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BigCommerce is an ecommerce focused website builder that has everything you need to start running a successful online store. The platform has already taken care of all the coding and offers professionally designed templates so your store can compete with the best.
Some big brand names have chosen to use the platform to power their website with some claiming that their conversion rates went through the roof after they started using BigCommerce. If it’s good enough for household names like Ben & Jerry’s, Toyota and Skullcandy it must be good right?
Here at Website Builder Ninja, we wanted to find out if the BigCommerce platform was really as good as the hype. We spent some time getting to know the platform and have written a detailed review outlining the pros and cons. Take a look at our review and find out if it’s worth choosing BigCommerce to grow your online business.
If you don’t feel like reading the full review right now, no worries. You can save some time by skipping ahead to the bottom line to find out if BigCommerce is the right platform for you.
BigCommerce is for anyone looking to create an online store for their business. Everything is ready to go so there is no need for any coding and extensive designing. All you need to do is create your product listings, choose how you will accept payment, and tweak the ready-made designs to suit your brand.
The template designs have been created for a large variety of business niches so there will always be a design to get you started. Head over to the templates page to have a closer look and we’ve listed a few below to get you started.
BigComemerce has created a platform with a mission to make starting and managing an ecommerce business simple. One of the straplines from the homepage is ‘scale and grow smarter without complexity holding you back’ which is something every young business wants to achieve. BigCommerce allows beginners and small businesses without huge budgets and resources to create a competitive online store by taking care of all the coding needed to build a website and by providing stunning designs that make any business look professional.
The BigCommerce editor does have some drag and drop capabilities but it is very limited. For example, when adding in a new content block you drag and drop it into place on the page and it accurately places it where you want.
However, that’s where the drag and drop functions end because you can’t move the elements within the content block around freely. Instead, they are fixed in their position and you can only replace images and rewrite any text fields.
The text is edited on the page in a point and click style and everything else like content alignment, scroll effects, image opacity, etc. is done from within the editor sidebar.
It’s not the most intuitive editor when compared with other platforms and might take some users some time to get used to it and to become effective. However, despite the limited drag and drop capabilities, there is lots of room to personalize your page and make it truly unique.
Getting started with BigCommerce is simple and stress-free and within a couple of minutes, you’ll be at your site’s dashboard ready to start listing products and trading.
After these 4 simple steps, you’ll be taken to the editor where you can start making design changes and listing products to get your store up and running.
While there are no onboarding videos the dashboard is filled with a to-do list that includes everything you need to complete to get your site fully functioning.
There is no denying that you can achieve great results with the BigCommerce editor, however, because its a platform focused on ecommerce it’s not the most comprehensive editor on the market. It’s likely that some users will get frustrated with its limitations but if you put enough effort in it’s possible to create stunning websites.
Something that stands out on the BigCommerce editor is the ability to change the colors of almost everything on your web pages with amazing precision. You can input the Hex color codes or RGBA numbers to find the exact color you are looking for. This is great if you want to match your brand’s logo or product colors on your website.
Another great feature is the layout content block which allows you to create up to six columns where you can drop in different types of content blocks. You can also edit the size of each column so you can get the look you want.
Consumers purchase products from all types of devices so you’re going to want to make sure that your website looks good on desktops, tablets, and mobiles. The BigCommerce editor lets you flick between desktop, tablet, and mobile previews by using the buttons at the top of the screen.
Video content blocks make it easy to bring your site to life. Simply add in a YouTube or Vimeo URL and the video will work on your website.
One of the downsides to the editor is the limited drag and drop feature and the rigid content block designs. You can play around with the alignment a little bit but you are confined to what the editor allows.
BigCommerce is dedicated to ecommerce so it won’t be a surprise when most of the features and tools have been built to boost ecommerce business performance. The platform can just about hold its own against other website builders in terms of design and usability but its strengths lie in features for online stores.
Let’s start with the channel manager that allows you to effortlessly sell across multiple marketplaces and process, fulfill and track every sale from the BigCommerce dashboard, no matter where the sale was made. This tool can be synced with eBay, Facebook, Amazon, and Pinterest, enabling you to capture more customers from multiple channels without adding too much complexity to your workload.
Another tool created to reduce complexity is the multi-storefront feature that allows you to switch between storefronts with a single login.
The BigCommerce platform also houses a huge app marketplace with over 750 apps for you to choose from. Adding in third-party apps can really add value to your site and simplify management in a variety of different areas like accounting & tax, analytics & reporting, marketing, merchandising, shipping & fulfilment, and much more. If you want to have a look at the apps on offer head over to the app marketplace now.
Reviews play a huge role in improving shopper confidence and increasing sales, BigCommerce is aware of this and has included Google customer reviews integration. It places a star rating underneath pages that show up on the Google ranking pages to let potential customers know what others thought of your product. This feature is only available with the premium subscriptions.
There are not many negatives to highlight, however, we did notice that there is no built-in translation tool to create a multi-language site for a global store. There are some third-party solutions on the app market, however, they are quite expensive.
If you’re serious about creating an online presence for you or your business then you are going to need strong SEO features on your website to bring in organic traffic. That’s why here at Website Builder Ninja we conduct our own SEO audits on every platform that we review so you know the pros and cons of the builders that you are thinking of using to grow your business.
BigCommerce scores pretty well across most fundamental criteria but there are a few things that could have been better.
Some of the positives include a sitemap that is automatically created to help Google index your pages, the ability to create HTML headings, and canonical tags are present which stops people from stealing your content and ranking higher than you with it.
They allow you to customize everything with a code editor that, despite looking a bit dated, offers great functionality and performs better than the well-respected Wix editor.
A website’s schema is a form of microdata that creates rich snippets. Sites with rich snippets rank higher on average in search engine ranking pages (SERPs) than those without. BigCommerce includes schemas on all ecommerce websites made on the platform.
The major downside to BigCommerce SEO capabilities is the slow page speed which is below average compared with some of its competitors (however, much faster than Wix and Squarespace). This is important to think about because Google considers page speed as a direct ranking factor so, slower websites will rank below faster ones. However, this is a common issue with website builders and BigCommerce sits somewhere in the middle compared to others.
There is an option to set up a website without a store on the BigCommerce platform, however, most people use the platform because of its powerful ecommerce features.
The BigCommerce features make other platforms’ ecommerce solutions look like an afterthought. If you’re serious about selling products online you will want to choose an ecommerce builder like BigCommerce and take advantage of what they have on offer.
It’s really simple to get a store up and running, you simply have to follow the onboarding process and tell BigCommerce what type of store you want and they’ll load up a ready-made template with all the features you need. You will also get an itemized checklist on your dashboard with everything you need to do before making your store live. From there it’s up to you to connect a payment processor, list your products, and start selling.
Advanced built-in features like the customer store credit feature make your store seem more professional and established, enabling you to compete with top competitors.
If you are already running an online store on another platform you can import your store onto your BigCommerce site without having to list all of your products again and manually transfer your customer list. There are a number of apps in the app marketplace to make this potentially tricky procedure easier and best of all they’re free of charge. Have a look at the how-to guide for more information.
BigCommerce does not have a built-in bookings & reservations feature and there is no solution on the app store either.
If bookings and reservations are vital to your business it’s better to use another platform that supports this function.
You can choose from over 65 payment integration systems with support for over 250+ local currencies so there’s no stopping you from creating a global store if you want to.
The most popular services like Paypal, Stripe, Square, Braintree, Zip, and Authorize.net are available to use, plus lots more. If you want the full list go to the available payment gateways page.
You can make it easier for your customers to pay with lots of digital wallet payment options like Apple pay, Amazon pay, PayPal one-touch, and much more.
There is no free plan on the BigCommerce platform, however, there is a 15-day free trial that allows you to use all of the features up to the plus plan which is a nice touch because lots of other platforms have very limited trial features.
This allows users to test out most of the features and set up their entire store before having to commit any money.
Just bear in mind if you set up your store with premium features and then sign up to a standard plan you will lose access once the free trial is over.
The homepage doesn’t advertise the free trial very well but if you click the login button at the top right of your screen and then on the next page hit the ‘get started’ button at the bottom right you will get to where you need to be.
There are 4 pricing plans on offer which include, Standard, Plus, Pro, and Enterprise.
The entry-level plan, Standard starts off at $29.95 per month and includes 0% transaction fees, unlimited product listings, file storage, and bandwidth along with many more features.
It’s capped at $50k of online sales per year so if you know you already make more than that you’ll want to sign up for one of the more premium plans.
There is a detailed help center that is filled with helpful articles and videos to guide you through most of the common problems users come across. There is also guidance on how to get the most out of the platform and tips on how to make a great design.
There is a community forum with over 90,000 active members so that you can get help or inspiration from others like you using the platform.
Sometimes though you need to speak to someone directly and BigCommerce has a number of options here as well.
You can get in touch over the phone, by email or using the 24/7 live chat service so there will always be a way to get hold of someone to help resolve your issues.
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