- Free trial option.
- BigCommerce doesn't charge any transaction fees.
- Drag and drop page builder eature.
- Integration with many payment gateways.
- Multi-channel selling option.
- Various plans depending on what you need.
- Huge amount of features and options available.
- Various integrations and some features are paid additionaly.
- Plans have annual sale limits.
- Page builder features could be improved.
In this BigCommerce review, I’ll be taking an in-depth look at this eCommerce platform, and help you decide, whether it’s worth trusting it with your business. I’ll look into features, performance, ease of use, and the overall website building experience.
By the end of this article, you should have enough information to determine whether or not BigCommerce meets your needs and if it is best alternative to WooCommerce and Shopify.
Table of Contents
BigCommerce markets itself as a solution for bigger businesses. And what that really means is that it offers a huge amount of advanced eCommerce tools, available in a very strong app store.
Companies and individuals can create their own online stores and start selling with the assistance of BigCommerce, a paid open Saas solution where you pay a monthly fee to use it. You don’t have to install any software or purchase hosting services, because BigCommerce operates on its own servers. You can create and run your store no matter where you live.
Store owners can create their own unique stores with the help of available customizable templates. Stores can sell digital or physical products and promote them thanks to various marketing tools available.
BigCommerce’s target markets are individuals and organizations who lack web design knowledge or experience. But that doesn’t mean that developers and technologically adept users can’t use it. They can adjust BigCommerce’s CSS and HTML to take their stores to the next level.
BigCommerce features vary according to the particular plan that’s purchased. All plans have the following:
- Choice of 12 free templates.
- You can sell as many digital or physical items as you want. You can also select your shipping rates and product categories.
- An intuitive page builder with a simple drag and drop interface.
- Integration with payment gateways such as PayPal and many others. There aren’t any added transaction fees, either.
- There are no limits to the number of staff accounts.
- Use it as a blog.
- Convenient options for improving search engine optimization (SEO).
- Akamai Image Manager is used to automate image optimization.
- Integration with numerous third-party applications.
- Gift vouchers and discount coupons.
- Allow product reviews.
- HTML and CSS can be altered to meet your specifications.
- Professional reporting tools.
You can unlock additional functionality in BigCommerce by paying more. Each plan offers a distinct set of features.
There are four BigCommerce plans. They are:
- BigCommerce Standard is available for $29.95 per month.
- BigCommerce Plus can be acquired for $79.95 monthly.
- BigCommerce Pro costs $299.95 monthly.
- Pricing can vary for BigCommerce Enterprise according to the needs of the organization.
If you pay for the Pro or Plus plans annually, you’ll receive a 10% discount. There is also a 15-day trial available. In addition to 15 day trial, they also offer 1 month free when merchants pick their plan.
Individuals and small companies are ideal for the BigCommerce Pro, Plus, and Standard plans. The Enterprise plan is best for larger businesses with more advanced selling needs and who use higher bandwidth.
BigCommerce is pretty expensive at its starting price point – the plans start at $29.95 per month. But you get a lot of features at that price point, like analytics and image optimization – so it’s actually pretty good value for money.
BigCommerce also offers a ‘Plus’ plan for $79.95 per month and a ‘Pro’ plan for $299.95 per month, which both allow for a larger turnover, and include additional features.
So, which plan is the best value for money? Well, it depends.
For shop owners just starting out in the world of eCommerce, BigCommerce’s $29.95 per month ‘Standard’ plan is a pretty terrific deal. Yes, it’s more than what you’ll pay for a basic plan from well-known competitors like Shopify, Squarespace, or Wix. However, BigCommerce includes a ton of features that those platforms force you to pay through the nose for.
Specifically, BigCommerce makes five essential features a part of the Standard plan: detailed site analytics, unlimited staff accounts, image optimization, gift cards, and customer reviews. All of these features are extremely important for growing your business and helping to retain loyal customers.
So, BigCommerce’s entry-level plan looks expensive on its face. But, you’ll end up saving compared to other platforms as your store comes into its own.
That said, there is one important limitation you should know about with the Standard plan: it doesn’t come with an abandoned cart recovery feature. That’s a big hit, especially since this feature is available in eCommerce behemoth Shopify with its similarly priced plan.
If you want abandoned cart recovery, you’ll need to upgrade to the $79.95 per month ‘Plus’ plan. To be honest, for the $50 per month jump, you don’t get a ton else with this plan. You can store customer credit cards and save carts to customers’ accounts, as well as create a loyalty program by segmenting customers. But, unless you specifically need these features, there’s not a lot of motivation to upgrade.
Big improvements are more noticeable in the $299.95 per month ‘Pro’ plan. With that plan, customers can filter product searches on your online store and customer reviews are directly visible on Google.
BigCommerce Standard is the cheapest plan. You receive the following features:
- Sell as many items as you want.
- Bandwidth isn’t limited.
- There are no limits to file storage.
- You can create unlimited staff accounts.
- Discount codes and gift cards options.
- Reviews and ratings.
- Products can be sold in multiple international currencies.
- You can use the helpful point of sale (POS) features to sell products in a physical location.
- Access to professional reporting that can help you improve and grow your business.
- Images are optimized automatically.
- Access to the accelerated mobile pages (AMP) feature.
Automatic conversion and the ability to sell items in different currencies are available with this plan, but it doesn’t include the abandoned cart option. There is also an annual sales limit of $50,000.
In addition to the main features from the standard plan, the following features are provided with BigCommerce Plus:
- Abandoned cart feature.
- Clients’ shopping carts will have items saved to them, no matter what device they’re using, with the persistent cart feature.
- Frequent customers can have their credit card information saved.
- Shoppers can be segmented and grouped in order to receive unique experiences, discounts, special pricing, and more.
The annual sales limit for BigCommerce Plus is $180,000.
BigCommerce Pro has some feature differences compared to BigCommerce Plus. One distinct difference is that BigCommerce Pro has a larger sales limit.
There’s an online sales limit of $400,000 with this plan. You can also increase that limit by paying another $150 monthly for each $200,000 increase in sales on your store.
Google Customer Reviews is another intriguing feature that’s included in the BigCommerce Pro plan. This allows you to collect and display feedback from users who’ve purchased from your online store.
Custom SSL and advanced product filtering (facet search) are primary features that this plan provides.
Product filtering improves the shopper experience by enabling shoppers to easily and dynamically filter products and custom product filtering allows merchants to leverage custom product fields to filter products in faceted search.
Companies with advanced selling requirements and organizations that routinely have $1,000,000 or more in annual sales are the primary market for the BigCommerce Enterprise plan. Some of the functions that are exclusive to this plan are:
- Pricing rules can be created according to client groups. Pricing lists will then be created that will only be shown to particular customer segments based on your groupings.
- There’s no limit to the number of API calls that can be made. Information can be shared between other apps and your store through BigCommerce’s application programming interface (API). Those connections are unlimited under the Enterprise plan. Companies that anticipate large API connection/traffic numbers can benefit from this feature.
- BigCommerce also provides account management and implementation support.
- Priority support included.
The exact price for this plan will depend on the specific needs of your organization. You can contact BigCommerce to determine the pricing based on your requirements. You can also negotiate your annual sales limit with them for this plan.
Annual Sales Limits
Upgrading your plan may not be entirely up to you. That’s because BigCommerce puts restrictions on how much you can sell, in dollar terms, each year before you’re automatically forced into a higher-tier plan.
This is most problematic if you’re on the cheaper Standard plan since you’re limited to selling just $50,000 worth of products in a single year before you get bumped up to Plus. For Plus users, the limit is $180,000 in sales per year. Pro users get up to $400,000 in annual sales, then pay $150 per month extra for every additional $200,000 in sales.
Still, before you get too annoyed about this policy, it’s important to think about how much money it actually works out to be. If you’re making $50,000 in sales on your online store, paying an extra $600 per year to upgrade to a Plus subscription probably isn’t going to make much of a dent in your business.
Soon after starting to use BigCommerce, I’ve come to find that my wallet is in grave danger. Its natural predator – the eCommerce platform’s sneaky fees that balloon up the cost of the services.
Sure,the platform doesn’t have any commissions on your sales, but I found that it makes money from your business in other ways — especially when you’re just starting out.
First, BigCommerce only offers a handful of templates for free. If you’re serious about growing your online business, you’ll almost certainly want to upgrade to a paid template. You should expect to spend between $200 and $400 on this, although every now and then I’ve seen premium templates on sale for around $100.
Second, depending on the tools your business needs, you’re likely to end up spending money in the BigCommerce app marketplace. For instance, I wanted to give BigCommerce some extra superpowers and allow the customers to be notified by email when a product comes back in stock in my store.
Sounds neat? That’ll be $18 per month for the InStockNotify app, please. It’s probably a good idea tobudget around $50 in total per month in apps. Or just have a look at the BigCommerce store and see which additional features you’ll need and budget accordingly.
And yet, not all is doom and gloom.
I was actuallypleasantly surprised by the pricing of add-ons in the BigCommerce app store. Apps are priced pretty fairly, especially comparing to some other competitors and their app stores, and you typically get a lot of functionality for what you pay for.
Finally, while BigCommerce doesn’t charge commissions, you will likely have to pay transaction fees depending on what payment processor you use.
There are a few dozen options, so you can shop around to find the lowest rate. BigCommerce also has a partnership with PayPal that dictates your transaction fee based on your plan — Standard users pay 2.59% plus $0.49 per transaction, while Plus users pay 2.35% and Pro users 2.05%.
BigCommerce isn’t the cheapest platform to get started with, but you get a lot for what you pay for. In fact, the vast majority of business owners can build a burgeoning online store with just the Standard plan. However, you’ll want to factor in additional costs for a premium theme and some helpful apps.
Easy Of Use
BigCommerce’s streamlined platform makes setting up your online store and dealing with orders shockingly easy. You do give up a fair amount of customization in the process, but this was mostly a small price to pay for the builder’s user-friendliness.
I especially liked how simple BigCommerce makes it to create new products for sale.
Interface & Customization
Initial setup for your BigCommerce website is almost nonexistent — and it doesn’t get much easier than that. Once you sign up for a site, you’re taken straight to your dashboard, where you can start the customization and product design process.
Customizing store was the part of BigCommerce that I liked the least. The platform simply doesn’t have many tools for the job, and it can feel really limiting at times if you have an image of what you want your store to look like already in mind.
Specifically, BigCommerce isn’t a drag-and-drop website builder.The layout and design of your store is controlled entirely by your template. And while there are a few different global styles you can choose from, there’s no option to change layouts without changing templates.
I appreciated that BigCommerce lets you change a lot of details, like colors, fonts, and text sizes. But, none of these options really gets at the heart of customizing your website, which to me means adding custom content and moving things around.
What I will say in BigCommerce’s defense here is that you can access your theme’s CSS file. So, if you’re savvy with coding, you have a lot of flexibility to modify the look and feel of your theme. But, this is a difficult and time-consuming workaround to not being able to change most template options from the site editor directly.
In addition, it’s worth noting that BigCommerce’s lack of flexibility means that your site is essentially ready to launch as soon as you sign up for the platform. After changing logos, there’s almost nothing you need to do in the site editor to have a website that looks professional.
Still, I found myself frustrated again with BigCommerce’s options for adding static web pages to your website – the ones you would use, for example, to add content. The page editor looks like something out of Windows XP, so it’s hard to do much more than add basic text and images and hope that the layout looks okay.
Really, it seems like BigCommerce doesn’t want to support static web pages at all, but has to, to at least a basic extent.
It’s usually pretty easy to use and understand BigCommerce’s interface. Users familiar with the WordPress dashboard will become quickly accustomed to it. It should also be similar to those who have experience with modern content management systems (CMS).
The primary features can be accessed via the vertical menu on the left-hand side of your screen. Related information will be shown on the right-hand side of your screen after a particular option from the menu on the left has been selected.
Store Design is a new visual merchandising tool that BigCommerce released recently. It allows you to customize certain content sections. You can edit navigation arrow colors, the number of featured items, logo positions, background colors, and other attributes. It allows you to make more customization choices than ever.
One place where BigCommerce absolutely shines in is product design. Once I got into building out the back-end of my online store, I began to appreciate BigCommerce a whole lot more.
The level of detail that you can add to every individual product is very impressive.
I also found that the fact that BigCommerce keeps everything on a single product page makes designing products a lot easier. You can add an unlimited number of images or videos to every product.
The description entry box is also a full-fledged what-you-see-is-what-you-get editor, so you have a lot of options to make your product descriptions stand out.
Now, for people selling custom/bespoke product, the next feature is going to rule – that’s variant creation. When you want to create multiple variants of a product, you can simply enter different option categories.
Importantly, you don’t have to jump through hoops to get rid of individual product combinations that don’t exist — you can simply uncheck that item from the list of potential options.
Finally, BigCommerce has a lot of detailed options that I mostly didn’t need to use, but liked the option of having. For example, you can choose to mark a product as coming soon, so that you can accept pre-orders without having to actually sell it at that moment. You can also specify multiple gift wrapping options and offer custom entry fields for complex items.
I also appreciated that you can choose to have BigCommerce automatically show related products or manually select related items to display. It’s a small detail, but it illustrates the level of control you have over products in your online store with this platform.
As you might expect, BigCommerce allows you to categorize your products so that they’re easier for both you and customers to find. But the platform goes beyond that by allowing you to add brands and SKUs to products, and even to import these ID tags from a spreadsheet. If you’re a Pro user, you can then allow customers to filter through your products using these tags and other product information.
I won’t go into detail about every setting that BigCommerce offers for your store, but I think it’s worth pointing out how easy the platform makes it control the fine details of your business’s back-end. All of your options are under either the ‘Store Setup’ or ‘Advanced Settings’ tabs in your dashboard, which makes them ridiculously easy to find.
Better yet, your options are clearly laid out in the dashboard menu and individual settings page tabs. Altogether,I found that this made it much easier to get my bearings in BigCommerce compared to other eCommerce platforms that I’ve used.
Customizing your store is one of the few areas that BigCommerce could stand to improve. Product design is stellar, but the actual look and feel of your store are largely determined by your template.
The downside here is that if you have one or more products that don’t fit well within the standard BigCommerce online store framework, there’s not a lot you can do. Your product will display according to how your template shows products, and changing that requires quite a bit of coding knowledge.
That said, I did like that BigCommerce gives you some room to maneuver on the product pages themselves. There is an option to add custom text fields to any product, and the description editor allows you to add HTML, images, and special formatting.
The level of detailed control in the site-wide style editor is also quite good, so you can help your online store appear unique from other shops using the same BigCommerce template.
There’s a big difference in quality between free BigCommerce templates and paid templates, which can be problematic if you’re just a small store owner starting out. But there are still some solid options for all budgets.
Let’s start with BigCommerce’s free themes. Unfortunately, there are only 12 of them in total. In reality, several of those are just style variants of each other, so there are really only about five different layouts to choose from.
This is one of the major downsides that BigCommerce reviews often point to, but I’ll stand up for the platform’s free themes. They look pretty good on the whole, even if they don’t quite compare to the available paid themes.
The ‘Roots’ and ‘Vault’ themes do an excellent job of highlighting specific products or a sale with a front-and-center call to action. I loved the nearly full-screen image featured on the front of the ‘Fortune’ theme.
Still, if you want to break out of the standard mold, you’ll need to pay for a premium theme. Depending on what you want, these templates typically run between $200 and $400. Keep an eye out for sales, though, since you can sometimes pick up a premium template for less than $100.
Once you get into paid themes, you not only have a lot more options to choose from, but also different layouts optimized for small or large catalogs.
While I tend towards templates with full-screen images to help draw in customers, there are also a ton of other options in the BigCommerce template store.
In all,there are a few dozen premium themes available for BigCommerce. Most come in three or four styles so you can change the background from light to dark, but keep in mind that the layout is largely fixed. It does make purchasing a theme for your store a bit of a commitment.
BigCommerce actually has a feature that allows you to preview a paid theme with your store’s products. That way, you can see exactly how your store might look with that theme before you shell out a few hundred dollars.
Keep in mind also that every theme has different customization options, so previewing gives you a chance to see what those will do for your site.
Ultimately, it’s important to keep in mind what you want your customers to do and what you’re selling. Do you want to push a single product with a full-screen homepage image? Or should your template encourage customers to browse by putting many samples of your products on your homepage?
Most likely, you’ll find a BigCommerce theme that suits your specific interests.
I really like many of the BigCommerce templates, including the free options. However, premium themes can cost up to a few hundred dollars. But you can preview them on your website before buying. I also appreciated that every theme comes with multiple styles so you can change up the look of your store in the future.
BigCommerce comes jam-packed with tools for selling your products, organizing your business, and growing your audience. This is where the platform really stands out, especially with its base ‘Standard’ plan.
I also think that business owners will enjoy the app marketplace, which expands the BigCommerce’s functionality in a few key ways.
BigCommerce does an excellent job with inventory management.
For starters, I found it extremely helpful that you can choose whether or not you want to track inventory for every individual product. So, if you have some standby items that you never run out of, you don’t have to worry about inventory tracking for those.
I also liked that you have the choice to track inventory at either the product or variant level. If you have a lot of products, the ability to see inventory levels according to SKU rather than product name is also a big help.
The platform also has a lot of extremely useful settings for what to do when inventory is low or an item is out of stock. You can choose to remove the item from view in your store temporarily or simply display an out of stock message. At the same time, you can set email alerts that go out to yourself or to multiple staff members to let everyone know that an item is either running low or has been sold out.
For businesses with complex supply chains, there are also a number of inventory management apps in the BigCommerce marketplace. I especially liked Brightchannel, which allows you to track inventory across multiple sales channels like your online store, Amazon, eBay, and more.
It’s worth noting that BigCommerce also offers this same multi-channel tracking, but only for Enterprise accounts.
BigCommerce offers quite a few sales features to users, including abandoned cart recovery, discounts, gift cards, and more. However, you’ll have to upgrade to a Plus or Pro plan to get things like abandoned cart recovery and customer segmentation.
That’s big, because, for example, Shopify offers abandoned cart recovery with the plan that costs $29 per month. And on BigCommerce, you need to pay an extra $50 per month in order to get this functionality.
That said, if you do upgrade, BigCommerce’s abandoned cart saver is much more versatile than what you’ll find from most eCommerce competitors. The tool allows you to create three different email templates to send out to customers with items left in their carts, as well as gives you the option of sending out a custom coupon code with your email.
I also really appreciated the fact that discount codes and gift cards are standard features in BigCommerce. These are essential to most businesses, and this eCommerce platform appears to recognize that fact.
Helpfully, there’s a ton of options for specifying exactly how the coupons and discounts should work.
Even better, BigCommerce allows ever user to set cart-level discounts. That’s a huge advantage if you want to offer, for example, free shipping on orders over a certain value. Of course, you can also sell gift cards to help spread the word about your business and create loyal customers.
One of the best selling tools available in BigCommerce is the ability to integrate your products with Google. This feature is only available to Pro users, which isn’t totally surprising given how powerful it is.
When customers search for a product, results from your store pop up in the search engine, along with its description and star ratings based on customer reviews.
I also really liked the way that BigCommerce lets you handle customers broadly. The platform automatically captures customer information and allows you to segment it later.
With a Plus plan, you can create loyalty programs using these segmented customer lists and offer discounts to only a specific set of users.
Finally, one of the big advantages is that BigCommerce works across multiple sales channels. The platform includes a ‘Channel Manager,’ which can link your online store to Amazon, Facebook, eBay, and several other selling sites.
I loved this tool because not only could I manage your entire business from BigCommerce with it, but I could also track inventory, route shipping, and track analytics all through my online store.
BigCommerce has several functions that can assist companies selling on other marketplaces or plan to do so at some point in time. Inventory and product listings will synchronize with platforms such as eBay, Facebook, Amazon, Walmart, Wish, Instagram, and other similar websites. BigCommerce recently doubled down on Multi-Channel with the acquisition of Feedonomics.
There’s a lot less manual labor involved because any changes made to a product on your site’s backend will be carried over to all platforms.
As many as five products with their own detailed product views can be shown on your Instagram account. Merchants can also sell their items on Walmart Marketplace.
SEO in BigCommerce is simple but effective. You can add SEO meta descriptions and titles to every product in your store, which helps your shop get discovered by potential new customers. On top of that, adding a blog to your store can also dramatically increase your search engine visibility.
With the exception of adding descriptions to your products, SEO is largely in the background with BigCommerce. I found that I didn’t have to do much work at all to help my website show up in search results, which was a big plus for the platform.
If you need help improving your store’s SEO, there are apps for that. Unfortunately, SEO Doctor and FavSEO, two of my favorite apps for this purpose, start at $20 per month. But, they do a great job of identifying where your site’s SEO may be falling short so that you can drive more customers to your business.
On the whole, I was pretty happy with BigCommerce’s SEO functionality. Depending on your growth goals, it may be worth spending an extra $20 per month to integrate a dedicated SEO app into your store.
BigCommerce has around 55+ payment processors, which makes it a versatile eCommerce platform for a wide range of sellers.
While the platform has a definite bias towards US-based payment processors, there are plenty of options for international sellers as well. Unfortunately, though, BigCommerce is still nowhere near competitors such as Shopify when it comes to the sheer number of payment processor integrations.
For the simplest and cheapest payment processing, you’re probably best off using PayPal. BigCommerce offers preferred pricing with this processor.
However, BigCommerce also has a useful integration with the Square point of sale. If you make physical sales using Square, you can easily run all of your payments through that processor instead.
When it comes to shipping your products, BigCommerce is there to help. Moments like this really remind you that this is a serious online selling platform. I really enjoyed features and integrations that the platform has for online stores and dropshippers alike.
BigCommerce has a shipping app that’s free for all platform subscribers to use. It gives you access to steeply discounted rates from Fedex, DHL, and USPS — with a Standard plan, you can get about a 60-70% discount with each of these carriers when shipping within the US.
After you assign weights to products, the app will tell you exactly how much shipping was going to cost with different carriers and at varying shipping speeds.
I also really liked that BigCommerce’s shipping app kept track of orders in various stages of shipping. That way, you can always know which orders were already fulfilled and which ones still needed to make it out the door.
If you need support for dropshipping or multi-channel sales, you might be better off using ShipStation rather than the BigCommerce shipping app. It works across platforms, which is a big plus if you make a lot of sales outside your online store. This app is free up to 50 orders, but beyond that, you’ll have to pay with plans starting at $9 per month.
If your business relies entirely on dropshipping, there are also a handful of other shipping apps that focus on this model. AliExpress is perhaps the most notable, with plans starting at $10 per month.
Wholesale2b is also a good option if your store revolves around existing products since you can import more than one million products directly to your online store.
The shipping choices displayed to your clients (such as quotes in real-time or flat rates), zones that you ship to, and the origin address where your store ships from can be configured in the Shipping Manager section. You can also set these shipping methods and rules:
- Shipping at no charge.
- Flat shipping rates.
- Shipping rates are based on product prices.
- Shipping rates based on product weight.
- Items can be picked up at physical store locations.
- Third-party carrier data is used to provide shipping rates in real-time.
- Integrations which Shipstation, ShipperHQ, etc.
You can access this functionality on any of BigCommerce plans.
BigCommerce claims that it offers highly secure payments and overall advanced security options, but the platform doesn’t do much to prove you that way. For better or worse, you don’t have much control over your online store’s security settings. There’s also no two-factor authentication for store owners, although this is something that the BigCommerce community is pushing hard for at the moment.
The main thing that can be said for the platform’s security is thatPro users can migrate an SSL certificate from another hosting service. There are also a few anti-fraud apps, like NoFraud and Firewall, that you can use to increase the security of your online store and checkout process.
These are much more powerful options, but you’ll need to pay between $5 and $20 per month for them.
BigCommerce gives you a huge suite of analytics tools for free with every plan, which is a huge advantage for this platform. I loved that you could pick apart your purchase funnel to see where you’re losing sales, as well as see how customers are getting to your online store in the first place.
BigCommerce doesn’t slack off at all when it comes to business tracking. The base tools are much more substantial than what you get in Shopify for the same price. For example, in addition to getting high-level statistics about your sales, you can see exactly how customers are being referred to your website and where they’re dropping out along your purchase funnel.
Even if you don’t have abandoned cart recovery, you can also see whether abandoned carts are a problem for your business. This is big, because it allows you to make an informed decision about whether upgrading your BigCommerce plan is really worthwhile.
If you want to analyze your business at the level of individual products, though, you’ll need to pay extra. BigCommerce ‘Insights’ allows you to see which products are attracting attention and which aren’t getting any clicks. The idea is that this clues you in to which photos or descriptions need to be replaced, but I found it can also be helpful for deciding which product lines to expand in the future.
Insights are expensive, unfortunately. Standard and Plus users pay $49 per month, while Pro users pay $99 per month. But again, given that the free analytics within BigCommerce are so strong, it’s relatively easy to look at all of your data and decide whether Insights is a good investment for your business.
I was a huge fan of BigCommerce’s business analytics features. Especially if you’re on the Standard plan, the level of detail that you get about your business for free is pretty incredible. While the Insights tool is expensive, the platform’s basic analytics can allow you to determine whether it’s a worthwhile investment for growing your shop.
Some of the standard analytic reports from BigCommerce are:
- Customer reports. Information about the last time a particular client placed an order, customers’ overall spending, where clients came from, the percentage of new versus repeated customers, etc.
- Marketing reports will tell you how your clients were acquired.
- Search data reports can be used to determine what key search words or phrases were used when customers were looking for products at your store.
- Finance reports provide information about tax reports, sales, and other pertinent data.
- If your BigCommerce plan supports this function, you’ll also receive abandoned cart reports.
The e-commerce insights report can be purchased for an additional charge. It provides details on abandoned carts, products, and your clients.
BigCommerce marketing largely relies on third-party app integrations. These apps are extremely good, but that does mean that you end up paying extra to reach your customers. Thankfully, the platform does natively link to social media accounts and let you establish a blog.
Somewhat surprisingly, BigCommerce doesn’t have a built-in email marketing tool. Instead, the platform left this functionality to third-party apps. There are more than a dozen add-ons in the BigCommerce app marketplace that you can use to craft newsletters and marketing emails, as well as to coordinate email campaigns. However, prices can be a bit steep depending on how many emails you want to send and to how many customers.
It’s relatively easy to export customer data from BigCommerce for use with an outside email marketing service like MailChimp. So, you do have some freedom to shop around for the service that works best for your business.
Keep in mind through all of this, though, that not every BigCommerce layout pushes customers towards email signup. The platform gives you the option to include a newsletter signup on your checkout page. But, I would have really liked more call-to-action options for signing up site visitors who don’t end up buying products.
Social media also takes a bit of a backseat with BigCommerce. I found that it’s easy to link up your online store with your social media presence, but difficult to impossible to coordinate between your website and social media accounts.
Unfortunately, there’s really not a way to show your social media feed on your website, or to push content from your online store to your social media feed. This is probably just a minor inconvenience for most businesses, but it’s worth knowing about ahead of time.
BigCommerce provides every online store with a blog, which is great. However, don’t expect the world’s greatest blogging tools — as for static web pages, blogs are definitely not BigCommerce’s main focus.
The blog editor is extremely basic. Instead of a Microsoft Word-like post environment, you get a basic rich text formatting box that’s not very user-friendly. Importantly, there’s no auto-save, so I found myself writing posts in a dedicated word processor and then copy-pasting them into BigCommerce’s editor.
In addition, I really didn’t love the way that BigCommerce blogs handle category tags. You have to enter them manually every time, without auto-suggestions or checkboxes. So, even just tagging your post can be a bit of a hassle.
Still, blog posts look nice when they’re done. They display on a dedicated blog page of your website, which is controlled by your template.
BigCommerce does okay when it comes to mobile accessibility. On the one hand, every theme is responsive to small, vertical smartphone screens. On the other hand, you as the shop owner can’t edit your BigCommerce store from your smartphone when you’re on the go.
For better or worse, mobile responsiveness is fully baked into your theme. That means that there’s no work involved in getting your mobile site up and running, but you also don’t have any control over how it looks. Making changes to your mobile website requires changing the code of your theme files.
Still, I felt like most BigCommerce templates looked good on mobile devices. There was some variation between themes, but I couldn’t find a theme where my store simply looked bad on a smartphone screen. Everything was nice and responsive.
I was less thrilled about the fact thatI had no way to edit my online store from my phone. This really limited my ability to take orders on the go or to add new products on the fly. When I wanted to make small changes to my online store, I needed to sit down in front of my computer to make it happen.
So, BigCommerce meets the basic needs of visitors when it comes to mobile access. However, I wasn’t blown away by the minimal control that the platform offers to shop owners working off their phones.
You can manage your store with a convenient app for iOS or Android devices. It can be used for these tasks:
- One login can be used to access all of your stores.
- Weekly or monthly information can be obtained about your store’s conversion rate, visitors, orders, and revenue.
- You can update order status, see details for specific orders, and view orders for the store.
- See order history and other individual customer data.
- Email links and in-app phone can be used to contact clients.
BigCommerce’s app store has additional apps that can be purchased if you’re looking for more than what their plan features offered. You can easily add more functions to your BigCommerce plan with these apps. Some categories deal with specific aspects of managing your business. There are apps for accounting, CRM, marketing, shipping, etc.
There are also apps for Salesforce, Mailchimp, Xero, Zendesk, and other popular software as a service (SaaS) programs. There is often a cost associated with these apps, but on the plus side, they do open up a world of advanced features for your online store. In total, there are around 850 apps available for BigCommerce.
The platform doesn’t fully cover a lot of things that your store needs, like email marketing, advanced SEO, or dropshipping. Paid apps fill in almost all of the gaps that BigCommerce has left behind.
This is good and bad. It means that you have choices for how to implement certain business processes since there’s almost always more than one app for a given purpose. Most of the apps I encountered in the BigCommerce marketplace were very good and came with plenty of documentation. They’d clearly been vetted both by BigCommerce and by shop owners.
But, the heavy dependence on add-ons also means that you need to pay far beyond just the base BigCommerce subscription price to get everything your business needs. In reality, many growing online stores will need to spend closer to $80 to $100 per month on app integrations.
Overall, I wished that BigCommerce took control of a few more features so that I didn’t have to pay extra for them. But, I was pretty happy with the quality of BigCommerce’s app marketplace, and didn’t find any apps that I wasn’t glad I had purchased. Ultimately, how much you need to spend on apps will come down to your business goals.
New BigCommerce users will get several support emails and resources helping them with getting started. There’s a fair amount of hand-holding available if you want it, which should make it easy enough to get your store up and running.
Around-the-clock customer support by chat, phone, or email with live agents is available to anyone who has purchased a BigCommerce plan. They want you to check the BigCommerce help pages to try and resolve issues before contacting support.
Not all users will like this approach. If you’ve ignored the help articles and finished your search, you will have access to support contact details. You can also get the customer support staff contact information by pressing the “skip this step” button.
Phone support is available for many nations. The “all other countries” phone number can be called if you don’t see your particular country on the list.
BigCommerce Pros & Cons
Here are some of the BigCommerce advantages and disadvantages.
- There are many impressive features.
- It’s simple to sell products in different currencies at the same time.
- All of their plans have third-party shipping calculations that are in real-time.
- BigCommerce doesn’t charge any transaction fees, no matter what payment gateways you use.
- All plans also have very effective reporting resources.
- It’s easy to create custom fields.
- Clients can upload files while they’re placing orders.
- Built-in product review feature.
- You can create all kinds of unique pages with their intuitive drag and drop page builder.
- BigCommerce has helpful built-in search engine optimization functions.
- The ‘abandoned cart saver’ tool is more comprehensive than the similar offering from competitors.
- All plans let you have as many staff accounts as you want.
- People with multiple product variants have more flexibility.
- GDPR consent feature.
- A 15-day free trial.
- You have to pay quite a lot to have abandoned cart functionality.
- Annual online sales have limits. You’ll need to upgrade to a costlier monthly plan if you surpass those limits.
- There isn’t much originality in many of the free themes. Some of them resemble each other too much.
- The page builder features have some definite room for improvement (recently they have made updates that make things much easier).
- Free templates aren’t as simple to change as they could be.
- You have to deal with VAT MOSS rates manually.
BigCommerce Review Summary
BigCommerce is a great WordPress alternative and has impressive store management resource in addition to its eCommerce site builder functions. It lets people successfully create and sustain their online stores. Discounting and coupon tools, real-time and flexible shipping quotes, and a diverse product catalog are just some of BigCommerce’s features.
eBay and Amazon can be connected with BigCommerce. You can also sell items on Facebook, thanks to BigCommerce’s social selling functionality.
Shipping is simplified with BigCommerce. The cloud-based resource provides a powerful shipping rules engine and rate calculator from ShipperHQ. You can also add your own custom shipping rates and supply customers with shipping quotes in real-time.
Helping manage your orders and products is what BigCommerce is all about. Its sole selling point isn’t just content management functions for pages and blog posts.
BigCommerce also handles situations that go on behind the scenes. They use the latest technology and measures to take care of your online store security and hosting. Their servers use hardware firewalls and take steps to prevent hackers from accessing sensitive information.
If you have an item that unexpectedly increases in popularity, you won’t have to worry about site lag. BigCommerce stores can handle traffic spikes with ease.
Checkouts are safe and secure because they’re completed using SSL. Clients’ data won’t be lost or stolen.
My BigCommerce review found that this is an extremely versatile online store platform with a lot going for it. The platform boasts strong selling tools, high performance, and tons of features to grow your business. The one major downside I found to this platform is that it’s not cheap, especially after paying for app integrations.
But, I felt like the price of BigCommerce was largely justified by what the platform had to offer. You get far more tools with a Standard plan than with comparably priced plans from eCommerce competitors. In addition, while some of the apps are expensive, I overall appreciated having a choice of solutions for highly complex business problems like shipping and marketing.
Ultimately, whether BigCommerce is the right eCommerce solution for you comes down to what your business needs. It covers a ton of ground for online sellers, it’s easy to use, and the app integrations offer a huge degree of flexibility as you work to grow your business.
BigCommerce offers a fifteen-day free trial, so you can try it out before deciding if their features can help you increase business, revenue, and overall profitability.
DISCLOSURE: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links, I might get a small commission, without any extra cost to you. Read more about it here.