The barriers to entry for starting and running your own business are far lower than they have ever been in the past. You don’t need to have a physical storefront in order to sell physical goods to actual people because you can do all of that online. You don’t even need to have physical goods, for that matter, because you can get into the business of selling digital goods instead.
Better still, you don’t have to deal with the painstaking frustration of building your online store from scratch either. You don’t need to get into the unnecessary expense of hiring a team of expert developers and designers. You can just build your online store with BigCommerce, which is ready to go right out of the box. Sell what you want, how you want, with just a few quick clicks of the mouse.
With BigCommerce, you get everything you need to open your own online store. What’s great is that when you sign up for even the entry-level standard plan, you gain access to some key features that you don’t find in the equivalent “basic” plan through Shopify.
The built-in ratings and review system gives your online store that same level of credibility that you find on much bigger sites, like Amazon. Many customers may otherwise be hesitant to go through with a purchase when they’re not so sure about a product, but when they see that other customers are happily enjoying the item, they’re much more likely to take the plunge.
Another great feature, which isn’t included in the equivalent Shopify plan, is the ability to sell gift cards. Some people might want to buy a gift for a friend or a loved one, but they may not be exactly sure what to get. Gift cards are a huge business in the traditional retail space, so being able to offer the same through your online store is a huge plus. It puts extra cash in your pocket even before you have to ship out a product!
We’re oftentimes told not to judge a book by its cover. The truth of the matter is that we all do it all the time. First impressions mean a lot and this means that you want your online store to look good. An attractive site design can make a world of difference.
What’s great is that you don’t need to concoct some sort of completely custom solution here, either. BigCommerce offers an array of free site templates to get started, all of which can then be adapted and customized to suit your brand, preferences and customer base. The designs range in style, so you’re sure to find something you like.
If you want something even more special, BigCommerce also sells a great number of premium site designs at a relatively affordable price too. Many of these templates will run you about $195, and several of these templates come in multiple styles. The Mogul Clean template, for example, includes four styles.
You can sift through the theme store based on industry. You can also filter for designs that are optimized for either small or large catalogs, as well as staff picks or those best suited for large images.
According to research conducted by Ipsos, merchants who use BigCommerce experience an average year-over-year growth of 28 percent. That’s nearly twice the industry average.
A big part of this can be attributed to the fact that BigCommerce is so much more than just an online shopping cart. Yes, it can handle the logistics of helping you set up product pages and walking customers through the checkout process. At the same time, it goes well above and beyond that to arm you with best-in-class marketing, multi-channel selling and conversion tools.
This empowers you to capture every sale you possibly can, resulting in higher conversions and more repeat business too.
You’ve got access to shipping label discounts (including real time shipping quotes), professional reporting tools, and free sitewide HTTPS and dedicated SSL, for instance, but with the right plan, you can take advantage of automated customer groups and segmentation for improved targeting, and product filtering to help customers find exactly what they want. The abandoned cart saver helps you win back customers by sending an automated email, with an average conversion rate of 15 percent.
Another great feature is the ability to create a number of different product options. A great example of this would be if you sell t-shirts. For each product, you can easily create options for different sizes and colors. This helps to clean up your catalog considerably with improved flexibility.
A common misconception that people have about ecommerce is that you need to direct your customers to your own website in order to complete the sale. That simply is not the case.
While you can absolutely direct potential customers to your online store, it’s also true that you should go where your customers already are. Many of the big brands already do this, so why shouldn’t you too?
BigCommerce is configured such that you can take your products and just as easily sell them on Amazon, for example, as well as through eBay, Google Shopping, Square and Facebook. This grants you access to a remarkably larger customer base, people who may not otherwise be exposed to your brand or products at all.
And if you’re looking for even more flexibility, BigCommerce also offers a “buy button” that you can just as easily insert almost anywhere, including blog posts and emails.
BigCommerce charges merchants no transaction fees when you use one of the more than 40 pre-integrated payment gateways.
You can use the in-house payment processor if you’d like, but having the flexibility to use another trusted name in this space will provide your customers with added convenience and confidence. BigCommerce works with PayPal, Square, Apple Pay, Stripe and more.
By contrast, Shopify only applies its 0% transaction fee on purchases when you use their own payment processing system. If you use a third-party solution, they’ll charge you up to 2% of your sales. This is tacked on top of credit card processing fees mind you.
Better still, as you step up to higher plans with BigCommerce, you can gain access to reduced PayPal fees (powered by Braintree) if you choose to take that route.
If you opt for an on-premise solution to handle your ecommerce needs, you can expect to pay about four times the cost to do the same thing through BigCommerce’s cloud-based platform.
The company’s site also notes that you’ll “spend less time managing technology” and you’ll also “get regular updates with new, cutting-edge features.”
The convenience of the cloud means that you can access and work with your online store anywhere you have an Internet connection and a web browser. And your overhead will be dramatically less than if you were to open a traditional brick-and-mortar location.
The Standard pricing plan is just $29.95/month. This includes unlimited products, storage and bandwidth, as well as unlimited staff accounts and your fully branded online store with online sales of up to $50,000 a year. The most popular plan is the $79.95/month Plus plan, which bumps your sales ceiling to $150k and throws in an abundance of marketing tools for boosting your conversion. Beyond that are the $249.95/month Pro plan and custom Enterprise plans. All plans come with a 10% discount if you pay annually.
It’s true that other ecommerce platforms offer basic plans that are significantly cheaper than BigCommerce, but the features included on those are likewise basic. To see the same value there that you get here, you’ll need to opt for account add-ons in the form of plug-ins and third-party apps that end up costing you more in the long run – and that often don’t work as well as they ought to.
Still not sure if BigCommerce is for you? Sign up for the 15-day free trial and see for yourself.
My name is Zac Johnson and I have been an online entrepreneur for the past 18 years and blogger since 2007. This is my personal blog and I welcome you to the site. In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that I am benefiting financially or otherwise from everything you click on, read, or look at while on my website.
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