BigCommerce: Big E-tail Features for Small Money - Page 2

By Jennifer Schiff
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DIY E-commerce

Similar reasons led Christine & Taylor, an online apparel retailer specializing in collegiate-inspired women’s clothing, to also choose BigCommerce.

“BigCommerce offered great prices, great functionality and most of all a platform that our employees could manage themselves, so we didn’t have to hire someone to maintain the Web site,” explained company spokesperson Taylor McLaughlin.

“It allowed us to have a platform that integrated such items as shipping, merchant services and a customizable appearance to suit our needs,” she said. And it provided customers with an equally pleasant shopping experience.

Other pluses included the capability to update shipping options, payment options and items being sold with just a click (or two). As for minuses, McLaughlin said she would like to see more templates, and have the software “feel a bit richer in style and execution” (sentiments ThatsMyShirt’s Rosenthal echoed).

But overall, she said, Christine & Taylor is very happy with BigCommerce. “BigCommerce allows a small business to manage [its e-commerce site] itself. It is a fully functioning online store at a great price that benefits the consumer and small business owner alike.”

Speed, Reliability and Unlimited Support

As for ThatsMyShirt, in the four months since launching its BigCommerce site, Rosenthal said it has experienced none of the downtime or other issues his other non-BigCommerce sites had. And there are other benefits.

“Updating the site is very easy,” he said. “It’s easy to add products manually, because you can copy existing products and just alter them or use a product feed to add products.”

(Note: For businesses with an existing e-commerce site, BigCommerce has a built-in import wizard that lets you import orders, customers, products and images from any e-commerce software that supports exporting in Comma Separated Values, or CSV.)

That’s very important to Rosenthal because he plans on ThatsMyShirt ultimately carrying around 40,000 to 50,000 t-shirts, which come in a variety of sizes and colors.

Other features Rosenthal likes include support for credit cards, Google Checkout and PayPal; single page checkout; and how quickly customers can navigate the new site and check out. “The speed of the BigCommerce site is at least twice that of [our previous] solution.”

He was also impressed by how quickly ThatsMyShirt rose in the search engine rankings. That’s because Big Commerce is SEO optimized and features SEO-friendly links. As a result, said Rosenthal, “we are getting additional sales that we would not have had.”

While BigCommerce was the right e-commerce solution for Rosenthal, it may not be the right one for you. That’s why it’s important to make a checklist of the features most important to you before evaluating e-commerce solutions.

For Rosenthal, the feature he found critical was good customer service. “Many solutions offer great features, but if the site goes down or times out throughout the day it will not matter,” he said.

Harper concurs. “If you’ve got the best software in the world but lousy support, customers will go elsewhere.” BigCommerce provides unlimited e-mail and telephone customer support, as well as training videos and how-to articles on the BigCommerce Web site and a daily e-commerce tip (and other advice) on its Twitter page.

Rosenthal also advised business owners to not just go with the cheapest solution. Instead, he said, look for an e-commerce solution with good, easy-to-use templates that is reliable and fast. Lastly, be sure to read customer reviews of each solution, and then trial the two or three you like best.

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff writes about IT and small business issues and runs a blog for and about small businesses

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This article was originally published on October 14, 2009
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