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Big Commerce Review

Author: / Date: November 6, 2017

Highlights:

  • Extensive set of eCommerce tools
  • Modern and professional-looking templates
  • Sale growth options thanks to different social channels
  • App store with extra tools for maximum customization

About Big Commerce:

Out of all the eCommerce builders, BigCommerce offers the most comprehensive tool-set. It helps out with your sales growth by giving you a lot of options in regards to where you want your store to be. For the absolute best at designing eCommerce stores, there’s the BigCommerce app store where you can shop for even more tools, some of them as advanced as they come.

You can head on to the their site and start your free trial to see what’s what before you commit to it.

Pricing

Standard

$29.95/mo

No transaction fees

Plus

$79.95/mo

Unlimited storage and bandwidth

Pro

$249.95/mo

Custom SSL

Introduction

If we go by big-time facts alone, then BigCommerce has been extremely successful and makes an enticing proposition.

What is BigCommerce?

Glad you asked!

In short, it’s an all-inclusive ecommerce solution which has reportedly been responsible for a whopping $8 billion in sales and is used by companies all around the world. Users range from behemoths like Toyota, to smaller vendors, with the total number of 95,000 online stores using BigCommerce. That’s pretty impressive, considering the company was only founded in 2009.

So, what exactly makes BigCommerce so successful, both commercially and critically (BigCommerce UK reviews are generally excellent)? Find out, in my BigCommerce review!

(Please note that my BigCommerce 2017 review is based entirely on my own experiences. If you’d like to post a BigCommerce customer review, I’d love to hear from you!)

 

Usability

Getting started, via the registration and subsequent BigCommerce login system, is simple. You’re asked a few basic questions about your business, to help the site tailor its offering to you, and that’s about it!

Straight afterwards, when your new basic site is ready for you, you’re given a quick and helpful tour of the toolset, the dashboard, the orders section, and so on. BigCommerce aims to be just as accessible to beginners at it is to ecommerce veterans, and the opening tutorial is a clear display of this focus.

When it comes to the nuts and bolts of managing and expanding your store, BigCommerce is extremely usable. The menus are intuitively laid out. After running through the aforementioned tour you’ll be whizzing around the design interface in no time.

Crucially, adding new products could not be easier; that’s obviously one of the most critical things with all ecommerce solutions. You’re given a lot of options, including everything from price, through tax, to weight, but it never feels overwhelming. Every feature you’d expect when it comes to adding products, including categorizing them, is present and correct.

Designs

Compared to one of its potential competitors – WooCommerce – the BigCommerce themes offering is very generous. There are seven different free BigCommerce templates, each of which has four ‘styles’ within it; that’s a nice amount of choice, without having to pay a penny extra.

There is also a huge range of paid-for BigCommerce templates – dozens of them – which are easily filtered by industry or catalogue size. These templates admittedly look great, but some may consider them a little costly: prices begin at $145 and range up to $235. This will isolate some of the smaller online store owners, but again, it’s great that these people have a fine selection of free themes from which to choose.

Personally, after selecting a theme, I found the process of actually editing it to be frustrating. It feels like you’re extremely limited in what you can do. There’s no drag and drop functionality, for example, which means that breaking free from your theme and creating the store you actually want is difficult.

The whole customization side of the site also simply feels slow and laggy, more so than most other ecommerce solutions or website builders I’ve used, as if the engine on which it runs isn’t quite up to the task. In short, you’d better like the theme you select, because you’re going to have a pretty tough time changing it!

Loading Speed

Along with things like layout and appearance, the loading speed of your online store can be a crucial factor in its success. Simply put, if loading your shop is a chore, customers aren’t going to stick around for long, and they certainly won’t keep coming back.

As mentioned, I personally found BigCommerce in general to run quite slowly. To gain a more objective outlook, however, I ran some example stores – created using BigCommerce – through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

To ensure reliable results, I tried out four different websites which ranged across a variety of industries and were of different sizes. The desktop versions of the sites received an average score of 43/100, with the mobile versions averaging 34/100.

Both scores fell squarely into the ‘Poor’ category of Google’s evaluation and, unfortunately, backed up my own experiences with BigCommerce. This isn’t to say you should avoid BigCommerce entirely, but it’s certainly something to be aware of; it’s definitely one of the main BigCommerce problems, which I came across.

Responsive

BigCommerce were actually a little slow to adapt to the trend of responsive websites, only really clocking on in 2016. That being said, they’ve definitely caught up now and offer a wide range of fully-responsive themes. That means that your online store will scale automatically depending on whether the user is on a mobile, tablet or desktop device; a crucial feature, with shopping on-the-move so popular nowadays.

As mentioned, however, the technology behind BigCommerce’s responsiveness clearly isn’t up to scratch, with the loading speed of the sample websites I tested being particularly poor.

On a more positive note, it’s extremely easy to preview how your site will look on a mobile device, straight from the editor. That means that if you’re specifically targeting mobile customers and responsiveness is important to you, you can ensure that your store is correctly laid out in a suitable manner.

SEO

BigCommerce grants you access to a fine range of basic SEO features. You can carry out several different SEO functions on each individual page of your store, including adding meta keywords and descriptions. Sitemaps are generated and sent to Google automatically, and you can also customize the URLs for your individual pages, if you so desire.

Finally, it’s also worth noting that with BigCommerce SEO, your product reviews are included in search results, which gives a nice boost to your visibility and click-through rates.

 

Features and Integrations

  • Store Migration

There are plenty of ecommerce solutions out there, and BigCommerce are well aware that you may have used one of them before. That’s why they’ve made it a priority to ensure switching from another ecommerce service to theirs is as easy as possible. Over 20,000 stores have migrated to BigCommerce, and the process is made simple by their bulk import/export of products feature.

  • Multi-Channel Synchronisation

One of BigCommerce’s most noteworthy features – and one which it advertises heavily – is its synchronisation across a range of mediums. With BigCommerce, you can synchronise a single inventory across platforms like Amazon, eBay, Pinterest and Facebook. For vendors who sell their wares through a number of different channels this is an enormous bonus.

  • Useful Ready-Made Integrations

BigCommerce have included several excellent third-party integrations in their feature set. The most noteworthy include Avalara, which helps to calculate your tax automatically, and ShipStation, a service which helps solve the logistical nightmare shipping can become.

Aside from these three excellent features, there’s the entire BigCommerce app store to explore, which is truly fantastic; in the ongoing ‘BigCommerce vs Shopify’ debate, this is a strong point in BigCommerce’s favour. Navigating it is easy, as you can search for or filter down BigCommerce apps at will. The apps are also nicely split between those which are paid-for, free, and have a free trial, so there’s something there to suit every budget.

Prices

The BigCommerce UK pricing is split into four packages: Standard ($29.95/month), Plus ($79.95/mo), Pro ($249.95/mo) and Enterprise (custom pricing). You can also have a 15 day free trial, to help decide whether or not you want to go ahead and keep using it.

All four packages receive the benefit of no transaction fees, along with unlimited bandwidth and staff accounts, SSL, multi-channel synchronisation, and more.

The Standard package in the BigCommerce pricing system is limited to $50k of sales per year. With Plus you get up to $150k/year, as well as an abandoned cart saver feature, and the ability to create a loyalty program for returning customers. Pro allows you up to $400k of sales/year, gives you better product filtering options (size, colour, etc.), and has Google customer reviews. With Enterprise, you can create completely customized filters, and you get access to premium account services, account management, and priority support.

Overall, I’d say these prices scale very nicely. It’s great that all the basic options, which every vendor actually needs, are available on all of the price plans. The biggest cap is simply the amount of sales you’re permitted to process each year, but if you’re selling – for example – $150k’s worth of products per year, you can probably afford to pay $249.50 for the Plus package.

Support

This is one of the areas in which BigCommerce really excels.Every avenue is covered: you can contact them by phone or email, both of which are monitored 24/7, and they do a pretty good job of responding to social media enquiries too. They also care for their forum members, answering questions promptly, and there’s an extensive ‘Support Portal’, in which you’ll find all manner of guides and tutorials.

 

Conclusion

I have to say that I am extremely impressed with what I found in my research for this BigCommerce review. Whilst I do have some reservations, particularly regarding the themes, overall I’d say this is an excellent ecommerce solution.

Its wide range of features make it a powerful proposition, with BigCommerce utilising particularly well third-party integrations. Crucially, they make it extremely easy to migrate your existing store into their toolset, which will certainly tempt a lot of the online vendors out there who aren’t happy with their current setup.

The exceptional customer service on offer is simply the icing on top of a particularly tasty ecommerce cake.

Overall, I’d recommend BigCommerce to both newcomers and ecommerce veterans alike; give their 15 day trial a go, and see what you make of it!

Conclusion

FAQ

Q: Does BigCommerce have its own analytics?
A: Yes, BigCommerce has its own analytics section. You can use this to produce a range of reports about your site, relating to SEO, commercial success, customer acquisition methods, and so on.
Q: Is BigCommerce secure?
A: All BigCommerce stores come with SSL security included, regardless of price plan.
Q: Can you purchase a domain with BigCommerce?
A: Yes. If you don’t already have a domain name from somewhere else, then you can buy one directly from BigCommerce.
Q: How can I migrate my existing store to BigCommerce?
A: BigCommerce has a number of features to make this as easy as possible. Primarily, you can import things like customer and product lists using a standard CSV file.
Q: What payment systems can be used with BigCommerce?
A: Basically, all of them! PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, Global Payments, and all the rest of the usual suspects are ready to use immediately on your BigCommerce store.

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