In this post I am going to dive into BigCommerce. I decided to make this my first post mainly because it is the one I am most familiar with and honestly I think they don’t get enough credit in these “Shopify, Shopify, Shopify” times. I don’t have anything against Shopify they have done an excellent job of marketing themselves to the point where they dominate the market. My hope for you is that you look at your options and then decide on what works best for you.
My store Mean Coffee Mugs is hosted through BigCommerce. Feel free to click here to take a peek at this website.
Bigcommerce is a hosted ecommerce solution that allows business owners to open up an online store. Your hosting fees are included in all the packages. This eliminates any additional hosting costs. They have a myriad of templates and are completely customizable.
Ease of Use
BigCommerce is designed so that you don’t need any computer or web design skills to start. They have a vast index that goes through everything you can think of and then some. On the flip side while it is easy to set up it’s not so washed down that you cannot have someone with web design skills hop in there and tweek your website as needed. You can customize the check out, have product variations, set up all sorts of coupon options. Don’t just think a percentage off. You can add discounts on a particular collection. You can have it where if they buy one product then the second is free or discounted. And the list continues. You can sell physical or digital goods on BigCommerce.
BigCommerce offers 4 pricing plans that start as low as $29.95 per month and up to $299.95 per month. There are discounts if you pay for the year in advance that typically is about a 10% discount on the Plus & Pro plans. There is also an Enterprise plan that the pricing will vary on depending on your business needs. There is a limit to the amount of sales allowed on each plan and I think it’s pretty fair. What you will find is that the first cap is $50,000 in a rolling 12 month period for the lowest plan which is $29.99. Someone selling more than $50k in a 12 month period probably is not going to want to sit at that level anyway as it does not give you the features like the abandoned cart saver. If you are on a tight budget start with what you can but once you are able bounce up to the Plus plan which is $79.95/mo and is a worthy investment.
BigCommerce does not charge any transaction fees. This is great news as it does give you some flexibility to choose the merchant you want. They do have a great working relationship with Braintree a subsidiary of Paypal. I sue this for my store and have not had any problems. I have spoken to their agents and they are the most cheerful people I have ever spoke to in the merchant processing world. Very different from when I call Paypal support on my personal Paypal account I might add. Braintree clearly treats this division differently and places the most helpful agents to help out small business owners. Something I truly appreciate.
One of the things you will see in BigCommerce and honestly in many of these similar services is an app store or place to add in the specific functionalities you want to upgrade into your store. You can add a rewards program. Secure payment certifications. Marketing and integration with social media channels like Facebook and Instagram. The list goes on. Some apps are free and other charge a fee. As a store owner you can also leave a review which definitely helps as there are a multitude of options.
Another benefit is they allow you to incorporate point of sale providers as well. So if you have a storefront of take payments in person then you can integrate your merchant processor to your store as well. Syncing inventory and staying on top of your store needs.
One of the things I love about BigCommerce is their themes. They just sit well with me and my design aesthetic. They have a lot of clean, modern, and chic themes to choose from. I feel many times when I see Shopify stores I know right off it’s a Shopify store and that bothers me. I can’t say why. Some of it’s just that people have not taken the time to customize it enough which I don’t fault Shopify for but it gives me pause. If you will. There are about a dozen free theme options. And all are nice enough that known would know you are using a free theme. Which helps with customer perception.
Other Features Include:
- Unlimited Staff Accounts
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) features
- Gift Certificates
- Ability to manage customer reviews
- No limit to the number of products you sell
- Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) functionality
- Multi-currency selling
- No merchant fees (although you will need to choose a merchant to add on)
Dropshipping or POD Integration
Here is another way the BigCommerce is a winner. My store is a POD or print on demand store. Be sure to join my email list to be the first to learn about print on demand options and how they are leveling the price to entry into the ecommerce space as well as giving you the ability to build a thriving business.
BigCommerce can be used with Printful, Modalyst, Inventory Source, Spocket, Wholesale B@B, Ali-Express Dropshipping. There are apps the make these integrations easy and fluid.
Let’s say you do personalize dog tags, or necklaces, bracelets, or pet tags. You will be able to easily include this customization into your store. From image uploads to custom text section with rules on how many characters are allowed to help make the ordering process as smooth as possible.
BigCommerce is really easy to integrate taxes. I added Avalara to my store and since we only sell in the US it automates everything else for me. They even have a handy report that will break down all the tax payments you have received so you know exactly what you owe the IRS. In my next article I will touch on the acclaimed book Profit First and how it took me from where my money at to dang I got all that. Stay tuned.
For those that will be selling worldwide BigCommerce can handle VAT in the European Union as well as your shipping requirements.
The image above shows how you can add SEO and meta descriptions on each product.
My store offer free shipping. That is one of the reasons I only sell in the US but I have played with the idea of making it available worldwide in the near future. For now I like knowing what my margins are and so I keep it as such.
BigCommerce has all of the options when it comes to shipping. You name it; free, flat rate, by weight, by price, in-store pick up, and real time shipping rates.
Because BigCommerce focuses on AMP or accelerated mobile pages you will find that your website loads quickly and formats to view from a call phone very well.
Reports on Reports
When I look at sites like Shopify and WooCommerce I am always a bit taken aback that they don’t offer more access to more reporting features. BigCommerce definitely is strong winner in this category as far as including the reports in all of it’s plan. I can see where my customers are coming from, how far down the purchase funnel they went, how long they were on my website.
Another great insight that has found me more than a few winners on my website is the in store search reports. They will show you what terms people are searching for. Boy oh boy sometimes I almost missed some big opportunities cause I would have not thought to add that to my website. As you can see in the image above 22% of my searches were for St. Patricks Day mugs and yall….I had none! I don’t personally celebrate it so it wasn’t on my radar. If this feature was not available I would have been giving away potential sales. I can see what results come up in my store when someone searches and what is not coming up at all. They offer convenient charts that show you what percentage of the search terms are being searched. Ya’ll I can’t rave about it enough. You can also link Google analytics to your account something I strongly recommend to see all your website data.
BigCommerce offers 24/7 chat support, in addition to a vast library, and email and phone support. Personally I have found chat to be the most useful. The agents are friendly and will walk you through what you need to accomplish or fix whatever it is. I will lean on the library for things first then if I am still unsure I hop in chat and they zip me through what needs to be done.
I have enjoyed using the platform for my online store so in totality I do recommend it for selling physical or digital products. BigCommerce has a multitude of features that help to ensure your success. They have a robust app store with free and paid options to upgrade or integrate into your store. This will help with accounting, shipping, loyalty programs, marketing and more. They have excellent SEO capabilities and allow you to have a blog on your store. They offer shipping options worldwide and can be set to free, flat-rate, and by weight to names a few. And lastly their website are optimized for AMP which will allow them to pull up quickly on any mobile device.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I use and the income goes to keeping the site community supported and ad free.