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BigCommerce review 2020

If you’re a small business owner with big ambitions for online sales, discover how BigCommerce could help you to maximise your ecommerce offering

Are you looking for an ecommerce platform that allows you to really drive growth, and is focused on scaling operations? If so, BigCommerce could help you realise the big ambitions you have for your small business: indeed, it’s our best ecommerce platform for multi-channel selling

We've conducted extensive user testing to gain insights into multiple providers, covering features, pricing, and usability. And that’s what makes this BigCommerce review so useful: we’ve done the hard work for you.

BigCommerce offers excellent sales features, along with note-worthy website features and value for money. Read on to learn more…


BigCommerce overview

If you want to scale your ecommerce business to lofty new heights, BigCommerce is an obvious choice. It has just about every feature you’ll need included in the price, as well as the ability to sell on multiple channels. In fact, our research found that BigCommerce is best for multi-channel selling.

However, BigCommerce isn’t particularly easy to use, and it often uses technical jargon. Furthermore, its inability to offer greater creative and design options had a major impact on its scores.

With such a focus on growth and sales, you could think that’s all that BigCommerce cares about.


BigCommerce pricing

BigCommerce offers four pricing plans: Standard, Plus, Pro, and Enterprise. 

We’ll be focusing on the first three options – the Enterprise plan is a tailored solution, and is only available by contacting BigCommerce directly and obtaining a quote. 

  • Prices for Standard, Plus and Pro range from $29.95 per month through to $299.95 per month
  • The Plus and Pro plans are eligible for a discount if paid annually
  • The Standard plan is the same price ($29.95) for both monthly and annual payments

For example, the Plus plan costs $79.95 per month when paid monthly, and $71.95 per month when paid annually.

The Pro plan is also discounted, from $299.95 per month when paid monthly, to $269.96 per month when paid annually. 

While BigCommerce did outperform both GoDaddy and Shopify in terms of value for money, it only managed to rank in fourth place, so there’s definitely room for improvement in this category.

The value for money category assessed providers based on features vs price, the average pricing plan, and if a free trial or plan was available. 

A key point of difference between BigCommerce and Shopify in terms of features vs price is that BigCommerce offers fewer apps in-house, whereas Shopify offers more apps through outsourcing. In addition, when looking at GoDaddy specifically, its apps lack depth and quality. 

  • BigCommerce offers plans ranging from $29.95 per month through to $299.95 per month, as well as the Enterprise plan, which is a tailored solution available on a quote basis
  • Shopify also has a similar offering, with plans costing from $29 per month up to $299 per month, along with ShopifyPlus, a custom, quote-based plan
  • However, GoDaddy only has one store-based pricing plan available, priced at $29.99 per month

BigCommerce offers a 15-day free trial, while Shopify provides only 14 days. Neither compare to GoDaddy though, which has a 30-day free trial available. 

This table offers a breakdown of the prices, along with the USD to GBP currency conversion at the time of writing.

PlanPrice per month $ (paid monthly)Price per month £
(paid monthly)

Price per month $ (paid annually)Price per month £
(paid annually)

Standard$29.95£22.89$29.95£22.89
Plus$79.95£61.11$71.95£54.99
Pro$299.95£229.26$269.96£206.33

While the monthly payments offer flexibility, you do have to pay more. But although the annual payment option is discounted, you are committed to it for the year. 

However, BigCommerce does offer a 15-day free trial.

Standard
$29.95 per month
  • Get started selling online
  • Multiple sales channels
  • Essential features, e.g. single page checkout and real-time shipping quotes
Try it
Plus
$79.95 per month
  • BigCommerce’s most popular plan
  • Grow your online business
  • Access to marketing tools, e.g. segmentation and abandoned cart saver
Try it
Pro
$299.95 per month
  • Scale your online business
  • Custom SSL is possible
  • Extensive features, e.g. Google reviews and product features, including custom options
Try it

BigCommerce pros and cons

BigCommerce pros

  • Most amount of features offered (many of which are in-house)
  • Real focus on growth
  • High quality international selling functions
  • Excellent SEO assistance

BigCommerce cons

  • Challenging editing interface
  • No mobile apps means stores can’t be managed on-the-go
  • Heavy reliance on templates and limited creative control
  • A free domain isn’t provided


Our methodology: How did we evaluate BigCommerce for small businesses?

BigCommerce logo
4.1
Website features
Sales features
Design flexibility
Help and support
Value for money
Ease of use

From our research, BigCommerce was found to be the best platform for multi-channel selling, based on the in-depth analysis and testing that was carried out across seven competing builders. 

Our research focused on categories that were deemed most relevant to small business owners. These were website features, sales features, design functionalities, value for money, help and support, customer score, and ease of use. 

We’ll focus on how BigCommerce performed specifically. For more information, check out our guide to the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses

Website features

BigCommerce scored 4.1 out of 5 and was ranked fourth in this category, with the scores mainly reflecting its attention to detail. Although Shopify can offer more features through outsourcing, BigCommerce offers a good range in-house. This means you can benefit from the ongoing improvements it makes to these features. 

A stand-out area for BigCommerce is its internationalisation functions, including the support provided for translations, currencies, shipping and taxes. Indeed, BigCommerce is one of the only ecommerce platforms to offer currency management. 

BigCommerce provides fewer apps than Shopify, which relates back to the in-house vs outsourcing approach mentioned earlier. But in general, there is one app available per category, including reporting, wholesale, and marketing.

Sales features

bigcommerce

Security

BigCommerce now offers SSL as a built-in feature, with extra features like increased warranty and extended validation available through third-party certificates. 

Customer accounts are supported, so customers’ shipping information can be stored easily. However, stored credit cards are only available on the Plus, Pro, or Enterprise plans, and only with Authorize.net, Braintree, or Cybersource payment gateways.

Multi-channel integration

The BigCommerce channel manager allows you to manage all listings in one location. Facebook, Instagram (on Stories only, with a five product limit per story), and Pinterest are all supported in-house. Amazon and eBay are only possible if your store’s default currency is in dollars. A buy button is also supported, which can be included in marketing content. Multi-channel integration is available on all plans. 

Promotion and discount codes

Customer group pricing, bulk discounts, cart-level discounts, and coupon codes are all supported. However, the ability to include discounted products on your homepage is limited.

Sales type

It’s possible to use BigCommerce to sell both physical and digital products, as well as services, which are all available within the editor. BigCommerce recommends that service purchases are available as a downloadable product, to make the emailing process easier and more professional. 

Payment options

The main payment gateways – PayPal, Stripe, Square, Amazon and Apple Pay – are all supported by BigCommerce. The options beyond these are more limited, however.

Transaction fees

BigCommerce doesn’t charge any extra transaction fees, although standard credit card charges from the payment gateway still apply (normally 2.2% + 30p).

Inventory

BigCommerce doesn’t limit the number of products that you can sell. The additional analytics tools, such as the stock management dashboard, total revenue report, and customer site count, are a real bonus for inventory management.

Checkout and order status

There’s the option to have an optimised one-page checkout, which allows you to use the Stencil Theme editor for checkout styling. However, this is restricted to amending the colours, font types, and logo. The checkout form can’t be changed, which means it’s up to BigCommerce to decide which are the most important aspects of customers’ information.

Abandoned cart recovery

The abandoned cart saver is an in-built function, and sends an email to customers who decide to leave your website at this stage. The emails can be customised and combined with coupon codes, to help persuade customers to complete their purchases.

Reporting

Big data is an area in which BigCommerce excels, with analytics reports available in the following categories: 

  • Store overview 
  • Real-time 
  • Marketing 
  • Merchandising 
  • Customer 
  • Abandoned cart 

Shipping options

BigCommerce offers the following integrated shipping options:

  • Real-time shipping quotes
  • Advanced shipping platforms
  • Outsourced fulfillment services

Although many of these functions are outsourced,  they’re great if you run a bigger business, or ship to several locations. 

Integrations with Amazon dropshipping and third-party shipping apps are also available. 

Accounting options

Automated emails are available for customer order invoicing and confirmation, as well as the option to print a physical copy. BigCommerce uses a default template, although this can be customised to suit different business requirements, and taxes can be completely customised. There are 24 accountancy apps supported, to help you with everything from generating invoices to bookkeeping.

Design flexibility 

bigcommerce templates

There are seven free themes to choose from, although these don’t necessarily offer the most current designs. Additionally, there are 50+ paid-for themes available, ranging in price from $145-$235 (£110.83-£179.61, based on the USD to GBP currency conversion at the time of writing).

The individual themes offer specific style or industry features, which are available within the theme but not within the editor itself – in other words, be sure to choose a theme based on what your store needs.

There’s the option to preview BigCommerce templates before making a choice. It’s possible to change the theme at any time, and the content of your store will be transferred across to the new theme automatically.

BigCommerce offers full responsiveness through desktop editing. However, it’s not possible to make edits to the mobile version, or to make a site from your phone using a mobile app. This is because BigCommerce offers automatic mobile reformatting, and wants to prevent users from accidentally making the site not mobile responsive by editing it yourself.

While it’s possible to use the image editor for resizing and changing the colour of uploaded images, BigCommerce doesn’t offer any free stock images or clip art.

Value for money

Although BigCommerce’s pricing is more expensive than some of its competitors, what it may lack in affordability, it makes up for with features. Even though BigCommerce offers fewer features, the ones it does have are high quality and supported in-house.

In terms of pricing plans, BigCommerce provides four specific ecommerce options. The prices range from $29.95 (£22.89) for Standard, the cheapest plan, through to $299.95 (£229.96) for Pro, the most expensive plan. Its Enterprise plan is offered on a custom, quote-only basis. A 15-day free trial is available.

While BigCommerce did better than both Shopify and GoDaddy, the four other providers – Wix, Square, Weebly, and Squarespace – all ranked higher than BigCommerce in terms of value for money.

Help and support

BigCommerce offers 24/7 support via phone and live chat for customers on the Standard, Plus, and Pro plans.

More extensive support is available for Enterprise plan customers, such as consultants for onboarding, as well as account managers. In addition, support calls for Enterprise customers take priority, with senior and highly-trained support staff handling your queries. As well as this, you can access the catalog transfer team for migrations.

If you want to restore your BigCommerce site, you’ll need to install an app called Rewind. Its price varies according to your store’s size, ranging from free to $299 (£228.53) per month. The fact that this feature is outsourced meant that BigCommerce scored lower in this category compared to other providers.

Ease of use

BigCommerce received the lowest score in this category out of all the providers included in our research. The editing interface was particularly difficult, while the option to ‘undo’ is available for text in the back-end, but no other areas of the editor.

Also, UX (user experience) isn’t one of BigCommerce’s strong points. Users without tech knowledge found the terminology challenging, and the platform difficult to use.


What is SSL?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. This technology encrypts the link between the server and the browser, keeping the data that’s transferred between the two private.


WHAT THE USERS SAID

“They really do think about all the extra features to make your users' shopping experience that much more personal and enjoyable. With BigCommerce, they really support this, and make sure you as the merchant are aware of these little extra add-ons – they make it easy to tick a box and incorporate a feature, and they then do the rest.”

“It was frustrating – some of the things you thought would be easy weren’t. Or it would look apparent, but it wasn’t apparent. I wanted to amend the homepage title and images, so I changed it, but it just didn’t look right – and then the preview didn’t look the same.”


BigCommerce verdict

Sales features is an area where BigCommerce really shines. Its in-house approach and internationalisation capabilities are strong, while it also performs well in terms of website features.

However, BigCommerce’s design functionalities are limited, meaning if you want to use an ecommerce platform that has an emphasis on creativity, you should look elsewhere. As well as this, if you think you’ll need a lot of assistance – or if you want a builder that’s super easy to use – then other providers are likely to be more suitable.

However, if you’re serious about scaling your online operations and want to focus on sales, then BigCommerce is a great match. It’s a growth-focused ecommerce platform, and was found to be the best for multi-channel selling in our research.


FAQs

BigCommerce vs Shopify: Which is better?

BigCommerce and Shopify both offer good website and sales features, although Shopify offers better design options. 

When looking at value for money, BigCommerce scores better than Shopify. Conversely, for help and support, Shopify is ahead of BigCommerce, and also leads in terms of customer score and ease of use.

Although Shopify may offer more features, they’re outsourced. BigCommerce manages its features in-house, meaning it can amend and improve its features on an ongoing basis. 

How much does BigCommerce cost?

BigCommerce offers four pricing plans to choose from: Standard, Plus, Pro, and Enterprise. Prices range from $29.95 (£22.89) per month to $299.95 (£229.28) per month for the first three options. 

The Enterprise plan is available on a quote-only basis. For more detailed information, see the BigCommerce pricing section above.

Who is BigCommerce good for?

The number and quality of available features, along with its focus on growth and international sales, makes BigCommerce a great match for small business owners that want a scalable ecommerce solution. And with its superb SEO assistance, BigCommerce can help your business reach even more potential customers.

Scarlett Cook
Scarlett Cook

Scarlett writes about a wide range of topics on the site, from business security to digital marketing and EPOS systems. She can also be found writing about diversity and sustainability in business, as well as managing the Just Started profiles.

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