BigCommerce is a platform a lot of big brands use, but its pricing model could give pause to some businesses, especially smaller ones. Why? Because you can’t always control how much you pay to run your store.
In recent years, BigCommerce has significantly hiked up the price of some of its plans. Another pricing aspect that some users don’t like – me included! – is that the platform forces you to upgrade your plan once you exceed a certain revenue in sales per year, taking the choice out of your hands. There are also extra costs for features that most providers include in their packages, but BigCommerce doesn’t.
As I was researching BigCommerce, Some of the questions I had were: Are BigCommerce pricing plans still affordable? How do its plans differ from Shopify’s? And just how do those mandatory upgrades really work?
I know that choosing a platform for your online store is a crucial decision. That’s why I’ve carefully outlined the positives and negatives of BigCommerce’s pricing for you. Read on to find out if this e-commerce builder is right for you.
BigCommerce Has a Pricing Plan for Everyone – but the Choice Isn’t Always Yours
BigCommerce offers a range of pricing plans to suit all sorts of sellers, from individuals who are just starting out right through to high volume multinationals who want custom pricing and shipping options.
There are three set plans and an Enterprise plan that BigCommerce will customize to your needs. When signing up, you can choose a plan to suit your needs and budget.
If your store exceeds a certain value in sales per year, BigCommerce will automatically upgrade your account, and you don’t have any choice in the matter. However, you are alerted to the change via email and dashboard notifications. There is a logic to this forced upgrade: BigCommerce essentially offers unlimited disk space and bandwidth for your e-commerce site. If you get more sales, you get more traffic, so BigCommerce is using more resources for your site.
Because there’s a significant jump in costs when upgrading, you might dislike the fact that this choice is out of your control. By all reports, though, BigCommerce is careful to only count legitimate orders when figuring out which plan to charge you for. And if you run a small business, you might find this model beneficial because you only pay more when your sales increase.
BigCommerce doesn’t offer many extra features for each boost in pricing, but the features it offers are carefully targeted to meet the needs of businesses at each revenue rank. So you won’t get lots of bells and whistles, but you will gain solid selling tools to help you grow your business further.
Here’s an overview of each subscription type. Note the huge jump in price from the Plus to the Pro plan.
|The cost of a monthly subscription:||$29.95||$79.95||$299.95||Custom pricing|
|Features:||Everything you need to start an online store||Extra marketing tools||Google Reviews and product filtering||Extra support, advanced shipment options, unlimited API calls, and an account manager|
|The ideal user:||For startups and small sellers who aren’t generating all that much revenue||For expanding e-commerce businesses||For stores with a large selection of stock or more than $180,000 in annual sales||For big brands that handle huge influxes of traffic and want custom pricing, shipping, filters, or support|
|Sales per year:||Up to $50,000||Up to $180,000||Up to $400,000 – over this, you’ll pay extra||Custom|
If you’re signing up to a Pro or Plus plan, you can save 10% if you pay annually rather than month by month.
Though BigCommerce doesn’t have a free plan, it does offer a 15-day free trial. This provides access to all Plus plan features and you don’t need a credit card to try it out.
The Standard Plan
Cost: $29.95 per month
Threshold for automatic upgrade: Up to $50,000 in online sales per year
All plans come with unlimited product listings, file storage, bandwidth, and staff accounts. This makes scaling your business less stressful – no need to worry about your website going down if a marketing campaign suddenly goes viral. All plans feature 24/7 support and are free from transaction fees – although you still might need to pay transaction fees to your payment processor.
In addition to your online store, the Standard plan allows you to sell products via eBay, Amazon, Facebook, and Google Shopping. Built-in integrations are included. It’s important to know that orders on these channels will contribute to your calculated annual sales revenue.
Finally, the Standard plan includes this long list of features:
- Responsive design: Your store will look good on mobile devices.
- Single-page checkouts: Makes it easier and quicker for your customers to pay and may reduce cart abandonment.
- Apple Pay, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and PayPal One Touch: Your customers can use convenient single-touch payment methods.
- Coupons, discounts, and gift cards: You can create coupon codes and gift certificates to drive conversions.
- Real-time shipping quotes: You can automatically retrieve current rates from the likes of UPS, USPS, and FedEx so your customers pay accurate shipping costs.
- Reporting tools: You can monitor visitor metrics, product performance, and order trends to figure out what drives sales.
- Blog feature: Every store includes a basic, built-in blog.
- Product ratings and reviews: Allows your customers to share feedback, which can help build trust among your visitors.
- Free sitewide HTTPS and dedicated SSL: Ensures that your website processes payments safely and can provide you with an SEO boost.
Though the Standard plan could work for all sorts of users, because of BigCommerce’s pricing model, it’s really only suitable for small businesses who want to start selling online. Once you hit $50,000 in annual sales (including taxes and shipping costs), you’ll be automatically upgraded to the Plus plan.
The Plus Plan
Cost: $79.95 per month
Threshold for automatic upgrade: Up to $180,000 in online sales per year
So you’ve established your online store and are generating a decent amount of revenue. At this point, you’re probably using your reporting tools and realizing that lots of site visitors abandon their shopping carts.
BigCommerce’s Plus plan is a good choice for stores that are focusing on reducing cart abandonment. It will work well for stores that have been established a while – or for startups with ambitious targets for their first year.
This is BigCommerce’s most popular plan. It comes with everything the Standard plan offers, as well as some extra tools to boost sales and improve your store’s user experience. These include:
- The abandoned cart saver: This drives sales by automatically sending email reminders or coupons to customers who have abandoned their shopping cart.
- Persistent carts: Users can access their shopping cart even when they switch devices.
- Stored credit cards: Users can save their card details for future orders.
- Segmentation: You can create different customer groups to reward specific audiences with loyalty programs, discounts, exclusive products, tax exemptions, or wholesale rates.
The Pro Plan
Cost: $299.95 per month
Threshold for automatic upgrade: Up to $400,000 in online sales per year
BigCommerce’s Pro plan comes with all the features of the Standard and Plus plans, as well as access to some more advanced features. These include:
- Google Customer Reviews: This allows you to collect customer feedback and display product ratings on your store pages, Google Shopping, and Google search ads.
- Product filtering: Your users can refine product searches by categories like price or color.
- Custom SSL: You can use an SSL certificate purchased from a third-party provider.
You don’t get much in the way of extra functionality in the Pro plan; just tweaks aimed at boosting trust in your brand and a user experience improvement.
The BigCommerce pricing changes I mentioned earlier impacted the Pro plan most of all.
First, the threshold for automatic upgrades was lowered to $400,000 in sales. But also, once you hit this limit, you aren’t upgraded to the Enterprise plan. Instead, you stay on the same Pro plan with the exact same features – but you have to pay another $150 per month.
You also pay an extra $150 per month for every additional $200,000 of revenue over the limit – for instance, when your revenue for the past 12 months reaches $600,000, then $800,000, and so on. So, for example, if you’re using the Pro plan and you generated $640,000 in sales last year, you would have to pay the standard $299.95, as well as $150 for reaching the $400,000 threshold, and then another $150 for reaching the $600,000 threshold. You’d be paying BigCommerce a total of $599.95 every month.
The pricing changes have definitely led to an uptick in disgruntled customers. But BigCommerce says it doesn’t anticipate any further price increases for this plan in the near future.
The Enterprise Plan
BigCommerce’s Enterprise plans are most suitable for large companies who require custom pricing, shipping, product filters, and integrations. Big brands like Skullcandy, Toyota, and Ben & Jerry’s all subscribe to this option.
BigCommerce Enterprise pricing isn’t set. The cost depends on your needs and your business. Most subscribers record more than $400,000 in sales each year, though.
Enterprise features include:
- Unlimited API calls: So your app integrations always function perfectly.
- Priority support and API support: You’ll jump to the top of the queue and get exclusive access to BigCommerce’s senior technical support team.
- Account management: A BigCommerce representative will help you optimize your store, listen to your feedback, and provide you with early access to new features.
- Advanced product filters: You can create custom product fields to organize your listings.
- Advanced pricing features: Allows you to present different price tags to visitors depending on their customer group.
- Advanced shipping options: Enterprise customers automatically gain access to ShipperHQ which lets you customize your shipping rates and delivery options depending on product, quantity, or destination etc. (Other subscribers can also purchase this app for $50 per month.)
To find out more about BigCommerce Enterprise pricing for your account, you’ll need to request a quote.
How Does BigCommerce Compare with Competitors?
Shopify is the world’s most used e-commerce solution. And although Volusion isn’t anywhere near as popular, it ranks higher than Shopify and BigCommerce in our website builder rankings.
As it turns out, all three have almost identical plans and pricing. So let’s take a closer look at how they differ.
All the above Volusion and Shopify packages put a limit on staff accounts, which means you’ll have to carefully choose who on your team can log in and edit your store. You get unlimited staff accounts with all BigCommerce plans.
Volusion also limits the number of products you can list on its basic and medium plans. Although you can list as many product variants as you like. Shopify allows just 100 variants, while BigCommerce allows up to 600.
Like BigCommerce, Volusion’s pricing model is also based on your store’s annual sales figures – though the thresholds are different. If you process more than $100,000 in orders each year, you’ll have to move to its top-tier package. Compare this to BigCommerce’s $180,000 threshold for its Pro plan.
Shopify doesn’t have revenue thresholds, and its Basic plan should suffice for most small businesses. It also includes some interesting features on all plans, such as fraud analysis, which BigCommerce doesn’t have, and abandoned cart functionality, which BigCommerce only offers on higher-tire plans.
However, BigCommerce includes reporting tools with all plans, while Shopify includes them only on the middle-tier plan and up.
BigCommerce and Volusion don’t have any transaction fees, while Shopify charges Basic users 2% on every transaction through a third-party payment processor. Users on medium and top-tier plans are charged 1% and 0.5%, respectively.
All three platforms offer free and paid apps. These can add extra functionality to your store to help you with the likes of customer support, marketing, and accounting. But the number of additional apps available from each platform varies hugely. Volusion’s marketplace features just over 100 apps; BigCommerce has hundreds; Shopify has thousands.
|Custom plans available:||Yes||No||Yes|
Having no transaction fees is a huge advantage for BigCommerce users. But if you sell low-margin products, a Shopify subscription with no sales thresholds might suit you better.
WooCommerce is an open-source WordPress plugin which is free to download and use on a self-hosted WordPress website. However, using it on the hosted WordPress.com requires a Business subscription, and that will cost you $25 each month. Taking this route will give you more control over your site, but it isn’t an easy option for beginners.
However, if you need a simple solution which offers decent e-commerce functionality, I recommend checking out Wix. Its drag-and-drop editor is extremely easy to use and e-commerce plans cost between $28 and $47 per month.
Extra Costs to Be Aware Of
I’ve already warned you that BigCommerce will push your plan up a level if you hit certain sales thresholds. That is the main pitfall you need to be aware of. But there are some other extra costs which can pop up when using the platform.
Premium Themes and Apps
While there are free options available, other apps and store themes require payment.
BigCommerce only offers 12 free themes. But if you can’t find what you’re looking for, there are many paid themes to choose from, too.
Built and supported by third-party developers, these premium themes provide a wider range of styles and often extra features. Prices start at $150 and max out at $300.
Apps add extra functionality to your website, such as fraud protection or integration with third-party tools. Some are free; others you’ll need to pay for.
Paid apps are priced between $9 per month and $50 per month. While prices vary, they are often recurring rather than one-off fees.
If you don’t already have a domain for your store, you’ll have to purchase one. You can do this through the BigCommerce platform, but the cost isn’t included in your plan.
Payment Processing Rates
BigCommerce users can use PayPal powered by Braintree as an “all-in-one” payment solution for their store. This is an optional feature, but it’s worth knowing that BigCommerce customers can take advantage of special credit and debit card processing rates, although this might vary depending on your country.
The current processing rates for PayPal powered by Braintree in the US are:
|Standard Plan||Plus Plan||Pro Plan||Enterprise Plan|
|2.9% + $0.30 per transaction||2.5% + $0.30 per transaction||2.2% + $0.30 per transaction||2.2% + $0.30 per transaction|
BigCommerce Is a Reliable Option – but a Big Cost
Despite changes to BigCommerce’s Pro Plan structure, the platform’s pricing is still very much in line with other e-commerce platforms.
In our detailed product review, BigCommerce scored well on pricing. Because BigCommerce offers custom Enterprise plans, it beats out Shopify if you’re running a huge store.
With no transaction fees and everything you need to start your online store, BigCommerce is an attractive option for most e-commerce businesses. An exception could be stores selling high volumes of low margin items, as BigCommerce charging based on revenue could work against you.
If you require some niche functionality, like automatic repricing or a click-and-collect feature, it may be worth checking how much this costs in the app marketplace before signing up.
|The cost of a monthly subscription:||$29.95||$79.95||From $299.95||Custom pricing|
BigCommerce’s price range is similar to that of other hosted e-commerce platforms – like Shopify and Volusion. If you don’t like the price tag, you could check out Wix’s e-commerce plans which costs between $28 and $47 per month.
Alternatively, you could consider an open source option like WooCommerce, which is free to set up. But it can come with other fees and requires a WordPress Business subscription if you use it on the hosted WordPress.com.
However, BigCommerce doesn’t have any transaction fees, which is a big plus for most vendors. If you aren’t using Shopify Payments, Shopify will charge you between 0.5% and 2% – depending on your subscription plan.
If you feel that neither platform is right for your online store, you can check out our list of the best website builders in 2021.