As ecommerce continues to grow at a unstoppable pace now currently a 10 billion dollar a year industry, the demand for more capable ecommerce solutions are needed more than ever. I've seen quite a few different companies come out the wood work with so called ecommerce solution that clearly displays there lack of knowledge in what consumers are looking for in today's web environment, while some companies such as Yahoo,ProStores and SiteBuildIt that have been around for quite some time have evolved with the times a remained at the top of list.
BigCommerce is a new comer (well sort of new) to the list of ecommerce solutions BigCommerce is a hosted, fully managed version of Interspire Shopping Cart that was launched by Interspire in June 2009. With the Interspire Shopping Cart software being so highly popular and successful they the decided to launch a full blown hosted version of it, it's a hosted solution meaning they take care of the servers, security, upgrades and backups for your online store so you don't have to, this is great for small and large size businesses that looking to run there business and no worry about managing a server. Not I know I said ProStores was the The Best Ecommerce Website Builder, but I think BigCommerce could give them a run for their money and here is why.
BigCommerce does a pretty good job of describing all the features that are included in there service so I won't do their job for them but instead I'll touch on only a few of the key features and why they're important in today's web environment.
Reporting and Analytics
One thing you should always remember when running a website, whether it's an affiliate site, blog, ecommerce site, or a subscription based site is that “the money is in the stats”, this will be where you spend most of your time after you've finished setting up your online store. Stats will tell you exactly what works and what doesn't as well as what's making you money and more importantly what's costing you money. Of course if you don't have a stats system with enough features to help you know how each and every part of your website is performing then you'll just be wasting time. Big Commerce has 20+ performance reports some of which include daily conversion rates, inventory report, best and worst performing keywords, order location (Google Maps) just to name a few. You can also integrate your store with Google Analytics which is one of the best site tracking services available on the web not to mention it's FREE!.
Built In SEO
SEO is important but it's not something you should spend all your time on, most services out there coming with basic SEO features included while others completely ignore them, stay away from website building services that don't have SEO features built in. BigCommerce web pages are optimized by experts and make proper use of title tags and search engine friendly SEO links, of course there a tons of other things to know about SEO but most of them are not worth the time to learn, trust me the search engines are smart enough to rank your site for accurate search terms.
Google Merchant Center (Formerly known as Google Base)
If there was ever a source for getting free traffic to your store this would be it, if your not familiar with Google Merchant Center it's where you can upload your store's product feeds and make them easy to find on Google Product Search. The thing is most store owners or people looking to start a online store don't even know what a store feed is or how to create one, basically a store feed is a XML file (don't need to know what it means) that is automatically generated for your site that allows you to automatically syndicate all your products across product search engines and comparison shopping sites like PriceGrabber.com, BizRate .com, Shopping.com, Yahoo Shopping and much more. This is a untapped way of driving traffic to your website because most store owners are not using this free source traffic simply because they are not aware of it or their site isn't equipped to create store feeds. BigCommerce automatically generates store feeds for your site that can be submitted to Google Merchant Center as well as other product search engines and comparison shopping sites.
The best thing about the features is that Product results show up above natural search results, so you don't have to worry about ranking for search terms in the search engines just list your products in the product search section and your good to go. (Example Image below)
Affiliate Tracking System (Affiliate Marketing)
Apart from Reporting and Analytics, this is by far the most important part of your business at least in my business, for those not familiar with Affiliate Marketing it's an Internet-based marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliates marketing efforts, usually that affiliate is paid a commission when a sale is made, or if a lead is generated. It is also known a performance based marketing in other words you only pay for results. Imagine if you launched a website and you had a thousand people advertising your site for you for free and the only time you would have to pay those people is when they refer a paying customer, that's power of affiliate marketing and if you don't offer affiliate programs for your store in this day and age then your definitely at a huge disadvantage. The problem here is that most website building solutions do not come with affiliate marketing built in, BigCommerce however comes with a built in affiliate tracking system that allows you to track, manage and pay your affiliates. 75% of my sales come from affiliate referrals, this is not a feature that should be overlooked.
There are a bunch of other great features such as drag and drop layout design, support for 50 plus payment gateways, Google Awords and Yahoo Search Marketing export, Single page checkout and the list goes on, but I'll leave that up to BigCommerce to list all the features.
Apart from ProStores this is by far one of the best online store builders that I've seen on the market, they both have pretty much all of the same feature sets with a few differences, it all depends on what your looking for.