BigCommerce Review

Ready to earn big? BigCommerce can power everything from a small store to a full-fledged enterprise.
By Kate Loyola | Last Updated: November 21, 2017
BigCommerce

When it comes to online business, you’ll find few names bigger than BigCommerce. This company is one of the standbys when it comes to setting up a store on the web, with tons of features to help you boost your site’s visibility and overall sales. You get a lot of value from each of BigCommerce’s plans, plus support for a lot of third-party integrations and essential functions that can drastically reduce the effort involved in sustaining your business.

Pros

  • BigCommerce comes chock-full of features right out of the box.
  • You’ll get lots of marketing and SEO support, including email marketing tools, Google Shopping integrations, and more.
  • Whichever plan you choose, BigCommerce doesn’t charge transaction fees for customers’ payments.
  • BigCommerce’s custom analytics system goes beyond standard tools like Google Analytics to help you dig deeper into your store’s and products’ stats.

Cons

  • Compared to its top competitors, BigCommerce has a smaller theme and design selection.

About the Company

True to its name, BigCommerce is one of the biggest e-commerce platforms out there. This company counts over $8 billion in sales from all of its merchants’ shops. BigCommerce itself has also raked in more than $100 million in funding to date — a testament to the company’s good prospects as it continues to compete in the e-commerce industry.

Pricing

BigCommerce offers three standard plans and enterprise solutions, plus a 15-day free demo to help potential users make up their minds.

BigCommerce’s three plans offer a good spectrum of price points and features for businesses of all sizes, giving you a good degree of flexibility when it comes to choosing the most cost-effective package for your business. All of BigCommerce’s plans dispense with additional transaction fees for the use of third-party payment systems like Paypal and Stripe, which is a big difference from many of its top competitors.

Standard: $29.95/month

BigCommerce’s Standard plan offers one of the most powerful and comprehensive e-commerce packages you can get at this price point. Aside from the main online store and website creator, BigCommerce gives you:

  • automatic integrations with marketplace giants eBay and Amazon
  • integrations with social media and other channels like Google Shopping
  • high-performance hosting
  • access to all of BigCommerce’s core website builder
  • services like shipping and payment processing

Plus: $79.95/month

BigCommerce’s Plus plan adds the power of custom shopper classifications, loyalty programs, and other tools like abandoned cart saves that directly help increase your sales. BigCommerce specifies 12-month sales caps for each plan, so you’re likely to get asked to move to a higher-priced plan if you exceed these caps. For the Plus plan, for example, you’re allowed up to $150K in sales for every 12-month period.

Pro: $249.95/month

There’s a big jump in cost from the Plus to the Pro plan, and a big part of that is justified by the allowance for third-party dedicated SSL certificates. This is a big feature; dedicated SSL certificates boost your website’s trustworthiness for both customers and search engine rankings. The ability to choose your own SSL provider is great.

Aside from third-party SSL support, you’ll also get faceted search tools. These help your customers apply convenient search filters when browsing your products, which can be helpful for your overall sales. Your yearly sales cap also moves up to $400K.

Aside from those changes, though, there’s not a lot more value added in the Pro plan. If you want more powerful features like unlimited API calls and custom search filters for customers, you’ll have to get BigCommerce’s Enterprise plan, which uses custom pricing.

Features

BigCommerce offers you a comprehensive toolkit designed to help your business make its mark online. From custom storefronts to shipping and payment gateway supports and more, you’ll find everything you need to run an online business here.

Customizable Storefront

The ability to create a custom storefront and business website is at the heart of BigCommerce’s feature set, and you get a pretty powerful system on that front. You’ll get functional templates to help you get a good start: each template already outfits your site with key features like high-conversion focused layouts or other similar configurations.

As for design, BigCommerce has taken big steps to ramp up its selection of custom-designed themes, many of which are mobile-responsive by default. There are themes for all kinds of businesses, though if you fail to find a perfect fit, BigCommerce does give you extensive controls — both through a simplified interface and direct HTML/CSS code customization — to tweak your chosen theme to your liking.

BigCommerce gives you a full-featured content management system (CMS), so pushing out content or updating your website won’t even require writing a single line of code. Not only is the BigCommerce CMS an intuitive and straightforward content creation interface, it also gives you easy access to all other aspects of your website (like product categories, custom pages, and so on) that you might want to manage.

Another good thing worth highlighting is BigCommerce’s support for modular apps and conditional logic, so you can set up automated responses and actions that can help enrich your customers’ interaction with your site and your product catalog. This shaves a great deal of time from your website-building process, in addition to creating a more user-friendly site overall. Support for language modules is a nice touch, and it’s great for doing global business or enhancing your store’s appeal to local markets.

All of these tools come paired with live previews for mobile, tablet, and desktop, so you can see just how your changes will look in real-time.

Product and Inventory Management

BigCommerce supports bulk imports and exports of products as needed, though you can also offload the whole effort to BigCommerce’s in-house catalog transfer team if you really want to save time.

You’ll get granular control over your products, with automated information and stock status updates that makes things easier for you and your customers alike. The BigCommerce inventory module syncs directly with your shopping cart system, streamlining the process of keeping your online store updated and functional.

Payments and Shipping

BigCommerce supports numerous payment gateways, as well as direct credit card payments. Most of the recognized payment gateways like Paypal, Stripe, Amazon Pay, and Braintree can be used in multiple territories and with multiple currencies. The best part is that these gateways can often be deployed to your store with one click, so you don’t even need to worry about setup. That one-click installation covers support for mobile use, too.

Here’s BigCommerce’s quick overview of its payment method systems:

BigCommerce boasts of a lot of localization options, even for its payment gateways. Thanks to partnerships with companies like Adyen, BigCommerce supports numerous local payment methods in over 100 countries.

BigCommerce’s Shipping Manager, meanwhile, gives you a quick setup system for your shipping process to your chosen service areas. The platform also comes with ready integrations with ShipperHQ, which is a dedicated shipping rate calculator service that lets you set custom rates, different kinds of shipping (dimensional shipping, multi-origin, dropshipping, and more), and so on. This tool also lets you provide real-time quotes for specific couriers like UPS, FedEx, and more.

Conversion Tools

BigCommerce gives you a lot of tools to boost conversion rates — essentially, to translate site visits into definite sales. There’s built-in support for streamlining your store’s checkout process, customer account creation to encourage long-term loyalty, guest checkouts for new users who might not want to sign up just yet, and more. BigCommerce also helps you earn relevant certifications like the Google Trusted Store mark, which can help boost your store’s overall reliability.

Beyond the Basics

Aside from the core e-commerce features of its packages, BigCommerce puts a lot of emphasis on analytics, apps and service integrations, and global sales support that can help enhance your online business.

Business Analytics

While most of its competitors content themselves with offering Google Analytics support, BigCommerce stands out with its dedicated, in-house analytics platform that lets you dive deep into your site’s stats and performance data. The Analytics Dashboard provides easy-to-parse looks into your site’s traffic, conversion rates, and more.

The detailed “Purchase Funnel Report” function lets you track site visitor behavior so you can optimize customers’ paths through the website to boost the likelihood of securing sales. Merchandising reports let you drill down into the sales performance of specific products, as well as the effects of your marketing strategy or ongoing promotions. Meanwhile, the Insights module provides detailed intelligence reports and recommendations that can help you improve your overall business setup.

Bear in mind, though, that the more advanced analytics tools are available only for higher-priced plans.

Marketing and SEO

BigCommerce provides full support for discount coupons, loyalty rewards, and so on (depending on your chosen plan), which can help you run effective promotional campaigns that can help drive sales. You’ll also find sophisticated email marketing tools, integrations with product comparison sites that can further drive your visitor traffic, and support for advanced SEO techniques like automatic sitemaps and optimized URLs that can help boost your site’s overall visibility.

Apps and Service Integrations

You’ll find lots of handy integrations with third-party services and apps that can lighten the load of running an online business. Integrations with HubSpot provide automated email marketing support, for example, while shipping providers like Endicia and ShipperHQ simplify the order fulfillment aspect of any online business.

Overall, there’s a broad range of options here, covering everything from enterprise resource planning to accounting to marketing to customer relationship management. If that’s not enough, the good news is that BigCommerce also supports custom integrations that you might like to build with its robust API.

Global Sales Support

Aside from the aforementioned localized language and payment method support, BigCommerce also allows you to cast a wider net with ready integrations with global marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, and even Facebook and Google Shopping. You’ll get a dedicated Channel Manager so you can oversee your storefront on each marketplace from a central command module, complete with automatic syncing of inventory and order logs.

Ease of Use

BigCommerce is designed for both non-coders and seasoned developers alike, and that shows in the system’s easy-to-use interface and clear controls.

BigCommerce has an organized and straightforward dashboard that puts all the controls you’ll need at your fingertips. Specific customization options like website design involve easy-to-use drag and drop interfaces or similarly simple settings.

If you need more detailed options, though, BigCommerce also allows for direct changes to, say, your website’s HTML and CSS code, deep analytics for your site’s performance, and so on.

Hosting and Domains

BigCommerce’s default hosting comes with exemplary features like PCI compliance and great uptime, with the option to use custom domains for a more professional look.

As with most e-commerce platforms, sites and online stores built using BigCommerce come with pre-arranged hosting on BigCommerce’s own platform. There’s no option for you to use a different host with your created website, so solutions like BigCommerce might not be for you if you want that kind of arrangement.

Nevertheless, you’re not losing out on anything if you do stick with BigCommerce. The platform’s hosting package comes with HTTPS encryption and Level 1 PCI compliance to ensure security for you, your customers, and all transactions made on your website. A built-in CDN service, unlimited bandwidth, and a reported average uptime of 99.99% also ensures top-notch performance for your website. Considering the role that page loading speeds play in keeping your customers happy and satisfied with your website, these are crucial components of any e-commerce hosting platform. Getting these automatically in the BigCommerce hosting package is a good sign.

Customer Support

BigCommerce offers tons of resources for its merchants, plus 24/7 support available through multiple channels.

BigCommerce carries lots of resources to help new and experienced merchants alike.

There’s the standard FAQ to help you sort through common questions and issues, but beyond that, you’ll also find all kinds of content that can enrich and inform your own business practices.

There’s the active BigCommerce blog dedicated to current e-commerce tips, plus case studies to help you dig into how to use BigCommerce’s specific tools to grow your business. Webinars, active community forums, the dedicated BigCommerce University section, and more, are also readily accessible.

You can also get more direct assistance from BigCommerce’s dedicated team. The company has recently stepped up support services by offering 24/7 coverage through live chat, phone, or email. This is great news for any merchant, since it means BigCommerce has you covered in the event of any sudden, urgent technical issues.

Comparisons

When it comes to helping you set up an online business, BigCommerce faces competition from names like Shopify and Jimdo. Here’s a look at why you might pick one service over the others.

Why Pick BigCommerce?

BigCommerce’s extensive array of features and easy-to-use interface are big helps to any entrepreneur. It doesn’t hurt that BigCommerce gives you the most number of features out of the box, as opposed to needing to purchase add-on modules when it comes to other services like Shopify. Plus, BigCommerce omits the transaction fees that you’ll often find its competitors charging for the use of third-party payment gateways.

Overall, BigCommerce does best at automating all the necessary — and often tedious — upkeep that comes with sustaining an online business, thanks to its potent combination of ready apps and integrations, powerful customization options, and so on.

Why Pick Shopify or Jimdo?

For all of BigCommerce’s billions in merchant sales, Shopify remains the leader in the e-commerce industry, and its bevy of user-friendly options backs that up nicely. One of its biggest advantages over BigCommerce is its better-developed design options, as well as its larger selection of professionally designed themes.

Jimdo might be a better choice if you want a slimmer, more lightweight option overall, though BigCommerce admittedly beats it out if you’re looking solely at comprehensive feature coverage. Jimdo’s big edge is its flexibility: where BigCommerce lends itself best to material goods, i.e. products that can be itemized and sorted into catalogs, Jimdo works better with services offered. Musicians, artists, and so on, might have an easier time with Jimdo.

BigCommerce Review – Conclusion

BigCommerce is one of the big names in the e-commerce platform field, and deservedly so.

It’s an easy to use and powerful platform that helps you establish businesses of any scale, from a simple online shop to a world-spanning enterprise. You get a lot of value out of the box with any of BigCommerce’s plans, and the robust third-party integrations bring a lot more functionality to your website. The BigCommerce system lags behind Shopify in terms of the breadth and style of its site design and theme offerings, though BigCommerce has taken big — and generally effective — steps to close that gap. Whether you’re looking to start a new business or take an established one online, BigCommerce is well worth your consideration.