6 Pros and Cons of the eCommerce Beast | BigCommerce Reviews 2017

Last updated on October 24, 2017 @ 4:51 pm

 

BigCommerce, along with other eCommerce website builders that we review, is aimed at individuals with little-to-no tech or design skills who want to create a beautiful online store quickly and cheaply without sacrificing any of the features used by the largest online shopping portals. eCommerce website builders have become so popular, that people who never expected to become entrepreneurs are doing so in greater numbers than ever before.

But not all eCommerce website builders are created equally. Some are better designed, while others give the user greater control over customization. Does BigCommerce offer enough to set itself apart from the competition or is the Australia-based company lagging behind? We bought and used the platform to create our BigCommerce review for 2017.


Review Outline

Read review sections by clicking the links below:

  1. Pros and Cons
  2. Getting Started
  3. Template Selection
  4. BigCommerce App Store
  5. BigCommerce Mobile
  6. BigCommerce Premium
  7. Conclusion

Pros and Cons

  • Pros
  • Cons
  1. BigCommerce has an extensive set of features that can help users learn how to convert more efficiently. Their features include excellent website templates, powerful analytics tools, expert support, conversion tools, comprehensive payment integration, email tools, discount management, social media, wishlists, shipping assistants, and customer product reviews.
  2. The themes and templates offered by BigCommerce are extremely underrated. While eCommerce builders like Shopify or Squarespace may get credit for having the most stylish and modern themes, BigCommerce should certainly rank high on the list as well. Featuring a catalog with dozens of free and paid-for templates, BigCommerce has cornered the same style of design that was once reserved for the higher-tiered design sites.
  3. Where BigCommerce really thrives, however, is in the eCommerce app store. Packed with a good selection and variety of third party apps, including MailChimp, eBay, and Constant Contact, BigCommerce makes it easy for developers to consistently create new and improved features usable by anyone on the platform. In our experience, whenever a big e-tailer announced a new feature, the BigCommerce app market was not far behind in offering the same feature.
  1. One of the most important features for many users, especially ones with little experience using website builders, is good customer support. It was somewhat surprising that we experienced very spotty support. Like most other players in the website builder arena, BigCommerce offers 24-hour chat and email support, but in our testing we were often unable to reach the service and emails did not receive responses with the same zippiness we experience with other services.
  2. BigCommerce is very expensive for both average and advanced users. High volume stores will need to shell out $249.95 per month to use the service and using a paid theme will increase that by at least $100 initially. Users who choose to pay upfront can save 10% annually, but unless you are completely sure that your business will be around in a year it may be best to opt for the monthly plan as there is a strict no refunds policy.
  3. Every business is concerned about each dollar that is taken out of its bottom line. It is therefore frustrating that the standard plan charges a 1.5% transaction fee on all purchases made in your store. These fees do not appear in the more expensive packages, so it is important to calculate what 1.5% of your bottom line would be versus the additionally monthly cost you will be paying – a calculation that most people don’t want to have to worry about month-over-month.

Getting Started

BigCommerce is suited for budding entrepreneurs and enterprise businesses alike. With a client list that includes Martha Stewart and Payless ShoeSource, BigCommerce clearly has a product that spans the spectrum of company size.

Setting up a BigCommerce store can begin with either a free trial of a paid plan. Signing up requires a store name and password, but no credit card is needed upfront. Once you decide on a domain name (you can also use a free ‘mybigcommerce.com’ subdomain, although that is not recommended), a wizard guides you through each step of the process.

We liked the fact that BigCommerce did not make up enter all of our information at once. Each component is handled individually, ensuring that everything is covered slowly and accurately. The setup also allows you to choose templates and features, such as FreshBooks. Be forewarned not to get carried away, however. The add-ons can quickly add up, making you wonder if you should have just built a website from the ground up to begin with.


Template Selection

BigCommerce Templates ReviewThere are many great themes on the BigCommerce platform. Although most of them are premium and will require an additional investment, the free template options (of which there are seven) are not a bad way to start you on your way.

BigCommerce cannot claim that they have the largest selection of designs, but they have improved exponentially since we last used the service and all of the available options are indubitably the work of expert graphic designers who specialize in a modern aesthetic.

One thing we were pleased with was the ability of any user to create their own completely custom storefront. That way you can use the BigCommerce platform while maintaining a look and feel that is truly your own. Again, these are features that add to the cost of a site, but they definitely come in handy to a great deal of BigCommerce’s clientele.


BigCommerce App Store

BigCommerce features a fully loaded app store with an endless list of free and paid-for apps. Anything you may need to run a business can be found in the store, with too many categories to list.

SIDENOTE: We didn’t perform any comprehensive studies to identify the index sizes for each provider. Instead, we suggest you to try entering a few websites into all 4 tools and see who consistently gives you more data.

Some of the categories include Accounting, Advertising, Email Marketing, Live Chat, Mobile, Shipping, Social Media, Split Testing… and that’s just scratching the surface! There is literally nothing that you will not be able to do using the BigCommerce collection of apps. Many great features, including customer review integration, are completely free as well.

BigCommerce Mobile

Your BigCommerce site can be managed using their mobile site. While the mobile editing and management is not as powerful as web builders with proprietary applications, it is usable. Still, you will want to manage your site using your desktop.

As the number of users purchasing on mobile continues to skyrocket, BigCommerce continues to improve and streamline their mobile platform. eCommerce stores are presented with the same look, feel, and intuitive design that their desktop sites offer.

As the number of users purchasing on mobile continues to skyrocket, BigCommerce continues to improve and streamline their mobile platform. eCommerce stores are presented with the same look, feel, and intuitive design that their desktop sites offer.

Another great feature offered by BigCommerce is the ability to create a mobile app for your store. With options ranging from the tens of dollars to thousands,  there is an option for everyone. This feature really sets BigCommerce apart from other eCommerce web builders.


BigCommerce Premium

BigCommerce Review Pricing Tiers

Your BigCommerce experience begins with a 15-day free trial. This is pretty meager, yet still competitive in a field that seems less-than-eager to give away their software. There are four paid plans.

The Standard plan costs $29.95 per month, includes a full-featured store, and enough tools for the average user. Keep in mind, however, that BigCommerce will take 1.5% of your profits on this tier.

The Plus plan costs $79.95 per month and is BigCommerce’s most popular tier. Included in the plan is a full featured store in addition to optimized conversion and customer management tools.

The Pro plan starts at $249.95 per month and is likely not relevant to our target reader. They also offer an Enterprise solution for really big companies.

As noted above, these plans cost more than the competition, but users get a 10% discount when they pay for a year upfront.


Conclusion

BigCommerce is a beast of a platform. With a great app store, excellent user customization options, and store features that rival the big guys, most users will be thrilled with the service. The software is among the most flexible eCommerce website builders we have experienced and BigCommerce continues to improve. Let’s just hope their customer support improves with it.

 

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David Brandon

David Brandon

I'm a web developer & blogger enthusiast, helping novice users with the principles of site creation.

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