Before we dive deep into the blubolt review, I must admit that we've sampled a wide range of ecommerce platforms. On the other hand, we’ve also tried out numerous managed hosting services for online stores.
Normally, we’ve always considered these two as separate solutions on opposite ends of the spectrum- each with its own exclusive set of specialized providers, dealing with a specific type of users.
Rarely have we stumbled upon providers who’ve combined both solutions on a single framework. So, guess what? This happens to be one of those special occasions. And from the look of things, exploring such a unique, multi-faceted company should be interesting.
But, is it possible to focus on both simultaneously without compromising either?
blubolt Review: Overview
The journey started back in 2006, when Maxwell Lamb and Chris Mattingly founded an agency that designed, created and managed ecommerce websites for online merchants.
At first, they leveraged third-party ecommerce platforms to host and power online stores. Pretty much what we’ve seen many developers do.
But, after about a year or so, the two friends realized that their technical services were partially handicapped. They could not find a platform that was capable of providing simple but effectual solutions for ecommerce management.
And so, instead of waiting around for someone to come up with one, they decided to do it themselves. Besides, they say that if you want something done best, you’ve got to do it yourself.
Well, that’s how bluCommerce came to be. According to blubolt, it’s a versatile ecommerce platform with an extensive array of features to facilitate online retailers. It’s built to power lead acquisition, market businesses, boost lead conversions, expand stores globally, and optimize general ecommerce systems with robust integrations.
With that, blubolt ceased to be just a regular team of ecommerce developers. The UK-based company has for the last decade grown holistically to become a force renowned for combining technical services with a correspondingly appropriate platform for online sellers.
Therefore, you can think of blubolt as a full-service provider. You essentially get a complete stack of solutions- they’ll design and create an ecommerce website for you, then subsequently host it on their bluCommerce platform, and ultimately supplement all that with dedicated full-time support, seeking to grow your business and provide technical services.
Fairly an interesting approach, you’ve got to admit. Not quite what we’re already used to.
But, hang on a minute now. Would blubolt be a thoughtful idea for your business? Can their ecommerce platform match up to other dominant solutions we’ve tried out before? And what does the entire set of services even cost in the first place- would it be cheaper or costlier than the alternative option of combining independent managed service providers with a third-party platform?
Well, this blubolt review answers all that. It critically analyzes the whole bluCommerce platform, its features, plus the accompanying pricing of the entire blubolt support and software package.
blubolt Review: bluCommerce Platform Features
Online Store Management
Right off the bat, you’ll notice that bluCommerce principally attempts to simplify and diversify online store management. As soon as you start adding products, for instance, you can tell that its catalogue management features are straightforward enough to get the job done quickly. I was able to take advantage of bulk importing to add everything at once, before setting their respective variables, throwing in the corresponding product data, and uploading relevant images.
Well, that brings us to the next stage of editing your items. Although blubolt provides website design and creation services, it does not lock you out of the process. You can still customize critical sections of your website through various content management functionalities accessible on bluCommerce.
One particularly notable tool here is the Content Editor, which comes in handy when you need to edit your site’s frontend appearance in real time. It achieves this by eliminating the long process of logging into your admin dashboard to navigate back and forth just to implement a minor adjustment.
Consequently, all you need to do is simply access your website like a regular user, and click on any area you’d like to edit. The editor will then grant you instant access to the CMS to make the changes and publish them immediately. And in case you’re concerned about publishing an error, you can use its preview mode to assess your tweaks before they eventually go live.
Now, when customers start rolling in, you can organize and manage their information from the Customer Details section of your admin area. Apart from importing their data via a CSV file, bluCommerce allows you to edit your customers’ profiles accordingly. Some of the fields you’ll see here include; customer name, email, gender, user type, tax options, registered account, account enabled, department, accounting ID, external ID, and more.
The system then goes ahead to facilitate you with order management functionalities to coordinate the fulfilment process once your customers start purchasing. The resultant pipeline is made up of what is essentially known as the PPD process- picking, packing and dispatching.
In other words, you’ll be able to receive the customer orders, then subsequently raise their corresponding purchase orders with your warehouse operatives, who’ll then pack the items appropriately, before dispatching and shipping.
Speaking of which, you can also create and manage numerous shipping methods on bluCommerce. This feature even comes with courier integration to streamline the whole delivery management and tracking processes.
Then to top it off, bluCommerce provides reporting features to help you keep tabs on your online store. The primary element here is the Google Tag Manager, which comes in handy for monitoring your customers’ behaviours and site usage patterns. It’s further supplemented by a promotions report plus a set of exportable raw reports, which avail sales and customer revenue insights.
Now, I can guess what you’re wondering at this point. How will you even get customers in the first place?
Well, thankfully, blubolt has prioritized on this too. The bluCommerce platform comes with added features that will help you not only promote your store but also increasingly attract leads.
Since blubolt is not a marketing powerhouse, it has left this role to the real gurus. You’ll be able to capitalize on third-party integrations to holistically enhance your site’s marketing capabilities.
If you intend to leverage email marketing, for instance, you might consider connecting your account with solutions like MailChimp, Lyris, or Ometria, among others.
Now, come to think of it, another effective approach here would be affiliate marketing. And for that, bluCommerce allows you to partner with various parties through its affiliate programme integrations like Webgains or AffiliateWindow.
And to further expand your traffic potential, you can complement all that with social media marketing. You’ll be able to embed the system with platforms like Facebook and Google to hunt for leads exactly where they predominantly like hanging out.
That said, the end result ultimately boils down to your site’s conversion funnel. A solid one should be systematically structured with strategic landing pages, relevant content, and attractive promotions.
Luckily, bluCommerce comes with an extensive promotion engine with a wide range of discount tools. It can adapt to pretty much any discount model you may come up with, as you attempt to tactfully convince leads to commit to their purchases.
Then to follow up on that, bluCommerce goes ahead to provide a dynamic review system for collecting reviews from individual customers, after which you’ll be able to moderate them before publishing. Apart from giving you critical insights, the consequent feedback will help you enhance the conversion process. You can rely on it to influence future leads.
Now, if you’ve actively sold products before, then you already know the value of repeat customers. Chances are, in fact, that 80% of your business profits in future will be generated from just 20% of your customers who keep returning. The numbers are promising because convincing this group of buyers is much easier compared to new leads- on average a repeat customer has a 60% probability of purchasing again.
With that in mind, bluCommerce seeks to help you retain customers after they’ve completed their orders. For starters, it streamlines the subsequent purchase processes by allowing customers to submit returns, manage their payment cards and addresses, plus view their order histories. They can also save items they desire on numerous wishlists to share with friends, and possibly buy in future.
From your end, you’ll be able to fast-track everything by incentivising repeat purchases through customer-credit programmes or loyalty reward schemes. And if you’d prefer a much simpler approach, you might consider introducing gift vouchers instead.
For a smooth sales process, bluCommerce enhances the shopping pipeline with various functionalities in all the critical stages.
When customers land on your site, for example, you can bet that they’ll be able to find their way around, regardless of whether they speak English or not. The platform allows you to set up a site tailored to the local language for every country you expand your business to.
The problem with such an extensive business, however, is usually the large product catalogue that accompanies it. Although customers would overwhelmingly prefer shopping from an all-inclusive site, they hate navigating through complex unending product lists.
To sort this out, bluCommerce comes with robust in-built search capabilities. Your customers will be able to accurately find specific items in just a matter of microseconds- on both PC and mobile devices.
And speaking of which, it goes without saying that most of your customers will be frequently shopping through their smartphones and tablets. Mobile gadgets eventually surpassed other devices in the U.K. digital commerce space back in 2017- they cumulatively accounted for 54.8% of the total sales that year.
Consequently, bluCommerce optimizes your site for mobile to cater to such shoppers. Your site automatically adapts to mobile screens to offer a clean, user-friendly interface that is simple, fast, and well-organized. As a result, customers will find it easy to explore the store on various types of devices.
And in case they decide to switch to their PCs before completing shopping, you can count on the bluCommerce Persistent Basket feature to save you from potential cart abandonment.
This unique functionality is built to systematically link various devices to form a single, continuous shopping process. Considering 90% of consumers admit that they complete regular tasks on several devices, you can imagine how impactful this feature would be to your sales process.
But, here’s the kicker. It only applies to shoppers who’ve logged into their accounts. But then again, it turns out that bluCommerce gives them multiple access routes. They can proceed to sign in with not only their store profiles but also Amazon accounts or social media credentials.
And you know what? It comes with yet another benefit. Logging into your account while shopping also allows you to take advantage of blubolt Express Pay when you reach the checkout. You end up skipping the address information input stage by jumping straight to payment. The system handles that for you by automatically populating the fields with details you had saved in previous shopping instances.
Now, when it comes to payments, you’ll be able to minimize possible abandonment by providing your customers with multiple payment options. First off, you’ll have bluCommerce Pay as the principal gateway, embedded into the system by default. It’s well secured, complete with PCI DSS Level 1 compliance accreditation.
Additional payment options, on the other hand, are only available as third-party integrations. And they include popular preferences like PayPal, Stripe, Sage Pay, Amazon Pay, and PayPoint- most of which are functional in numerous countries.
That said, another shopping stage that has been dynamically facilitated on bluCommerce is shipping and product delivery. You can leverage a range of different courier services to conveniently serve your customers in various locations.
bluCommerce is not just about the regular business module of one-off payments. It turns out that you can also leverage it to build and manage a subscription-based ecommerce store. This, admittedly, would be a thoughtful way to turn typical shoppers into loyal customers- which, in turn, means more profits over the long haul.
Now, the whole structure is dynamic but quite straightforward. Creating recurring products, for instance, is as simple as converting your items into packages that buyers can subscribe to for a prolonged period of time. This, consequently, transforms the corresponding payment mode into one that charges repeatedly for each new subscription period.
But, make no mistake. Your customers might shift at any point, owing to account management features they’ll be able to access from their end. They can adjust their packages by changing preferences, pausing the service temporarily, or cancelling it altogether.
Well, on the bright side, there are several strategies you could use to minimize such outcomes. The discounts tool is one potentially effective resource that might come in handy here, especially when you want to encourage customers to extend their subscription periods.
Another approach you might consider is setting up exclusive “VIP” clubs that offer attractive discounts to loyal customers. bluCommerce provides tools for creating unique members-only clubs with varying qualification parameters.
Then get this. Interestingly, you can even push your customers to subscribe to multiple programmes at the same time. The end result, of course, depends on how well you bundle the programmes in your up-sell and cross-sell offers.
blubolt Review: Pricing
So far, we’ve established that blubolt uses an unconventional approach of bundling an ecommerce platform with a range of tech services. Consequently, I was expecting an extensive pricing schedule with multiple price points for various solutions.
But, sadly, it just so happens that blubolt does not reveal such info on their main site. You’ll only be able to get a quote after getting in touch with the sales team.
Who Should Consider Using blubolt?
After comprehensive analysis of their features, we can conclude that blubolt would be ideal for standard and subscription-based retail ecommerce businesses. And yes, I’m talking about both B2C and B2B business, since the ecommerce platform also happens to offer specialized bulk order management capabilities to support the latter.
That said, does it seem like something you’d consider for your business? Why?