Introduction

With 52,576 live sites currently using BigCommerce, it’s reasonable to believe that it’s a great website builder among the best.

BigCommerce definitely stands out in the current marketplace. With out-of-the-box store management capabilities, it can help your business succeed. Some of these features include ease of use, flexible shipping, high security, SEO & marketing tools, and more. BigCommerce is perfect for large or fast-growing businesses.

However, it’s worth noting that every website builder has its pros and cons. BigCommerce is powerful, yet it’s not the right choice for everyone. So, the biggest question is: Is BigCommerce what you need?

Let’s find out as we shine a spotlight on different aspects of BigCommerce. The in-depth BigCommerce review below will give you a thorough overview of the platform. Then you can decide for yourself if it’s suitable for your enterprise.

1. Overview

BigCommerce is a dynamic all-in-one hosted eCommerce solution. That means everything is already set up for you. The only thing you need to do is sign up. Then, you can start personalizing your eCommerce store and monetizing it right away.

The platform offers top-quality features including product management, order fulfillment, online payments, analytics, etc. Furthermore, it provides professionally designed themes, with much room for customization. Besides, BigCommerce also handles its security excellently.

In brief, BigCommerce is highly optimized to host stores with hundreds or thousands of products. Therefore, it can be considered to be the best suited for someone who’s growing fast and wants to operate at scale.

BigCommerce review: Interface.
Example of a store using BigCommerce.

2. Pricing

BigCommerce pricing varies according to the amount of your sales per year. It offers 3 monthly price plans, suitable for all business scales. Its most basic one starts at $29.95 and the costliest is $224.95 a month. Regardless of the plan you choose, your store will include a fully responsive site, one-page checkout, digital wallets, basic SEO tools, and robust analytics. And one of the biggest advantages of BigCommerce is that there is no transaction fee. If you opt for paying annually instead of monthly, you’ll even get a 10% discount.

BigCommerce review: Pricing plans.
BigCommerce pricing plan.

But if you don’t want to spend any cents right now, it also provides a 15-day free trial. However, your customers won’t be able to purchase anything from you if you’re on this plan.

One more thing to take into consideration is that each plan has a threshold limit. For Standard Plan and Plus Plan, you can only earn less than $50,000 and less than $180,000 a year respectively. Then, if you sell more than that, you’ll need to upgrade to the Pro Plan. The Pro Plan costs $299.95 if your store brings in no more than $450,000 a month. When you surpass that threshold, you’ll pay at least $150 more per month for each additional $200,000 in sales.

Additionally, BigCommerce does have an Enterprise Plan designed for huge companies. Its price depends on the features you want to have in your store. But you can expect all of the Plus Plan features, along with a dedicated SSL and IP address, priority support, product filtering, advanced reporting tools, Google trusted stores and so much more.

BigCommerce review: BigCommerce features.
Features included in each BigCommerce pricing plan.

3. Performance

The speed and performance of your website comes into play for a variety of reasons. The most important one is that Google and other search engines take loading speed into consideration when ranking your website. Therefore, a fast site can boost your search engine rankings. Aside from that,  if the user has to wait for pages to load, it may worsen their experience on your site. Then, eventually, they may leave for good, leading to a huge loss in sales.

BigCommerce review: Response time.
BigCommerce’s response time.

According to Quanta, BigCommerce’s average response time is 0,50s. That means BigCommerce is a quite fast platform. This response time matches exactly the speed recommendation of Google. However, it’s worth noting that since the platform is extremely feature-rich, its loading speed is usually inconsistent.

4. Ease of Use

BigCommerce has all the features needed to get you started. It’s not too difficult to use but it’s definitely not for the non-techie. On the first time landing on BigCommerce’s dashboard, there will be tutorials to get you through the process. Those steps will help you set up a basic store. For example, you can add products, configure shipping settings and manage your tax rates. After that, the customization gets more complex.

BigCommerce review: Ease of use
It’s a breeze to set up a basic store on BigCommerce.

The platform is currently using the Stencil framework, which is friendly for advanced developers only. So if you can afford to hire a developer, there is nothing to worry about. However, non-technical users will find it difficult to tweak it at their will, something that’s necessary for the average entrepreneur.

The main reason people struggle with BigCommerce is its design interface. It splits into two areas. One is where you control the “behind the scenes” parts of your store – for example, products and discounts, while the other is for storefront customization.

BigCommerce review: Backend
The “behind the scenes” area.
BigCommerce review: Page Builder Tool
The other area to edit your storefront, called Page Builder.

But the good news is, BigCommerce has recently introduced their new page builder which facilitates the customization process for non-techies. The tool provides access to your theme’s template files for advanced template editing. You can easily drag and drop content into pages, like text blocks, videos, banners, buttons, blocks of custom HTML, etc.

However, one remaining problem is its terminology. It’s very complicated and unsuitable for beginners. You need to be familiar with the technical terms beforehand, or else you will need a lot of time figuring out what they mean.

In brief, great power comes with great complexity. Hence, BigCommerce isn’t ideal for anyone who’s not tech-savvy.

5. Themes & Customization

BigCommerce offers an impressive array of templates for varying budgets. Beginners with a low budget can start with its 12 free themes. But if your wallet is thicker, there are over 100 paid themes to choose from, ranging between $145 and $235. They are all very responsive, stylish and easy to work with. However, since most of the themes come from a single company, which is Pixel Union, there’s not much uniqueness from theme to theme.

But it’s not a big deal because you can always play around with the theme to personalize your store. With the “Style Editor” function, you can get creative with things like colors, fonts, carousel, etc. And the new page builder tool mentioned above even makes the process easier, without having to understand codes. It gives you instant control over everything from background colors to logo positions, the number of featured products, navigation arrow colors, and more. If you have a developer background, you can also work with the CSS and raw HTML to update your theme too.

BigCommerce review: Theme customization
BigCommerce gives you great customization capability with your theme.

6. ECommerce Features

Without a doubt, BigCommerce offers many necessary eCommerce features that an online store will need. Here are some of the most outstanding features that differentiate BigCommerce from its competitors.

  • Managing Products

BigCommerce allows you to import products, set up inventory tracking, update stock levels, and understand order trends over time within a few simple steps. Tracking inventory between online and offline channels is easier than ever with its seamless native managing tools. Apart from that, you can edit every little detail about your products as you want. And even better, BigCommerce is the only platform where you can sell products, downloads, event tickets and services, without having to pay for third-party apps.

  • Processing Orders

Bigcommerce advances the process after the visitor clicks the buy button to the next level. The platform allows you to process orders, print invoices and packing slips. Basically, it handles the order throughout its path to fulfillment. This is a very important functionality, especially for stores with multiple products.

  • Multi-currency

The multi-currency feature helps BigCommerce to stand out as one of the leading platforms for global businesses. BigCommerce partners with 5 popular payment gateways that support multi-currency for you to choose from. This feature allows merchants to improve their cross-border sales since the currency will be automatically converted into customers’ native currency. The best thing is, the multi-currency functionality is available for all pricing plans at no extra cost.

  • Multi-channel

Multi-channel is also necessary for a growing eCommerce store. Since reaching out to customers has never been an easy task, having this feature integrated into your store is of great importance.  With BigCommerce, you can sell on multiple spaces such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, eBay, Amazon, and more. And you can keep track of all the sales from those websites using BigCommerce’s data reporting tools. These tools help pointing out trends, tracking performance, conversion rates, etc. – all from your dashboard!

  • Tax & Shipping

The good news is that BigCommerce offers a wide range of shipping options, including real-time shipping quotes for higher BigCommerce pricing plans. Additionally, it has an all-in-one solution for shipping tools. There’s a free app called ShipStation that allows you to get special discounts with leading companies like DHL, USPS, Fedex, and more. You can also keep your customers happy by providing them with things like in-store pick-up, next day delivery, shipping tracking, free shipping, and more.

In March 2019, BigCommerce announced a new shipping solution for those who crave more discounts and an easier setup. It includes faster shipping from FedEx Express; displaying shipping rates on your website; improved accuracy of its live rates; more discounted rates from UPS, USPS, DHL, and Fedex; and an automated area to configure your shipping. But the highlight is that you can easily manage all your shipping functionalities from one central hub.

BigCommerce review: Shipping feature
BigCommerce shipping manager.

Moreover, BigCommerce allows you to set up your tax calculation rules. Or another option is to connect with a third-party tax service to automate tax calculation and document submission. Both ways are very convenient and hassle-free. And you can even display a label on your page stating whether your price includes tax or not. This will avoid any unnecessary misunderstanding with your customers.

BigCommerce review: Tax feature
BigCommerce tax feature.
  • Customizable Checkout

BigCommerce has recently changed its checkout module. It now offers access to its Checkout SDK, or a library filled with JavaScript elements for your checkout. With this new feature, you can customize every part of your checkout page, from the background images to the number of steps needed for a customer to move through the process. Keep in mind that the Checkout SDK is only supported with the Optimized One-Page Checkout control panel setting.

7. App Store

BigCommerce App Store provides up to 873 integrations and apps to extend the functionality of your store however you want. You can easily find the tools you need since they’re well categorized into various subcategories such as analytics & reporting, marketing, merchandising, payments & security, etc. Even if you can’t find the app that you want from BigCommerce, you can still ask developers to build it for you thanks to BigCommerce API solutions. And because there’s no limit to the API calls on the service, developers have no problem syncing multiple BigCommerce apps with your store, The BigCommerce RESTful API also uses non-proprietary languages and open documentation options.

BigCommerce review: BigCommerce apps
Some of BigCommerce apps.

Nevertheless, you won’t need to add in many BigCommerce apps since it has already included so many impressive in-house features. It has the largest amount of built-in features of any eCommerce builder. You effectively have everything you need right at your fingertips, and for no extra cost. This keeps costs lower as you don’t have monthly add-on fees.

And moreover, BigCommerce also comes with mobile apps for iOS and Android so you can manage your online business on the go. You can view key performance metrics for your business, update orders, and search through customers.

8. SEO & Marketing

BigCommerce offers quite a nice range of marketing tools to promote your online store. Some of the methods come at an additional cost while others are free.

Some of the main marketing features included in BigCommerce are:

  • Banners – You can use them for various promotional and non-promotional purposes. This will help capture your audiences’ attention and highlight your main content.
  • Coupon Codes & Discounts – Especially handy if you’re doing an exclusive promotion and want to share codes via email. It’s very helpful in motivating buyers.
  • Email Marketing – The platform comes with powerful options like MailChimp, HubSpot, iContact and Constant Contact. These tools can be used to build smart customer lists and to automatically send targeted messages, newsletters to avoid lost sales.
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery – When a customer enters their email and then abandons their products in the shopping cart, it can send an automated email to draw them back to their purchase. Based on Baymard Institute’s 2019 research, the average cart abandonment rate is 69.57%. It’s a very important functionality that will save you from losing revenue. A study points out that personalized emails are six times more effective than regular ones.
  • Google AdWords integrations – This allows you to promote your products on Google somewhat automatically.
  • Social Media tools – BigCommerce makes it easy to market your brand on social media. Simply add “Buy Now” buttons on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter to turn social browning into online buying.

Besides that, SEO is another strong point of BigCommerce. Its unique content delivery network loads your website pages much faster than other competitors. This enhances the UX of your website, and search engines take notice as well. Moreover, the built-in blogging function allows you to upload blog posts easily without having to buy BigCommerce apps to manage content. The administration panel gives full access to metadata, header tags, titles, and URLs so that you can customize your blog and information pages to make them SEO-friendly.

9. Support & Security

If BigCommerce does one thing better than the rest, it’s online customer service.

When you sign up for a free trial, you’ll immediately receive an email offering an appointment for a 10-minute call. In this quick meeting, the BigCommerce support team will discuss with you about your business, its goals, and how they can help you succeed. This alone is enough to beat other eCommerce website builders.

Other BigCommerce support channels available depend on what price plan you’re on. By default, BigCommerce provides 24/7 phone, live chat, and email support. In addition to those, you can also make use of video tutorials – and even better, the BigCommerce Support Center. On this page, there’re tons of resources to help you – from online forums to a knowledge base. And if you’re totally new to the platform, definitely check out BigCommerce University. It has many series of informative videos to guide you through every step on how to succeed with your online store.

With the most expensive Enterprise plan, you can unlock priority support. This includes an onboarding consultant, and prioritized phone calls with instant connections to the most senior and highly-trained support staff.

With all that said, the community is more powerful than most other eCommerce platforms.

BigCommerce review: BigCommerce support center.
BigCommerce support center.

In terms of security, BigCommerce is also one of the best. All sites hosted on BigCommerce are level 1 certified PCI compliant. Hence, you don’t have to worry about your customers’ personal and financial information being leaked. Your company infrastructure is also protected with an enterprise-grade network architecture.

Additionally, you can choose to either share an SSL certificate or buy your own. Basically, a shared SSL means that your checkout isn’t hosted on your own website. It looks like it is, but the customer goes through a different route.

Final words

BigCommerce Review
BigCommerce Review

Overall, BigCommerce is a powerful hosted eCommerce platform that makes it easy for you to quickly create and operate your online store. It’s renowned to be the perfect match for middle and large scale businesses. The platform still works nicely with small companies, but it’s not the best choice since it may cost a fortune if you surpass its sale limit. If you are about to start an online business, there are many more suitable options out there. But if you already have one and are looking for growth soon, BigCommerce is a tough bargain to pass on.

If you already have a website of your own and are considering moving to BigCommerce, LitExtension can be your perfect partner.

We are the leading company in the shopping cart migration industry with almost 10 years of experience. Our job is to ensure merchants can make a smooth transition from one eCommerce platform to another.

To see the migration process in action, we provide free DEMO migrations with limited entities transferred. Should you have any questions, please contact LitExtension for help. All questions and recommendations from you will be responded to and answered promptly by our dedicated support team. Join our Facebook Community to get more eCommerce tips and news.