Bigcommerce is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms around. It's not quite as ABC easy as Shopify, but it's still simple to use, and what you lose in ease-of-use, you gain in customizability.
In this tutorial, we'll show you just how easy it is to get started on Bigcommerce. If you've already got products to sell, then you could be trading within a couple of hours.
Are you ready to join the ranks of online merchants? Then let's get started!
1. Sign Up to Bigcommerce
Step 1: Browse Bigcommerce
Take a hike over to the Bigcommerce website. Here, you can browse Bigcommerce features, or scroll down to look at featured stores. This gives you a good idea of what's possible with your store.
Step 2: Sign Up
If you like what you see, you're ready to sign up! Enter the name of your store into the form on the home page. Don't worry, you can change your store name later if you want to.
Click the orange button, Start my free trial now.
Step 3: Fill Out Your Details
Now, you'll be asked for a few details about you and your store, including what you'll sell, where you're based, and your name and contact details.
Still deciding what you'll sell? Select I'm not sure yet in the What will you sell? box.
Once you've filled out your details, click the orange box Create my store now. By creating your store, you agree to the Bigcommerce terms of service.
Step 4: Open Your Store
Sit tight while Bigcommerce builds your store. This can take up to two minutes.
When your store is ready, you'll see a big green open sign, like this:
You're ready to go! Click the orange button Visit your store.
2. Customize Your Store
When you create your store, you'll be given the option to use the Bigcommerce Quick Start Wizard to get things set up as you want them. This is what we'll use for this tutorial.
Step 1: Launch the Wizard
The Quick Start Wizard looks like this:
Click the blue button Let's customize your store.
If you close the Quick Start Wizard by accident, you can re-open it using the big blue button at the top of the page, Quick Launch Wizard.
Step 2: Set You Store Name and Address
The first stage of the Wizard asks you to complete important details about your store.
Click the blue button, Update your store settings.
Here, you can update your store name. You'll also be asked for the address, phone number and admin email address of your store.
If you don't want people to stumble across your half-finished store while you're still creating it, select the box Yes, display a 'Down for Maintenance' message on my store.
When you're done, click the blue Save button in the bottom left.
Step 3: Set Measurement Units and SEO Details
Staying on the Store Name and Address page, scroll down to select whether you'll use metric or US customary units for measuring your products.
Scroll down further to fill out the SEO settings for your store (Read more about why SEO matters and how to get it right).
When you're done, click the blue Save button in the bottom left. Click the Bigcommerce logo in the top right to return to your dashboard, where you can relaunch the Quick Launch Wizard.
Step 4: Choose Your Theme
The next stage in the Quick Launch Wizard is to choose your theme and Logo. This is still in Part 1 of the Quick Launch.
Click the blue button Change your theme and logo.
You'll be taken to the area in the Bigcommerce dashboard where you can change your theme, or template.
The default template is Classic (White).
Scroll down to look at the different templates available.
To take a close look at any template, click on the template image. You'll get a zoomed in preview.
Once you've decided on a template you like the look of, click the Apply this template text.
You'll be asked to confirm that you understand any customizations you've made to your current theme will be deleted. As you're still setting up your store, you can confirm this without backing up your theme. In the future, you should back up your customizations before changing your theme.
When you've checked all the confirmation boxes, click Apply, and the theme will be applied to your store.
Step 5: Add Your Logo
At the top of the themes page is a list of tabs. The third tab is called Logo. Click on this tab.
You'll be taken to a page where you can choose to upload your business logo. The recommended size is 250 x 100 pixels. Bigcommerce will resize your logo if you upload an image of a different size.
To upload a logo, select the option Upload a logo image from my computer. Then click Choose File. This will open your file manager, where you can browse for your logo. Once you've found your logo, click Upload Logo Image.
If you don't have a logo, you can select Show Text where my logo will be displayed. You're then given the option to enter the text you want to use instead of your logo.
3. Add Products
Now you've made your store visually stunning, you're ready to stock up the shelves with products.
Step 1: Go to the Add a Product Page
Relaunch the Quick Launch Wizard, and click on Stage 2. Then click the blue button Add Products. You'll be taken to a page where you can add a product.
Step 2: Complete Product Details
Here, you fill out details, including whether your product is physical or digital, the name of your product, and product categories. The default categories are Ladies, Mens, Accessories and Sale. You can add your own categories that match the types of products you're going to sell.
Additionally, you can choose a product URL and SKU. By default, the URL is the name of your product. You can change this to improve your SEO.
Entering a SKU is optional, but recommended as it can help you to manage your inventory.
Step 3: Add Product Description
Scroll down to fill out the product description. This is optional, but highly recommended as it improves the likelihood of your product being found in search. What's more, a good description acts as a sales pitch, encouraging customers to buy.
Step 4: Name Your Price and Shipping Costs
Scroll down further to add a price and shipping details for your product. You can choose whether the shipping cost is based on size and weight, or whether it's a fixed price.
Step 5: Add a Product Image
Scroll back up to the top of the page. You'll see you're currently on the Details tab. Click the Images and Videos tab.
Here, you can drag and drop an image of your product.
When you're done, click Save & Exit (or Save & Add Another, if you've got more products to list).
4. Set Up Payments, Shipping and Taxes
Step 1: Set Up Payments
To sell anything, you need to be able to take payments. Bigcommerce integrates beautifully with a wide range of payment gateways.
Head over to the Quick Launch Wizard, and click on stage 3. Then click Set up payment methods, which provides easy set-up for PayPal and Stripe.
Here, you'll find walkthroughs for setting up PayPal and Stripe.
To start the walkthrough click the Off button to switch the gateway on. You'll then be guided through a two-click set-up.
To choose a different payment gateway, select More payment methods.
Step 2: Configure Shipping
Return to the Quick Launch Wizard, and go back to stage 3. Click the Ship your products section of the wizard, then select the blue button Choose shipping options.
Here, you'll be asked for a business address, and you'll be given the option to set up shipping zones.
Zones can be based on countries, states, provinces or ZIP codes. For each zone, you can add a handling fee to your standard shipping costs. Effectively, this allows you to set different shipping rates for different zones.
Step 3: Be Tax Ready
The last step in stage 3 of the Quick Launch Wizard is to set up taxes. In this part of the wizard, you can either set up tax rates for different zones, or just tell Bigcommerce that your prices are inclusive of tax.
5. Launch Your Store!
With a payment gateway in place, you're ready to let customers into your store.
Return to the Quick Launch Wizard, and click the Launch button. It looks like a rocket!
Click the orange button Launch your store!.
Congratulations, you're now an eCommerce trader! Now, all you need to do is find a way to pull in the customers.