With the transition of commerce to the online realm, businesses need to proactively anticipate evolving customer expectations and provide captivating and exceptionally tailored experiences across various platforms. This requires an ongoing process of digital transformation. Notable transformations include the substantial shift in device usage from desktop to mobile, advancements in mobile technology from responsive websites to progressive web applications, and the changing landscape of shopping venues from physical stores to branded eCommerce websites, online marketplaces, and social networks.
Every aspect of the shopping process, starting from discovering products to engaging with customers, making purchases, and ensuring smooth delivery, holds significant importance. To excel in this ever-evolving digital era and provide exceptional service to their customers, businesses require a cross-channel commerce platform that positions them at the forefront of user experience and fosters innovation.
Traditionally, consumer brands relied on retail distribution to sell their products. However, the rise of eCommerce has introduced a new model known as direct-to-consumer (DTC) or digitally native brands (DNBs). DNBs primarily operate online, selling their products directly to consumers without the reliance on third-party retailers or the need for capital-intensive physical stores.
For businesses that rely on outdated software systems, venturing into the world of eCommerce can pose significant challenges. It often demands a considerable workforce and a diverse range of capabilities that may lie beyond their core competencies. While Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms have been around since the late 1990s, it is only in recent years that multiple SaaS options have emerged as formidable contenders to traditional software leaders in various market segments, including small businesses, mid-market companies, and large enterprises.
BigCommerce stands out as a prominent open SaaS platform designed for cross-channel commerce. It offers a comprehensive, cloud-based eCommerce solution that is highly regarded in the industry. BigCommerce boasts industry-leading features, flexibility, scalability, and user-friendly interface characteristic of a top-tier SaaS platform. Regardless of their size, all BigCommerce customers operate on a unified, global, multi-tenant architecture, which provides a compelling and efficient solution for successful online selling.
BigCommerce: What is it and How Does it Work?
Established in 2009 in Sydney, BigCommerce is an eCommerce platform that operates on the software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model. Its primary goal is to enable retailers to leverage digital transformation as a competitive edge, empowering them to thrive in the online marketplace.
BigCommerce offers a comprehensive suite of tools for launching and expanding an eCommerce venture. This includes features such as store design, catalog management, secure hosting, seamless checkout processes, efficient order management, comprehensive reporting, and seamless integration with third-party services like payment gateways, shipping providers, and accounting software.
Underpinning the entire platform is a unified code base and a global, multi-tenant architecture that prioritizes security, high performance, and continuous innovation. BigCommerce caters to a wide range of stores, spanning various sizes, product categories, and transaction types, encompassing both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) operations. Notable brands that rely on BigCommerce’s platform include Avery Dennison, Ben & Jerry’s, Burrow, SC Johnson, SkullCandy, Sony, and Woolrich.
Upon its launch in 2009, BigCommerce initially set its sights on serving the small business (SMB) sector. It offered a straightforward, cost-effective, all-in-one solution delivered through cloud technology. However, in 2015, BigCommerce recognized a significant market opportunity: to become the pioneering SaaS platform that seamlessly combines enterprise-grade functionality, openness, and high performance with the user-friendly simplicity preferred by SMBs.
Consequently, BigCommerce broadened its strategic focus to encompass mid-market and large enterprises. The mid-market segment refers to websites with annual online sales ranging from $1 million to $50 million, while large enterprises are defined as sites with annual online sales exceeding $50 million, reaching into the billions. During this period, these segments predominantly relied on “legacy software,” whether licensed, open-source, or custom-developed solutions.
To offer a superior SaaS alternative, BigCommerce embarked on a multi-year investment in transforming its platform. It diligently added advanced functionality and openness to nearly every aspect of its system, utilizing application programming interface (API) endpoints. This transformation followed a trajectory of disruptive innovation: starting with a simple product tailored for the lower end of the market, then progressively integrating advanced features and top-notch performance to compete effectively in the mid-market and large enterprise segments.
- Store Design: BigCommerce provides a diverse selection of customizable themes and templates that enable businesses to create visually captivating and unique online stores. The platform’s intuitive design editor empowers businesses to personalize their storefronts without the need for coding expertise, resulting in professional and tailored digital experiences.
- Catalog Management: With BigCommerce, businesses can efficiently manage their product catalogs. The platform offers robust tools for organizing products into categories, setting pricing, monitoring inventory levels, and offering product variations, such as size or color options. Additionally, BigCommerce supports streamlined import and export processes for businesses dealing with substantial product inventories.
- Hosting and Security: BigCommerce boasts reliable hosting services built on secure and scalable infrastructure. The platform ensures exceptional website performance, seamlessly handling high volumes of traffic without compromising speed or stability. With a steadfast commitment to security, BigCommerce incorporates essential features like SSL certificates, data encryption, and advanced fraud protection, safeguarding customer data and instilling trust in the online shopping experience.
- Checkout and Payment Integration: BigCommerce seamlessly integrates with a wide range of payment gateways, enabling businesses to offer customers multiple payment options. This flexibility improves conversion rates and provides a convenient and streamlined checkout process. Additionally, BigCommerce supports advanced features like one-page checkout, guest checkout, and abandoned cart recovery, reducing cart abandonment rates and maximizing sales opportunities.
- Order Management: BigCommerce simplifies order processing and fulfillment through its centralized order management system. Businesses can efficiently track and manage orders, monitor inventory levels, generate shipping labels, and handle returns or exchanges—all within a single, user-friendly dashboard. Integration with leading shipping carriers streamlines the shipping process, ensuring accurate shipping rates and reliable delivery options for customers.
- Reporting and Analytics: BigCommerce provides robust reporting and analytics tools that deliver valuable insights into sales performance, customer behavior, and marketing campaigns. Businesses can track key metrics, generate detailed reports, and leverage data-driven decision-making to optimize their online stores and marketing strategies, ultimately driving growth and profitability.
- Integration with Third-Party Services: BigCommerce offers seamless integration with an extensive ecosystem of third-party applications and services. This includes popular tools for email marketing, customer relationship management (CRM), accounting, inventory management, and social media. By leveraging these integrations, businesses can extend the functionality of their online stores and streamline various aspects of their operations, enhancing efficiency and productivity.
- Scalability and Reliability: BigCommerce is designed to accommodate the growth and evolving needs of businesses. The platform ensures seamless scalability, enabling businesses to handle increased website traffic, expand sales volumes, and grow product catalogs without compromising performance. With a focus on reliability, BigCommerce provides a stable infrastructure that minimizes downtime and ensures uninterrupted service, allowing businesses to focus on their core objectives without technical limitations.
- SEO and Marketing Features: BigCommerce incorporates built-in features to optimize online stores for search engines, enhancing organic visibility and driving traffic. Businesses can leverage customizable URLs, Meta tags, sitemaps, and other SEO tools to improve their search engine rankings. Additionally, the platform supports a range of marketing features, including promotions, discounts, gift cards, and product reviews, empowering businesses to attract and engage customers effectively while promoting brand loyalty and driving sales growth.
BigCommerce offers automatic upgrades based on your trailing 12-month sales volume, ensuring that your plan aligns with your business growth. When your online store exceeds the specified threshold for your current plan, you will be seamlessly upgraded to the next plan level. For instance, if you are on the Standard plan and your yearly sales surpass £40,000, you will automatically transition to the Plus plan.
To get started, you simply need to select the plan that best suits your current sales volume. Here are the available plans:
- Standard Plan – $29 per month: The Standard plan is an affordable option designed for those who want to establish an online store and begin selling. With a yearly sales limit of £40,000, it caters to small online businesses with relatively lower monthly sales volumes.
- Plus Plan – $79 per month: The Plus plan provides enhanced marketing support, empowering ambitious online businesses to scale and boost conversions. With a yearly sales limit of £140,000, it is an ideal choice for growing businesses seeking additional features and resources.
- Pro Plan – $299 per month: The Pro plan is tailored for larger eCommerce businesses and offers extensive capabilities to support growth. With a generous annual sales limit of £325,000, it includes advanced features such as Google customer reviews, product filtering, and custom product filtering. These features enhance the user experience, making it easier for customers to find desired products on your website.
- Enterprise Plan – Custom Pricing: The Enterprise plan is a customizable solution that caters to the specific needs of large-scale, global online retailers. It includes additional features such as price lists, unlimited API calls, and a custom sales limit. This plan is designed for businesses that require a VIP package and specialized support.
Note: BigCommerce offers a range of paid apps and extensions through its Ecommerce Apps Marketplace, which may be the only additional ongoing cost associated with the platform. This marketplace provides a vast selection of options to support various aspects of your online store, including marketing, shipping, and customer support, as your business expands. While some apps are available for free, more advanced ones come at varying price points, ranging from a few pounds to several hundred pounds per month, depending on your specific requirements.
It is important to note that BigCommerce differentiates itself from platforms like Shopify by offering a comprehensive set of built-in features that are designed to foster the growth of your online store. These features encompass a wide range of functionalities, reducing the reliance on expensive third-party apps and minimizing additional costs.
By leveraging the extensive selection of apps and extensions available on the Ecommerce Apps Marketplace and leveraging the robust built-in features of BigCommerce, businesses can effectively optimize their online operations, enhance customer experiences, and achieve sustainable growth without incurring excessive expenses.
BigCommerce provides businesses with an all-in-one eCommerce solution that is user-friendly, scalable, and flexible. With mobile optimization, secure hosting, seamless payment integration, an extensive app ecosystem, advanced analytics, and ongoing support, BigCommerce empowers businesses to create successful online stores, drive sales, and deliver exceptional customer experiences.
To help you implement BigCommerce for your business, contact us at 18th DigiTech and our experts will provide you with personalized solutions, tailored to meet your business requirements perfectly. We are an award-winning eCommerce agency and an Adobe (Magento) Gold Solution Partner; assisting businesses of all sizes to create eCommerce stores, headless commerce (PWA), web applications, and mobile apps as required.