Shopify Plus vs Demandware vs BigCommerce vs Magento: Which is Best for Your Business?
- What is Shopify Plus?
- How Shopify Plus Compares to Other E-commerce Platforms
- Headless Commerce
- Front-End UX
- Mobile optimization
- Technical Support
- Marketing Tools
- Apps and Integrations
- Development and Maintenance Costs
- Downsides to Shopify Plus
- Content Limitations
- Platform Lock-in
- Shopify Plus vs Demandware (Now Salesforce)
- Demandware Features
- Advantages of Demandware
- Disadvantages of Demandware
- Shopify Plus vs BigCommerce
- BigCommerce Features
- Advantages of BigCommerce
- Disadvantages of BigCommerce
- Shopify Plus vs Magento Enterprise
- Magento Enterprise Features
- Benefits of Magento Enterprise
- Disadvantages of Magento Enterprise
- Shopify Plus — How Does it Stack up?
- Final Thoughts
Over 8,000 enterprise businesses trust Shopify Plus as their go-to e-commerce platform. Due to its multi-channel marketing features, multitude of seamless integrations, and scalability, Shopify Plus continues to make a case as one of the best e-commerce platforms.
Existing Shopify Plus merchants know of the capabilities this platform has to offer. However, other e-commerce platforms like Magento, BigCommerce, and Demandware are in constant competition with Shopify Plus when it comes to winning over new customers.
Is Shopify Plus the #1 e-commerce platform? How does it stack up against the rest? In this article, we’ll be looking at how Shopify Plus compares to other e-commerce platforms, as well as how to go about choosing the right platform for your e-commerce business.
What is Shopify Plus?
Shopify Plus is Shopify’s premium option built for high-volume e-commerce businesses and enterprises. With a 126% year-over-year average growth for Shopify Plus merchants, it’s a popular and effective choice for online merchants.
Shopify Plus has a the following pricing model: $2,000 per month or 2.5% of business revenue, whichever is greater. Designed with advanced tools and built-in features that aid large scale e-commerce businesses, Shopify Plus is fastly becoming one of the most used e-commerce platforms in the world.
How Shopify Plus Compares to Other E-commerce Platforms
At the enterprise level, there are only a handful of e-commerce platforms to choose from. They all have different enterprise features. Even just between Shopify Plus, Magento, and Demandware, it can be a challenge to determine which platform is right for you.
Below are the most important features of Shopify Plus, and some things to consider before choosing the perfect platform for you.
A Shopify Plus plan includes all the following features, and more:
• Multi-store option provides the ability to host international stores, multi-brand stores, and several e-commerce websites under one account
• Capability to handle high-volume traffic and sales (Note: Kylie Jenner’s massive makeup line launch)
• State of the art hosting and tech infrastructure that results in significant reduction in technology overhead, outages, and hosting fees
• Dozens of marketing automations to generate sales and customers on autopilot (through Shopify Flow)
• An account manager dedicated specifically to enhancing your Shopify experience
• Integrated sales channels for omnichannel hosting, including flow of e-commerce sales from Instagram ads, Amazon, and more. (Shopify Sales Channels)
• A retail POS to scale click & mortar. Shopify has doubled down on this with announcements at Unite: Retail POS Shopify
One of the most important components of running a successful large-scale e-commerce business is the ability to manage your site, sales, and marketing all in one place. A lot relies on your e-commerce site staying live, accessible, and secure. That’s why the Shopify Plus team continues to invest heavily in their hosting and site infrastructure so you can be successful with no added hosting costs.
Shopify Plus offers unlimited web hosting worldwide to ensure that your site stays online and is accessible 24/7. This includes unlimited bandwidth, 99.98% uptime, lightning-fast servers, and super easy set-up. Better yet? You can opt into receiving instant updates on how your site is performing.
Every second your site is not working or taking orders, you’re losing sales and revenue.
The technology powering the Shopify Plus platform can manage your business when you have hundreds to thousands of customers each day, ensuring site speeds stay the same, even when there’s tons of shoppers browsing and purchasing your products.
And this is one of the reasons tens of thousands of enterprise brands choose Shopify as their e-commerce platform — due to its reliability to handle growth.
For e-commerce businesses looking to create truly bespoke experiences across devices, Shopify Plus offers headless commerce solutions, which allow you to decouple the front-end consumer experience from the Shopify theme ecosystem. You can offer a top-quality storefront using your own content management system (like DatoCMS, Prismic, and Contentful). This means you can deliver a completely custom experience to your customers without having to depend on platform specific constraints or infrastructure. Want to use build a tablet experience in your store? You can. Want to build a voice interface? Sure. This way, you can serve customers all over the world without back-end development and organization limiting your scalability.
Further, Shopify Plus allows you to engage with your customers through nifty capabilities like augmented reality for online shopping (i.e smart mirrors).
Shopify also recently introduced the Shopify Fulfillment Network as a way for merchants to get products to customers faster by having their products shipped directly from the network’s fulfillment centers across the US.
If you’ve used an alternative e-commerce platform before, you’ll find Shopify Plus to be a well designed and an easy platform to use even if you don’t have an extensive tech or coding background. The admin panel UX makes it easy for teams to manage an e-commerce store.
Recently Shopify announced at their annual Shopify Unite event that they’ve made significant updates to their design experience and customization options for merchants. These include AR and VR apps, 3D product rendering, native video capabilities, and real-time product recommendations as native features in Shopify themes.
And, with their focus on mobile-first payments (Shopify Pay), the platform offers something unique. Shopify Pay allows customers to save their personal details such as their name, address and bank details internally to Shopify Pay.
This allows for expedited checkout across multiple Shopify stores and not just with the same merchant. The Shopify checkout process is seamless, quick and easy, and mobile-optimized across multiple Shopify stores: increasing customer convenience and sales for merchants.
Whether your metrics seem off and you need help troubleshooting, or you’re unsure how to implement one of the many Shopify Plus features, the technical support team is always there to help.
While the Shopify Plus platform is designed to be easy to use from the start (no coding experience required), if you’re ever stuck or need assistance, Shopify’s technical support is available around the clock.
Running a large scale e-commerce operation means it’s crucial that you get your issue resolved quickly. Shopify Plus offers 24/7 support, and you typically get connected with a representative in just a few minutes.
Whether you need to reach a targeted audience for a specific marketing campaign or want help building out high-level automations for your business, Shopify Plus includes all the marketing tools and sales resources you could ever need.
Shopify Plus offers tools to help you reach a wider audience, increase organic traffic, run marketing campaigns, schedule paid ads, automate your marketing, and gain insight into how your store is performing. They even offer convenient marketing apps to help you boost sales on-the-go.
Apps and Integrations
“After lowering the barrier to entry for e-commerce companies to start selling online, Shopify is expanding its business on the back of the network of more than 20,000 app developers and agency partners that help augment those businesses as they grow, offering tools for things like customer service and inventory management and strategic insight.” — ‘It’s their moat’: How Shopify built an $800 million partner ecosystem
Additionally, Shopify Plus has over thousands of apps in the Shopify app store and they have designed and built their own extensions specifically for high-growth merchants such as Shopify Flow, Launchpad, Script Editor, and more.
One of the major benefits to Shopify is that it is PCI level 1 compliant for credit card processing: the highest standards of server compliance in the world. This means merchants can accept credit card payments with no worries about fraud from the get-go — offloading a major issues associated with self-hosted platforms.
If you want to manage your own server with custom platforms — this would cost you thousands every year in compliance costs — not forgetting your time.
Shopify is doing everything in its power to keep merchants GDPR compliant but there is still work you are personally required to do — seek professional advice.
Development and Maintenance Costs
With your investment in a Shopify Plus package, you are assigned a dedicated account manager who can provide personalized support and recommendations.
Need more bandwidth because of a huge sales day? Want help speeding up your site? You can work with the Shopify team to help make that happen.
Costs for development and maintenance vary based on the size of your online store and the features you need.
Downsides to Shopify Plus
Let's take a quick look at some of the negatives.
Website owners moving from WordPress to Shopify Plus may find Shopify Plus’ content publishing capabilities lacking by comparison. You can publish rich, SEO-friendly website content on Shopify Plus, but you may miss some of the blogging features WordPress has to offer.
However, if your main source of revenue doesn’t come from your blog, this may not be a significant issue. And Shopify Plus comes with a built-in CMS with a variety of content marketing tools.
Shopify does come with a basic built in blog(you can import an existing WordPress blog to your store).
When you host your e-commerce business platform with Shopify, you’re relying heavily on the platform’s features, hosting, and security. That is to say, if the platform goes down, your store, to some extent, goes with it.
Shopify Plus vs Demandware (Now Salesforce)
Another popular e-commerce platform used by businesses around the world is Demandware, now known as Salesforce. Demandware was bought by Salesforce in 2016.
How does Demandware stack up against Shopify Plus?
For starters, Demandware and Shopify Plus are similar in many ways. Both offer world class hosting and support and are incredibly customizable. However, each offer some features that the other does not have.
But it’s important to note that Demandware is now owned and operated by Salesforce, one of the leading tech companies in the world today. It is still a force to be reckoned with.
• Fully managed (maintenance, security, servers, infrastructure) SaaS platform
• Built-in A/B testing for product merchandising
• Highly customizable
• Omni-channel marketing features
• International e-commerce capabilities ( manage stores in multiple languages and currencies on multiple domains)
• Easy control over site content and design
Advantages of Demandware
One of the biggest advantages of Demandware compared to other e-commerce platforms is that it is designed to seamlessly work across all your merchant platforms. However, Shopify Plus is still a great option for retailers due to their easy-to-use point of sale (POS) software.
Traditional Retail Integrations
One area Demandware really excels is that it allows you to manage and operate both your e-commerce and retail processes all in one place. Demandware has partnered with a wide range of retail tools, both online and offline, to help retailers manage inventory, track orders, accept payment, and more. You can see a complete list of Salesforce’s partners, including Afterpay and Amazon Pay, here.
Disadvantages of Demandware
Compared to Shopify Plus, Demandware is definitely on the higher end of pricing. Because it is designed to work with both your e-commerce and traditional retail operations, it is priced accordingly.
Not as Many Integrations
Although Demandware currently allows for dozens of integrations with your favorite apps, their integrations available aren’t nearly as extensive as with Shopify Plus, especially when it comes to tools related specifically to e-commerce. As we mentioned, Shopify pairs with over 2,500 apps that you can find right on the Shopify app store.
Shopify Plus vs BigCommerce
BigCommerce is another alternative to Shopify Plus and is responsible for hosting businesses such as Ben & Jerry’s, Skullcandy, and Camelbak.
With the ability to support over 250 local currencies and a design focus on mobile conversions, it’s a very popular e-commerce platform choice.
• Easy-to-use, responsive website design templates
• Reliable hosting ensures max uptime and that site is PCI compliant
• One-on-one Launch Services for support during a new website launch
• Bulk product input/export for easy site migration
• Manage inventory and orders from a single control panel
Built-in conversion features (e.g. abandoned cart saver, one-page checkout, and faceted search)
Advantages of BigCommerce
Helpful Educational Content
While all the major e-commerce platforms have invested in producing quality content in some shape or form, BigCommerce really takes their content and guides to the next level.
From their how to’s to their blog posts, you feel as if they really want you to succeed in building your e-commerce business. This is a major upside to e-commerce business owners that need a little more assistance during setup.
Great Customer Service
BigCommerce is also known for its excellent customer service. However, in an increasingly competitive e-commerce platform space, their customer service barely beats out the rest of the competition. Shopify Plus’s customer service team also comes highly regarded.
Disadvantages of BigCommerce
Slower Load Times
Compared to Shopify Plus and other e-commerce platforms, the speed of your site and business is a little on the slow side. While your website and shopping cart will still load fast, relatively speaking, other options provide a faster web and mobile experience.
BigCommerce does a lot of things right in creating a world-class e-commerce platform, but their pricing structure leaves a lot to be desired. Unlike the major alternatives, the pricing is much more complicated than it needs to be. Depending on your specific setup, you will be charged a variety of fees, which can be a major deal breaker for some.
Shopify Plus vs Magento Enterprise
With nearly a decade of business under their belt, Magento Enterprise is a reliable e-commerce solution. Used by international companies around the world they continue to be a trusted platform for all your e-commerce needs.
Magento Enterprise Features
• Heavily customizable • Simple product catalog and data management • Fully integrated content publishing and content management
No additional cost for multi-store management (great for wholesale or multi-brand companies)
Benefits of Magento Enterprise
Although most top e-commerce platforms can be used internationally, Magento Enterprise stands out in making it easy to sell your products and services around the world. One of their key selling points is that they allow merchants to manage multiple stores from a single interface, making it easier to launch and manage multiple brands and domains (in multiple languages) in one place.
• Incredibly Customizable
• Another area in which Magento Enterprise stands out is its customizability. Though you may have to hire a Magento professional, you can customize your store right down to every detail. Fortunately, Shopify Plus has recently released additional customizability options on their platform, which makes them about on par with Magento Enterprise.
Disadvantages of Magento Enterprise
Magento Enterprise is built on PHP which can be seen as one of the easiest to learn but this is not always a good thing. To recruit and retain high-quality engineers (for best results), it’s extremely important to keep them stimulated with emerging technologies.
When an e-commerce engineer has the choice between working with Magento Enterprise and Shopify Plus, they are likely to prefer Plus for it’s exciting, adaptive languages — Ruby and Liquid.
Lack of Metric Reporting
One of the biggest disappointments of Magento Enterprise is its lack of detailed reporting for the metrics that matter to your business. Though they do provide a very basic overview of your business numbers, compared to Shopify Plus, they come up short.
Not As User-Friendly
Magento Enterprise has a slightly steeper, bigger learning curve than some of the other platforms on the market. If you’re looking to get up and running quickly, you may find the investment in learning the platform or hiring a Magento professional to be frustrating and costly.
Shopify Plus — How Does it Stack up?
With e-commerce continuing to grow, more and more businesses around the world are needing a quality e-commerce platform they can trust.
While there are many options to consider as you look to grow your brand, Shopify Plus is currently one of the best options to invest in. Shopify Plus provides a multi-channel platform with near limitless scalability, allowing you to grow your business while relieving the stress of managing a complicated website.
“Simply put, we have an enterprise ecommerce platform we trust with our business. Shopify Plus helped us scale from $1 to $60 million without flinching.” — Jake Kassan, CEO of MVMT
If you decide Shopify Plus is the platform for you and your business, and you’re looking to take your business to the next level, our team of Shopify experts are happy to provide customized recommendations for your specific business needs.
Schedule a free consultation or just give us a shout!