If you’re a small business owner, BigCommerce has your back.
|Ease of Use|
|Value for Money|
|Reviewed by: Expert Market||01/03/2019|
- Fantastic SEO guidance
- Unrivalled feature set
- Strong internationalization
- At times unfriendly content editor
- No mobile app
- Design restrictions
In a Nutshell
BigCommerce’s out-of-the-box feature set is best-in-class. It offers all the inventory management help you could hope for.
In 2003, two Australian web developers decided that enough was enough. They decided that operating an online store was too difficult. They set out to build software that would make creating an ecommerce website “so easy your grandma can use it”.
The result was BigCommerce, the reviews were rave, and the rest is history. Today, thousands of Fortune 500 and smaller firms use BigCommerce to power their ecommerce activities.
How does BigCommerce compare to other ecommerce platforms? Read on to find out, or try it for free.
Who Should Consider Using BigCommerce?
Ecommerce vendors fall into two camps; those who want to launch a website, and those who want to revamp one. BigCommerce caters to both, especially if you’re looking for fast growth, sophisticated functionality and advanced analytics.
Sorry low-growth firms; BigCommerce is all about big growth. A truly impressive collection of sales and customer relationship management (CRM) tools enables you to scale your store however you see fit. Whether you want to expand your product database, offer supplementary shipping services, or add customers to your direct mailing lists, your only constraint is your ambition. Start out with a simple one-page website, then flesh it out into an ‘Amazon 2.0’.
Multi-Channel Vendors Targeting Customers Globally
BigCommerce is made for selling to customers in lots of countries. It boasts best-in-field internationalization, supporting multiple languages and countless currencies. The multi-channel marketing on offer here is top notch too – it’s a breeze to manage social, email and paid search campaigns from your BigCommerce account dashboard. All in all, this is a brilliant platform for reaching customers, wherever they are and however they shop.
(For what it’s worth, if you’ve got your sights set exclusively on the US market, you’ll still find the bulk of BigCommerce features useful)
Data Junkies and Analytics Addicts
If your natural response to the question ‘How long is a piece of string?’ is to pull out a ruler, BigCommerce is the platform for you. It measures everything happening on your website, from the number of visitors hitting your homepage to popular product page conversion rates (conversion rate = visitors divided by sales). You can even look up the lifetime value (past and expected) of customers to spot lucrative upselling opportunities.
BigCommerce Features: What’s Under the Hood?
By and large, BigCommerce is a beast for out-of-the-box functionality. Let’s start with the design tools:
Creating your storefront starts with choosing one of BigCommerce’s premade themes. Seven free variants are on offer, along with a larger selection of paid ones priced reasonably in the $140-$250 range.
They’re a varied bunch, ranging from image-led fashion lookbooks to menu-driven pages that funnel visitors to relevant parts of your site. They’re all highly customizable, thanks to a Store Design tool that lets you make detailed adjustments to different parts of a page and preview the edits in real time.
It's a great idea that's executed well, for the most part. BigCommerce does a mixed job of making it clear how to customize designs in certain places. Some steps, like creating a homepage carousel (it’s just like making a PowerPoint presentation), are abundantly intuitive. Other parts, like the web page editor, could do with clearer written explanations in places.
There’s a huge array of email templates that you can send to shepherd users through your sales funnel. For example, you can add links to your most popular product pages at the end of an ‘Order Successful’ email, or send emails to anyone who’s viewed one of your eBay listings to let them know when it’s about to expire. The depth and choice on offer is astounding. Yes, we’ve seen other ecommerce platforms implement abandoned cart recovery; but none quite as skillfully as BigCommerce.
BigCommerce Ease of Use
Aside from minor gripes with BigCommerce’s design editor, what’s it like using the platform from day-to-day?
The store management dashboard consists of a sidebar divided into sensibly named sections like ‘Products’ and ‘Orders’. You’ll spend most of your time in the former area updating product databases, while ‘Orders’ is where you’ll make sure shipping and delivery stay on schedule. We love the always-visible ‘View Store’ button at the top – you’d be surprised how many platforms turn navigating your store into a chore.
Each section on the sidebar includes several subsections, which is where things can get confusing for the uninitiated. You’ve got a dozen default data views under ‘Analytics’, compared with eight on Squarespace and six on Shopify. While they’re all useful, you’ll probably only refer to a handful of them regularly.
Elsewhere in the dashboard, most functions are grouped logically, but you’ll occasionally be left scratching your head as to why important inventory parameters are buried in ‘Advanced Settings’. There’s a sticky search bar that follows you from page to page, but it doesn’t let you navigate between sections.
Still, the complexity is understandable (perhaps even unavoidable) in view of just how much functionality is packed into BigCommerce. Many customers who have used other ecommerce platforms praise the user interface:
”I found the actual process really well structured. Lots going on in the backend, lots of control, lots of options.” - BigCommerce customer
BigCommerce Value For Money
BigCommerce offers four tiers of service, and monthly and annual payment options for each one:
|1-Year Prepaid |
|Enterprise||Custom quote||Custom quote|
Note that BigCommerce Standard doesn’t allow you to segment your customers, which limits your ability to craft effective cart abandonment and customer loyalty strategies at that tier. Still, you’re entitled to unlimited products, file storage, bandwidth and staff accounts. That’s far more generous than the limited storage (1GB) and staff accounts (two) you get with Shopify Basic.
At the other end of the scale, BigCommerce Enterprise comes with two main advantages over the other service tiers: unlimited scalability and personalized account management. Although the website doesn’t quote prices, there is an interesting promise of “custom pricing lower than Magento and Shopify Plus”. That’s an intriguing offer for any businesses making $500K+ in annual sales.
BigCommerce also imposes upper limits on the volume of online sales you’re allowed to make each year at all tiers. Don’t worry, it’s a soft cap – you won’t be barred from selling if you hit the cap halfway through a record month – but it’s worth planning for these costs to rise as your business grows.
|BigCommerce Service Tier||Online Sales Per Year|
|Standard||Up to $50k|
|Plus||Up to $150k|
|Pro||Up to $400k|
BigCommerce Review: Expert Verdict
For our money, there’s no better ecommerce solution than BigCommerce. It’s built to give you all the functionality you need to scale and succeed, and it delivers.
If you can live without a mobile store management app and don’t mind the slightly menu-heavy desktop dashboard, BigCommerce could be a great fit for your business.