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 is known for zero transaction fees and scalable solutions, making it best for high-revenue and growing businesses needing a sales platform that can grow with them.
It also has inventory and product management tools that can easily handle more variants and modifiers than competing ecommerce platforms, making BigCommerce a great fit for businesses with large inventories or complex product assortments. Monthly plans start at $29.95.
When to Use BigCommerce
BigCommerce is one of our top-recommended ecommerce platforms, scoring 4.38 out of 5 in our evaluation. In fact, we consider BigCommerce as a close runner-up to Shopify in being the best overall ecommerce solution.
In particular, we recommend BigCommerce for:
- High-revenue enterprise businesses: BigCommerce’s name implies who it’s best suited for—big ecommerce businesses. It offers integration with payment partners such as PayPal, Square, Amazon Pay, and Apple Pay. The lack of transaction fees and the ability to shop for the best payment processing rates makes it very attractive to high-revenue companies.
- Growing businesses needing a scalable ecommerce platform: BigCommerce offers various subscription tiers that you can upgrade to as your business grows and your needs change. Aside from your own website, the platform allows you to sell across multiple channels such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, as well as utilize its search engine optimization (SEO) tools to gain more traffic and increase conversion rates.
- Well-established online stores that have outgrown their current platforms: As mentioned above, you won’t outgrow BigCommerce. It also provides helpful tools and guides for a smooth migration.
- Online stores carrying a large variety of inventory such as clothing stores: BigCommerce lets you set up 250 product options and up to 600 variants.
- Businesses offering a mix of physical, digital, and service-based products: BigCommerce allows you to sell these options, without the need of a third-party integration.
- Online stores with global reach: With its basic plan and free theme, BigCommerce allows you to sell with multiple currencies. It even detects a site visitor’s IP address and switches currencies automatically.
When to Use an Alternative
- If your business is involved in small-scale selling or has only a few products, Shopify might be a better option. Its 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 and are not versed with coding, 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 selling is not the main focus of your small business site and you just need a small business website, Squarespace is our recommended website builder for a user-friendly, all-in-one solution.
- If you need a fully customized website and online store on your own servers, WooCommerce or PrestaShop is a better option. These are open-sourced platforms primarily geared toward developers.
- 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 have the advantage of being as customizable as WordPress.
BigCommerce Video Review
Related articles: 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 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.
Revelry is an online shop that offers bridesmaids dresses in a wide variety of styles, colors, and sizes. Michelle DeLoach, its owner, shared that she chose BigCommerce because of its fast loading time, ability to set up shoppable Instagram posts, and low transaction fees—thanks to its PayPal by Braintree integration.
Skullcandy is a lifestyle audio brand selling high-quality earphones and headphones (both wired and wireless). It migrated to BigCommerce for its versatility, adaptability, and affordability. Jenny Buchar, its Director of Digital Experience and Operations, shared that she was convinced to migrate to BigCommerce upon learning that its nontechnical team could configure its global stores’ checkout, taxes, shipping and payment types with simple preset selections.
3. Glory Cycles
Glory Cycles started out by selling bike parts on eBay, and it is now a multiplatform ecommerce business powered by BigCommerce. Clive de Sousa, its president, said that the company needed a website that could scale with its business. Its former platform wasn’t able to meet that need, so it migrated to BigCommerce and took advantage of its eBay integration to transfer inventory. It still sells on eBay and will soon be on Amazon.
BigCommerce’s pricing guide shows four subscription plans with fees that start at $29.95. 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.
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
**Pro plan only: 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).
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
In addition to the above, 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 offers a 15-day free trial, no strings attached. To build a store, you need to sign up with an email address, type in your store name, and answer a few questions about your business.
You can watch a video tour of the platform first or go through the prompts to set up your store. If you feel stuck or need help, then connect with its support team through phone or live chat.
Ready to get started? Learn how to set up your BigCommerce store.
Take a look at some of BigCommerce’s standout features below.
Since our last update:
Since we last wrote this review in May 2021, BigCommerce has made many changes to its platform, including
- New transactional email templates
- An expanded partnership with leading advertising and selling channels—including Google, Walmart, Amazon, TikTok, Wish and Mercado Libre—providing growth opportunities to businesses through third-party product distribution, advertising, and selling
- Multi-storefront (MSF) was launched in beta in 2021 and will be fully released in 2022—merchants can create and manage multiple storefronts within a single BigCommerce store
- A B2B edition (a new functionality for BundleB2B, which includes quote management, invoice portal, and payment method visibility control)
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 or large catalogs. You can also search by industry or preferred layout (grid or large images). 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.
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 only 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. This can only be done using third-party apps in Shopify.
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 is known for not charging sales transaction fees, but note that you still incur the usual credit charges from your payment gateway. BigCommerce offers preferential PayPal rates—that 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.
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.
In the News: In July 2021, BigCommerce partnered with Amazon for fulfillment. It now has native integrations with Amazon; Shopify doesn’t.
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.
Multicurrency & Multilanguage Capabilities
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).
Sales & Marketing Features
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, however, is unavailable in the Starter package, making 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.
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 create short 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 who used this feature saw as much as 70% improvement in site load times.
Find more things to love about SEO with our ultimate guide on ecommerce SEO.
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 on higher plans, third-party real-time shipping rates are available in any of BigCommerce’s plans. However, unlike on Shopify, discounted shipping rates are not yet available for BigCommerce.
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.
BigCommerce Ease of Use
- 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.
Top BigCommerce Alternatives
Best for: Small storefronts wanting to add an online store
Best for: Small businesses with ecommerce as their backbone
Best for: Artists and creators wanting top-rated templates
Monthly fee from: $0
Monthly fee from: $9
Monthly fee from: $18 (for ecommerce functionality)
Shopify remains BigCommerce’s biggest competitor. Read about how they stack up with each other in our BigCommerce vs Shopify review. If you’re unsure BigCommerce is right for you, see how it compares with our top-recommended ecommerce platforms.
What Users Think About BigCommerce
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: 4.3 out of 5 based on about 200 reviews
- G2: 4.2 out of 5 based on some 420 reviews
- TrustRadius: 8.1 out of 10 based on around 620 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:
Users Don’t Like
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
You need to know HTML or CSS in order to customize BigCommerce templates
We highly recommended 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 or are a total beginner, then the platform 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.