BigCommerce review 2022

We go through the pros and cons of this ecommerce website builder giant, to find out more about how BigCommerce could help your small online shop

Our experts

We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality. This article was authored by:
  • Scarlett Cook

Our independent reviews and recommendations are funded in part by affiliate commissions, at no extra cost to our readers.

4.2 out of 5
  • Website features
    3.5
  • Sales features
    4.6
  • Design flexibility
    4.0
  • Value for money
    3.0
  • Help and support
    3.9
  • Ease of use
    3.3

As our highest-ranked ecommerce platform for multi-channel selling, we think BigCommerce is the top choice for ambitious online stores that want to grow your sales offering ten fold – particularly clothing ecommerce sites, thanks to its excellent inventory tools.

Here at Startups.co.uk, we pride ourselves on our expert research. Our latest round of extensive user testing saw us examine six key criteria for all of the online store builders available on the market, gaining insights into their website and sales features, design functions, value, customer score, and usability

BigCommerce offers excellent sales features, along with note-worthy website features and value for money. 

But there's always a catch. The platform is lacking in other areas, such as template customisation. So what will this mean for your small business? How does BigCommerce compare to other platforms on the market?

We'll answer these questions and more as we take you through the pros and cons of using BigCommerce.

BigCommerce pros and cons

Pros
  • No transaction fees
  • Superb international selling functions
  • Excellent SEO assistance
Cons
  • Challenging editing interface
  • An expensive option for many small businesses

BigCommerce is aimed at more-established, mid-level enterprises so it's best used by ambitious small businesses that are looking to expand their ecommerce offering.

This also means it doesn't score particularly well for usability – there's no mobile editing functions, for example – as this powerful tool is geared towards users who already have website building experience.

But if you're an online store with a big list of products and an international customer base, BigCommerce has zero transaction fees and is the most generous choice for those with big sales numbers.

BigCommerce overview

BigCommerce
4.2
With the most comprehensive range of sales features around, BigCommerce gives you everything you need to create a fully-optimised online store
  • Free trial 15-day
  • Price from £22 per month
  • Quality in-built sales features
  • Excellent SEO support
  • Great for scaling businesses
Summary BigCommerce is the big budget option for small businesses with big ambitions. Its plans range from £21.83/month to £218.60/month. Quite pricey, but for that you’re getting access to the most extensive range of high-quality, in-built sales features on the market. The costlier the plan, the more advanced the functionality, of course – you also increase your sales allowance. This ranges from an upper limit of $50,000 on the Standard plan to a maximum of $400,000 on the Pro plan. And if your sales are likely to be higher than that, BigCommerce offers custom enterprise solutions. Just get in touch with its sales team to find out more.
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If you want to scale your ecommerce business to lofty new heights, BigCommerce is an obvious choice. There are currently 48,155 BigCommerce websites up and running – and that number is growing rapidly. 

We're not surprised this platform has done so well. There's no other brand on the market that provides as many advanced SEO and sales tools, and you'll also have the ability to sell on multiple channels. In fact, our research found that BigCommerce is best for multi-channel selling.

Based on the unique features of this platform, we think it's best-suited for SMEs with big product lines, such as clothing stores. In fact, 16.3% of BigCommerce businesses are currently apparel stores.

How did we evaluate BigCommerce for small businesses?

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. We gave the platform a total of 4.2 out of 5 in our latest round of research, carried out in November 2021. That means it's our fifth highest ranked ecommerce website builder for SMEs.

Our research focused on six key criteria that were deemed most relevant to small online store owners. These were:

Website features – 3.5

Fairly average website features meant we scored BigCommerce a competitive 3.5 out of 5 for this category. There's nothing particularly crucial missing from its feature list, but not much stands out either. BigCommerce is also not the best option for site speed, as it's pages are slightly weighed down by its more sophisticated backend.

Sales features – 4.6

BigCommerce came out on top for its impressive sales features to achieve a whopping 4.6 out of 5. That's a 10% improvement on its previous score, and is thanks to major enhancements to the builder software. These have since made it easier for users to integrate with third-party apps and improve design efficiency.

Design functionalities – 4

Scoring well for design functionality, BigCommerce impressed us with its wide range of templates and cohesive branding tools.

Value for money – 3

Where BigCommerce is let down slightly is in its value for money. As Uncle Ben would say, with great power comes great financial responsibility – BigCommerce might give you a lot of features, but they come at a particularly large price. Plus, they're based on annual turnover, which can be restrictive if you're planning to scale up or down.

Help and support – 3.9

The BigCommerce knowledge centre has an excellent range of helpful guides – and tonnes of customer support tools. They are a bit jargon-heavy however, and those who are less familiar with website builders may struggle.

Customer score – 3.1

BigCommerce is a fairly recognisable name in the ecommerce market, and is gaining popularity among small business owners. Just over half (56%) of our testers said they would recommend it to other users.

Ease of use – 3.3

Unfortunately, due to the platform's focus on power over simplicity, it's not the easiest software to use. Once you're gained experienced in using BigCommerce, however it gets much easier. You become more familiar with using the builder's editor and can tailor the backend to your specific needs.

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


BigCommerce pricing

0 out of 0
Ecommerce Plan
Price
Plan main features

Standard Plan

Plus Plan

Pro Plan

Enterprise Plan

£22 per month

£59 per month

£223 per month

Custom

Coupons and discounts
Reporting tools
Multi-channel selling

Customer groups and segmentation
Abandoned cart recovery
Stores credit card details

Google customer reviews
Product filtering
Custom product filtering

Express routing, priority support, and customer success management
API (application programming interface) support
Custom sales limit

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

  • Prices for Standard, Plus and Pro range from $29.95 per month through to $299.95 per month
  • The Standard plan is the same price ($29.95) for both monthly and annual payments
  • The Enterprise plan is a tailored solution, and is only available by contacting the BigCommerce sales team.

BigCommerce sits at the higher end of the ecommerce website builder cost spectrum. This added expense is concentrated in its sales functions, which easily outperforms the rest of the market, so we still think it's good value for small businesses that predominantly operate as an online store.

However, one of the platform's biggest drawbacks is that its payment plans are based on your company's annual turnover. This is probably meant to be a smart way to guide you to the best platform according to your business performance. In practice, it can be quite restrictive for some users.

How will my pricing plan be decided?

When you create your store using BigCommerce, you select a plan based on your anticipated sales volume. Your plan will then be automatically upgraded if this volume increases. You can still upgrade at any time if you want to take advantage of the features available in other plans, but you'll find it harder to scale back if you decide you want to spend less on your store.

Sales volume is calculated as your total sales, including tax, from eligible orders processed over the last 12 months. This trailing total is updated on the first day of each month.

Is there a free plan?

BigCommerce does not offer a freemium version – which is quite common for ecommerce website builders.

It does however have a 15-day free trial (that's one day longer than industry leaders Shopify or Wix). You'll get access to almost all features, including some that are available on higher-tier plans Plus and Pro. We recommend this to all new users as a great way to learn more about the platform before deciding if it's the right fit for your company.

Website features – 3.5

BigCommerce scored fairly average in this criterion, ranking fourth of the builders we surveyed. 

Internationalisation

This is a stand-out area for BigCommerce. The platform providers users with tonnes of globalised support including translations, currencies, shipping and taxes. Indeed, BigCommerce is one of the only ecommerce platforms to offer currency management. 

App marketplace

BigCommerce provides fewer apps than Shopify, because the majority of its features are hosted in-house. But in general, there is one app available per category, including reporting, wholesale, and marketing.

SEO and marketing

Knocking it out the park with a full 15/15 for every SEO tool we looked at, BigCommerce won't find it difficult to market their business online. You'll be able to customise your pages to help them rank higher on search engines thanks to fully optimisable meta titles, descriptions and tags.

Popular third-party marketing apps are available to BigCommerce users including MailChimp, Google Ads, and Facebook Pixel, while nearly every major social media platform is also available as an extension so you can attract users across multiple channels.

Blogging

Perhaps because it's so focused on offering advanced sales tools and functions, BigCommerce isn't as adept when it comes to creating and hosting copy. You can't archive blog posts, or have comments, and you can't make use of blogging analytics to see who's reading your content.

Sales features – 4.6

BigCommerce app marketplace

BigCommerce app marketplace

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.

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.

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. In terms of marketplaces, Amazon, Google, and eBay are all possible. 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

There's no product limit with BigCommerce, it’s possible to use the platform 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. One area we would like to see improvement is the ability to create a gift card for users, which you can't currently do on the platform.

Transaction fees

Unusually for ecommerce website builders, BigCommerce doesn’t charge any transaction fees on sales. Standard credit card charges from the payment gateway still apply (normally 2.2% + 30p) but you'll find BigCommerce a very economical choice if you're expecting large sales orders.

Inventory

We can't fault BigCommerce for its inventory tools. Referred to by many of our testers as its standout feature, the platform doesn’t limit the number of products that you can sell and also offers additional analytics tools, such as the stock management dashboard, total revenue report, and customer site count – real bonuses 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 functionality – 4

BigCommerce theme editing tools

BigCommerce theme editing tools

BigCommerce gives users the choice of twelve free templates. These are a good starting point for getting your online store off the ground, although these don’t necessarily offer the most current designs. They're also similarly designed, so although you have a dozen to choose from, it might feel more like 5 or 6.

If you want more professional, modern-looking designs there are 50+ paid-for themes available, ranging in price from $150 – $300 (£112 – £124).

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 (the BigCommerce mobile app only allows you to check performance metrics, view/update orders, and manage your customers). 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. We gave it a below-average score for template customisation as a result.

Value for money – 3

Although BigCommerce’s pricing is more expensive than some of its competitors. But you do get what you pay for with this platform.

Even though BigCommerce offers fewer website features, the ones it does have are high quality and the majority are supported in-house. It also boasts the widest range of sales features.

In terms of pricing plans, BigCommerce provides four specific ecommerce options. Its average price plan costs £82.56, putting it next to rival Shopify on the cost spectrum. A 15-day free trial is also available.

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

Help and support – 3.9

BigCommerce had the highest number of help and support tools of the top ecommerce web builders we surveyed. It offers 24/7 support via phone and live chat for customers on the Standard, Plus, and Pro plans, as well as:

  • Email support
  • An online forum
  • Onsite editor help
  • Video/GIF tutorials
  • Advanced specialist support

The platform's knowledge centre also provided helpful guides for every key search we tested, so even in the unlikely event that you struggle to get hold of a salesperson on the above channels, you'll likely be able to find a solution using the BigCommerce website.

Ease of use – 3.3

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.

Customer score – 3.1

BigCommerce isn't as well known to the market as big-name rivals Wix and Shopify. But it does have an impressive user base that is growing quarter-to-quarter.

We analysed hundreds of competitor reviews to calculate an average customer score for BigCommerce of 4.5 out of 5. This was higher than every other brand we surveyed. However, the platfomr's customer score shows it isn't as popular with consumers as it is critics. Largely let down by its ease of use score, BigCommerce struggles to make an impact in this category with only 56% of our testers saying they would recommend the platform to a friend.

BigCommerce customer reviews and testimonials

We scoured the top, most trusted online review sites to gain reactions from small business BigCommerce users.

Lynn Vining is owner of ButterBath.com, a consumer goods site. According to Vining: “I utilize BigCommerce for my online sales. I have a small hand-crafting business and [the platform] has helped me to grow my online presence. They have fantastic customer service – anytime I have any questions, I can count on answers!”

Cynthia Wells is the founder of Cynthia Wells, an apparel and fashion store. Wells said: “I use BigCommerce for my e-commerce business. I sell women's apparel, accessories, and home decor items. I like BigCommerce because it is highly customizable right out of the box without the need to install additional apps. I really like the ability to edit and customize every aspect of my website with only a few clicks.”

Wells did criticise the platform for its lack of tutorials, however, writing: “Although BigCommerce is easy to use, I do wish they had more online tutorials.”

BigCommerce verdict

Sales features is an area where BigCommerce really shines. This growth-focused platform has an in-house approach as well as internationalisation capabilities, and it also performs well in terms of website features. Small business owners that are experienced with online store builders and carry out the majority of their sales online, will find BigCommerce the best fit – if you have room in your budget.

If you're a small business that's not based online, and you're just looking for a platform with ecommerce capabilities, then BigCommerce is not for you. It's design functionalities are limited, meaning you're better off going with a brand like Squarespace if you just want a digital face for your brand.


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.

bigcommerce logo su
Learn more about BigCommerce plans

BigCommerce is the top choice for ambitious online stores that want to grow your sales offering ten fold.

Start your 14-day free trial now.

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Scarlett Cook
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