E-commerce Software Comparison: BigCommerce vs Magento (Adobe Commerce)

In this review of BigCommerce and Adobe Commerce (Magento), we compare both platforms using our Composable Agility Score rating system. Find out more about the strengths and weaknesses of each of these popular e-commerce solutions.


BigCommerce and Magento (now Adobe Commerce Cloud) are major e-commerce platforms that serve both mid-size and enterprise businesses. Using our proprietary Composable Agility Score (CA Score) rating system, we’ve done a deep dive into the two e-commerce solutions. Continue reading to learn more about these platforms and find out which businesses each serves best.

BigCommerce and Adobe Commerce (Magento): a brief overview

BigCommerce was founded in 2009 in Sydney, Australia. It grew quickly and now serves tens of thousands of merchants in over 150 countries. The company has over 1,000 full-time employees, with offices in several American cities as well as Australia, UK, and Ukraine. BigCommerce generated $219.9 million revenue in 2021.

The software behind Adobe Commerce Cloud was developed by Varien, Inc. in Culver City, USA under the name Magento. It launched publicly in 2008, meaning it was developed around the same time as BigCommerce, and was acquired by Adobe in 2018. In 2019, Adobe released Adobe Commerce Cloud, which is built on Magento and offered as a cloud-hosted solution that is integrated into the Adobe Experience Cloud.

It’s worth noting that Magento (Adobe Commerce) is also available as a free, self-hosted, open-source software called Magento Open Source, and as a managed enterprise version called Magento, which is not integrated into the Adobe Experience Cloud. This review covers the Adobe Commerce Cloud platform.

BigCommerce vs. Adobe Commerce (Magento): how are they different?

Our analysis shows that BigCommerce is the more modern, agile platform of the two. BigCommerce’s overall CA score was 7, while Adobe Commerce (Magento)’s was 5.1.

BigCommerce received its highest score for the category Cloud Native, where it earned 8.7 points, while its lowest score was for Modularity at 5.3. Adobe (Magento) received its highest score of 6.1 for Headless and its lowest score of 3.8 for Modularity.

BigCommerce and Magento (Adobe) both received the same score of 5.8 for Composability, but BigCommerce scored significantly higher in every other category. Let’s look at the five categories in more detail.

The largest difference in scores between BigCommerce and Adobe (Magento) is for Cloud Nativity

The Cloud Nativity score tells us if the software’s design takes full advantage of cloud architecture. Potential advantages of cloud nativity include elasticity and seamless updates.

BigCommerce scored significantly higher in Cloud Nativity, with a score of 8.7, while Adobe Commerce scored a still-respectable 5.6.

As a cloud-based SaaS, BigCommerce takes full advantage of cloud native architecture. Customers enjoy on-demand self-service, resource pooling, seamless updates, and responsive elasticity. The software is hosted primarily on the Google Cloud Platform and includes all the features that customers would expect from a modern cloud-based provider.

Adobe Commerce Cloud (Magento), on the other hand, is hosted in the cloud but is not designed for the cloud. Consequently, customers do not benefit from the cloud architecture as much as they could. Commerce Cloud customers must manage and implement their own updates, and auto-scaling is not provided.

Adobe does offer other modern features like on-demand self-service and resource pooling. However, they receive a somewhat lower score in this category because of the lack of seamless updates and auto-scaling, both of which are core advantages of a cloud-based architecture.

API First: major differences between BigCommerce and Adobe Commerce (Magento)

The API First score tells us if this software is built around APIs, which allow it to communicate with other applications. An API-first architecture means that virtually all data can be accessed by other applications, offering businesses the chance to customize their software stack with best-of-breed integrations.

BigCommerce scored an impressive 7 points in the API First category, while Adobe Commerce (Magento) scored 4.9. While Adobe Commerce offers fairly good API coverage for front-end applications, BigCommerce takes a truly API-first approach that garners a higher score in this category.

Adobe provides the Magento API framework, which helps integrators and developers to communicate with the Magento system. However, the API layer was added as an afterthought and the graphical user interface (GUI) is permanently coupled, which limits its flexibility. BigCommerce, on the other hand, actually builds public APIs for new features before introducing the feature itself.

BigCommerce offers software development kits (SDKs), which allow developers to customize storefronts and checkouts. Both platforms allow some customization of the back end, although Adobe’s API coverage of back-end features could be better. Its back-end APIs meet industry standards like OAUTH and REST, but they are mostly hard coded and do not offer versioning.

Adobe Commerce and Adobe (Magento) have substantial differences in Modularity

The Modularity score tells us how easily the software can be customized by adding and removing individual software functions. Older software is generally monolithic, which is the opposite of modular.

In this category, BigCommerce scored 5.3 while Adobe Commerce (Magento) received a score of 3.3.

Neither BigCommerce nor Magento (Adobe) was originally built using microservices. However, BigCommerce has begun restructuring the software and has added some microservice-based functions. Nonetheless, they aren’t truly decomposable or composable like a microservice architecture would be. The microservices appear to help the software scale more efficiently, but they cannot actually be removed from the code if they are unneeded.

Adobe Commerce Cloud is a fully precomposed software that does not include any microservices architecture. Both platforms offer additional services and functionalities in the app store, but these are not functionally independent like a microservice would be. As with BigCommerce, Adobe does not make it possible to remove unneeded features at a code level.

BigCommerce vs. Magento (Adobe): moderate differences in Headless

The Headless score tells us how decoupled the front end and back end are for each platform. BigCommerce received a score of 8 for this criteria, whereas Adobe scored 6.1.

BigCommerce features a completely decoupled front end, making it a fully headless solution. Adobe Commerce (Magento), on the other hand, offers extensive front end customizations but is not headless.

As a headless platform, BigCommerce can be used as a commerce engine to power various front ends, including WordPress, Sitecore, Drupal, and Adobe Experience Manager. This allows customers to operate multiple stores on different front ends with only a single BigCommerce account.

Although Adobe does not offer quite this level of flexibility, it does give customers a wide range of front-end skins and UI options to choose from, as well as an out-of-the-box PWA front end. BigCommerce does not include an out-of-the-box PWA, but different PWA storefronts are available from third parties on the app store.

BigCommerce and Adobe Commerce (Magento) receive the same score for Composability

The Composability score tells us how easily the software lets you build scalable and customized software solutions. BigCommerce and Adobe Commerce (Magento) earned exactly the same score in this category, with 5.8 points each.

BigCommerce and Magento (Adobe Commerce) are both fairly similar in terms of their architecture and composability. Although BigCommerce does have some microservices, they do not actually make the platform composable. The app stores for both platforms offer an extensive selection of functions and themes, which allows for no-code customizations. However, these are not functionally independent and cannot be scaled up or down like a microservice. Furthermore, neither provider makes it possible for users to remove pre-composed functionalities at the code level. Both BigCommerce and Adobe are flexible e-commerce solutions, but they cannot be considered truly composable.

BigCommerce vs. Magento (Adobe): who is the winner?

Overall, BigCommerce provides better composable agility than Adobe Commerce (Magento). It received higher scores in four out of five categories, and an equal score in the fifth. BigCommerce makes effective use of cloud architecture, while also providing headless commerce. Adobe Commerce (Magento), on the other hand, makes users handle their own updates, offers less API coverage, and is not fully headless. For businesses that currently use the Adobe Experience Cloud, Adobe Commerce might be a logical choice. In general, though, BigCommerce is the more modern, customizable platform. Businesses with a headless commerce strategy, in particular, will most likely be happier with BigCommerce.

Evaluation methodology.

Working together with scientists and industry leaders from the respective cloud areas, our evaluations are based on an industry peer review standard that meets the highest standards of objectivity. All the insights are combined in a single figure, which means they can be applied more easily and effectively from both a technical and a business perspective.

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