BigCommerce is one of the top ecommerce platforms, and it was founded in 2009 by Mitchell Harper and Eddie Machaalani. The two Australians had developed their idea from a meeting in an online chatroom in 2003, and on August 2009, BigCommerce was birthed as a relaunch of Interspire Shopping Cart with its first office being in the U.S.
The platform is SaaS, meaning it is a completely hosted, cloud-based software requiring only a computer and an internet connection to function seamlessly.
It was bootstrapped entirely until 31st July 2011, when General Catalyst Partner funded it up to $15 million in Series A.The platform has been seen to continuously grow from there and flourish, expanding to encompass all sorts of businesses and clients around the world.
The platform lets its clients create online stores, add products, connect with their customers and other platforms, and easily make money online.
It is an eCommerce builder meaning it was designed primarily and solely to help its clients sell online.
PRICING AND TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP
BigCommerce is an eCommerce platform that believes in continuous growth and expansion for everyone. The platform was designed to make it easy for its clients to grow and surpass their limits. It comes geared with zero server costs and a reduced technical debt, which allows clients to run a relatively cheap website.
It offers a free 15-day trial for all potential clients so they can use the platform for this period and acclimatize themselves with its features. This allows them to understand and explore thoroughly before subscribing to any package.
The platform offers four pricing plans on a monthly basis which are: the Standard Plan which is set at $29.95, the Plus Plan at $79.95, the Pro Plan at $249.95 and the Enterprise Plan where the pricing varies and is determined by the type and scale of the business involved.
The first three plans are for individuals and small-scale businesses, while the Enterprise plan is reserved for large-scale companies and corporations.
The Plus and Pro Plans come with a 10% discount if the clients pay for them annually.
All plans come with Apple Pay, no transaction fees, sales channels, a single page checkout, coupons, discounts, and even gift cards.
The table below shows the price list of BigCommerce’s plans.
MAIN FEATURES: SHOPIFYPLUS
The platform was designed to target growing businesses, and as such, it is equipped with features that are essential for expansion and productivity.
Some of its key features include:
⦁ A 15-day free trial
⦁ 38 integrated payment gateways
⦁ Unlimited storage
⦁ No transaction fees
⦁ Customizable themes
⦁ Product catalogs
⦁ Marketing tools
⦁ Images & Photos
⦁ Event and Delivery dates
⦁ Shopping Comparison Engines
⦁ Product and Shipping Options
⦁ Shopping Carts
⦁ Full-hosting with top security
⦁ SEO and Analytic tools
EASE OF USE
The platform was designed to be easy to use by anyone. Its interface is user-friendly, and it comes with ten free themes, and about 130 paid themes, with each theme having different variants so clients can easily customize and design their stores to look whichever way they choose.
As is seen in the image above, the platform’s interface is straightforward, although slightly similar in appearance and quality to Shopify’s with its left-hand side vertical menu, which gives its clients access to all the essential features.
BigCommerce added Akamai Image Manager, an image optimization feature that allows clients to optimize their images automatically, which was noted to improve site-load-time extensively over time.
And in line with the platform’s ‘all-in-one’ policy, they added this feature to all their plans, unlike other eCommerce platforms that do not subscribe to this function or require their clients to install a paid-for app to attain such new features.
⦁ Use of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP); a Google feature adopted by BigCommerce, which delivers site content to mobile users through the creation of streamlined pages by stripping out certain types of scripts and features at an incredible speed.
⦁ Unlimited file storage.
⦁ No transaction fees.
⦁ 24/7 support.
⦁ Provision of reports such as marketing reports, search data reports, finance reports, abandoned cart reports.
⦁ Easy customization and free themes with more variants than other platforms which allows clients to design their stores to their tastes.
⦁ Built-in product review functionality.
⦁ Amazing SEO tools.
⦁ Unlimited staff accounts.
⦁ Abandoned cart saver tool.
⦁ Built-in blog.
⦁ 15-day free trial feature.
⦁ Ability to easily create custom fields.
⦁ Reduced Go-To-Market time.
⦁ Powerful Theming Engine.
⦁ The themes although having many variants are sometimes much
similar to each other.
⦁ Compared to other eCommerce platforms, to use the ‘abandoned cart’ feature, BigCommerces’ clients seem to pay much more.
⦁ The platform’s VAT MOSS rates need much improvement.
⦁ The platform places limits on annual online sales, and for clients to exceed them, they have to upgrade to a more expensive monthly plan.
⦁ To locate drop-shipping apps in the store is quite a hassle.
⦁ The platform’s blog cannot facilitate RSS feeds.
⦁ The platform does not come with mobile apps to aid store management on the go.
⦁ The platform’s complex terminology poses an obstacle to beginners.
WHO DOES IT FIT?
BigCommerce is an eCommerce platform that is suited for fast-growing, large stores that need a springboard to bounce-off off into productivity and lucrative boom. These businesses need a platform that will provide them with all the features and the easy interface they need to manage their stores and reel in lots of sales.
The platform, which is aimed at clients who do not have much technical know-how in web designs, allows them to manage their stores still easily. It also lets tech-savvy clients tweak the CSS and HTML of their stores to suit their needs.
BigCommerce is a fully hosted software, allows clients to forgo the hassles of developing their stores and bothering with the backend codes and instead concentrate on their store management. Some of the clients BigCommerce carters to include Toyota, Gibson Guitars, Travelpro, Camelbak, Paul Mitchell, Spinning, tmbr, Ben & Jerry’s, Skullcandy, Dear Brightly, LARQ, and Payless.
These clients have testified over the years that BigCommerce has been a stepping stone to their progress and productivity; Mark Hopkins, Chief Information Officer, Skullcandy even said, “On BigCommerce, we are saving a significant amount of money on development and overall platform costs. More importantly, we now have an extremely agile environment that can change quickly to meet our business needs.”
This shows that the platform is designed for fast-growing businesses that need flexibility and scalability to operate efficiently on a small budget and to do so without having to worry about infrastructure, coding, and administration.
BigCommerce is SaaS(Software as a Service), meaning it is a cloud-based, fully-hosted software that needs only a computer, an internet connection, and a browser to work.
It is imperative that an ecommerce platform be integrated with other platforms for the smooth flow of business for its clients because it cannot certainly do everything so these other platforms would take care of these tasks. BigCommerce is integrated with Amazon, Facebook, eBay, nChannel and even fulfillment software like POS and ERP.
The platform has a powerful API with fewer customizations and unlimited API calls allowing clients to transfer data between the store and systems quickly. This allows for automatic, real-time data processing of your orders, items, customer, inventory and more without incident, like your system locking up due to overload.
BigCommerce is integrated with external applications and maintains an app-store featuring trusted third-party applications for clients’ stores.
The best part is that BigCommerce provides its clients with these apps using out-of-the-box functionality, which doesn’t require external applications to function, unlike other eCommerce platforms like Shopify.
BigCommerce is also integrated with Avalara, the tax software that automates tax calculations, tax filing processes, provides real-time tax rates from over 12,000 taxing jurisdictions, and helps thousands of customers accurately calculate sales.
Customer support is critical when it comes to the smooth running of any eCommerce platform.
BigCommerce provides its users with resources such as support emails and the likes when they subscribe to the 15-day free trial.
The reasonably intuitive interface of the platform guides its users through most of the tasks and management needed to run the software smoothly.
For clients who have subscribed to a plan, the platform provides a 24/7 live agent support to cater to all their problems and needs, although users are encouraged most times to attempt to resolve their issues by using the BigCommerce help pages first before seeking contact details.
This feature outstrips other platforms like Shopify that only lists numbers for a few countries with no option for other countries and Squarespace which lacks phone support completely.
There is the provision of the ‘skip this step’ option to allow clients bypass this option and proceed to connect directly to customer support which is supported in a wide range of countries, and for countries not listed there are other countries suggested that could be available to help.
The platform also has a community forum and a large range of text and video resources.
KEY DIFFERENCES FROM SHOPIFY
BigCommerce and Shopify are undoubtedly two of the biggest eCommerce platforms on the market, and there would inevitably be a comparison between the two.
Both platforms were designed to provide similar services but with different approaches and different features and, as such, prove superior in some areas and inferior in others.
Shopify is quite popular and is widely used but lacks in certain areas that give BigCommerce an edge over it such as:
⦁ It’s transaction fees that BigCommerce does not impose on its clients.
⦁ Its inability to prevent its site from reformatting whenever it switches templates.
⦁ Its dependence on third-party apps for multi-currency support.
⦁ BigCommerce has proven that it does not require external apps to function and has been noted to have the most built-in features of any eCommerce platform worldwide.
⦁ It also offers better money value than Shopify because it has better pricing plans and fewer additional costs.
⦁ Shopify lacks order editing; clients cannot change the size of an item on order and would have to cancel the order and redo it to make changes while BigCommerce lets its clients make changes on the go.
KEY DIFFERENCES FROM MAGENTO
BigCommerce is closer to Shopify because they are both SaaS, have a similar interface and use both similar features and integrations but it is quite different from Magento in a lot of ways.
⦁ The app integrations of the two platforms are different because Magento’s is more complex as its coding is open source. The clients are allowed to edit any field within the platform and this causes the process to be lengthier and most times, produces unpredictable results. Most times the client has to work closely with the platform and some agencies to achieve his desired outcome, but with BigCommerce, the app’s interface is much easier to use, and the client needn’t worry about so much coding and editing.
⦁ MAINTENANCE: Magento gives its clients leave on the platform for all the infrastructure and administration. This makes them responsible for fixing bugs, upgrading software, control and customization of the platform, and invariably any crash or problems that may arise. Most merchants are not prepared for that level of responsibility, and that is where BigCommerce comes in with its fully-hosted feature which completely takes care of the client’s hassles. The platform’s team will fix any issues any user runs into.
⦁ SECURITY: BigCommerce uses PCI compliant to secure their clients’ data. This is one of the highest forms of protection worldwide, and the clients enjoy it for free, unlike Magento that has its clients catering to their security problems and carrying the burden of always making sure their security meets PCI compliant standards.
⦁ LAUNCH TIME: This is one of the most significant advantages BigCommerce has over Magento. Being a hosted, cloud-based platform, it uses built-in themes and out-of-the-box functionality, which allows its clients to launch easily and quickly. But with Magento, clients waste much time on hosting, website design, security,and other technicalities before they can begin.