The world of digital commerce is exploding with new ideas, technologies, platforms, products, delivery methods and markets. The online revolution and high level of competition is pushing the companies to be innovative and come up with new products, explore new markets or just provide a better way of delivering the same product. The digital commerce platforms only make it harder for the merchants to choose a platform due to the choice of features they are offering. This article compares Shopify with other platforms such as Magento and BigCommerce in line with Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce.

By 2020, more than 50% of online sellers will either list their products on marketplaces or sell third-party products on their core commerce sites.

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce

From the outside, platforms offer similar functionality and the depth of case studies available by each ecommerce platform is so wide that it makes it very difficult for the merchant to make the right decision. A quick look at the magic quadrant below will show Magento as the clear leader whereas Shopify and BigCommerce are neck to neck in the niche players segment.

Gartner magic quadrant for digital commerce

Shopify

The magic quadrant shows Shopify at the top of the niche players segment. With a GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) of less than $50 million, Shopify’s main target market is B2C companies with various plans aimed at SMEs and Shopify Plus aimed at the enterprise customers. Although the wholesale features can be bolted on using third party apps but the primary strength of the software remains with the B2C market. Shopify like most platforms was lagging behind in multicurrency and multistore offering but it stands to fill some of these gaps in the very near future. At the recent partner conference, Unite 2018 hosted in early May in Toronto, Canada, Shopify has announced new features which will clearly provide an edge to the growing ecommerce platform. Some of these features will be very useful for some of our clients and these are:

  • Connectors for Shopify Flow – an automation engine which will allow merchants to create workflows and link a trigger in one app to an outcome in another app thus allowing the store to automate the processes.
  • Locations – a smart feature to intelligently manage the inventory at different locations.
  • Multicurrency and Local Payments – Using Shopify Payments, merchants will now be able to offer multicurrency options to their end users. Not only that, end customers will be able to pay in their home currency.

Although there are a number of other features announced, we feel local payments is a clear winner. It is not offered by many platforms and will save the merchants a lot of hassle of creating multiple stores for different locations. Now they can manage just one store and customers can pay in their home currency. A winner!

In terms of limitations, in our view the lack of B2B features and the ability to customise the order process are two major drawbacks for Shopify. If you do not wish to sell wholesale or your products do not require theme customisations or bespoke configuration steps, then by all means Shopify is the go to platform.

Magento

Magento is clearly a leader in the Gartner’s magic quadrant and is a platform of choice by some of the leading brands in the world. With a merchant GMV of less than $50 million, Magento caters to both the B2C and B2B markets and has powerful enterprise level features like multistore capability right out of the box. Not only that, Magento is available as a hosted SAAS solution as well as a community edition license which is completely free to use and is supported by a huge developer community. Some of these features makes Magento unmatched in its class.

Offering a community edition (CE) also means, store owners can have full control of the source code and they can pretty much customise any part of the platform. There is literally no limitation. You can customise the entire customer journey, the checkout process or develop your own product configurator. That is powerful and platforms like Shopify and Bigcommerce simply cannot match this level of control that Magento offers. Having said that, such power comes at a cost. You have to have a reliable development team available to you and the cost of development could be significant. You will also need to manage hosting and security of your own site.

Another interesting insight is that since publishing the gartner report in 2018, Magento has signed a definite agreement to be taken over by Adobe. This could be significant and could mean Magento becoming the go to platform in the enterprise market.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is a niche player in the magic quadrant with merchants having GMV less than $20 million. This places BigCommerce much lower than Shopify and Magento in the size of merchants. Although the company is privately held, it has raised $140 million to date.

As a SaaS hosted platform, BigCommerce comes bundled with featues and is very easy to get up and running with. BigCommerce is an excellent modular system which has been primarly used by small businesses. For non-technical audience BigCommerce offers more than 100 themes which can be personalised easily for your brand. The themes are responsive and have built-in SEO capabilities which makes it very useful indeed.

BigCommerce lacks in enterprise level functionality which is demanded by bigger merchants such as multistore and enhanced intentory/location management. With nearly 75% of client base in North America, the adoption of the platform and partner support structure globally is still on the lower side which makes it harder for partner worldwide to promote and support the system.