What Is BigCommerce?
These days, eCommerce is big business. In 2019, annual online sales totaled $365.2 billion, and that number will only continue to rise. One forecast from Statista estimates that annual online sales will reach $419.9 billion in 2020.
Now is a great time to enter the eCommerce industry, and whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to expand your reach online, BigCommerce might be a good eCommerce solution for your business. The software is easy to use, accessible for businesses of all sizes, and feature-rich. Keep reading to learn more.
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What Is BigCommerce?
BigCommerce is cloud-based eCommerce software. You pay a monthly rate to BigCommerce, and in exchange, you gain access to a securely-hosted online store. In addition to your online store, you get an admin panel for managing your products and orders, 24/7 customer support, and a range of marketing tools.
BigCommerce is known for its ease of use. Even if you have no experience with running a website, you can still set up a site with BigCommerce. If you’re hoping to run an online store and you don’t want to worry about any of the technical aspects of hosting a website, BigCommerce is a great option.
What Can You Sell On BigCommerce?
BigCommerce can accommodate many types of online selling, including physical products, digital products, and more. Here’s a quick breakdown of the types of products that BigCommerce supports:
- Physical Products: Sell clothing, home goods, beauty products, and more. BigCommerce even allows you to sell CBD products; just make sure you pick a payment processor that allows CBD sales.
- Products With Multiple Variants: BigCommerce lets you sell products that come in multiple sizes, colors, or styles. You can set different weights and prices for each product variant.
- Digital Products: Sell digital products for download. The maximum file upload size is 512 MB.
- Subscriptions: Sell subscription products like beauty boxes or subscription cleaning supplies and toiletries. Recurring billing features let you bill customers automatically.
- Event Tickets: Sell event tickets in the form of digital downloads. Customers can select event dates and immediately download and print their tickets
It’s important to note that BigCommerce also restricts the sale of some products. You cannot sell illegal or obscene goods (e.g. illegal drugs, fraudulent goods, or obscene images). BigCommerce users are also restricted from selling any products that infringe on copyright laws. For more details, read BigCommerce’s Acceptable Use Policy and Infringing Materials Protocol.
How Does BigCommerce Work?
BigCommerce operates entirely in the cloud. You don’t need to download anything to use the software. In order to get started, all you have to do is create an account and register a domain name. BigCommerce then gives you access to an unpublished website, a design editor, and an admin panel for uploading products and managing sales.
Once you have created an account, you can add your products (through a streamlined import feature or manually), configure settings for shipping and taxes, design your website, plan a marketing campaign, and launch your store.
BigCommerce’s integrations with popular payment processors allow you to accept payments securely on your site. As customers begin to purchase your products, you can use BigCommerce’s built-in features to process orders, keep in contact with customers, and continually adjust your selling strategies.
BigCommerce offers numerous features that allow you to sell on your own website, on other sales channels, and around the world. Take a look at what BigCommerce has to offer:
- Unlimited Products: BigCommerce allows you to list unlimited products on every plan.
- Sell On Multiple Sales Channels: Sync your BigCommerce site to your seller accounts on multiple marketplaces. BigCommerce connects to eBay, Google Shopping, Facebook, Pinterest, and Amazon. You can also sell in person with Square POS.
- Sell Globally: BigCommerce offers integrations that let you sell in multiple currencies and calculate international shipping and tax rates. The software also supports multiple languages.
- BigCommerce Shipping Manager: This built-in shipping feature lets you display calculated shipping rates at checkout.
- Inventory Management: Track inventory levels for your physical products.
- Marketing Tools: BigCommerce offers multiple marketing tools, including a discount engine, social sharing features, product reviews, and more.
- Create A Blog: Host a blog on your online store.
- SEO Tools: Earn more traffic with custom URLs, titles, header tags, and meta descriptions.
- Analytics: Use BigCommerce’s reporting features to track traffic, sales, bounce rates, etc.
The Benefits Of BigCommerce
BigCommerce’s biggest advantage by far is its ease of use. Even if you have no experience running a website, you can build an online store with BigCommerce. The admin panel is well organized and easy to navigate, and the help center has answers to many of your initial questions. What’s more, users on BigCommerce don’t have to worry about hosting or site security. BigCommerce handles all of these technical aspects for you.
Users also appreciate how many features come built into BigCommerce’s basic software. Users say you don’t need to add many integrations (compared to other eCommerce software) because so much is already included with BigCommerce.
Finally, BigCommerce includes multiple support options for all users. Everyone gets access to support via phone, email, and live chat. There is also a thorough help center, useful guides, and a community forum that you can reference when you want to find answers on your own.
- Ease of use
- Good customer support
- Good built-in features
The Drawbacks Of BigCommerce
While there are many advantages to using BigCommerce, there is no perfect eCommerce software. BigCommerce still has some areas in which it could improve.
One of the biggest drawbacks of BigCommerce is its lack of easy design tools. BigCommerce lets you change small elements of your site (like colors, photos, and text) without adjusting any code. However, in order to make large changes, you have to edit the code, or hire someone to do it for you. Unlike some eCommerce software (such as Shopify) BigCommerce does not have any drag-and-drop design tools.
I have also seen some user reviews that mention poor customer support. It seems that BigCommerce support representatives are not always as helpful as they should be.
Another disadvantage of BigCommerce is that not all features are available on all pricing plans. In order to gain access to advanced features like faceted search or abandoned cart recovery, you have to pay a higher monthly subscription rate.
- Missing some advanced features
- Expensive for some users
- Design limitations
Who Should Use BigCommerce?
BigCommerce offers affordable pricing plans for businesses ranging from startup to enterprise.
User reviews suggest that BigCommerce is best suited to small to mid-size businesses since some features reportedly do not accommodate larger businesses very well. That said, there are a number of enterprise-level companies that use BigCommerce’s Enterprise software. These include Ben & Jerry’s and Skullcandy.
How To Get Started With BigCommerce
Getting started with BigCommerce takes only a few minutes. You can sign up for a 15-day free trial, no credit card required. All you need to do is enter your email address, phone number, and name. Then, you can create a password and select a name for your store (you can change this name later on).
Use your first 15 days with BigCommerce to really put the software through its paces. Add products, customize your shipping and tax settings, play around with the design tools, and test customer support. Make sure BigCommerce includes all the features your business needs so that when it comes time to choose a plan, you’re confident in your purchase.
Once those initial 15 days are up, BigCommerce will ask you to choose a paid plan to continue using the software. If you’ve decided BigCommerce is a good option for your business, go ahead and sign up for a paid plan (although we recommend sticking with the monthly billing option–not the annual billing option–for your first year).
Then, you’re off to the races! Launch your site, begin your marketing campaigns, and track your site’s traffic. For more detailed advice on setting up a successful online store, try How To Start A Successful eCommerce Business In 8 Easy Steps.
The Bottom Line
BigCommerce is an easy to use eCommerce software for small to large online sellers. The software is feature-rich, and the company offers numerous customer support options. Users of all sizes and skill levels can take advantage of what BigCommerce has to offer.
If you’re interested in learning more about BigCommerce, head over to our complete BigCommerce review. Or, for a detailed breakdown of BigCommerce’s pricing options, take a look at our BigCommerce Pricing post.