Before anything, let's throw some numbers at you.
- Bigcommerce is serving businesses spread across more than 150 countries across the globe.
- The Bigcommerce ecommerce engine has powered more than $9 bn worth of sales (by November 2016)
- It supports business portals with net worth ranging between a few thousand dollars to tens of million dollars
- More than 95,000 business websites use Bigcommerce for selling products and services and empowering online financial transactions
The point is – Bigcommerce is, well, really big. Next up, let's take a quick look at the most prominent highs and lows of Bigcommerce.
Bigcommerce is up there with the best in terms of range and impact of ecommerce centered functionalities it offers, such as coupons management, sales and promotional campaign management, social media signals, unlimited product variations, tax and shipping rule configuration, stats and analytics, and what not. The, it is a fully integration centered platform, allowing you to put your product in front of maximum eyeballs, through channels such as Facebook, eBay, ShopZilla, MySimon, PriceGrabber, and more. Its App stores extends a database of ever increasing widgets and modules for your ecommerce store to extends its powers, across functionalities such as advanced sales and promotion schemes, automation of daily operations, order management, live chat and customer support, and accounting.
On the flipside, there are considerations such as the fact that Bigcommerce puts a cap on the annual sales figure you can achieve for a subscription package; if your business grows, you need to move on the higher placed Bigcommerce service plan. The Bigcommerce Starter package is priced higher than comparable plans from other big boys of the ecommerce website creators. The absence of a dedicated mobile app for managing your Bigcommerce store is a turn down for many entrepreneurs who like to work on the move. Then, there are concerns with the actual ease with which one can contact Bigcommerce phone support out of the standard business hours of 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday.
Nevertheless, with all its ups and downs, Bigcommerce is bound to be the centre of your attention if you are considering an ecommerce platform for your business. In the beginning of 2016, it has undergone a major revamp, and transformed into a more contemporary, future, proof, integration centered, and scalable ecommerce platform, relevant for businesses of all kinds. The Bigcommerce logo resembles a graph depicting upward trend, a closer reflection of what the platform intends to deliver customers. Then, the website interface is much improved, more intuitive than before, and easier access to information. More on its valuable features; read on. The Power of Automation For All Business Processes.
Bigcommerce is all about your enablement and empowerment, and the platform achieves it by providing you functionalities dedicated towards the most important aspects of sales, accounts, and operations management. With its functionalities and focused widgets from the App store, Bigcommerce covers most of the heavy lifting tasks of routine business, and automates them. Whereas this implies a significant learning curve, it's all for your benefit. Once you are comfortable with the basic functionalities, you can begin to activate, configure, and expand them to put your business on auto pilot. Here's a quick look at the kind of tools, functionalities, and apps that Bigcommerce offers:
- Apart from tangible products, you can sell event tickets, services, digital content, and basically, everything that's sellable.
- Unlimited product variations across attributes like sizes, colors, styles, and pricing rules such as + x dollars depending on size, discount on orders exceeding a threshold amounts, and what not.
- Easy categorization of products and customers into groups, and controlling operational parameters such as pricing, shipping, etc based on category.
- Easy payments, with more than 60 supported payment processors, and processes for events such as refunds, replacements, store credits, etc.
- Real time snapshots of your inventory, with actionable info to help you plan reordering and production
- Real time reporting of order statuses (pending, shipped, invoiced, etc.), with options to do tasks like printing delivering notes, bills, etc.
- Identify highest spenders, highest selling products, for specific time frames, for deeper understanding of how things are moving for your business
If you face any problems while working with Bigcommerce apps, there's the Client Success Team you can reach out to via chat, email, phone, and get things sorted out.
Much Improved Range of Premium Templates
A clutter free, aesthetically pleasing, and relevant business storefront template is critical to the success of an e-store. Conventionally, Bigcommerce had been a laggard, not really competing with the best in the business, in terms of offering responsive, contemporary, and cutting edge templates. After the 2016 revamp, however, it has a more relevant range of high quality storefront designs, although the number of free (and even premium) templates on offer is on the lower side.
If you're contemplating serious business, you'll invariably need to go for one of the more sophisticated premium templates, which could cost anywhere between $170 and $200. Though the given basket of storefront templates from Bigcommerce is not the best in the market, it is still enough to serve most business requirements.
If store design is a highly sensitive aspect for your online business, you have the option of hiring a design expert to work with the HTML and CSS of the Bigcommerce template and customize it. Or, you can reach out to Bigcommerce design experts, and either have a new theme created for your store (it's a costly affair) or ask them to tweak the design of an existing theme (less costly, but not free).
Free and Premium apps – Enabling You to Expand Your Store's Capabilities
Apps are an integral part of the new and revamped Bigcommerce experience; these offer you standalone advanced features focused on independent aspects of your online store management. Whether it's about advanced analytics to understand sales patterns, or live chat apps to offer 24 x 7 customer service to your end users, apps do it for you.
You can take your online Bigcommerce shop's sales and marketing activity planning to the most intricate level of control using apps. Then, administrative tasks like order fulfillment, shipping and inventory management, and accounting can all be automated to a great extent using dedicated apps. These apps save your time, help you get things done, give you tighter control over process that are most critical, and make it, in general, more fun to manage your online store using Bigcommerce.
These apps could come free, or at monthly subscription fees. Some of these have such focused functionalities, that it's worth the price for any business to activate them and reap their benefits. These apps make Bigcommerce a truly flexible and user focused platform for online store management, as you can get more sophisticated in business areas and aspects that are most critical for you with the help of advanced apps.
Mobile Friendly Ecommerce Storefront Themes, Though There's No Store Management Mobile App
Reliable reports on mobile internet usage have, for years, predicted how the share of global web users opting for mobile browsing of e-stores will continue to surge every year. In US, close to 50% of annual ecommerce sales are completed through smartphones. For any ecommerce website owner, having the e-store mobile-responsive and mobile friendly is not an option, it's a necessity. Thankfully, with Bigcommerce, you're taken care of.
Bigcommerce themes are accompanied with a mobile version, which translates your e-store into a mobile friendly version for users accessing the website on their smartphones and tablets. This enables users to purchase products from your e-store conveniently from their mobile devices. You can have a preview of your Bigcommerce mobile website from the ‘Preview' option in the Dashboard.
A point of concern, here, however, for Bigcommerce users. Whereas it used to offer a mobile app that allowed website owner to make changes on the move, there is no such app now, at the point of writing this review. This puts Bigcommerce behind other online ecommerce store creator giants.
Store Hosting, Security and Data Backup – Comprehensive Coverage from Bigcommerce
The criticality of website security, hosting, and backup processes can't be overstated for e-stores. Bigcommerce offers you the best of all worlds here:
- Bigcommerce offers unlimited bandwidth, which is pretty standard these days. This means that if your e-store witnesses, for instance, a sudden ten times increase in traffic influx, the necessary computing resources will be made available without any additional charges.
- Bigcommerce takes complete care of the web store hosting process for you; which means you can invest your time in activities of higher value.
- Bigcommerce is dedicated towards ensuring server safety, and carries out regular security upgrades, ensuring that your website and all its data resources remain secure, always.
- E-store security has got to be a top priority for any businessman; Bigcommerce has you covered here, offering PCI Level 1 compliance and SSL certificate. This helps you communicate a sense of trust among users.
- Regular data backups ensure you are always safe, even in the case of an unforeseeable data loss situation.
The best part – all this is covered in the monthly subscription packs, which means you don't have to hire anybody to help you with the hosting housekeeping.
Administration as Easy As 1 2 3
Handling administrative tasks with Bigcommerce is a breeze, because it has single click options for most of them. For instance, you can upload and download CSV format lists of product and customer information using bulk import/export future. You can segment customers into categories based on their purchasing preferences, demographics, geographies, and more parameters. In-built and integrated blogging helps you leverage content marketing for increasing store traffic. Basic and advanced SEO tools like URL optimization, microdata, sitemaps generation and submission, tags and metadata, etc. help you get you product pages up to speed with SEO expectations. Then, advanced Bigcommerce subscription comes with Insight tools to help you analyze traffic and customer purchase behavior.
Deliver Enhanced Shopping and Checkout Experiences
Bigcommerce allows you to use tools and functionalities that benefit your business every time. For instance, you can enable social sharing for customer to post their purchase information on their social profiles. Bigcommerce interface supports high resolution images to go on your product pages. Faceted search allows users to find their desired products sooner, via a sidebar that allows filters like color, price, and size. Product reviews and Wishlists can be enabled to deliver more fulfilling shopping experiences to customers.
The kind of control Bigcommerce offers you for checkout design is awesome. Implement one page checkout to deliver quick transaction completions and reduce cart abandonment. Then, the abandoned cart saver functionality helps you recover up to 15% of abandoned purchase value. You can offer guest checkout and login account based checkout. Then, you have complete control over category and product specific coupons and discount codes. Bigcommerce enables you to accept payments via 60+ payment processors, which means that you are able to deliver the most flexible payment options ot users.
Highly Integrated Ecommerce – A Differentiator for Bigcommerce
Bigcommerce's 2016 revamp has put it in the league of highly scalable and integrated ecommerce store creation platforms. On a shipping management front, it allows you to integrate the store with ShipperHQ shipping calculator that cures your calculation headaches in a jiffy. You can use real time quotes from hipping service providers like FedEx, UPS, Royal Mail, Australia Post, Canada Post, USPS, etc. Of course, you can also offer rule based free shipping option.
Blessed with native eBay integration, Bigcommerce offers you all you need to increase product exposure. Integrate your store with Alibaba, Square POS, Amazon, Etsy, Jet and Rakuten, among others. Using ChannelAdvisor, you can manage all your sales channels right from the Bigcommerce admin dashboard. With Facebook Shop and Buyable Pins (Pinterest), you can extend e-commerce to your social profiles. Support for multiple currencies and international shipping and taxation mean you can take your business global in a true sense using Bigcommerce.
Decent Customer Service and Awesome Technical Support
Bigcommerce excels on both fronts. If offers, eventually, 24 x 7 support over email and chat, and to a great extent, over phone too (if you're willing to call our service desks across other time zones, without toll free option). Plus, the range and quality of technical documentation to help users make the most of the platform and get past common hurdles are commendable. Apart from these options, you can reach out to Bigcommerce on its Facebook and Twitter pages.
Check out Bigcommerce Resource Center and Knowledge Base; two repositories that capture maximum knowledge about using Bigcommerce functionalities. Then, there are frequently uploaded Youtube videos and Webinars to help subscribers get visual guidance on using advanced Bigcommerce functionalities. Common questions and concerns are addressed at Community Forum, and there's a Design Guide to help you get all the technical design info you need on the old Blueprint themes and the latest Stencil themes.
A Word on Bigcommerce's Pricing Structure
Bigcommerce offers monthly plans – Standard, Pro, and Enterprise. Each of these comes with increasing suite of features, for instance, Enterprise plan gets you a dedicated team for data migration, priority support, and more. Bigcommerce does not charge any per-sale commission or transaction fees, which is getting increasingly common with the real big boys of ecommerce platform marketplace.
However, Bigcommerce does necessitate you to move on to its subsequent subscription package if your sales figure crosses a threshold, which is pretty uncommon. Bigcommerce does not push itself as a free or cheap ecommerce platform; it's all about high quality service and top notch ecommerce functionalities, at corresponding prices.
The cream of ecommerce store creation service marketplace is made up by three or four high market share competitors, and Bigcommerce has been in the reckoning from years. With the revamp it has undergone in early 2016, however, it has upped the game a few notches, and is a serious contender for the market leader's spot. Though the price hike that's accompanied the revamp has caught merchants by surprise, they can expect returns on their differential expenditures over long term.
From a merchant perspective, there's hardly anything that Bigcommerce does not offer. Basic e-stores can be set up in a jiffy, sophisticated e-stores can be set up in a few days, and with some more time investment, you can activate a whole gamut of functionalities, integrations, and apps that make Bigcommerce equivalent to a CMS and CRM for your e-store.
We'd certainly recommend you give the free trial a shot, and get a feel of the high intensity e-store management and promotion experience that awaits you on the other side of the Bigcommerce landing page. It's as sophisticated as any ecommerce platform out there, and if you are serious about making your business successful over the web, Bigcommerce will back up your aspirations with the technology you need.