VTEX VS BigCommerce: Which one is better for opening your online store?
Surely at this moment, you are evaluating VTEX and BigCommerce as e-commerce platforms. If you are choosing between both platforms, you must be careful. The value proposition offered by both companies is very different, and both tools are aimed at different types of businesses.
VTEX focuses on being an all-in-one solution that offers most of the capabilities that an e-commerce needs to operate. On the other hand, BigCommerce aims to be an open commerce platform that allows businesses to select the best-in-class technologies and integrate them into their tech stack.
Which platform is better for your e-commerce depends entirely on the needs of your business. In this article, we will compare the advantages and disadvantages of both platforms so that you can select the best option for your company.
Let's start by getting to know these companies, where they originated, and who their clients are.
VTEX was founded in 1999 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This manufacturer has grown exponentially in recent years throughout Latin America. Currently, the company has a presence in more than 26 countries and is used by over 2,500 companies worldwide.
Some companies that have used VTEX to create their e-commerce stores include Walmart, Levi's, Vans, Danone, L'Oreal, Samsung, Sony, among others. In July 2021, it went public on the New York Stock Exchange.
BigCommerce was founded in 2009 in Sydney, Australia. They currently have more than 600 employees, and their headquarters are based in Austin, Texas.
More than 60,000 companies in 120 countries use this platform for their online stores. Some of the companies using this platform are Gillette, Skullcandy, and Ben & Jerry's. In 2020, BigCommerce generated over $180 million in revenue.
BigCommerce is primarily consolidated in the US market.
The interface design of your e-commerce store is crucial for users to interact with your online store and for your site to be attractive to them. Therefore, it is important to analyze the capabilities offered by an e-commerce platform for designing your online store.
VTEX does not have a pre-established store interface or a variety of templates to choose from. Instead, VTEX offers a basic website template called "My Store."
This means that merchants cannot simply start a store without their development team installing and customizing My Store. Any changes to the interface design will require the intervention of your programming team, reducing autonomy for administrative users to make quick changes. Whether you want to move a section, create a new product landing page, or edit text, it can become a headache.
If this lack of agility is a problem for your company, you can access VTEX.IO. VTEX.IO is a low-code development platform that simplifies the delivery of headless experiences. In this version, you can drag and drop elements on a page and create custom product pages. However, VTEX.IO is a skeleton that provides low-code for wireframes but requires a developer to code and connect everything in order to have it ready for production. It is not a tool that non-technical users can start using immediately.
Although VTEX is highly customizable, the checkout interface is a component that merchants simply cannot change. Their Checkout UI is trademarked, and to make any changes, merchants need approval from VTEX.
On the other hand, BigCommerce provides multiple facilities for marketing and design teams to design an online store from scratch.
BigCommerce offers Page Builder, a tool that allows you to create pages using drag and drop. This means that you can create new pages by dragging and dropping elements such as "text," "images," "forms," "buttons," "banners," or "products." This can be done without the need for pre-configuration of products.
It's worth noting that BigCommerce has over 300 templates that your marketing team can implement and customize according to your brand and style. Most of these themes are mobile responsive.
A payment gateway is an entity that handles electronic transactions between buyers and sellers. It is the intermediary that ensures that the payment is made securely and effectively. They enable businesses to receive payments through credit or debit cards.
VTEX offers a wide range of pre-built integrations with specific Latin American payment gateways such as Openpay, Mercado Pago, Kueski Pay, Conekta, PayU, among others. It also has integrations with Stripe, Cybersource, Adyen, iDeal, and Paypal.
You can check the payment platforms compatible with VTEX here.
BigCommerce has integrations with payment platforms such as Adyen, Affirm OpenPay, Stripe, and dLocal. One of its disadvantages is that they have not yet integrated with the most popular payment gateways in Latin America.
You can find the list of payment gateways supported by BigCommerce here.
Omnichannel refers to creating a unified, integrated, and connected consumer experience across all channels of a company.
One of the major challenges for companies in this digital age is to generate a great experience across all their sales channels.
Whether a customer visits your physical store, enters your online store, seeks product information on social media, or calls the customer service hotline, the experience you deliver must be excellent in each of these channels.
Therefore, it becomes highly relevant for your e-commerce to provide the necessary capabilities to operate and integrate different channels.
In this case, VTEX is a robust solution for omnichannel sales. It has native modules that allow merchants to create their own marketplace. You can also integrate and configure all your product information with virtually any sales channel. They even have integrations with POS (Points-of-Sale) systems like Lightspeed and InStore (VTEX's own platform).
However, many of their pre-built sales channels are only available for merchants in Latin America, and merchants who want to use channels outside of Latin America may require custom development.
VTEX also has the capability of Buy Online Pick up in Store. This means that your users can make purchases in your online store and pick up the items later in a physical store.
On the other hand, BigCommerce also offers multiple capabilities for businesses that are looking to become omnichannel. Its platform can integrate with Feedonomics. This platform allows you to create product feeds and distribute them to multiple channels.
Through Feedonomics, you can share your products on Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Instagram, Walmart, Google Shops, and other channels. Additionally, BigCommerce has native functionality for Buy Online and Pick up in Store.
Both VTEX and BigCommerce have capabilities for B2B commerce.
VTEX allows you to assign different prices to your B2B customers and create specific user roles, such as Super Admin, Financial, Sales Manager, and Analyst. However, beyond these functionalities, VTEX does not offer a wide range of capabilities in its B2B module.
On the other hand, BigCommerce provides multiple capabilities for B2B businesses:
A seller can access a customer's profile (with their permission) to view purchase lists, add products to the cart, and create orders.
Customers can request customized quotes online, to which sellers can respond by assigning personalized prices.
Users can create personalized purchase lists, thereby accelerating future purchasing processes.
Buyers have the ability to place bulk orders for products using CSV files.
A user can easily reorder the same order they placed previously.
You can implement automatic volume-based discounts, meaning the more a customer buys, the greater the discount they receive.
You have the option to create multiple buyer categories without any limitations. This way, you can assign specific prices, purchase limits, and available products to each of your customers.
Plugins are add-on programs that add capabilities to your e-commerce store. There are plugins available for adding pop-ups, generating newsletters, designing new banners on the site, receiving payments, connecting with Google Analytics, creating discount coupons, and many other functionalities.
Plugins are crucial for covering all those functionalities that are not included in your e-commerce platform. They save businesses from having to hire a programmer to develop new functionalities.
VTEX has only around 100 plugins in its app marketplace. Most of them are built and maintained by VTEX. Very few of them have reviews from other merchants, and several of them are not compatible with VTEX.IO. Many of them cannot be installed with just a single click by the user; they require a programmer to configure and install them. This ends up increasing the development cost of your e-commerce store.
On the other hand, BigCommerce has over 1000 plugins in its app marketplace. You can find plugins for sending emails, managing purchase orders, connecting to social media, customizing the checkout process, and more.
These applications have reviews from other merchants who have used them. This helps administrators identify good plugins that can enhance their e-commerce store's capabilities. Moreover, almost all plugins can be installed with just a single click, without requiring additional development or configuration.
Out-of-the-box capabilities refer to functionalities that are unique to a platform and not found in other platforms.
The most interesting out-of-the-box capability of VTEX is its marketplace module. This module allows companies to create an online store where third parties can upload and sell their products. This selling model is similar to Mercado Libre and Amazon, which allow external merchants to sell their products on their websites.
VTEX also stands out with its AI-powered search engine. This search engine is capable of handling variations, recognizing synonyms, personalizing results based on the user, and suggesting search terms.
On the other hand, BigCommerce includes some interesting out-of-the-box capabilities for merchants, such as:
Wishlists, users can create lists of items they wish to purchase in the near future.
A/B testing, conducting A/B tests on landing pages, shopping carts, or product pages to increase conversion rates.
Bulk pricing, applying discounts based on the volume of purchases.
Reviews, users can leave reviews for products they have purchased.
To obtain these functionalities in VTEX, you would need to pay for a plugin.
Integrations and connectors
Integrations and connectors refer to the capabilities that an application offers to be integrated with third-party applications.
The reality is that no e-commerce platform is perfect. In other words, there is no platform that has the best search engine, the best CMS, the best ERP, the best payment platform, and so on.
In this sense, businesses need to replace those parts of their e-commerce that are not providing the best experience for their customers with specialized technologies in their respective fields.
For example, if the default search engine of your e-commerce is slow and shows irrelevant results, you could integrate a leading search technology like Algolia. Or if you feel that your CMS is difficult to use and doesn't allow you to feed your site with relevant and personalized content, you could connect a Headless CMS like Contentful.
Depending on the ease with which a platform can integrate with other applications, we can categorize it as monolithic or composable.
In this case, VTEX leans more towards being a monolithic platform that aims to address the majority of the needs of online businesses. It has its own search engine, CMS, OMS, PIM, POS, and front-end solution. Although VTEX allows integrations with technologies from other vendors, doing so is technically complex and time-consuming for developers.
On the other hand, BigCommerce leans more towards being a composable platform. BigCommerce strives to be the best commerce engine but does not aim to have the best search engine, payment processor, CMS, PIM, etc. Its philosophy is based on being an open commerce platform that allows the integration of the best technological solutions.
BigCommerce is an application that provides multiple facilities for integrating with third-party technologies through APIs and microservices. This enables your development team to perform integrations quickly and easily.
Sometimes we overlook the support provided by manufacturers to their customers until there's a fire that needs to be put out quickly.
When you have an urgent problem to solve within your e-commerce, you'll want to contact your provider as quickly as possible regardless of the day or time. And you'll want them to solve your problems as soon as possible because every hour your site is not operating is an hour of lost revenue.
For this reason, you should always evaluate the support and assistance offered by your technology providers. A good provider should provide fast and effective solutions.
In this case, VTEX offers global 24/7 support to some of its clients. It depends on the region and the terms of the contract.
If your company is based in North America, you can only receive support through their ticket system on Zendesk without the possibility of contacting a customer service representative by phone. Additionally, their support teams only operate from Monday to Friday, 8 am to 7 pm EST.
If you are a merchant in Brazil, you can access phone support from 9 am to 6 pm BRT with different SLAs. There is 24/7 ticket support for urgent requests, but their policies on what is considered urgent vary by region.
VTEX's support documentation is also confusing and difficult to navigate, with many pages not fully translated into Spanish or English.
On the other hand, BigCommerce is famous for the high-quality service it provides to its customers. They have a first-class support system.
They offer support teams to help you migrate and launch your commerce smoothly. You can reach out with questions 24/7 through chat, email, and phone to resolve technical issues. They have an average response time of just two minutes, and 90% of problems are resolved on the first call.
Licenses and Costs
VTEX offers personalized pricing to all its customers based on their business needs and requirements. They do not have fixed plans or memberships.
One of the major disadvantages of VTEX is that their subscription models are primarily based on monthly commissions from all orders. This means that a percentage of your sales goes to your eCommerce provider.
This can be challenging for many companies as part of their profitability goes to the manufacturer. It also becomes difficult to make financial projections because the cost of the license becomes variable rather than fixed. If sales decrease in a month, the license cost goes down, but if sales increase, the license cost goes up. This makes it more difficult to create financial projections.
The enterprise version of BigCommerce also offers personalized pricing based on the company's needs.
However, BigCommerce has fixed fees based on the number of sales and order volume. This means that based on your sales range, you enter into a fixed cost plan that will not change until the renewal of your annual plan. This allows finance teams to make accurate forecasts of their online sales costs.
Which one is better?: VTEX or BigCommerce
In conclusion, VTEX and BigCommerce are excellent eCommerce platforms that address different needs.
Which one is better?
It entirely depends on the needs of your business, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
VTEX is an excellent choice for your company if:
You are looking for an all-in-one commerce solution that offers most of the necessary capabilities to operate an online store.
You plan to develop a marketplace where third parties can upload their products and sell online.
You need to integrate a specific Latin American payment platform and want to avoid extra implementation costs.
You require flexibility to customize your frontend and backend.
You have a team of programmers available to customize your commerce to your exact needs.
BigCommerce is an excellent choice for your commerce if:
You want to sell to both B2C and B2B customers.
You are looking to reduce frontend development costs through pre-built templates.
You want to reduce costs and dependencies on programmers.
You want your marketing team to be able to customize the online store without relying on programmers.
You need a fixed cost plan to make accurate financial forecasts.
You are looking for a simple, flexible, and fast solution that allows you to build a composable and headless commerce.
You want to integrate best-in-class technologies into your commerce.
Ultimately, the choice between VTEX and BigCommerce depends on your specific business requirements and priorities.