Ultimate Shopping Cart Review: Shopify, Magento, ZenCart, BigCommerce, NopCommerce

UPDATED REVIEW HERE: BigCommerce 2012, Shopify 2012 & Magento 2012

By late April 2010, I found out that BigCommerce is the best e-commerce software platform so far. This conclusion is based on my own comprehensive review and testing. In fact, my new version of my product sales website Digital Temperature Gauges is going to be on Bigcommerce. Previously I had experimented with other platforms such as ZenCart, Shopify, NopCommerce and Magento. Therefore, I understand the advantages and disadvantages each offers more deeply. So here is a review of how each software application is different and how each one is better than the other.

What Makes A Platform Better than the Other

When I say BigCommerce is the best platform, it’s because I’ve found out that there are some factors and features that make it better than others. Being a professional SEO technician and conversion optimizer, I always look for a platform that can maximize my bottom line. Features that might help in doing so are:

Shopping Cart Review
Shopping Cart Review
  • Checkout process must be easy and simple
  • Customization of Tags, Title tags, Meta tags, page titles, etc. for SEO
  • Basic templates for design
  • Strong backend store
  • Comprehensive reports
  • Third party integration
  • Pricing
  • Support

BigCommerce: Why I find it to be the best

As I said earlier, BigCommerce is one e-commerce application that I found to be the best of all. This is because it offers some outstanding features along with right pricing. These features include:

  • Integration with third party sites such as Google website Optimizer and Google Analytics
  • Great SEO
  • Easy to customize tags, titles and meta tags
  • Awesome internal navigation
  • One page simple checkout
  • Good photo displays with zooming option
  • Connectivity with Ebay and Facebook
  • Automated and flexible inventory control
  • Coupons, discount banners and gift certificates
  • Easily customizable default designs
  • Fully hosted solution without any worries about SSL or other IT annoyances
  • Full CMS-no need to buy HTML/CSS/JavaScript/PHP
  • Import and export of multiple products at a time
  • Accounting system that can sync with Quickbooks, MYOB, Peachtree, etc.
  • Shipping is also easy and simple
  • Full business intelligence and performance
  • Great search functionality such as related search and advance search, pricing, etc.

There was one disadvantage through, and that was that BigCommerce’s Texas based office is not as on point as their Australian based office. Aside from that, everything else was just too good to be true.

Although Shopify is the closest contender of BigCommerce, Bigcommerce really offers deals that are better in terms of price. Though the lowest priced deal on both platforms costs the same, Shopify charges 2% of revenue per month at this pricing level.

Shopify: Another Great Software

Shopify is another good software that I have tried during my e-commerce ventures. I used to be a great fan of Shopify, but now BigCommerce had taken that place. However Shopify still does have great features, which include:

  • Hosting is abstract
  • Automatic updating of new software
  • Setup is quite simple
  • Default templates
  • Discount codes
  • Good support

Yet, the problems I identified in this software were:

  • They have their own programming language called Liquid, so you need to use that for title and tags
  • 2% of revenue share is not a good way to go for low margin stores

ZenCart: Free but difficult

ZenCart is a more established name in e-commerce. It is free to download. I used it for the older version of Digital Auto Gauge websites. It is kind of outdated now, and I don’t like it personally, so won’t recommend it either. Still some features and benefits are:

  • It is free to use
  • Good to start learning but making profit would be difficult

As for its problems:

  • You will have to take care of the hosting yourself
  • You have to set up SSL yourself
  • Payment is through third parties
  • Poor documentation
  • Checkout process requires to go through several pages
  • Accounting system is not integrated
  • SEO also requires a lot of time
  • Designing requires a lot of effort and time as well

Magento: Good but not good enough

There are two versions of the Magento shopping cart platform- one is the free community version and the second is a paid one. I’ll be reviewing the free one here.

Its benefits include:

  • Multi-store capabilities
  • Quick bug fixes and updates

Yet community version users might experience following problems:

  • Support is not good enough
  • They constantly tell you to sign up for enterprise version
  • Import/export is not easy

NopCommerce: A Shopping cart that is open source and ASP.Net based

Among the open source shopping carts, this one is the best one available. The setup is easy and customization is faster.

Some of the great features I found in this one are:

  • Ease of Deployment
  • Integration of live Chat
  • Text messages on sales and contacts
  • Reporting is good
  • It’s open source and it’s free
  • It also has its built-in forum

Some problems:

  • Support is weak
  • Self Hosting
  • Some bugs need to be fixed
  • Microsoft licensing is required

The results are in: BigCommerce definitely tops the list of best shopping cart platform

I have also researched other shopping cart platforms such as goEmerchant, Fortune3, Corecommerce, Yahoo! Merchant, ProStores, Godaddy Quick Shopping Cart, goEcart, genXpros and Volusion. None of these fall close to any of the above reviewed ones. You can check the above reviewed software yourself. However, BigCommerce is the one that requires to be seriously considered.

I hope that I have made your job easier by this comprehensive review here. But if you still have any kind of question regarding shopping carts and online store building, feel free to ask a question in the comment section.

BigCommerce versus Shopify

BigCommerce and Shopify are two of the leading e-commerce platforms out there, each with their merits and advantages over the other.

Bigcommerce vs Shopify Shopping Cart Review
Bigcommerce vs Shopify Shopping Cart Revie the leading names in shopping carts. Therefore comparing them is slightly difficult. Despite both of them proving to be better than the rest, there are different areas where one is better than the other.  If you’d like to read the maxed out bigcommerce versus shopify review click here.

The first point to elaborate is the design of both the shopping carts. This battle is won by Shopify. Shopify offers a more easy-to-use and easy-to-customize designing format as compared to BigCommerce. Though customization is possible in BigCommerce too, the interface is quite complicated and web designers will ask more money to make it the way you want it to be. Similarly, the designs of both the sites are not very simple. However, when comparing the two, Shopify again wins the battle. Shopify is simpler to use in contrast with BigCommerce, the latter which is designed for more marketing-oriented professionals.

However, when it comes to product management, Shopify is not as impressive as BigCommerce. Even though the product management options in Shopify might well suit you due to their simplicity, it has recently been observed that it is not quite rewarding. Instead, BigCommerce gives a better opportunity to customers to choose before going through with their purchases.

The import and export feature is the next big thing. With Shopify, this might be a little difficult. BigCommerce will be able to handle shipping no matter the continent you currently reside in. The International shipping options will help this. The company that handles all the shipping resides outside America, therefore there is no question of whether the shipment will reach outside America or not. On the other hand, Shopify might not be that efficient. For example, it is not able to provide shipments to Europe and Australia.

In general, customers have found BigCommerce to be better than Shopify because of many reasons. Even despite the problems in the software, BigCommerce still remain better than its other counterparts.

Better Shopping Cart than Shopify: BigCommerce

The best competitors in the shopping cart market are Shopify and BigCommerce.

Shopping Cart Comparison
Shopping Cart Comparison

Comparing them is not that easy. Despite both of them having features that are convenient for buyers and the sellers, the question of which is better will arise at one time or the other. That will definitely prompt a comparison, which is what you will find in the following lines.  Read my full review of all major shopping carts here.

When comparing the design of both applications, Shopify shows that it is better than BigCommerce. The reason for this is that Shopify offers customers a more convenient option to customize its look and feel. As compared to BigCommerce, this method is simpler and less expensive. Similarly, Shopify is simpler to use as it provides simpler methods and options. On the other hand, BigCommerce is better on product management. Even though Shopify may be simpler to use, BigCommerce is far better when it comes to product management.

As for shipping options, BigCommerce provides better ones than Shopify. Because the company that takes up all the shipping matters is located outside the United States, shipment to other countries is a lot easier through BigCommerce. Shopify, on the other hand, has problems in delivering shipments across Europe and Australia.

Other than the above listed benefits, BigCommerce will also offer you better search engine visibility because it is designed by some of the best SEO experts, one of which is the SEO guru, Aaron Wall. This is the reason why BigCommerce will be able to improve the rankings on Google and other search engines.

Similarly, the security of your data is the most important aspect that BigCommerce keeps in consideration. You can be stress free because this shopping cart application provides you with the best military-grade security and the kind of encryption used by banks.

So, in the end, these points and more come to prove that BigCommerce is better than Shopify for online retailers in cyberspace.

Work Stress

Worked from 9am this morning till 1am with only a two hour break fo basketball. The trouble with owning your own business.

I love it, but the stress has got me so I can’t sleep right now (2am). I am going to need to hire more help and have some more cooldown time before bed. A more regular schedule would help too.