Are you looking for a BigCommerce review? This is not another paid review you see all over the Internet. This is also not just another a blog post by a BigCommerce affiliate who blindly promotes the service and copy-pasting the features + benefits on a page full of affiliate links. If you already have a hosting account and want a free shopping cart to use on your website, then BigCommerce is not what you are looking for. If you want a hosted shopping cart that has no complaints whatsoever, then do not get BigCommerce. However, if you need to create a storefront quickly without any per transaction fee, then BigCommerce could just be the perfect solution for you.
Yes it does suck, just like all other not-so-perfect eCommerce solutions. Despite the glowing paid reviews all over the web, there are also also a few negative comments we heard about BigCommerce. Some of the major complaints are the integration with eBay and also about their HTML editor. If you do not plan to simultaneously sell on eBay, and do not want to modify your the HTML part of your product description too much, then you should give BigCommerce a try (it is free). We have learned that you have to take these negative comments with a grain of salt. It is kinda like reviews on movies, just because it wasn’t good for someone else, doesn’t mean it will not be great for you. Unsatisfiend customers also shout louder on the web.
Why Are We Qualified to Comment on BigCommerce?
Do you have problem to start your own online store? Did your last storefront software ended up losing you money? We have been developing websites including e-commerce sites for more than 10 years. Throughout the years, we have heard many horror stories too. Here is a story of our client that you probably can relate to and also can serve as a reminder to us all.
The Story of an Aspiring Entrepreneur
John (real name protected) had an idea to sell some t-shirts on the web. Yes, t-shirts because he thought everybody wear t-shirt so he should have a good market to sell to. Forget about this idea being profitable or not, but let us focus on the money he spent to start the business. Firstly he went to a web designer to design his website. He spent about $2000 for that.
After that, the web designer advised John to get a web hosting account so he can preview his storefront prototype live on the internet. John ended up at subscribing to a hosting plan for a year with Godaddy costing him about $120. Any other web host will cost about the same, be it Hostgator, Lunarpages, Bluehost, Hostmonster, iPowerWeb, or PowWeb because 1 year is the shortest period these companies would like customers to pay. Next, John hired a programmer (i.e web developer) who installed an open-source shopping cart, did some customization to fit John’s business needs and installed the shopping cart on John’s web hosting service. That was another $3000. Added to that was the payment processor charges like Paypal, RBS Worldpay setup and miscellaneous integration charges which is about another $700.
To cut the long story short, after all the money spent and time consumed, John’s web store plan did not follow through because he failed to realize the marketing part of the business plan. He spent a total of about $4820. He lost them all. Luckily for him, business idea did not involve stocking products.
To cut the story short, John should have gone with a simple all-in-one shopping cart solution. In other words, he should have gone with something that allows him to start selling quickly and start making money at the lowest cost possible.
What is BigCommerce
BigCommerce is a Software as a service (SaaS) solution for building online shopping website. Some store owners find it hard to learn how to use the shopping carts but with BigCommerce, there is no learning curve.
Customization of you store is easy. To customize the layout of your own store, you can simply pick among the sixty store designs or you can also use the Drag and Drop Design Mode. Their support is by far the best out there. You can talk someone fast, on the phone, email or live chat. It’s all there at your finger tips. It is really cheap to start your store. Free to be exact, but only $24.95 afterwards. There is no setup fee. You also get $50 Google ads credit.
Comparing BigCommerce with Other All-in-one eCommerce Platform
There are many other hosted e-Commerce solutions out there including Volusion, CoreCommerce, Yahoo! Merchant Solutions, eBay Prostores, SiteSell and many more. To be honest, we do not know which one is the best. If you need to use Gift Certificates, Reviews and ratings, Discounts, Coupon Codes, Up-sell, Cross sell and inventory management and notifications on your site, then most of the hosts do provide these common features. You also get SEO tools for meta descriptions and keywords, page titles and content management on most of the shopping cart solutions. Mobile versions of the store front, PCI Compliance and business reports and statistics are standard these days on each hosted platform. They do have some differences here and there.
Yahoo! Merchant Solutions and eBay Prostores charge for transaction fees. BigCommerce does not.
For excess bandwidth, BigCommerce charges $5.12 for each extra gigabyte (1/2 cent per megabyte) while CoreCommerce charges $7 per gigabyte.
When in comes to accounting software integration, BigCommerce integrates with MYOB and Peachtree Accounting. CoreCommerce on the other hand integrates with Quickbooks.
BigCommerce supports 6 different Google Website Optimizer (GWO) tests to continually test and improve your shopping cart conversions. You can A/B test Add to Cart button positioning, Single or Multi page checkouts, Newsletter Signups, Checkout button images and product detail areas and content. Most of the other one-stop shopping carts do not support GWO.
BigCommerce vs DIY Solutions
As opposed to an all-in-one solution like BigCommerce, a DIY project involving a free open source shopping cart software on a PHP/MySQL web hosting account can be an option for the tech-savvy. Some open source software includes Magento (the most popular and very powerful), ZenCart, OsCommerce, and CubeCart. You need a web hosting account that will host your website and shopping cart software. Some of the popular ones are Hostgator (highly recommended and try for a penny), InMotion Hosting, Fatcow and many more.
So what are the benefits and drawbacks of starting your online shop this way?
Flexibility – you can hire programmers and engineers and build a customized store that can fit any special needs.
Can cost more initially.
Not easy to maintain as you will need a team of IT staff.
Word of caution: Some web hosting companies also brand their own shopping cart services including 1and1 eShops and Quick Shopping Cart® by Godaddy. We do not recommend going this path.
Since BigCommerce checks the box for so many features that Magento comes with, we think for beginners, the BigCommerce platform is the better way to go because it relieves you of the need for the professional IT support or staff that we think is necessary with Magento.
Should You Go With BigCommerce?
Start by looking at BigCommerce and if you find Big Commerce doesn’t have a feature you need, then try look at Yahoo! Merchant Solutions, Volusion, CoreCommerce, eBay Prostores, or even Site Build It. If none of them can satisfy your needs, then many web developers do recommend starting from scratch using Magento on Hostgator.
If you think a SaaS solution is what you need and you are on a budget, go with Big Commerce.