BigCommerce Review – Why This May Be the One for You
There are lots of options out there if you want to build a website, particularly an online store. One of those options is BigCommerce, a paid for solution that enables you to create a store online, selling products or services, be they digital or physical. It comes with a nice quantity of templates that you can customize to suit your needs, enabling you to create a store that is uniquely yours. BigCommerce has been designed for people who don’t have a lot of experience in designing websites from scratch, although more advanced designers can access CSS and HTML code to further personalize their site.
What I Liked about BigCommerce
- It is probably the most user friendly of all website builders out there. The CMS and overall interface are highly intuitive and you can really see that this has been created for business owners, not online website building gurus. This means that anybody should be able to build a site that suits their personal needs.
- No transaction fees are charged by BigCommerce, which is quite unique.
- It has really strong marketing features. You can use a range of different e-newsletter services and it also has a very straightforward approach to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Again, that is because they aim to reach those who do not have a great deal of online development experience.
- Visitors who abandon their carts will automatically receive an email to remind them about it. This is a feature that is included as standard with BigCommerce, but that usually costs hundreds with other similar site builders. Plus, it has been proven to be an excellent marketing tool to help you boost your revenue.
- You also get access to a range of different coupon and discounting tools. Again, those are strong marketing tools as they help to attract new customers.
- You automatically get access to your personal blog as well. This is a vital feature because it means that you can use really strong inbound marketing techniques from one single location. With many other online stores, you will need to have a separate blog and link the two together, which can be quite complex.
- The PayPal transaction fees are cheaper, which is a nice little bonus.
- If you have a range of product variants, there are some really flexible solutions for you to choose from.
What I Didn’t Like about BigCommerce
- There is a limit as to how many sales you can make each year. Obviously, you can exceed them, but that means you have to upgrade to a higher priced plan.
- The starter plan, which is the cheapest, is quite a bit more expensive than those offered by other similar sites. However, the plan does give you a lot more functionality than others do. The question is whether you need that type of functionality if you want an entry-level solution.
- There are no mobile apps, which means that you have to have a desktop with you if you want to change your store.
- They host themselves. This means that if they suddenly make a lot of changes, you may have to switch over to a different platform at some point.
- They do offer 24/7 support, but not all support is available on all plans.
Big commerce offers a number of features, but they vary tremendously depending on the plan that you choose. All plans come with:
- The opportunity to sell goods and services, digital or physical, and the ability to categorize those products, including setting your own shipping rates
- Full PayPal integration, as well as other payment gateways
- A really good CMS (content management system)
- Awesome SEO features, which enable you to add the right keywords to the right pages
- The ability to integrate your site with a range of e-newsletter options like iContact, Constant Contact, Interspire, and Mailchimp
- Full Alibaba.com integration
- Automatic emails get sent to any customers that abandon their carts, which is a great marketing tool.
- The ability to set gift vouchers and discount coupons
- The opportunity to tweak your HTML and CSS codes if you know how to
BigCommerce hasn’t been known for its extensive range of templates and it is certainly true that you get far more choices with other platforms. However, they have recently added quite a significant amount of responsive themes and templates for you to choose from. Just seven themes are free, but you can also choose from 60 paid for themes. Their prices range between $145 and $235. Plus, within each theme, there are quite a few variants so you’re not exactly limited. The free themes are pretty good, with a professional and contemporary appearance. It is likely that they will soon add even more templates and themes, so keep your eyes open for that.
BigCommerce App Market
Unfortunately, BigCommerce lags behind when it comes to mobile apps. Most ecommerce solutions offer both Android and iOS apps, but BigCommerce offers none. This means that you cannot manage your store if you are on the go. Interestingly, there was an app available in the past, but this has been discontinued. No details have been released as to why this has happened, or whether or not the app will be listed again at a later stage.
Mobile features are an absolute necessity when it comes to building an ecommerce store, and BigCommerce is really good at that. You can switch your mobile theme on in your store with ease, which means that your customers can purchase your goods and services while on the go. On the dashboard itself, you can see exactly what your store looks like on a mobile device, so you know that you will be able to attract mobile customers as well. Plus, if you have a bit of coding experience, you can tweak certain parts of your mobile store even more. Not everybody is comfortable with coding, but you could always outsource that bit.
Although your customers can access your store through mobile devices, you can’t do the same yourself. This is a big failure in terms of ecommerce. The app that used to be available allowed you to update products, process orders, get sales notifications, track sales, and more. Now, this is only possible if you use a desktop or laptop computer. If you know that you want to update your store on the go, your only option is to use a laptop, which may not be that convenient for some.
BigCommerce offers four plans:
- BigCommerce Standard, which costs $29.95 per month (substantially more than other entry-level plans)
This is the cheapest option that BigCommerce offers. It comes with a comprehensive set of features, which does explain why it is substantially more expensive than other plans. You get a fully functional website, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited products, gift cards, unlimited storage, and a ratings and review functionality. There is currently no other platform out there that offers this much for a starter package. It does, however, come with a sales limit of $50,000.
- BigCommerce Plus, which costs $79.95 per month.
This plan has even more features and functionalities than the Standard plan. Crucially, this is where the abandoned cart emails come in. Furthermore, you can set pricing rules for specific customers, enabling you to offer discounts for certain people. Additionally, you have a range of more advanced pricing rules available to you as well. There is also a sales limit, which is $125,000 per year.
- BigCommerce Pro, which costs $199.95 per month.
This package has only been available for a short period of time. When you sign up to Pro, you get site-wide HTTPS, which is invaluable in terms of SEO. Furthermore, your products can be listed as a Google Trusted Store, which is also very beneficial. There is a sales limit with this plan, but it is $1,000,000, which is pretty impressive.
- BigCommerce Enterprise, which comes with varying prices, depending on what your specific business needs are. This is aimed specifically at large corporate entities and big businesses that have requirements for advanced functionalities or high bandwidth.
This plan is for those who have sales of over $1,000,000 per year and who have a number of other advanced requirements. You get a lot of features that you don’t get with any of the other plans, including:
- An uptime service level agreement, which means you know that your store will always be up and running
- A dedicated IP and SSL address
- Priority support
- Consulting with a BigCommerce expert
To sign up for the Enterprise plan, you have to contact an expert at BigCommerce and discuss the requirements you have. In so doing, they will be able to set the price for your specific plan, which will be reflective of your individual business needs. You will also be provided with a whole lot of support under this plan, including things such as setup, data migration, help desk, and account management.
BigCommerce sets itself apart by not having any transaction fees for themselves, which is quite unique. However, you do have to pay fees to the payment options that you decide to use. These are independent of BigCommerce. Interestingly, it seems that they have come to some sort of understanding with PayPal, as their transaction fees are much cheaper than what they are through other providers. Do make sure, as well, that you keep an eye on your annual sales, as you will have to move up to a more expensive plan if you exceed them.
Everybody has access to customer support 24/7 through BigCommerce. This is available through live chat, email, and telephone. They have also included a huge knowledge base on their website, which also includes a lot of video tutorials. It is very likely that you will be able to find an answer to your question within that library. The tutorials and resources include easy to read screenshots, which means that you can usually resolve any issue you have in a step by step manner.
The BigCommerce University is particularly interesting. This is a free resource in which a number of video lessons have been included. These address important topics, including how to attract shoppers through SEO activities, how to build a successful online store, how to make sure your visitors become actual buyers, how to increase your brand recognition and consumer loyalty, and more. Plus, all these videos are completely free.
Last but not least, there is a good community forum attached to BigCommerce. Here, you can speak to others who use the same system and ask them for advice and help. You can simply post a question on the forum and other members will do their best to answer it. It is recommended that you use the forum as much as possible, so that you may be able to answer other people’s questions as well. It is also quite easy to filter through the forum in order to find questions that other people have asked, which may be related to your own question. The forum is also used by the BigCommerce support team, which means that you can speak not just to other business owners, but also to the experts themselves. The tips, tools, and knowledge you can get through this forum are amazing.
The Final Verdict
BigCommerce is a very popular ecommerce store builder and it is easy to see why. It is a comprehensive resource that includes everything you could possibly need to run an online store. The most important thing about it is that it is surprisingly easy to use, particularly considering how many different functionalities you get with it. It is also one of the only programs of its kind that offer the abandoned cart email and that doesn’t charge transaction fees for themselves. As such, it is a very popular option with small and large businesses alike.
It is certainly true that BigCommerce isn’t the cheapest option out there, and the fact that it has no mobile app is a bit of a downer. Additionally, the sales limits can be quite annoying, particularly because there is such a big price difference between the different levels of plans. Overall, however, the benefits greatly outweigh the cons.