TL; DR: As BigCommerce approaches its 10-year anniversary next year, we’re recognizing the powerful platform with our Developers’ Choice distinction for its commitment to changing the face of eCommerce. BigCommerce has powered more than $17 billion in sales, helping merchants grow an average of 28% each year — nearly twice the industry average. Dive into the essential, intuitive, and customizable tools that more than 60,000 merchants across the globe use to manage their online retail operations.
In its earliest iteration, BigCommerce provided eCommerce software to small businesses that were just beginning to get their feet wet in the world of online retail, while leaving the big business to the tech behemoths.
The company’s beginning in 2009 doesn’t seem so long ago, noted Senior Product Marketing Manager Stephen Meserve, but it feels like forever in the world of technology. He recalled when companies like IBM and Oracle served the brands making millions online, while others focused on the mom-and-pop shops.
“There was this gap between those two audiences, where someone needed more complex connectivity but, at the same time, they don’t have a massive team to implement it or the resources to manage it,” he said.
Since making the move to serve the middle-ground market, BigCommerce’s intuitive and easy-to-customize eCommerce software has launched thousands of businesses to success. Currently serving more than 60,000 merchants, BigCommerce earns our Developers’ Choice recognition for providing online retail solutions that balance speed and simplicity with advanced integrations and customizable components.
“BigCommerce is more intuitive and keeps in mind that you may not be dealing with a massive team of people,” Stephen said. “At the same time, we’ve built out APIs and SDKs that allow us to connect to existing parts of your business you’re already using.”
Commerce-as-a-Service Approach Allows for Content-Driven Shopping
Technology evolves quickly — and in today’s online retail sphere, Stephen said the trend is clear: the customer’s experience browsing an online shop often takes precedence over price points.
“We’re seeing that more and more customers aren’t choosing based on price; they’re choosing based on the experience they receive from the brand when they get to the site,” he said. “You have to create a content ecosystem around your product and support your store by integrating with tools like Instagram or WordPress.”
Although WordPress is the reigning king of content management, it doesn’t feature built-in eCommerce functionality. Various plugins might enable some selling capabilities, but PR Manager Rachael Genson said they’re not ideal for rapidly growing brands who need performance and scalability.
“It creates a lot of slowdown and problems on the end of the merchant because they are spending all this time trying to force a square peg into a round hole,” she said. “BigCommerce is making it really easy for merchants to have a frontend CMS experience without slowing down any of the technical complexity on the backend. All of the commerce is being run through the BigCommerce system.”
Behind an API-driven Commerce-as-a-Service initiative that extends BigCommerce functionality across content management systems, BigCommerce recently announced a full-featured integration with WordPress.
“BigCommerce allows you to take the tools you’re already good at using, that your company is already built on, and add commerce without the extra pain of having to tear out systems that don’t match what your commerce engine is able to do,” Stephen said.
Easy-to-Use and Customizable Tools Put the Power in Merchants’ Hands
Taking care of various tasks, such as managing shipping and payments, listing products with Amazon and eBay, and making sure the payment processing system stays synced with mobile card readers like Square, are some of the details BigCommerce covers for merchants who are just getting started.
“We believe that you know how to run your business best,” Stephen said. “As for the interconnectivity of the tools you use or may use in the future, we want those to be interchangeable parts. Your business is best served by the myriad solutions you might choose.”
BigCommerce assumes the person using the platform may not know much about the ins and outs of tax code and online security, so it originally sets default settings for new users. However, the system also offers fully customizable options for merchants who want a hands-on role in transaction management.
“At the highest level, where we’re dealing with Fortune 500 customers, they can completely customize and bring in their own tools,” Stephen said. “They probably have an order management system they like, or an ERP they’re using. They can connect those to the commerce engine and make BigCommerce just a piece — just the hub or spoke — in their overall commerce system. You can still operate in the BigCommerce ecosystem and use all our tooling, no matter what level you’re at.”
Coming Soon: Globalization, Higher Speeds, and More Agile Conversions
BigCommerce currently operates from four offices: two in Austin and one each in San Francisco and Sydney. Recognizing the globalization of eCommerce, however, the company will soon expand into Europe with a new office in London.
Although BigCommerce already serves many European brands, the business development, sales, marketing, and customer support personnel working in London will be especially attuned to trends and issues specific to the continent.
Beyond the overseas expansion, Stephen said the BigCommerce team is continually responding to customer feedback and focusing on technological improvements particularly relevant and requested in the eCommerce sphere.
“We know that speed is king,” he said. “You can lose milliseconds at every single step, and those milliseconds add up — and can mean a lost sale. That is a backend and frontend effort that we’re working on across the board.”
In addition to the infrastructure and coding improvements, BigCommerce steps aside from technology to examine the overall success of its merchants. Calls to action and strong landing pages play a vital role in the speed of a sale and the customer’s overall experience, and Stephen said that providing merchants with dextrous page optimization capabilities is a primary goal for BigCommerce’s design and development teams.
“We look at storefront conversions all the time, things like improving the way merchants are able to control what shows up on their site,” he said. “We’re making that more intuitive and less code based.”
Customer Feedback Drives BigCommerce Development
Key to the BigCommerce philosophy that merchants know best how to run their businesses is the company tradition of hosting a monthly town hall where staff from the company’s multi-continental offices tune in to hear merchant feedback.
“Everyone is hungry to learn more about how our customers experience our product,” Stephen said. “What are the problems they’re having on the market and how can we solve them? A huge portion of that town hall is also a question-and-answer session. Merchants get to ask questions to all of the folks on the call — including the CTO, our CEO, and others. That’s a great feedback loop.”
In addition to merchants and top-level executives, Stephen told us the rank-and-file employees closely monitor the town hall meetings for inspiration and ideas.
“During that hour, everyone is at their desk, they’ve got their second monitor pulled up, and they’re listening because they want to hear what the customers have to say,” he said. “We want to know what our product is bringing them and how we can be more helpful for their business overall.”