Easily create an online store:

I've always been interested in E-commerce and internet retail due to the fact you can sell 24/7 and keep your overhead low. Over the last 5 years I've tried many different shopping carts. While I am pretty computer savvy, I'm not into coding and so setting up a good looking website with a shopping cart must be easy. Below is a video I created to show the basics of getting your website up and running using Big Commerce.

Below is a screenshot of a store I built using BigCommerce.

In this article, I'll give a review of my experience with shopping carts, what I currently use, and how to go about getting set up with the cart.

Here are a few carts I've tried in the past. They have all been very affordable, or free in some cases.

1. Zen Cart – I installed this on a Godaddy hosted site. It is an open source cart, but I didn't have the coding knowledge to customize it the way I wanted to.

2. Pinnacle Cart – I installed Pinnacle cart and used it for a 2 years. It is a powerful cart and very easy to use. It is also easy to customize, and you can change the colors of any template easily. One major downside I had with Pinnacle cart was their service. While it may be better now (haven't used for a year and a half), I dropped the service because of it. They are pretty good about coming out with updates and improving the cart. The cart has a monthly fee starting at $30.00.

3. Shopify – Shopify is a good shopping cart and I was very happy with their service. They even called a few times to check in on things. Shopify makes it easy to set up a cart, but I found it was lacking a few features I was looking for. Shopify starts at just $29 / month.

4. Big Commerce – In my experience thus far, Big Commerce has hands down been my favorite shopping cart. Big commerce is powerful, has lots of features, is innovative, and the service is great. They have a huge library of videos explaining how to set up the website and modify items. Big Commerce is always coming out with new features, integrations, and ways to improve their platform. I've been with Big Commerce for 2 years and am very happy with them. Their pricing starts at $24.95 / month and you can purchase a domain from them or link a domain with the cart easily. Transferring a domain is also made easy.

Brief Video by Big Commerce showing features

 

 Favorite Features:

  • Videos: You can easily add videos in your product descriptions similar to how Zappos.com does their videos. Videos are so helpful to customers.
  • Pictures: Add multiple pictures with Zoom in options easily
  • Email: Integrates well with MailChimp, I-contact, and other newsletter programs
  • Options: Create all kinds of option for your products (sizes, colors, etc)
  • Payments: Easily process payments with Payleap or other processors.
  • Shipping: Enter tracking info, print packing lists, etc

 

Now I will explain how to set up a website from scratch using Big Commerce. In this post, I'll show examples of how to set up the site and I'll also show the administrative end using an actual Big Commerce store that I set up.

1. Go to Big Commerce and click on pricing.

2. Pick your plan. The big difference in pricing has to do with the number of products you can list. If you are just starting out there is a good chance that the basic $24.99 plan will work for you.

3. Once you've picked the plan that looks most fitting to your business, you'll advance to the sign up page where you'll enter in your payment information and buy your domain (url / name of website). They make the process very easy. Once you've signed up the store will be set up within 5-10 minutes. You'll be taken to the administrative page where you can start setting up the website.

Screenshot of Administrative Panel

4. The administrator backend is where you set up your store, add products, manage your customers, and design your site. I made a little video to show you how the backend works. It is my first screencast video so bare with me:) The video shows some basics about quickly setting up an online store using Big Commerce. I show you how to choose a template, banner, and your first product. (This is the same video shown toward the top of the post).

5. In order to take payments you'll need to setup a payment gateway. There are solutions such as Paypal and Google Checkout which are 100% free. I originally started my first online store with the free services. The big downsides are that these services take you to their website for the customer to complete the purchase. The other drawback is that it has a little higher transaction fee.

I ended up using a company called Payleap. They integrate easily with Big Commerce, payout within 24-48 hours, and are easy and affordable to work with. Payleap charges about $15.00 per month for their service + processing fees for each order. Their processing fees are very standard to other companies. There are many other companies to use as processors including a paid version by Paypal, and a processor named Authorize.net. I've used the paid version of Paypal and have been happy with it.

Big Commerce has worked very well for me and I'd highly recommend it. If you have any questions about it please don't hesitate to shoot me an email and I will do my best to answer your inquiry.

Note: The links for Big Commerce are affiliate links and I do get a small commission if you click on one and end up purchasing the cart. If you do decide Big Commerce is a good fit, I'd appreciate you clicking through my link! I truly believe Big Commerce is the way to go, in fact I use it myself.