BigCommerce – is a SaaS solution to build online stores and sell both digital and physical goods on the web. The platform has made a name for itself while being considerably easy to use with a selection of customized eCommerce features and well-designed templates. At the same time, it comes with tools to market and promote your online store in addition to savvy web development capabilities for more experienced users with a good technical background.
Despite the fact, the platform claims to be designed for users with no comprehensive web design and development skills, some users have various complaints regarding the theme limitation, pricing policy and a lack of enhanced features to manage their digital stores.
In this particular review, we will not just check some of the platform’s features, but also define if those negative claims are true. You will learn what to expect in terms of complexity and other possible stumbling blocks on the way to start selling products online with BigCommerce.
1. Ease of Use
BigCommerce is a cloud-based platform with a set of instruments to take care of their goods, manage products and orders, use analytic tools, etc. From this point of view, the service is pretty clear and simple. The process does not require any special skills. To get started with your own online shop from scratch you will need to complete several easy steps:
Step 1 – Sign Up
Sign up. At this stage, you only need to indicate the name of your store as well as some personal details. There is no need to deal with settings right from the start.
Step 2 – Enter the Dashboard
By pressing “Create my store now” button, you will be instantly transferred to the page with the dashboard with all features displayed in one place. As for the control panel, it looks quite intuitive featuring user-friendly design letting you access any necessary section to manage orders, review site traffic, and stats, etc.
Another good news is that you will have a list of sample products by default. Each product comes with a range of different parameters. You can add literally everything from images, videos, and inventory to smart product rules. For example, if a customer spends over $150, he or she gets free shipping.
Step 3 – Use the Control Panel
Once you have got used to the platform’s functionality, you may start working with the control panel. Here you can look through products and customers as well as review the general shop stats by tapping the main store icon. The system will notify you of all the updates and latest modifications since your last visit.
The system makes it easy to work with the content. Simply click on the “content” section to add new images and product photos, update descriptions, modify or add new texts, publish blog posts, etc. Settings will let you set up billing process, configure payment systems, work with installed apps and add-ons, etc. The marketing section is good for creating new loyalty programs, customized promotions, coupons, and other things that will drive more traffic to your store.
Step 4 – “Launch” Your Store
As soon as you are done with pre-settings, you may press the “launch” button and go online with your ready-made digital shop.
As you can see, getting started is pretty easy. However, at this point, BigCommerce ease of use ends. Setting up your digital shop might be a hassle even despite the availability of the platform’s new framework also known as Stencil. Non-technicians will find it very hard to tweak the design. This is where you might require the assistance of professional web designers.
Although the access to API is easier compared to other eCommerce-specialized platforms. On the other hand, this fact reserves more space for customization, as some may find custom templates a bit limited. More on this one below.
2. Features & Flexibility
BigCommerce is yet one of the fastest eCommerce platforms available on the web. It ensures fast website operation, which certainly matters in terms of competition. Apart from the core options for digital stores, the system boasts advanced integration capabilities, marketing, and promotion solutions, addons availability, and more.
Baseline E-Commerce Features:
- Product Library – BigCommerce makes it easy to review and set the list of products with just several clicks. The inventory makes it easy to track the number of goods, quickly download new ones, update vital parameters, and set flexible product rules depending on your marketing strategies.
- Shipping – the platform has implemented new technologies to ensure fast and secure shipment. From now, users are able to set up FedEx for shipping quotes in addition to UPS, DHL, and some other delivery services. The control panel has a separate section to set up the shipment details and inventory. However, the system is relatively new. You may find it difficult to re-arrange the shipment details on the case you want to change the delivery method or company. At the same time, you need to make sure the correct info is displayed on the product page.
- SEO and Marketing – users should not expect much in terms of SEO settings, They look pretty basic. You may edit the title page and description as well as modify the product age URL. There is the space for indicating meta keywords as well.
On the other hand, you have all the necessary means from multi-channel marketing strategies to social media ads. They will let you improve customer loyalty. Promotion tools make it easy to create new ad campaigns with special discounts, personalized offers.
- Billing – BigCommerce offers various integration capabilities with major payment systems to process payments. They include PayPal, Stripe, Square or Amazon Pay. The above-mentioned payment methods may be integrated with no extra costs or fees. If you want to offer more flexible users’ experience, you should be ready to pay. For instance, Braintree integration for credit cards will additionally cost you 2.9% on each transaction plus $0.30 not including shipping costs or VAT. On the other hand, BigCommerce lets you change currencies, shipment fees, etc.
Additional Features and Add-ons:
- Checkout – apart from payment method integration, the platform has some decent checkout features. They include social media sharing letting customers post the product or purchase through their Facebook accounts. At the same time, you can add an advanced sidebar to the page with enhanced search options by the filter, size, category, etc. It results in better user engagement although setting up the sidebar will require professional web designing assistance. Another good news is that shop owners can configure tax rates and fees manually. On the other hand, you need to update the info every time you add a new product or update the existing one.
- Selling through Multiple Channels – the platform can be integrated with different marketplaces as well as point of sale solutions for selling physical goods. BigCommerce promotes square POS solution. It has plenty of essential features. However, if you decide to use a POS platform, it will process all types of payments both physical and online. You need to think twice whether you actually need it. BigCommerce makes it easier to sell through social media letting you set up your own Facebook store as well as tag products posted on Instagram.
- Integrations – users can choose from over 600 of add-ons available for integration with their digital shops. You will find everything you need for Google Analytics or Glew for detailed reporting to Live Chat and ZenDesk to contact your customers instantly. The store can be integrated with CRM or wholesale B2B solutions.
Despite such versatility and flexibility, the system gets regular complaints from its users. Some customers consider the feature list a bit limited. They say it is mainly good for small and medium shops with not enough functionality for bigger and more complex marketplaces. Well, the system constantly changes and comes with upgrades or improvements. It means we might expect some other innovations to meet users’ need.
|Number of Themes:||125|
|Free Templates:||✔ YES (7)|
|Responsive Design:||✔ YES|
|Sort by Industry:||✔ YES|
|CSS Code Editing:||✔ YES|
BigCommerce offers Stencil templates for its new merchants. They are different from Blueprint themes, as they come with point-at-click interface. The core benefit is the ability to modify or change templates without manual coding. Users can modify image sizes, fonts, colors, etc.
A single glance at the available themes makes it clear how your future digital store will look like. The platform does not boast a huge variety of ready-to-use layouts. Overall, there are about 125 themes to choose from. Each theme comes with various styles, which means a bit more variations.
All templates are divided between free and paid one. However, only 7 out of 125 templates are available at no cost. The rest range from $140 to $250, which is not as cost-effective as some could expect. On the other hand, all templates are responsive and provide access to CSS/HTML whenever you need to customize the website. In this case, you will need some good coding and web designing skills.
Stencil templates look rather stylish. Moreover, all themes are easy to customize. For instance, you come across a template of a store for sportswear you like very much. Changing it into a bookshop will hardly be a challenge. The bad news is that all templates come without a drag-and-drop editor, which is a huge miss. If you want to move objects, replace sections or remove elements, you will need a separate integration.
The theme editor lets you only work with styles and colors. To compensate for the lack of intuitive theme editor, the platform offers various preview modes to check how your website looks like on smartphones, tablets or laptops with different screen dimensions.
4. Customer Support
BigCommerce does a great job in terms of customer support. It offers multiple channels to stay in touch in addition to the system’s huge knowledgebase and online community always ready to lend a hand.
Users may use some of the typical ways to instantly contact support specialists. They include:
- Live Chat.
However, some users say those methods make no sense when the issue is pretty complicated. Some customers do not appreciate hanging on the phone for a long time while waiting for a response. For this reason, opting for the BigCommerce knowledge base might be a better solution. It introduces detailed tutorials, videos, teaching guides, and more in addition to online forums.
5. Pricing Policy
If you still can’t make up your mind whether BigCommerce fits you or not, you may benefit from a free 15-day trial period and examine its features and functionality in real time. In this case, you do not have to provide any personal info or credit card data. Simply press the “start trial” button and build your first digital store.
If everything suits you fine, you will be offered to choose from four different plans. Each package requires monthly fees in accordance with the pricing policy. At the same time, you have a chance to save up to 10%, if paying for a year beforehand. It sounds like a good offer. However, we do not recommend paying for the entire year unless you are 100% sure the platform meets your requirements.
The plans are as follows:
- Standard Plan costing $29.95/month with unlimited bandwidth, products to add, and storage. It is good for small shops with revenue not exceeding $50,000 per year.
- Plus Plan costing $79.95/month with customer segmentation features and abandoned cart saver. It is good for medium shops with the revenue not exceeding $150,000 per year.
- Pro Plan costing $249.95/month. The package comes with custom SSL, Google Reviews and more. Good for shops with revenues not exceeding $400,000 per year.
- Enterprise – an individually tailored solution for huge companies with high sale volumes and revenues. The prices depend on the business type and complexity.
6. Pros and Cons
BigCommerce ranks rather high if compared to other popular eCommerce platforms. It delivers a bunch of core features to launch a solid online shop. The system has evolved over the years delivering simpler ways to take care of the store’s inventory as well as market and promote your site. However, some scratching reviews and complaints still take place. It is high time we highlighted all major hits and misses delivered by BigCommerce.
|✔ Easy to use from the start.|
✔Ready-made responsive templates.
✔ Over 600 add-ons and integrations.
✔ Extended checkout, billing, and shipment features.
✔ Comprehensive knowledge base.
|✘ Limited free templates.|
✘ Complicated website set up.
✘ A bit too pricy.
BigCommerce managed to take the lead in its niche thanks to some obvious advantages and flexibility. At the same time, some other great eCommerce platforms arise with great options, which make them better alternatives to BigCommerce.
Compare and contrast all available options to choose the instrument that has everything needed to meet your project requirements.
BigCommerce is obviously the leading shopping cart system letting users build their digital stores from scratch without professional assistance. It comes with simple admin features through the lack of advanced theme editor may be a challenge for non-technicians. The platform boats extended application ecosystem with 600+ of apps ready to integrate.
On the other hand, the system might look a bit too pricy for smaller shops while enterprises may fill a bit limited with the amount of advanced eCommerce features. Despite all possible downfalls, BigCommerce is still one of the best open-source solutions.