BigCommerce Enterprise — Overview
BigCommerce is primarily an SMB and mid-market SaaS eCommerce platform with a sizeable market share in these areas in North America and over 80,000 users, globally.
Here’s a TLDR overview of the BigCommerce platform:
- BigCommerce is a cost-effective SMB and mid-market SaaS eCommerce platform
- BigCommerce is often compared to Shopify, due to the SaaS nature of the platform, their target market(s), and their pricing/packages
- BigCommerce targets both the B2C and B2B & wholesale markets
- BigCommerce is one of the more flexible SaaS platforms on the market and they’re gradually making the platform more open, with a particular focus on the front-end and headless builds
- BigCommerce is payment provider agnostic and provides flexibility around the checkout (often considered to be one of the big advantages over Shopify)
- Upcoming releases for multi-currency (in beta), a page building solution and multi-store management have been announced and are coming soon
- BigCommerce is currently very focused on growing their mid-market and enterprise ecosystem, with a focus on best-in-class SI partners and technology partners
I’ve looked at BigCommerce a lot over the last few years (and way more so in the last six months), with it generally being brought up as a competitor to Shopify Plus when I’ve been running an RfP or considering platform options. In the past, BigCommerce was often ruled out as it didn’t have the same high profile retailers and it didn’t have a European presence, however, both of these areas have now changed – so I decided to do a write-up on BigCommerce as an enterprise and mid-market eCommerce platform option.
I’ve also been using BigCommerce on a couple of clients recently and I met their, Brent Bellm a few months ago which was interesting and gave me a lot more clarity on the market they’re targeting and where the product is going. Brent mostly talked about their goal to be the most flexible, mid-market SaaS platform. Although they’re not perfect (no platform is), I think BigCommerce will see a lot of growth over the next few years – as a result of them having a great base product, a clever go-to-market strategy (aligning themselves with headless currently) and a very smart team (from what I’ve seen so far).
BigCommerce is also starting to win some good brands and projects in the UK, with Steinhoff Group being a very notable win (headless build with Bloomreach for Harvey’s and Benson for Beds).
What is BigCommerce Enterprise?
BigCommerce Enterprise is the version of the platform (just like Shopify Plus) designed for larger businesses, offering a number of features that aren’t available in the lower tiers. Aside from these features and increased support etc, they’re the same – the interface and core feature-set are the same. The pricing for BigCommerce Enterprise is also based on order volume, as opposed to fixed price tiers (with the lower, SMB-focused options), which I’ll come onto more later on.
BigCommerce Enterprise isn’t a new eCommerce platform – it’s been around since 2015 (with the main BigCommerce platform being introduced earlier in 2009, as a hosted version of Interspire) and it already powers stores for a number of household names. Even in the UK BigCommerce already have thousands of merchants, including some pretty big ones – such as Carluccios, Steinhoff Group (in build) and YUMI. These are BigCommerce Enterprise customers, whereas the majority would be the lower tiers.
BigCommerce has become a lot more relevant to us recently – after they opened their first European office in London (where I live) a few months ago. BigCommerce seems to be on everyone’s lips at the moment – be it through their presence at industry events, them directly reaching out to merchants or their new partners introducing it as a potential fit to a client. This is a really good thing as it adds another credible, capable platform option to the SMB and mid-market space and it adds another mid-level SaaS solution that’s capable of competing with Shopify Plus.
BigCommerce may not have the same brand as Shopify Plus, but they have won a lot of great clients in recent times – including Skullcandy globally, Paul Mitchell, Gibson, YUMI, Carluccios, Ford, Spinning.com, Toyota, Kodak in Australia and various others. Although these may not be in the same league as some of the high-volume stores on the Shopify Plus (such as Kylie, Gymshark, Fashion Nova, MVMT etc) and Magento platforms (such as Missguided, Made.com, Nobel Biocare etc), BigCommerce are handling a lot of complexity and providing a really good foundation for headless implementations – which is quite a unique proposition with the platform being a SaaS provider.
Related Article: Shopify Plus vs. BigCommerce Enterprise
BigCommerce Enterprise Features & Capabilities
There is a wide range of selling points for BigCommerce, with it being a relatively open, feature-rich SaaS eCommerce platform, but here are the ones that I tend to find are cited most commonly:
Fully managed SaaS platform
BigCommerce is a SaaS provider, meaning that they offer their platform as a software-as-a-service and take control of the hosting, all server maintenance, platform upgrades, security patching, etc. This is a big pro for a lot of merchants and it’s a real movement in the eCommerce platform space at the moment.
Fairly advanced product information management capabilities
Although not quite at the same level as platforms like Magento Commerce or Salesforce Commerce Cloud, BigCommerce has pretty strong native product information management functionality – allowing for different attribute sets, configurable product options, bundling, custom fields with different scopes, etc. This is an area where they’re stronger their some of their close competitors (such as Shopify) and it’s an area that supports their recent focus on the B2B market.
Focus on headless commerce
Over the last 12 months, BigCommerce has embraced the headless commerce trend and have gradually opened up their platform to allow for separate front-end technologies/approaches. BigCommerce now has a wide range of APIs that allow users to build on top of their chosen framework or utilize one of their new integrations with platforms like WordPress, Bloomreach and Acquia. This is a big focal area for BigCommerce and they’re actively working on introducing new integrations with other frameworks, platforms and DXPs.
Native marketplace & social integrations
BigCommerce has native integrations with marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon, allowing merchants to test out new channels or manage orders and product information for multiple business areas in one place.
BigCommerce also natively provides a quick and easy route to connect products to Instagram and set up a Facebook store, directly through the admin. Similar to Shopify, BigCommerce also has a buy button that can be used on content sites and external sites to allow for products to be promoted and then quickly purchased via the checkout.
BigCommerce Enterprise comes with ShipperHQ (a tool we use a lot with various platforms) built-in, which is a really nice add-on for merchants! ShipperHQ allows for highly complex logic around shipping options/rates, as well as communicating them on the front-end. I use ShipperHQ on a number of projects (and the cost can add up) and it’s great that it’s a free add-on with BigCommerce Enterprise.
Payment provider agnostic
BigCommerce is a payment provider agnostic and doesn’t have any penalties/charges for merchants looking to use a different, third-party payment gateway. BigCommerce does also has strong relationships with mainstream providers like Braintree, Adyen, Stripe, etc. The only thing to add to this is, currently, Stripe is the only payment that can be used with new multi-currency features.
BigCommerce also has a wide range of pre-integrated payment providers – including payment gateways and things like AmazonPay and Klarna.
Strong SEO flexibility
The SEO side of BigCommerce is a big plus for a lot of people and can even be a decision-maker for some. Some of the benefits of using BigCommerce from an SEO perspective, in comparison to Shopify Plus, include:
- Full control over URLs – ability to change URL structure for different pages and no forced directories
- Ability to edit the robots.txt page
- Ability to use directories in URLs (creating a parent > child style relationship)
- Native support for AMP (accelerated mobile pages)
- Native redirect management
That said, there are some negatives on the SEO front with BigCommerce, which are:
Both of these are down to not having access to the server.
It’s also straightforward to handle things like canonical URL logic, hreflang implementation, structured data, etc, which would be handled in the templates.
The BigCommerce App Store & Existing Integrations
Another big selling point for BigCommerce (although not as strong as Shopify and Magento) is the number of apps and integrations that are readily available for users.
The BigCommerce app store contains a wide range of apps, ranging from search and merchandising to shipping and tax to CRM and email. These are just a few examples and the app store contains a combination of modules from independent developers (e.g. a wishlist or popup app) and technology partner companies (such as ShipStation or Yotpo).
This is a big focus for BigCommerce globally and they’re really pushing their partnership channel to support this. Even in the last 6 months when looking at BigCommerce there are more and more third parties launching or developing apps or integrations with BigCommerce, such as Algolia, Klevu, Klarna, etc.
Promotions and discounting
BigCommerce has a strong native promotions engine built into the platform, which allows for relatively complex offers to be managed against specific groups of products, for specific customers, etc.
The coupon code options are also pretty advanced natively, providing the ability to restrict to certain products, customers, numbers of uses, cart combinations, shipping location etc.