This article is part of a larger series on Retail Management.
BigCommerce is a fully-hosted ecommerce platform that lets you build an online store and sell on multiple platforms, including enterprise and ecommerce apps. It offers advanced product and inventory management features, and strong analytics capabilities—even in its first-entry plan.
It came in second with a 4.42 out of 5 score in our evaluation of the best ecommerce platforms, which was based on price, site builder features, sales and marketing, product management, and ease of use. It was a close fight between BigCommerce and Shopify during our evaluation, and we found BigCommerce better suited to high-revenue businesses, businesses with an extensive catalog or inventory, and online stores selling internationally.
We like that it has zero transaction fees and scalable solutions, so we recommend it for high-revenue and growing businesses needing a sales platform that can grow with them. And since it has inventory and product management tools that easily handle more variants and modifiers than competing ecommerce platforms, it is a great fit for businesses with large inventories or complex product assortments.
However, BigCommerce is not as easy to use as other platforms. So, if you’re a hobbyist, consider another platform like Shopify or Squarespace.
BigCommerce Video Review
Read our guide to the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses to find a solution that’s right for you. Alternatively, see how BigCommerce compares to Shopify if you’re deciding between the top two platforms.
If you’re ready to test BigCommerce, start a free trial and follow our guide on how to set up a BigCommerce online store.
BigCommerce Deciding Factors
Supported Business Types
Ecommerce, multichannel and marketplace retailers, dropshipping, print-on-demand, physical and digital goods, services, subscriptions
Standalone ecommerce site, social selling, marketplaces
Monthly Software Fees
Very competitive; robust and scalable plans
$29–$299.95, enterprise plans available on request 15-day free trial
Setup and Installation Fees
PayPal powered by Braintree and 65 others
Payment Processing Fees
Standard Rates, No Transaction Fees
2.9% + 30 cents for payment providers; zero transaction fees
24/7 live chat, email, and phone
Best for: Small businesses with ecommerce as their backbone and multichannel retailers
Best for: Small storefronts wanting to add an online store
Best for: Artists and creators wanting top-rated templates
Best for: Businesses with existing websites
Monthly fee from: $9
Monthly fee from: $0
Monthly fee from: $33 (for ecommerce functionality)
Monthly fee from: $0 (Free)
The lack of a free plan prevented BigCommerce from earning a perfect score. However, its paid plans are competitive and can be tested with a free trial.
BigCommerce has four subscription plans with fees that start at $29.95 monthly. The main differences among the tiers are the annual sales limits and availability of premium features—such as stored credit cards, Google customer reviews, and unlimited API calls.
All plans include the following:
- No transaction fees
- Unlimited staff accounts, products, file storage, and bandwidth
- Sales channels (online storefront, Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Google Shopping, and social media channels)
- Access to 24/7 live support
- BigCommerce mobile app and POS integration
- Payment integrations (Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Amazon Pay)
- SSL certificate
BigCommerce Pricing Plans
Software Fees (Billed Monthly)
Software Fees (Billed Annually)
Annual Online Sales Limit*
Up to $50,000
Up to $180,000
Up to $400,000***
(Optional) Special Credit Card Fees from PayPal Braintree
2.9% + 30 cents
2.5% + 30 cents
2.2% + 30 cents
2.2% + 30 cents
Stored Credit Cards
Google Customer Reviews
Unlimited API Calls
*Computed on a trailing 12-month basis
**Starts at $299.95 per month for online sales of less than $400,000, then $150 per month for every additional $200,000
The prices quoted above do not include all forms of tax (e.g., U.S. sales, VAT, and GST).
In addition, signing up for the Standard plan gives you real-time shipping quotes, professional reporting tools, coupons, discounts, and gift cards.
Plus includes all features of the Standard package, plus an abandoned cart saver, persistent cart saver, customer groups, and stored credit cards.
Meanwhile, the Pro plan provides product filtering, custom SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), and Google customer reviews, in addition to all the features mentioned in Plus.
For those who exceed $400,000 in annual online sales revenue, Enterprise has unlimited API calls, price lists, and custom capabilities on top of everything above.
BigCommerce is known for not charging sales transaction fees, but note that you still incur the usual credit charges from your payment gateway. It offers preferential PayPal rates—which decrease as you subscribe to its higher plans—when you use its default payment option, PayPal powered by Braintree.
It gives you 65+ integrated payment gateways to choose from, all of which allow you to offer a one-click checkout setup in your site, accept mobile payments, and support multiple currencies.
You can accept the following modes of payment:
- Online (PayPal, Stripe, and more)
- Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)
- Offline (bank deposit, cash on delivery, check, money order, pay in store)
- Digital wallets (Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Masterpass)
If you have not added a Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) option to your online store, now may be the perfect time to. BNPL is a fast-growing payment option, with 55.8% consumers having used it in 2021. Read our guide on how to offer customer financing, including BNPL.
Bolt Integration (One-Click Checkout Option)
BigCommerce’s one-click checkout option, Bolt, is a new feature. It was added as an answer to Shopify’s Shop Pay option, which has gained traction with its one-click checkout and financing options. Bolt is a native integration to BigCommerce, making it easier to activate from your dashboard. However, it is a paid add-on, starting at $19.99 a month.
In our evaluation of BigCommerce’s website builder features, it earned a solid 4.25 out of 5. While it received high marks for design functionality, SEO, security, and website analytics, it lost a few points because it does not offer a free domain. And, while BigCommerce offers more customization options than some competitors, it is not as flexible as competitors like Wix.
BigCommerce’s page builder, Store Design, lets you customize page sections and see them reflected in real time—similar to most ecommerce platforms that offer drag-and-drop builders. It is not as savvy as Squarespace’s builder but is intuitive enough to develop on your own.
If you want a more customized website for your store, BigCommerce provides headless commerce solutions. This is ideal if you are ready, or have invested in a web developer, to build your site.
Since our last update:
BigCommerce has made new partnerships with Bloomreach, Sitecore, Adobe Experience Manager, and Drupal to build out headless commerce integrations and frameworks applicable—no matter the frontend you choose.
BigCommerce offers 10+ free and 100+ paid (starts at $150) website themes, all of which are mobile-friendly and AMP-enabled (Accelerated Mobile Pages). If you look closely, however, its free themes have striking similarities, with differences only in color, as compared to Shopify’s nine free themes with two to three variants and Squarespace’s 115+ theme bundles.
What’s great about BigCommerce’s themes, though, is that they provide options for stores that carry small and large catalogs. You can also search by industry or preferred layout (grid or large images).
BigCommerce offers a wide range of marketing tools—such as site banners, coupon codes, gift certificates, discounts, abandoned cart notifications, and Google Customer reviews.
The abandoned cart recovery feature is unavailable in the Starter package. This makes it a little more expensive than Shopify, which has the feature available even on its basic plan.
However, it’s more flexible than those on Shopify and other platforms. While most limit you to one automated email, BigCommerce lets you send three follow-ups. This can increase revenue with little effort, other than the time spent setting up the automated messages.
This feature also usually pays for itself—if your site receives a lot of visitors, purchasing a BigCommerce plan that includes abandoned cart recovery is a smart decision.
Want to learn more? Read our article on shopping cart abandonment statistics.
BigCommerce doesn’t have a built-in email marketing tool like Shopify Email (Shopify’s built-in marketing tool), but it has recently improved its partnership with Klaviyo. This allows for more personalization, segmentation, and automation in email marketing for BigCommerce merchants.
Reporting & Analytics
BigCommerce provides comprehensive analytics reports and most of its reporting features across all plans. This is unlike Shopify, which requires you to be on its $79 plan before offering more in-depth sales and customer reports.
Some of the standard reports include the following:
- Customer reports (new vs returning customers, overall spend, order history, referral website)
- Marketing reports (customer acquisition)
- Search data reports (search queries customers use when looking for store products)
- Finance reports (sales, tax reports, and more)
- Abandoned cart reports (if your subscription includes this feature)
You can also access more in-depth reports from Ecommerce Insights for an additional fee on top of your monthly subscription.
All BigCommerce websites are mobile-friendly and include SEO features—such as automated image optimizer, on-page SEO capabilities, sitemap generation, and site speed enhancers. AMP is implemented on all BigCommerce themes as well.
You can customize your store products’ metadata, header tags, and titles and create and change product-specific URLs easily. Unlike Shopify and Squarespace, you can also shorten URLs (e.g., www.domain.com/custom-name instead of www.domain.com/products/custom-name).
The AMP feature is also an SEO advantage. It is a project developed by Google that aims to deliver your site content faster to mobile users, reducing the number of mobile visitors who leave your site because your content loads too slowly.
Akamai Image Manager, an image optimization feature, was recently introduced by BigCommerce. According to BigCommerce, users saw as much as 70% improvement in site load times with it.
Find more things to love about SEO with our ultimate guide on ecommerce SEO.
Third-party Integrations/App Extensions
BigCommerce has more than a thousand apps on its app store. It is no match to Shopify’s 7,000+ extensions, but you can definitely find a feature you might need for your online store. And, while Shopify relies more heavily on its marketplace, BigCommerce has more features built-in natively.
Product management is one area where BigCommerce really shines. In our evaluation of its sales and product features, BigCommerce received a 4.63 out of 5. It got high marks for its unlimited products, flexible variant and modifier management, native tools for selling digital products, easy catalog management, and order fulfillment options. It only lost points for not having a native POS for in-person sales (though, it integrates with Square) and for abandoned cart recovery not being available in every plan.
BigCommerce is the only ecommerce platform that lets you sell physical, digital, and service-based products without having to use a third-party app (often at a cost). Subscriptions, however, require an app.
One of BigCommerce’s strongest features is its extensive product variant management. Unlike Shopify (which lets you set only up to three product options), BigCommerce allows you to create up to 250 product options. It can also auto-generate SKUs for all the different combinations of variants you set up. Its limit on product variants is up to 600, a far cry from Shopify and Squarespace’s equivalent limits of 100.
BigCommerce has native custom product fields and work tools. If your products have customization options, e.g., engraving and image uploads, then you can set up custom fields and upload images (up to 500MB) easily. In Shopify, this can only be done using third-party apps.
However, BigCommerce is less impressive when it comes to product categories. While creating products and their variants is straightforward and simple, you need to manually assign individual products into categories.
BigCommerce lets you keep track of inventory for your storefront products and set up low-stock alerts—although you need to set this up manually and not depend on EOQ (Economic Order Quantity) reports. Syncing between multiple sales channels can be done through third-party integrations.
You can set up how to communicate stock alerts to your customers, such as hiding a product when it is sold out or showing a sold out message and availability date. You can also charge “authorize only” transactions, allowing you to authorize the charge without actually withdrawing the funds from your customer’s account until you approve it. This is an advantage when you are selling products that don’t need inventory, such as refurbished items, wholesale goods, and on-site produced goods.
BigCommerce allows you to set up different shipping rules such as the following:
- Free shipping
- Flat rate
- Price-based rate
- Weight-based rate
- In-store pickup
- Real-time shipping rates from third-party carriers
Compared to other platforms that offer this in higher plans, third-party real-time shipping rates are available in any of BigCommerce’s plans. However, unlike on Shopify, discounted shipping rates are still unavailable for BigCommerce.
BigCommerce offers many ways to sell your products aside from your online store—like on social media platforms (Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram). You can also list your items on ecommerce marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon.
When you integrate your Facebook, Amazon, and eBay accounts, your product listings and inventory are synced across all platforms. For example, if you edit a product title in your BigCommerce dashboard, the change will carry across all platforms, cutting out a lot of manual work. If you integrate with Instagram, you can make the user experience better by displaying up to five products with detailed product views on your account.
Multistorefront, Multicurrency & Multilanguage Capabilities
In the News:
Multi-Storefront (MSF) was launched in beta in March 2022 and is now generally available in all Enterprise stores. With it, merchants can create multiple unique storefronts within a single store. You can manage multiple brands (multi-brand), sell in multiple customer segments (multi-segment), and/or sell in multiple regions (multi-region).
The platform accepts over 100 currencies and offers local payment options with your preferred gateway. You can also localize your store’s front-end according to the language of your market.
BigCommerce’s free themes even facilitate automatic currency conversion based on a site visitor’s IP address. It definitely beats other platforms that don’t offer this feature (like Squarespace) or offer it only with a more expensive plan (like Shopify).
BigCommerce Store Examples
BigCommerce is best for businesses that have an extensive product catalog, need custom or work-order tools, and require a scalable solution. The brands below are perfect examples of those businesses that utilize BigCommerce’s standout features.
- Help center
- Knowledge base: User and developer docs, guides, videos, and webinars
- Community: Q&A, groups, forum, and town halls
- 24/7 email, live chat, and phone support
BigCommerce’s user interface is straightforward, relatively similar in appearance to Shopify and Squarespace’s dashboards. One of its features is a drag-and-drop builder, though most users said that it is not as intuitive as Squarespace’s layout builder. However, we found it easy to get started with setting up and managing products.
The provider offers a huge advantage to its users by having 24/7 phone, email, and live chat support. When you sign up for a free trial, you are entitled to a 10-minute call with its experts to discuss your business and goals and how BigCommerce can help you succeed.
If you subscribe to its highest plan (Enterprise), you are provided priority support. This is in the form of an onboarding consultant and prioritized phone calls with its most senior and highly trained support staff.
In addition, you can make use of its comprehensive help center and library of video tutorials.
Here, we considered any standout features, the overall value BigCommerce provides, user reviews, and feedback based on our own experience testing the platform.
Overall, BigCommerce features are geared toward enterprise businesses and those that are ready to scale their operations. Its backend tools, such as its product management features, offer a variety of details you can set up, like custom work order tools, variants, and delivery options. It can be overwhelming at first, but if your business needs plenty of room for inventory and product detail listings, BigCommerce is the best fit.
Budget-wise, it is almost a tie with Shopify with its subscription plans. However, we find Shopify to be more budget-friendly for small businesses because it has built-in marketing tools (such as email and abandoned cart saver) even in the first-level plan. BigCommerce is also less intuitive than Shopify’s backend, but that is because of the extensive setup you can build with your products.
What Users Say in BigCommerce Reviews
BigCommerce is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms based on the number of reviews online. A majority of user reviews reflect satisfaction with the platform—citing its customization, zero transaction fees, and 24/7 support as strong advantages. Most customers agree that while the ability to customize is great, it presents a steep learning curve for those not well-versed at coding.
At the time of publication, BigCommerce reviews earned the following scores on popular user review sites:
- Capterra: 4.4 out of 5 based on about 200 reviews
- G2: 4.2 out of 5 based on some 430 reviews
- TrustRadius: 8.2 out of 10 based on around 630 reviews
- iOS app: 4.6 out of 5 stars based on nearly 500 reviews
- Android app: 3.16 out of 5 stars based on more than 220 reviews
Finances Online has a Customer Satisfaction Algorithm that gathers reviews, comments, and opinions on software from many different social media sites and analyzes the data to provide a score out of 100. BigCommerce garnered an overall user satisfaction rating of 97%.
When reading through BigCommerce reviews, I noticed these trends:
|Has great 24/7 customer support||Free templates are pretty much the same except for their colors|
|Provides more sales tools, cross-channel integration, and SEO features||Can get more expensive as your store gets more sales|
|Gives more freedom when it comes to website design/customization||Need to know HTML or CSS in order to customize BigCommerce templates|
Methodology: How We Reviewed BigCommerce
We evaluated BigCommerce by testing the system ourselves. Then, we graded it against the criteria we use to evaluate the best ecommerce platforms. We looked at affordability along with essential ecommerce features every online store should have, such as intuitive site builder tools and scalable sales and product features. Ease of use, customer support, and the overall value each system offers were also considered.
Click through the tabs below for a more detailed breakdown of evaluation criteria:
15% of Overall Score
We graded this section based on whether they offer a free plan and monthly scalable pricing options under $100 because most small businesses operate on a budget. We also gave points to platforms that integrate with mobile wallets and popular payment solutions, with bonus points for buy now, pay later financing options and one-click checkouts as these are revenue-driving options for small businesses. BigCommerce would have earned a perfect score in this criteria, save for the free plan provision. However, it does offer a 15-day free trial.
30% of Overall Score
We considered the available templates, customization options, and overall flexibility of the website builder. We also reviewed the quantity and quality of third-party extensions compatible with the software and whether it includes a free domain and SSL certificate, unlimited storage, and built-in SEO tools and site analytics. BigCommerce received high marks here, except for one criterion—the lack of a free domain name. Its site builder is also not as flexible compared to other platforms we have reviewed.
30% of Overall Score
We evaluated features essential to online stores—easy product set up, inventory and fulfillment options, tools for mobile and in-store selling, integrated social media and marketplace selling, and the ability to sell unlimited products (including downloadable files). Since most small businesses take care of marketing themselves, we considered the availability of marketing tools, such as abandoned cart recovery, promotions, and discounts. BigCommerce would’ve earned a perfect score in this category if it had a built-in POS system and offered marketing tools in every subscription plan. However, it integrates with Square POS, and users can unlock the abandoned cart saver feature with the $79.95/month plan.
15% of Overall Score
Because online stores operate 24/7, we prioritized platforms that offer 24/7 customer support and have multiple customer touchpoints, such as phone, email, and chat. We also awarded points to easy solutions to set up or have guided prompts and a comprehensive help center. BigCommerce earned a near-perfect score because of its 24/7 multichannel support system.
10% of Overall Score
Finally, we considered any standout features and whether or not the software offers an excellent overall value for its price. We also rated the tool’s popularity with small businesses and its compatibility with other small business software. We also awarded points based on our personal experience interacting with the platform and the company’s customer support. BigCommerce consistently tops the list of the best B2B ecommerce platforms graded by peers. That and our own expert’s personal experience with the platform, plus a majority of good user reviews, earned BigCommerce the top position in this category, tied with Shopify.
BigCommerce Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who should use BigCommerce?
BigCommerce is better-suited for high-revenue businesses wanting to shop around for the lowest payment processing fees. It offers zero transaction fees and special discounts with PayPal. We also recommend it for online stores that have an extensive product catalog and sell internationally.
When should I use a BigCommerce alternative?
If you are a small business selling only a few products, Shopify might be a better option. The Shopify Lite plan allows you to embed checkout links on your social media pages for only $9 a month. Alternatively, you can explore our list of the best free ecommerce website builders.
- If you are looking for a quick and easy setup, check out Shopify, Square Online, and Squarespace. Users say they are very intuitive and easy to set up.
- If you run a brick-and-mortar store and would like to add an online component for pickup or local delivery sales, then Square Online is your best option. It lets you build a full website or a simple one-page site for free.
- If you already have an existing WordPress website and would like to build or add an online store, a WordPress ecommerce plugin—such as WooCommerce—would be a better option. Such plugins have robust features similar to BigCommerce and the advantage of being as customizable as WordPress.
Learn more about these BigCommerce alternatives in our guide to the best ecommerce platforms.
We highly recommend BigCommerce—and with good reason. It is one of the most feature-packed ecommerce platforms on the market, with its basic plan providing strong capabilities—such as SEO features (AMP functionality and image optimization), multiple currency support, and ability to set up hundreds of variants—suited for scaling and growth. This makes it perfect for large, fast-growing, and high-revenue businesses. If you are not looking for growth yet or are a total beginner, then it isn’t for you.
When it comes to choosing an ecommerce platform, it’s all going to boil down to what kind of business you have. If you run a large enterprise that requires numerous user accounts or an exhaustive product catalog, you need BigCommerce. Sign up for its 15-day free trial today.