BigCommerce Review – A Big Success, Or A Big Failure?
2019 May 20th at 4:19
BigCommerce claims to be a versatile and advanced eCommerce platform, perfect for all sorts of businesses.
Whether your own online store is just an idea or a full-scale project already, BigCommerce has big promises for what can it do to help you.
But is it actually a great option for your online business? That's what we need to find out.
What is BigCommerce?
One of the biggest players in the eCommerce market, eCommerce is used by such giants like Toyota, Paul Michel, and Martha Stewart.
So, with over 65 payment gateway options, all major shipping providers, eCommerce platform integrations, and more, there's plenty to like. There are also has a bunch of website design customization options, hundreds of apps and other tools, so you can create an online store matching your brand.
So let's get into the details.
BigCommerce has 3 essential eCommerce plans and 1 custom plan for enterprises. The prices start at $29.95/month for the Standard plan.
The most popular, Plus plan will cost you $79.95/month, and the Pro plan is $249.95/month.
Enterprise plan pricing is negotiated personally and depends on business sales and specific demands.
Each of the plans includes all essential features to run an online store and do not charge any transaction fees.
You get unlimited storage, bandwidth, and can upload as many products as you wish. All plans include an easy to use website builder and integration with all supported selling and social media platforms such as Google Shopping, Instagram, Facebook, eBay, Amazon, and Pinterest.
The Standard plan is suitable for up to $50k in sales. It gets you an average 64% discount for shipping. Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Amazon Pay integration. Coupons, discounts, and gift cards are included as well.
You can compare it to Shopify's Basic plan which, for $29/month does not include the possibility to offer gift cards. However, with the BigCommerce Standard plan, you don't get the abandoned cart feature, which you get with Shopify.
The Plus plan allows up to $150k in sales. It offers even more features such as customer segmentation, saving credit cards, and abandoned cart recovery, as well as the persistent cart service.
Abandoned card recovery means that shoppers, who put in their details, but didn't complete the purchase, will get a reminder to do so.
Persistent cart service means that a returning customer who didn't do a purchase, will be able to see the cart they've left on their previous purchase.
The Business plan is suitable for up to $400k in sales. You'll be able to add product filtering feature, custom SSL and showcase Google Customer Reviews.
You can compare all of the plans and their features right here:
|Disk space and bandwidth||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Sales per year||$50k||$150k||$400k||Custom|
|SSL||Included||Included||Included + Custom||Included + Custom|
|Credit card rates||2.9% + $0.30¢
|2.5% + $0.30¢
|2.2% + $0.30¢
|2.5% + $0.30¢
per transaction or lower
|Support||24/7 live agent support||24/7 live agent support + API support|
BigCommerce charges an extra $150/month for each additional $200k in online sales.
BigCommerce is an all-in-one package, meaning that everything - including hosting, marketing services, and eCommerce features are all included. Here are the main things that you will get:
- Payment and shipping method integration
- Online store builder
- Easy product upload and managing
- SEO and marketing tools
- App Store
- POS system integration
Let's have a deeper look at what they are.
BigCommerce payment and shipping methods
BigCommerce accepts over 65 payment methods including all major ones like PayPal, Apple Pay, and Stripe.
For all of the leading payment methods, there are no transaction fees.
However, PayPal powered credit and debit card transactions will cost 2.5% + $0.30. The number can decrease to 2.2% + $0.30 or lower according to your plan.
BigCommerce credit card and PayPal payments are powered by Braintree platform. It allows one-click payments and should protect both you and your customer from fraud.
Talking about shipping methods, BigCommerce claims to offer competitive pricing for all major providers including DHL, UPS, and FedEx.
Shipping methods are customized quite easily.
The process includes you selecting areas you want to ship to, assigning them with shipping methods and selecting way how prices are going to be shown. It can be flat-rate, real-time, or value and weight-based pricing.
BigCommerce also offers integrations with apps like ShipStation for managing the orders, ShipperHQ for the more complex ways of shipping, and Easyship for international shipping.
BigCommerce online store builder
Building a website with BigCommerce is hassle-free. To try out the builder and start a free trial you don't need anything more than your name, store's name, and your email address.
From there, BigCommerce chooses one of the free themes according to the purpose of your store, and you can customize it. Alternatively, you can change it, or, if you wish, you can upload your own theme as well.
BigCommerce website builder has over 80 responsive templates, including free and premium ones.
But there's an issue - the free templates are pretty limited. So most likely, you'll need to dish out an additional $100-300 for a premium one.
The website builder has a live preview, meaning, that the changes you apply will be visible in a large preview screen.
Unfortunately, it does not have a drag-and-drop editor, but it does not make it significantly more difficult to customize.
For example, customizing homepage is just like creating a slideshow with PowerPoint. There are assigned text fields, you can upload a picture, etc.
It is also possible to edit CSS and HTML to create a theme that's truly unique.
Product upload and managing
Adding and managing products is not difficult, yet it's laborious work of adding each product separately. Especially with endless customization options.
So, uploading a product you can, of course, add elements like product names, images, and pricing. You can also choose to automatically calculate taxes with Avalara Tax Codes.
There also are options to track inventory, add custom fields, apply discounts, etc.
Fortunately, some help might come with the custom options sets for product categories, so you don't have to set up each of the settings manually each time.
BigCommerce SEO tools
BigCommerce has built-in SEO tools that should help you rank higher on search engine lists, increase conversion and click-through rates, and increase site speed.
It uses microdata so search listing can include ratings, pricing, brand, and stock levels. BigCommerce also uses optimized URLs for your products and categories. You can change them if you wish.
Website performance is also very helpful for SEO, as faster pages tend to get ranked higher on search engines. BigCommerce has some tricks up its sleeves there, too.
That comes in the form of CDN boosters. In the best case scenario, they should ensure a perfect uptime and increase website performance for users all around the world.
BigCommerce also has the Akamai image optimization tool, which helps to reduce load times of image-heavy websites.
The bottom line is, BigCommerce is doing a pretty good job in optimizing your website to be fast (meaning reduced bounce rates). You can, of course, take it a step further by using your own tactics to boost the SEO game.
Extensive BigCommerce app store
While BigCommerce on itself is nothing spectacular and may only be enough for the most basic online store, its own app store makes all the difference.
In the app store, you'll find plenty of the most popular integrations - Google Shopping, Pinterest Feed, Facebooks ads, etc.
There are also a bunch of other apps - for marketing, optimization, analytics, and customization. In total, BigCommerce has around 650 apps meant for customizing your store.
So in this field, BigCommerce is strong. But in the end, it will be up to you to build the store to make it as functional as you want.
Talking about helpful tools, BigCommerce has a built-in analytics system. And it's pretty thorough and insightful.
BigCommerce tracks how many orders you had, revenues, customers, visitors, conversion rate, and an average value of a shopping cart. You'll also see the statistics of an abandoned cart, purchase funnel, and top products.
One of the features I like is the live tracking of statistics. You can see your revenues going up in real time, which is not only fun, but useful when you get a bigger surge of traffic.
Based on the statistics, BigCommerce can offer you some insights. It claims to up your revenues by 25% - but, like many good things, Insights are not free. You get 3 months free but after that, a plan will cost $49 - $249/month, based on your plan.
BigCommerce also has a solution for those moving either from physical store to online business, or vice versa.
Point of Sale (system) allows you to use a specialized app (or system if you wish) in your physical business to track worker's shifts, payrolls, inventory, take payments, etc.
Unlike other big eCommerce providers, BigCommerce does not have its own POS. However, it does allow integrations with a few popular POS systems such as Square. This way, you are not limited to only one system (which might not be very good) but have an option to choose your own.
On the other hand, some eCommerce include POS in their price, so BigCommerce is not the platform where you'll save some cash on the service.
BigCommerce Hosting Performance
BigCommerce claims to offer a reliable and secure hosting with their eCommerce platform. After all, who would want to build a business on a platform that performs poorly?
To answer that, BigCommerce guarantees 99.99% uptime. And, during Cyber Week it promises to be up the entire time - 100%.
That sounds promising. And here's how BigCommerce performance was going:
During two weeks of testing, BigCommerce hasn't been down for a single second. That, of course, is perfect.
Talking about the response times, BigCommerce is doing pretty good as well. There are some higher peaks here and there but overall, it averages at around 460ms.
I've also decided to check how these results are doing in more realistic conditions. After testing a big online store with pretty high traffic levels, built on BigCommerce. And the results were not showing anything good. Page load time exceeded 4 seconds.
That's a straight way to Google's graveyard.
Because even the best website builder won't save you from all of your code optimization mistakes.
BigCommerce Customer Support
BigCommerce has a knowledge base and 24/7 live support that can be reached both by live chat and phone. And if you wish, you can also reach the customer services via email tickets obsolete. Which is good in case your problems are more extensive and need thorough investigation.
My personal favorite, the knowledge base is extensive. You may find everything you are looking for and more. It also has a community forum where you can ask questions and communicate with other BigCommerce users.
There are groups like Critique my site or Ask a design partner that are the most active and pretty insightful.
Talking about live chat support, it is professional and helpful. Though it took a good 20 minutes to be connected with a support agent. Even though I was the first in the queue.
Once I was connected, the agent was able to answer all of my questions. And did it quickly - so that's good.
Overall, BigCommerce customer support is pretty good. The live chat needs improvement, but the knowledge base and community forum both make using BigCommerce a simple and enjoyable experience.
BigCommerce Review - the Verdict
BigCommerce offers a huge selection of advanced eCommerce features, great server performance, and an extensive app store. However, plenty of websites using this platform are pretty slow and not optimized.
Speaking of things that are slow, the live chat probably needs to hire a second person to answer all of the queries - because a 20-minute wait time is unacceptable.
But overall, BigCommerce offers a really good value for the bunch of services they offer. Both eCommerce beginners and seasoned veterans will find a plan that fits their needs.
And with a free trial available, there's no reason why you shouldn't try BigCommerce out for yourself.
- Great eCommerce features
- Plenty of payment gateways to choose from
- No transaction fees on all plans
- Some websites tend to underperform
- Expensive premium themes
- Slow live chat responses