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Try BigCommerce for free! BigCommerce is a premium hosted eCommerce solution, allowing business owners to set up an online store and sell an unlimited number of digital, physical, or even service-based products!
Founder, Blogging Guide
In a post-COVID world where eCommerce has knocked traditional brick-and-mortar retailers off the top of the money chain, finding a viable online store solution is essential. With global eCommerce sales expected to top $5.5 trillion by the end of 2022 and expected to break through the $7 trillion mark by 2025, online store owners are looking for affordable eCommerce solutions packed with features and that offer the flexibility to sell with ease. While facing off against the giants of eCommerce like Amazon, Alibaba, and JD.com, BigCommerce holds its own, offering users a balanced experience, manageable fees, and a feature-rich CMS functionality.
BigCommerce is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) eCommerce platform and one of the most appreciated services of the online selling scene. BigCommerce caters to all online retailers, from small businesses just starting out to larger organizations hoping to tap into the platform’s array of features and benefits. The platform has evolved to allow members to grow, innovate and build their online stores without having to shell out additional fees while empowering them with added SEO, blogging, and reporting functionality.
In this article review, we take a look at BigCommerce and explore what it has to offer online retailers. We’ll unpack the pros and cons of the platform, what it is and how its plans and pricing measure up.
What is BigCommerce?
BigCommerce is a top eCommerce platform that allows users to create their own online stores, list their offerings, market their goods, and sell their products and services directly to customers. For a monthly fee, users can enjoy a platform boasting search engine optimization features, dedicated hosting, and – crucially – a powerful eCommerce website builder.
BigCommerce is a hosted eCommerce service that runs its own servers. No additional third-party hosting fees for your online store and no risky programs to be downloaded and installed on your PC. Everything happens online via your web browser, and the app means managing your store from anywhere.
Users don’t need to buy anything to get started – the platform’s monthly fee model means you enjoy SaaS online without having to pay for licensing.
You can sell anything on BigCommerce, including physical products, digital offerings, and services. With over 60,000 customers on their books and big-name clients like Skull Candy, Sony, and PayPal, BigCommerce lives up to its name in providing top-notch functionality, an easy-to-use interface, and a high degree of customization for many B2C and B2B businesses across 150 countries.
How to Use BigCommerce?
BigCommerce’s user-friendly interface is, in many ways, similar to Shopify’s. From the straightforward user dashboard, you can view your products, your most recent orders and see how much you’ve earned. Access your products, storefront design, analytics, and key features from the menu and keep tabs on your customers.
Getting started on BigCommerce is easy:
- Step 1 – Designing your online store using any of BigCommerce’s free online theme templates or purchasing one from the premium theme selection – more on that later. You can tweak your theme using the CSS and HTML editing functions to add a little authenticity to your store.
- Step 2 – Next, configure your payment and currency settings. BigCommerce offers users a wide range of payment options for their customers to enjoy (including Paypal, Stripe, and Bank transfer) and nearly 50 other payment gateway integrations.
- Step 3 – Set your prices (in whichever currency you want), upload images and descriptions, and add your products. Adding items to BigCommerce is easy, and you can include important product parameters to keep your customers informed.
- Step 4 – Market your products using BigCommerce’s helpful SEO and marketing tools like adding banners highlighting specific products and promos on your homepage, email advertising, and social media integrations.
BigCommerce boasts many of the latest features most other eCommerce platforms do. However, the platform aims high, giving users access to them from the entry-level plan.
Here are some of the features we think make BigCommerce the most well-rounded eCommerce platform out there.
Users can take advantage of 12 free design theme templates. While some of the nearly 200 premium, paid-for options are exceptional, the free versions are perfectly suitable for someone just getting started and boast a modern, professional feel. Paid themes can get pricy, so check out the free options first.
Users can easily upload products to BigCommerce and enjoy a very high degree of customization. Inventory tracking and stock management are straightforward and reliable, and store owners can create product rules that work while managing stock-outs.
SEO & Marketing Tools
When it comes to nailing down SEO, BigCommerce gets it spot on. One of the platform’s biggest features is its top ranking when it comes to page load speed and uptime –ever-increasing SEO factors lately. Marketing is fully loaded, too – with email and social media marketing, promotions, and coupons, among some of the rich selling features.
Another big drawcard for the platform is its excellent reporting and analytics features. Users can access detailed metrics in neatly presented reports that give them valuable information on their store’s performance. See information on your customers, search data metrics, finances, and marketing performance.
Pros and Cons of BigCommerce
BigCommerce offers many advantages that some of the other eCommerce platforms lack. From reasonable pricing to a plan for everyone, the platform delivers outstanding quality that rivals the best. We look at some of the pros and cons of selling on BigCommerce.
- Big on features – from the start – The features offered on BigCommerce’s entry-level plan are comprehensive, including advanced features that many other platforms charge a premium for.
- No additional transaction fees – BigCommerce will not charge you any transaction fees or commissions, even when using a third-party payment gateway.
- Excellent website builder – BigCommerce’s store website builder makes creating a beautiful story easy. With drag-and-drop functionality and some slick themes, even beginners can create a good-looking, functional store.
- Multi-channel Integration – Selling on multiple channels is easy on BigCommerce, and the platform excels in supporting functionality for selling on Facebook, Pinterest, eBay, Amazon, and Square POS.
- Can take some time to get started – Getting going on BigCommerce can be tricky, and you’ll need to invest time and effort to ensure your online store looks good and works well for you.
- No ‘abandoned cart’ saving feature with the Standard plan – The standard plan, unfortunately, lacks the abandoned cart tool, meaning you’ll need to pay more for the Pro plan to secure a vital selling feature for your store.
- Paid-for Themes can get expensive – Ranging between $150 and $300+, paid themes can get pricey. And with only 12 free themes available, things can get expensive if your store relies on a custom brand look.
BigCommerce Pricing and Plans
BigCommerce offers users four plans with varied pricing. The platform provides a free 15-day trial, and subscription fees are billed monthly. Each plan has an annual sales limit. If a store exceeds its plan’s yearly limit, it’ll need to upgrade to a bigger plan before being allowed to continue selling. All plans come with unlimited product caps, file storage, and users can add as many staff accounts as they want.
BigCommerce Standard Plan
The starting level plan includes a raft of features for which many of the other eCommerce platforms charge a premium. The Standard plan is ideal for those looking for an affordable eCommerce solution that delivers almost all the features you’ll need to get your online store up and running. The Standard plan exceeds expectations regarding what you can access for under $30. You’ll get all the key ingredients you’ll need for online store success for a price very close to Shopify’s. However, you won’t enjoy BigCommerce’s valuable ‘abandoned cart’ saving feature.
- Cost: $29.95 per month
- Sales Limit: $50,000 annually
- Best for: Individuals and eCommerce newbies
BigCommerce Plus Plan
The next level on the BigCommerce platform adds a few extra features, giving users access to the all-important ‘abandoned cart’ saver tool. Also included are a ‘persistent cart’ tool (which saves items to a cart no matter which device your customer uses), the ability to store credit card details, and customer grouping and segmentation functionality.
- Cost: $79.95 per month
- Sales Limit: $180,000 annually
- Best for: Small businesses looking to scale
BigCommerce Pro Plan
The main drawcard on the Pro Plan is the big jump in the annual sales limit. Perfect for businesses on an upward growth trajectory, the Pro plan allows users to offer their shoppers Google Customer review functionality. Also included in the Pro plan are custom SSL third-party options and advanced product filtering – useful for retailers with extensive product ranges.
- Cost: $299.95 per month
- Sales Limit: $400,000 annually
- Best for: Growing businesses that need a more comprehensive feature set
BigCommerce Enterprise Plan
Corporate and large BigCommerce users boasting very high sales volumes – think turnovers nearer the $ 1 million mark – can turn to the platform’s top-tier Enterprise plan. With advanced selling features like multi-store capacity, unlimited API calls, and customer segment-specific price lists driven by your product rules, Enterprise plan users get the complete package from BigCommerce, from data migration assistance to full setup support and consulting services. Monthly fees are determined after consulting with BigCommerce, and users enjoy 24/7 priority support.
- Cost: Determined after consulting with BigCommerce
- Sales Limit: Negotiable
- Best for: Big businesses looking for an effective eCommerce channel
Will BigCommerce Work for You?
BigCommerce caters to online retailers across the eCommerce spectrum, built to accommodate those new to the game and experts. The platform takes care of the web design elements that most of us have no clue about, offering templates that are easy to use and that allow users to create online stores that look like they were designed by professionals.
Still – for the more tech-savvy online retailers – BigCommerce allows users to tweak and work on the CSS and HTML of their stores, so you can still hit those design and customization goals.
BigCommerce is perfect for you if you are a:
1. New Store with Big Ambitions
The platform is very scalable and loaded with growth-friendly SEO and marketing features. So users won’t need to look elsewhere once their stores start to take off. BigCommerce’s varied plans mean upgrading to a higher level to accommodate fast growth is easy.
2. Store with a Presence on Other Platforms (i.e. Amazon or eBay)
BigCommerce is great if you’ve already got stores up and running elsewhere. The platform is the perfect alternative and boasts integration capacity with, for example, Amazon. You can use the Amazon Import and Link to import all of your Amazon products in one shot.
3. Large Existing eCommerce stores
Often online stores outgrow their current platforms. BigCommerce is a natural next step for big stores wanting to tap into a new eCommerce market, and with the platform making migration a walk in the park, is a natural choice.
4. B2C and B2B Retailers
It doesn’t matter if you’re targeting other businesses or consumers. BigCommerce caters to all. From peddling handmade craft items to dropshipping big textile orders, the platform can handle almost every online retailer imaginable.
While BigCommerce is geared toward pretty much anyone of any experience level, the platform isn’t ideally suited for:
- Online retailers in a hurry – If your offerings are time sensitive and you’re looking to get them online for sale as soon as possible, you’re probably going to find getting started on BigCommerce a little frustrating.
- Niche or small-scale stores – Selling only a few limited items? While stores with limited products are welcome on BigCommerce, you’ll end up missing out on some incredible scaling potential. Rather consider alternatives like Wix if you aren’t looking to grow your online store.
BigCommerce stakes its claim as the premier “overall” eCommerce platform. They’ve set the bar in delivering a feature set that meets their users’ needs and offers very competitive rates.
From picking from the list of customizable online store templates to listing your digital or physical goods, marketing assistance, and myriad payment options, BigCommerce has been built to take care of pretty much everything eCommerce related.
Industry-topping SEO and marketing tools, advanced reporting and analytics capacities, and smooth third-party payment processor integrations make BigCommerce the perfect option for people looking to start an eCommerce store or who want to expand their physical operations to include online orders.
Notably, the Standard plan is packed with features and offers excellent value for money, perfectly positioned for new sellers and individual store owners. The Plus, Pro, and Enterprise plans cater to everyone else, boasting enviable support and reasonable sales limits.
The platform isn’t great if you want to kick off an online store in record time – BigCommerce requires a little effort and patience. The lack of the abandoned cart tool on the Standard plan isn’t ideal, and the paid-for themes can get very pricey – but on the balance of the other features, BigCommerce still delivers excellent value for money.