The Best Magento Alternative is Bigcommerce. Here’s Why.

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Magento has long been a popular choice for mid-size e-commerce companies looking for platform control, flexibility and scalability. But with Magento 1 support coming to an end in June 2020, many Magento customers are wondering whether they should upgrade to the “not quite ready for primetime” Magento 2 or switch to another platform entirely. And if they were to migrate, what is the best Magento alternative?

Though the deadline may seem like a long time from now, upgrading to Magento 2 is not a simple task – you will need to completely re-license, reinstall and re-setup your entire store on a separate on-premise solution. So let’s discuss why it’s time for you to break up with Magento and migrate from Magento to BigCommerce instead.

Magento is High Maintenance

Like a demanding boyfriend or girlfriend, a relationship with Magento isn’t cheap or easy to maintain. First, you’ve got the cost of hosting/servers to run the system, along with an IT person to keep them running smoothly. Then you have the cost of an in-house developer or 3rd party Magento partner, who you need every time you want to add new features or fix bugs. Many Magento fans rave about how “flexible” it is, but being tied to all that extra personnel means your business has less flexibility overall.

Magento Demands a Lot of Attention

It’s not just the complexity of upgrading from Magento 1 to Magento 2. If you’ve been running Magento for several years, you know that staying up-to-date with the latest versions isn’t easy or cheap. Sure you want the new functionality, but at what cost? It’s not just the planning and development time; it’s the website downtime and lost revenue if something goes wrong or doesn’t work quite right post-update. Even if you do upgrade to Magento 2, how long will it be before Magento 3 is available and Magento 2 becomes obsolete, requiring another upgrade?

There are Other Fish in the Sea

It used to be that Magento was the big catch – the platform that all the big players had to have. But over the years, more choices have become available for e-commerce companies. The biggest expansion has been in the growth of hosted e-commerce plaforms like Shopify and BigCommerce. With extensive feature sets, less overhead cost and no upgrades required, these e-commerce newcomers quickly became popular for online stores of all sizes – startups to Inc 500 regulars. At this point, you really don’t need to stick with Magento with such viable, and often better, alternatives.

Why BigCommerce is the Best Magento Alternative

Shopify may have a lot of name recognition, but when it comes to features and cost, BigCommerce is hands-down the winner in the hosted e-commerce space. How do I know? I’ve been building BigCommerce stores for nearly a decade, and a few years ago I decided to expand my offerings to include Shopify services. I spent a lot of time with the platform, set up a few test stores and even built a couple Shopify websites for clients.

I quickly learned that Shopify just wasn’t as complete a solution as BigCommerce. Their feature set is much smaller, they rely a lot more on 3rd party apps (which may or may not work as advertised) and they charge a transaction fee if you don’t want to use their proprietary payment gateway. Even with their Shopify Plus offering, they weren’t a viable or cost-effective solution for my larger clients, especially those with extensive product catalogs.

So let’s look at what makes BigCommerce the best alternative for Magento 1 users.

Pricing That Encourages Growth

Cost is always going to be a factor for anyone seeking the best Magento alternative. Magento store owners can expect to pay at least $1500 monthly for hosting that’s capable of marketing-driven traffic spikes and the busy holiday season. Then add in the cost of your in-house IT person, developer and/or Magento partner(s), who you need to keep the platform running smoothly and handle updates. Finally, add in the cost of 3rd party services and apps. Magento can easily cost thousands of dollars a month regardless of how much money your website is bringing in. And that doesn’t include the license fee or Magento support, which costs over $3,000 per year!

BigCommerce is a hosted platform, so there’s no cost for servers or an IT person to maintain them. There’s a monthly hosting fee, but it scales with your annual revenue – small businesses pay less than large ones. There’s no license fee, and BigCommerce’s extensive feature set may save you money on 3rd party apps and custom development.

By reducing your platform costs, you’ll have more money to spend on marketing, hiring and investing in projects that take your business to the next level.

Reliability, Scalability and Support

BigCommerce maintains a 99.99% uptime for stores running on its platform, and has had 100% uptime between Black Friday and Cyber Monday for the last two years. BigCommerce Enterprise stores even have guaranteed SLAs (service level agreements) for infrastructure, database, application and support response times. Rather than worrying about whether your Magento hosting can handle the increased traffic of critical holiday times, you can focus on marketing and customer service.

Need help with your store? BigCommerce offers 24/7 support by phone, chat and email. This means you can get assistance any time you need it in whatever format is easiest for you.

Did You Know?

  • Magento offers a warranty on their licence as long as you have no customizations. But Magento is not an effective ecommerce solution unless you customize the platform to your unique business. Once you begin to do this, your Magento warranty is invalid.
  • Magento does not provide a real-time uptime guarantee. They offer a hosting uptime guarantee, but hosting uptime is not a substitute for real-time server uptime.
  • Magento’s support costs an extra $3,100 per year, is handled by a 3rd party agency and is typically only open Monday to Friday, 9 pm to 5 pm.

Automatic Updates and New Feature Releases

Unlike Magento, where updates require costly development to integrate, BigCommerce rolls out updates to your store automatically – and at no cost to you. That means you’re always on the latest version, without any involvement from an IT person or development partner. New features and bug fixes are applied to all BigCommerce stores as soon as they’re available, and because they’re developed by BigCommerce, they’ve been tested against the existing platform. You don’t need to worry about a new update breaking the functionality of an existing feature like you would with a customized Magento store. For current Magento users tired of the ongoing hassle of updates, this may be one of the most important reasons why BigCommerce is the best Magento alternative.

Trusted and Qualified Partners

BigCommerce’s partner marketplace is open and free to join. Unlike Magento partners, who must pay to join the marketplace (and aren’t required to show they’re proficient on Magento), BigCommerce partners must prove they are well-versed on the platform and can provide quality services to BigCommerce stores. BigCommerce has a certification program which denotes that partners have passed multiple tests about how the platform works.

In addition, the BigCommerce app marketplace only includes those which have been full vetted by BigCommerce, reducing any concerns about security vulnerabilities or plugins that might stop being supported over time.

The Myth of Owning Magento Code

Many Magento store owners will be wary of switching to a hosted solution like BigCommerce because of a fear of “not owning the code.” In reality, you don’t own the code – if you did, you’d pay for it once and wouldn’t have to pay a license fee. You’re paying Magento for the ability to customize the code to your needs. And once you do that, you not only lose your warranty, you lose out on automatic feature updates and bug fixes.

With BigCommerce, you don’t own the code. You own the content, which is really what makes your business unique. With a flexible API and the ability to extensively customize your storefront (thanks to the new Stencil theme engine), you can build a custom BigCommerce website, take advantage of automatic updates and new features, and never have to worry about uptime or “upgrading” to the next version.

Migrating from Magento to BigCommerce

Now that you know why BigCommerce is the best Magento alternative, are you ready to make the switch? Moving from Magento to BigCommerce is a very manageable process when you work with a Certified BigCommerce Partner like Duck Soup E-Commerce. We’ve worked with dozens of businesses who have chosen to migrate to BigCommerce from other platforms. From product creation to store setup, app installation to custom BigCommerce themes, we can provide everything you need to move from Magento to BigCommerce at an affordable cost. Contact us today for a quote.

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