify. They are different. Magento is great for complex websites. Shopify is good for small websites with a few customizations.

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