Whether you are setting up eCommerce for the first time or thinking about making the switch to headless, the sheer number of options to consider can be daunting. Just like trying on your new pair of jeans you bought online, some brands may be a better fit for you than others. Just like most blue jeans, at first glance, headless commerce providers can look very similar. A question we frequently get asked is, "how are you different?" This page will help you understand the critical differences between Elastic Path and BigCommerce and which platform may be a better fit for your brand.
Before we begin, if you are learning about headless commerce for the first time, or need a refresher, check out our guide to headless commerce here.
By design, a headless platform will free your brand from the cookie-cutter storefronts powered by traditional eCommerce platforms to create bespoke experiences for your customers, allowing you to stand out in an increasingly crowded digital world. Headless Commerce platforms differentiate around three core pillars:
- Speed to market
- Ability to support multiple, complex routes to market
- Freedom to innovate & control your brand
Let's run down the list of the three pillars to understand which platform would better fit your brand.
Speed to Market
Both BigCommerce & Elastic Path Commerce Cloud are built around APIs for core microservices. BigCommerce is part of the MACH (Microservices, APIs, Cloud, Headless) alliance, a good marketing tool to set themselves and others apart from more traditional eCommerce platforms. The consensus continues to solidify around building an eCommerce solution around these technologies is the way of the future (Gartner updated quote from 2021?). Check out our blog post to learn more about why Elastic Path is not part of the alliance.
While Elastic path also leverages MACH-based architecture, we provide more than just a collection of technologies (MACH). Instead, we focus on delivering the complete solution that allows your brand to embrace these innovative technologies and achieve your goals. We focus on customer outcomes instead of just promoting a technology stack.
With BigCommerce and other similar vendors, leveraging a MACH-based architecture to set up an eCommerce solution from the ground up could prove to be a months-long process. This is definitely a significantly faster time-to-launch when compared with set-up or customization on a traditional eCommerce platform. BigCommerce also has a wide range of implementation partners to leverage based on a brand’s needs. For example, if a brand does not have an extensive in-house development resources & needed the help of a System Integrator (SI) partner, a new MACH-based architecture can be up and running within months.
At Elastic Path, we’ve gone the extra mile to ensure the best possible time-to-launch, especially since we frequently hear of a brand’s “need for a headless microservices architecture yesterday”. Pre-Composed Solutions™pre-integrate Elastic Path capabilities and third-party technology, so you spend less time stitching together granular components and start driving revenue in a matter of weeks, not months. Explore all of Elastic Path Pre-Composed Solutions™ here.
Ability to Support Multiple, Complex Routes to Market
In the case of BigCommerce vs. Elastic Path, both platforms offer the freedom and control to build an eCommerce platform that suits your needs. The real difference is in the complexity of composing and running a solution that fits your business. This will vary depending on if you are looking for a relatively simple B2C eCommerce offering or a more complex omnichannel strategy that involves managing multiple business models (a common B2B use case). For the relatively simple B2C cases, both platforms are well equipped to cater to simple eCommerce needs for many brands, and it often comes down to the costs of implementing and running the platform. For a detailed look at the Total Cost of Ownership comparison, check out our page here.
Managing Multiple Business Models
On the other hand, in a situation where you need to manage multiple business models in a B2B setting, both platforms will have some key differences.
With BigCommerce, you can run a B2B offering by leveraging one of their 3rd party implementations. To cater to the multiple business models that may be required for different buyers, you can set up two instances under a single account of BigCommerce that operate individually to cater to the unique needs of each part of your business.
With Elastic Path you can manage all of the multiple business models with their own unique sets of requirements from one single instance of the platform. This remains true even when capabilities need to extend across multiple channels.Saving your eCommerce team time in managing the platform once it is up and running, and not to mention the cost implications of running a single instance versus doubling up on costs required to run concurrent instances with BigCommerce.
Check out the Pre-Composed Solutions™ for Omnichannel here.
Similarly, when it comes to complexity in a brand’s catalog management, with either a B2B or B2C use cases, managing separate catalogs for different buyers or purposes (think back-to-school sale or a separate storefront for procurement team of a buyer), BigCommerce will require you to run multiple platform instances to cater to the diverse needs of each catalog. This can become hard to manage and, crucially, tie-down your eCommerce team with managing this complicated system rather than focusing on innovating to deliver an unparalleled customer experience.
You might be asking yourself; how does Elastic Path manage to deliver something different? The answer once again lies in our focus on delivering solutions for our customers rather than simply a technology stack. Elastic Path Catalog Composer was built on the industry’s only de-coupled catalog architecture where products, pricebooks, hierarchies, and catalogs are all separate. What that means for your business is it offers the freedom to create infinite catalogs to cover all your brand's unique needs in one instance of the platform. Saving your team's time in managing the system and free them to focus on executing your strategy. Want to see how you can benefit from Catalog Composer? Request a demo here.
Freedom to Innovate & Control Your Brand
Both Elastic Path and BigCommerce will allow you to integrate with an existing provider or one of the "best-of-breed" third-party offerings for services that are essential to your business. BigCommerce also has an extensive offering when it comes to third-party integrations. However, adding on a new integration will require you to spend on hiring a technical development resource to work in that individual service, resulting in a slower and more risky experimentation cycle when your brand is trying to innovate with new buyer experiences.
Elastic Path Composable Commerce Hub allows you to compose a solution that fits your needs. It doesn't stop there though! Several of our customers were concerned about the complexity of managing a Composable Commerce solution on their own (once an in-house or SI implementationis complete). Composable Commerce XA™de-risks multi-vendor solutions by offering support across all of your applications, so when an issue arises, you have one point of contact-Elastic Path.
While BigCommerce does have a variety of third-party solutions available in their partner network to address your unique needs, they not offer this sort of experience assurance that de-risks innovative MACH technologies. Instead, you have to fend for yourself when an issue arises. Rather than worrying about system uptime or finding which of several vendor solutions is causing an issue, de-risking a composable solution with Composable Commerce XA™allows your eCommerce team to focus on what really matters, your customers. Learn more about Composable Commerce XA™ here.