2018 has been a very big year for BigCommerce in the UK. After a successful round of growth funding, which saw the company raise $64 million, BigCommerce decided their next expansion would be into the UK.
It is the first time that BigCommerce has expanded into Europe, after opening offices in the US and Australia. Brent Bellm, CEO for BigCommerce commented that “Establishing a presence in Europe has long been an aspiration of ours, and this London office will allow us to deliver more tailored programs and service to our customers and partners across Europe.”
Some of BigCommerce's largest customers are UK based including Kier Limited, AwesomeGTI and Trust Ford. With the new 20 employees being housed in their London office, including support staff, now is a great time to start considering BigCommerce if you are a UK retailer.
Initial Setup with BigCommerce UK
As BigCommerce becomes more of a presence within the UK there are some retailers who may feel that switching from Shopify to BigCommerce might an option for them. Whereas some UK retailers felt that the support options weren't great for BigCommerce in the past, this looks likely to change.
BigCommerce labels themselves as a solution for “fast-growing businesses” and offer a better rate on their Enterprise packages than their main competitors Shopify and BigCommerce.
With this in mind, when you initially set up your store you are greeted with a banner to transfer your Shopify catalog. BigCommerce has identified that UK retailers may be doing this and have very clearly placed this in full view on the home screen of your store.
There are still improvements that I feel BigCommerce could and probably will make for UK retailers. You are met with a couple of quick actions when setting up your store, one of them includes setting up your shipping.
As you can see from the screenshot these are set up in dollars. Therefore it's best to select the advanced shipping options button and configure the details yourself.
As a BigCommerce UK Retailer, you have all the shipping options offered to you that a US webstore would have, such as flat rate shipping, shipping by weight and store collection.
Also, you can add a shipping zone if you want to ship to a different country. The United Kingdom is automatically setup as the default option.
Despite issues such as shipping showing in dollars, when you preview your webstore all values are listed in pounds.
BigCommerce has been very proactive in removing a lot of admin tasks based on your location. When you enter date and timezone settings you can see that this information is already populated and will appear in the correct format on your website.
However, if you are a UK retailer and you do more of your business in North America then you may want to change the settings here.
What is great for BigCommerce UK retailers is that you can very quickly find partners to collaborate with in the BigCommerce partner directory.
There are currently 33 BigCommerce partners available within the UK. This may not sound like a lot, but when you consider that there is 44 in the whole of Europe it shows how fast BigCommerce is growing in the UK.
You can also identify which partners are the most reputable. Alongside a rating system is also a tiered system to showcase the best partners in each area. As you can see from below 5874 have both a certified and Elite logo next to them, so what does that mean? According to BigCommerce…
Certified partner tier identifies category-leading solutions that have a proven ability to drive high-volume sales through the platform.
Whereas for Elite…
Elite bring differentiated vertical solutions that extend core platform functionality for BigCommerce merchants.
As you can see from the screenshot above you can see the location of the company. By simply clicking ‘learn more' you can see a bit information about the company such as their services, previous work, clients, verticals, video content as well as a more specific location.
On the search screen you can break down partners via the following categories:
- Expertise – Designer, Web Development, Marketing
- Budget – Again this is in dollars, but use the current exchange rate to convert it back
- Partner Tier – Elite, Preferred
- Services offered – Social media, training, branding
- Verticals – Fashion, Media, B2B
Verticals are particularly helpful as you can instantly find partners who have dealt with very similar businesses to yours in the past.
BigCommerce offers a 15 day free trial which is one day better than it's competitor Shopify. Additionally, no credit card is required so you can't get roped into a contract that you didn't sign up to.
You can sign up for a paid plan at any point just by selecting the ‘Select a Plan' option in the top right-hand corner. BigCommerce also tells you how many days of your trial remain in this area.
Frustratingly for BigCommerce UK retailers, all the pricing is only available in US Dollars and there isn't an option to change this.
With the current exchange rate this is how the pricing will convert into UK pounds:
- Standard – £22.92 per month
- Plus – £61.19 per month
- Pro – £191.30
- Enterprise – contact BigCommerce's UK helpline on 0808 189 3323
You also have the option to save 10% on the Plus and Pro packages if you decide to pay upfront for the year. Also if you are planning to use the Enterprise package then BigCommerce promise that they will be cheaper than both Magento and Shopify Plus.
Again, which is another thing that BigCommerce could improve on for UK retailers is to promote the UK contact information when you are redirected to selecting a plan. As you can see below they use the contact information for the USA.
Setting up Royal Mail
A fantastic benefit for BigCommerce UK retailers is that they support Royal Mail.
Royal Mail delivers 6 days a week, with a flat rate to almost 30 million address across the UK. You can also provide real-time shipping quotes within your BigCommerce account.
To enable Royal Mail simply follow these instructions:
- Head to Store Setup > Shipping
- Click Edit next to the United Kingdom shipping zone
- Select Real time shipping quotes and click Connect when you see Royal Mail
- From here you are shown all the delivery options available to you which you can select from
Payment Gateway Options
If you weren't already aware a payment gateway is a service offered by a merchant to ecommerce companies so that they can authorise and process credit and debit card payments.
Here is a list below of all the payment gateways that are offered to Bigcommerce UK retailers.
In regards to the ‘popular' options, it's very reassuring that Amazon Pay, Paypal, Square and Stripe are available in the UK. However it is worth noting that BigCommerce doesn't yet support Worldpay for UK retailers and Paypal needs to be set up manually, whereas it's done so automatically for the US.
When users are in the checkout process of your website it is worth being aware that Zip Code appears (as well as Post Code). If you want to remove this and also have the United Kingdom selected as default then this will require some development work.
If you are looking to contact sales in order to get set up as a BigCommerce UK retailer then be aware that they are available from 9 am to 5 pm CST. There is a 6-hour difference between CST and GMT so this means you can contact them between 3 pm and 11 pm.
A great benefit for UK users is that support via chat, community, phone and email is available 24/7. You can even make use of this great support option on the lowest Standard package as well.
Coming Soon to BigCommerce UK
UK retailers can take advantage of a whole host of features that BigCommerchasve to offer. However, there are a few notable exceptions that are only available to US customers that you might want to make note of before making a decision on your payment plan.
Amazon and eBay integration
On BigCommerce's site, they have an ‘ideas' section where users can share ideas and collaborate with partners on product enhancements. A voting system is used to see which ideas are the most popular and then a decision from there.
A quick search for United Kingdom related ideas shows that there is currently no option with BigCommerce to pull in orders from Amazon and eBay, which is available to US customers.
This feature would allow viewing all your orders from BigCommerce, Amazon and eBay in one place. To avoid you logging in to different systems and to also better control your stock.
Both of these are listed as ‘future' on BigCommerce and both have been present on the page for over a year. A quick look at the Amazon feature and there's a comment from Marissa at BigCommerce who believes they “don't expect this to be delivered within the year”, which also goes for eBay.
In order to combat this, you can look at using a third-party inventory management software solution. If you use this you can also get the benefit of integrating your accounts and a physical store, if you have one.
For a full list of integrations visit BigCommerce's section on multichannel listings.
Northern Ireland exclusion
One other to note as well is that Northern Ireland isn't excluded by default from the United Kingdom. If you only deliver to mainland UK then it's worth bearing in mind. There is an idea to exclude Northern Ireland but this hasn't been put in to place yet.
If your shipping is a flat rate it's worth bearing in mind as shipping to Northern Ireland is a lot more expensive than mainland UK and you could find yourself out of pocket.
It's an exciting time for BigCommerce in the UK and now is the time to get on board. In my opinion, BigCommerce has still got a little way to go to making UK retailers feel more welcome. This can be done by using the UK support number more often, updating their marketing collateral and having the UK based support tickets and ideas answered more promptly.
With the new office opening in London and the $64 million investment recently, BigCommerce can only go from strength to strength.
Are you in the UK? Have you used BigCommerce before, or looking to get started up with them? Give us a message in the comments below with any questions you might have.
For more information on BigCommerce, read our Ultimate BigCommerce Review.