In this article we are going to give you the detailed BigCommerce Review so you can decide intelligently for yourself.
What Is BigCommerce?
An online store is a great way to expand your customer base and double your revenue. But, before you set up your eCommerce website, it’s important to choose the right platform.
Luckily, there is no shortage of online platforms that have those features that also allow you to build an online store without having to hire a developer. One such professional platform is BigCommerce.
BigCommerce is an all-in-one eCommerce tool that packs a lot of powerful features into a single platform.
It comes with professional hosting built-in, payment integration, advanced marketing tools, and the security you’d want backing your online store.
Bigcommerce is a paid-for ‘hosted’ e-commerce solution that allows business owners to set up an online store and sell their products online.
Bigcommerce comes with a range of customizable templates to help you design your store; you can use it to sell either physical or digital goods; and there are also some tools provided to help you market your store.
The product is aimed primarily at people without much in the way of web design skills, but it also allows more tech-savvy users and developers to tweak the HTML and CSS of their online stores too.
As with all hosted online store and website building services (Shopify, Volusion, Squarespace, Jimdo etc.), if Bigcommerce were to shut down or change its feature set radically, you might find yourself in a position where you needed to migrate your store to another platform.
But unless you are in a position to develop your own online store (an expensive and laborious undertaking) you are in all likelihood going to end up using a hosted tool like Bigcommerce anyway to run your store, and the good news is that it is one of the more established products of its kind out there, with a client roster that includes Toyota, Gibson Guitars and Travelpro.
Who’s Bigcommerce For?
Just like the headline on their website suggests, Bigcommerce is best suited for someone who’s growing fast and wants to operate at scale.
The platform offers really good e-commerce features in terms of handling your orders, products, customers (there’s a built-in CRM), marketing tools, and analytics. Everything is truly optimized to hold hundreds or thousands of products in the database and make your everyday work with the platform as hassle-free as possible.
6 Main Features of BigCommerce
The platform has all the tools and functionality needed to set up your online store, manage your inventory, process your orders, and maintain your store’s branded look and feel.
Some of the main eCommerce features include:
- Customizable and responsive templates for your online store
- Secure shopping cart
- Integration with major payment gateways such as Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, and more
- A full suite of marketing tools, like search engine optimization, email providers, and Google Shopping
- Inventory management and returns systems as well as multi-currency support
- The ability to sell across multiple channels, like Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon, and eBay
- Multi-currency support
- Dropshipping and Warehouse integration
- Customers and Groups management
- And more
1. BigCommerce Themes
One of the more important aspects of your online store is the design. Luckily, BigCommerce doesn’t disappoint in this department.
Out of the box, the platform offers plenty of templates to choose from. The themes are divided into several categories, ranging from themes suitable for trendy fashion and craft stores to themes geared for sports or gamer stores. The main benefit of the themes is that they offer plenty of customization options and they range from free to paid.
They also offer extensive customization options as well as features designed specifically for eCommerce websites, which include features like:
- Product quick look feature and wishlist
- Mega menus and featured products carousel
- SEO optimization and newsletter integration
Some of these pro online store themes are industry specific other are multipurpose, and can be used to build any type of store.
No matter which theme you choose for your store, you can easily customize them to integrate with your brand. You can also change the layout of any page quickly thanks to integration with a visual drag and drop page builder.
2. Payment Integration
Accepting payments on your BigCommerce site is easy thanks to their integration with over 60 payment gateways. You can accept credit cards and process payments through your store as well as use PayPal or Stripe.
The platform also allows you to collect offline payments and process them in multiple currencies. Shipping rates are completely customizable. BigCommerce supports shipping label printing, which makes it easy to process all orders as they come in and ship the products as quickly as possible.
It’s also worth mentioning that all payments are processed securely thanks to built-in security features and the option to choose a shared SSL certificate (or purchase your own).
3. Marketing Suite
When it comes to marketing features, BigCommerce has plenty on tap. You can offer your customers promotions and coupons as well as integrate an email service provider like MailChimp to grow your customer base.
It also has built-in social media sharing and marketing tools that will help you promote your online store. One of its more notable features is the easy integration with Google Shopping and eBay Stores, which allows you to reach more customers and market your products to a larger audience.
BigCommerce also allows you to set up ads for your store using Google Adwords. The built-in marketing features offered by BigCommerce are one of its biggest pros, especially for smaller stores that are just starting out and need a bit of guidance when it comes to marketing.
4. SEO Tools
In-line with their marketing tools, the platform also comes with powerful SEO features that will help your store rank better in the search engines. You can modify the product name and description, as well as set keywords and optimize your images on individual product pages.
Other SEO related features include mobile-optimized themes and their own unique content delivery network to help your store load as quickly as possible—which is an important ranking signal for search engines.
5. Product Management
BigCommerce touts itself as the full-featured content management system for eCommerce that has all the tools needed to manage your store from one centralized location.
You can easily categorize your products and process orders while keeping track of your inventory. Aside from product management, BigCommerce also offers the ability to set up real-time quotes for some of the most popular shipping options such as USPS, UPS, FedEx, and more.
What’s more, you can set up different shipping rules and choose a third-party shipping solution like ShipStation or ShipperHQ to help with product sourcing and fulfillment.
6. Customer Service and Support
Customer service and support is something BigCommerce takes very seriously. Each customer that signs up for their platform is assigned a dedicated consultant that can help you get started with the platform.
On top of that, they also offer support via BigCommerce forums where you can get help from their community of users, Live Chat, support portal, and a plethora of online tutorials, and how-to videos available in the BigCommerce University.
Bigcommerce offers four month-to-month pricing plans, which are as follows:
- Bigcommerce Standard: $29.95 per month
- Bigcommerce Plus: $79.95 per month
- Bigcommerce Pro: $249.95 per month*
- Bigcommerce Enterprise: pricing varies, depending on your business requirements
A 10% discount is available for the ‘Plus’ and ‘Pro’ plans if you pay annually for them.
Bigcommerce pricing (correct at time of writing in June 2018)
The ‘standard’, ‘plus’ and ‘pro’ plans are aimed at individuals and small businesses; the Enterprise plan is geared more towards large businesses and corporates (users with very high bandwidth / advanced functionality requirements).
* This fee increases depending on what your annual sales figures are like – these sales limits are discussed in more depth below.
Core selling features
As we’ll see below, the exact features you get with Bigcommerce depend on the plan you opt for, but important features common to all plans include:
- a choice of 7 free templates
- the ability to sell a wide range of either physical or digital goods, in categories of your choosing and using shipping rates of your choosing
- integration with Paypal and a wide range of payment gateways
- full content management (CMS) functionality
- good search engine optimisation (SEO) options – it’s very easy to add appropriate keywords to your products and site pages
- automated image optimisation (using Akamai Image Manager) – this can speed up the delivery of your web pages, which can in turn improve search rankings
- integration with several e-mail marketing services: Constant Contact, iContact, Mailchimp and Interspire
- discount coupons and gift vouchers
- product review functionality – this is particularly welcome: not all e-commerce platforms offer this as standard, and usually require you to fiddle about with third-party apps or services to enable it.
- the ability to tweak CSS and HTML as desired
- professional reporting.
This comprehensive set of features means that Bigcommerce arguably offers considerably more bang for the buck many competing products at the $29 monthly plan price point.
How To Build Online Store With Bigcommerce?
Like with most online tools/solutions, your Bigcommerce adventure starts by going through a basic sign-up process.
We encourage you to begin with the free trial:
To get started, Bigcommerce just asks you for the name of your e-commerce store, and then your basic personal/business details.
That’s really it when it comes to sign-up. After clicking on “Create my store now” you get redirected to the control panel, where you can look through the on-screen tour to get familiar with the most important and useful features (highly encouraged).
The main view of your control panel is the Dashboard. It’s a really well-designed interface where you can get to the important information like, recent orders, site traffic, and revenue.
Also, it’s where some cool built-in Bigcommerce features can be accessed. Just to name a few:
- Bigcommerce has a nice search field that allows you to look through products, orders, customers, and more. It’s Bigcommerce’s spin on Apple’s Spotlight search, so to speak.
- You can view your store by clicking the main store icon.
- You also get notifications – see what has happened in your e-commerce store since the last time you visited the dashboard.
The main control panel is also where you can view the available sub-sections (the left sidebar):
- Orders – your all-in-one order management panel; also includes shipping, tracking, processing returns and refunds.
- Products – your products library; add, edit, delete products, and also manage product categories and features.
- Customers – here, you can learn more about who’s shopping in your store; you can view customer profiles, and import/export customer information.
- Content – it’s where you can manage the non-store content of your website; including things like images, blog posts and pages.
- Marketing – create coupons, set up search marketing (AdWords integration), handle abandoned carts, and more.
- Analytics – everything you need to know about what’s going on in your store; things like popularity stats on your products, traffic, how effective your marketing campaigns are, and etc.
- Apps – app integrations with external tools, like MailChimp, HubSpot, ReferralCandy, and a lot more; great place to extend the functionality of your online store even more.
- Settings – it’s where you can customize the look of your store, configure your billing and payment methods, manage your domain and email, and configure a handful of other things to make your e-commerce store personalized.
- Help – if you have any questions or doubts regarding Bigcommerce, here’s where you can find answers.
Naturally, the first step on anyone’s e-commerce path is to select the design for your store and tune it to fit your needs.
Pros & Cons
- Bigcommerce gives you awesome management tools. This includes product management, order management, analytics, reports, all that stuff. In short, when it comes to working with your store day by day, Bigcommerce is great.
- There’s a nice marketing module with AdWords integration, coupons and more. This allows you to handle your store’s marketing partly on autopilot.
- Bigcommerce is rather cheap for the amount of stuff it offers and the fact that it puts no limits on how many products you can have in your database or how many customers you can serve.
- There’s 24/7 support. And they even help you with things like SEO and other somewhat external traits of your online store.
- There are apps. You can integrate your store with platforms such as Facebook, MailChimp, QuickBooks, eBay, and a lot more.
- You can use multiple currencies at the same time.
- The themes can get expensive if you want something premium. The price tags go as high as $250 a theme (luckily, it’s just a one-time investment).
- The homepage isn’t that easily adjustable. For whatever reason, the text content of the homepage is treated as a banner. Not that intuitive.
- The homepage carousel is only a somewhat helpful functionality. It requires a lot of trial and error to get it looking right.
- The design adjustment doesn’t always work as predicted. I’ve had my Chrome freeze a couple of times when working with my store design. Again, fortunately you only have to deal with your design setup once.
- There’s a 1.5% transaction fee if you’re on the cheapest $29.95 / month plan.