As one of the leading ecommerce platforms, Bigcommerce is a paid-for and hosted solution that allows business owners to set up an online store. Perhaps it’s best known for its extreme scalability for online stores and its great number of built-in marketing and sales tools.
In 2009, Mitchell Harper and Eddie Machaalani, two Australians launched with Bigcommerce, a service to help people sell online. It was fully bootstrapped and is offered as cloud-based software.
Until now (as of writing this review) it has processed more than $17 billion in online transactions and powers notable stores such as Ben & Jerry’s, Kodak, SkullCandy, Toyota.
Quite similar to Magento, Bigcommerce has divided its platform into
- BigCommerce Enterprise that is intended for the big companies
- BigCommerce Essentials is for everyone else
As the differences in features of BigCommerce Essentials and of BigCommerce Enterprise are rather small, this review will look at BigCommerce Essentials.
- Pros and cons of Bigcommerce
- Who is Bigcommerce for?
- How easy is Bigcommerce to use?
- Bigcommerce design and themes
- How to manage your ecommerce store in Bigcommerce?
- Bigcommerce integrations
- What marketing and SEO tools does Bigcommerce have?
- Payment options
- Bigcommerce security
- Bigcommerce customer support
- Bigcommerce pricing
- Is Bigcommerce the right tool for you?
Pros and cons of Bigcommerce
Bigcommerce was designed primarily to help people set up a store and sell online. It believes in continuous growth for its client and itself.
- Supports multi-currency selling
- Extensive feature set in the entry-level plan
- Built-in product review
- Solid SEO
- Collaboration with your team is possible, regardless of how big your team is
- Paypal by Braintree is cheaper than the normal Paypal
- Easy to use
- Abandoned cart recovery is not included in the basic tier
- Revenue-based invoicing means, you need to upgrade to a more expensive plan if you exceed limits, and may place pressure on business with tight margins
Who is Bigcommerce for?
Since growth and scalability are at the core of the philosophy of Bigcommerce, this service is geared towards people who have big and ambitious plans.
With its cross-platform selling capabilities, it’s a solid choice, if you plan to sell not only on your own store but also through other platforms such as eBay, Etsy, or Instagram.
Should you’ve outgrown your current shopping cart solution, it’s time to contemplate using Bigcommerce. It also provides you with an array of tools to guide and help you migrate.
Business size aside, you don’t need web design skills to build a store with Bigcommerce. On the other, it also allows more tech-savvy users and developers to tweak the HTML and CSS precisely to their design.
How easy is Bigcommerce to use?
You can sign up for a free trial of the Essentials version to see for yourself if Bigcommerce covers your needs. Once you’ve completed the sign-up process, an online store is created for you, which can take a few minutes.
After signing up, you’re not going to be onboarded with the usual video or guided tours. Instead, you’ll see a list of task that acts as your tutorial.
If you’ve already used Shopify or Squarespace, you’d find your way around the interface within minutes. Generally, Bigcommerce’s interface is straightforward and intuitive. The dashboard and the admin area are easy to use with advanced features only a few clicks away.
Unlike other shopping cart solutions, your store is fully up and running from the get-go and you don’t need to first find your theme while you sign up. Of course, you can still change and customise your theme as you see fit.
Bigcommerce design and themes
There’s a choice of paid and free themes, all modern and mobile-ready. Bigcommerce offers 12 free themes and around 150 paid themes. The themes themselves also have styles as Bigcommerce calls them – variants for people like you and me.
The themes are all set up so that they can be used for different kinds of stores and products. They’re multipurpose and so it’s probably easier to choose a theme that matches your design than going by industry.
How to manage your ecommerce store in Bigcommerce?
You’ll be managing your store and doing all tasks needed to run your store like managing your inventory in the dashboard. Out of the box, Bigcommerce supports tangible, digital, and service-based products.
Managing your inventory is straightforward. You can add product variants and there are no product limits. It’s the same with all the other tasks of managing your store such as taking care of the orders.
If you need many shipping options, you’re in luck with Bigcommerce’s shipping options, ranging from free shipping, shopping labels printing to real-time shipping quotes (on the higher plans).
Bigcommerce integrates with a multitude of leading applications including analytics, accounting, CRM, email marketing, shipping, and much more. Should what Bigcommerce offers out of the box not be enough, you can always beef up your site with the over 880 integrations. While some are subscription-based, a good number are free to install and use.
If the integrations still don’t do what you need, you can always ask a developer to build a custom integration with BigCommerce’s API.
What marketing and SEO tools does Bigcommerce have?
As growth is in the DNA of Bigcommerce, you can expect it to offer quite a nice rate of marketing tools to get your store going, attract and convert customers.
It’s easy to add and edit page titles, meta descriptions, and headers for pages, blog posts, and products. For products, it’s interesting that you can create and change product-specific URLs.
For Bigcommerce, blogging is part of the storefront. Since it’s not a specialised blogging service, you can’t compare it to WordPress and also misses many features associated with blogging. Still, it’s easy to use.
If you find the in-house blog tool amiss, you can always integrate another (fully-fledged) blogging service.
Bigcommerce also helps you sell offline with its point-of-sale solution (POS), although it’s not built-in and you have to add it with integrations. Not only can you take payments directly from your customers but also sync inventory when you’re working in a physical location.
Other marketing tools that will help with your marketing and sales are
A solid customer management section, where you can segment the customers by purchasing trends, location, and demographics and then market to each group differently
Customisable coupon and promotion creator, so you can have different discounts apply to a specific category, brand, product, even or cart total
Recover abandoned cart, so that you can remind a customer when they forget their purchase
The standard payment gateway is Paypal powered by Braintree. You also have the choice to use one of the third-party payment processors – over 35 of them, depending on your country you’re operating in. Bigcommerce doesn’t charge a transaction fee. These fees are paid to the payment gateway provider you’ve selected.
Bigcommerce doesn’t take security lightly. As it should be industry standard, your site is secured with SSL regardless of the pricing plan you chose. BigCommerce itself is PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) 3.1 certified at Level 1.
The infrastructure is running on the Google Cloud Platform infrastructure. This means Bigcommerce (and of course you as its customer) enjoys Google’s perimeter and server-specific firewalls, file integrity scanners, intrusion detection software, and protection against DDoS.
Bigcommerce customer support
The onboarding process also entails a series of support emails. Once you’ve purchased a plan, you can contact the support team 24/7, phone, live chat, and email.
Sometimes, it’s faster to resolve an issue by browsing the help centre which consists of online forums, tutorials, videos, and a knowledge base.
The Bigcommerce service is split into BigCommerce Enterprise and BigCommerce Essentials. The difference in the feature set between them is not that big. So, unless you already know from the start that your store will be huge, it’s fine to start with your preferred Essential plan and then you can still upgrade to Enterprise when you’re ready.
Although Bigcommerce doesn’t levy a transaction fee, it limits your annual revenue depending on the plan you’ve selected
- BigCommerce Standard: $50,000
- BigCommerce Plus: $180,000
- BigCommerce Pro: $400,000
- BigCommerce Enterprise: negotiable.
Is Bigcommerce the right tool for you?
Bigcommerce is feature-packed so that the high subscription price is fair. It’s a very good choice if you’re growing fast or planning a big store with multi-channel and offline selling.
Or on the other hand, if you’re already running a brick-and-mortar store and want to expand online. Just know that BigCommerce takes your sales volume to place set your pricing level. This means that a comparatively small revenue could bump you into a higher-priced plan.
If you’ve got thoughts about Bigcommerce, please let us know in the comments.