Are these features enough to justify getting a pricier plan, even if you don’t intend to sell $200,000 worth of stuff in a year? Ultimately, that’s up to you, but let’s talk about why some of these features might come in handy.
You can use customer segmentation to create loyalty programs, offer tax exemptions or wholesale discounts, or even just limit access to certain exclusive products.
Product filtering can improve your customer’s shopping experience, giving them the ability to filter by sizes, colors, or other traits. So if you have 108 different shirts, your customers can filter to find a white T-shirt in a small size. Note that product filtering is different than product sorting (by price, popularity, etc.), which all plans have.
Having stored credit cards provides another small improvement for your customers. It allows users to save their credit card information, which means repeat customers won’t have to re-enter their payment details each time they buy.
The abandoned cart saver, on the other hand, can increase your conversion rates by sending an email to customers who begin the checkout process but never finish it. The email can spur these customers to finish, giving you another sale.
But remember, your BigCommerce plan isn’t the only thing that will affect your website (or your total cost)—your theme and apps can also make a big difference.
BigCommerce themes, apps, and other costs
As we’ve said several times, a paid theme can make or break your BigCommerce experience. But we’ve also said that BigCommerce is meant for serious ecommerce businesses—and the cost of themes reflects that purpose.
BigCommerce only offers two free themes. The rest will cost you, and they range from $145 to $235. (In contrast, an average WordPress theme runs around $58.2)
Now, that is a one-time cost (unless you decide to change themes). So if you had a basic plan plus a paid theme, you’d be looking at around $30 a month for your plan and an up-front theme cost of around $200. Plus, of course, any apps you want.
While BigCommerce has many free apps, many of its most popular apps have a monthly fee. ShipperHQ, for instance, starts at $50 per month. So if you’re using the cheapest BigCommerce plan, just one paid app could double your monthly fee.
Plus, BigCommerce doesn’t provide a free domain with its plan. You can buy a domain name through BigCommerce or through the domain registrar of your choice—but either way, that’s another cost to consider.
Business licenses and EINs
As you do your business math, don’t forget to include the cost of a business license. Even if you have an online-only business, you’re still required to have a business license and employer identification number (EIN).
So between the costly plans, expensive themes, paid apps, and domain cost, BigCommerce is one of the most expensive website builders we’ve tested—and it offers fewer free marketing tools than some other online store builders. If you have a small boutique and don’t plan for growth, carefully consider BigCommerce’s high costs before signing up.
But if you have a large-scale ecommerce business, then BigCommerce’s retail features justify the price. After all, it’s one of the few website builders designed to handle large amounts of commerce.
We’ve discussed most of what sets BigCommerce apart. But before you buy, let’s look at a couple other factors you should consider in any online store builder.
Don’t worry if you’re not an SEO pro—search engine optimization (SEO) just helps your website appear higher in search engine results when someone searches for content related to your site.
While Wordpress reigns supreme for SEO features, we did find that BigCommerce has some pretty capable SEO itself. It allows you to customize your page titles, meta descriptions (brief summaries of your page), and URLs. All of this makes it easy to include relevant keywords so search engines know what your website is all about.
BigCommerce also allows for 301 redirects, which lets you redirect one URL to another without much effect on your search engine ranking. And it can generate XML sitemaps, which help search engines find your pages (even as you update them) so they get included in results.
So although BigCommerce doesn’t have the best SEO support we’ve seen, it definitely has enough for the average user.
Before you actually contact customer support, you can look through BigCommerce’s extensive Knowledge Base. We found it very easy to navigate for information. It has everything from answers to common questions to tutorials on how to set up different parts of your website.
Plus, BigCommerce has active customer forums where you can ask for help from the community.
If you can’t find an answer through either of those resources, BigCommerce offers customer support through phone, email, and live chat. But rather than tell you our brief impressions of those, we’re going to turn to BigCommerce’s customers on this one. Their reviews have a lot to say about customer support.