BigCommerce – Headless Commerce on WordPress

With WooCommerce being the e-commerce solution of choice for over 2.9 million WordPress sites, a headless commerce solution such as BigCommerce must offer something special to gain some market-share. Here's a look at why that might actually start to happen.
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We’ve all heard of WooCommerce by now. It’s powering over 2.9 million e-commerce sites across the world according to some of the latest statistics. Easy Digital Downloads is also a popular e-commerce solution within WordPress, but it’s got a far smaller market share. Now, have you heard of BigCommerce?

BigCommerce provides an e-commerce platform that enables businesses to grow online. It is currently trusted by over 60,000 small businesses as well as larger brands such as Toyota, Kodak and Paul Mitchell.

A new headless commerce option for WordPress

In 2018 they ventured into the WordPress space with a new plugin integrates directly with the BigCommerce commerce engine. WordPress takes care of the front-end experience (the site itself), while the commerce engine takes care of the business side of things. This includes the product catalog management, transactions, order management, shipping and so on.

Despite the major market share that WooCommerce has, it’s good to have some new competition in this space. Not only does it create awareness for other great e-commerce solutions on the web, but it also ensures that all solutions continue working hard to improve on their offerings.

Here’s a look at their promo video that sums up the key benefits of this solution.

In order to create this integration in the most optimal way, BigCommerce worked with Modern Tribe, a WordPress development agency that has been around for many years. Together they published this case study that goes into some detail about their decision, process and goals.

What does BigCommerce offer?

You may be wondering why it’s even worth looking into BigCommerce given that the majority of WordPress users already trust WooCommerce. That’s a fair point, and WooCommerce may be the right solution for you. After all, their team has been in the WordPress space for much longer and is supported by a very large community of users and developers.

So here’s a look at what BigCommerce offers that might make you look in a new direction.

One control panel for multiple WordPress sites

One of the drawbacks of using a WordPress e-commerce plugin is that it’s harder to run multiple stores. If you have 3 stores, all of which should be linked to each other, there isn’t (to my knowledge) a solution for having a central place to manage all those stores together.

With BigCommerce you have once control panel from where you can manage orders, shipping and catalog updates for multiple WordPress sites. This makes it easier and faster to keep in control over your businesses.

Easy checkout process for customers

BigCommerce made sure to make the customer experience a priority. That’s why they’ve focused on creating an integration that compliments the WordPress UX. They also created a custom experience for shoppers, ensuring that the checkout process is as pain-free as possible.

Unrestricted scalability

Since BigCommerce doesn’t restrict its scalability like some other e-commerce solutions might, you can focus more on your store. Creating complex catalogs and managing larger order volumes could become easier through their system rather than the typical WordPress e-commerce plugin.

Security features

Secure checkout processes and PCI compliance aren’t matters to be taken lightly. BigCommerce takes over the burden of managing those security aspects, giving you a secure e-commerce site with reduced risk and more resources to use elsewhere.

And more…

Apart from that, the BigCommerce for WordPress integration offers a number of other benefits:

  • AMP-enabled
  • Gutenberg ready
  • Highly extensible.
  • Over 65 payment gateway integrations

It does appear to be developer-friendly in terms of not using iframes or JavaScript unnecessarily, allowing you to hook into their plugin to build the storefront experience you need. It also allows the overriding of template files to modify out-of-the-box designs. That means that customisations made to your product cards, lists, cart and so on will not be undone by some plugin updates.

Lastly, let us not forget that it also means less plugins to manage on your site. When running a large WooCommerce store, the add-ons do pile up. Managing them all and making sure that those developed by third-parties don’t conflict in some way or another is not a fun process. We recommend a few top WooCommerce extension stores to ensure that your site runs on the best software available for that platform.

BigCommerce for WordPress

Start a free BigCommerce trial to see if it works better for your store.

Get the Plugin

Is BigCommerce worth moving away from WooCommerce?

That’s a question that totally depends on your needs and wants. The BigCommerce plugin is still in its early stages, having just over 200 active installs. However, the feedback so far has been mostly positive.

So much so that Robby McCullough, the founder of the popular Beaver Builder page builder plugin, wrote the following in his 5-star review on the WordPress plugin repo that he titled “Great potential to disrupt eCommerce in WordPress”…

Took BC for a test drive today and was thoroughly impressed. WordPress + existing eCommerce plugins are a great way to test out a business idea, but my experience has been that they’re a PIA to manage at any sort of scale. Offloading eCommerce to a 3rd party SASS makes a whole lot of sense.

WordPress is a fantastic content engine, but it quickly gets bogged down and complicated when eCommerce is thrown in the mix. Even on a top-tier host, searching through a large order history can grind your database to a halt. I see a solution like BC making WordPress a much more competitive option when compared with something like Shopify. Offload the nitty-gritty details to a SASS that’s experienced and tuned to handle it.

We’re rooting for you BC!

Robby’s point about off-loading your e-commerce efforts onto a 3rd party SASS is something worth talking about. Scaling your online business is something that shouldn’t be made harder by the platform you choose. On the contrary, the platform should do its best to help you scale whenever you need to.

We haven’t even mentioned other solutions such as Shopify yet. This BigCommerce integration with WordPress could be the start of something new. Who knows, maybe some other e-commerce platforms start taking on this model. We may even see existing WordPress e-commerce plugins building upon this idea with new SASS solutions. It’s definitely a space that is worth keeping an eye on, especially if you’re looking to start or scale up your online business.

What are your thoughts?

Do you think that BigCommerce is a viable solution for your online store? Is it worth moving away from WooCommerce or any other WordPress e-commerce solution? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, maybe we can grab the attention of a few people that could build upon this new approach.

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5 Responses

    1. Hi Doug, I’ll ask their team to get back to you directly on that with more details, but this is what their wordpress.org page says:

      “The BigCommerce plugin ports over a copy of your product catalog and stores products as custom post types in WordPress. It also creates pages for your cart, checkout, account profiles, sign in, shipping & returns, gift certificates and order history.

      The key difference to our approach is that you don’t need to install additional extensions to get access to common ecommerce features. Instead, you get instant access to many common (and advanced) features, such as complex catalog support, global payment gateways, currency handling, taxation, shipping calculations and centralized channel management; all out-of-the-box.”

    2. Hi Doug! You can add products in both ways – in the page / post (with Gutenberg or the Classic Editor). We also create a /products page on the site automatically that showcases the products + a menu based on your categories, if you choose that during on-boarding.

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