Bigcommerce Next is the 2014 update to Bigcommerce but apart from a new name there is quite a lot of back-end functionality that is being upgraded or simplified. Existing customers have probably stumbled across many of these features in the last few weeks as they were incrementally dripped into the Bigcommerce stores. What is Bigcommerce Next? Simply an effort by Bigcommerce to simplify the Bigcommerce platform while making it more visually appealing and powerful. Sounds like a good goal from an ecommerce provider and the first set of features and simplifications is a fantastic start.
New Features in Bigcommerce Next:
- App Store. Simple installation of extra functions for your store like rewards systems, shipping and social incentives for shoppers
- Premium Themes – extra fancy, full featured usually responsive themes you can pay for over and above the free themes already provided.
- A new blogging engine to replace the old news feature.
- iPhone and android apps for managing your store on the run
- Stripe and Simply Commerce payments
- Google Trusted stores integration
- Traffic Engine – a wizard offering step by step task lists to help you get more visitors to your shop
- Shipping Label Printing – finally – well almost, it is still in beta but one email and you could help shape it
Bigcommerce Premium Themes
These are good. Very good. Responsive design, well coded, clean, fast and less than $200 which is about a tenth of what you will pay for a custom theme design. I have a few customers already who have bought premium themes to speed up new shop development and everyone of them has been impressed.
Bigcommerce App Store
The “Single Click Store” that is actually two clicks. It’s a great base. Shopify have had this for years and use it to great effect to keep the core store simple and letting customers add functionality and complexity only if and when they want it. It also helps store owners manage costs in the early days before adding more as the shop develops and generates a return. As expected there is very little in here but look at that to change once developers start porting apps over from other carts like Shopify.
Bigcommerce Blogging Engine
I actually have a whole post dropping tomorrow on which blogging option to use for Bigcommerce – WordPress, the old Bigcommerce News and Updates or the new Bigcommerce Next Blogging Engine so I won’t go into too much detail except to say its a good start but seems very incomplete especially from a post management point of view. You can’t edit a post date once it’s published which is a HUGE pain when you are bringing a new customer over from another platform and have to bulk load lots of posts. It also means you can’t keep your posts fresh. The templates for the blog do not let you add meta data to the archive page like date published and author.
So what’s good?
- You can add feature images
- The content editor allows you to insert tables easily (take that wordpress)
- You can very simply insert products with links and images to make blog readers buyers.
- Tag support,
- Custom URL’s for posts and the blog itself (you are not forced to use /blog/),
- Disqus comment integration with one toggle,
- Social media sharing options.
It isn’t a WordPress killer yet but for a good number of Bigcommerce customers they maybe able to soon dispense with the second hosting bill and move their blog onto there store. This will change bandwidth charges and Bigcommerce need to create a WordPress blog importer – maybe I should write that I have nothing but free time – if you see the blue banner asking you to switch you probably should but consult your SEO first because you may have to do some URL redirects to keep the Google juice alive – I have not yet heard back from Bigcommerce about what happens here. Look for tomorrow’s post with that answer.
Bigcommerce Google Trusted Stores Integrated
Lifted right from the press release because this is a no brainer. If you qualify you should get it, to get it you should follow the steps required. Admit it you love the way I simplify things don’t you?
– Start Bigcommerce quote –
Google Trusted Stores is a certification program for online merchants. Similar to programs like the Better Business Bureau, it increases buyer confidence for online merchants. Google wants to ensure that all GTS stores are of a certain size and meet excellent customer service standards. To that end, they have performance requirements to apply to the program, plus some additional store-side requirements that need to be met before the badge goes live.
- Minimum Order Volume: 200 orders/month on a rolling 28-day basis
- Trackable Orders: >50% of orders trackable via supported carriers (UPS, FedEx, USPS)
- On-Time Shipping: >90% of orders shipped on time
- Be on your own domain and SSL certificate
- Supply a shipping feed to measure performance
- Supply a cancellation feed to measure performance
- Insert Google’s badge code on every page
- Insert Google’s checkout confirmation code on the order confirmation page
The Bigcommerce Google Trusted Stores integration makes it easier for clients to qualify for the program if they meet the above criteria by building in the required feeds and inserting the badge code on every page of the store.
– End Bigcommerce quote –
Bigcommerce Next – Conclusion
I will be circling back to this post so make sure you bookmark it. The long and the short of this 2014 Bigcommerce version is that it is still moving the software in the right direction. There is still the same differentiation between Shopify and Bigcommerce and I will update all the reviews and tools (especially the Shopify 2 review) because there are a lot of people asking should they choose Bigcommerce or Shopify and to be honest it is usually obvious. Both products are poles apart in implementation and usage and the two of them really do stand head and shoulders above any other ecommerce platform on the market. Look for some shopping cart reviews and shopping cart comparisons to be updated throughout the week.
Do you want a take away line to retweet?
Bigcommerce Next is a great progression of today’s leading shopping cart platform. Simpler interfaces, more powerful marketing tools and third party apps and themes will provide the platform customers need to build profitable online stores.
More to come, come back tomorrow to find out where Bigcommerce Next missed the mark