In this’s BigCommerce review, I’ll be looking at one of the most popular ecommerce store builders on the market today. BigCommerce is a scalable and convenient tool, with a host of built-in features designed to help business owners thrive online.
In my opinion, BigCommerce is a robust, flexible, and easy-to-use platform, capable of scaling to suit a range of business types. Unlike other ecommerce platforms, BigCommerce comes with almost every tool you might need to develop your online presence already built in, so you don’t need to worry about accessing plugins and add-ons to extend your functionality.
While BigCommerce might not be quite as versatile as alternative solutions like Shopify, it does provide companies with a convenient bundled package for online selling. Even the pricing for BigCommerce is relatively fair, particularly if you choose an annual plan.
BigCommerce is designed for people without programming and coding knowledge, so even beginners who have never worked on a website before can still take advantage of the platform. Overall, we consider this tool to be an excellent option for all kinds of business leaders.
What is BigCommerce?
BigCommerce is an ecommerce website building platform, focused on supporting complete beginners in their quest to build the ultimate website. Founded in Sydney, Australia, during 2009, BigCommerce has evolved over the years to become one of the most feature-rich platforms around, with everything companies need for search engine optimization, store creation, marketing, and security.
BigCommerce is a SaaS “hosted” premium ecommerce solution, which works on the software-as-a-service business model. In other words, when you pay to access BigCommerce, you’re not buying a version of the software, but instead “renting” the platform to help you sell your products online.
How Does BigCommerce Work?
The hosted solution operates on its own servers, so you don’t need to install any software to use it, or purchase separate web hosting. Additionally, as long as you can access the internet and a web browser, you can manage your store from anywhere.
BigCommerce is similar to a lot of ecommerce platforms in its functionality. You can use it to sell physical or digital goods, and there are a range of templates included in the platform to help you get started with building your store. While BigCommerce is aimed at people without any design skills, it does allow developers to customize their stores further with CSS and HTML editing.
How We Tested BigCommerce
I have personally tested and used a number of ecommerce store builders over the years, including Shopify, Wix, and of course, BigCommerce. For the purpose of this review, I spent most of my time diving into the free demo version of the tool. However, I’ve also had a chance to experiment with premium versions of the platform in the past.
The Ecommerce Platforms team has also done extensive research into the ecommerce store builder landscape. We’ve looked at more than 3000 stores from across the globe to find out what the most popular ecommerce building solutions are, so we could examine their features. We have even calculated scores for each website builder based on the most important priorities for most store owners. You can find our comprehensive comparison chart here.
We will continue to analyze BigCommerce and its capabilities going forward to ensure we can keep this review up to date.
What are the Pros and Cons of BigCommerce?
All Ecommerce store builders have their own benefits and disadvantages to consider, and BigCommerce is no exception. The Pros of BigCommerce do generally outweigh the cons, but it’s worth being aware of exactly what you’re going to get with this platform.
BigCommerce Pros 👍
- No platform fees, commission fees, or transaction fees on any plan
- Unlimited staff accounts on every package, making it excellent for teams
- Integrations with a range of leading payment gateways
- Marketplace and social media integrations for Amazon, eBay, Facebook and so on
- Free site-wide HTTPS dedicated SSL
- Mobile app access for managing and updating your store on the move
- Real-time shipping quotes, coupons, discount rules, and gift cards
- Product ratings and reviews available on every plan
- Competitive pricing for local payment methods for omnichannel selling
- Strong SEO support to enhance organic growth
- Use-centric, built-in features to minimize the need for apps
BigCommerce Cons 👎
- Slight learning curve for beginners
- Small-scale sellers might find the product too complex
- Revenue-led billing can be a problem for some companies
- Certain features can come with additional costs
- No free plan available for smaller companies
- Customer service and support may be slow at times
BigCommerce Pricing Plans
Pricing will always be a core concern for any business owner investing in new software, tools, or solutions for their online presence. As mentioned above, I consider the BigCommerce plans to be relatively fair, based on the functionality you’ll get. However, some people may find these packages unusual, as they’re linked to business revenue.
You can try BigCommerce for free for 15 days before picking a plan. We’d also recommend considering the annual plans if you’re committed to using BigCommerce as your store builder, as you can save 25% on the total cost of your package.
Here are the options available:
- Standard: $29 per month
- Plus: $79 per month
- Pro: $299 per month
- Enterprise: Custom Pricing
Standard: $29 per month
The Standard plan from BigCommerce allows users to sell unlimited products, access unlimited staff accounts, and leverage a range of sales channels. You can connect to eBay, Amazon, Facebook, Google Shopping, and more. Coupons, discounts and gift cards are all included, and you can integrate with a host of leading payment gateways, without having to pay extra transaction fees.
The Standard plan allows you to sell up to $50k of products and services annually, and supports POS integrations for combined online and offline selling. There’s a free SSL certificate included in the plan, support for product ratings and reviews, and even real-time shipping quotes. Plus, you’ll be able to access competitive pricing on local payment methods. This is a great starting plan for beginners, with a lot of included features. However, you don’t get abandoned cart recovery, which could be a problem for small businesses looking to sale.
Plus: $79 per month
The Plus plan from BigCommerce, which starts at $79 per month when billed annually, includes all of the features of the Standard plan, while giving you the option to sell up to $180k per year. You can also leverage an abandoned cart saver, customer groups and segmentations, and persistent carts.
The Plus plan allows for credit card storing, as well as the option to arrange customers into groups based on their value or shopping habits. This is perhaps the best value package from BigCommerce, and it’s well worth considering, even if you’re under the revenue threshold currently. For growing businesses, this is our number one plan.
The Plus plan is the number one plan we’d recommend for BigCommerce. It provides all the features of the Standard plan, plus some very valuable added extras, such as the ability to create more revenue, and leverage abandoned cart capabilities.
Pro: $299 per month
Available for $299 per month when you pay annually, the Pro plan includes everything in the Plus plan, with some added extras. On this package, you can sell up to $400k annually, access faceted search and product filtering capabilities, and leverage a custom SSL.
This plan is a good step up if you’re scaling your business and want to sell more products without incurring additional fees and complexity.
Enterprise: Custom Pricing
For the biggest ecommerce sellers, BigCommerce offers the Enterprise plan. This is a custom-priced package which includes all of the features from the Pro plan, as well as some bonuses like Priority support, API support, and custom facets (product filtering) options. You can also create price lists.
The Enterprise plan is a fantastic option for larger businesses, but it’s not necessary for many smaller companies still in the midst of scaling. If you’re selling more than $400k worth of products and services per year, you can always upgrade your revenue limit on the Pro plan.
Choosing the annual plan for BigCommerce can save you a lot of money. If you pay for the entire year upfront instead of making monthly payments, you'll get a 25% discount on your package.
In February 2023, BigCommerce raised the prices for Standard, Plus and Pro plans to $39, $105, and $399. However, if you pay for the year in advance, your monthly costs for these plans will drop to $29, $79, and $299.
While BigCommerce doesn’t charge transaction fees on any of its plans, there are some additional fees you’ll need to consider when you’re setting up your store. For instance, you’ll still need to pay payment processing costs, which can vary depending on the provider you choose. The good news is you can leverage cheaper local payment methods and card rates depending on the plan you pick.
The more advanced your plan, the cheaper your payment method fees will be. This is good news if you’re going to be scaling your store with BigCommerce. The payment processing fees included with BigCommerce are similar to those offered by other ecommerce platform vendors like Shopify. They start at around 2.9% plus 30 cents, then reduce to 2.2% plus 30 cents on the enterprise plan.
Alongside payment fees, you may also need to consider costs such as the price for premium themes and extra apps or add-ons. If you want to get extra support from a BigCommerce consultant or technical expert, there’s an extra fee to pay there too. You’ll need to contact the team to find out more about how much you’ll pay for your support.
As I noted above, one of the things that makes BigCommerce such a compelling choice for many business owners, is that it already comes with most of the tools you need to develop a store already built-in. This means you shouldn’t need to spend a fortune on extra apps and add-ons for running and optimizing your website.
The exact features you’ll get from BigCommerce will vary depending on the plan you choose. However, most plans come with some excellent capabilities. Here are some of the impressive features you’ll get with BigCommerce:
- Complete store design tools: You’ll be able to design your own online website with a range of 12 free themes, and a host of premium themes. The templates are mobile responsive and customizable through a drag-and-drop page builder. There’s also the option to experiment with CSS and HTML code if you have the right technical knowledge.
- Selling for a range of products: Store owners can sell unlimited products on all of BigCommerce plans. You’ll be able to choose from physical and virtual products in all of the categories you like. There’s even the option to implement dropshipping add-ons and plugins if you choose. Plus, you can use the shipping rates of your choosing.
- Payment gateways: BigCommerce integrates with a range of payment gateways, including PayPal, and Stripe. You can accept various different payment methods, including credit cards, mobile wallets, and smartphone solutions like Apple Pay and Google Pay. Plus, you’ll be able to customize your checkouts into a single page depending on your needs.
- Staff accounts: All BigCommerce plans come with access to unlimited staff accounts, with access controls, so you can determine exactly what each employee will be able to do with your store. This ensures you can work as part of a comprehensive team to build an engaging website, and even manage customer service.
- Apps and integrations: Although BigCommerce includes most of the functionality you’ll need to build your store as standard, you can still use the app market to extend your store’s capabilities. There are various tools available for marketing, sales, dropshipping, analysis, and more, so you’ll have no problem scaling your website with additional features.
- SEO: Like many leading ecommerce website builders, BigCommerce comes with tools for managing search engine optimization already built in. You can adjust your URLs, meta descriptions, alt tags and descriptions to ensure your site has the best chance of ranking online. There’s also blogging functionality available for content creation.
- Abandoned cart recovery: Though it’s not offered on the cheapest plan, the rest of the BigCommerce packages do offer abandoned cart recovery features so you can connect with customers and pull them back to your website when they fail to complete a purchase. You can even personalize each email you send to boost your chances of a sale.
- POS integrations: BigCommerce syncs online and offline payment options and sales automatically, so you can track your shop’s performance across a range of different channels. In fact, BigCommerce has more POS integrations than virtually any other ecommerce platform, giving businesses excellent flexibility and freedom.
- Shipping options: BigCommerce offers a range of shipping options, including real-time shipping quotes, free shipping, and custom shipping labels. You can even download the BigCommerce shipping app for free and get special exclusive discounts. Shipment tracking, in-store pick-up and next day delivery are also included.
- Reporting tools and analytics: You’ll be able to leverage a range of custom reports and analytics helping you to track your most valuable products, and increase your potential for long-term sales. For beginners, BigCommerce even offers an opportunity to work with a professional on a full, personalized site audit.
- Mobile apps: It’s easy to manage your store from anywhere with Android and iOS mobile apps for BigCommerce. You can view or edit products, fulfil orders, and even connect with team members on the go. There’s even the shipping app available for your smartphone which will give you access to discount shipping rates.
Ease of Use
So, is BigCommerce user-friendly?
While a feature-rich ecommerce platform is great for any business owner, it’s important to ensure you can comfortably use the tools available to you. BigCommerce is a relatively straightforward platform, but it’s often considered to be a little more complicated on average than tools like Shopify.
The main issue we have with BigCommerce is the design interface. When you’re creating your online store with BigCommerce, your design interface will be split into two areas – the behind the scenes components of your store, and the visual storefront. While this might not seem like a problem, it can make it harder to ensure everything is working exactly as expected when you’re building your store.
We’d recommend starting with the back-end and making sure your inventory and other components are set up correctly before you start working on visual design. Upload all of the products you want to sell, along with their SKU data, then go to the editor for the storefront solution to personalize the overall design.
One point worth noting is that BigCommerce is actively working on making it’s platform a little more straightforward. The company introduced a visual merchandising tool known as “Store Design” in recent years, which allows users to see exactly how their edits are going to influence the performance and UI of their store. However, there’s still a bit of a learning curve here.
Another thing we should point out is that the rich functionality BigCommerce offers can be a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you do get most of the functionality you need to build an effective store in one convenient place, without the need for apps and add-ons. On the other hand, this means you’re going to have more features you’ll need to learn how to use along the way.
Each functionality comes with it’s own components and challenges to think about, whether you’re setting up a POS integration, or managing omnichannel selling. One thing I do appreciate about BigCommerce from an ease-of-use perspective, is that it makes it extremely easy to get specialist support if you need it. There’s the option to access personalized site audits and tailored advice from BigCommerce experts. Plus, a community forum is available with webinars, guides, and tutorials.
Overall, I’d say BigCommerce is reasonably easy to use, once you get the hang of it, but you’ll need to commit a decent amount of time to initially setting up your store and getting your head around all of the functionality.
Themes and Templates
One slight problem you may have with BigCommerce, is that the free templates and themes are pretty limited. While there are more than 100 themes to choose from, only around 12 of them are free. You’ll need to pay an extra cost for the majority of the templates, which can add up to a problem for smaller companies looking to maintain a low budget.
On the plus side, BigCommerce does make it relatively easy to find your perfect theme. You can search through the options by industry, or focus on pinpointing a specific layout. You can choose from grid layouts or designs featuring large images. Plus, there’s the option to filter by “free” themes if you’re looking to save some extra cash.
The functionality and appearance of each theme depends on the industry you’re looking in. However, you can preview each theme before you select it. There’s also the option to switch your theme at any time if you decide it’s time for a change. Plus, all of BigCommerce’s themes are mobile responsive, and will automatically format themselves to suit any device.
Plus, the Store Design Tool created by BigCommerce ensures you can make customizations to your store relatively quickly. You’ll be able to pick out sections of your theme and edit them piece-by-piece, changing background colors, logo positions, featured products and more.
BigCommerce App Store
Like many Ecommerce platforms today, BigCommerce does provide companies with the opportunity to expand their store’s functionality through additional apps and plugins. You can leverage a range of tools within the app store, intended to help you with everything from selling to marketing. Some apps are available for free, while others will have an additional monthly cost.
Options range from solutions like Quickbooks online for Accounting, to MailChimp for email marketing, JustUno, Print on Demand apps, and a range of fulfilment and shipping apps. You can also leverage a host of marketing tools to help with boosting your online presence.
BigCommerce also offers integrations to companies looking to combine their online and offline selling strategies. For instance, you can connect your digital store to point of sale solutions from Square, Clover, Zettle, PayPal, Vend, and many others. It’s worth making sure you research each of the options on offer from BigCommerce carefully before you decide on one.
However, compared to other major ecommerce vendors, BigCommerce does give retailers a lot more choice to work with. You’re free to design the ideal offline solution for your store, regardless of whether you’re running a pop-up shop, or a full-time retail location.
Selling Digital Products with BigCommerce
As mentioned above, you’re not stuck exclusively with selling physical products when you start your BigCommerce store. You’ll also be able to sell digital items too. BigCommerce allows companies to sell anything from digital tools and templates, to downloads, webinars, courses, and more.
One point to keep in mind is that you will be limited in the size of the file you can upload. The maximum file size for a digital product on BigCommerce is 512MB, which is a little lower than you’d get from an alternative like Shopify. However, you can bulk-upload products with CSV imports, which is a good way to save some time. You can also consider using add-ons to deliver larger files to your customers if you need to.
Selling Globally with BigCommerce
Another point worth noting is that ecommerce sellers on BigCommerce can essentially sell items to customers anywhere in the world. In fact, virtually every theme available for BigCommerce (including the free solutions) come with multi-currency solutions built in.
This functionality actually automatically converts the currency shown on your product pages based on your customer’s IP address, which is handy. If for any reason, the theme you’re choosing doesn’t support this feature, you can always consider downloading an add-on to do it instead. Overall, though, BigCommerce is great for global selling, and offers more functionality than some other alternatives like SquareSpace. Even Shopify won’t allow you to set your own currency conversion rates in the same way as BigCommerce unless you’re on a more expensive plan.
BigCommerce Review: Customer Support
No matter how amazing your chosen ecommerce website builder is, there’s always a chance you’re going to need a little help dealing with issues from time to time. That’s why it’s so important to ensure your solution comes with excellent customer support.
The customer support you get from BigCommerce will vary depending on the price plan you choose. However, as standard, the company does offer 24/7 phone and live chat support, which is excellent for most companies. There’s also email support available too.
On top of that, you can leverage the BigCommerce help center to find quick solutions to your problem, which includes a ton of blog posts, FAQs and video tutorials to help you.
If you need extra support, you can connect with the BigCommerce support team to get access to technical and auditing professionals too.
BigCommerce User Reviews
To help us get a clearer idea of how other users view BigCommerce, we also took a look at the ratings and testimonials published across the web. Here’s what we found out.
On TrustRadius.com, BigCommerce has a rating of 8.1 out of 10 overall. Customers appreciate it’s excellent level of customization options, the robust range of online payment solutions, and the flexible online shopping cart offered by BigCommerce.
On G2, BigCommerce is rated at around 4 out of 5 stars, with a total of 447 customer reviews. The top-rated features mentioned by customers include payment processing, performance and reliability, and comprehensive control of admin access rights.
Overall, most consumers seem to view BigCommerce as an effective, valuable tool for ecommerce. However, the company has received some negative reviews for its lack of extensibility (limited integrations). Some customers also feel BigCommerce is slightly harder to use than other well-known solutions like Wix, Shopify, and Squarespace.
Dropshipping with BigCommerce
One good thing about BigCommerce, is that it does support companies in creating a wide range of different types of online business and store. You don’t necessarily have to handle fulfilment, logistics, and shipping yourself with a BigCommerce site. The solution offers a range of dropshipping integration options, so you can outsource aspects of your business operations to another vendor.
The easiest way to enable dropshipping within BigCommerce to install one of the available apps on the BigCommerce marketplace. There are nearly 40 different apps to choose from, including a range of popular favorites like Spocket, Inventory Source, Printful, and Printify.
Notably, while some of these apps are free to use, others will include a monthly subscription fee, so it’s worth taking this into account before you choose your app.
What are the Top BigCommerce Alternatives?
While BigCommerce is a great ecommerce platform for many vendors, it won’t be the ideal solution for every business owner. It does have some limitations in terms of ease of use, and extensibility. If you’re looking for an alternative, the top options we recommend include:
- Shopify: Our all-around favorite platform for ecommerce websites, Shopify offers endless functionality, with exceptional ease of use. The platform might not have as many built-in features as BigCommerce, but you can easily extend the functionality of the platform with add-ons and integrations. Plus, Shopify is fantastic for store owners of all sizes. Plus Shopify offers access to a range of marketing features and tools to increase the number of products you sell.
- Squarespace: One of the biggest downsides of BigCommerce is it only has a limited number of themes and design options to choose from. If you want a more design-focused ecommerce store builder, Squarespace is a fantastic choice. It has it’s own easy-to-use drag and drop editor, as well as dozens of professional templates and themes. Just keep in mind the ecommerce features on Squarespace are a little limited when compared to BigCommerce.
- Wix: For ease of use, it really doesn’t get simpler than Wix. You can even use AI solutions to build your own site with minimal effort or customization. Wix gives companies everything they need to build highly responsive sites in minutes. Plus, it offers far more options when it comes to customization and templates than BigCommerce. However, Wix might not be the most scalable solution as your business begins to grow.
- Square Online: If you’re running an omnichannel business and want to sell both online and offline at the same time, Square Online might be your best bet. This incredible tool comes with an easy website builder you can leverage for free. Plus, there are specialist features available for those in the restaurant and retail landscape. The point of sale features are excellent, as are the inventory management and syncing options.
- Ecwid: If you already have a website on WordPress or a similar platform, then Ecwid could be an excellent way to add ecommerce functionality to your site with a third-party app. You can leverage the tool as a plugin, or use it to build your own simple store – though the functionality available is limited compared to what you get on BigCommerce. Ecwid is extremely affordable and easy to use, and it offers various options for multi-channel selling.
BigCommerce Review: Verdict
Overall, we consider BigCommerce to be an excellent tool for building an ecommerce business. While it may not offer the same flexibility as a solution like Shopify, it does come with a lot of great features already built-in, including multiple payment gateway options. Plus, it won’t charge you any transaction fees on any plan, so you can save some much needed cash.
We’d recommend BigCommerce to anyone in search of a relatively convenient online store builder, capable of supporting omnichannel selling and even POS integration. The platform has excellent analytics and reporting tools, strong SEO support, and a handful of great integrations to choose from. However, the learning curve might be a little too high for some absolute beginners.
While it’s not as complex as building a store from scratch with WordPress and WooCommerce, the overall rating of BigCommerce from most users is hampered by its ease of use.
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