BigCommerce Review: If You Just Want to Sell, Check Them Out
BigCommerce is a leading choice for businesses that want a powerful set of e-commerce features together with the convenience of a hosted service and online design tools. The merchant doesn’t have to worry about managing the site, writing HTML, or laying out a database. All that’s necessary is to create a visual design, add products, and sell them. However, it’s possible to do a lot more.
The company was founded in 2009 and now has offices in Austin, San Francisco, and Sydney. It has received over $100 million in funding.
BigCommerce provides not just a website builder but a fully functional e-commerce CMS. It lets you manage all your sales-related information with its standard tools.
A rich set of features is at hand for online stores. All plans allow unmetered products, storage, and bandwidth. The main feature distinguishing them is the sales per year allowed at each level. There are no transaction fees, though there are fees for Braintree’s credit card processing. The higher the plan level, the lower the percentage is. Other payment options include PayPal and Apple Pay.
Lots of applications and integrations are available to provide still more capabilities. The Partner Program certifies applications at three levels. At all levels, certification says not only that the apps work but that they add value which translates into sales. Top level partners extend core functionality in significant ways.
Certified apps enhance a merchant’s capabilities in many ways, including email marketing, channel management, shipping, social media connections, inventory, and more. Several apps are available for migration from other sites. Many apps are available for free, while others are available for a monthly fee. Some have both free and paid versions.
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Robert Sanford americaneagle.com
Jun 14, 2016
Reaching into international markets helps a business to grow. BigCommerce provides lots of help here. Integrations are available to accept payment in any currency. Most languages are supported, though currently right-to-left scripts aren’t. Tax calculations and shipping support for over 150 countries are available. However, the control panel is available only in English at present.
Servers and Security
Customers around the world will get fast load times, thanks to BigCommerce’s CDN. Sites with slowly loading pages will drive customers to give up and look elsewhere. They also hurt the page’s search rank. With edge nodes in Los Angeles, New York, Sao Paolo, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore, BigCommerce’s CDN lets people in worldwide major markets benefit from proximity to get an enjoyable experience.
They stress availability — clients are promised 99.99% uptime. The service uses DDoS mitigation to keep sites reachable. Other security features include multiple firewalls, file integrity checking, and around-the-clock monitoring.
A new site gets a subdomain of mybigcommerce.com and use of a shared SSL certificate. A site which has its own registered domain gets a free SSL certificate assigned to the domain. Having its own domain is an important part of a business’s branding, and almost every serious merchant will want one.
Setting Up a Site
Potential clients can set up a free trial account to see if BigCommerce is right for them. You have to provide a small amount of personal information but don’t need to give a credit card.
Working From Templates
Setting up a site starts with giving some information about the kind of store you’ll be running, with regard to target audience and expected sales. BigCommerce will pick a template for you to get started. You may as well stay with it while experimenting; you can choose one later when you have some experience.
Most templates cost over $150, but a few free ones are available, and they’re quite usable. Each template contains several related themes which can apply to different pages.
All templates are responsive, so they’ll look as good on mobile devices as on desktops. Mobile is rapidly becoming the dominant way of buying online, so this is important to making the most sales.
You can fill in your business’s information, add products, and start selling, or you can work on making the site reflect your brand in the best possible way. You can customize it yourself or enlist the help of design experts. Many designers specialize in creating great-looking sites for BigCommerce, and the Partner Marketplace is a convenient place to find who can do the job.
The Carousel Builder aids in setting up an image carousel on the home page, with calls to action if desired. Images whose aspect ratio doesn’t match the frame will be stretched to fit, so be careful of their dimensions to avoid distortion.
Preparing and Managing the Site
Until you’re ready to publish, you can work on the site out of public view. You can then beta-test it by sending a preview code to associates. If you discover a serious problem after launching, you can put the site into “down for maintenance” mode while fixing it.
The dashboard provides a well-organized way of managing all aspects of a store, including layout, products, SSL certificates, billing, and sales statistics. It’s customizable, so you can rearrange sections and remove ones that you don’t need.
BigCommerce lets you register a domain or assign one to its servers. You can use BigCommerce for email or set up MX records to use a different email service with the same domain.
Help is available 24 hours a day by live chat, phone, and email. In addition, thorough documentation is online, and videos help in getting started and exploring features. Forums let merchants discuss issues with each other. All support features are accessible from the dashboard.
Pros and Cons
When creating an e-commerce site, there are two main options. You can use a web hosting service that gives you full control and makes you manage your own software, or you can use a site that provides the site building and sales management tools and does all the groundwork. The first option gives the most flexibility, but it requires serious development work. It carries more risks, since programming errors and unverified third-party tools can create security weaknesses. The second option takes less effort and offers greater security.
BigCommerce is a leading example of the second, easier-to-use type of service. It provides many features, good design, worldwide reach, and a network of designers and application developers.
The company clearly loves homepage carousels, though not everyone is convinced they’re a good idea. Most templates include them, and it can take a bit of extra work if you don’t want one.
It doesn’t offer bargain-priced, limited-feature plans, so very small businesses will have to look elsewhere. The plans offer full-featured e-commerce for merchants who bring in moderate to large amounts of sales.
BigCommerce is a good choice for businesses that just want to get down to selling, without worrying about hosting, management, or coding. Everything is built in and ready to set up into a store.