Building an online business is no small feat. Thankfully there are many tools like website builders — designed not only to help your online store operate more efficiently but to free up time and to save you money on shipping, credit card processing and more.
BigCommerce is one such website builder, and its primary focus is on getting your online marketplace up and running. Today, BigCommerce has processed over $9 billion in online sales. In fact, each month, thousands of new merchants take advantage of BigCommerce and set up shop online.
In total, the eCommerce platform has over 46 million merchants globally.
Our review focuses on the key differentiators of BigCommerce, including everything from domains and registration to shipping products and regulating inventory.
BigCommerce offers two generations of themes/templates, Stencil, which is a collection of themes comprised of new templates, and Blueprint — its legacy theme pack.
In total there are 12 template categories, ranging from animals and pets to toys and games. Users can upload their own templates via a zip file from within “My Themes,” located just under the “Storefront” section which can be accessed from the main Dashboard.
Note: BigCommerce does not provide technical assistance for uploading themes.
With over 100 templates to choose from, BigCommerce themes cost between $145 and $245 — with seven free templates to choose from. Although BigCommerce may seem limited in terms of the number of free templates it offers, it is not.
Each theme, both paid and free, includes an additional two, three or four styles your site can be changed to. They are slightly-altered versions of your original theme — the major difference being a change in layout and color.
Once you choose a theme, you can begin customizing it and adding photos.
Regarding look and navigability of BigCommerce templates — we’ve got a lot to say. So let’s move on to the next section where we will discuss BigCommerce’s editor tool.
BigCommerce templates are responsive and easily customized. For instance, if you want to make edits to your homepage, logo, footer, images, blogs or something else — go to “Storefront” from the main Dashboard. From Storefront, you can access nine vital elements of your website:
|My Themes||BigCommerce has over one hundred templates, seven of which are free.|
|Logo||Users can upload a custom logo or create a new logo. |
|Homepage Carousel||You can add images, text, buttons, etc.|
|Social Media Links||Users can drag and drop links to their various social pages.|
|Footer Scripts||You can insert third-party scripts into your site’s footer — among some of the most popular are analytics and conversion-tracking scripts.|
|Web Pages||Here, you can create/edit pages.|
|Blog||From here, manage all aspects of your blog, including categories.|
|Akamai Image Manager||Use the Akamai Image Manager to automatically optimize images for device size to help improve page-load speeds of your website, no matter the device or browser.|
|Email Templates||Customize, enable and disable emails that are automatically sent to customers. This includes invoices. In addition, you can customize templates to reflect company branding.|
Users can make further alterations to their site through the “Storefront” tab located within the BigCommerce Dashboard. From there, click “My Themes” then “Customize” and you’ll be taken to edit your site.
Once you’re in the BigCommerce Editor the elements you can edit feel truly endless:
History: Here you can see and restore old versions of your site.
Styles: Depending on the plan you choose — you can also pick from three to four additional styles.
Storewide: This feature lets you make specifications to text, links, background colors, page and banner backgrounds. You can also add custom CTAs specific to purchasing and restrict purchases to login only.
Header & Footer: Users can make changes to size, position, font family and more. This feature also gives you the ability to add social media icons, payment icons such as American Express, Discover, MasterCard, PayPal, Visa and Apple Pay.
HomePage: From HomePage, you can change the background, title, indicator, arrow and border color. You can also enable your images to automatically stretch when they appear on a larger screen. Your most popular and new products will appear on your HomePage, always.
Products: Under this section, users can choose to showcase a quick view of product pages, to have standard images, product specifications, adjust images and colors.
Buttons & Icons: You can make adjustments to the color, text, buttons and icons.
Forms: Users can create custom surveys, dashboards and newsletters.
Google AMP: BigCommerce is the first eCommerce platform to enable users to publish AMP product and category pages out of the box. AMP is an open-source code framework that generally minimizes heavy design elements on a page that could slow down page-load. The result is faster page-load speeds (particularly on mobile) which can lead to more engaged users and a higher conversion rate. AMP is an important tool for an ever-increasing mobile commerce world and can even lead to more visibility in Google’s search results. According to a test run by BigCommerce, store owners who implemented AMP pages on their websites saw a 20% improvement in click-through rate from category page to product page.
If you’re in the BigCommerce main Dashboard, you can edit store-specific detail, and manage a host of others including point of sale and accounting-related functions.
Store Profile: Make edits to your store’s name, address, country, email and phone number.
Store Settings: Users can edit all of the settings of their store in a central location, including, but lot limited to:
- Store Status & Physical Dimension Settings
- Display Settings
- Social Sharing Settings
- Date & Timezone
- URL Structure
- Search Settings
- Email Settings & Miscellaneous
Payments: Manage off and online and digital wallet payment settings and methods.
Shipping: Reserved for managing all aspects of shipping.
Tax: Configure all of your tax display setting and options, which includes excluding including default tax.
Currencies: Manage which currencies you accept. Local customers will automatically have the option to shop in their local currency.
Point of Sale: Connect to apps like Square and BigCommerce Product Catalog to maintain accurate sales records. This feature allows you to make sales offline, while seamlessly keeping accurate records.
Accounting: Add integrations such as QuickBooks and Xero to help with accounting, eliminating the need for manual bookkeeping.
From the main DashBoard, you can view orders from past and present customers. You can find all information regarding orders awaiting payment, shipment, high-risk, incomplete, archived, shipped, refunded and pre-orders. You can even export lists to a spreadsheet.
Under the same section, you can manage shipment, tracking numbers, gift cards and order statuses.’Orders,’ just like the majority of sections in the eCommerce platform, is jam-packed with possibilities, and nearly endless customization capabilities.
Under the products tab, you can view, add, search, import and export new products. Additionally, the Products section lets you categorize your products, enables customers to filter through them and lists brands along with product reviews.
To access ‘Products,’ go to the BigCommerce Dashboard and choose the second option. This is by far one of the most customizable sections, which essentially allows you to beautify your product so-to-speak by enhancing photos and product descriptions.
This portion of your site enables you to gather demographic information on current and past customers. You can also take actions like leaving store credit (from the “Add” section), add customers to your email list, put them in a tax-exempt category and place them in segmented groups for easy sorting.
Lastly, you can search customers, import new ones, export customer lists into XML and CSV files.
All in all, this feature is very comprehensive, and well-worth further exploration as it can help you nail down your customer targeting to gain more insight on marketing profiles and purchase habits.
BigCommerce is equipped with marketing capabilities, with levels of customization that are near-endless. Everything from creating banners to coupon codes, this feature covers all that an online marketplace might need in terms of marketing.
Here, users can create banners that will appear on their site. This can be used for promoting new or old products, and ones on sale. Business owners can create personalized coupons and enable the following:
Custom coupon codes: Provide customers with discounts for products available for purchase in your store.
Cart-level discounts: This feature allows users to create targeted promotions within a shopping cart to assist in reaching business goals. For instance, a store owner might offer free shipping or a discount on shipping.
Abandoned cart notifications: Receive automatic emails when someone abandons their cart.
Google AdWords: This feature is an ad generator.
Yahoo Search Marketing: This feature is also an ad generator – similar to AdWords
Google Customer Reviews: You can enable reviews left by customers that appear on Google, which could lead to higher CTRs on Google Ads and a lower CPC.
Email Marketing: BigCommerce has email marketing integration with platforms: Constant Contact, iContact and MailChimp.
Gift Certificates: Customers can purchase gift certificates through your store. Gift cards can then can be sent to friends, family etc.
Sell on eBay: This integration lets business owners expand their reach by selling on eBay.
Google Shopping Feed: Users can upload inventory and create a campaign in AdWords.
Shopping Comparison Sites: Feature your product(s) on comparison sites that have partnerships with BigCommerce.
From Storefront — you can access the ‘Mobile’ tab which lets you enable mobile themes for better optimization.
As mentioned earlier, there are two kinds of templates, Legacy and Stencil. All of BigCommerce’s Stencil themes are responsive, and best optimized for mobile devices. As a result, BigCommerce recommends enabling default themes to give customers a more streamlined and pleasant mobile shopping experience.
To see if your theme is responsive, go to “Storefront” > “My Themes” then click your current theme’s thumbnail image. After this, check the info and details section — if the theme is mobile responsive, it will appear as such, and look something like this:
You can also enable mobile themes by going to “Storefront” > Design Options and clicking the ‘Mobile’ tab. Be sure to check the box that enables mobile themes. After this, you’ll be given the option to:
- Download Mobile Themes
- Enable on Mobile & Tables
- Upload a Mobile Theme Logo
My Mobile App
For an additional $15/monthly, users can download “My Mobile App” which converts your website into a mobile application in three easy steps. Through this feature, you can update your website and see it reflected in the app, instantly.
You can even track your app’s analytics from “My Mobile App Dashboard,” and send free push notifications to customers.
BigCommerce Mobile Dashboard
This is an admin application for Android phones and tablets that gives users live access to store specs like invoices, shipping and overall sales.
The app itself has a few key features:
- Automatic notifications if a purchase is made or you have products that are out of stock
- Sales tracking
- Overview of pending orders
With hundreds of apps, we’ve chosen some of its top apps to highlight.
|ShipStation||This app lets you print hundreds of labels in one batch — with no manual data entry.|
|MailChimp||You can connect your account and run targeted email marketing campaigns.|
|Shippit||A simple shipping app that eliminates the time-consuming part of searching for a specific product.|
|ERPinCloud||ERPinCloud manages the entire back-end operations of eCommerce businesses, purchases, warehousing, sales and accounting.|
|Google Shopping||Allows users to search for products online and compare prices between vendors.|
|Live Web Insights by Yahoo||Live Web insights is free, and offers a real-time visitor tracking tool to see who is in your store, what pages they have viewed and which products they are interested in.|
|Shopgate||Enables merchants to launch revenue-driven native apps for iOS and Android with no coding experience required.|
|Smile.io||Users can set up and run branded reward programs, points referrals and VIP status for loyal customers.|
|YOTPO Reviews||YOTPO Reviews lets you generate leads and use them to bring qualified traffic to your site.|
|Justuno||This app is built to help convert traffic, acquire new email subscribers and social followers.|
BigCommerce offers in-house support during the onboarding process. During this time, members of its team assist users in getting ready for business. You also have 24/7 chat, email, and U.S. – based phone support for technical issues.
BigCommerce offers Secure eCommerce Web Hosting with a 99.99% uptime guarantee. Each store is protected by numerous layers of security in order to prevent access to your website by unwanted parties and includes:
- Perimeter and server-specific firewalls
- File integrity scanners
- Intrusion detection software
- 24/7 human monitoring
If you do not already own a domain, you can buy one from BigCommerce. To do so, you must visit “Server Settings” > “Domain Name” and choose “Buy a new one.” From there, check the availability of your desired domain.
|One -Year||$12.27||(.com, .org, .us, .info, .biz, .me)|
|Two -Years||$24.54||(.com, .org, .us, .info, .biz, .me)|
|Three-Years||$36.81||(.com, .org, .us, .info, .biz, .me)|
|Five -Years||$61.35||(.com, .org, .us, .info, .biz, .me)|
If your domain name is not available, you’ll be given a list of additional domains to choose from.
There are lots of opportunities to optimize your site’s SEO in the platform. This is especially true when writing product descriptions, connecting with Google AdWords and other third-party platforms that give your products an extra boost on search engines.
This is in the form of free and paid apps designed to improve the SEO of your site.
SEO Doctor: At $20/month, users can optimize their site’s SEO by diagnosing and optimizing issues related to URLs, content on the page, keywords, meta tags and hyperlinks.
FavSEO: For $19.95/month, you can bulk edit and perform a complete audit of your site’s SEO.
Plug-In SEO — SEO Store Auditor: A free SEO tool — this feature enables users to identify problems worth spending time and money over, to fix and perform automatic SEO checks.
Goingup!: Free analytics & SEO tools that allow you to track visitors, monitor sales, see conversion rates and refine search results.
BigCommerce’s pricing structure is simple and enables you to pay both monthly and annually. With four plans, starting at $29/month, there a few elements that can be found throughout each plan, no matter which price point you choose:
- No transaction fees
- Unlimited file storage, products and bandwidth
- Staff accounts
|Monthly||$29.95/month||$79.95/month||249.95/month||Custom pricing — for this, we recommend calling customer support at 1-866-991-0872|
BigCommerce does offer a 10% discount on all annual plans.
|Google Shopping||Yes||Direct integration with no additional cost. Included in all plans.|
|eBay||Yes||You can sell on the world’s largest online marketplace via BigCommerce.|
|Amazon||Yes||This feature lets you connect with 171 million other buyers around the world, manage sales in real time, find new customers and list your products.|
|Etsy||Yes||Sync products between Etsy and BigCommerce quickly. You can also import products and set vendor and product type fields simultaneously.|
|Google Analytics||Yes||Gain insights on their site via Google Analytics.|
|Social Media Share Buttons||Yes||Available for a number of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.|
|CRM||Yes||Infusionsoft, Live Chat and re:amaze help manage CRM.|
|MailChimp||Yes||Available for email marketing campaigns and promotions.|
|Chat||Yes||3rd party chat apps available. Some only available on premium plan.|
|Third Party Reviews||Yes||Third party reviews are available.|
|Tracking Tools for Shipping||Yes||Trackingmore & aftership are both free tracking tools that track customer packages.|
|Music||Yes||Through integrations like POWr, you can add a music player plugin to your site.|
|Video||Yes||You can add a video to products.|
|PayPal & PayPal Marketing Solutions||Yes||Accept secure payments, and gain customer insights/ patterns.|
Users can add customized marketing messages from PayPal directly to their site.
If you are looking for a design-heavy website, or feel you might want this in the future, BigCommerce is not the right platform for you. Its major focus is on function and eCommerce — not building the most striking website ever created.
With this in mind, if you do want a design-heavy template, this will cost you money, at least $130 all the way to $245 (a one-time fee). This fee will, however, occur each time you wish to change your template. On the plus side, one template comes in multiple styles, three to four to be exact, meaning you can spice up your templates with different layouts in the same style.
Pros & Cons
- Built-in marketing features
- Great SEO tools
- Hundreds of third-party apps/integrations
- 99.99% uptime guarantee
- Tons of tutorials
- Credit card fees through third-party apps like Stripe
- All of the options and features can be occasionally overwhelming
- Too few free templates
- Many WYSIWYG limitations