In a Nutshell
- + Unlimited products, file storage and bandwidth
- + Intuitive drag-and-drop solution
- + No extra fees for using external payment providers
- - Poor customer service reputation
- - Features like abandoned cart are very expensive
What Is BigCommerce
BigCommerce is a website-building platform serving 60,000+ businesses in more than 150 countries. Founded in 2009, it listed on the NASDAQ in 2019 and is now valued at around $4 billion. BigCommerce has earned plenty of recognition by global market intelligence firms, including being named a leader among ecommerce platforms by IDC, and as having robust feature sets for the customers it serves by Gartner. BigCommerce’s code-free functionality, drag-and-drop editor, and marketing and conversion tools make it ideal for business owners transitioning into e-commerce.
Signing up for BigCommerce is simple and takes about two minutes. To begin, enter your email address, name, store name, and select your business’s size from the options (e.g. new business, >$50,000 in annual sales, $50,000 to $250,000 in annual sales). Then, answer the following questions: Do you have an existing website? What will you be selling? What best describes the products you currently sell?
Once that’s done, you’ll come to your own personal dashboard, where you can take advantage of the 15-day trial period to experiment with BigCommerce’s tools and brand and customize your chosen theme with the Page Builder tool.
Like any website builder, there’s a learning period to using BigCommerce, but overall we have to say the platform is fairly intuitive and a good option for anyone wanting to set up a website without having to deal with too many third-party integrations and plugins.
BigCommerce Features and tools:
Lets you customize elements of your theme, such as colors, text sizes, and the number of featured products to show on the homepage, without coding.
Drag and drop content onto your pages, such as text blocks, images, videos, banners, carousels, buttons, and custom HTML.
BigCommerce auto-populates SEO-friendly URLs while also giving you full control over your URL settings if you decide there’s a better strategy for your business.
Lets you sell directly on Amazon, list products on eBay, integrate into the Facebook Commerce Backend Platform, edit listings directly in Google Merchant Center, and more.
Single-page checkout with conversion-boosting features like account creation for faster checkout, guest checkout, and SSL support.
Built-in integration with Google AMP lets you improve page speed and performance on mobile devices, while integration with Akamai Image Manager optimizes online images for page-load performance.
Native tools help you manage stock levels, view order trends over time, and maintain synchronicity between your online and offline channels.
Creating a website with BigCommerce
How to Create, Design & Edit Your BigCommerce website
BigCommerce offers a choice of 12 free themes and 150+ paid themes. The free themes are all pretty similar to one another and aren’t all that inspiring, so you’ll probably find yourself forking out $110 to $230 for one of the paid themes.
The paid themes can be easily customized and branded with the Page Builder tool. If you know how to code, then you can customize your online store with HTML, CSS, and other popular code libraries. The templates are automatically mobile responsive. The drag-and-drop editor makes the whole job of creating, designing and editing your BigCommerce website pretty easy overall.
If you’re moving over from another ecommerce platform such as Shopify or WooCommerce, then you can do so by using one of BigCommerce’s dedicated Catalog Transfer Applications. Likewise, if you decide you don’t like BigCommerce and wish to migrate to another platform, you should be able to do this on your new platform.
Adding Multimedia to Your BigCommerce website
The WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor lets you upload content such as images, videos, PDFs, audio files, and downloadable files. Videos can be embedded from YouTube, Vimeo, or Metacafe, or from one of these seven file types: Flash, HTML5 audio and video, QuickTime movies, Shockwave applications, Windows Media files, Read Media files, or another website via an iframe.
The platform has a number of shortcuts, including being able to add multiple images at one time by first uploading them all to a folder using BigCommerce’s WebDAV tool).
On the downside, the availability of stock multimedia files is fairly limited, so you’ll need to use your own or sign up for a third-party stock image and video site.
Marketing Functionality with BigCommerce Websites
Marketing capabilities are driven partly by native apps and partly by third-party apps available through the BigCommerce app store.
- Blog – Every BigCommerce store has a built-in blog, which is great for promoting your products and boosting your site’s SEO ranking.
- Customer Groups – this built-in feature lets you classify your customers into segments based on different criteria, such as level of loyalty or preferred products.
- Google Shopping – native integration that connects your BigCommerce store to Google Merchant Center, allowing you to edit your listings directly in Google Merchant Center and manage your Google campaigns in Google Ads.
- Facebook Business Extension – native integration that lets you sell through dynamic advertising and a Facebook store that integrates directly to your BigCommerce site.
- Email marketing – 30 apps, including MailChimp (free, email marketing), Drip (custom pricing, for email and SMS marketing), and Privy (free, for growing your email list with popups, banners and other tools).
SEO Functionality & Add-Ons with BigCommerce Websites
BigCommerce offers a range of built-in SEO tools to help improve your search rankings. This is in addition to third-party SEO integrations offered on the BigCommerce app store. Built-in integration with Google AMP improves page speed and performance on mobile devices, automatically improving your SEO.
Other native functionalities include:
- BigCommerce’s content delivery network (CDN) works continuously in the background to make sure your site loads quickly.
- Auto-population of SEO-friendly URLs for product and category pages (while allowing you to retain full control over URLs, in case you have a different strategy).
- Each page gets a unique URL, saving you from the negative SEO impact of duplicate content.
- Built in microdata in your product pages, such as ratings, pricing, and stock levels, serves to further enhance your search result rankings.
- Automatic 301 redirects ensure your site continues to be navigable.
As its name suggests, BigCommerce includes a number of e-commerce features. Below are the highlights.
- Choice from more than 55 payment providers, with no additional fees charged by BigCommerce.
- Streamlined checkout – includes default country in the drop-down menu based on the customer’s IP address, clearly labelled text fields when entering credit card details, and auto-fill of billing and shipping details for returning customers.
- BigCommerce Channel Manager – lets you connect inventory to existing channels or add new channels in a few clicks.
- BigCommerce Shipping Manager – lets you quickly set up locations to which you’ll be selling and choose specific methods for each area, including real-time carrier quotes, flat-rate shipping, and weight- and value-based rates.
BigCommerce Plans and pricing:
BigCommerce offers a choice of three plans (Standard, Plus, and Pro), each with a 15-day free trial. It also offers an Enterprise plan with custom pricing. You can save up to 10% on the Pro or Plus plans by paying annually.
Growing your online business
Comprehensive set of features
Max online sales per year
All plans include unlimited products, file storage, and bandwidth, unlimited staff accounts, and no additional transaction fees for third-party payment gateways.
Standard includes some of the tools discussed in this review, including integrations with Amazon, Facebook, and Google, mobile-responsive website, built-in blog, single-page checkout, multi-currency payment, and free sitewide HTTPS/SSL.
Plus is what you need for most of the marketing and SEO tools as well as for conversion tools like abandoned cart saver and stored credit cards.
Pro gets you a range of advanced tools such as integrated Google customer reviews and custom product filtering.
Help and Support:
The BigCommerce website has an extensive Help Center with tutorials, guides, and articles. We recommend starting off by using the free trial and consulting the Help Center for guidance.
While the online resources are good, the customer service reputation is not. While it claims to offer access to professional e-commerce consultants and does appear to follow through on this in some cases, many customers have complained about sub-standard support.
Tech support is available 24/7 via chat, tickets, or U.S.-based phone support.
How BigCommerce Compares to Other Website Builders
Number of templates
Email marketing functionality
Yes (via third-party apps)
Yes (third-party apps)
Depends on theme
Analytics & Reporting
As the above table shows, BigCommerce is a competitor to Shopify, while other platforms like WordPress are designed for being able to design a website at a cheaper cost but scale up with your plug-ins, coding, or with the help of a professional developer.
The differences between BigCommerce and Shopify aren’t all that obvious, and some people prefer to experiment with both with a free trial before making a decision. Overall, BigCommerce is seen as having a greater level of customizability and better SEO and marketing tools, while Shopify is seen as a little more user-friendly.
Some shared features are available on the cheapest BigCommerce plan but the intermediate Shopify plan, and vice-versa, e.g. abandoned cart is available on the basic Shopify plan but the intermediate BigCommerce plan. So if you’re weighing up between these two providers, we recommend thinking about which features you need before looking at both platforms’ pricing tables.
BigCommerce charges a premium compared to other website builders, but this gets you access to countless built-in tools in areas like SEO, marketing and conversion. If you’re looking to start out with basic functionalities and scale up with third-party apps, then you might look elsewhere. But if you want to build your store up quickly with minimum hassle and you don’t mind paying for it, then BigCommerce is worth your consideration.