Bigcommerce Review (2020) – The Best Shopify Alternative?

Bigcommerce Homepage

Bigcommerce are without doubt one of the biggest (no pun intended!) names in the hosted ecommerce market and for many years were going head to head with Shopify but how good is the platform now?

Back in 2014, when I built my first website I opted for Bigcommerce as I preferred it to the other platforms that I tried and it will be interesting to take a look at the platform now that I know far more than I did back then!

For my Bigcommerce Review, I split it into two parts. The first part looks at the pricing, features and theme selection of the Bigcommerce platform and the second part looks at how easy it to use for building an ecommerce website.

Disclosure – this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you sign up to their services via a link in this post, I do receive a small commission. But and I cannot stress this enough, that this in no way influences my review, if I don’t like something then I will say so!

Bigcommerce Pricing

When it comes to pricing, there are pretty much no difference between Bigcommerce and Shopify! They offer three main packages along with their enterprise package which is custom built to your businesses specific needs.

bigcommerce logo

Standard

$29.95/m

Unlimited Products
Unlimited Bandwidth
Up to $50k Annual Sales
Free SSL Certificate
Unlimited Staff Accounts
Ebay & Amazon Integration

bigcommerce logo

Plus

$79.95/m

Unlimited Products
Unlimited Bandwidth
Up to $180k Annual Sales
Free SSL Certificate
Unlimited Staff Accounts
Ebay & Amazon Integration
Abandoned Cart Saver

bigcommerce logo

Pro

$299.95/m

Unlimited Products
Unlimited Bandwidth
Up to $400k Annual Sales
Free SSL Certificate
Unlimited Staff Accounts
Ebay & Amazon Integration
Abandoned Cart Saver
Google Customer Reviews

As Bigcommerce are based in the USA, you are billed in USD every month and for UK businesses. This means that you will pay a different amount every month, albeit only slightly different, due to conversion rates between GBP and USD.

Free Trial

The team at Bigcommerce are more than happy to let you try the platform out before you commit to any of their paid plans and offer a 15 day free trial.

Free Bigcommerce 15 Day Trial

No Credit Card Needed

Customer Reviews

Before I get full on into my review, I thought I would take a look at what some of their existing customers thought of the platform. For this I look on Trustpilot, Facebook and Google.

Trustpilot Logo

3.3 out of 5

FaceBook Logo

No Reviews

Google Logo

No Reviews

Bigcommerce Features

As one of the leading names when it comes to hosted ecommerce websites, Bigcommerce need to offer a really good selection of features and I have to say that they do not disappoint. Even the standard plan comes with some really good features.

Conversion Tools

  • Single Page Checkout – reduce the need for unnecessary distractions during your checkout process by having a single page checkout
  • Product Ratings and Reviews – enable previous customers to leave product reviews and ratings for your products, also benefits your SEO
  • Side by Side Product Comparisons – allows your visitors to compare products to see which ones is the best option for them
  • Promotions and Special Offers – encourage your visitors to buy by offering promotions and special offers such as buy on get one free or combined shipping
  • Discount Codes and Coupons – offer discounts to customers either by percentage offers or fixed amounts
  • Google Trusted Stores – increase customer trust by becoming a google trusted store

Marketing and SEO

Bigcommerce give their users a range of features that allow you to effectively market your store and increase the chances of generating organic traffic from search engines such as Google and Bing.

Marketing

  • Social Selling – sell via social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest
  • Email Marketing – capture email address with newsletter subscriptions. Integration with MailChimp, Infusionsoft and Hubspot
  • Price comparison site integration – increase sales by listing your products on price comparison sites such as Pricegrabber and shopping.com
  • Loyalty Program – increase the number of return visitors by letting them earn reward points with purchases
  • Google Shopping – automatically add products to Google shopping
  • Social Sharing – let your visitors share your products to their social media pages

SEO

  • Custom Meta Data – set custom meta information such as product title, meta description and keywords
  • SEO Friendly URLs – bigcommerce automatically generates SEO friendly URLs but you can also set them yourself
  • Blog – create good quality content using the in-built blog system and get more visitors to your site

Reporting and Analytics

Bigcommerce offer a range of in-depth reporting and analytics features that allow you to monitor your website performance and this information also allows you to effectively plan how you are going to grow and expand your business. Within the Analytics section of the Bigcommerce dashboard you get:

  • Number of Orders
  • Total Revenue
  • Number of Visitors
  • Conversion Rate
  • Average Order Value

To be able to analyse this information effectively, you can have your data displayed by Day, Week, Month or Year and you can compare it to previous time periods.

Bigcommerce Payment Gateways

You definitely won’t get caught short when it comes to the amount of payment gateways that are available on the Bigcommerce platform. In total there are over 65 pre installed gateways to choose from, including:

  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • Worldpay
  • Sagepay
  • Klarna
  • Amazon Pay
  • Nochex
  • Apple Pay
  • Square
  • Adyen

Do Bigcommerce charge transaction fees?

No, none of the Bigcommerce plans include any additional transaction fees.

Bigcommerce App Store

Outside of the core features listed above, Bigcommerce also have their own app store which is full of some really useful apps to add functionality to your ecommerce store. At 749 apps to choose from, you certainly are not limited by choice.

Bigcommerce App Store

Many of the apps are free but some do come with pricing plans as they are ran by third party developers. With pretty much all of the paid apps, you do get a free trial so that you can see if they will work for your business before having to pay for them.

Bigcommerce Theme Selection

Bigcommerce has one of the largest on site theme selections of all of the ecommerce platforms that I have tested. They have an offering of 151 mobile responsive themes to choose from and they all have multiple layout options, so the choice really is impressive.

Bigcommerce Theme Selection

Unfortunately they are not all free! But you do get a nice choice of 12 free themes and the remaining 139 range from $150 – $300.

Bigcommerce Support

One of the things that Bigcommerce actively promotes is the quality and access of their support and they have definitely made contacting them easier than some of their competition. They also offer a variety of different ways in which you can contact their support teams.

They offer phone, live chat and email support 24/7. This is really good, especially as they are a global company and many of their customers are working in different time zones.

Outside of contacting the main support teams, they also offer a host of resources to help you out. Their knowledgebase is filled with helpful articles and they have also done a video series, which answers many of the commonly asked questions.

You can also interact with other members of the Bigcommerce community by using their support forum. I am a fan of support forums as you get input, not only from members of the platform team but also other users, who may have a different or possibly better way of doing things.

Bigcommerce Web Hosting and Performance

As one of the biggest names in the world of ecommerce, you expect Bigcommerce to offer top quality hosting and from the information on their website, it looks impressive. Hosted on the Google Cloud Platform meaning you get reliable hosting and also:

  • PCI Compliant Hosting
  • 99.99% Uptime
  • Content Delivery Network
  • Free SSL Certificate
  • Unlimited Disk Space

While this all looks great on paper, I like to put ecommerce platforms to the test. To do this, I take three of their customer example sites and run them through Pingdom’s speed tool, once a day for three days to get a good idea of how they perform.

#1

Website: 3.31 Second Average

#2

Website: 3.31 Second Average

#3

Website: 3.65 Second Average

I was quite disappointed by the performance of the Bigcommerce, especially as they are hosted on the Google Cloud Platform and they have a CDN. I was expecting around a mid 1-2 second average like the majority of the major ecommerce packages achieve but Bigcommerce averaged 3.42 seconds.

How Easy is Bigcommerce to Use?

Offering an great selection of features will only get you so far with me as it means nothing if the platform isn’t easy to use. That is why, when I test a platform, I also see how easy it is to use and I look at 5 main areas:

  1. Getting Started
  2. Navigating the Dashboard
  3. Customising your theme
  4. Adding and Managing Products
  5. Managing Orders

Getting Started

Getting started with Bigcommerce is really quite easy, once you have signed up to the platform (for the free trail, you only need to an email address and to create a password), you will go straight into the main admin dashboard.

Bigcommerce Set up Dashboard

The set up guide takes you through all of the important stuff such as customising your theme, adding new products, setting up your payment gateway and delivery methods. It is not the best set up guide that I have come across but there is enough information there to get you working on the right track.

Navigating the Dashboard

Navigating your way around the Bigcommerce dashboard is really easy to do. They have opted for a sidebar for their main navigation and every section that you need is clearly labelled. Within all of the main sections are list of sub-sections that once again are clearly labelled.

Whether you are new to building a website or are looking to move to a new platform, it won’t take you long to get used to finding your way around the dashboard.

Customising Your Theme

I was expecting a lot when it come to customising my Bigcommerce theme as their website states “The best ecommerce web design platform” and that is a pretty bold statement, especially as being able to make a theme fit your brand is hugely important when it comes to building an online store.

Bigcommerce Customise Theme

The Bigcommerce system is pretty easy to use and isn’t over complicated. You do have more control over the layout of your site than some other platforms as you can hide the featured, popular and new products from your homepage if you want to.

I personally would have preferred to have a bit more control over the layout and be able to add new sections such as content or images so that I could really customise the homepage so that it is easier to make it fit your brand and business.

You do however get a lot of control over the colours and fonts on your site as pretty much all of it can be customised. There is also a good selection of check boxes so that you can add or remove some elements from your product pages as well as add some design elements such as payment buttons and social media icons.

All in all, it is a nice system to use and it feels like there is a logical flow to how it all works.

Adding and Managing Products

I have to say that the add new product page on Bigcommerce is one of the most comprehensive I have come across! Everything you need to do, whether it is add description, set prices, add variations, gift wrapping and SEO options are all available on a single page.

Bigcommerce Add New Product

As you can image, with all of these options, the add product page is pretty long but you can easily navigate to specific sections of the page using the navigation sidebar. When you first add a product, the amount of options available to you might seem daunting but once you get used to it, you will appreciate how well it has been designed.

Organising your inventory is also easy to do as Bigcommerce has opted for the tried and tested category method. Adding and editing your categories is really easy and as with the products, it is all done on a single page with just the right amount of options.

If you sell branded products, you can also create brands so that your customers can also search by brand as well as categories. Having multiple options like this is really good as it offers your customers more flexible search options.

Managing your inventory is done a little differently on the Bigcommerce platform but it still works really well. You can edit quantity and price on an individual product basis or if you want to edit multiple products at once, you can use the bulk edit feature.

This feature allows you edit the product title, brand, category, price and inventory amongst other things all in one place. A really handy tool to have, especially if you have a very large inventory that you need to keep constantly updated.

Managing Orders

The Bigcommerce order management system is really good, not only does it offer all the features that you need but it is also easy to use.

One of the things I do really like is that there is a drop down summary in the main order management page, having quick access to the important order information can be a real time saver, rather than having to go through orders individually to find the information that you need.

You can also manage your orders individually or in bulk, directly from the main order page and it allows you to print off invoices and packing slips, resend invoices for offline payments, update order statuses and export or archive orders.

Whether you only have a small number of orders or get hundreds every day, the Bigcommerce system will work for your business. There is also a quick navigation bar where you can see the orders that are at different statuses such as awaiting payment, awaiting shipment, high risk and refunded to name a few.

Conclusion

Bigcommerce Review

Paul @ EcommerceGold

bigcommerce logo
Pricing
Features
Theme Selection & Customisation
Support
Hosting & Performance
Ease of Use

Summary

Is Bigcommerce the best Shopify Alternative?

Bigcommerce is definitely one of the best alternatives to Shopify out there. The platform is a very easy to use, from getting started to adding and managing your products to processing your orders. It is evident that a lot of time and effort have been put in to making the platform as easy and also efficient to use as possible.

The Good:

• Easy to navigate dashboard
• 24/7 support
• Ability to sell on social media
• Bulk product editor
• Order management system is very good
• App store

The Not so Good:

• Performance
• Theme customisation isn’t great

It is definitely worth considering as platform to build an ecommerce store on and it is definitely worth taking out a free trial to see if it can work for you and your business.

4.1

Free Bigcommerce 15 Day Trial

No Credit Card Needed

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