Selecting the best-fit eCommerce platform has always been a tough task requiring merchants to put much thought, deep research and careful planning. This hardship multiplies when you intend to build a B2B website. Yet, your confusion would be cleared away now by our comparison article of 3 giants: Magento vs Shopify vs BigCommerce.
However, make sure to draft your business goals, vision, budget, and expectations first. By doing these, you can align them with the following criteria to pick a platform that matches your road in many aspects as possible. We say this because it’s literally impossible to find a 100% perfect platform to build your B2B online store on.
Moreover, you should define your company size, estimated annual revenue, depth of integration, and affordability. These play as leading indicators to answer your question – “What is the best B2B platform?”
Now, if you’ve taken the above actions, let’s glide down. This resource compares Magento vs BigCommerce vs Shopify through main criteria including B2B features, pricing, time-to-market, and many more.
Take a close look at the three popular B2B platforms right now!
Road to Magento, Shopify, and BigCommerce
The first section provides an overview of Magento, Shopify, and BigCommerce related to their identity, their main strengths and weaknesses.
Their Race to Fit B2B eCommerce Community
Magento vs Shopify vs BigCommerce History
Launched in 2007 as a replacement for a popular platform called osC Commerce, Magento had quickly gained popularity.
Magento shifted from targeting all online business sizes to focusing on medium-to-large ones at the enterprise level. Mentioning B2B eCommerce, Magento always tops the chart thanks to its superior power in building a complete B2B site.
Magento Commerce offers essential features for both small and large B2B businesses, which covers every walk of a typical B2B buying journey.
And even when you use Magento Open Source, which doesn’t include B2B features available for free, there are still dozens of Magento 2 B2B extensions out there waiting for you to choose. Installing quality tools on your site helps smooth transactions between merchants and corporate customers and protects your budget significantly.
Revolving around B2C/B2B/B2M enterprises, Magento remains hard to beat.
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Unlike its counterpart, Shopify’s history is quite simple. Founded in 2004, the company has grown to be the most recognized eCommerce platform for small eCommerce businesses.
Shopify majors in the low end of the market, bringing simplicity to small retailers. Shopify Plus was launched in 2014 as a white glove solution. At that time, Shopify claimed that their SME’s core solution would remain the primary. Shopify Plus’ prices have recently gone up, and they aim to strike bigger businesses.
Nevertheless, in the current B2B race, regarding the comprehensiveness of an eCommerce B2B solution, Shopify Plus is still lagging due to its lack of must-have functions by default. You will need to find help from external apps.
Despite being born after the two competitors above, BigCommerce, an easy-to-use platform, is advancing dramatically with various out-of-the-box solutions.
Dissimilar to Magento, which gives almost all authority to its users, BigCommerce doesn’t require merchants to have an in-house development team; instead, they keep everything from hosting to infrastructure maintenance under their control.
Moreover, BigCommerce offers the Enterprise option serving B2B segments. Frankly, this just covers the purchase flow of a typical corporate buyer partly. To fully meet business demands, you need to integrate BundleB2B from the third-party provider. Features like product reviews, digital marketing, and loyalty programs are their strengths.
In brief, Magento vs Shopify vs BigCommerce, all of them originally started their entry into the B2C market; however, soon after that, they hit the B2B market by launching premium versions to win the pie in this market.
Current B2B Performance
Looking at the eCommerce market in general, Shopify currently has far superior usage volumes than its peers. Magento follows Shopify, and BigCommerce receives the smallest number of usages among the three competitors.
The most obvious explanation for this popularity is the platform’s target audience. Shopify, an easy-to-use no code to low code platform, aims at beginners/ early adopters who are the majority of the online business society.
Meanwhile, Magento and BigCommerce target enterprises operating on a much larger scale with more complex requirements.
Yet, when it comes to the B2B eCommerce world, the game is reversed. This time, Adobe (Magento) takes the throne, and BigCommerce is chasing. Shopify doesn’t even appear in the Forrester Wave evaluation about B2B Commerce Suites.
To be more specific, Forrester’s table highlights Leaders, Strong Performers, Contenders, and Challengers.
According to Forrester’s report, Adobe (Magento) holds the leader position in B2B Commerce. The main reason for this dominance is Magento offers users flexibility, high customization ability and a global partner ecosystem. For many years, it has served as both an on-premises and self-hosted solution for all business models.
Not inferior to its peers, BigCommerce is rated as a Strong performer and becomes a huge risk to other platforms’ position. Failing to meet vertical industry needs could be a major cause of BigCommerce being underestimated. In return, the strength of this software is supporting various growth stages with innovative features.
Magento vs Shopify Plus vs BigCommerce: Comparison Criteria for B2B eCommerce Platforms
Must-have B2B Capabilities to Serve Online Corporate Customers
No matter which platform you pick, you should bear in mind indispensable features for a sustainable B2B website development.
- Catalog filtration: Most B2B businesses serve multiple customer groups, so it’s a must to have the ability to create interactive digital catalogs with restrictions. Controlling what B2B buyers can see minimizes the confusion and streamlines the purchasing process.
- Self-service: B2B buyers are more and more demanding B2C-like experience, so equip buyers with self-service functionalities such as account/ order management, shipment tracking and reordering.
- Pricing and discounts: A fundamental B2B eCommerce platform must allow merchants to customize pricing rules based on country, region or customer account type. Similarly, it should let you grant discounts to bulk orders or grouped products, for example.
- Sales rep enablement: Large B2B websites need a well-managed sales team to deliver the correct information to customers. Your online business needs a feature to streamline communication between sales reps and buyers via online channels.
- Company management: You’re doing transactions with companies, not individuals; therefore, find a B2B solution that facilitates B2B buyers to manage their purchase team.
- Fast ordering: This is the key feature of any eCommerce store striving to deliver a real B2B experience. Your platform must be able to fasten the bulk ordering process of corporate customers.
- Negotiation support: Most B2B transactions go through a pricing negotiation process, so don’t forget to make online requests for quotes as transparent as face-to-face dealing.
- Prebuilt, deep integrations: A competent B2B vendor today must bring users to ease of integration. This means the integrated solution is administrable within common tooling and applies real-time changes.
Overall, let’s seek a platform with a business customer-centric mindset. They should include features to simplify workflows for both B2B sellers (admin users) and sellers. The best vendors don’t rely mostly on major updates to enhance users’ experience. Instead, they make sure to commoditize vital B2B features, such as personalized catalogs, diversified pricing, quick ordering, and quoting.
* Remember that: B2B businesses become more innovative and more intuitive. They tend to be attracted to the “game-changing providers that amplify their deep integrations and join the administration of first- and third-party tools — all within a single, unified experience for ultimate efficiency”, claimed by Forrester.
Magento vs Shopify vs BigCommerce Comparison Chart
* B2B functionality is only included in Magento Commerce/ Commerce Cloud, Shopify Plus, BigCommerce Enterprise (advanced editions of each platform). If you want to enrich your website with B2B features in each vendor’s lower editions, you need to install third-party extensions/ apps.
** Please remember that the total cost of ownership varies based on specific business demands. We only show basic pricing categories. If you want an exact price, you have to contact each vendor for quoting.
*** Magento license cost is quite clear, described in the following table:
CHECK Magento B2B Pricing to calculate B2B site development costs more precisely.
**** Merchants not using Shopify Payments would be charged a 0.15% transaction fee.
***** Magento is a license-based, in-premise solution, so it can offer complete customization. You can build an experienced development team and manage your own development and deployment cycles, which is quite hard for those using Saas platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce.
Magento vs BigCommerce vs Shopify Plus: How They Look
Here, we show some storefront and backend images of each platform so you can visualize them.
When comparing Magento vs Shopify vs BigCommerce, it’s undeniable that Magento has a highly expansive admin page with excellent management capabilities. It encompasses all the manageable categories of a typical B2B business from sales, products, customers to reports.
The Company account feature of Magento gives your corporate customers a shared account. B2B sellers can add multiple users to this account and grant them different roles and permissions. This screenshot shows how the customer dashboard looks.
Here is the default Magento frontend, and you can efficiently utilize tons of stunning Magento 2 B2B themes to make your website more appealing and professional.
B2B buyers can use this quick order form in the storefront to place bulk orders in the blink of an eye.
The biggest advantage of the BigCommerce admin page is the easy-to-see, easy-to-use layout with core functions.
In the storefront, you can experience catalog management, quick order pad and advanced search.
Quick Order Form
The Shopify Plus wholesale channel is based on your existing store, which shares the exact product/ customer/ order data and so on.
Its core is built around price lists allowing admin users to set custom pricing and pricing logic for individuals, groups of products, and customers/ customer tags.
At the moment, users can choose channels to manage their B2B/ wholesale storefront with Shopify Plus (all based around having a second B2C store), including:
- Shopify Wholesale Channel: a fully dedicated channel for selling products via wholesale;
- Theme customization for different tagged customer groups: adapting the overall experience for the logged-in assigned to a wholesale group;
- Creating a completely separate Shopify storefront for wholesale.
So, Magento vs Shopify Plus vs BigCommerce – Which Suits Your B2B eCommerce Store?
We’ve arrived at the final part of this weighing battle. Hopefully, you’ve answered the question: “what is the best b2b platform for my business?”. As mentioned before, each has its own pros and cons; the best advice is to consider your financial status, business goals/ visions, annual revenue, product line, and customization needs to pick the best fit.
the spectrum demonstrates the flexibility level of platform types. If you highly demand the flexibility and crave for customizing as you wish, Magento would be a perfect choice. And vice versa. BigCommerce and Shopify work best for non-techies with less specific business needs and need software to control things.
in case you can estimate your annual revenue, or your offline business has recorded the total annual revenue, it would be clearer in choosing a platform to shift your company online.
- For those generating less than $300M in annual revenue, pick Shopify/ BigCommerce. With simpler inventory and order management (compared to giant B2B companies), SMBs don’t really need the complexity of heavyweight platforms.
- B2B businesses earning over $300M annually should consider Magento with the ability to handle massive product lines, orders, customers, and more. Magento’s above-par functionality allows you to replicate a B2C-style experience for B2B segments.
different growth directions also affect your choice of platforms.
- For beginners who haven’t equipped much technical knowledge and just want to launch a small B2B business as soon as possible, Shopify/ Shopify Plus would be suitable. They own a vast community with many supportive apps, which can handle complicated things for users and simplify tech portfolios. Anyways, Shopify only excels at B2C, so their features are incoherent and not really tied to B2B. Therefore, it would be an unwise choice for large-scale B2B businesses with a view of expansion to more markets.
- BigCommerce targets growth-minded brands that differentiate on customer experience. Users appreciate their above-par A/B testing and platform integration but expect improvements in order and price management. If you’re experimenting with new markets, launching a sub-brand, striving to move away from legacy platforms, let’s consider BigCommerce.
- Magento perfectly suits brand-centric B2B companies that evolve rapidly and differentiate on experience. They offer extraordinary customization ability, superior functionality in mobile and A/B & multivariate testing. Also, a myriad of Magento implementation partners delivers innovative solutions for sub-industry niches. Yet, Magento users still hope to receive better upgrades and pre-built integration connectors.
In brief, you get a say in customizing and managing your B2B website when using Magento; however, you will also have a greater responsibility than those using Shopify or BigCommerce. With Magento, you can’t handle it yourself; it’s a must to hire a developer team to build, go live, maintain and support your eCommerce store.
Bear in mind that freedom means more responsibility and more robust experiences; in return, lack of freedom restricts tons of needed features but is safer and easier to use.
BSS Commerce is one of the leading Magento B2B extension providers and B2B web development services in the world. With experienced and certified Magento developers, we commit to bring high-quality products and services to optimize our business effectively. Contact now to let us know your problems. We are willing to support you every time for the best wholesale website.