There's more though: In early 2016, BigCommerce underwent an incredibly drastic rebranding change, with a completely new brand structure, more integrations and plenty of new features for the users. In short, the company stated that the logo change is more reminiscent of what the platform is designed to do for users, referring to the upward trending chart logo. In addition, the company has shuffled around its website design in an attempt to provide easier access to information for all users.
The branding looks great, but what about you as the user? From Shopify to Squarespace, one of the biggest challenges when starting a business is to figure out which of the top ecommerce systems is right for your business. BigCommerce falls right in the middle of that conversation, so it’s up to you to decide whether payment processing or product management is more important. The same goes for items like security and website design.
Is BigCommerce Your Best Choice?
BigCommerce is a top of the line ecommerce platform, perfect for moving beyond tools like eBay and Amazon for selling. It allows you to set up your store, add products, and start making real money through your website. However, that’s not all. BigCommerce is also a specialist ecommerce website builder.
While other website builders like Squarespace allow you to build virtually any kind of website you choose, ecommerce solutions like BigCommerce are specifically for companies that want a user friendly way to create a site where they can sell products and services.
BigCommerce definitely stands out in the current marketplace, with an average growth rate for clients like Toyata, Ben & Jerrys and Kodak that reaches around 28% year over year. However, it’s worth noting that every builder has its pros and cons.
Keep reading to find out.
Based on numerous emails and comments from our readers who are using BigCommerce, looks like they are dramatically raising prices for their more successful customers (bringing in more than $125,000 a year in revenue), which makes it a lot more costly than its direct competitor Shopify, which has fixed prices.
We're constantly trying to offer the best comparisons and most accurate reviews, but we also update our comparison chart on a weekly basis.
If you're not 100% sure which ecommerce platform is best for your specific needs, check it out!
Btw, I've done a video version of the review for you in case you want to hear my voice 🙂
BigCommerce Reviews – Features
The BigCommerce features all start with the website builder, since it allows for beautiful, responsive designs, without knowing much about web design. Add and manage products without any problems, and accept payments through a wide variety of options.
Customized shipping is a must-have for most vendors, and BigCommerce has all of that. The flexible tax system and dropshipping features ensure that you don’t have to shift around your business model just because of your ecommerce system.
Note: According to our readers BigCommerce has been largely unresponsive to feature requests, making it difficult for many customers to justify the cost. For example, many of the features are built for primarily US customers, which leaves the rest of the world with features that aren't entirely useful. In addition, customers have complained about useful features getting requested over and over in the forums but never coming to fruition (like the ability to customize order statuses).
Other than the problem with update, we can talk about some of the upsides. From smart product rules to downloadable sales, email marketing tools to advanced search engine optimization, BigCommerce does have some wonderful features. Now, the question is, do these features come at a reasonable price, and are they all that great in action?
A Customizable Checkout
You can learn about the Checkout SDK here and see examples of it in use.
BigCommerce Reviews – Ease of Use
In terms of startup businesses looking for ecommerce platforms, the first thing companies typically ask about is pricing. After that, the ease of use is almost always the most important area. This makes sense, considering a business person generally doesn’t have the web design or development skills to build a site from scratch or mess around with confusing building processes.
So, is BigCommerce easy to use?
When you launch your website with BigCommerce they have some nice tutorials and steps to get you started. However, our tests, and the feedback from readers, show that the new Stencil framework from BigCommerce is more friendly for advanced developers. That's great news for stores that can hire a solid developer. However, non-technical users are finding it difficult to make small tweaks, something that's necessary for the average inventor or entrepreneur.
Next to Shopify, BigCommerce has the features needed for developers, but it's not quite there for the average non-techie. The first page you see when landing on the dashboard is a list of steps you should take to complete your store within a few seconds. For example, you can add products, setup shipping settings and manage your tax rates.
After that, the development gets more complex.
Apps and integrations help for customization, and website themes are pre-built for making it look like you hired a pro to design your website. However, BigCommerce relies largely on a company called Pixel Union for its themes. They look sleek and modern, but users have suggested that this focus on one designer leaves room for improvement in the uniqueness area. Not only that, but many of our readers have made it clear that it's easy to find random bugs that generally don't get fixed.
The product management is clean and unique, considering you can customize just about anything for your products.
Overall, API access is much easier to obtain than with solutions like Volusion. Advanced users shouldn’t have any problems with BigCommerce, but it's those beginners we worry about.
BigCommerce Review – Pricing
At one point BigCommerce had some competitive pricing that compared pretty well with that of Shopify. However, after numerous emails and comments from our readers, it looks like they have dramatically increased prices for their more successful customers (making more than $125,000 a year in revenue).
This is a huge blow to both BigCommerce customers and our view on the company as a whole. Sure, you still get some of the fixed prices that we'll outline below, but once you surpass a certain point in sales you're going to get slammed with insanely high monthly rates. It's almost as if BigCommerce is trying to gouge users that make more money, simply because they can.
Anyway, let's proceed onto the different plans you can choose from. BigCommerce still has a free 30-day BigCommerce trial before you need to make a decision.
Now, all of those prices might look pretty great at first glance – but there is one thing to keep in mind. If your store starts growing to a specific size – you will be upgraded (whether you like it or not). We'll come back to this in a minute.
👉 In the meantime, let's take a look at the details of BigCommerce pricing.
On any plan, you'll save 10% when you pay for the whole year at once (rather than just month by month). So you're paying about $359 for the Standard plan up-front. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you need more functionality than you can get from the “Pro” model, you'll have to request a price for Enterprise. That's pretty standard with most offerings today.
👉 In terms of pricing, check out the four plans below:
- Standard Plan – For $29.95 per month you get unlimited products, unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, credit card and PayPal acceptance and no transaction fee! You have to be earning under $50k per year to user the Standard package – so it will only be suitable for smaller ecommerce sites. The BigCommerce Standard plan also lacks some advanced features, like segmentation, and abandoned cart recovery.
- Plus Plan – For $79.95 per month you receive all Standard Plan features, no transaction fees, real-time carrier shipping, great payment providers, an abandoned cart saver, advanced customer segmentation and a checkout that is hosted on your own domain. The BigCommerce Plus plan is suitable for medium-sized online stores generating up to $150k each year. Choosing this plan will allow you to access a few more advanced features. The “Abandoned Cart Saver” is also available here, which enables you to reach out to users who didn't complete their purchase.
- Pro Plan – For $299.95 per month you receive all Plus Plan features, no transaction fees, Google customer reviews, product filtering and an available dedicated SSL. Warning: This plan starts at $299.95/mo for less than $400k in online sales. After that they require at least $150/mo for each additional $200k in sales. In short, they'll get you if you surpass that $400K mark. The BigCommerce Pro plan also comes with Faceted search, which allows online shoppers to filter and sort products. This plan will also enable store owners to install third-party SSL certificates.
- Enterprise Plan – This requires you to contact BigCommerce for custom pricing, but you can expect all of the Plus Plan features, along with a dedicated SSL and IP address, setup and data migration, priority support, product filtering, advanced reporting tools, Google trusted stores and more. As many of our users have pointed out, it seems as if BigCommerce is pushing many more successful customers to go with this plan. So, if you're making more than $125,000 in revenue per year (or over 3,000 orders per year,) you may end up being charged anywhere from $900 to $1,500 per month.
BigCommerce Pricing Plans Explained
Let’s have a closer look at who should consider each plan.
The BigCommerce Standard Plan
All of the pricing levels for BigCommerce are based on the annual sales of your online store. That’s a different structure than many of the other eCommerce platforms offer today. However, it’s also a very transparent approach, and makes it easier for some companies to figure out what they actually need.
At any plan level, if you go over what you have available to you on that plan, the BigCommerce team will ask you if you want to upgrade. With that in mind, if you’re running a relatively small company with no need for an advanced support team or SKUs, then you can always start with the Standard plan and work your way up.
The Standard plan is ideal for beginners, coming in at a price of $29.95 per month for sales of up to 50k a year, which should cover a lot of small companies. This plan will set you up with a well-rounded and rich backend solution for your store, with access to countless sales channels from Apple pay to Facebook, eBay and Amazon.
You also get:
- Real time shipping quotes
- Coupons, gift cards and discounts
- Multiple sale channel options
- Unlimited product options
- Unlimited staff accounts
- 24/7 support
- Product ratings and reviews
The BigCommerce Plus Plan:
The BigCommerce Plus plan is for people who might need a little more assistance, a few more advanced features, and support for a bigger store. If you’re planning on selling up to 150k worth of products per year, then you’ll need to consider the Plus package from BigCommerce.com.
The BigCommerce Plus package is available for $79.95/month and it comes with all of the standard features that you enjoyed from the original plan, plus a few extras. For instance, this is the first BigCommerce plan that comes with access to the abandoned cart saver to help you regain lost leads.
There’s also access to things like:
- Stored credit cards for quicker purchases
- A persistent cart with real-time updates
- Customer groups and segmentation
If your business is growing and you want to keep it that way, then the features of Plus will help you to do that. The automatic emails to draw back customers are particularly useful.
The BigCommerce Pro Plan:
The BigCommerce Pro plan is your last option before switching to Enterprise. Compared to other companies, like Wix, and the early plans in the BigCommerce portfolio, it’s an expensive option. You’ll be paying around $299.95 per month.
The good news is that you don’t need to pay for any add-ons to extend the functionality of this plan, as it should come with everything that you need. There are custom pricing options available for higher average order sizes, and you can get access to features like faceted search and a custom SSL for security.
At the same time, on top of things like Google customer reviews to boost your sales power, the Pro plan also features everything you loved from previous plans, including Amazon Pay options, customer groups, and abandoned cart recovery.
The most valuable features of BigCommerce Pro are the custom SSL and product filtering option. These allow you to give your audience a better experience on your site. You can make shopping easy with product search filters, and earn trust with a recognized brand like Google.
If your company is growing bigger, but you don’t want to look into Enterprise yet, then Pro could be the plan for you.
BigCommerce Enterprise: Is it Worth It?
Like most ecommerce enterprise packages, the BigCommerce Enterprise plan is a lot more expensive than the other options for business owners. That means that you need to think carefully about whether it’s worth the price.
The Enterprise solution incorporates all of the basic features that you would expect from BigCommerce, including unlimited API calls, custom facets, and other tools designed to meet the needs of specific merchants. As well as Stripe payment options, there’s also a PayPal Express checkout, single page checkouts and social media integrations where your customers can boast about their purchases.
On top of those basic features, the Enterprise package for online business owners comes with things like reliable hosting and security. You get a guaranteed uptime of 99.99% which means that you shouldn’t have to worry much about losing access to your storefront. There’s also bank grade security and DDoS protection. Other features include:
- State of the art conversion tools: Conversion is crucial for users of BigCommerce, whether they're small businesses or large enterprises. The Enterprise plan comes with tools like the Abandoned Cart Saver, which helps to earn customers that have left their cart without buying anything. BigCommerce delivers around a 15% recovery rate on abandoned carts. There’s also filtered search to help clients find what they need.
- Additional support for shipping: The Enterprise version of BigCommerce comes with the ShipperHQ plugin. This enterprise tool calculates shipping rates and gives customers a real-time quote for what they can expect to spend.
- Custom product filtering: You can use your own product fields as custom filters.
- Limitless API calls: Transfer data between your integrations in real-time without any limitations at all.
- High-level customer service: Enterprise plan clients get their questions and are concerned moved to the top of the list. Whether you’re asking about product options or problems, your calls will always be answered and dealt with first. You may even get your own account manager.
The BigCommerce Enterprise plan is really for those who are in search of a true VIP experience. Among other things, you'll get access to priority support and custom filtering options, as well as a staging development environment and a dedicated account manager.
Once again, as you surpass the Plus and Pro plans, BigCommerce may not be the right choice for most companies. Although we enjoy BigCommerce features and templates, charging this much for the most profitable users is a strange business model.
These changes in 2016 make BigCommerce a lot more costly than its direct competitor Shopify, which has fixed prices.
BigCommerce Pros and Cons
So, is BigCommerce the right tool for your ecommerce strategy?
Well, that depends. Like any tool, it comes with pros and cons to consider.
BigCommerce Pros 👍
- Excellent management tools, including order management, product management, reports, analytics, and everything else you can think of. BigCommerce is excellent for store management on a day-to-day basis.
- Marketing module with AdWords integrations, coupons, and more. Plus, you can nurture your audience via integrations with email marketing tools like Mailchimp
- BigCommerce is quite affordable when you consider the number of amazing features it offers and the fact that there's no limit on the number of customers you can serve, or the number of products you can offer.
- 24/7 support: Customer support from BigCommerce is pretty good. You can even get assistance with figuring out things like SEO and the basics of marketing.
- Range of apps to choose from: Integrate your store with the platforms you use most, including QuickBooks, Mailchimp, and many others.
- Use the currencies that suit you – including multiple at different times.
- No transaction fees: Even if you're using a third-party payment gateway, BigCommerce doesn't charge any transaction fees.
- The tool for saving abandoned cart details is fantastic for getting your customers back into your store when you need them most.
- You can get as many staff accounts as you need with any plan.
- Built-in marketing tools are available – including the option to access a built-in blog without having to integrate something like WordPress.
- The product is available to try for free for 14 days.
BigCommerce Cons 👎
- If you want to customize your store, the themes can get quite expensive – particularly if you want something from the premium selection.
- It's difficult to adjust all the aspects of your home page – including the text content.
- The homepage carousel requires a bit of trial and error before you can get it looking fantastic.
- The design adjustment features don't always work the way that you want it to.
- You do need to pay quite a bit access to get access to things like the abandoned cart functionality.
- There's a limit on the amount of annual online sales you can make. If you exceed that limit, you'll be forced to pay for a more expensive plan
- Themes can be very similar to each other in the free section.
- VAT MOSS rates aren't easily managed for people selling digital products.
- It can be challenging to find the dropshipping apps that you need on the app store
One of the biggest worries that companies have when they’re comparing their eCommerce store builder options, is whether there are any hidden fees. It’s great to think that you know exactly how your new tool is going to fit into your budget. But it’s horrible to discover that you actually need to pay extra for things like onboarding and transactions.
The good thing about BigCommerce is that the company doesn’t charge any transaction fees. There are various interesting features included for all plans, and no hidden fees that we can see. However, if you take into account the sales per year limitations on each package, then BigCommerce still isn’t cheap, even if you don’t have to worry about transaction fees.
Mobile Apps, Integrations and Add-Ons
Choosing the perfect tool for your online store often goes beyond finding something that suits your budget. It can also mean assessing things besides what the tool can actually do, like looking at which services it integrates well with, and where you can use it.
For instance, if you often need to manage your online business on the go, BigCommerce can help with that. The BigCommerce software comes with mobile apps for iOS and Android, so you can quickly and easily deal with various aspects of your website on your phone. Within the mobile app, you can view key performance metrics for your business, update orders, and search through customers.
What’s more, the BigCommerce software also allows you to extend the functionality of your web store however you choose too. Within the tool, you can find integrations that allow you to combine your website building and eCommerce solution with various other applications and software. For instance, BigCommerce comes with various pre-built integrations with leading ERP solutions like NetSuite. It also has an established integration with Avalara for sales tax. Other integrations include:
- Accounting and sales tax tools like Sage, Xero, and QuickBooks
- Marketing and conversion apps like Google AdWords and Mailchimp
- Leading POS systems like Shopkeep.
- Shopping systems like Google Shopping feeds
If, for any reason, you can’t find the app that you want listed on the Apps and Integrations page from BigCommerce, then your developers might be able to build you a new application for you thanks to BigCommerce API solutions. Developers have no problem syncing multiple apps with your store, because there’s no limit to the API calls on the service. The BigCommerce RESTful API also uses non-proprietary languages and open documentation options too.
BigCommerce Multi Currency Features
One of the most exciting additions to the BigCommerce portfolio recently, is the arrival of the new multi-currency features that the company offers to all customers. The multi-currency features helps to cement BigCommerce as a leading open SaaS platform.
With these tools, you can customize your pricing at a deeper SKU level with pricing lists. This is something that you can’t do with other market leaders like Shopify. At the same time, merchants also have the freedom to choose payment providers too. This is unique to other tools that often push business owners to use in-built payment solutions for multi-currency tools.
BigCommerce always has 5 gateway options supporting multi-currency, with various alternatives already on the roadmap too. The multi-currency features allow merchants to enhance and improve their cross-border operations. At the same time, international customers get a localized shopping experience that’s tailored to their native currency and language.
To make the experience even more impressive, the Multi Currency features are available across all of the plan types offered by BigCommerce at no extra cost. This means that merchants can natively present information and transact in various currencies (over 100) using integrations with some of the most popular payment providers, such as PayPal and Stripe.
Some of the features available from the cross-border multi-currency features from BigCommerce include access to:
- No additional fees: Customers can check out in their preferred currency. This means that they don’t have to worry about additional fees like conversion rates from their bank.
- Accurate checkout prices: With currency exchange rates that users can update in a single click, customers can ensure that they understand the exact cost that they’re paying when they reach the checkout.
- Flexibility and freedom of choice: The multi-currency functionality offered by BigCommerce works with some of the leading global payment gateways on the market. This allows merchants to choose the vendor that’s most suitable for their business needs in every region.
- Complete control: An extra benefit of BigCommerce is that enterprise merchants can easily define prices for individual currencies using advanced SKUs.
The range of multi-currency features now available from BigCommerce helps it to stand out as one of the leading platforms for truly global businesses.
BigCommerce Transaction Fees and Hidden Costs
Like with most eCommerce tools, BigCommerce seems to start relatively affordable, then get more expensive as you go along. This might sound fine if you're not planning on using much of the extra tools anyway. After all, even the standard plans come with things like:
- Unlimited products, bandwidth, and file storage: Sell as much as you like without having to worry about bandwidth limits
- Real-time shipping quotes: Make sure you're converting customers by offering them the lowest possible shipping rates.
- Responsive websites: Ensure that your site looks amazing on both desktop and mobile.
- Single-page checkout: Reduce your risk of abandoned carts by making the transaction experience as smooth as possible.
- 24/7 live customer support: Get all the answers to your questions instantly.
💡 Additionally, BigCommerce comes with absolutely no transaction fees whatsoever. There are no costs to pay – no matter what your customers spend on your site.
However, there is a downside. BigCommerce takes a slightly different approach to pricing by giving each of their plans a threshold limit. That means that if you're earning more than $50k a year, you won't be able to continue using the Standard plan – you'll be upgraded to the Pro plan automatically. That's a sudden $50 increase your monthly bills.
You don't even get the option to stay on your lower-functionality plan. The updates are automatically administered by BigCommerce – which means that the more your sales go up, the more your expenses increase too.
Make sure you keep this in mind before you use BigCommerce.
BigCommerce Reviews – Templates and Design
If you go to the BigCommerce Theme Store you can get an idea of what you would be working with if going for BigCommerce. In general, it’s a pretty nice store, with both free and paid options for varying budgets.
BigCommerce offers a pretty impressive array of responsive templates that you can rely on for making the most out of your online store's design. There are 12 free themes to choose from, and they're all clean and modern looking, so it's a good start.
Additionally, there are over 100 paid themes available, with prices ranging between $145 and $235 depending on what you need. Most themes also come with different variants so that you can adjust according to your preferences.
The free themes are some of the coolest I’ve seen in a while, and it’s not all that hard to customize them or make them do what you want. The majority of the paid themes are responsive, stylish and easy to work with. However, some of the uniqueness you might find elsewhere doesn't seem to come with BigCommerce. We figure it's because most of the themes come from one company called Pixel Union. It's not that they are bad designers, but it would be nice to see unique ideas from other developers.
Still, you can always do your own personalization if you want to. All you need to do is click into your online store theme and play around. You can pretty much use any theme to sell virtually any kind of product or service with a little bit of adjustment.
Just click on the “Style Editor” function and play with things like the default colors to reflect your branding or adjust the fonts. You can also enable mobile themes, modify the main carousel, or add your logo. If you've got a bit of a developer background, you can also work with the CSS and raw HTML to update your theme too.
💡 Overall, you won’t have to spend more than $150 or $200 for a quality theme. That's about on-par with competitors.
As of March 23, 2016, customers will gain access to 67 new, responsive themes that are meant to expand your abilities for merchandising, promotions and a seamless checkout process. Although we haven't had a chance to test the themes, they range from $145 to $235, and they have modern merchandising capabilities for expanding your brand. All of these new themes can be bought through the theme store.
BigCommerce Review – Inventory
The inventory is a standout feature, since you have the options to upload quick products, setup inventory tracking and update your stock levels within a few minutes.
Use the flexible product rules and inventory tools so that you don’t get bogged down by a bunch of rules that only pertain to one or two industries. In the past, I’ve seen it where a system will make it hard for clothing companies to add something as simple as sizes. Customization is the key with their inventory, so you have no need to worry.
You can sell things like products, downloads, events and services right out of the box, which is pretty cool. And managing which ones are out of stock is fairly easy.
An Inventory Plus: Amazon Linking and Importing
Many ecommerce platforms have integrations to Amazon for syncing your store's products with your page on Amazon. This is great and all, but BigCommerce has a feature for reversing that sync so that you continue focusing on bringing customers to your own website. By doing this, you're able to increase your loyal customer base and market for your own website instead of Amazon's.
The Amazon Import and Link tool takes all of the products you have on your Amazon store and imports them to your BigCommerce shop. This makes for a seamless transition for those merchants who only sell on Amazon right now. You'll also find amazing features for avoiding duplicates, running the sync multiple times, and listing links to the Amazon products you already have published online.
Essentially, it's a good step towards branding your own website and getting customers on your own email list instead of Amazon's.
BigCommerce Reviews – Shipping
Let’s face it, there’s more to choosing the right ecommerce website builder than seeing what kind of URLs you can get or checking the price of your store builder software. You’re also going to need to think about how you can deliver products to your customers.
The good news is that BigCommerce offers a great range of shipping options, including real-time shipping quotes for people on higher-tier packages. You also get to offer free shipping to your customers if you want, and print shipping labels through the third-party integrations offered with BigCommerce.
Additionally, BigCommerce also offers its own all-in-one solution for shipping tools. There’s a free app called BigCommerce Shipping that allows you to get special discounts on shipping around the world with leading companies like DHL, USPS, Fedex, and more. You can also keep your customers happy by providing them with things like in store pick-up, next day delivery, shipping tracking, and more.
Depending on the pricing package that you have from BigCommerce, you may even be able to automate some of your shipping operations too!
BigCommerce has announced a new and improved shipping process for those who crave more discounts and an easier setup. This shipping plan is launching in March 2019, and it will include the following advantages:
- Speedier shipping from FedEx Express, along with some of the best negotiated rates on the market.
- All of the shipping rates shown on your website are the same as what is shown on the shipping labels.
- BigCommerce has improved the accuracy of its live rates, making for more conversions.
- We'll start to see more discounted rates from UPS, USPS, DHL, and Fedex.
- The BigCommerce dashboard will offer an automated area for configuring your shipping. This way, you don't have to go to a third-party website.
- Merchants will begin seeing extreme discounts with pre-negotiated shipping rates. BigCommerce is looking at 50-60% off shipping rates overall.
BigCommerce Reviews – It's the Fastest Ecommerce Platform on the Market
The speed and performance of your website comes into play for a variety of reasons. First of all, Google and other search engines, take your site speed very seriously. The search engines know that your user experience is lessened if the user has to sit around and wait for pages to load. Therefore, a fast site can boost your search engine rankings. Furthermore, your customers are far more likely to stick around and buy something!
Seeing as how speed is so important in today's competitive ecommerce world, it's great to see that BigCommerce is now definitely the best performing ecommerce platform you can choose. There are several reasons for this. One, BigCommerce has implemented Google AMP on its platform. This is an opensource framework from Google that stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. It increases page load speeds and boosts search engine visibility on your mobile product and category pages.
BigCommerce also has something called the Akamai Image Manager built into its system. All BigCommerce users are able to natively access the image manager, which automatically optimizes all of the images on your site.
BigCommerce Reviews – SEO & Marketing
SEO is another strong point with BigCommerce, considering its unique content delivery network loads your website pages much faster than the competitors. This improves the environment for users, and search engines take notice as well. It's a pain to find the settings for modifying your SEO, but it's all in the product area.
Keep in mind that many of our readers have mentioned that the BigCommerce marketing and SEO tools haven't lived up to their standards. I guess the hope is that you move from a platform like Volusion or 3dCart and start pushing more customers to the store. However, BigCommerce seems like it's more set on acting as a platform for processing payments, and that's it. Overall, you should expect to complete most of the hard marketing work on your own.
You can however integrate with Google Shopping to grab all of those shoppers who go through that route. Not to mention, the microdata and reviews on your site are all posted on search engines, which are known to make search engines and customers happy.
What comes along with the marketing features? We’re talking promotions and coupons, email marketing, SEO, social media marketing and multi-channel marketing. Whether or not it works that well seems to be up for debate. You might consider implementing Mailchimp, or something like that, for email marketing, but BigCommerce has an app for that.
Instagram Story Shopping
Instagram has consistently been a great option for marketing an online store. It's taken awhile to get some useful selling tools, but they're coming along. BigCommerce now has Instagram selling for all merchants on the platform.
This means that sellers can make stories on Instagram and tag the products inside of those pictures. The customer clicks through and is sent to the product page of your choice.
BigCommerce Review – Payments
One great thing about BigCommerce, is that you aren't forced to choose one particular method of payment for your customer over another. Instead, you can essentially hook your store up to any payment processing strategy you like.
The platform supports over 60 payment gateways, meaning that you can choose to process payments through your store, instead of sending them away to a place like PayPal. Offline payments are supported, and you also receive cool features like multiple currencies, customizable shipping rates, secure checkouts and shipping label printing.
BigCommerce Review – Security
All sites hosted on BigCommerce are level 1 certified PCI compliant, so your customers don’t have to worry about their personal and financial information. Your company infrastructure is also protected with an enterprise grade network architecture.
I particularly enjoy the fact that you can choose to either share an SSL certificate or buy your own. Life needs more options like that. Basically, a shared SSL means that your checkout isn't hosted on your own website. It looks like it is, but the customer goes through a different route. It's similar to Shopify.
Like I said, BigCommerce has the option for a dedicated SSL certificate, so if you have the cash you can go with that.
Overall, security is one of the strong points with BigCommerce.
BigCommerce Review – Customer Support
If BigCommerce does one thing better than the rest, it’s online customer service. Feel free to go to the customer support page and see what I’m talking about. This type of support involves online forums, tutorials, videos and a knowledge base. That's great for those who want to complete their own research.
When you sign up with BigCommerce you receive help through the phone, live chat, email and the forum. However, readers have mentioned that the phone and live chat isn't that helpful. Sometimes you get stuck on the phone for a long time and other times it seems like the representatives aren't trained properly.
With all that said, the community is more powerful than most other ecommerce platforms, and a favorite is the BigCommerce University, a series of fun and informative videos for making your site work to bring in more money.
BigCommerce Product Updates
It's nice to have an ongoing list of the product and feature updates that come out from a single platform. If you're waiting for a certain feature before pulling the trigger, or you're already a BigCommerce user and like to see all the new releases, be sure to bookmark or follow the Product News page.
How to Build an Online Store with BigCommerce
Building an online store with BigCommerce is easier than you'd think.
You'll start off with a basic sign-up process which you should probably check out with the BigCommerce free trial to begin with. You'll need to enter some basic details about your store, such as what you're going to be selling, where you're located, and what your company's name is.
That's about it when it comes to actually sign up.
When you click on the “Create my Store now” button, you'll be logged into your personal control panel, where you can follow an on-screen tour and check out some of the available features.
Step 1: Exploring the Dashboard
The main view you get of your control panel comes from the dashboard, where you can check out basic information like recent orders, revenue, and products.
In your dashboard, you'll also be able to access some handy BigCommerce features, such as a search field where you can check through orders, products, and customer details. You'll also be able to view your store by clicking on the store icon or set up notifications for when people purchase items.
Once you familiarize yourself with the dashboard, you can begin building your online store.
Step 2: Designing your Online BigCommerce Store
BigCommerce provides design options for your store that can suit virtually any purpose. No matter what you're selling, you should be able to find something that suits your needs.
Once you click on the “Edit Settings” button in your dashboard, you'll be able to work on your store design, either by changing the theme's colors to suit your brand or adding a premium theme.
Remember, the paid themes that you can use to upgrade your store can get pretty pricey. It might be a better option to simply use a free design and tap into the CSS and HTML editing functions to make your theme more “you.” Remember, even the free themes are mobile responsive.
Step 3: Configure Currency and Payment Settings
With your theme set up, you can move onto potentially the most crucial aspect of any store – the products.
Click on your “Settings” option on the left-hand panel and look at getting the foundations of your store sorted out. Some of the things you need to do include:
- Uploading store images
- Adding product descriptions
- Adjusting prices
One of the most valuable things you can do first-off is choose the currency that you're going to accept for your store. Make sure you get the money right by clicking on Settings, then Currencies.
You can also establish things like, how you're going to accept payments (through PayPal, bank transfer, etc.). BigCommerce allows you to choose from a range of options here, which is excellent when you want to give your customers some freedom as to how they pay.
Step 4: Add Products to your BigCommerce Store
When you have the payments sorted out, you can start adding products to your main store module. When you click on the “Products” tab, you'll see a range of example products
Get rid of those to start adding your own items instead.
For each product you include on your eCommerce store, you'll have several useful parameters that you can enter. For instance, you'll be able to give your items a price, a name, a category, a weight, and even a tax class. Essentially, everything you need is there to offer your customers plenty of information about whatever they're buying.
Along with the “basics”, you can also go in-depth depending on how much detail you think your customers might need. For instance, you can:
- Give your customers unlimited options: Let your customers choose the size, color, and even shape of the item they're buying, or add personalized aspects.
- Set smart product rules: If your customers buy more than $200 in products, give them extra benefits, such as free shipping.
- Track your inventory: Add Google shopping, and implement custom parameters for every product. Make sure that you know everything you need to know about your online store.
Step 5: Showcase Products on your Home Page
Once you've listed all your available products, it's time to start showing them off on your company homepage. BigCommerce lets you do this in a multitude of different ways.
One option is to mark specific products (such as the ones that are your best-sellers), as a “featured” item. You can simply click a little star next to your product listing on the main product page to add it as featured.
Another option is to head into the homepage customization options and add a “Carousel” that displays your favorite products. Go into Settings, then “Design” to find the Carousel feature.
Here, you can upload images of your products from your computer, add a quick bit of text, and a link to the item you want to sell.
Instantly, you've got an amazing way to show off your latest products.
Step 6: Start Marketing your Products
When you're ready to bring your website to life, don't forget to browse through BigCommerce's marketing tools. There are quite a few options to choose from, including Google AdWords, coupon codes, and banners.
With banners, you can highlight specific products and sales on your homepage and use visual content for promotional or non-promotional purposes. Coupon codes help you to attract audience attention and make sure that you're driving as many sales as possible – as do discounts.
The “Abandoned Cart Notifications” feature is particularly handy, as it allows you to contact clients and remind them what they've left behind in their shopping carts. Just remember that some functionality won't be available in the Standard BigCommerce package.
BigCommerce Reporting and Analytics
Creating an amazing online store is just the first step on the path to success for BigCommerce users. Once you've designed a fantastic store, you'll also need to check whether that store is performing according to your expectations.
That's where BigCommerce‘s reporting and analytics features come in. The tool offers a variety of reporting options as standard, including:
- Customer details: Where your customers came from, how many new and returning customers have, and what your clients are spending.
- Search data reports The phrases that your clients use when looking for your products or store.
- Marketing reports: Insights into how you acquired your customers using Biocommerce's marketing offerings.
- Finance reports: Insights into tax reports, sales, and profits.
- Abandoned cart reports: How many people are leaving your products without buying?
BigCommerce also offers an additional “Insights” report for companies willing to pay an additional fee. This offers a variety of in-depth information about your products, customers, and abandoned carts. If you're on the “Standard” or “Plus” plan, this will cost you $49 extra per month. Pro customers need to pay $99 per month (for more data), and enterprise customers will pay around $299 per month.
Overall, the BigCommerce analytics and reporting solution is very reliable and quite impressive. The best thing about reporting with BigCommerce is that you get most of the functionality that you need regardless of which plan you're using. This isn't necessarily the case for competitors like Shopify.
With Shopify, you need a $79 plan to access any customer or sales reports. Additionally, with BigCommerce, you can upgrade your analytics by implementing Google features too. Some of the reporting functionality you get with BigCommerce include:
- In-depth metrics for merchants who need to drive sales, target customers, and segment their audience.
- At-a-glance snapshots on your dashboard, including AOV, conversion rates, sales channel details, and more.
- Detailed reports built-in: Drill into detailed reports from your dashboard at any time. E-commerce analytics reports are focused on the performance of your store.
Dropshipping with BigCommerce
Many of the companies considering using BigCommerce today will be keen to find out how it handles things like Dropshipping.
If you're new to the concept, Dropshipping simply means that you don't keep the items you're selling in-stock or loaded up in a warehouse somewhere. Instead, you take orders from your customers, send details to a supplier, and someone else handles the packaging and shipping.
The great thing about drop shipping is that you need very little startup capital. You don't have to have any stock before you begin selling.
The best way to manage dropshipping with BigCommerce is to install a third-party app. Some of the main options that BigCommerce offers include:
- Ali-Express dropshipping
- Wholesale 2B
Most of these applications come with trial options so you can try them out before you buy them. However, one of the things you'll need to be aware of is that not all of these products are available when you look for them using the "Drop Ship" category in the BigCommerce app store. You might need to search for them using the phrase "Dropship" instead.
Selling Digital Products on BigCommerce
As well as simplifying the process of selling physical products via BigCommerce with drop shipping, there's also an option to sell digital files. BigCommerce refers to digital products as "downloadable products." These are quick and convenient ways to sell digital content to your customers. Whenever someone places a digital product in their cart and checks out, the shipping portion of the checkout will be automatically removed.
Before you begin trying to sell digital products via BigCommerce, remember:
- There's no limit to the number of files that you can attach to a downloadable product
- Attaching the file in BigCommerce is an optional process
- Maximum file size is 512 MB
- Files can be uploaded through a control panel or the WebDAV
- Downloadable products aren't available to offer for pre-order and can be created vs. CSV import.
If you want to sell digital products, then you'll need to familiarize yourself with the concept of "VAT MOSS" in the EU. This means that you need to apply country-specific rates of VAT to products if you're making more than ten thousand euros a year from the sale of digital products.
This process is very time-consuming and boring, which is one of the main issues for BigCommerce users selling digital products. In the future, it'd be nice for BigCommerce to implement something to Shopify's approach, where you can apply VAT MOSS automatically to digital products.
One of the best things about BigCommerce is that it's not just there to help you run your digital store. This incredible tool also allows you to access a point-of-sale solution, as well.
Thanks to integrations with Springboard Retail, Shopkeep, and Square POS, you can take payments directly from your customers and sync inventory when you're working in a physical location, such as a market stall or store. There may also be other integrations coming.
You'll need to research the available providers to ensure that you're definitely making the most out of your new POS solution. However, it's helpful to know that you're going to get a few options to choose from. Most other eCommerce strategies don't offer POS at all, and they're also pretty restrictive when it comes to the hardware you can use.
The BigCommerce App Store
Another great way that you can upgrade your BigCommerce experience is to implement additional features through the BigCommerce app store.
The Ecommerce Apps Marketplace is designed to beef up the functionality of your store, offering an enhanced range of integrations and options. You can implement apps that deal with various aspects of running an online store, including CRM solutions, shipping calculators, marketing, and more.
Overall, you can access up to 650 applications for your BigCommerce store - although we wouldn't recommend using all of them.
While BigCommerce might not be quite as versatile as Shopify when it comes to available integrations, it does offer tools that you can't get anywhere else. For instance, there's no direct integration available between Shopify and Mailchimp, but you can access Mailchimp easily through BigCommerce.
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- What are the Best Dropshipping Suppliers (Dropshipping Companies & Free Suppliers List) for Ecommerce
BigCommerce Reviews: FAQ
Is BigCommerce Free?
A: Just because there are no transaction fees with BigCommerce doesn't mean it's free. You can get a 14-day free trial, but after that, you're going to be paying a minimum of $29.95 for the standard plan. If you want more advanced features, then you may need to upgrade your account even further.
Which is better, Shopify, or BigCommerce?
This is a question that's difficult to answer without understanding the needs and challenges of your business. Shopify is BigCommerce's main competitor. Both tools are similarly priced and come with a range of basic features to choose from. However, BigCommerce does offer a slightly more generous range of free features.
What kind of products can I sell with BigCommerce?
BigCommerce allows you to set up an online store however, you choose. Regardless of the industry, you're invested in; you'll be able to sell digital products, physical products, and even items offline. BigCommerce integrates with POS solutions for offline selling, drop shipping services, and more.
Is there a built-in BigCommerce blogging feature?
If blogging is an essential feature for your company's growth, then BigCommerce has you covered. The tool comes with in-built blogging functionality, which is crucial for most inbound marketing campaigns. It doesn't quite compete with WordPress in terms of functionality, but it should still help you to attract visitors to your site.
Are there apps for BigCommerce?
BigCommerce doesn't offer any apps to help you manage your online store when you're on the go. Although there were apps available previously, this has since been discontinued. You can still get notifications of sales from your store; however, but these will only come to you via email.
BigCommerce Reviews: Conclusion
Overall, BigCommerce works for just about anyone who doesn’t want an Enterprise Level System. That’s not to say that the BigCommerce enterprise plan isn’t worth it, but I think there are stronger options out there. I'm hesitant to recommend BigCommerce to a larger company, because you can get the tools you need with Shopify or even Magento. As a startup, Volusion is a tough bargain to pass up.
BigCommerce works nicely for small companies, but make your decision based on how much you plan on scaling up in the future. Because you might end up paying lots of fees if you pass up a certain number of sales.
If you crave more features right off the bat, give their 30 days free trial a go.
What do you think of BigCommerce? Let me know what's your opinion in the comments.