If you’re asking this question you’ve probably already been checking out different eCommerce platforms, making comparisons and trying to narrow down the best of the best for your needs. BigCommerce is a great platform for many businesses, but there are always a few items that people have unclear expectations about their prospective move after simply speaking to a sales rep.
Being a premium design partner for BigCommerce we hear a lot of different scenarios and many people seem to be under the impression that BigCommerce will handle everything for them. While it is true that BigCommerce does have a “white glove service” for people migrating data from certain platforms to a BigCommerce Platinum Plan, what this means is that they will handle the import of your products, in most cases 301 redirects (for product urls) and any customer data that can be migrated. Below is an actual example of what that service looks like on an actual client store that has over 3,500 products migrated to one of the free BigCommerce templates. As you can see there is quite a bit of work to be done to even get the store to resemble how it once looked on it’s previous platform. The client wasn’t quite expecting that.
Migrating to BigCommerce can be a great move for your online business, but there are definitely some things you should be aware of. We have listed some of the most common and high priority issues that usually come up to better help you make your decision or get the help that you need to successfully migrate your store to BigCommerce.
1. Can I use BigCommerce with the Website I Already Have?
Yes, you can absolutely use BigCommerce with your existing website.
There are a couple different ways in which you can integrate the BigCommerce eCommerce system into your existing website.
The first and easiest way is to simply add something like a “store” tab to your existing site’s menu and then link that to a sub-domained area for your BigCommerce store. Many of our clients with well-established sites and whose main area of emphasis isn’t eCommerce choose to have their BigCommerce store skinned to match their existing site and integrated this way. Using a sub-domain also works well with WordPress websites, allowing web owners to maintain the flexibility of the WordPress CMS platform, while adding the superior eCommerce functionality provided by BigCommerce. This is our recommended set up for new site builds, because it is simply the best of both worlds.
The Second Scenario isn’t so much using BigCommerce with your existing site as it is rebuilding your site on the BigCommerce platform.
One thing that people love about using BigCommerce is that you don’t have to get a subdomain bigcommerce store, because there are plenty of people who just can’t stand seeing that .store.com. It is not uncommon for someone to already have a web host. After all, a lot of people will register their domain name with a registrar like GoDaddy. You can use your existing domain name with BigCommerce, so your domain name will lead right to your store. This means instead of having a store url of “storename.bigcommerce.com”, you can just have “storename.com”.
Do I Need To Pay for Two Different Hosting Accounts to Integrate BigCommerce with WordPress?
Yes, BigCommerce does not require customers to register their domain, but their eCommerce platform is a hosted solution, so store will need to be hosted with them. Due to security and compliance additional databases and PHP can NOT be added to their servers. In short, WordPress, custom forms, etc must be hosted elsewhere.
2. Can I Migrate My existing products and data to BigCommerce?
It is normal to feel apprehensive about changing platforms or figuring out how to get your store set up for the first time. I’m sure we’ve all had experiences with some ambitious sales rep promising the world and handing over a nightmare for both a customer and a developer.
Most eCommerce platforms can migrate data to BigCommerce. The trick is in setting up the bulk product import file the right way.
You can download a sample bulk product import file for BigCommerce Here.
What information can I migrate from my existing store to BigCommerce?
*It’s important to note that different platforms can provide slightly different import options. Pricing varies depending on the number of products, number of customers, and number of orders so for the most accurate assessment,
That being said, typically, the following information will be migrated:
Setting Up Products Manually for a New Store:
The easiest way for beginners to add items to their store is to navigate to the control panel and add them one at a time. The steps you need to take to add a new product are fairly simple:
- Select “Products” on the control panel
- Select “Add Product”
- Input the name of the product
- Input the price of the product
- Add a description
- Select shipping options
- Select availability options
- Add photos/videos
Once you have followed these steps, you will have the opportunity to review your entry to see how the display of the item looks and if you made any mistakes you need to change.
After you spend some time adding products one at a time and getting comfortable with the control panel, there is another way to add products. You can import them using a CSV file. This option allows you to add multiple products at one time. It is convenient, but not too easy for someone who has never managed an ecommerce website before.
3. Can I Keep My Existing Website Design When I Move To BigCommerce?
That’s a great question. One important thing to realize when switching eCommerce platforms is that your site design, styling and even functionality won’t automatically migrate along with your data. If you have a site that you love and are looking to replicate on BigCommerce – it’s almost certainly doable, but the site must be completely rebuilt or “customized” for the BigCommerce platform, so if you were looking to make an upgrade to your design, now would be the time to do it. BigCommerce does have a selection of free templates to choose from, but the majority of online businesses know all-too-well the importance of a site that has a unique feel.
One of the perks to the trial store option BigCommerce offers is the fact that it expires after 15 days. A lot of other trial offers and subscriptions require you to cancel the trial, or they will automatically send you a bill and continue your service. Once your 15 day trial has passed, BigCommerce closes your shop, but no worries you can start as many as you want. They will never charge you unless you decide you want to sign up for a store with them.
4. Why Would I Need WordPress When BigCommerce Has a Blog Built In?
Does it? BigCommerce has come a long way with it’s “Blog” feature and this feature is just fine for many sites. For sites that want true blogging capabilities it simply won’t due. The built-in blog feature is a stylized news feed with WYSIWYG editing capabilities and that’s about it. If you were thinking of migrating your existing WordPress blog to BigCommerce think again! This feature doesn’t support categories, pages, or any of the robust feature rich plugins available with your WordPress Blog.
5. I Need Products Set Up With Monthly Billing?
This is NOT a feature of BigCommerce. Yes, you can set up recurring billing through payment gateways such as Authorize.net, but there is currently no API integration to get that feature to work through the BigCommerce storefront. This is something that is being worked on, but we don’t have a date for this feature to be live. Depending on the type of recurring billing options you require, there are a couple of work-arounds that we can implement to create products with recurring billing which require the use of 3rd party apps and a monthly service fee.