As e-commerce gains popularity, a lot of people are starting to create online store. The questions that always seems to get asked is, what shopping cart should I use. Unfortunately, there is not a simple, “Use this Cart”. Instead, choosing a shopping cart requires you to figure out, will that cart work for your needs. I, like many others are a big fan of Shopify, but I am also a huge fan of BigCommerce. BigCommerce bridges the gap between the functionality of open source shopping carts with the ease of Shopify. But, is BigCommerce the cart for you? I have revamped how I do my product reviews and will be, essentially, building online stores for each cart I review so you can see what it is good at, and what it is bad at.
As you can see, I go through how I do a review. I build a coffee site from scratch so you can see what the cart is good at, and what it is not so food at. I like coffee since it really tests the functionality of the cart. That includes product options, wholesale/retail and even recurring revenue, something very few carts do without extra expenses. If you want to download the blank review checklist and the BigCommerce checklist, head to http://member.onlinestorehelp.com and sign up for the free account.
Setting up the Initial BigCommerce Store
In this video I actually go through setting up the initial store. That means choosing the store options. It is more detailed than some carts but is pretty easy to go through. For the most part I left a lot of it with the standard options BigCommerce changes for you. I also walk through the themes available. They don’t have as many responsive themes as Shopify but they do have several, both free and paid. But, to be honest, I wouldn’t worry to much about this. One thing I think BigCommerce does well is handle stores with lots and lots of products. In this case, sometimes a dedicated mobile site that BigCommerce provides is a better option.
Pages, Categories, Products and Options in BigCommerce
In the next two videos I walk you through setting up categories, products, options and option sets and miscellaneous pages. I show you how the options and option sets work in BigCommmerce so you can understand how their optioning system is different than a lot of other carts. Its a killer system if you have consistent products but can become a real pain if you have products with lots of different options. Pages are pretty simple and they even have a contact form built in with a captcha system. What we don’t go over is the menu. Unlike Shopify, BigCommerce doesn’t really give you options on your navigation. They determine where it all goes.
Miscellaneous Functionality in BigCommerce
The following video goes over some of the other functionality in BigCommerce. This will include coupons, discounts, as well as customer groups so you can create wholesale and retail customer groups.
Shipping, Taxes and Payments
So in this video we go over the shipping functionality, tax set up and payments. One thing I absolutely love about BigCommerce is its shipping functionality. They allow you to create separate zones (I know, so do most other carts) but where it excels is in your ability to set up different shipping options within those zones. For example, you can set up a zone by postal code, then give different options according to those zones. So, I can set up, free pick up in store but only allow that option for 3 zip codes here in the USA. If the shipping address isn’t in those zip codes, that option does not show up. Pretty amazing.
For taxes, BigCommerce has two options. Use the tax numbers provided by Avalara, or do them manually. I like that you can do them manually because one thing I found with Shopify, is with Hawaii, they get the taxing system wrong. Hawaii doesn’t have a sales tax, instead they have an Excise Tax owed by businesses in Hawaii. Businesses are allowed to pass that tax along to their customers (so it looks like a sales tax), but, get this, Hawaii then says that tax you collected, is revenue, so you own tax on the tax you collected. So what you do is gross up the taxes. In Honolulu, the tax is 4.5%, but you are allowed to tax 4.712% to gross up for the taxes owed. But Shopify will only show the 4.5%.
Finally are the payment options. BigCommerce has tons of payment options including the traditional like PayPal and Stripe but even COD, Pay by Check, Pay in Store, etc. There are a ton of options available to you.
Final Thoughts on BigCommerce
BigCommerce has gone through some growing pains in the last couple years. Good growing pains but it took them a bit to find themselves. They stopped offering affiliate commissions though, I am a partner, but because of no affiliate system, less and less marketers are promoting them. I still think its a great platform whether I am getting paid a commission or not which is why I still recommend them to many potential e-commerce store owners. The great thing is, they have their pricing at a good place, an App store that is competing with Shopify and making it easier to customize.
Go ahead and give them a try. You can try them at https://onlinestorehelp.com/bigcommerce and give their 14 day free trial a go ahead. And a reminder, sign up for the free portal at http://member.onlinestorehelp.com to download the checklist I go through on BigCommerce and other carts as I review them.