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Our Expert Review
BigCommerce is one of the few top SaaS E-commerce platforms that promises to power your store with its reliable software that offers customizability, scalability, and many more exciting features. Many BigCommerce reviews on the internet also praise it for its features. To investigate the reality of those promises, I built a store with BigCommerce to evaluate its ease of use, the support it provides to customers, integrations, features, and themes it has and presented my experiences as BigCommerce Review
Before diving into these details, let’s see What BigCommerce is and how it’s used.
What is BigCommerce
BigCommerce is a cloud-based user-friendly software that powers the online stores of giants like Toyota and Gibson Guitars has over 50,000 customers using it. Adding to those statistics are the Investments from companies like American Express, General Catalyst, Revolution Growth, SoftBank Capital, Tenaya, Split Rock, Telstra Ventures and American Express Venture. These facts depict the popularity of the software and its potential for future growth.
Now that we know what BigCommerce is, let’s talk about how it is utilized.
To start, BigCommerce, like most of the top Online Store Builders has a 15-day trialwith which one can get familiar with basic functionalities of the store builder and most features it has. However, to link the site built to a domain of your choice and to have an SSL certificate activated on the store and use more advanced features, you will have to choose one of the paid plans. BigCommerce offers four pricing plans: Standard, Plus, Pro, and Enterprise. Make sure to check the list of features provided by each pricing plan in the Billing part of this review before deciding on which plan to choose.
In my opinion, the most important thing in making or breaking a store or
website builder is how easy is the builder to use. They all claim to make your website building process easy. So let see how easy it is to use BigCommerce to build an online store.
BigCommerce is Easy to Use: BigCommerce started as the solution for mid-range businesses who wanted to go online but couldn’t afford to go through the tedious technical process involved in building stores from scratch. BigCommerce is quite easy to use even for a beginner who doesn’t have any technical experience in building websites. However, some basic knowledge of editing HTML will come handy to make the most out of the platform.
Customizing The Store: Customizing your store with BigCommerce is easy. Editing buttons and adding logos on BigCommerce is quite comfortable, and every link on the dashboard functions well and serves its purpose. It also allows you to check the responsiveness of the website by allowing you to test the look on both mobile and desktop. It has auto log out to log you out from your dashboard after 15 minutes of inactivity and reminds you to save your work to make sure that you don’t lose your customization.
Choosing a theme, like in all other store builders is an effortless process even in BigCommerce. However, I did not understand why, while installing the themes, they install an older version theme and then asked to update later after installing the theme. This seemed a little strange to me.
The only downside I noticed while customizing was the look of the website in carousel preview in the control panel. It looked a bit different than the site loading in the browser. The reason for this is the fact that the carousel preview won’t render CSS of the theme.
Dashboard: Although everything on the Dashboard and the control panel is explicitly mentioned, a multitude of options might cause some confusion for beginners. Although, with the help of live chat support, community forum, and BigCommerce University, anyone can become fluent with the BigCommerce system in a couple of days.
Stencil Editor: Stencil Editor from BigCommerce is one more thing I would like to discuss in the Usability section of this BigCommerce
website builder Review. Although it is not a drag and drop system, with its point-click-activate system, it allows you to customize theme style, store front color, product size, the number of products visible on different pages, and image size. However, you can do a lot more customization with stencil editor than just choosing from the list of options BigCommerce themes provides you.
If you spend a couple of days playing around the system by using dashboard, stencil editor, adding pages, products, images, editing text, buttons, customizing menus, creating categories, managing discount campaigns and BigCommerce product reviews you will understand the system easily and can customize the store according to you needs.
WYSIWYG Editor: Additionally, to increase the customization in your banner’s text, content sections, and product descriptions, BigCommerce provides WYSIWYG Editor.
Managing Products: Adding products to the store, categorizing them, creating promotional offers, product filtering, product reviews, exporting and importing product SKU’s, presenting the product descriptions and images the way you want is all easy, and if you have any issues, guides from BigCommerce will solve them all.
Bigcommerce offers seven free themes with 3-4 style variations. In addition to their free options, they have 84 paid themes with prices ranging from $145-$235. As mentioned earlier in the usability section, Stencil Editors allow you to edit themes to extend your customization options. The look of the images and videos used in product description depends very much on the BigCommerce templates you choose.
Although there is no overhead of building the site again from scratch while changing the theme, a sequence of precautionary steps has to be taken in order to save any customization work done on the website, while changing the theme
Gone are the days when online stores were just a website with a shopping cart integration. Store builders today require much more functionalities integrated into their software to be on the top of the market. BigCommerce is one of the most successful online store builders, and one of the reasons behind this is the sheer volume of features they offer. They have just about everything a complete online store needs! They have features to make selling physical and digital goods online extremely easy. Some of these features include reviews, easy order, coupons, discounts, inventory management and 301 redirects. Some of their included features, like 301 redirects, on any other store builder, would require extra effort to install add-on plugins.
If I were to list every feature, it would be a huge list, so I decided to mention a few that were of most interest to me.
Blog: Blogging, for online store promotion is an essential activity and BigCommerce understands this fully! BigCommerce’s platform has all the necessary blogging options. The theme activated on the store platform controls the look of the blog. Additionally, if you want more from the blogging system, BigCommerce allows you to link and use WordPress and Blogger in the place of the default blog system provided.
Inventory: BigCommerce has one of the best Inventory Management Systems amongst store builders. With options to track inventory by product and product options, it can optimize your store performance.
BigCommerce App: iPhone and Android BigCommerce app, allow you to manage your store right from where you are. It lets you update products, process orders, contact customers, and analyze sales activity. In short, it provides comprehensive insights to your store.
User Accounts: The user account feature allows the store owner to create multiple user accounts. This is helpful because there are certain restrictions on each user account with a specific activity. So with this feature, the store owner can create different user accounts for various sections of employees.
Custom Fields: In addition to the primary product description fields, BigCommerce lets users add more fields in the product description section. If you have a different parameter for your products, custom fields definitely come in handy!
Marketing Features: In addition to the above-mentioned features, built-in marketing features pleasantly surprised me. The list of marketing features include Google shopping, coupons, discount code integrations, sell on eBay, email marketing, Adwords integration and abandoned cart notifications.
Payment Gateways: There are over 40 payment gateways that are pre-integrated with BigCommerce which makes it possible to receive payments from more than one hundred countries.
No matter how easy it is to use the software, building an E-Commerce store is quite the daunting task. Even experienced developers need help! BigCommerce has that covered as well!
Help is everywhere!
BigCommerce University guides and knowledge base have information on setting up, designing, managing and every other small aspect you will perhaps need in the process of starting an e-store. All you need is some patience to read!
Support via email is surprisingly fast and informative. BigCommerce also has a live chat option to answer any of your questions. Both email and live chat support work around the clock. Additionally, BigCommerce community forum is very helpful as well! Both on the website and on social media! You can also call, BigCommerce phone number (12865-4500 for Phone support
“From my personal experience of interaction with BigCommerce support, I feel email support is much more informative and efficient than live chat!”
Like many other website and store builders on the market, BigCommerce also has those basic SEO options to let you edit meta titles, descriptions of posts, products, and images. Options to customize URLS, add sitemaps, edit header tags, optimize pages for mobile, easy Google Analytics and search console integrations are other key things that BigCommerce provides to make your store search engine friendly.
Apart from these on-page optimization factors, BigCommerce in their support documentation publishes guides, videos, and articles that might help you do off-page optimization for your website.
Also, if you need some help from AdWords in promoting your store on Google Search, BigCommerce has a built-in feature for AdWords and adding a conversion tracking code to your BigCommerce store is easy.
Loading Speed is one of the complicated issues that every website-builder and store builder faces. Although every builder is trying to develop software that loads a website fast, the involvement of drag and drop requirements, the usage of high-resolution images and the customer’s desire to make their site look fancy will slow down any website’s loading speed. I evaluated loading speeds of a few sample sites that BigCommerce published on their sample sites page and it is one of the BigCommerce problems, that has to be taken care of by BigCommerce. Loading speeds of all of the tested sites were below average. There are two sides to this problem. First off, BigCommerce software makes on average 150 requests to load the site, which is very high and hinders the site from loading fast. The other problem is, every site I checked had more than 3mb homepage size with unoptimized images which are the other reason for slow loading.
As a whole, BigCommerce needs to improve their system to reduce the number of requests to the database on the loading homepage and guide users on how to minimize HTML/ CSS and to optimize images!
Some of the themes in BigCommerce’s system are extremely responsive! Web sites that are using those themes don’t have to worry much about the rendering of websites on mobile devices. For those themes that are not responsive, they offer ways to enable mobile site options — meaning, for the non-responsive sites, BigCommerce lets you have different theme files for desktop sites and mobile sites!
To confirm that information, I did my analysis on multiple sample sites in this BigCommerce Review, and all of them seem to render well both on mobile phones and desktops.
Loading speed on mobiles devices can also be listed in the BigCommerce cons list. Just like on desktops, it loads websites slower than the globally accepted average speed on mobile devices. I analyzed multiple sample site’s loading speeds on mobiles using google page speed insights, and most of them had a poor score.
Prices and Billing
BigCommerce has Standard, Plus, Pro and Enterprise plans. Although the prices for each of these categories seems a bit on the pricey side, I feel like they are reasonable, considering the list of features they provide.
The basic plan, “Standard” includes unlimited bandwidth, products, files, Staff Accounts for POS and 0% charge on transactions. It costs $29.95 per month. For businesses that need more than just an online store, BigCommerce has “Plus Plan”. In addition to the Standard Plan features, it has additional marketing tools such as an abandoned cart saver and customer segmentation. This plan costs $79.95 per month. The high-end plan from BigCommerce that comes with a comprehensive set of feature costs $249.95 per month.
All plans, when billed annually, can save you 10%.
You can have look at all the features provided in each pricing plan here
If we compare BigCommerce vs Shopify based on pricing, BigCommerce doesn’t charge you for every transaction. Instead, they have a limit of transactions for each Plan. With Standard Plan, you can do up to $50k in transactions in a year, Plus plan can go up to $150K per year, and with Pro Plan, your store can do as much as $400k per year. However, if your store surpasses the Pro Plan range, you can contact BigCommerce consultants at 1-866-991-0872 for Enterprise account help.
This system of limited transaction amounts can turn out to be quite a pain when you have a successfully running store. Additionally, credit card charges, costly add-ons, and themes which you might need to buy to make your site look and function great can increase your spendings with the BigCommerce Store. However, these costs are still relatively small when compared to developing features and add-ons on your own.
BigCommerce has an extensive third party apps repository. Right now, it has over 123 free and 231 paid apps that go along well with the software. However, these numbers are soon going to increase as new apps are being listed on the BigCommerce Apps Marketplace regularly.
BigCommerce Apps and Integration provide qualities to automate shipping, taxation, order management, enhance the business process, provide great customer service and optimize marketing and sales processes.
Pros And Cons
No Transaction charges from BigCommerce on individual sales
All Forms Of Support
Meaningful Pricing plans
Easy to use: Can become fluent with system in a day
Great built-in features and Extensive third party apps: Name a function for your Store, BigCommerce has it
Slow loading speeds on both mobile and desktop
Limited free themes
Many themes not very responsive
Additional charges on themes and apps can get expensive
If you ever decide to change the platform or move entirely to a self-hosted solution like WooCommerce, it will take a lot of work.
Tweaking with the code on BigCommerce can be a bit harder than with its competitor Shopify.
If I wanted to conclude this BigCommerce
website builder Review with one line, I think it would be, “ BigCommerce Is A Complete Online Store Builder.” It has every option and features you would expect from a store builder. If you want to market your store extensively, there is no other store builder option like BigCommerce that provides built-in features to market your store on social media and E-Commerce Giants like E-Bay and Google Shopping.
Considering the ease of use it provides in building the store and extensive set of built-in features it has BigCommerce is the right choice for you if you are not a techie but want to set up a fully functioning online store.
If you want to know about what other people are thinking about this product, scroll up to check real BigCommerce Reviews from people who use BigCommerce for their online stores.
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