It Just Works, It's Just Worth It.
June 12, 2019
It Just Works, It's Just Worth It.
Score 8 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with BigCommerce
This is the primary way we distribute our products to associates worldwide. We also use it as an access-restricted auxiliary information platform for our associates.
- Access Restriction - it's not just product access that can be granularly controlled, since product category pages can be used for controlling access to business information as necessary.
- Integration with 3rd Party Providers - shipping live rate calculation, shipping label creation and accounting are given richer functionality by third party developers, to which there was easy access
- Keeping things Simple - while still providing robust functionality. The simplicity and moderate platform lockdown actually adds an unexpected layer of security simply by not exposing too much functionality to users
- Platform Updates - We love how BigCommerce keeps updating the platform with useful features that we actually need, more than just the usual shiny bells and whistles.
- Fine-grained integration of some features - including two-way inventory and accounting management with third-party application providers
- Documentation of Store Variables - need more context detail, as well as availability in actual usage (i.e. sometimes variables just come up empty and it takes a little bit of trial-and-error to get some things working for specific but useful use-cases)
- Allowing fine-grained control of staff permissions - most of the necessary permissions are all-or-nothing (e.g. product inventory access requires full product edit access so most of the time only one person gets burdened with multiple responsibilities instead being able to effectively delegate inventory management to the warehouse manager while keeping product edit access i.e. price, description, etc. to sales administrator)
- Being on the legacy platform (and there's just a huge cost to move up to the new platform because there's no straightforward upgrade of our business customizations), there's no way to save the cart with the account; the cart is saved on the device. Some may see this as a feature, mostly it's a bit inconvenient.
- Platform Updates - kind of a double-edged sword, because they made a foundational platform switch (to Stencil) just as we came into BigCommerce and finalized all our customizations and workflows on the existing platform (the now-legacy Blueprint). As mentioned earlier there's no straightforward way for us to switch over to the new one, and we'll have to rework our interface and access customizations if we want to take advantage of the new platform's features. What we are most thankful for, though, is BigCommerce keeps fully supporting the legacy platform, which means our business can keep functioning as we need it to be. Hopefully they'll do this for life, or at least until we consider tackling the (high) costs (time, energy, money) of switching over to the new one just because we were so invested on the old/legacy platform.
- Definitely streamlined our operations, moving from a labor-intensive and error-prone manual system to an online and computerized platform - from order placement to shipping and inventory management, we for sure wouldn't be able to move back to where we haven't had BigCommerce in our workflow yet. Now all our products are in front of our intended audience, and updates happen instantaneously.
- Of course there were new tasks and workflows coming out of moving from a manual to an online system, but very much worth it because we were still able to do more and less error-prone than with a manual system. There just is no comparison.
So far we've only done everything through JS/CSS/HTML on top of the front-facing template and haven't worked with the API yet.
Interestingly, this choice was made by a member of our Accounting Department after thorough research, who was computer savvy but not at all a developer. I took over wielding the platform to our needs just as I became part of the company, but I'm a developer so many things were more straightforward to me, and my perspective was more on making the platform work for us no matter what, as an alternative just wasn't an option anymore. I hope this dynamic will add to the necessary context of this review and speak further to the appeal of BigCommerce to non-developers and developers, alike.
For keeping things simple and having something that just works, BigCommerce is a no-brainer. Intricate customization is still quite possible but a bit trickier given moderate lockdown of the platform, which is a security plus. For very specialized and fine-grained control of the entire ecommerce pipeline, though, using BigCommerce will eventually take a toll if another platform (perhaps self-hosted) isn't considered.