Running an online store is challenging. Most of us don’t have the extra money to hire someone to run an online presence full-time so every minute spent dealing with online store issues is a minute away from actually running the business.
NOTE: All of the information in this article is simply my opinion. Please use your own requirements to determine the best choice for you and your business.
When we started our business, we created an online presence with Shopify. It was going okay, but we did not spend a lot of time maintaining or promoting the web site. About 18 months ago I received an email from Square stating that I could get a free BigCommerce account for our online store. Free? Awesome!
I’ve spent a lot of time on BigCommerce building our website and exploring all of the features and available apps. It is quite impressive and you can do just about anything you want on their platform. Even better is that they are located in Texas, just like us. We want to support local business as much as we can.
So why am I going back to Shopify?
Over the many months that I have been on BigCommerce, I have tried to use it to integrate into other sales channels. My first attempt was to integrate with Amazon. I applied for an Amazon Handmade account and, once approved, linked my BigCommerce account to Amazon. Guess what? They don’t support Amazon Handmade.
Google Shopping was next. I integrated my account into Google Shopping so we could be found on Google. All was great! That is until BigCommerce stopped supporting their native integration and partnered with an outside company to provide that service.
The outside service that they partnered with works well, but now I am dependent on another company. And of course, lets not forget the sales calls that for another $19 a month I can do all kinds of stuff that I really don’t need.
I also integrated with eBay and that integration is going very well. However, I just was notified a while ago that, you got it, they are going to use another company for their eBay integration. Go figure.
Now that my “free” subscription is expiring, they are going to start charging for the platform. So now I am faced with a decision. I am going to end up paying for the service and, frankly, they have been extremely generous in not charging us for so long. This gave me an opportunity to dig into the details of how to create an online store and explore the integrations available to me.
Not all of my experience with BigCommerce has been negative. Their support is very good (other than not solving my issue about “ghost products” that show up in my reports), and I really like the fact that they have monthly online updates that you can join.
It seems to me that BigCommerce is catering to companies larger than mine and that it just fine. It could be that once we grow to a certain size, BigCommerce may be the best solution for us.
I made the decision to move to Shopify four days ago. I had an all-day show one of those four days but in the remaining three days, I have managed to create a fully functioning online store with an amazing user interface. I did this using the default theme that is supplied with Shopify. I’m trying to make this as easy as possible to move over.
It also appears that all of their integrations with Facebook, Amazon, and other sales channels are mostly native to the platform, but I really haven’t had an opportunity to explore those.
One other thing that I’m intrigued about is that they have a subscription level that you can sell only on Facebook and in person for $9 per month. While this won’t work for our current brand, I may look at this for another brand that I’m building.
Keep in mind that there are other platforms out there. In an attempt to be fair (even if I’m not impartial), here are some of the many platforms that exist:
YoKart (www.yo-kart.com) – Great for dropshippers or product curators
WooCommerce (www.woocommerce.com) – Build on WordPress
Bigartel (www.bigcartel.com) – This is worth exploring
As always, your mileage will vary. Wherever you are in your business, your needs are specific to you. Make decisions based on your needs and not just because I said something.
See you at market!