Running an online store can be a very profitable business. Thanks to the intuitive and easy-to-use eCommerce platforms, you can set up a store without worrying about coding or any other technical stuff. But, while many of those platforms are created with beginners in mind, they lack flexibility and scalability required by rapidly-growing businesses. And that’s where one company comes in - let's have a look at it in this BigCommerce review.
This platform comes with a promise for being a perfect platform for both beginners and huge, established businesses. In this BigCommerce review, I’ll try to find out if their offer can serve you well on all stages of your eCommerce journey.
What is BigCommerce and who is it for?
BigCommerce is a Texas-based eCommerce company that allows entrepreneurs to host, create and operate online stores. Contrary to what you might think when looking at the company name, they are targeting all kinds of businesses – beginners included.
From mom and pop online stores to international corporations with millions of dollars in revenue, such as Toyota, Kodak or Travelpro.
Services Offered by BigCommerce
Unlike a typical hosting company where you get a place on the server on which you can install your own CMS platform or even an OS, BigCommerce provides you with a closed environment with everything you need to run a store. This includes:
- Content Management System
- Online Store
- eCommerce Analytics Tools
Top that with a great 24/7 support and tons of integrations, and you get a complete platform on which you don’t have to worry about anything once you sign up. But how much does it all cost?
The company offers four pricing tiers. In this BigCommerce review, I can only give you prices for the first three, as the latter is a custom one for enterprise-grade clients. The pricing for the most basic platform starts at $29.95 per month.
As usual, there’s a difference between monthly and yearly pricing. If you were to choose a Plus or Pro plan, you could save between $96 - $300 every year:
|Plan||Monthly||Annually||Savings (per year)|
|Standard||$29.95/mo.||$29.95/mo. ($359.40 upfront)||$0.00|
|Plus||$79.95/mo.||$71.95/mo. ($863.40 upfront)||$96.00|
|Pro||$249.95/mo.||$224.95/mo. ($2699.40 upfront)||$300.00|
The first question that might pop in your head once you see the prices is – is that a lot? In the end, a shared hosting can cost you just $2 or $3 dollars per month, and a decent VPS can be rented for a lot less than $29.95. The answer is – it depends. I’ll try to answer this question later in this BigCommerce review.
Essential features – does BigCommerce have them?
Now, let's have a look at the best BigCommerce features - what does this platform offer on each of its plans? Since we know that every business has a slightly different list of priorities, we separated the features table in separate categories.
Here's how BigCommerce performs on each of them.
|Yearly Sales Limit||$50,000||$150,000||$400,000||Custom|
|Credit Card Fees||2.9% + $0.30||2.5% + $0.30||2.2% + $0.30||2.2% + $0.30|
|24/7 Live Support||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free Trial||15 days||-||-||-|
On a closed hosting environment, you don’t have to worry about the number of CPUs or RAM. 24/7 live support is always there to help - and a free 15-day trial is always a good thing to try out.
But, there’s a something specific that might quickly force you to upgrade – annual sales limit.
As you can see in the below table, the first plan is capped at just $50,000 – not a lot, especially if you are selling low profit margin products.
The Pro plan is capped at $400,000 a year - but can be extended beyond that. You can add an extra $200,000 for $150/mo each - all the way to $1 million. After that, you need to ask for custom pricing.
|eBay & Amazon Integration||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Coupons, Discounts, Gift Cards||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Product Ratings and Reviews||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Abandoned cart saver||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
BigCommerce is big on commerce features (sorry). Many brilliant features, such as Apple Pay integration, product reviews and gift cards are available on all plans.
There are only 2 main features that are missing from the entry-level plan. That's customer segmentation, allowing to make loyalty programs for special users, and abandoned cart saver, sending out messages for people who wanted to make a purchase but didn't finish it. These two are definitely helpful in making more sales - so it's no surprise that BigCommerce expects you to pay a little bit extra.
Security and technical features
|Free Sitewide SSL & HTTPS||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
All of the BigCommerce plans will make your store PCI compliant - which is needed for smooth credit card transactions. SSL and HTTPS are also included - that's to be expected. With Pro and Enterprise plans you will also be able to transfer that fancy SSL certificate you bought elsewhere.
For things like basic security and bandwidth, BigCommerce has you covered. Overall, in terms of technical features, BigCommerce includes pretty much everything you will ever need.
BigCommerce has several available free themes. There are also loads of premium templates - they include several color schemes and can easily be edited to fit your business. Overall, they are very professional and functional - fully optimized for increased sales.
What's also optimized for eCommerce is SEO, API integrations, and merchant reports.
Overall, BigCommerce definitely shows an impressive array of features. Even the entry plan doesn't hold back and offers loads of premium options. And as you improve, so do the plans - all the way to your business becoming a multi-million dollar enterprise.
This also makes the transition to a higher pricing plan smoother – as you already have the majority of critical features set up anyway, and it's mostly done to accommodate bigger sales and reduce credit card rates.
What distinguishes BigCommerce is their unparalleled average uptime of 99.99%. According to our uptime calculator, this means that your site will be offline for less than an hour every year – and just eight seconds every day:
Often, companies tend to offer something like 99.9%. While that looks good - it means legally your store cold be down for more than 40 minutes a month, and definitely hurt your sales.
On top of that, BigCommerce guarantees 100% availability during the Cyber Week, when many online stores experience a surge in traffic and sales (and, as a result, profits):
And what about the performance? We've set up a regular eCommerce site and also tested a lot of existing BigCommerce sites - with plenty of content and active users, no less. Overall, the average response times were really not bad.
Trying out BigCommerce
Here, we'll be going through some of the main things you'll experience should you decide to sign up for BigCommerce. You can easily do this yourself - since BigCommerce offers a free trial. This shows confidence the company has in its product. Is it justified? Let's review this.
To sign up, go to the main website and hit Get Started in the top right corner. You will be asked for your email address:
Next, you will need to provide some more details – the great thing is you don’t need to share your credit card details. This means you don’t have to worry about getting charged after the end of your trial period:
Next, just wait a few seconds for the store to get created:
Once the process is finished, you will be able to add products, customize the store, review it and give it a test ride right away:
The product management, while robust, is in fact very clear and easy to use. All product details are separated into different categories. Just fill in the blanks in a user-friendly dashboard and you’re done:
The drawback of the platform is that the wealth of all the features could make your head spin. Every aspect of your store – from marketing to store setup or analytics has numerous different options.
Luckily, each section is accompanied by an intuitive menu which contains everything you could be looking for and makes it easy to navigate around:
From there on - each story will be different. So if you're interested in what BigCommerce has to offer, definitely give the free trial a shot, type in your business details and see what beautiful things can you do.
As we're reaching the end of this BigCommerce review, it's time to summarize. This part right here, which includes the pros, is going to be quite big. Because overall, I really liked what I saw.
Rich Entry-Level Plan
Unlike some of its competitors, the platform gives you access to the majority of crucial features right from the start. This means that you can customize your store without spending hundreds of dollars per month. And the customization includes everything – from changing SEO settings to choosing a beautiful theme for your customers to see:
Great Free Trial
15 days and no credit card required is a shining neon "Welcome" sign. Choosing an eCommerce platform can be a stressful and expensive investment - so it's good to see BigCommerce giving you a test ride. In a bit over two weeks, you could learn the ins and outs of the platform – meaning that you can have a store ready to go live even before you spend your first dollar.
Room for Growth
BigCommerce has its name for a reason. While their company is beginner-friendly, their ultimate target group are big businesses with millions of dollars in revenue. But being prepared to work with businesses of all sizes means that they have everything you need to get from being a one-man operation to a huge online store with thousands of customers. You won't need to switch a platform once you strike gold.
No need to pay extra for support or wait for hours to get an answer to your email. The company offers 24/7 support via phone or email - once call later, I can hereby testify that they are fine with even very stupid questions. (You CAN use BigCommerce to sell crocodile statues. The best premium theme for that is Lookbook.)
And, if you would like to learn some stuff without the human contact, there are thousands of articles, dozens of videos and an active community out there to help you.
No Platform Transaction Fees
The hidden costs of many eCommerce platforms are the transaction fees that they charge on every product that you sell. The beauty of BigCommerce? There’re no such fees. You only need to pay a cut for payment processing to the actual payment processor. And there are many which you can choose from, including PayPal, Apple Pay, Strip, and Visa Checkout.
Of course, every coin has two sides, and even the best eCommerce platforms may have some issues. Here are some things that bugged me off:
It Can Get Overwhelming
Having so many features right from the start can be overwhelming. And sure, the dashboard is very easy to use. But the learning curve is quite steep – especially if it’s the first eCommerce platform or content management system that you use. If you have zero website building/management experience, prepare to keep the customer support people on hold.
Low Transaction Limits
In eCommerce, a yearly $50,000 transaction limit is virtually nothing. While their basic plan gives you a lot of freedom when it comes to features, you will need to upgrade it pretty quickly as soon as you start growing. Luckily, the price increase shouldn’t hurt your pockets – assuming that you have a healthy profit margin.
BigCommerce Review - Is This Platform A Big Hit?
Personally, I’m a big fan of the platform. BigCommerce is jam-packed with features and it treats its potential customers seriously regardless of their size. While I don’t necessarily like their revenue limits, I believe the offer is still really good - and even a more expensive plan is still worth paying for.
For just $29.95 per month, you get a complete, secured platform full of great features. And you don’t have to worry about anything – you can only worry about getting sales and growing your business.
Actually, you can start doing it right now – sign up for BigCommerce 15-day trial, and give their offer a shot– no credit card required!