Big Commerce Review
The Internet removed many of the barriers to entry for small businesses. No longer do entrepreneurs have to come up with big bank loans to buy a business and pay for an expensive lease. Getting set up with a website is cheap, fast and efficient, but e-commerce solutions can still be confusing. That is no longer the case thanks to all-inclusive solutions like Bigcommerce. They provide “everything you need to create a successful online store,” including the ability to stock a variety of products, offer a variety of shipping options, and process the payments at no additional charge.
Because Bigcommerce is a comprehensive solution, there is no need to deal with installing any software or hiring a separate designer and coder to open your own online store. There are tons of e-commerce features here.
- All-in-one e-commerce package
- Free site templates and themes
- Enterprise grade hosting
- Included shopping cart function
- Multiple shipping tools
- Support for multiple payment processor
- No hidden fees
- Trackable coupon codes
- Support for gift certificates
- Powerful analytics and statistics
Complete Solution: It used to be that you had to buy a domain from one provider, web hosting from another provider, and payment processing from another provider, plus additional providers for e-commerce software, shopping cart software, and shipping software. That’s not the case with Bigcommerce, because you sign up for a single account and everything is managed from a single unified dashboard, including site design, adding products, and handling payments. There is even integrated CRM (customer relationship management) software to maximize your profits.
Robust Product Pages: Adding products to your online catalog is as easy as adding blog posts to a blog. When you click to “add a product” through the Bigcommerce administration panel, you are provided with a page where all the elements can be entered. This includes the product type and product name, of course, as well as categories, product URL, product description, pricing and shipping details. Inventory can be tracked, custom fields can be added, and even bulk pricing is supported for customers who want to buy larger quantities. The product listings can include multiple options, like capacity and color. You can upload big, beautiful images, as well as videos. This is great for the customer experience and should hopefully help with conversions. Both digital and physical products are supported, including event tickets, downloads and even services.
Step-By-Step Wizard: Getting started with an online store can seem so daunting, because there are so many things that have to be set up. Thankfully, Bigcommerce has a great step-by-step wizard that will walk you through the seven main steps needed to get your online store up and running. This is the first thing that you see when you log into the admin panel. You configure your store’s basic settings, like your store address. Then, you choose a store design and add a logo, changing the look and feel of the e-store as you see fit. After that, you add products, choose how customers pay, specific the sales tax, and choose how you’ll ship the products.
Because of the complexities of e-commerce, going through all seven steps–especially if you have a lot of products–will take quite a bit of time. This is particularly true when it comes to setting up the sales tax for different jurisdictions or dealing with the shipping costs that will vary with customers from different parts of the world. The wizard is comprehensive, though, so it is reasonably easy to follow.
Coupons and More: Customers love getting a discount, because they love getting a deal. While you could offer very straightforward coupons, like 10% off your total purchase, Bigcommerce also supports more complex pricing rules. You can have time-limited campaigns, buy one get one coupons, discounted shipping, multi-tiered pricing with bulk discounts, minimum quantity purchasing and more. The coupon codes can be tracked, so you can see which are the most successful and what is your most effective source of site traffic. Gift certificates and wrapping are supported too.
Bank Level Security: Your e-commerce solution has to be reliable, but it also have to be safe and secure. Included with the Bigcommerce plans is the web hosting and a mobile-optimized store, but it is also all protected with hacker-deterrent security provisioning, three redundant network architectures and hardware firewalls. All stores are Level 1 PCI compliant, ensuring that your e-store is safe by Mastercard and Visa.
Multiple Payment Support: The list of supported payment processors with Bigcommerce is truly impressive. Most stores will likely want to opt for one of the PayPal solutions, because it is so universally accepted, and this includes the PayPal Express Checkout. All you have to do is provide your API username, password, and signature. Other notable payment processors supported by Bigcommerce include 2Checkout, eWay, IntelliPay, and SecureNet, as well as COD, cheque, and Amazon Simple Pay.
- Complicated admin dashboard
- Time-consuming to get started
- Pricing is expensive compared to hosting-only plans
- Website editor is not drag-and-drop
- Preconfigured themes could use work
The Bottom Line
Starting an online store is much easier to do with an all-in-one solution like Bigcommerce. By signing up at one place, you get access to world-class web hosting, your own domain name, a complete product catalog, and a very robust e-shopping cart. The level of support for increased complexity, like multiple types of sales tax and payment processing, is also very impressive.
While this is likely one of the more comprehensive and powerful e-commerce solutions out there, it is also comparatively more expensive and complicated than some of the simpler offerings on the Internet. It will take some time to properly set up a store here, but it is certainly a lot easier than figuring out how to get your online store up and running when you’re starting from scratch.
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Erez is an experienced web designer and also the founder of website-builder.com. He writes for dizyne.net and IM Now.