This is my detailed and up-to-date BigCommerce review with pros and cons at the very end to help you determine if their ecommerce platform is for you.
Due to a large amount of top ecommerce platforms available, choosing the right platform for your business is tough. Many of these platforms offer all sorts of tools and things can get a little confusing.
In my mind, whether you are starting a new business or expanding your existing one, BigCommerce offers a lot of flexibility and tools to take your store to the next level. And, their platform is user-friendly, so you do not have to worry about the management aspect.
What is BigCommerce? Is BigCommerce for me?
BigCommerce is a complete and feature rich hosted ecommerce platform. Their platform is used by over 100,000 online shops including Toyota, Payless, and Martha Stewart.
For a monthly fee, you will be able to use their platform to create an ecommerce shop to sell your products online.
The platform has just about everything needed to run and manage your online business without all of the hiccups. No matter the size of your business, BigCommerce offers higher conversion and unmatched performance for your business.
Because it is a hosted platform, BigCommerce takes care of the technical stuff behind the scene – things like hosting, platform updates, and debugging.
As mentioned above, BigCommerce offers a user-friendly and intuitive platform, so you do not need to be a tech-savvy individual to complete administrative tasks.
I believe that their platform is an excellent candidate for ecommerce, no matter the business size. The only downside to their platform is the annual sales volume that is added to each plan.
Here is what some of their clients are saying:
Ease of use
As an outside looking in, BigCommerce offers a comprehensive list of features and tools for your store, making the platform overwhelming to grasp in the beginning. In terms of simplicity, it is not Shopify (see our Shopify review), but that is because it is geared towards a different user.
As with everything else, you will need to invest a few hours to learn how everything works – especially if it is your first time using an ecommerce platform.
Once you learn the basics, it is all downhill from here. And, you can always reach out to their 24/7 customer support for help.
Here is my quick BigCommerce review video that I posted on my other blog. Although, it is a bit outdated, not much has changed in terms of ease of use. You do not need to know anything about design to create an online store.
BigCommerce gives you the tools to:
- Add products individually or by using the bulk product import tool.
- Create unlimited product options such as size, color, weight, etc.
- Setup multiple product rules (e.g. free shipping for orders over $100, adding higher pricing for larger sizes, etc.).
- Sell non-tangible products such as digital downloads, event tickets, and subscription services.
- Enable multi-channel selling to sell your products internationally and on popular marketplaces like Etsy, Rakuten, eBay, Amazon, etc.
- Organize your products into categories and enables your customers to find your products with ease.
- Manage orders and inventory from the BigCommerce control panel.
- Accept payments from many different payment processing services.
- Manage store returns (automated customer returns can be enabled).
- See your best-selling products and identify your best customers.
- Manage unlimited staffs accounts and grant them different roles and permissions.
Themes and design options
BigCommerce offers seven free themes. Each free theme has anywhere from three to four different styles. In addition, the platform offers 80 premium themes, ranging from $145 to $235.
You have complete control over the look and feel of your ecommerce shop. Their free storefront editor enables you to change basic design functions without touching any code – if you are not a tech-savvy individual; this is a big plus of using their ecommerce platform. For more complex design changes, you will have to edit HTML and CSS files.
So, if you are comfortable working with HTML and CSS, you will have a lot of flexibility with BigCommerce.
In addition, BigCommerce offers an option to download your template files and work on them offline. This is extremely convenient, especially if you plan on hiring a developer to design your store.
You can upload a store logo, build a homepage slider, integrate social sharing buttons, and restructure your store email snippets right from the main design page that is accessible through your BigCommerce control panel.
The thing that I found useful here is the option to download your theme files and work on them offline.
Abandoned cart saver
Did you know that for an average online store, two out of three of your potential customers actually place products into the checkout page, and then forget to complete the checkout process? A lot of customers tend to get distracted by things like emails and other random things.
If this is happening to your ecommerce store, you are losing a lot of potential sales.
For example, if 100 potential customers start the checkout process for a $100 item and leave without paying for the order. That is $10,000 in lost revenue.
BigCommerce offers the abandoned cart saver which enables you to remind customers to purchase the products that they added to the shopping cart. The abandoned cart saver, if used properly, recovers about 15% of lost sales on average.
The abandoned cart saver is part of the Plus, Pro, and Enterprise plans.
BigCommerce app store
On top of the already built-in ecommerce features, BigCommerce offers you an extensive number of external apps – both free and premium. You can use these apps to add different functions to your store and automate a lot of the business tasks.
You will find just about everything you need to extend the functionality of your store. These apps can expand your marketing initiatives to increase conversions, improve your customer service with a live chat plugin, and build trust with product ratings and reviews.
A lot of the apps are free while others have a monthly fee. Even though some apps have an extra monthly fee, I believe they offer a solid return on investment.
You do not have to purchase / use any of the apps, but they are there to use if needed.
Every year, an increasing number of shoppers are using smartphones and tablets to purchase products online. And, if these customers cannot access your store using these devices, you are losing both customers and revenue.
Thankfully, BigCommerce supports most mobile devices and tablets. Mobile shopping cart features are included for free.
Their themes are responsive across multiple mobile and tablet devices right from the start. So, customers will be able to browse and purchase products from your store without any issues.
When a customer visits your ecommerce store from a smartphone / tablet device, your store will automatically adjust and resize to the proper size that is best suited for that particular device.
BigCommerce no longer offers a mobile app that allows you to manage your store from a mobile device. But, you can receive new order notifications via email and text message.
Support and resources
BigCommerce offers a 24/7 customer support department. You can reach them on the phone, live chat, and standard email ticketing.
In addition to the support above, BigCommerce offers you free access to hundreds of support guides, tutorials, and an active community forum where you can get in touch with other BigCommerce shop owners and developers.
Furthermore, they offer you exclusive access to BigCommerce University that you can visit to get a better understanding of ecommerce and how things work. This is the place to learn all about ecommerce by watching video tutorials on how to build your online store, attract customers, create buyers, and build proper customer loyalty programs.
When running a ecommerce business, there are always hiccups and bumps on the road, especially during the holiday season. That is why support is vital for any ecommerce business.
Thankfully, BigCommerce has you covered by offering you 24/7 support.
Hosting, security, and backup options
As mentioned above, BigCommerce is a hosted ecommerce platform, so web hosting is included in your monthly plan (I do recommend purchasing a custom domain name from NameCheap). They host your store and provide you with unlimited bandwidth each month. So, in theory, if you have two million visitors to your shop each month, you will not incur any extra fees.
Their hosting servers are optimized for ecommerce, monitored 24/7, and guarantee a 99.99% uptime. BigCommerce offers fast content delivery network which makes your store load fast and smooth.
Websites that load under three seconds have a lot of advantages versus websites that take longer to load. For example, better performing websites get more sales, keep their customers happier, and rank higher on search engines.
Many of us accept credit card payments through our store, so it is important to look at the security features of the ecommerce platform you plan on working with. Thankfully, BigCommerce is Level One PCI Compliant and use the same security technology that banks use to protect data.
All BigCommerce plans offer a shared SSL certificate for free. You can also purchase / transfer a dedicated SSL certificate that provides an additional layer of security.
Furthermore, you can create a backup file of your store orders, products, product images, and theme customizations. This file can be imported / exported at your convenience.
Lastly, all BigCommerce users will receive instant platform updates, so you never have to worry about missing the latest ecommerce features and platform changes.
As mentioned above, all of the ecommerce features / perks above are part of your BigCommerce plan.
Pricing / Is BigCommerce worth the investment?
BigCommerce is a premium ecommerce platform that has a monthly fee. It is not free, so if free is what you are looking for, their platform is not for you.
But, if you want a robust and all-in-one ecommerce solution that can help you create an online shop and manage a lot of the administrative business tasks for you, BigCommerce is probably the best platform to consider.
When building a business, the key factor to consider is value – e.g. whether or not you are able to justify paying a monthly fee for an ecommerce platform with many of the ecommerce features already built-in justify.
In terms of pricing, BigCommerce plans range anywhere from $29.95 for the Standard plan to $199.95 for the Pro plan. There is a 10% discount that is applied to all annual plans.
In addition to the three plans above, BigCommerce offers an Enterprise solution that can be tailored to your business. You will have to contact their sales department to see your pricing options.
BigCommerce also offers a 15-day free trial that you can sign up for and test their platform on your own. A credit card is not required for the free trial. And, if you see that the platform does not suit your needs, you can always walk away before committing.
Juggling between operating your business and personal life is difficult. Investing in a solution like BigCommerce can make your life easier and automate a lot of the business tasks for you.
So, if you want to run a successful ecommerce business, but also want a sane personal life, BigCommerce is definitely worth the investment.
Annual sales volume
With the exception of the Enterprise plan, the remaining BigCommerce plans have a limitation on the amount of sales volume you can process each year. The sales volume is calculated on a trailing 12-month basis.
The annual sales volume is $50,000 for the Standard plan, $125,000 for the Plus plan, and $1,000,000 for the Pro plan.
Going over these limits will result in you having to upgrade to a larger plan. This limitation is easily offset by not having to pay for transaction fees.
BigCommerce no longer charges transaction fees on any of their plans. You are free to sign up for any plan and use any payment gateway without having to worry about being charged transaction fees.
As with any ecommerce platform, you will incur payment processing fees that all payment gateways charge (you will have to contact the payment gateway to see their fees).
- The platform suits a range of ecommerce businesses. Both small and large ecommerce shops can benefit from the feature-rich and versatile solution that is offered by BigCommerce.
- Out of all other hosted ecommerce store builders their platform offers the most helpful and practical tools that you will actually use – e.g. built-in newsletters, coupons, social commerce, global selling, etc.
- BigCommerce offers easy and highly customizable template design tools using traditional HTML and CSS.
- The platform offers unlimited core features, so you do not have a limitation on the amount of traffic you can receive, the number of products you can sell, and the number of images you can attach to your products.
- BigCommerce offers strong importing / exporting tools for transferring your existing shop or uploading products in bulk.
- The platform is constantly updated to include the latest ecommerce features and technology.
- With the exception of the Enterprise plan, the remaining BigCommerce plans have a limitation on the amount of sales volume you can process each year – this is a deal breaker for large, high revenue shops.
- Although you can sell subscription products, you are unable to accept recurring payments without having to use one of the recurring billing apps. For such a feature-rich platform, I found this uncomforting.
BigCommerce Review / Conclusion and recommendation
In conclusion, I feel that BigCommerce is a strong candidate for helping you create an online store. Specifically, I am impressed with three unique things:
- Ecommerce features – whether you plan on running promotions, selling on social networks, or sending customized newsletters to your customers, BigCommerce has just about everything you need to run a successful ecommerce business.
- Transaction fees – you already pay a monthly fee to use the ecommerce platform, why burden yourself with transaction fees? Thankfully, BigCommerce does not charge any transaction fees, which results in you being able to keep more of your profits.
- Ecommerce University – not everyone that wants to sell products online is an expert in ecommerce. That is why BigCommerce offers free access to “Ecommerce University” where you can find helpful resources on everything relating to selling online.
Keep in mind that in order to manage a successful ecommerce business, you will need a strong platform that is capable and flexible to support your business needs. BigCommerce is the ecommerce platform that does just that.
So, if you need an ecommerce platform that is versatile and easy enough to use, BigCommerce should be on your list of things to try.
BigCommerce offers a 15-day free trial that you can use to try the platform and determine if it suits your business needs without any financial loss to you.
What are your thoughts on using BigCommerce for ecommerce?
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