As demand soars for all types of online buying, even well-established ecommerce businesses are reviewing and revising their offer. Others are looking for ways to disrupt the market with new and exciting approaches.
Adobe’s Magento platform remains firmly in the ‘leader’ category in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for digital commerce platforms. BigCommerce features as a ‘challenger’ and newly-updated Dynamics 365 Commerce adds powerful ecommerce functionality to the breadth of Microsoft’s business offer.
Here we compare each platform’s approach and the benefits they can bring to your business.
Dynamics 365 Commerce
Microsoft first announced plans for an extended commerce offer in September 2019, with additional tools for ecommerce and the internet of things (IoT). It provides a content management system, pre-built artificial intelligence (AI) models to support online sales, and integration across the Dynamics 365 family, including Customer Insights, Customer Engagement, Fraud Protection, Supply Chain Management, Finance, and Marketing. This makes it an attractive option for businesses that already operate in a Microsoft environment. It can be hosted on site or in the cloud on Microsoft Azure.
The roadmap includes support for point of sale (POS) functionality, customer insight and omnichannel operation.
Magento Commerce is the successor to Magento Enterprise Edition (EE) and is available as an on-premise solution or as Magento Commerce Cloud, which is a hosted platform as a service (PaaS). There are a number of tiers available including Cloud Starter and Cloud Essentials and the pricing for both on-premise and cloud-based options is now similar.
BigCommerce is a software as a service (SaaS) ecommerce solution which is popular with businesses that are building their online presence and in-house skills.
Founded in 2009, the original aim was to allow small businesses to start a professional online store easily, including store set-up functionality, customizable design themes, hosting, catalog management, and order management.
There are two plans for new or small to mid-size businesses, and two plans for larger or high-volume businesses. Features include fraud monitoring, abandoned cart saver, and product ratings.
Choosing the right solution for your business
Important factors influencing your choice will include your in-house technical skills, business requirements, and budget.
Here are some of the top considerations you will want to look at:
- ease of use
- APIs and extensions
- payment options
- mobile ecommerce
- headless ecommerce.
Ease of Use
Dynamics 365 Commerce comes with user-friendly ecommerce features built in and you can also use tools available in the cloud on Azure. You will probably need the help of a Microsoft certified partner to build and optimize your site.
Magento is well documented but some technical knowledge and understanding are needed, so choosing a certified partner is a good idea if you choose it as your platform.
BigCommerce is designed for businesses without strong in-house web development and design skills, although it also allows more technical users and developers to get involved with the coding too.
Dynamics 365 Commerce has a healthy software ecosystem and apps are available for customization. You also have access to products such as Azure Cognitive Search and built-in artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.
Magento Commerce has plenty of ecommerce features straight out of the box and Magento open source means that developers can make modifications and extensions for a wide range of complex business requirements and niche workflows.
The BigCommerce Page Builder visual editor provides flexibility to change your site’s look and feel without any coding expertise. There’s also a theme framework to build customized online stores and an advanced customization framework.
APIs and extensions
Effective application programming interfaces (APIs) support smooth integrations.
Dynamics 365 Commerce provides an architecture that integrates well with third-party APIs available on AppSource. Power Automate allows you to create automated processes between your favorite apps and services.
The Magento Marketplace offers over 5,000 extensions so it’s a good idea to plan your integration requirements carefully and to check licensing costs for third-party connectors and integration services.
BigCommerce allows you to connect existing systems and your own bespoke tools or to build new functionality with its own API architecture.
Payments in Dynamics 365 Commerce and Magento payments are both integrated with multilingual payment processors, making them good choices if you have plans to expand your ecommerce operations internationally.
BigCommerce offers 65 pre-integrated online payment solutions, suitable for 230 countries and over 140 currencies, designed to work across all devices including options like digital wallets.
None of these platforms charge transaction fees.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
To sell online successfully your site needs to be easy to find and navigate. As you would expect, all three platforms offer powerful SEO tools such as optimized and unique URLs, tailored snippets and tools to improve site speed, for example.
Dynamics 365 Commerce can take your SEO strategy as far as you wish, either managing it in-house or with the help of specialist providers
Magento is SEO-friendly out of the box, and there is a wide range of apps to enhance SEO capabilities.
BigCommerce also offers a comprehensive range of SEO tools and there are also a range of SEO apps available.
A big challenge for fast-growing ecommerce businesses is the need to respond quickly and cost-effectively to increased demand. This makes scalability an important consideration.
The Dynamics 365 and Azure infrastructure provides flexibility to scale when you need to, making it attractive to cost-conscious businesses that are preparing for rapid growth. The embedded Commerce Cloud Scale Units support seamless switching between online and offline channels for stability.
Magento Commerce offers proactive monitoring and scaling as well as the ability to handle enterprise-level traffic for large and rapidly growing ecommerce businesses.
BigCommerce has a variety of features that offer strong scalability beyond adding and sharing new products. As a cloud-based service your plan can be flexible, while upgrades and patches are implemented straight away to maintain site performance and security.
Dynamics 365 Commerce safeguards data with built-in security management and compliance. There are flexible deployment options and integrated tools to support international compliance and security standards, so business transactions can be expanded globally.
Magento works on a shared responsibility security model with its customers to maintain a secure commerce experience. Magento provides secure managed services and verifies compliance, while customers manage their Magento application, providing flexibility for customization and innovation.
Similarly, BigCommerce prioritizes privacy and security, and looks to customers to follow good security and compliance practices. Measures feature robust SaaS security, fraud prevention, information security standards and compliance frameworks.
For businesses with exceptional security requirements, on-premise hosting is an option worth considering, available for Dynamics 365 Commerce and Magento Commerce. It provides complete control over security, availability and stability. The compromise is the need to have in-house IT expertise, which can limit opportunities for innovation and flexibility.
Magento’s PaaS option is popular with developers who can control their applications, while storage, servers and networking are managed by the provider. It’s a cost-effective, resilient and flexible option.
With BigCommerce SaaS you can access your solution via the internet and any IT issues with applications, data, runtimes, servers, storage, and networking will be managed for you.
In the UK mobile ecommerce or m-commerce is expected to make up more than half of retail ecommerce sales this year.
For business to consumer (B2C) and B2B companies this is a trend that’s too important to ignore. This involves more than a responsive design; m-commerce features include:
- mobile money transfers
- digital content purchases and delivery
- contactless payments and in-app payments
- location-based services
- mobile marketing, coupons, and loyalty cards.
Dynamics 365 Commerce integration supports consistent cross-channel customer experiences on any device with options to choose payment types, collection and delivery methods, for example.
Magento offers mobile commerce options including a mobile-friendly checkout and integrations with payment gateways like PayPal and Braintree. The progressive web application (PWA) option from the PWA Studio provides mobile app-like experiences combined with easy searchability and purchasing. Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) extensions are available to deliver fast page load times for mobile shoppers.
BigCommerce mobile features include native support for AMP, a shopping cart optimized for mobile commerce and a growing app marketplace.
A headless ecommerce approach will allow you to separate your customer presentation level from all your underlying systems, providing flexibility to test, develop and innovate without back-office changes. As customer acquisition costs (CAS) rise, this option is becoming a popular choice to keep ahead of competitors in a fast-changing environment.
Dynamics 365 Commerce brings together all aspects of customer interaction and its Commerce Scale Unit provides access to APIs across Dynamics 365 and third-party applications.
Magento provides options to integrate headless elements into your existing ecommerce architecture. At the front-end it integrates with Adobe Experience Manager, combining digital asset management and content management for either a headless or hybrid commerce approach. Powerful APIs are available out of the box to streamline access to different customer touch points and integration options.
BigCommerce has decoupled the presentation layer from its commerce engine, allowing multiple stores across different front-end solutions using a single BigCommerce account. Using powerful APIs, its core components can be extended and connected to any other environment to increase efficiency and reduce bottlenecks. It offers a single control panel to manage its Channels API and Channels Toolkit.
Work with an experienced partner
Whatever you choose for your business, our experience as a Microsoft Dynamics Partner, Magento Solution Partner, and BigCommerce Strategic Partner means we can help you to realise the full potential of these powerful ecommerce solutions.
Find out how we can help you take the next step in your ecommerce evolution. Speak with one of our experts.