BigCommerce Review: Is The BigCommerce Website Builder Right For You?
BigCommerce is one of the best website builders to make your online store. Our BigCommerce review covers the basics of the popular ecommerce site building platform. If you’re not familiar with BigCommerce, it’s time to get to know the website.
BigCommerce offers comprehensive online retail software, website building and more in one package. You can use it to sell tangible goods or digital downloads. BigCommerce offers excellent templates to build a store, or you can customize those templates to match an existing brand.
- BigCommerce is Ideal for…
- Shopping Cart
- Templates & Design
- The App Store
- In Conclusion
BigCommerce sites are only available as paid websites, so you will have to pay for your site from the start. While you can start a BigCommerce site free for a 15-day trial period, at the end of the period you will either have to pay for one of the packages or your trial expires and you lose your site and whatever you have built.
Each package comes with specific features and has a transaction limit, so choose wisely. If you exceed a transaction limit, you will need to bump up to the next package level.
The four packages include:
- Standard: The Standard Package costs $29.95 per month. It can process up to $50,000 in transactions per year.
- Plus: The Plus Package costs $79.95 per month. The limit is $125,000 in transactions per year.
- Pro: The Pro Package costs $199.95 per month. It allows up to 2,000 orders per year not to exceed $1 million in sales. After you reach 2,000 orders, there’s an additional fee of $80 per thousand orders.
- Enterprise: This is priced individually, so you’ll have to contact BigCommerce if you get to this level (and what online retailer doesn’t want to get to this level?!). It offers unlimited online sales.
The plans don’t include a payment gateway, which is a credit card processing company. While you won’t be charged a per-transaction fee, you will need to pay an additional fee to sign up with an online payment gateway. These gateways charge additional fees, usually a transaction fee or percent of the gross sales amount. Popular payment gateways supported through BigCommerce include PayPal, WorldPay, Stripe, Square, QuickBooks, 2Checkout and First Data Globa, to name a few.
Who Is BigCommerce Recommended For?
BigCommerce is great for online retailers looking to expand and grow their businesses. It’s geared more for retailers who know their sales and traffic volumes, and who know they need a more robust ecommerce platform to take their business to the next level. It is probably not the best ‘starter’ option available for newcomers to the world of ecommerce and website building.
Business owners who manage both a bricks and mortar retail store and an online store will find BigCommerce’s features are a great help for inventory management and accounting. The POS integration function makes it easy for bricks and mortar retailers to expand into ecommerce or vice versa.
Some industries that may benefit from BigCommerce’s robust features include:
- Health and Beauty
- Sporting Goods
BigCommerce certainly offers a trusted solution in an industry that relies upon trust. Online sales can be a risky business, especially if you sell to a global audience. With a big vendor like BigCommerce by your side, you can be assured that the latest security features, payment options and more are at your disposal.
BigCommerce offers a wide range of features that enables small business owners to open a robust internet retail store. These features include:
- A storefront editor and templates, which helps you design a professional-looking website in a matter of minutes. You can customize existing templates using a drag and drop editor that is very similar to many of the online editors you’ve probably encountered in the past.
- Mobile ecommerce features. Many of the shopping sites offer limited ecommerce features, but BigCommerce’s features outpace them all. They include the ability for mobile users to zoom in on products to see detailed features, responsive website themes, and much more.
- Secure shopping cart features that include an easy to use checkout feature.
- Dozens of payment solutions, including special ones for high-risk industries such as electronics where online fraud is common.
- Image carousel for the homepage of your website, which showcases product images in an appealing manner.
- Real time shipping calculator so that customers can easily access and understand shipping costs.
Another great feature of BigCommerce is its ability to connect to retail store point of sale systems. If you own a bricks and mortar retail store and want to open an ecommerce store, BigCommerce syncs data between the two systems so that you’ll always know what your inventory is. When an item is scanned in the store or purchased via the online shopping cart, BigCommerce records it.
Each BigCommerce platform connects to ShipperHQ, an online shipping calculator and rule-based system that you can customize for your sales. This feature can help you adjust shipping rates if you ship globally, or use other cost-saving methods for customers who want to compare shipping times and options.
BigCommerce also offers integration features with common social media sites such as Facebook. If your customers are big Facebook users, this integration enables you to create a page on your Facebook account that acts as a virtual storefront.
Abandoned Cart Feature
One feature of special note is BigCommerce’s Abandoned Cart feature which is available in the Pro and Enterprise packages only. This feature allows you to send three emails to customers regarding abandoned shopping carts. Online retailers know that converting abandoned carts into sales is an important step to improve profitability, and BigCommerce makes this task easier.
BigCommerce includes unlimited hosting in every package, so no matter how many visitors you can attract to your online store or how many product pictures you need to house on your site, you’re covered.
Templates and Designs
A sleek, professional design is vital for an internet retailers. A site’s design provides website visitors with an instant first impression. For site owners selling luxury goods, for example, it’s essential to have a polished appearance online.
BigCommerce’s templates can set up your site quickly. Their designers have created templates that have the sole goal of closing sales, which is a big help to retailers. All of the site elements in their templates work towards selling products online. This includes plain white backgrounds that won’t compete with colorful images, video-supported pages to demonstrate products, and areas for product reviews.
“Athletic” is the most popular BigCommerce theme. It is responsive, so it is mobile-friendly. It features room for large, colorful images, plenty of supporting pictures, and intuitive navigation that makes it easy for customers to find products in your online store. The clean, white background on the product pages highlight the products themselves to present them in the best possible way for ecommerce.
One slight limitation with BigCommerce is the number of free templates available. Currently, the site offers seven free designs and 60 premium packages to create your store. Of course you can always change the look if you know how to adjust CSS coding. BigCommerce also offers a helpful link to potential designers that you can hire to customize your storefront for you.
The App Store
Beyond the basic design and setup of your store, you also have the option of adding apps. Many of these apps help with sales and marketing efforts. For example, apps you can add to your ecommerce site include Google Adwords and HubSpot aps, as well as apps to optimize your website traffic, analyze shopping patterns and more.
Apps include integration with QuickBooks to streamline your accounting, and even a live chat app. Of course, the apps come with a price. Some are free, some offer a short trial period, and some you must pay for upfront. It’s a good idea to glance over the potential apps and make business decisions about which to add based on your company’s needs.
BigCommerce is also one of the few online retail platforms that integrates with more robust enterprise resource planning software and CRM software, so it can be used by large-scale retailers as well as startups.
BigCommerce knows that starting and running your own online store can be daunting. They provide Big Commerce University, a set of online videos that you can watch to help you learn how to create, manage and maintain your site.
Learning Guides are also free for users, and help you learn how to use each of the many features supported by BigCommerce. These are all available on the Support page of the BigCommerce site.
If the videos aren’t enough, there are forums set up by topic on their Support section. These are listed under “Community”. Experts answer the questions as well as users who may be very familiar with BigCommerece products.
Additional support features include live chat and phone support.
BigCommerce Review: Conclusions and Recommendations
BigCommerce offers many pros and some cons for the business owner seeking a robust platform for ecommerce. Easy to use tools to build sites, great features that integrate well with other software and strong marketing and sales additions and apps make BigCommerce the portal that serious retailers go to when they want to build a good website.
For some, however, BigCommerce is either too much or not enough. It can be too many features for a newcomer to ecommerce. While the site offers many options, you pay for what you get, and new internet retailers may find that they’ve bought an expensive yacht when all they wanted was a sailboat, so to speak.
Still others may find that even BigCommerce can’t accommodate their sales needs. The annual transaction limits can be problematic, especially in industries that have seasonal surges to their sales. It can be hard to predict whether one season will push your transactions over the predetermined limit set by BigCommerce.
All in all, BigCommerce offers a wealth of options for the growing or seasoned internet retailer. For those looking to push their businesses into the growth phase, the sales and marketing tools alone may be worth making the switch from your current ecommerce vendor to BigCommerce.