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A Beginner’s Guide to BigCommerce

What is BigCommerce?

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BigCommerce is a hosted e-commerce platform that provides the functionalities and services for an online store. BigCommerce is a SaaS (software as a service) product which means a business pays a monthly fee for access to the ecommerce platform, rather than owning the software.

While BigCommerce can be used by many businesses, it provides significant value for larger, faster-growing businesses since the platform can be challenging for beginners without much ecommerce familiarity to use.

BigCommerce was founded in 2009 after Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper met in a chat room. They went on to develop the ecommerce platform we know today. BigCommerce now has over 500 employees serving over 120 countries with $17 billion in merchant sales.

BigCommerce Plans

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There are four BigCommerce plans: Standard, Plus, Pro, and Enterprise.

1. BigCommerce Standard

The BigCommerce Standard plan costs $29.95 per month and is designed for stores that do not require advanced ecommerce features. While the Standard package has many essential ecommerce features, a few important ones include an unlimited number of products and unlimited staff access, meaning your business can sell any amount of products without reaching a maximum while allowing each member of your team to have access to the ecommerce store.

There are also no transaction fees, it supports coupons, discounts, and gift cards, and it offers professional reporting tools without the need of additional add-ons to ensure your business is fully-equipped. Last, BigCommerce places an annual sales threshold for each plan and once the threshold is exceeded, the business is required to move up to the higher plan; the annual sales threshold for the Standard plan is $50,000.

2. BigCommerce Plus

BigCommerce Plus is the most popular plan, costing $79.95 per month. The Plus plan offers all the features as the Standard plan, although it has a few key upgrades. It offers an abandoned cart recovery tool to help with following up with customers who exited your store without completing their purchase.

The Plus plan also provides a stored credit card feature that enables customers to store their credit card information with you. In addition, the customer grouping/segmentation feature lets your business categorize and divide customers into different groups in order to target certain customers for different activities, such as coupons or rewards for past purchases. Last, the annual sales threshold increases to $150,000.

3. BigCommerce Pro

The BigCommerce Pro plan is a larger jump, costing $249.95 per month. The Pro plan gives a few extra features including a custom SSL, advanced product filtering for searching, and a Google customer review program that permits your business to gather online reviews and display them on your BigCommerce website. Although the primary differentiator is that the Pro plan increases the annual sales threshold to $400,000.

4. BigCommerce Enterprise

The last BigCommerce plan is the Enterprise level, which is customizable for each business, therefore the price and functionalities vary. This plan is designed for large businesses and corporations that require more advanced and dedicated features.

BigCommerce Pros and Cons

BigCommerce Pros

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1. Integrated Features
BigCommerce is known for offering significantly more integrated apps compared to other ecommerce platforms. This means the platform comes with many built-in features for ecommerce functionalities without the need to purchase additional apps. By limiting reliance on third-party apps, it reduces unexpected costs and potential problems if the add-ons are not working correctly.

2. Payment Gateways
BigCommerce allows your online store to use third-party payment gateways without extra charges. This gives your business the freedom to choose a business gateway without being limited to the native option or burdened by additional fees.

3. Thorough SEO
BigCommerce is known for its SEO capabilities, such as it makes editing page titles, meta descriptions, and headers simple. Other built-in SEO features include 301 redirects, Google Rich Snippets, and auto-generated XML sitemaps. BigCommerce SEO features allow a business to perform well among SERPs, therefore increasing customer traffic to the online store.

BigCommerce Cons

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1. Annual Sales Threshold
As described above, each BigCommerce plan has an annual sales threshold with the Standard plan at $50,000, the Plus plan at $150,000, and the Pro plan at $400,000. When the annual sales limit is exceeded, the business is forced to move up to the next plan, therefore increasing the monthly cost. Ultimately, this means that as your business grows, so do your ecommerce costs.

2. Expensive Themes
BigCommerce currently offers 14 different free themes with multiple styles of each, but if you wish to opt for a premium theme, then BigCommerce has many choices ranging in price from $135 to $300. This price range is much higher as compared to similar ecommerce competitors.

3. Limited App Store
While BigCommerce comes with many integrated and essential features, therefore limiting the reliance on third-party apps, it still is not fully-equipped with all the features necessary for the unique needs of each business. When it comes to the need for external apps, the BigCommerce app store is much smaller and defined, therefore restricting your online store’s expansion and customization.

BigCommerce is an ecommerce platform that offers compelling value for your business’ online store. They offer four plans that provide different levels of features in order to scale with your business; the plans include Standard, Plus, Pro, and Enterprise. The upsides of BigCommerce are that it provides many built-in features to reduce third-party reliance, works with payment gateways without extra fees, and offers a robust SEO tool set. The downsides with BigCommerce are that it imposes an annual sales threshold for each plan causing additional monthly fees as your business grows, has an expensive catalog of themes as compared to competitors, and limits additional app options with their smaller app store.

Choosing the ecommerce platform that is best for your company greatly impacts the success of your online store. Fill out the form below and let the ecommerce experts at Evolve Systems assist you with deciding, developing, and maintaining your ecommerce store.

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