BigCommerce Review

Founded in: 2003
Company headquarters: Austin, TX
Websites Designed: Over 40,000
Well-known clients: Dell, Wayne Gretzky, Ticketmaster

As its name suggests, BigCommerce is ideal for entrepreneurs and business owners looking to create a professional e-commerce website for both small businesses and large-scale ventures. BigCommerce is compatible with more payment options, shipping methods and accounting systems than any other web design service, making it an excellent option for business owners who are looking for a way to create an efficient e-commerce business.

 

Features & Pricing

BigCommerce offers 5 web design packages and plans that differ based on the number of products that can be offered, as well as the number of logins allowed and the amount of storage available. Because all packages offer the same site builder, you can choose a smaller plan when building your business, and upgrade to a larger plan when necessary.

  Bronze Silver Gold Platinum Diamond
# of products 100 500 1,000 Unlimited Unlimited
Staff logins 3 10 10 50 100
Bandwidth 2GB 3GB 3GB 15GB 30GB
Storage 200MB 300MB 300MB 1GB 3GB
Google AdWords credit $50 $50 $75 $100 $100
Price $24.95/month $39.95/month $79.95/month $149.95/month $299.95/month

In addition the monthly fee, all BigCommerce plans demand a $49.95 setup fee.

Compare the price of BigCommerce to other web design services >>

Ease of Use

While the website builder offered by BigCommerce seems straightforward at first glance, it actually takes quite a while to familiarize yourself with the website editor. I identified a tab in the site design section called 'design mode', which is suited for people who don't know HTML; but I was disappointed to see that even this simplified editor was difficult to figure out. Watching the introductory video was somewhat helpful in streamlining the process, but lengthened the site setup process considerably as compared with simpler site builders.

Bigcommerce _screenshot9 BigCommerce control panel homepage
 

Despite the difficulties I had with the homepage editing, I found adding products to be extremely painless. I was able to add a vegetable basket, complete with SKU, product dimensions (for shipping calculations), weight and price, and to add a category for it on my website. The entire process took little more than 1 minute and the result was just as I envisioned it.

Bigcommerce _screenshot 10 My BigCommerce product page
 
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Features

As compared with other web design services such as Wix, which offers infinite personalization abilities and Yola, which offers hundreds of customizable website templates, BigCommerce's design features seem rather limited. BigCommerce offers about 70 templates to choose from, most of which are more functional than beautiful. You should be aware, however, that BigCommerce templates can be adjusted using DreamWeaver, so if you have some web design experience you may be able to adapt any of BigCommerce's website templates into an aesthetically appealing site.

Where BigCommerce lacks in design features it excels in business-related add-ons and features.

BigCommerce's stand out e-commerce features include:

  • 28 built in marketing tools
  • Newsletter signup
  • PCoupons and discount allowances
  • Wholesale/bulk pricing levels
  • Unlimited product variations
  • Call for pricing option
  • The ability to sell downloadable items
  • Expiry date on download items
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • PayPal support
  • Google checkout support
  • Support for 12 shipping methods
  • Single page checkout
  • Customizable feedback forms
  • Store credit issuing
  • Agree to terms during checkout
  • One click re-order ability
  • Guest/anonymous checkout options
  • Multiple real-time shipping quotes
  • Complete returns (RMA system)
  • Inventory reporting
  • Out of stock/low stock warnings
  • Order notification via email/SMS
  • Built in sales report
  • Bulk import tracking numbers
  • QuickBooks integration
  • Flexible CSV/XML exporting
Compare the features of BigCommerce with other web design services >>

Customer Service

A significant advantage of BigCommerce is that the company offers phone support between 8am and 6pm CST Monday through Friday, and 9am through 2pm on Saturdays. I called on a Wednesday morning and received a helpful and courteous response to my inquiry in under 2 minutes.

I also sent an email inquiry to BigCommerce on a Wednesday morning. Moments later, I received a response stating that my question had been received, and that it was number 25 in the queue. My question was answered 2 hours later, though I did not receive an email updating me on the status of my ticket. Instead, the answer was provided in the support portal, and I only found it the next time I logged in, which was 16 hours later. Though I was impressed by the speed of response, I was frustrated by the indirect way the information was provided.

Bigcommerce _screenshot 11 Customer support response
 

In addition to offering personalized service, BigCommerce allows you to search independently for the information you need in their support portal, which includes an in-depth KnowledgeBase and a place to submit technical questions. The topics are well-organized and the articles are extremely direct in addressing critical issues. BigCommerce also offers a search bar where you can input your question, though I found that in most cases, the results did not directly match my search terms.

Finally, BigCommerce offers a Template Customization Guide which is a 57 page PDF outlining the website template customization process. Although this may seem a bit overwhelming, the Table of Contents can help you find the information you need without sifting through the entire manual.

Compare the customer support of BigCommerce to other web design services >>

Summary

If you're new to the world of web design, you may have trouble customizing your BigCommerce website template independently. However, if you're an experienced web designer (or have one on staff) or are looking for a web design service that can manage the back end of your business as well as the front end, BigCommerce may be just the service you're looking for.

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Positive Features

  • Very thorough tutorials
  • Unparalleled e-commerce services
  • Accessible customer service
  • Free trial
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Negative Features

  • Limited design templates
  • Limited templates
  • Difficult to customize for those with little/no design experience
 

BigCommerce is part of privately owned parent company Interspire, and was launched in 2003 by Mitchell Harper and Eddie Machaalani. Since launching over 40,000 businesses have setup and managed ecommerce websites using BigCommerce. Well known customers including Dell, Kraft, Ticketmaster, Wayne Gretsky, Virigin, and MediaTemplate have created their websites with BigCommerce, as have numerous small to medium businesses, entrepreneurs, and universities. Interspire has headquarters in Austin, Texas and has sales offices in Sydney and London. There are over 50 employees that work at Interspire.

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