Starting bigcommerce shopping cart website
Bigcommerce is probably the biggest competitor for Shopify and Ecommerce Income concluded that the platform is most complete out of the box with a very comprehensive set of tools even for entry-level users.
There are some areas it needs to catch up on, especially in the design field It now has design features that are almost on a par with Shopify. Bigcommerce is a very complete ecommerce solution that will get you started and selling quickly.
This Bigcommerce video suggests that you can get your online store online in no time – read my article to find out whether I was able to start an online store in an afternoon.
Young company with a mission
Bigcommerce was founded in 2009 in Sydney, Australia, where it still has an office. It has since opened two more offices in the US (Austin and San Fransisco). From the time when they started until 2013 they raised 35 million USD in funding from major US-based venture capitalists, and in July 2013 they secured another 40 million USD of funding. This allowed them to quickly develop and aggressively grow their business, in line with their proclaimed aim to “democratize ecommerce” and let start-ups compete with the biggest established companies out there, such as Amazon. A next round of capital injection followed at the end of 2014 when a consortium of Japanese, Australian and American companies invested a further 50 million USD in the company.
Why does this matter for the customer? Why should you care where the company is from, what their vision is and how they are funded? Because it tells a lot about the product they offer you! This money allows them to meet customer’s demands for new features by hiring more software engineers to develop them. The background of the company as originating in Australia and managing quick growth from two countries makes the company culture more flexible and international in terms of doing business globally and in multiple regions. The fact that their funding comes from various countries also shows the international nature and attractiveness of the company. Last but not least, the mission to democratize ecommerce means that they are probably serious about giving small and medium sized online businesses the tools needed to compete with ecommere behemoths such as Amazon.
Currently there are over 90.000 online store owners (vs. over 160.000 for Shopify) who run their stores on BigCommerce. In short, Bigcommerce is a very serious ecommerce platform you might want to give a try! Read more about the features below. Alternatively, you can register for a free 15-day trial today by following this link.
Bigcommerce offers customers a very comprehensive package from the very first plan (starting at 29 USD/month). Ecommerce Income found out that Bigcommerce is the most complete SaaS ecommerce platform out of the box. Features include the option to make trackable discount and coupon codes, an abandoned cart saver (from the Plus plan up), and the possibility to sell through pretty much every channel imaginable – there are integrations with all the social media, with Ebay, Shopping/Comparison websites, etc.
There are best-in-class newsletter and blog integrations and Bigcommerce has a lot of built-in marketing tools. Other features, such as product reviews, SEO and Analytics are included as well.
Some nice advantages of Bigcommerce include the possibility to choose your own preferred type of checkout – such as a one-step checkout out or rather a multiple step checkout. It is also possible to host your checkout on your own domain with a paid SSL certificate, instead of needing a redirect to the Bigcommerce domain (checkout.bigcommerce.com). This flexibility is not possible on Shopify. The same goes for URL’s – Shopify has its own, rigid structure (which may be disadvantageous for SEO purposes), while Bigcommerce offers the possibility to create your own URL’s and site structure (see this article for more information on this).
And if you still feel you need more functionality (although the basic plan is already very complete), there is an App store which allows you to acquire more advanced apps and tools to further improve your online store. These extra, advanced apps are not a dire necessity though, and just make life easier and allow you to take your business to the next level.
To explore everything Bigcommerce has to offer I recommend you to register for a trial version and find out yourself how these useful features will work for you.
Design and Marketplace Experts
Bigcommerce is not so strong (yet) on the design side. Although Bigcommerce isn’t quite as extraordinary good at design as Shopify is, it made a big leap forward.
What I loved when setting up my own Bigcommerce trial store “Socks are Sexy” (true story – check the article), was the real-time drag-and-drop editor, as well as the clear guidance offered during the store set-up.
When you still, however, find that the kind of design you would like to have for your online store is not available, or if you don’t want your online store to look like hundreds of others, you may want to contact a Bigcommerce marketplace design expert to make a customized design.
However, when browsing the Bigcommerce marketplace and comparing it to Shopify’s, you will see there are a lot less of these experts (designers, developers, marketers, people to help you set up the store) availabe for Bigcommerce than for Shopify (which has a much bigger market place). Similar as for the design issue in general – Bigcommerce is steadily catching up.
But don’t forget that Shopify has been around for longer and is the bigger and more popular ecommerce platform. This does impact what is on offer.
BigCommerce says it offers 24/7 support, just like Shopify, but in fact it doesn’t.Bigcommerce now offers around the clock phone support. They have phone number for the US and Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the UK, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and India. Customers in other countries need to call a US number.
There have been complaints about the Bigcommerce support in the past. Whether they stepped up their game in the quality of the support given apart from the extended opening hours remains to be tested. So do contact the support team during a trial version and pose a difficult question to find out!
Pricing is similar to Shopify’s. Both the Standard and Plus plans are very complete.
A big plus of BigCommerce over Shopify is that they don’t have any transaction fees, starting from the silver plan. Bigcommerce started to invoice a 1,5% transaction fee for the Standard package.
Paid templates come at similar prices as Shopify’s, at around $150.
I do strongly advise against selecting one ecommerce solution over another just because it is a couple of dollars cheaper per month. When you are selecting a provider like Shopify, Bigcommerce or SEOshop you will be sure you have a good software package, while some of the cheapest options out there also deliver really cheap quality and thus – bad value.
Bigcommerce is the biggest competitor for Shopify and has some really nice features and advantages, such as a very comprehensive set of features starting from the $29.95 “Standard” plan. Ecommerce Income considers Bigcommerce to be the most complete out of the box. While it may still be catching up with Shopify with regards to the design features, it does already look very good and professional today. So why would you wait to register a free trial at Bigcommerce to test it out yourself?