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eCommerce is having a huge effect on people’s buying habits and transforming a lot of different industries! As the world becomes more digital, selecting an eCommerce platform to build a website for your business has become the equivalent of selecting a location for your brick and mortar store …. really important!

When building their online stores, a lot of businesses are opting to select an eCommerce platform rather than building a custom website from the ground up.

When you think about it, it’s kind of like wanting a new house .. you have the option of building everything from the ground up, which is possible but also a big hassle and a path full of inevitable problems … or you can delegate that task to a company that has a lot of experience building houses, and you can collaborate with them on the way you want it to be … and face much less problems than you would on your own!

Ok, that make a lot of sense …

But how do i know which eCommerce platform to use?

Just like people are diverse and want different things when customizing their new home, the same applies for businesses! Each business is unique and has different needs and requirements.

As a business owner looking to create or update your website through an eCommerce platform, you would need to have a clear idea about the answers to these questions:

  • What are my business needs?
  • What are my sales cycles like?
  • What is my forecast for growth over the next few years?
  • What are my product details?
  • Who am I selling to?
  • What is my budget?

This will make things easy and a lot smoother between you and the developers at the eCommerce platform you end up choosing.

When it comes to eCommerce platforms, there are some good choices out there … and it can be difficult to find the one most suitable for you. If you’re still unsure about which one you’d like to select, here are a few reasons why BigCommerce could be the right platform for you:

Complex Product Variation Options

Most eCommerce platforms provide the basic product options, for example small, medium, or large sizes … etc. This is great, and would suit a lot of businesses selling physical or different category level products.

But what about the companies that need product options that are a bit more complex?

Take Henna Caravan for example. A small company selling home made henna. The owner learned to code and built the website for her company and business was good, but her website was a factor limiting the growth of the company. Henna Caravan needed something more complex: a platform that would be able to host both an eCommerce site, as well as a robust content site that would allow them to educate the market!

Their Henna product could come in paste or powder form, and each form would have the possibility of having different flavours. Each of these had a different price point despite the product in the end being the same. And of course for every option there needed to be information on:

  • Product
  • Ingredients
  • Storage
  • How to use

Step in BigCommerce!

After working with BigCommerce to realize their business vision and potential, Henna Caravan experienced 2X the industry conversion rate on their site and a 33% increase in revenue driven by the new informative product pages through SEO.

“BigCommerce was the only eCommerce platform for a business of our size that allowed for product variant customization in a complex way, and that contained both an eCommerce solution as well as content pages that could serve as a CMS” Carissa McQueen, CMO of Henna Caravan

Number of SKUs & Complex Shipping Structure

A lot of businesses don’t need more than a few thousand SKUs (Stock keeping unit: product/service identification code), and a basic shipping structure that would suit their needs.

But there are other businesses that need SKUs in the millions! And those that have a very complicated shipping structure … a basic one for their eCommerce website just wouldn’t cut it!

Vinyl Express was a Dutch brick-and-mortar that turned into an online eCommerce powerhouse. They are considered one of the companies that are bridging the IT gap between boutique record stores all across the world!

They needed a platform that could support their current 1.17M SKUs that will just keep growing in the future. Most platforms can only support SKUs in the tens of thousands, which definitely wasn’t enough for Vinyl Express!

They also had a very complicated shipping structure. They operate in 5 different countries, with suppliers all over the world! Some send the records to them first and then they mail the order to clients, while others send the records straight to the customers.

All these suppliers:

  • Use different carriers
  • Operate with different delivery times
  • Have different shipping costs
  • Use different currencies
  • Have different import, export and tax rules that apply to them

… so you can imagine how complex the shipping needs are!

After considering the different options they had, they opted to choose BigCommerce as their platform.

“Right now, we have a catalog of 1.5 million records. That’s pretty big, but in two months it will be 2.3 or 2.4 million. Our large catalog is one of the main reasons we chose BigCommerce.” Rogier van Genugten, CEO at Vinyl Express

Mobile Optimization & Website Loading Speed

Different businesses attract different types of customers. And these customers have different buying habits. Some like to use their desktops/laptops for their online business …. While others prefer to use mobile devices like phones and tablets.

Brandon Chatham, the founder and CEO of NatoMounts had some very specific needs for his business, and BigCommerce helped him and his company achieve their goals!

NatoMounts is a company that specializes in smart mounts for mobile devices. The majority of their traffic (90%) and online sales (85%) come from mobile devices. BigCommerce understood this and worked with NatoMounts to develop an eCommerce website optimized to those specific needs!

“The whole experience from landing on the site to checking-out has got to take a minute or less. Our goal is to have them order as much as possible, as quickly as possible. BigCommerce’s integrations with one-click payment systems and the platform’s optimized single-page checkout helps me do just that.” Brandon Chatham, Founder and CEO of NatoMounts

After working with BigCommerce, the time came to test before launch and see the results of all the hard work from both parties …. they tested mobile optimization and were able to get a new visitor on the site, select a product and checkout in a total of 43 seconds! Exactly what NatoMounts was looking to achieve!

Speed of Delivery

Working with the wrong eCommerce platform and developers that don’t fully understand your needs can mean missed deadlines and spending a lot more money than you should!

BigCommerce is known for delivering on time and within budget.

Let’s take a look at the case of Bulk Apothecary. They were founded in 2010 and specialize in selling natural ingredients and essential oils. They have over 9000 product SKUs that are sold from retail sizes up to full truckloads.

They wanted to have their own website that is reliable, able to support aggressive revenue goals and enable the business to continue growing rapidly online.

At first, they chose a platform other than BigCommerce. It wasn’t the greatest choice they made …. It took 10 months and tens of thousands of dollars to have a site that:

  • Was full of glitches
  • Required daily maintenance
  • Still needed more custom development work
  • Had licensing and hosting fees

Not only did this have a negative impact on their rate of growth, but they were fighting to keep the company alive!

They finally decided to pull the plug on the project with the platform and started searching for alternatives to try and save their business. And that is where BigCommerce came to the rescue.

They opted to move their business to BigCommerce Enterprise. The storefront was replicated on the platform in only 4 weeks!

They moved to BigCommerce Enterprise during their slowest selling season to limit impact on the business. “We expected to see a modest dip in revenue due to seasonality, but since switching our online sales are up 15-20%” Gary Pellegrino Jr., President of Bulk Apothecary

Other benefits Bulk Apothecary got from switching to BigCommerce:

  • 10% increase in conversions
  • $50K+ saved on hosting and licensing
  • 20% of abandoned cart revenue recovered

If your business isn’t that complicated, choosing a platform shouldn’t be that difficult. Any of the available platforms would probably be able to cater to the needs of your business.

If your business is a bit more complex however, or it’s growing at a very fast pace … you might need a platform that allows a bit more complexity and customization than the norm, and BigCommerce is the right choice for you!

Find an eCommerce expert or agency to help you with your eCommerce project.