Our rating(4/5)
BigCommerce is one of the most ambitious ecommerce platforms, but it’s not the simplest.
BigCommerce is a semi-user-friendly ecommerce platform for any size business building an online store for serious growth. You can create a site from scratch, integrate with POS, utilise marketing tools, and much more.
  • Highs: Lots of customisation. Choice of payment providers. Sales growth tools.
  • Lows: Not the easiest for beginners. Customer support issues. Higher plans expensive.
  • Best for: Merchants ready to scale their business online, with some knowledge in websites.

How does BigCommerce work?

BigCommerce is a comprehensive ecommerce platform for businesses that want the best possible options to grow their sales. The features are some of the most flexible and extensive in the industry, with lots of additional tools available.

The platform covers hosting, website building and marketing to maximise sales conversion on the site. Transactions are processed by your choice of payment company. You don’t need to know about online selling in advance, as there are numerous prompts to suggest what will have an impact on sales.

Unless you’re a large company with a high budget, you should be looking at the three BigCommerce Essentials plans. These are the most user-friendly of the subscriptions, but some features require knowledge in websites or coding. BigCommerce Enterprise is for high-volume companies with complex needs.

Image: Mobile Transaction

The dashboard in BigCommerce gives you step-by-step guidance in setting up the online store.

It’s easy to start building an online shop from scratch after signing up, since the dashboard shows all the different things you should set up first. The wealth of product options and sales functions will likely require a good amount of time to edit, right down to adding the weight of products for accurate shipping costs. If you already have a product library from another platform, you may be able to import these to BigCommerce to save time.

Want a website builder with payments already integrated? See Square Online Store

BigCommerce pricing

BigCommerce offers tiered subscriptions paid once a year or monthly. The Plus and Pro annual plans cost less when calculated on a per-month basis, but that also means you have to pay a large sum upfront and can’t get the money back if you wish to stop using it before the end of the year. The plans are charged in US dollars even when you are based in the UK.

BigCommerce Essentials plans:

Essentials planStandardPlusPro
Monthly billing*$29.95/mo (~£25)$79.95/mo (~£65)$249.95/mo (~£205)
Annual billing*$29.95/mo (~£25)$71.95/mo (~£60)$224.95/mo (~£185)
Online sales /yearUp to $50k (~£41k)Up to $150k (~£123k)Up to $400k (~£329k)

*Prices exclude VAT.

StandardPlusPro
Monthly billing*
$29.95/mo (~£25)$79.95/mo (~£65)$249.95/mo (~£205)
Annual billing*
$29.95/mo (~£25)$71.95/mo (~£60)$224.95/mo (~£185)
Online sales /year
Up to $50k (~£41k)Up to $150k (~£123k)Up to $400k (~£329k)

*Prices exclude VAT.

You don’t pay a fee per transaction with BigCommerce, because they are actually charged for through your chosen payment processor integrated with the online shop. If you use, say, PayPal on your site built with BigCommerce, you only pay transaction fees to PayPal.

That being said, each Essentials subscription has a threshold for how much you are allowed to make through the online shop. On Standard, you can make up to $50k a year, on Plus it is $150k a year, and Pro includes up to $400k worth of transactions annually. If you accept more than $400k a year on Pro, you can pay an additional $150 a month per additional $200k in online sales.

The plans can be cancelled any time, although refunds cannot be made for subscription payments. There is only a contract for Pro if you have negotiated a special rate for a higher turnover or low average-order value.

All subscriptions include standard features enough to build and run a store online, but the higher the plan, the more tools you get to grow your online sales.

There is also an Enterprise option intended for large businesses. This is completely tailored to the business, with a custom quote, contract and features suitable for large-scale online stores. It is the most complex of all BigCommerce plans, ideally suited for companies with an in-house developer.

There’s a no-commitment 15-day free trial without the need to register your credit card details.

Payments

In contrast to all-in-one ecommerce builders that include payment processing, BigCommerce does not handle transactions themselves. Instead, you choose your payment provider and pay transaction fees to that company after integrating the payment gateway (i.e. link to the payment system) with the online store.

In the UK, BigCommerce supports the following payment gateways:

  • 2Checkout
  • Adyen
  • Amazon Pay
  • Authorize.net
  • CyberSource Direct
  • MyVirtualMerchant
  • NMI
  • PaymentExpress Post
  • PayPal powered by Braintree
  • PayPal Express Checkout
  • PayPal Payments Pro
  • Pin Payments
  • Realex
  • Sage Pay/Protx VSP Direct
  • SecurePay
  • Skrill
  • Square
  • Stripe
  • Worldpay

You need to set up an account with any of these payment gateways before connecting it with BigCommerce (usually via the payment company account). Some of these only offer online payments, but others such as Square and Worldpay deal with point of sale (POS) transactions as well.

If you’re selling in-store, you can integrate online with in-store sales data so payments and inventory data can be synced and analysed together. For example, if you already have a product library with Square, you can upload those products automatically to BigCommerce so you don’t have to manually reenter existing information in Square to the online store.

There is no blanket answer for what payment options are possible to accept, because it depends on your chosen payment company. Some may just accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express while others have a wider choice of international card options. In any case, BigCommerce can enable Apple Pay, Google Pay and Amazon Pay.

You can get favourable rates (1.75%-1.85% + 18p) for ‘PayPal powered by Braintree’ transactions, but special conditions apply. Suffice to say, you must have a PayPal Business account to accept PayPal.

Features

A lot of features are the same on all plans including Standard, such as unlimited staff accounts, unlimited products with tons of options, and unlimited file storage and bandwidth. You can also sell through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, payment links, and of course your own branded ecommerce store.

Here are other features included on all or just some plans:

FeatureStandardPlusPro
Single-page checkout
Coupons, discounts & gift cards
Shipping label discounts
Real-time shipping quotes
In-depth analytics & reporting
Blog
Product ratings & reviews
Customer groups & segmentation
Abandoned cart emails
Saved cart
Stored payment cards
Google customer reviews
Product-filtered search
Fea-
ture
Stan-
dard
PlusPro
Single-page checkout
Coupons, discounts & gift cards
Shipping label discounts
Real-time shipping quotes
In-depth analytics & reporting
Blog
Product ratings & reviews
Customer groups & segmentation
Abandoned cart emails
Saved cart
Stored payment cards
Google customer reviews
Product-filtered search

Essentially, you have all the basic (and more) features for creating and running an online store regardless of the subscription, including search engine optimisation (SEO) functions. However, certain really effective features for growing sales are only available on the pricier plans. For instance, the product-filtered search is very important for large inventories so customers can find specific products by colour, type etc. but this comes only on Pro which is way outside a small business’ budget.

We should also emphasise that some of the terminology on the platform is too advanced for beginners, and several features may require some knowledge in coding and websites. For example, gift certificates are edited using code in an editor window (see below). It can also be unclear how certain things on your website are changed, so you can end up relying on answers in the online resources provided by BigCommerce.

Image: Mobile Transaction

BigCommerce gift card editor

Text editor window for a gift card in BigCommerce.

Some features not in the table above require a separate subscription. Being visible on Google Shopping, for example, requires a Sales & Orders account, which may cost extra depending on the level of features required. You can add a sophisticated shipping rules engine on any plan, which prevents misquotes for shipping, but this requires a separate subscription with ShipperHQ (£39.99-£249.99 monthly).

Website templates

Limited (or no) coding skills are required to build a beautiful website with BigCommerce. Take a pick from over 80 theme templates, some of which are free and some costing a licence fee. The paid themes cost around US$170-$235 + VAT each. You can then use the website editor to create your online store based on that design framework.

BigCommerce theme example

Example of a free BigCommerce template you can use for your website.

All designs are responsive, i.e. optimised for mobile viewing on a small screen. This is very important for search engine rankings, as Google prioritises websites that are easy to navigate and view on phones. That said, it has become the norm for popular ecommerce platforms to make their designs mobile-friendly, so BigCommerce doesn’t stand out in this regard.

If you prefer, you can upload your own website theme, but you won’t be able to add features from BigCommerce or get technical assistance related to that template or custom features.

BigCommerce template example

BigCommerce themes can cost around $200, like this paid template called Camden Marketplace.

Hosting and security through BigCommerce

BigCommerce takes care of the website hosting (i.e. storage of a website on internet servers) through Google Cloud Platform. It’s common for hosting providers to have occasional loading issues, but Google Cloud Platform’s performance is among the best in the industry. This matters in ecommerce, as even one second’s delay in loading a web page can negatively impact on sales.

The hosting is PCI DSS 3.2-certified at Level 1, meaning you do not have to take care of PCI compliance (payment industry standard for preventing data breaches and card fraud).

If you were to set up a website outside of a website builder with hosting included, you normally pay ongoing fees for a hosting provider to run and store your website on their servers, but BigCommerce pricing covers hosting. The only thing you need to pay extra for is the domain name – that is, the www URL for your website. You can purchase this through BigCommerce’s dashboard or connect an existing domain to the online store.

In terms of security, all the plans include a free SSL certificate, which ensures your web pages are secure and any customer details entered at checkout are encrypted. The padlock symbol and “https” before the domain address give customers the reassurance of a safe website, strengthen search engine rankings and keep customers on your custom domain during checkout. On the Pro plan, you have the option to bring over a custom SSL purchased from a different provider.

Integrations

A key thing that makes BigCommerce scalable and highly customisable is the ability to integrate with nearly 700 different partner apps for advanced functions. You can pick tools for:

  • Accounting and tax
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Business-to-business (B2B)/wholesale
  • Catalogue and order management
  • CRM and customer service
  • Data migration/transfer
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
  • Marketing and merchandising
  • Mobile apps
  • Payments and security
  • Product sourcing
  • Sales channels
  • Shipping and fulfilment
  • Site tools

Many of these relate to business operations, but some provide functions to replace or add to your online store, e.g. embedding Trustpilot reviews on your site or automating the refund process.

Only on the Enterprise plan can you use APIs (special code to connect apps) for even more advanced integrations, but this requires technical know-how.

Square POS offers the only direct point of sale integration with BigCommerce in the UK.

Your point of sale can be connected with the online store if you choose an integration that connects to in-store sales – namely Square in the UK. US customers can integrate with ShopKeep and Springboard Retail, but they are not available for British merchants.

Customer support and user reviews

If you are okay setting up a website on your own through step-by-step instructions, you can get far with BigCommerce’s extensive online resources. Many online guides are available with video guidance and advice, and a community support forum can answer some of your queries.

You can also phone, email or chat-message BigCommerce customer support team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for technical help. The team is based in the US, which is okay, but UK-specific issues will not be their strongest point to deal with.

If you are okay setting up a website on your own through step-by-step instructions, you can get far with BigCommerce’s extensive online resources.

We have seen quite a few poor customer reviews about the support for Essentials plans. Some users have indicated fewer features being available for UK users compared to the US; others have reported buggy functions that are not fixed for long periods of time. Lack of helpful support is another recurring issue.

On Enterprise, you can get dedicated account managers, and this probably comes at a high price. But as mentioned previously, Enterprise is for large businesses – and only “premium Enterprise customers” can get priority support. In other words, the company prioritises service for businesses who can pay for it.

What’s the best ecommerce/POS combination in the UK: iZettle or Shopify?

Our verdict

BigCommerce is first and foremost built for high-growth businesses, which shows in their integration options and emphasis on features proven to close more sales. Although there is a general user-friendliness especially around setting up, the platform prioritises the extent of functions over ease of use.

There is a pretty steep difference in pricing between the plans, which could easily be too expensive for the merchant who wants just few of the features available on the higher plans. However, if you’re going for the most adaptable ecommerce platform that’s not necessarily the simplest to set up, then BigCommerce is an excellent choice.

Name of Reviewed Item: BigCommerce UK Rating Value: 4 Image: https://www.mobiletransaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/bigcommerce-review-uk.jpg Review Author:Review Date: