BigCommerce is one of our favorite platforms to work on. And it has a lot of features (most of which are really useful to the common ecommerce store manager). To help you avoid feature overload, we wanted to highlight a few of the features that should not be overlooked / underestimated / unappreciated in this shopping cart.
Shopping cart platforms love to talk about all of their features! They love it so much, they sometimes will invent new ways of describing old functions. “Compelling Promotional Tools for Audience Engagement” might just mean coupon codes. “Customizable Designs and Layouts” might mean, only if you have your computer engineering degree.
Winnowing down all of that ‘hype’ can be difficult. It can be even more difficult to figure out which of the features are really worth your time and are really going to help you out in the long run.
1. EASY ADMIN. This is a hugely important feature. Perhaps the most important feature in any shopping cart. In fact, when we choose carts to pursue development expertise in, this is often make or break for us. Why is an easy admin feature that big a deal? Simply put, a lot of businesses will face their biggest hurdle getting into ecommerce at the very beginning. Training, and learning a system well enough to use it reliably, is a critical part of that first step. A difficult to use admin interface will sour things early, exhaust personnel (especially non-technical folks), and will ramp up your investment costs without delivering measurable ROI. BigCommerce’s simple layout, with clear emphasis on common activities, is a major benefit and feature for the platform.
2. 99.99% (+) UPTIME. Another feature easily overlooked, unless your on a platform with sub-par performance. There is nothing that will cause sleepless nights for ecommerce business owners like inconsistent hosting and server performance. BigCommerce deploys lightning fast SAS 70 type II servers that just won’t quit. We’ve been building BigCommerce websites for years (hundreds of sites now deployed) and I have not seen a server down, ever. Literally. We can’t tell you how many other hosts we’ve seen crash even when we’ve done far fewer projects on their platforms. Three people benefit from strong uptime and server performance:
- You, the business owner. Not knowing if your site is up or down, slow or fast can be a devastating source of worry and nervousness in both established ecommerce businesses and startups. Save on the antacids with BigCommerce’s servers.
- Your consumer. Consumers love deals. They love new product finds. They love the ease of online purchasing. They HATE non-responsive servers and error messages. Server downtime does mean lost sales. It means losing consumer confidence and losing search ranking.
- Your web design team / marketing agency. Our Los Angeles SEO guys literally lose it when they see one of our client sites go down. Google does not like recommending / ranking sites that are frequently down. If you want to be the #1 rank, you can’t be up as much as everyone else. You have to be better than that. We’ll sleep easier if your site is up more often.
3. ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES. Nothing is more challenging for new ecommerce businesses then maximizing their return on investment. You spend a lot of time and money building a store. Then you spend a lot of time and money getting traffic to a store. Then you spend a lot of time and money converting the traffic. Then you spend a lot of time and money getting more traffic to the store. And converting more sales. And getting more traffic, etc. You get the picture. A great shopping cart should cut that cycle off before it starts. BigCommerce does that. With a great set of search marketing tools (integration with product feeds, microformats in V2, title tags, meta descriptions, alt img attributes, etc) you can get the traffic to your site pretty painlessly. BigCommerce’s one page checkout, quick load times, customer account features, email subscription and live chat integration, help get that first batch of sales painlessly. Their Abandoned Cart tool helps you capture people who waffled at the last minute. The customer tracking, analytics, and other marketing tools help you get those first customers back again. And the Pinterest / Facebook integrations help you ensure your first customers are bringing in their friends and family.
Having a shopping cart that drives a lot of the engagement work for you, is no small thing! Once you get into the habit of using the tools provided, it almost runs itself. (Almost). Ultimately this means that your ecommerce store is more profitable, which means more opportunity for growth.
Checkout BigCommerce today and sign up for a free 15 day trial if you already haven’t. We’d love to hear back from you on your experience with their shopping cart.