BigCommerce Review: The Next Big Thing in eCommerce

bigcommerce
LIVE UPTIME
99.98%
SPEED
215ms
TEMPLATES
8.4
PRICING
8.3
FEATURES
9.2
EASE OF USE
9.3

out of 10

VISIT SITE
BigCommerce Review: The Next Big Thing in eCommerce

out of 10

LIVE UPTIME
99.98%
TEMPLATES
8.4
PRICING
8.3
SPEED
215ms
FEATURES
9.2
EASE OF USE
9.3
PRICE FROM
$
29
95
/ mo
BigCommerce Review: The Next Big Thing in eCommerce

out of 10

UPTIME
99.98%
SPEED
215ms
PRICE
$ 29.95 /mo
TEMPLATES
8.4
FEATURES
9.2
EASE OF USE
9.3
VISIT SITE

In this BigCommerce review, I’ll be taking an in-depth look at this eCommerce platform, and help you decide, whether it’s worth trusting it with your business. I’ll look into features, performance, ease of use, and the overall website building experience.

BigCommerce has been around for more than a decade – but it’s never been as big as its name suggests.

I didn’t find it very exciting either. I’ve been using its spotlight was always overshadowed either by builders that were more functional, or by the ones that were affordable.

Or, worst of all: builders that were both cheaper and better.

However, a lot is different now.

Over the last few years, BigCommerce has undergone some serious changes. Right now, I find it an eCommerce builder absolutely worth checking out.

How come? BigCommerce markets itself as a solution for bigger businesses. And what that really means is that it offers a huge amount of advanced eCommerce tools, available in a very strong app store. And that, trust me, can be useful not only for the big businesses but those wishing to beat and join them.

Of course, BigCommerce is in no way ideal, one of the bigger issues being its hefty price point. But in this BigCommerce review, I dare to argue that for some, this might not be a big problem.

With that being said, is BigCommerce the right platform for you? Let’s find out together.

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PricingBigCommerce Pricing

BigCommerce is pretty expensive at its starting price point – the plans start at $29.95 per month. But you get a lot of features at that price point, like analytics and image optimization – so it’s actually pretty good value for money.

BigCommerce also offers a ‘Plus’ plan for $79.95 per month and a ‘Pro’ plan for $249.95 per month, which both allow for a larger turnover, and include additional features.

BigCommerce eCommerce plans

So, which plan is the best value for money? Well, it depends.

For shop owners just starting out in the world of eCommerce, BigCommerce’s $29.95 per month ‘Standard’ plan is a pretty terrific deal. Yes, it’s more than what you’ll pay for a basic plan from well-known competitors like Shopify, Squarespace, or Wix. However, BigCommerce includes a ton of features that those platforms force you to pay through the nose for.

Specifically, BigCommerce makes five essential features a part of the Standard plan: detailed site analytics, unlimited staff accounts, image optimization, gift cards, and customer reviews. All of these features are extremely important for growing your business and helping to retain loyal customers.

So, BigCommerce’s entry-level plan looks expensive on its face. But, you’ll end up saving compared to other platforms as your store comes into its own.

That said, there is one important limitation you should know about with the Standard plan: it doesn’t come with an abandoned cart recovery feature. That’s a big hit, especially since this feature is available in eCommerce behemoth Shopify with its similarly priced plan.

If you want abandoned cart recovery, you’ll need to upgrade to the $79.95 per month ‘Plus’ plan. To be honest, for the $50 per month jump, you don’t get a ton else with this plan. You can store customer credit cards and save carts to customers’ accounts, as well as create a loyalty program by segmenting customers. But, unless you specifically need these features, there’s not a lot of motivation to upgrade.

Big improvements are more noticeable in the $249.95 per month ‘Pro’ plan. With that plan, customers can filter product searches on your online store and customer reviews are directly visible on Google.

But there’s one more thing that may make you upgrade from a Standard plan. No matter if you want it or not.

Annual Sales Limits

Upgrading your plan may not be entirely up to you. That’s because BigCommerce puts restrictions on how much you can sell, in dollar terms, each year before you’re automatically forced into a higher-tier plan.

This is most problematic if you’re on the cheaper Standard plan since you’re limited to selling just $50,000 worth of products in a single year before you get bumped up to Plus. For Plus users, the limit is $150,000 in sales per year.  Pro users get up to $400,000 in annual sales, then pay $150 per month extra for every additional $200,000 in sales.

Still, before you get too annoyed about this policy, it’s important to think about how much money it actually works out to be. If you’re making $50,000 in sales on your online store, paying an extra $600 per year to upgrade to a Plus subscription probably isn’t going to make much of a dent in your business.

And yet – it’s something to consider.

Additional Fees and Purchases

Soon after starting to use BigCommerce, I’ve come to find that my wallet is in grave danger.

Its natural predator – the eCommerce platform’s sneaky fees that balloon up the cost of the services.

Sure, the platform doesn’t have any commissions on your sales, but I found that it makes money from your business in other ways — especially when you’re just starting out.

First, BigCommerce only offers a handful of templates for free. If you’re serious about growing your online business, you’ll almost certainly want to upgrade to a paid template. You should expect to spend between $200 and $400 on this, although every now and then I’ve seen premium templates on sale for around $100.

Premium theme pricing in BigCommerce

Second, depending on the tools your business needs, you’re likely to end up spending money in the BigCommerce app marketplace. For instance, I wanted to give BigCommerce some extra superpowers and allow the customers to be notified by email when a product comes back in stock in my store.

Sounds neat? That’ll be $18 per month for the InStockNotify app, please. It’s probably a good idea to budget around $50 in total per month in apps. Or just have a look at the BigCommerce store and see which additional features you’ll need and budget accordingly.

And yet, not all is doom and gloom.

I was actually pleasantly surprised by the pricing of add-ons in the BigCommerce app store. Apps are priced pretty fairly, especially comparing to some other competitors and their app stores, and you typically get a lot of functionality for what you pay for. 

Finally, while BigCommerce doesn’t charge commissions, you will likely have to pay transaction fees depending on what payment processor you use.

There are a few dozen options, so you can shop around to find the lowest rate. BigCommerce also has a partnership with PayPal that dictates your transaction fee based on your plan — Standard users pay 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction, while Plus users pay 2.5% and Pro users 2.2%.

Payment processing fees in BigCommerce

BigCommerce isn’t the cheapest platform to get started with, but you get a lot for what you pay for. In fact, the vast majority of business owners can build a burgeoning online store with just the Standard plan. However, you’ll want to factor in additional costs for a premium theme and some helpful apps.

At $29/month, BigCommerce isn’t the cheapest platform to get started with. But you get a lot for what you pay for – and the Standard plan is stacked with features. However, you’ll want to factor in additional costs for a premium theme and some helpful apps.

BIGCOMMERCE PRICING – A CONCLUSION

At%20%2429/month%2C%20BigCommerce%20isn%u2019t%20the%20cheapest%20platform%20to%20get%20started%20with.%20But%20you%20get%20a%20lot%20for%20what%20you%20pay%20for%20-%20and%20the%20Standard%20plan%20is%20stacked%20with%20features.%20However%2C%20you%u2019ll%20want%20to%20factor%20in%20additional%20costs%20for%20a%20premium%20theme%20and%20some%20helpful%20apps.

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Ease of UseIs BigCommerce Easy to Use?

BigCommerce’s streamlined platform makes setting up your online store and dealing with orders shockingly easy. You do give up a fair amount of customization in the process, but this was mostly a small price to pay for the builder’s user-friendliness.

I especially liked how simple BigCommerce makes it to create new products for sale.

Setup and Website Customization

Initial setup for your BigCommerce website is almost nonexistent — and it doesn’t get much easier than that. Once you sign up for a site, you’re taken straight to your dashboard, where you can start the customization and product design process. You can order a coffee, sit down, open BigCommerce, and have your first sale before finishing the drink.

Sadly, the website editing process may make you want to drink something stronger than coffee.

Customizing my store was the part of BigCommerce that I liked the least. The platform simply doesn’t have many tools for the job, and it can feel really limiting at times if you have an image of what you want your store to look like already in mind.

Specifically, BigCommerce isn’t a drag-and-drop website builder. The layout and design of your store is controlled entirely by your template (I’ll get into BigCommerce’s templates later). And while there are a few different global styles you can choose from, there’s no option to change layouts without changing templates.

bigcommerce-website-styling

I appreciated that BigCommerce lets you change a lot of details, like colors, fonts, and text sizes. But, none of these options really gets at the heart of customizing your website, which to me means adding custom content and moving things around.

Ultimately, the site designer felt stunted and I wasn’t able to change my site all that much from my chosen template.

BigCommerce Site Designer

What I will say in BigCommerce’s defense here is that you can access your theme’s CSS file. So, if you’re savvy with coding, you have a lot of flexibility to modify the look and feel of your theme. But, this is a difficult and time-consuming workaround to not being able to change most template options from the site editor directly.

Theme's css file editor in BigCommerce

In addition, it’s worth noting that BigCommerce’s lack of flexibility means that your site is essentially ready to launch as soon as you sign up for the platform. After changing out logos, there’s almost nothing you need to do in the site editor to have a website that looks professional.

Still, I found myself frustrated again with BigCommerce’s options for adding static web pages to your website – the ones you would use, for example, to add content. The page editor looks like something out of Windows XP, so it’s hard to do much more than add basic text and images and hope that the layout looks okay.

Really, it seems like BigCommerce doesn’t want to support static web pages at all, but has to, to at least a basic extent.

BigCommerce static page editor

Product Design

One place where BigCommerce absolutely shines in is product design. Once I got into building out the back-end of my online store, I began to appreciate BigCommerce a whole lot more

The level of detail that you can add to every individual product is very impressive.

I also found that the fact that BigCommerce keeps everything on a single product page makes designing products a lot easier.

BigCommerce product design

Helpfully, you can add an unlimited number of images or videos to every product. What I liked even better is that you can describe your images and videos, so that they get picked up as SEO data.

The description entry box is also a full-fledged what-you-see-is-what-you-get editor, so you have a lot of options to make your product descriptions stand out.

Image and video descriptions in BigCommerce

Now, for people selling custom/bespoke product, the next feature is going to rule – that’s variant creation. When you want to create multiple variants of a product, you can simply enter different option categories.

Importantly, you don’t have to jump through hoops to get rid of individual product combinations that don’t exist — you can simply uncheck that item from the list of potential options.

Variant creation in BigCommerce

Finally, BigCommerce has a lot of detailed options that I mostly didn’t need to use, but liked the option of having. For example, you can choose to mark a product as coming soon, so that you can accept pre-orders without having to actually sell it at that moment. You can also specify multiple gift wrapping options and offer custom entry fields for complex items. 

I also appreciated that you can choose to have BigCommerce automatically show related products or manually select related items to display. It’s a small detail, but it illustrates the level of control you have over products in your online store with this platform.

As you might expect, BigCommerce allows you to categorize your products so that they’re easier for both you and customers to find. But the platform goes beyond that by allowing you to add brands and SKUs to products, and even to import these ID tags from a spreadsheet. If you’re a Pro user, you can then allow customers to filter through your products using these tags and other product information.

Adding brands to your products in BigCommerce

Store Settings

I won’t go into detail about every setting that BigCommerce offers for your store, but I think it’s worth pointing out how easy the platform makes it control the fine details of your business’s back-end. All of your options are under either the ‘Store Setup’ or ‘Advanced Settings’ tabs in your dashboard, which makes them ridiculously easy to find.

BigCommerce backend

Better yet, your options are clearly laid out in the dashboard menu and individual settings page tabs. Altogether, I found that this made it much easier to get my bearings in BigCommerce compared to other eCommerce platforms that I’ve used.

Support

If you do find yourself running into problems with BigCommerce for any reason, the team behind the platform is quite helpful. Every plan comes with 24/7 phone and email support.

Importantly, this phone support extends beyond just the US. There’s a number you can call even if there’s no phone support specifically for your language or country, which shows the extent BigCommerce is willing to go to help out its customers.

I was also happy to find that BigCommerce has a pretty large support base online. The company puts out a ton of articles and videos to help with frequently asked questions, and the user community is also very willing to help with problems.

BigCommerce excels for ease of use when it comes to product design and online store setup. The platform falls a bit flat in terms of website customization, especially if you want to push the boundaries of what your template offers. But, that inflexibility means that there’s very little work required to launch your eCommerce shop.

BIGCOMMERCE EASE OF USE – A CONCLUSION

BigCommerce%20excels%20for%20ease%20of%20use%20when%20it%20comes%20to%20product%20design%20and%20online%20store%20setup.%20The%20platform%20falls%20a%20bit%20flat%20in%20terms%20of%20website%20customization%2C%20especially%20if%20you%20want%20to%20push%20the%20boundaries%20of%20what%20your%20template%20offers.%20But%2C%20that%20inflexibility%20means%20that%20there%u2019s%20very%20little%20work%20required%20to%20launch%20your%20eCommerce%20shop.

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TemplatesBigCommerce Templates

There’s a big difference in quality between free BigCommerce templates and paid templates, which can be problematic if you’re just a small store owner starting out.

But not all is doom and gloom. There are still some solid options for all budgets.

Let’s start with BigCommerce’s free themes. Unfortunately, there are only 12 of them in total. In reality, several of those are just style variants of each other, so there are really only about five different layouts to choose from.

This is one of the major downsides that BigCommerce reviews often point to, but I’ll stand up for the platform’s free themes. They look pretty good on the whole, even if they don’t quite compare to the available paid themes. The ‘Roots’ and ‘Vault’ themes do an excellent job of highlighting specific products or a sale with a front-and-center call to action.

BigCommerce free themes

In fact, outdoor gearmaker Kelty’s website uses the Roots theme to highlight one of the company’s new product collections.

Kelty website

Meanwhile, I loved the nearly full-screen image featured on the front of the ‘Fortune’ theme.

"Fortune" theme from BigCommerce

Still, if you want to break out of the standard mold, you’ll need to pay for a premium theme. Depending on what you want, these templates typically run between $200 and $400. Keep an eye out for sales, though, since you can sometimes pick up a premium template for less than $100.

Once you get into paid themes, you not only have a lot more options to choose from, but also different layouts optimized for small or large catalogs.

Hyphen’s website demonstrates the power of a small catalog BigCommerce template, with customer reviews stealing the show and simple menus directing you to the product lineup.

Hyphen website built with BigCommerce

While I tend towards templates with full-screen images to help draw in customers, there are also a ton of other options in the BigCommerce template store.

For example, this template used by tmbr. offers a widescreen image with links to different product lines immediately below.

tmbr.

In all, there are a few dozen premium themes available for BigCommerce. Most come in three or four styles so you can change the background from light to dark, but keep in mind that the layout is largely fixed. It does make purchasing a theme for your store a bit of a commitment.

Helpfully, though, BigCommerce actually has a feature that allows you to preview a paid theme with your store’s products. That way, you can see exactly how your store might look with that theme before you shell out a few hundred dollars.

Keep in mind also that every theme has different customization options, so previewing gives you a chance to see what those will do for your site.

bigcommerce-theme-preview

Ultimately, it’s important to keep in mind what you want your customers to do and what you’re selling. Do you want to push a single product with a full-screen homepage image? Or should your template encourage customers to browse by putting many samples of your products on your homepage?

Most likely, you’ll find a BigCommerce theme that suits your specific interests.

I really like many of the BigCommerce templates, including the free options. However, premium themes can cost up to a few hundred dollars., but you can preview them on your website before buying. I also appreciated that every theme comes with multiple styles so you can change up the look of your store in the future.

BIGCOMMERCE TEMPLATES – A CONCLUSION

I%20really%20like%20many%20of%20the%20BigCommerce%20templates%2C%20including%20the%20free%20options.%20%20However%2C%20premium%20themes%20can%20cost%20up%20to%20a%20few%20hundred%20dollars.%2C%20but%20you%20can%20preview%20them%20on%20your%20website%20before%20buying.%20I%20also%20appreciated%20that%20every%20theme%20comes%20with%20multiple%20styles%20so%20you%20can%20change%20up%20the%20look%20of%20your%20store%20in%20the%20future.

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eCommerce FeaturesBigCommerce eCommerce Features

BigCommerce comes jam-packed with tools for selling your products, organizing your business, and growing your audience. This is where the platform really stands out, especially with its base ‘Standard’ plan.

I also think that business owners will enjoy the app marketplace, which expands the BigCommerce’s functionality in a few key ways.

Store Customization

As I discussed above, customizing your store is one of the few areas that BigCommerce could stand to improve. Product design is stellar, but the actual look and feel of your store are largely determined by your template.

The downside here is that if you have one or more products that don’t fit well within the standard BigCommerce online store framework, there’s not a lot you can do. Your product will display according to how your template shows products, and changing that requires quite a bit of coding knowledge.

BigCommerce store catalog

That said, I did like that BigCommerce gives you some room to maneuver on the product pages themselves. There is an option to add custom text fields to any product, and the description editor allows you to add HTML, images, and special formatting.

The level of detailed control in the site-wide style editor is also quite good, so you can help your online store appear unique from other shops using the same BigCommerce template.

BigCommerce store editor

Inventory Management

BigCommerce does an excellent job with inventory management.

For starters, I found it extremely helpful that you can choose whether or not you want to track inventory for every individual product. So, if you have some standby items that you never run out of, you don’t have to worry about inventory tracking for those.

I also liked that you have the choice to track inventory at either the product or variant level. If you have a lot of products, the ability to see inventory levels according to SKU rather than product name is also a big help.

Inventory tracking in BigCommerce

The platform also has a lot of extremely useful settings for what to do when inventory is low or an item is out of stock. You can choose to remove the item from view in your store temporarily or simply display an out of stock message. At the same time, you can set email alerts that go out to yourself or to multiple staff members to let everyone know that an item is either running low or has been sold out.

Email alerts settings in BigCommerce

For businesses with complex supply chains, there are also a number of inventory management apps in the BigCommerce marketplace. I especially liked Brightchannel, which allows you to track inventory across multiple sales channels like your online store, Amazon, eBay, and more.

Brightpearl

It’s worth noting that BigCommerce also offers this same multi-channel tracking, but only for Enterprise accounts.

Payment Settings

BigCommerce has around 40 payment processors, which makes it a versatile eCommerce platform for a wide range of sellers.

While the platform has a definite bias towards US-based payment processors, there are plenty of options for international sellers as well. Unfortunately, though, BigCommerce is still nowhere near competitors such as Shopify when it comes to the sheer number of payment processor integrations. 

Payments processing integrations with BigCommerce


For the simplest and cheapest payment processing, you’re probably best off using PayPal. BigCommerce offers preferred pricing with this processor — just $0.30 plus 2.9% for Standard users, 2.5% for Plus users, and 2.2% for Pro users.

However, BigCommerce also has a useful integration with the Square point of sale register. If you make physical sales using Square, you can easily run all of your payments through that processor instead.

Interestingly, BigCommerce is in the process of rolling out multi-currency support for all online stores. This is still in trial stages, but when it arrives this feature promises to allow customers to pay in their preferred currency and minimize the costs of converting to your store currency.

Currency options with BigCommerce

Sales Features

BigCommerce offers quite a few sales features to users, including abandoned cart recovery, discounts, gift cards, and more. However, you’ll have to upgrade to a Plus or Pro plan to get things like abandoned cart recovery and customer segmentation.

That’s big, because, for example, Shopify offers abandoned cart recovery with the plan that costs $29 per month. And on BigCommerce, you need to pay an extra $50 per month in order to get this functionality.

That said, if you do upgrade, BigCommerce’s abandoned cart saver is much more versatile than what you’ll find from most eCommerce competitors. The tool allows you to create three different email templates to send out to customers with items left in their carts, as well as gives you the option of sending out a custom coupon code with your email.

Abandoned cart recovery email example in BigCommerce

I also really appreciated the fact that discount codes and gift cards are standard features in BigCommerce. These are essential to most businesses, and this eCommerce platform appears to recognize that fact.

Helpfully, there’s a ton of options for specifying exactly how the coupons and discounts should work.

Coupons and discounts in BigCommerce

Even better, BigCommerce allows ever user to set cart-level discounts. That’s a huge advantage if you want to offer, for example, free shipping on orders over a certain value. Of course, you can also sell gift cards to help spread the word about your business and create loyal customers.

One of the best selling tools available in BigCommerce is the ability to integrate your products with Google. This feature is only available to Pro users, which isn’t totally surprising given how powerful it is.

When customers search for a product, results from your store pop up in the search engine, along with its description and star ratings based on customer reviews.

star reviews on Google with your products while using BigCommerce

I also really liked the way that BigCommerce lets you handle customers broadly. The platform automatically captures customer information and allows you to segment it later.

With a Plus plan, you can create loyalty programs using these segmented customer lists and offer discounts to only a specific set of users.

Segmented customer lists settings in BigCommerce

Finally, one of the big advantages is that BigCommerce works across multiple sales channels. The platform includes a ‘Channel Manager,’ which can link your online store to Amazon, Facebook, eBay, and several other selling sites.

I loved this tool because not only could I manage your entire business from BigCommerce with it, but I could also track inventory, route shipping, and track analytics all through my online store.

Multiple sales channels in BigCommerce

Shipping

When it comes to shipping your products, BigCommerce is there to help. Moments like this really remind you that this is a serious online selling platform. I really enjoyed features and integrations that the platform has for online stores and dropshippers alike.

BigCommerce has a shipping app that’s free for all platform subscribers to use. It gives you access to steeply discounted rates from Fedex, DHL, and USPS — with a Standard plan, I got about a 60-70% discount with each of these carriers when shipping within the US.

Plus, the app just makes managing shipping easy. It already had my orders loaded and waiting for me to decide how I wanted to ship them.

Then, after I assigned weights to my products the app could tell me exactly how much shipping was going to cost with different carriers and at varying shipping speeds.

BigCommerce shipping carrier rates

I also really liked that BigCommerce’s shipping app kept track of my orders in various stages of shipping. That way, I could always know which orders were already fulfilled and which ones still needed to make it out the door.

If you need support for dropshipping or multi-channel sales, you might be better off using ShipStation rather than the BigCommerce shipping app. It works across platforms, which is a big plus if you make a lot of sales outside your online store. This app is free up to 50 orders, but beyond that, you’ll have to pay with plans starting at $9 per month.

Multichannel and dropshipping apps in BigCommerce

If your business relies entirely on dropshipping, there are also a handful of other shipping apps that focus on this model. AliExpress is perhaps the most notable, with plans starting at $10 per month.

Wholesale2b is also a good option if your store revolves around existing products since you can import more than one million products directly to your online store.

wholesale2b app

Safety Features

BigCommerce claims that it offers highly secure payments, but the platform offers little in the way of proof. For better or worse, you don’t have much control over your online store’s security settings. There’s also no two-factor authentication for store owners, although this is something that the BigCommerce community is pushing hard for at the moment.

The main thing that can be said for the platform’s security is that Pro users can migrate an SSL certificate from another hosting service. There are also a few anti-fraud apps, like NoFraud and Firewall, that you can use to increase the security of your online store and checkout process.

These are much more powerful options, but you’ll need to pay between $5 and $20 per month for them.

Anti-fraud apps in BigCommerce
On the whole, BigCommerce has a ton of useful and important eCommerce features. The platform has no shortage of payment processors, selling tools are very effective, and shipping integrations are excellent. The only places where the platform falls slightly short are in-store customization, abandoned cart recovery (for Standard users), and security.

ECOMMERCE FEATURES – A CONCLUSION

On%20the%20whole%2C%20BigCommerce%20has%20a%20ton%20of%20useful%20and%20important%20eCommerce%20features.%20The%20platform%20has%20no%20shortage%20of%20payment%20processors%2C%20selling%20tools%20are%20very%20effective%2C%20and%20shipping%20integrations%20are%20excellent.%20%20The%20only%20places%20where%20the%20platform%20falls%20slightly%20short%20are%20in-store%20customization%2C%20abandoned%20cart%20recovery%20%28for%20Standard%20users%29%2C%20and%20security.

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MarketingMarketing

BigCommerce marketing largely relies on third-party app integrations. These apps are extremely good, but that does mean that you end up paying extra to reach your customers. Thankfully, the platform does natively link to social media accounts and let you establish a blog.

Email Marketing

Somewhat surprisingly, BigCommerce doesn’t have a built-in email marketing tool. Instead, the platform left this functionality to third-party apps. There are more than a dozen add-ons in the BigCommerce app marketplace that you can use to craft newsletters and marketing emails, as well as to coordinate email campaigns. However, prices can be a bit steep depending on how many emails you want to send and to how many customers.

Email marketing apps in BigCommerce

You aren’t a captive audience to the BigCommerce integrated apps, though. While I found it adds a bit of friction to the process, it’s relatively easy to export customer data from BigCommerce for use with an outside email marketing service like MailChimp. So, you do have some freedom to shop around for the service that works best for your business.

Keep in mind through all of this, though, that not every BigCommerce layout pushes customers towards email signup. The platform gives you the option to include a newsletter signup on your checkout page. But, I would have really liked more call-to-action options for signing up site visitors who don’t end up buying products.

BigCommerce Newsletter settings

Social Media

Social media also takes a bit of a backseat with BigCommerce. I found that it’s easy to link up your online store with your social media presence, but difficult to impossible to coordinate between your website and social media accounts.

Unfortunately, there’s really not a way to show your social media feed on your website, or to push content from your online store to your social media feed. This is probably just a minor inconvenience for most businesses, but it’s worth knowing about ahead of time.

Blogging

BigCommerce provides every online store with a blog, which is great. However, don’t expect the world’s greatest blogging tools — as for static web pages, blogs are definitely not BigCommerce’s main focus.

The blog editor is extremely basic. Instead of a Microsoft Word-like post environment, you get a basic rich text formatting box that’s not very user-friendly. Importantly, there’s no auto-save, so I found myself writing posts in a dedicated word processor and then copy-pasting them into BigCommerce’s editor.

In addition, I really didn’t love the way that BigCommerce blogs handle category tags. You have to enter them manually every time, without auto-suggestions or checkboxes. So, even just tagging your post can be a bit of a hassle.

Still, blog posts look nice when they’re done. They display on a dedicated blog page of your website, which is controlled by your template. Kelty’s website does a nice job of showing off what a BigCommerce blog will look like to your store visitors.

Kelty's website
Overall, I was less than thrilled about BigCommerce’s marketing features. The platform has a lot of potential, but it doesn’t seem to have placed much focus in this area. Instead, you’ll need to purchase a third-party app for email marketing and fight through a pretty basic blog post editor to share stories with your customers.

MARKETING – A CONCLUSION

Overall%2C%20I%20was%20less%20than%20thrilled%20about%20BigCommerce%u2019s%20marketing%20features.%20The%20platform%20has%20a%20lot%20of%20potential%2C%20but%20it%20doesn%u2019t%20seem%20to%20have%20placed%20much%20focus%20in%20this%20area.%20Instead%2C%20you%u2019ll%20need%20to%20purchase%20a%20third-party%20app%20for%20email%20marketing%20and%20fight%20through%20a%20pretty%20basic%20blog%20post%20editor%20to%20share%20stories%20with%20your%20customers.

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Search Engine OptimizationSEO

SEO in BigCommerce is simple but effective. You can add SEO meta descriptions and titles to every product in your store, which helps your shop get discovered by potential new customers. On top of that, adding a blog to your store can also dramatically increase your search engine visibility.

With the exception of adding descriptions to your products, SEO is largely in the background with BigCommerce. I found that I didn’t have to do much work at all to help my website show up in search results, which was a big plus for the platform.

If you need help improving your store’s SEO, there are apps for that. Unfortunately, SEO Doctor and FavSEO, two of my favorite apps for this purpose, start at $20 per month. But, they do a great job of identifying where your site’s SEO may be falling short so that you can drive more customers to your business.

BigCommerce SEO Tools
On the whole, I was pretty happy with BigCommerce’s SEO functionality. Depending on your growth goals, it may be worth spending an extra $20 per month to integrate a dedicated SEO app into your store.

BIGCOMMERCE SEO – A CONCLUSION

On%20the%20whole%2C%20I%20was%20pretty%20happy%20with%20BigCommerce%u2019s%20SEO%20functionality.%20Depending%20on%20your%20growth%20goals%2C%20it%20may%20be%20worth%20spending%20an%20extra%20%2420%20per%20month%20to%20integrate%20a%20dedicated%20SEO%20app%20into%20your%20store.

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Business TrackingBusiness Tracking

BigCommerce gives you a huge suite of analytics tools for free with every plan, which is a huge advantage for this platform. I loved that you could pick apart your purchase funnel to see where you’re losing sales, as well as see how customers are getting to your online store in the first place.

BigCommerce doesn’t slack off at all when it comes to business tracking. The base tools are much more substantial than what you get in Shopify for the same price. For example, in addition to getting high-level statistics about your sales, you can see exactly how customers are being referred to your website and where they’re dropping out along your purchase funnel.

Even if you don’t have abandoned cart recovery, you can also see whether abandoned carts are a problem for your business. This is big, because it allows you to make an informed decision about whether upgrading your BigCommerce plan is really worthwhile.

If you want to analyze your business at the level of individual products, though, you’ll need to pay extra. BigCommerce ‘Insights’ allows you to see which products are attracting attention and which aren’t getting any clicks. The idea is that this clues you in to which photos or descriptions need to be replaced, but I found it can also be helpful for deciding which product lines to expand in the future.

Insights are expensive, unfortunately. Standard and Plus users pay $49 per month, while Pro users pay $99 per month. But again, given that the free analytics within BigCommerce are so strong, it’s relatively easy to look at all of your data and decide whether Insights is a good investment for your business.

I was a huge fan of BigCommerce’s business analytics features. Especially if you’re on the Standard plan, the level of detail that you get about your business for free is pretty incredible. While the Insights tool is expensive, the platform’s basic analytics can allow you to determine whether it’s a worthwhile investment for growing your shop.

BUSINESS TRACKING – A CONCLUSION

I%20was%20a%20huge%20fan%20of%20BigCommerce%u2019s%20business%20analytics%20features.%20Especially%20if%20you%u2019re%20on%20the%20Standard%20plan%2C%20the%20level%20of%20detail%20that%20you%20get%20about%20your%20business%20for%20free%20is%20pretty%20incredible.%20While%20the%20Insights%20tool%20is%20expensive%2C%20the%20platform%u2019s%20basic%20analytics%20can%20allow%20you%20to%20determine%20whether%20it%u2019s%20a%20worthwhile%20investment%20for%20growing%20your%20shop.

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BigCommerce On MobileMobile Accessibility

BigCommerce does okay when it comes to mobile accessibility. On the one hand, every theme is responsive to small, vertical smartphone screens. On the other hand, you as the shop owner can’t edit your BigCommerce store from your smartphone when you’re on the go.

For better or worse, mobile responsiveness is fully baked into your theme. That means that there’s no work involved in getting your mobile site up and running, but you also don’t have any control over how it looks. Making changes to your mobile website requires changing the code of your theme files.

Still, I felt like most BigCommerce templates looked good on mobile devices. There was some variation between themes, but I couldn’t find a theme where my store simply looked bad on a smartphone screen. Everything was nice and responsive – just take a look.

Responsive BigCommerce designs

I was less thrilled about the fact that I had no way to edit my online store from my phone. This really limited my ability to take orders on the go or to add new products on the fly. When I wanted to make small changes to my online store, I needed to sit down in front of my computer to make it happen.

So, BigCommerce meets the basic needs of visitors when it comes to mobile access. However, I wasn’t blown away by the minimal control that the platform offers to shop owners working off their phones.

MOBILE ACCESSIBILITY – A CONCLUSION

So%2C%20BigCommerce%20meets%20the%20basic%20needs%20of%20visitors%20when%20it%20comes%20to%20mobile%20access.%20However%2C%20I%20wasn%u2019t%20blown%20away%20by%20the%20minimal%20control%20that%20the%20platform%20offers%20to%20shop%20owners%20working%20off%20their%20phones.

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IntegrationsAdd-Ons and Integrations

I’ve talked a lot about third-party apps in BigCommerce because they’re central to the platform’s functionality. The platform doesn’t fully cover a lot of things that your store needs, like email marketing, advanced SEO, or dropshipping. Paid apps fill in almost all of the gaps that BigCommerce has left behind.

BigCommerce app market add-on categories

This is good and bad. It means that you have choices for how to implement certain business processes since there’s almost always more than one app for a given purpose. Most of the apps I encountered in the BigCommerce marketplace were very good and came with plenty of documentation. They’d clearly been vetted both by BigCommerce and by shop owners.

But, the heavy dependence on add-ons also means that you need to pay far beyond just the base BigCommerce subscription price to get everything your business needs. I budgeted about $50 extra per month for shipping, SEO, and email marketing apps, and that budget turned out to be the minimum I could get away with spending. In reality, many growing online stores will need to spend closer to $80 to $100 per month on app integrations.

BigCommerce app marketplace
Overall, I wished that BigCommerce took control of a few more features so that I didn’t have to pay extra for them. But, I was pretty happy with the quality of BigCommerce’s app marketplace, and didn’t find any apps that I wasn’t glad I had purchased. Ultimately, how much you need to spend on apps will come down to your business goals.

ADD-ONS AND INTEGRATIONS – A CONCLUSION

Overall%2C%20I%20wished%20that%20BigCommerce%20took%20control%20of%20a%20few%20more%20features%20so%20that%20I%20didn%u2019t%20have%20to%20pay%20extra%20for%20them.%20But%2C%20I%20was%20pretty%20happy%20with%20the%20quality%20of%20BigCommerce%u2019s%20app%20marketplace%2C%20and%20didn%u2019t%20find%20any%20apps%20that%20I%20wasn%u2019t%20glad%20I%20had%20purchased.%20Ultimately%2C%20how%20much%20you%20need%20to%20spend%20on%20apps%20will%20come%20down%20to%20your%20business%20goals.

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PerformanceBigCommerce Performance

BigCommerce boasts excellent performance, which is another one of the things I really liked about this platform. In addition to speeding through load tests, the platform claims a 99.99% uptime. You also get automatic image optimization with every BigCommerce plan.

I tested out my BigCommerce store using GTMetrix and LoadImpact. The store earned a 90% PageSpeed score and a 94% YSlow score, with the site earning high marks in almost every test category. The only noticeable deficiency was in combining images with CSS sprites, but this hardly mattered for overall performance.

PageSpeed and YSlow test results with BigCommerce

The response time of my BigCommerce store was also remarkably stable as I bombarded it with virtual users. The site consistently responded in less than 100 milliseconds.

Response time test results with BigCommerce

Part of the reason for the high performance of BigCommerce is that the platform automatically optimizes your product images. This is true even for Standard plan users, which is a big advantage. I was very happy to know that visitors wouldn’t be turned away from my online store because of slow loading speeds.

BigCommerce has very few issues with performance to point to, which is somewhat rare among website builders today. The platform’s speed can be a real asset for larger online stores with a lot of traffic.

BIGCOMMERCE PERFORMANCE – A CONCLUSION

BigCommerce%20has%20very%20few%20issues%20with%20performance%20to%20point%20to%2C%20which%20is%20somewhat%20rare%20among%20website%20builders%20today.%20The%20platform%u2019s%20speed%20can%20be%20a%20real%20asset%20for%20larger%20online%20stores%20with%20a%20lot%20of%20traffic.

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Final Verdict BigCommerce Review – Conclusion

My BigCommerce review found that this is an extremely versatile online store platform with a lot going for it. The platform boasts strong selling tools, high performance, and tons of features to grow your business. The one major downside I found to this platform is that it’s not cheap, especially after paying for app integrations.

But, I felt like the price of BigCommerce was largely justified by what the platform had to offer. You get far more tools with a Standard plan than with comparably priced plans from eCommerce competitors. In addition, while some of the apps are expensive, I overall appreciated having a choice of solutions for highly complex business problems like shipping and marketing.

bigcommerceconclusionWithoutCategoryUltimately, whether BigCommerce is the right eCommerce solution for you comes down to what your business needs. <strong>I would gladly recommend this platform based on my BigCommerce review</strong>. It covers a ton of ground for online sellers, it’s easy to use, and the app integrations offer a huge degree of flexibility as you work to grow your business.

out of 10

Ultimately, whether BigCommerce is the right eCommerce solution for you comes down to what your business needs. I would gladly recommend this platform based on my BigCommerce review. It covers a ton of ground for online sellers, it’s easy to use, and the app integrations offer a huge degree of flexibility as you work to grow your business.

Pros

  • A Strong Entry Plan
  • Easy to Use
  • Variety of eCommerce Tools Available

Cons

  • No Abandoned Cart Recovery
  • Expensive Templates
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Alternatives to BigCommerceAlternatives to BigCommerce

If you’re not quite convinced that BigCommerce is the right eCommerce platform for your business, there are a few competitors that might have what you need. In particular, I like Shopify, Squarespace, and Strikingly.

Shopify

shopifypricelooser

out of 10

LIVE UPTIME
99.99 %
TEMPLATES
9.2
PRICING
7.2
SPEED
184 ms
FEATURES
6.5
EASE OF USE
9.5
PRICE FROM
$
29
00
/ mo

out of 10

UPTIME
99.99 %
SPEED
184 ms
PRICE
$ 29 /mo
TEMPLATES
9.2
FEATURES
6.5
EASE OF USE
9.5
VISIT SITE READ REVIEW

Shopify is the elephant in the room throughout my BigCommerce review. This eCommerce behemoth is the platform’s most important competitor. While they share a lot in common, Shopify is worth looking into if you need abandoned cart recovery at an affordable price. Shopify also has more than 100 payment processor integrations, which makes it a potentially better choice for selling internationally.

Squarespace

squarespacepricelooser

out of 10

LIVE UPTIME
99.98 %
TEMPLATES
9.9
PRICING
8.9
SPEED
367 ms
FEATURES
8.8
EASE OF USE
8.6
PRICE FROM
$
12
00
/ mo

out of 10

UPTIME
99.98 %
SPEED
367 ms
PRICE
$ 12 /mo
TEMPLATES
9.9
FEATURES
8.8
EASE OF USE
8.6
VISIT SITE READ REVIEW

Squarespace is first and foremost a drag-and-drop website builder rather than a dedicated online store platform. But, this service has a ton of advanced eCommerce features at relatively affordable prices. I really like Squarespace for its stunning image galleries and highly flexible templates. So, if BigCommerce feels too restrictive for you, it could be worth giving Squarespace a shot.

Strikingly

strikinglypricelooser

out of 10

LIVE UPTIME
99.98 %
TEMPLATES
8.5
PRICING
7.8
SPEED
669 ms
FEATURES
8.4
EASE OF USE
9.7
PRICE FROM
$
8
00
/ mo

out of 10

UPTIME
99.98 %
SPEED
669 ms
PRICE
$ 8 /mo
TEMPLATES
8.5
FEATURES
8.4
EASE OF USE
9.7
VISIT SITE READ REVIEW

If you’re working on a small online store rather than a massive shop, check out Strikingly. This simple and inexpensive eCommerce builder is designed to create one-page online stores. You lose a lot of the functionality of BigCommerce, especially for marketing and business growth, but it’s also much cheaper to sell just a handful of products.

Paulius M.
Paulius M.

The Article Author

Editor-in-chief of Website Advisor, Paulius spent several years of his career building, testing, and breaking websites. Not an avid website builder fan at first, he soon started admiring the concept and is now dedicated to helping people go online quickly. He also follows at least 8 professional sports leagues and loves baking. Go figure.

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