BigCommerce Review 2018 – Pros and Cons of BigCommerce

BigCommerce Review

With over 100,000 live stores currently using the BigCommerce platform to sell things and process payments online, there is strong reason to believe that BigCommerce provides everything you need for your ecommerce needs. Our BigCommerce Review covers all aspects of this ecommerce platform, from the platform features to security and support.

So what exactly is BigCommerce?

BigCommerce is an all-in-one ecommerce platform that provides you with the necessary tools to build and manage an online store, from start to finish. BigCommerce takes care of the web hosting, and platform security and updates for you. You also get technical support for free.

Our overall BigCommerce rating is 9.5 out of 10.

Note: BigCommerce is a “hosted” ecommerce platform, which means that all of the things discussed above (e.g. hosting, security, support, etc.) are included in your monthly bill, and you are not charged anything extra for.

Top BigCommerce Pros

  • The platform does not charge any transaction or setup fees, regardless of the plan or payment gateway that you decide to use.
  • Users can create unlimited staff accounts – this will be ideal for larger companies with many employees.
  • The platform offers multi-channel selling that you can use to sell on Facebook, Amazon, Pinterest, Google Shopping, eBay, and leading comparison-shopping sites.
  • All of their plans come with unlimited bandwidth, unlimited products, and unlimited storage space.
  • The ability to download the theme files and edit them offline.

Top BigCommerce Cons

  • A small selection of free themes that you use for your store.
  • You have to upgrade to a more expensive plan if you surpass the annual sales threshold associated with the plan that you are on in any given year.
  • Recurring billing is not available right “out of the box,” but you can easily install this feature from the app store.
  • Some of the advertised features are only available to users in the United States.

Platform Features

First and foremost, BigCommerce offers a highly customizable online store builder, which you can use to build an online store (using basic HTML and CSS coding), big or small. The store builder comes with an array of responsive templates that you can easily apply to your store. The platform can assist you in adding and managing products, and accepting payments through multiple payment options.

Real-time shipping rates from USPS, UPS, FedEx, Royal Mail, Australia Post, and Canada Post are integrated into the platform. You can also set up custom and advanced shipping rates such as free shipping, shipping cost by weight and order amount. The platform also works with outsourced drop shipping vendors that can fulfill open orders.

Another strong feature of the BigCommerce platform is the ability to transfer an existing online store and import all existing products. This is an incredible feature that can transfer an existing store from “any ecommerce platform.”

Note: According to our readers and commenters, BigCommerce has been unresponsive to feature requests submitted by current customers. In fact, some users have reported that this alone makes it difficult to justify the cost of BigCommerce. For example, the platform is available to use in many countries, but many of the advertised features are only available to US customers.

On the positive note, well-known ecommerce experts and reviewers constantly vote the platform as the online store builder with the most “out of the box” features. From selling on social media to abandoned cart recovery, streamlined checkout to advanced search engine optimization – BigCommerce has some excellent features that are useful for any online store.

Ease of Use

After you complete the steps to sign up for the free trial, and log into the admin dashboard, you are greeted by a tutorial that shows you around the dashboard. In addition, there are several steps that you can complete for a basic store configuration process. This is sufficient enough for users that are looking to get up and running as soon as possible.

BigCommerce Wizard

The admin dashboard / interface is clean and modern, which makes the navigation process and finding things fairly easy. From the admin dashboard, users can easily add inventory, process orders, configure payment options, install third party apps, and view various store statistics.

You can also create product categories, staff accounts, and multi-channel settings right from the admin dashboard.

The BigCommerce University section improves the overall usability of the platform as it assists users in areas of building, managing, and growing a successful online business.

The only problem with BigCommerce is that the platform offers too many different features and options, which can make things overwhelming for the average user. For example, their tax settings have too many options and can be time consuming to configure multiple tax settings.

BigCommerce Pricing

When it comes to the cost of the platform, BigCommerce has both positive and negative views.

One of the biggest drawbacks of using BigCommerce is the amount of revenue that your store can have per year (see plan information below for more details). Going over the limit associated with the plan that you are on will add additional fees to your bill.

On the positive side, there are no transaction fees or bandwidth fees. Additionally, as you move up to the more expensive plans, BigCommerce offers discounted credit card fees.

BigCommerce Pricing

In terms of plan options, here are the four plans that BigCommerce currently offers:

  • Standard Plan – For $29.95 a month, you get unlimited products, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited storage, and credit card and PayPal acceptance. You also get unlimited staff accounts and you do not pay any transaction fees. With this plan, your annual revenue cannot exceed $50,000 (otherwise additional fees are added).
  • Plus Plan – For $79.95 a month, you get all of the Standard Plan features plus the abandoned cart saver and customer groups and segmentation. With this plan, your annual revenue cannot exceed $150,000.
  • Pro Plan – For $249.95 a month, you get all of the Standard and Plus Plan features, and Google customer reviews, product filtering, and the option to use a third party SSL certificate. With this plan, your annual revenue cannot exceed $400,000.
  • Enterprise Plan – This requires you to contact BigCommerce for custom pricing. You get all of the Standard, Plus, and Pro Plan features, and custom product filtering, unlimited API, and priority support and other account services. With this plan, BigCommerce will set you up with a custom revenue settings as well.

Note: As many users and other reviewers have pointed out, BigCommerce seems to be pushing many of the successful online stores to upgrade to their Enterprise Plan.

For example, an average store making $125,000 a year would need to upgrade to the Plus Plan. This upgrade would double the cost on your bill.

Once you surpass the Pro Plan, BigCommerce may no longer be the right (or affordable) platform for most companies. Although the platform features are second to none, charging more for profitable stores is a strange business model, which will ultimately deter many businesses away.

Thankfully, you can try the BigCommerce free trial (15 day trial) and test out the platform before having to commit to one of the four plans mentioned above.

Templates and Design

The availability of free templates is one more area of BigCommerce that gets mixed views. For instance, there are only seven free templates that you can choose from. On the positive note, each template has anywhere from three to four different styles that can be applied (e.g. color, navigation, etc.).

Thankfully, almost all of the free themes are modern and appeal to a wide range of audience. All of the themes are responsive across various devices, which is huge now and going forward with the rise in technology.

bigcommerce templates

In addition to the free themes, BigCommerce offers well over 100 premium themes that you can purchase and install to your store. Unfortunately, the paid themes are quite pricey, the cheapest theme costs $145 and the most expensive theme costs $235.

For users with a limited budget, it is probably best to stick with one of the free templates or use a different ecommerce platform altogether.

Whether you install a free or premium template, you will have complete control over all of the template files. As with most online store builders, complex design editing is done using HTML and CSS. What we found very useful is the ability to download the theme files and edit them offline.

Users can also upload a custom store logo, build a homepage slider, add social sharing buttons, and edit email snippets.

BigCommerce Inventory

In terms of adding and managing inventory, you will have a lot of options here. You can add single products individually or import hundreds of products at once.

When using the “add a product” wizard, you can add everything from product descriptions to product warranty information. The neat thing here is that you can quickly add products to your store by adding basic product information, and then later enhance your products with more advanced options by adding product variants, setting up custom product fields, adjusting product search engine optimization settings, and creating bulk pricing rules. In addition, you have complete control over inventory levels, if you happen to track actual inventory on hand.

BigCommerce Inventory

Another noteworthy inventory feature is product filtering, which enables customers to search for products within your store by color, size, price, and brand. This feature alone improves conversion rates by at least 10%.

Product descriptions can be added and editing using a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. Users can also add product descriptions by pasting HTML code inside of the editor.

From the product tab, users can add and manage product categories, product options, product filtering, product reviews, and brand names.

SEO and Marketing

Whether you are adding products, creating web pages, or publishing blog posts, BigCommerce has an array of search engine optimization tools that you can configure to boost your search engine rankings.

For example, you can add custom pages titles and URL’s, Meta tags and descriptions, and search keywords. Additionally, custom 301 redirects and sitemaps can easily be created to use for Google Search Console and other search engines.

BigCommerce SEO

As far as marketing features, BigCommerce does not disappoint here. In fact, the platform has a comprehensive list of marketing tools and options that you will not find on other online store builders. We are talking features like coupons and promotions, Google Shopping, email marketing, social media marketing, and multi-channel selling.

Finally, if there is something extra that you need and cannot find it within the platform, you can always visit the BigCommerce App Store and try to find it there.

Payments

The platform supports over 60 payment gateways that you can use to accept payments through your online store. You can even use some of the leading payment gateways such as PayPal, Square, Stripe, and Amazon Pay. If you decide to use one of the leading payment gateways, you will not be charged any setup fees or monthly gateway fees.

BigCommerce Payments

BigCommerce also offers special discounted credit card rates from PayPal powered by Braintree. Although, the starting rate of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction does not seem competitive or appealing at all.

Offline payment methods are also available. These include bank transfer, pay in store, check, cash on delivery, and money order. While these options are supported and ready to use right away, we feel that offline payments are not something most customers would be interested in.

Digital wallets from Apple Pay and Visa Checkout are also supported and easy to set up.

Note: BigCommerce does not charge any transaction fees regardless of what payment gateway that you use. However, it is important to understand that every payment gateway provider charges transaction fees on their end. These fees exist with every payment gateway provider regardless of the online store builder that you use.

Overall, the BigCommerce platform goes above and beyond by offering a wide range of payment options for your customers to use. In fact, it is safe to say that it outperforms many of the other leading online store builders in this category.

Security

All sites hosted on BigCommerce are Level 1 PCI compliant, which means that personal and financial information that passes through your online store is secure. Their enterprise grade network architecture also protects the infrastructure of your company.

A shared SSL certificate is included with every plan. This means that customers can safely checkout without compromising any of their information. However, by using the included shared SSL certificate, it means that the checkout page will not be hosted on your site. The checkout page is hosted through BigCommerce (similar to the checkout page on Shopify), and your customers will rarely ever notice.

You can also purchase a dedicated SSL certificate through BigCommerce or transfer an existing one. This type of SSL will host the checkout page on your own domain.

Overall, the security is one of the stronger points of BigCommerce.

Customer Support

When you visit the customer support page, you will find that BigCommerce offers many different options for finding an answer to your question. The support page features online forums, tutorials, helpful videos, and tutorials. This is ideal for those that want to do the research on their own.

Once you sign up for BigCommerce, you also get support through live chat, phone, and email. However, some of our readers mentioned that phone and live chat support is not always useful. For instance, there are long hold times on the phone, and the support representatives are not properly trained enough to answer your questions.

While BigCommerce has room for improvement in the support department, we feel that it compares well to other leading online store builders like Shopify and Volusion.

By adding the BigCommerce University (a series of informative videos for growing your business) to their resource section, the platform has taken a step in the right direction.

BigCommerce Review – Final Thoughts

Overall, BigCommerce is only one of the many online store builders that will work for just about anyone. If you find yourself needing the Enterprise Plan right from the start, we feel that there are stronger and more affordable options out there. A larger company is going to have the same tools with Shopify at a much reasonable cost.

BigCommerce works well for small and medium companies that need robust features. It is also for companies that can handle the increased fees for bringing in more sales in any given year.

Even with all of this in mind, the cost of BigCommerce is fairly competitive to other ecommerce platforms out there. We strongly believe that their robust and easy-to-use features can offset most of the drawbacks.

If you crave an ecommerce platform and online store builder that has just about every feature that you will ever need, give BigCommerce a go by signing up for the 15 day free trial.

What is your view on BigCommerce? Share your thoughts, opinions, and comments by posting a comment right below this BigCommerce Review.

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