BigCommerce Review: Is It the Ecommerce Multi-Function Power Tool You Need?
Founded as an Australian company by two Texans, BigCommerce was quick to expand their presence to Austin and San Francisco. Today, BigCommerce powers about 100,000 stores and has generated sales of more than $9 billion, making them one of the biggest ecommerce platforms worldwide. Investors such as American Express saw potential in BigCommerce and are now backing the company.
BigCommerce claims that their system provides you with every single feature your online store will need. According to them, building beautiful online stores is a piece of cake with their themes. Moreover, they offer a wide range of built-in marketing tools to promote your online store and your products. We are keen to share our findings with you after testing BigCommerce for several days.
BigCommerce does not offer a free plan but they provide a 15-day trial of their online store for free. However, to save you a bunch of time, we thoroughly checked all the nuts and bolts for you. Read on to learn all about BigCommerce’s pros and cons.
See BigCommerce in action
Product variants: Adding product variants and options is both easy and flexible. Unlike other alternatives (e.g. Shopify), there’s no limit on the variants you can add.
Scalability: BigCommerce is a suitable store builder for both small and big stores. Additionally, if your online store project grows, BigCommerce will grow with you.
No transaction fees: BigCommerce doesn’t charge transaction fees with any of their plans. This can save quite a bit of money, especially for stores with low margins and a lot of transactions.
Solid SEO features: When it comes to SEO capabilities, BigCommerce is one of the best store builders we’ve ever tried.
Yearly sales threshold: Each BigCommerce plan comes with an annual sales threshold. In other words, you’ll be automatically upgraded to a higher plan if the annual sales limit is exceeded. This can lead to higher than expected costs. More information here.
Create regular content: Creating regular content, such as blog posts, landing pages, or even an ‘about us’, is challenging as their editor for these kinds of content is simple and not very flexible.
Multi-lingual store: This is not a built-in feature of BigCommerce. The only way of doing this is via code (not easy for non-developers).
The BigCommerce Online Store in Detail
|Ease of use||
||Considering the huge amount of features, BigCommerce is fairly easy to use. However, the sheer volume of options can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, for example: in tax setting.|
||BigCommerce allows you to have images and videos to showcase your products. The way they are displayed depends very much on your template.|
||It is a bit complicated, but you will be able to create variants. To combine multiple product options, “Option Sets” need to be defined and later on assigned to each product. If you’ve got a large store, this can be quite a time-saver!|
|Cart function||yes||The Plus, Pro and Enterprise plans come with an Abandoned Cart Saver functionality. This feature will allow you contact registered customers who did not complete their purchase, which is a very powerful tool.|
|Article numbers||yes||Adding your SKUs is possible.|
|Mobile view||yes||They offer some free responsive templates. However, if you want more choice, you can purchase one of their premium themes (up to $235).|
|Checkout, payment and shipping|
||You will be able to use online and offline payment methods. PayPal is integrated and BigCommerce accepts online credit card payments with 2Checkout, Authorize.net and some more. Some of their competitors offer a larger variety of payment gateways. A great advantage is that BigCommerce won’t charge transaction fees themselves.|
|Sale of digital goods||yes||Great feature to sell digital products: you are able to limit the downloads and even set an expiration date for the download link.|
|SSL encryption||yes||Your entire store can be SSL encrypted and include sitewide HTTPS.|
|Customer log-in area||yes||Visitors are able to create accounts themselves. You can even assign store credit to them. Guest checkout is also possible without an existing customer account.|
|Coupon codes||yes||Coupon codes can be created with three options: fixed amount, percentage and free shipping are available. You can set an expiration date and much more.|
|Shipping cost settings||
||Define shipping costs per item, weight, or total order. Live shipping calculation rates are also available for UPS, USPS and FedEx.|
||Setting up taxes is a bit overcomplicated. However, BigCommerce offers automatic US sales tax calculation through their partner Avalara.|
||BigCommerce allows you to track your inventory. You can also track your stocks by product options (e.g., Sizes, Colors, etc.).|
|Customizable e-mails for order confirmation||
||Content within your emails is fully customizable. Subject lines can’t be modified. Moreover, there is no preview to check the changes. You will need to complete a transaction to see the modifications in your inbox.|
|Importing/exporting product data||yes / yes||Yes, exports and imports with CSV files are possible. With their WebDAV client, you will be able to access the database’s files from your computer, but this is for real geeks.|
|E-Commerce analysis||yes||BigCommerce provides extensive reporting (even including real-time sales stats). However, you should probably also add Google Analytics.|
|Exporting order data||yes||Yes, it is possible to export order data. It also allows store owners to export customer data too in CSV or XML format.|
|BigCommerce provides a wide array of features and a lot of flexibility. Therefore, it is suitable for almost every ecommerce project. Keep in mind, though, it does have a steep learning curve. You can try BigCommerce for free to see it in action.|
After having tested BigCommerce’s functionalities for several weeks, we will now give you our verdict: overall, we are happy with the results and we think that BigCommerce is a solid tool to create your online store. However, we think that Shopify offers similar results with a system that is easier to use. Interestingly, the backend interfaces of BigCommerce and Shopify look extremely similar.
Product management is incredibly flexible with BigCommerce. Your inventory will be perfectly handled and updated, and you will be able to define all the options and variants that you need for your products. Using their App Market, you can install apps that offer extra functionalities (e.g. Xero or QuickBooks integration). Creating regular content, such as webpages and blog posts, is easy enough. However, their text editor looks a bit outdated.
There were also some aspects we didn’t like that much: using BigCommerce isn’t as easy as we would have liked. For example, adding taxes or product variants is very flexible but not straightforward at all. Another issue is the yearly sales threshold that will force to upgrade to a higher (and more expensive) plan if you exceed it. Check our BigCommerce’s prices and plans review for more information.
BigCommerce’s price structure is quite simple. Their cheapest plan is the Standard one, which costs $29.95 monthly. If you need an abandoned cart feature you should pick the Plus ($ 79.95 mo) or Pro ($ 199.95/mo) plan. When a tailored solution is required, BigCommerce offers the Enterprise plan with a dedicated account manager. On top of that, you can purchase your domain names at BigCommerce starting at $ 12.27 per year.
In short, we liked what we saw in BigCommerce. We think it is a suitable tool for medium to large online stores. If you pick BigCommerce, you will have a strong backbone to support your online store.
BigCommerce Online Shop Examples Websites
BigCommerce E-Commerce Alternatives
Is it possible to sell digital products?
Yes, Bigcommerce makes selling digital products such as .pdf files, images or songs a piece of cake. You simply need to select “Downloadable product” when adding your goods.
Can I register my domain name and email address through BigCommerce?
You basically have two options: register a new domain name with BigCommerce, transfer an existing one, or point it to BigCommerce from a different hosting company. If you run it through BigCommerce they will charge you a modest $13 per year for a .com domain name, for example.
They don’t offer email hosting. What they recommend is Google Apps (approx. $5 per user/month) but you could also host your domain name at Namecheap where you pay as little as $0.25 per email address).
28 Mar 2017 – Pros & Cons added
27 Mar 2017 – Yearly sales threshold information added
20 Mar 2017 – Now it offers Https sitewide with all plans
18 Jan 2017 – General update
22 Apr 2016 – New branding
01 Feb 2016 – New Pro plan added
26 Nov 2015 – Bigcommerce removed transaction fees for Starter plan.
19 Aug 2015 – Initial review of the Bigcommerce online shop
Last update: 28 Mar 2017 | Josep Garcia