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BigCommerce Website Development: Everything You Need to Know

April 05, 2024
Written and researched by experts at AvadaLearn more about our methodology

By Sam Nguyen

CEO Avada Commerce

This article delves into most aspects of BigCommerce Website Development and why you should consider BigCommerce as the ecommerce platform for your online store.

Key Takeaways

  • BigCommerce is a comprehensive ecommerce platform for both beginners and experts. 
  • Its scalability, reliability, and multi-channel selling capabilities make it suitable for businesses aiming for growth and expansion, both domestically and internationally. 

What is BigCommerce Web Development?

BigCommerce web development refers to the process of creating and customizing online stores using the BigCommerce platform. It involves setting up the store’s structure, designing the layout, adding products, and implementing features like search filters, checkout processes, and integrations with other tools, all aimed at enhancing the functionality and user experience of an ecommerce website.

BigCommerce is an ecommerce platform

Why Choosing BigCommerce for Your Ecommerce Store?

Scalability and Reliability

BigCommerce stands out for its scalability, effortlessly accommodating the growth of your ecommerce business from a small startup to a large enterprise. With a remarkable 99.99% uptime, it ensures your online store remains accessible to customers around the clock. This high reliability is crucial, especially considering that a mere minute of downtime can significantly affect your revenue, particularly during peak sales periods.

User-Friendly Interface

For business owners without deep technical knowledge, BigCommerce offers a user-friendly dashboard that simplifies the setup and ongoing management of online stores. This focus on usability allows you to dedicate more time to refining your sales strategies and engaging with customers rather than grappling with complex website management tasks.

Built-in Sales Tools and SEO

BigCommerce comes equipped with an impressive suite of built-in sales tools and features, including advanced SEO settings that help improve your store’s visibility in search engine results. It also offers conversion optimization tools, such as abandoned cart recovery, which BigCommerce reports can help reclaim 15% of lost sales. These integrated tools are designed to increase traffic to your ecommerce store and convert more visitors into paying customers.

BigCommerce with built-in sales tools and features

Comprehensive Security

Security is paramount in the ecommerce industry i-commerce industry, and BigCommerce delivers top-tier security features, including Level 1 PCI DSS compliance. This robust security not only safeguards your business against data breaches but also reassures your customers that their personal and payment information is secure, fostering a trust-based relationship that is essential for online sales.

Multi-Channel Selling

BigCommerce stands out by offering powerful multi-channel selling capabilities. This feature allows businesses to sell not only through their website but also across various other channels like Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, eBay, and more. This integration with ecommerce solutions ensures that your products are visible where your customers are shopping, increasing your reach and potential for sales without complicating inventory management.

International Commerce

With BigCommerce, businesses looking to expand globally can easily do so. The ecommerce platform also supports multiple currencies, languages, and international shipping options, making it simpler for stores to sell to customers around the world. This global commerce capability is crucial for businesses aiming to tap into international markets without the need for extensive modifications to their existing setup.

Robust Analytics and Reporting

Data is king in the digital world, and BigCommerce provides comprehensive analytics and reporting tools that help businesses track their performance, understand customer behavior, and make informed decisions. From sales trends to website traffic and customer acquisition sources, these insights allow for data-driven strategies that can significantly improve business outcomes.

Customization and Flexibility

Lastly, the BigCommerce store is highly customizable, offering businesses the flexibility to design their store to match their brand identity precisely. With a wide range of themes and an advanced CSS and HTML editing environment, businesses can create a unique shopping experience that stands out from the competition. Furthermore, the platform’s open API allows for even deeper customization and integration with external systems, ensuring that your store can evolve as your business grows.

BigCommerce store is highly customizable

Must-Have Features of BigCommerce Stores

Advanced Product Search and Filtering

BigCommerce delivers a powerful, built-in search functionality with its Enterprise plans, enabling customers to filter products by various attributes such as size, color, price, and brand. This is achieved through faceted search, which organizes search results based on multiple criteria, improving the shopping experience by helping customers quickly find exactly what they’re looking for.

Abandoned Cart Saver

The BigCommerce platform offers an advanced Abandoned Cart Saver feature, which is available on higher-tier plans. This tool automatically sends out customizable email reminders to customers who have left items in their cart, encouraging them to complete their purchase. Merchants can set the timing of these emails and customize their content, which is a proven strategy for increasing conversion rates by recovering lost sales.

Single Page Checkout

BigCommerce provides a streamlined, single-page checkout process designed to reduce friction and make the payment process as quick and straightforward as possible. This feature simplifies the checkout experience, potentially lowering cart abandonment rates and improving overall conversion rates by keeping the process on a single, easy-to-navigate page.

SSL Certificate

All BigCommerce stores come with a dedicated SSL certificate at no additional cost, ensuring that customer data is encrypted and secure. This not only protects sensitive information but also improves your ecommerce site’s credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of your customers, which is crucial for online transactions.

Product Review Management

BigCommerce integrates with several third-party apps for product reviews, allowing customers to leave feedback on your products. Additionally, the platform supports automated review request emails through these integrations, enabling businesses to easily collect and manage customer reviews, which can significantly influence purchasing decisions and enhance product credibility.

Built-in SEO Tools

BigCommerce excels in SEO capabilities, offering customizable URLs, title tags, and meta descriptions, along with auto-generated sitemaps and editable robots.txt files. These built-in tools are designed to improve your store or ecommerce website’s search engine ranking, driving more organic traffic to your site. The platform’s focus on SEO helps ensure that your products and categories are as visible as possible to potential customers.

Real-time Shipping Quotes

BigCommerce integrates directly with major shipping carriers to offer real-time shipping quotes at checkout. This feature allows customers to see accurate shipping costs based on their location and the items in their cart, ensuring transparency and helping to prevent cart abandonment due to unexpected shipping fees.

Integration with Email Marketing Platforms

BigCommerce offers seamless integration with leading email marketing platforms like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and Klaviyo, enabling merchants to automate their email marketing campaigns. This integration with ecommerce platforms allows for easy segmentation of customer lists based on shopping behavior, facilitating targeted promotions and engagement strategies to drive repeat business and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

BigCommerce integratates with email marketing platforms

If the features you want to have are not available, you can develop an app for your unique needs by hiring a software developer.

  1. Skullcandy is a brand that sells headphones, earbuds, and other audio equipment. Their BigCommerce website has a cool grid-style homepage promoting special deals, trending items, and more. The navigation includes a mega menu to easily access the shop or any other section.
  2. Black Diamond Equipment sells outdoor gear and clothing. Their BigCommerce website has a full-screen image with text and call-to-action (CTA) button to multiple sections that promote various products, sales, etc. They also have a dedicated section that gives you a glimpse at their Instagram profile.
  3. La Perla is a luxury lingerie brand. Their BigCommerce website has a modern and minimal homepage with a split-screen hero section. They use one side for the lingerie image and the other for a text slider.
  4. Oral-B is a well-known brand for oral hygiene products. Their BigCommerce website has a large slider with flashy text as an attention-grabber. The homepage has multiple sections promoting products and showcasing brushes’ benefits.
  5. Spinning is a brand that sells exercise bikes. Their BigCommerce website uses a video in the hero section. It’s a short promotional video that gives you an idea of the product.

Step By Step Guide to BigCommerce Development

Step 1: Sign Up and Choose Your Plan

Start by signing up for BigCommerce through their website. You’ll need to provide some basic information about your ecommerce business. After signing up, evaluate the different features and pricing plans offered by BigCommerce. Choose a plan that best fits your business size, budget, and feature requirements. Remember, you can start with a lower-tier plan and upgrade as your business grows.

Step 2: Set Up Your Store

Once you have your account, the first task is setting up your store. This involves:

  • Naming Your Store: Choose a name that reflects your brand and is easily recognizable.
  • Adding Products: Use the BigCommerce dashboard to add products to your store. Include high-quality images, detailed descriptions, categories, and prices.
  • Customizing Design: Select a theme from the BigCommerce theme marketplace. You can choose a free theme or purchase a premium one. Customize the theme to match your brand’s aesthetics, including colors, fonts, and layout.

Step 3: Configure Store Settings

Configure the essential settings for your store:

  • Payment Gateways: Set up your preferred payment methods. BigCommerce supports various gateways like PayPal, Stripe, and Square.
  • Shipping Configuration: Configure shipping settings, including shipping methods and rates. Utilize BigCommerce’s integration with major carriers for real-time quotes.
  • Tax Settings: Set up tax rates based on your business location and where you’re selling.

Step 4: Optimize for SEO

Make use of BigCommerce’s built-in SEO tools to optimize your store:

  • SEO-Friendly URLs: Ensure your product and category URLs are clean and keyword-rich.
  • Meta Titles and Descriptions: Craft compelling meta titles and descriptions for your pages to improve click-through rates from search engines.
  • Use of Analytics: Implement Google Analytics and BigCommerce analytics to track your store’s performance and make data-driven decisions.

Step 5: Implement Security Features

Activate BigCommerce’s built-in security features to protect your store and customers:

  • SSL Certificate: Ensure your SSL certificate is activated for secure connections.
  • PCI Compliance: BigCommerce is PCI DSS compliant, ensuring that payment information is securely processed.

Step 6: Launch Your Store

Before launching, conduct thorough testing of your store. This includes:

  • Testing the Checkout Process: Make sure the checkout process is smooth and error-free.
  • Mobile Responsiveness Check: Ensure your store is fully responsive on mobile devices.
  • Loading Speed Test: Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to check your store’s loading speed and make necessary adjustments.

Once you’re confident everything is set up correctly, go ahead and launch your store. Announce your launch through social media, email marketing, and other channels to attract your first customers.

Step 7: Marketing and SEO

Post-launch, focus on marketing and ongoing SEO optimization:

  • Email Marketing: Use BigCommerce’s integration with email marketing tools to engage with your customers.
  • Content Marketing: Create valuable content for your blog to drive traffic and improve SEO.
  • Social Media: Leverage social media platforms to promote your products and brand.

Step 8: Analyze and Optimize

Utilize BigCommerce analytics and third-party tools to monitor your store’s performance. Regularly review key metrics like traffic, conversion rate, and average order value. Use these insights to continuously optimize your store, products, and marketing strategies.

BigCommerce analytics

How Much Does it Cost to Develop a BigCommerce Store?

Subscription Fees

  • Standard Plan: $29/month when billed annually ($348/year) or $39/month when billed monthly.
  • Plus Plan: $79/month when billed annually ($948/year) or $105/month when billed monthly.
  • Pro Plan: $299/month when billed annually ($3,588/year) or $399/month when billed monthly.
  • Enterprise Plan: Custom pricing, tailored to the business’s specific needs and scale.

Design and Customization

  • Free Themes: $0, with 12 responsive options available.
  • Premium Themes: Up to $350 for more sophisticated design and customization capabilities.
  • Custom Design: Costs can start from $2,000 and exceed $10,000, depending on the project’s complexity and bespoke requirements.

Apps & Integrations

  • Starting Costs for Apps: $0, allowing for an initial setup with free apps and the option to upgrade to paid versions as business needs evolve.

Domain Name

  • BigCommerce or Third-Party Providers: Now estimated to be between $2 and $20, depending on the provider and the specific domain chosen. This price variance accommodates promotional pricing and differences between domain extensions.

Transaction Fees

  • Payment Processing Fees: No direct transaction fees from BigCommerce, but payment gateways (e.g., PayPal, Stripe) have their fees, generally starting at 2.59% + $0.49 per transaction for credit and debit card payments.

Revised Estimated Overall Costs

With the updated domain name pricing:

  • For a Standard Plan Store: Considering the annual subscription ($348), using primarily free apps at the outset, and selecting a premium theme (up to $350), plus a domain name at an average cost of $11 (midpoint of the updated range), the revised estimated cost for the first year could be around $709 without extensive custom development.
  • For a Plus Plan Store: With the annual subscription ($948), a mix of free and some paid apps (additional estimated cost of $120 for the year), a premium theme (up to $350), and a domain name, the total might approximate $1,429 for the initial year.
  • For a Pro Plan Store: Incorporating the annual subscription ($3,588), a selection of free and necessary paid apps (estimated $300 for the year), a premium theme, and a domain name, the overall cost could be around $4,249 for the first year, excluding significant custom development or marketing expenses.

Why Hiring a Certified BigCommerce Development Partner?

To fully leverage the platform’s capabilities and ensure your store stands out in a competitive ecommerce landscape, hiring a Certified BigCommerce Development Partner, with their qualified partner ecosystem, can be a game-changer for online business growth. Here’s why:

Expertise and Experience

  • Deep Platform Knowledge: Certified BigCommerce Partners have a thorough understanding of the platform, having passed rigorous certification exams that cover every aspect of BigCommerce development. This deep knowledge ensures they can optimize your store for performance, usability, and conversions.
  • Proven Track Record: BigCommerce Development Services have demonstrated success in building effective ecommerce solutions on BigCommerce. They bring a wealth of experience from working with ecommerce businesses across various industries, allowing them to apply best practices and innovative solutions to your project.

Customization and Scalability

  • Tailored Solutions: Every business has unique needs and challenges. A certified partner can provide custom solutions tailored to your specific business model, target audience, and long-term goals. Whether it’s custom theme development, integrations with third-party tools, or bespoke functionality, they can create a store that precisely fits your requirements.
  • Scalable Architectures: As your business grows, your ecommerce platform needs to scale with you. Certified partners are adept at building scalable solutions that can handle increased traffic and transactions, ensuring your store remains fast, reliable, and user-friendly, no matter how much your business grows.

Time and Cost Efficiency

  • Accelerated Development Time: Leveraging their extensive experience, BigCommerce Development Services can significantly reduce the time it takes to get your store up and running. By avoiding common pitfalls and using proven methodologies, they can streamline the development process, allowing you to launch your store and start generating revenue sooner.
  • Cost-Effective in the Long Run: While hiring a certified partner involves upfront costs, it can be more cost-effective in the long run. Their expertise helps ensure that your store is built correctly from the start, reducing the need for costly revisions, troubleshooting, and downtime. Additionally, their ability to implement effective SEO and conversion optimization strategies can boost your ROI.

Ongoing Support and Optimization

  • Reliable Support: Running an ecommerce store involves continuous maintenance and updates. Certified BigCommerce Partners provide reliable support, helping you navigate any challenges that arise and ensuring your store continues to run smoothly over time.
  • Continuous Improvement: ecommerce is a fast-evolving field. Certified partners stay abreast of the latest trends, features, and best practices, allowing them to continually optimize your store. Whether it’s implementing new marketing strategies, adding features, or improving the customer experience, they can help keep your store at the forefront of your industry.

Access to Exclusive Resources

  • Early Access and Insights: BigCommerce Development Services often provide its certified partners with early access to new features and exclusive insights into upcoming developments. Hiring a partner gives you the advantage of these insights, allowing you to leverage new opportunities before your competition.

Peace of Mind

  • Professionalism and Reliability: Certified partners have a reputation to uphold and are committed to delivering high-quality work. Hiring BigCommerce Development Services gives you peace of mind, knowing that your ecommerce project is in capable hands.

FAQs: BigCommerce Website Development

Yes, you can build a complete ecommerce website on BigCommerce. The platform provides all the tools and features needed to create, manage, and scale an ecommerce store, including website design, product management, payment processing, and more, without requiring deep technical knowledge.

The BigCommerce platform primarily uses a combination of languages and technologies for its operation. For customization and theme development, it mainly utilizes Handlebars (a templating language), HTML, CSS for styling, and JavaScript for client-side scripting. Server-side logic and APIs typically involve more complex programming languages, but as a user or developer working with BigCommerce, you'd mostly interact with these front-end technologies.

BigCommerce is a top choice for many businesses due to its comprehensive features, scalability, and ease of use. Other popular ecommerce platforms include Shopify, for its user-friendly interface and extensive app ecosystem; WooCommerce, for its flexibility and integration with WordPress; and Magento (Adobe Commerce), for its powerful customization capabilities and scalability.

Conclusion: BigCommerce Platform

In conclusion, BigCommerce website development presents a formidable solution for anyone looking to launch or enhance their ecommerce store. Its blend of simplicity, power, and flexibility makes it ideal for businesses of all sizes, from startups to large enterprises. By choosing BigCommerce, you gain access to a wide range of features designed to optimize your ecommerce operations, improve customer experience, and drive sales. 

Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. He is an expert on the Shopify e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Sam loves talking about e-commerce and he aims to help over a million online businesses grow and thrive.