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Technology should make our lives easier
• Easy to use
• Packed full of features
• Fast and reliable servers
• Easily integrates with payment gateways
• Great telephone support
• No live chat support
• Extra bandwidth is billed extra
Setting up an ecommerce website with BigCommerce is easy and fast. The feature set is hugely impressive. BigCommerce is a great solution for companies who have previously found setting up an ecommerce shop too expensive or time-consuming.
BigCommerce comes as a full ecommerce package that includes hosting, website building, credit card processing, marketing and reporting features. Read on to find out the specifics.
Choose from a range of plans on BigCommerce, from a Bronze plan that gives you 100 products, three staff logins, 2GB of bandwidth, 200MB of storage and $50 of free AdWords, to a Diamond plan with unlimited products, 100 staff logins, 45GB bandwidth, 3GB storage and $100 free AdWords. The plans range in price and you can upgrade if you need to, when you want.
You don't actually need any programming language skills to build your website, which is good news for the beginner or the less technically interested person. There’s a large range of templates on offer for stores selling anything from computers to cosmetics, baby clothes to books. You simply use the drag-and-drop tools to change the layout and functionality and the customization tools to change the look of the design. However, if you do have some website design skills you can create your own site design using HTML and CSS. You will have full access to FTP to upload your files. If you don’t have a logo you can create one using the tool provided on the site.
It’s very easy to add products, images, descriptions, shipping options, tax rates - you can even add a video. When you add product images thumbnails are created automatically for you. When a visitor clicks on a thumbnail a larger image is displayed. Visitors to your website will also be able to use a SuperZoom feature that shows a closer view of the product they are looking at.
There is multiple product uploader tool, you simply need to create a Comma Separated File (.CSV) that lists your products and their details.
Stock control - Product returns can be quite a hassle, but here there is an excellent automated system in place. Customers can place a return request via their account area. As the website owner you can customize all the return options. You can request that they state a return reason and you can also choose their return options as a replacement, refund or credit. There is a stock control feature that will automatically displays a 'low stock' feature when stock levels are running low.
Payments - There is a large list of payment gateways on offer (over 50) including PayPal so you have a choice as to how to collect your money.
What sets BigCommerce apart from other ecommerce solutions is that it was designed and developed with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in mind. This will give you the best possible chance of having your website rank at the top of the search engines.
If you want to push a promotion on your website such as a sale, you can create and display your own website banners. You choose where and which web pages it is displayed on.
BigCommerce integrates with MailChimp, the email marketing service. This means you can keep in touch with anyone who has purchased a product on your website, by sending them an email. This feature is customizable to let you add subscribers or customers to email lists based upon the type of product or brand they purchased, and it is automated so that relevant offers go to the right people without hassle.
There are over 25 different traffic and sales reports available. You won't really need all of these, but there are some very useful statistics that will help you measure the success of your online business. We liked the best-selling products, daily conversion rates, and best-performing keywords (through the search engines) that produce sales. You can filter and sort on all reports.
BigCommerce includes support for the iPhone, Andriod and Blackberry devices. This means that anyone who owns such a device can browse and buy a specially optimized version of your website. This is a pretty impressive addition considering the huge growth in people using their phone to view and purchase products over the internet. It’s also a feature that many other ecommerce solutions do not offer.
You can sell on Facebook and eBay, and export your range of products to shopping comparison sites.
Industry standard 128 bit SSL is used to encrypt the checkout so customers’ data is kept safe and secure. We found the servers to be fast and reliable. BigCommerce is PCI-compliant and has a range of security standards set in place such as automatic log-out after 15 minutes of inactivity.
Ease of use
The administration area (backend) is probably the cleanest we have seen during our product testing. It’s very straightforward and neatly designed.
You can organize and run your store without downloading any additional software, which is a bonus for people who want to check orders or update information from a number of different computers. BigCommerce is compatible with the other major accounting and order applications you run for your business, meaning you’re integrated without having to set up complicated systems.
Help & support
You get any number of calls and emails to the support center for free. If you want to find out the answer on your own, there is a proactive user forum which is monitored by the BigCommerce team. There are some great step-by-step support videos available and you can browse the articles on the knowledge base and in the user guide.
BigCommerce is the easiest ecommerce solution on the market at the moment. You can create a professional-looking website with little or no programming experience within a day. It is ideal for small to medium sized businesses who want to create professional-looking websites that can compete with larger companies.
BigCommerce currently offers a free 15 day trial.
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