BigCommerce eCommerce Software Review 
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Richard Potvin
Québec, CA
My name is Richard Potvin and I am the owner of MapleSyrupWorld. We have been using BigCommerce since the launch of our ecommerce website in June 2010 and in our opinion, we pushed the BigCommerce platform to its full potential in terms of design and functionality.  The site is listed on BigCommerce Live Store Showcase and we have been active in the BigCommerce community for the past year by participating in many discussions with various other store owners and on upcoming features for BigCommerce.  My sales have been growing every month and we invested in design, SEO and content to create a high user experience for our visitors.
Here is our user review of BigCommerce.
BigCommerce is an ecommerce platform offered in SaaS mode (Software as a Service: you rent the application without buying it, usually on a monthly basis). BigCommerce , based on the Interspire ecommerce platform, was launched in 2008 and is a well establish player in the ecommerce software industry.

Getting Started
A startup guide is available in the admin panel as you log in to help you launch your site as easily and as fast as possible. Well-defined steps are highlighted such as: configure your store settings, add product, payment method, taxes, etc. The guide is really useful for those who are not familiar with ecommerce management but it will also help experienced ecommerce users as well. It points you to important areas that need configuration before you can launch your site.

Menu: The menus are clean and well organized. The learning curve is not too steep even for an ecommerce neophyte, as you easily get your bearings within a couple of hours.

Design: It's easy and fast to install new templates and see what kind of look and feel you prefer.

Tax System: The tax system is great and has been revamped for the version 7 making it even more flexible and powerful. It takes into accounts numerous countries tax systems.

Payment Gateway: BigCommerce integrates with an impressive number of merchant accounts providers.  The interface is simple and easily configurable.
BigCommerce Administrator Screen
BigCommerce Administrator Screen
Running your store
Imports/exports: It’s possible to import/export your entire product catalog and client list from/to a CSV file. This option was revamped with the 6.1 version of the software and can be essential if you have hundreds of products or clients if you are moving from an existing cart.

Inventory: It’s easy to manage your inventory with BigCommerce. The inventory system allows you to create alarm flag and send a warning by email when a critical level is reached. You can set your critical levels per products and the information is graphically displayed in the product screen allowing you to keep an eye on stock level.
Design:
BigCommerce offers around 100 different templates with professional looks. You could even use one with little modifications and your site would still look professional. BigCommerce also have a list of affiliate web design companies where you can get help for your design work. We partnered with MarketingMedia.ca for our design.
BigComme Design Option
BigCommerce Design Options
You can easily access the html and images files in FTP mode or even download them locally. This lets you change your template and implement your own flashy design. You can use external JavaScript platform like JQUERY to create interesting animations and image sliders. But be warned, to do a great job you will need to know HTML and CSS fairly well.

Design Mode: It’s possible to visualize your site in design mode which allow you to drag and drop panels (Newsletter, Simplified cart) directly into yours pages. You can also modify text and label directly in the page. Useful if you are not an html genius!

Reports: The admin section opens up with a nicely build dashboard which let you visualize and monitor your website activity. The dashboard display orders, visits and bandwidth per day, weeks and. Many other reports are available, all in graphic mode to help you visualize what’s happening with your store. You have access to sales tax reports, conversion report but a revenue report is definitely missing. All reports are well built and presented in a nice graphical way. The user interface is simple and clear and you can select you reporting date.
BigCommerce Reports
BigCommerce Reports
Hosting: BigCommerce websites are hosted on their own server and maintain by their support team.  They are fairly stable, with the occasional hiccups, and the speed is decent but has suffered in the past few months. And since Google added speed to its ranking factor this should be looked at.

Price: BigCommerce is offered in SaaS mode. You pay a monthly renting fee and your ecommerce site is hosted on BigCommerce servers. No backup and hosting to worry about. There are many plans offered for the smaller business to the biggest one with 1000+ products. The cheapest plan starts at 24.95 per month, all inclusive.

*Note that you will need to buy an SSL Certificate to be able to encrypt the checkout process which cost around $80 but they have removed the startup fees which is brilliant.

SEO: BigCommerce didn’t neglect on this important aspect of ecommerce and they have decided to bring onboard an SEO expert to optimize their platform. This gives you a head start in your search engine optimization. The URLs are well build and you can manage pretty much all types of titles, meta-descriptions and keywords for content pages, individual product page and categories. The only problem is that you can't control your H1 tags on your pages.  They are directly created from your page name.
BigCommerce SEO Platform
BigCommerce SEO platform
Updates and Community
Updates: BigCommerce updates are regularly deployed and the process is usually a walk in the park for store owner. If you store is heavily customized (like MapleSyrupWorld), you might need to do some touch up but it’s usually not too much of a headache. BigCommerce team tries to merge your store with the new changes but will let you know the next time you logged on if anything went amiss.

Community: BigCommerce has a Community forum where every store owner can discuss their latest questions/problems and also suggest improvement and/or new functionality. The ecommerce site owners can vote for their favorite functionalities. Generally, BigCommerce listens to its community and develops the most popular improvements, but not at all time!

Marketing Tools
Newsletter: You can easily create newsletter campaign with MailChimp and iContact integration.

Ebay: It’s possible to sell your products directly on EBay from BigCommerce admin. Please note that it can be difficult if you have lots of product configuration.

Social Media: Facebook Shop is available with your basic BigCommerce store.  It allows you to list all your products/prices/links on your Facebook page.

Shopping Comparison: Integration with shopping comparison sites allows you to push your products directly to them.  Some of the free one could have been included there.

Mobile Commerce: Great advantage, BigCommerce is optimized for iPhone and iPad. Although, it still looks crap on my Blackberry!

PCI certification: The PCI Certification is now completed. After many months of hard work and being the main focus of their development team, BigCommerce is now PCI Certified.
BigCommerce Marketing Tools
BigCommerce Marketing Tools
Hiccups
Not everything is pink in the BigCommerce world and this is normal as you can still consider them a « young ecommerce platform ». Some elements are missing from their features list to establish them as THE ecommerce Solution provider.

Multi languages: This is probably the most desired feature. It’s currently not possible to translate a BigCommerce site in any other language than English. Some sites have succeeded in translating about 90% of the site but it’s not possible to offer your site in French and English simultaneously and have tailored description, page title, meta-description in both languages. BigCommerce have identified this as an important feature but are yet to confirm it in their development schedule.

Accounting: Integration with accounting packages are fidgety and does not seems to be very stable. No 24/7 support: Support is only offered during the week and until 21:00. It can be a serious problem when you need a restart or a hand at 4:00am.

Lack of Blog feature: This is something we have found to be a major pain. Fortunately, the CMS is quite powerful and allows us to create menu pages and sub-pages for content but no blog feature is offered with BigCommerce.  The only solution would be to use a sub-domain but we wanted to use a folder blog: MapleSyrupWorld.com/blog as it adds more weight to your main domain rather than boosting your sub-domain.

Conclusion
Finally, BigCommerce can be considered a leader in ecommerce software and a really good option to start your online venture. There are still some missing elements for BigCommerce to be considered the leading ecommerce solution but in my humble opinion, they will get there eventually. I can back that claim by saying that we own three ecommerce websites running on BigCommerce! I thoroughly recommend them.
top e commerce cart
BigCommerce
Pros & Cons
Menus are clean and very well organized.
Design Mode - Drag and Drop
Easy to manage Inventory System
No transaction Fees
Lack of Blog feature
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