At the end of October, BigCommerce hosted its Partner Summit in Austin, TX. I flew down early to hang out in ATX, and Jordan, our BigCommerce Solutions Architect, joined me in time for the event.
The BigCommerce Partner Summit offered an overview of the eCommerce platform’s direction, its competitive advantages, and a series of workshops that helped sharpen the skills and knowledge of its partners.
The summit kicked off with a keynote from BigCommerce CEO, Brent Bellm. This session turned out to be my favorite of the whole event. In less than an hour, Bellm summarized the eCommerce market with clarity and crystallized BC’s strongest selling points:
Brent framed the BigCommerce competitive position from the perspective of the Disruptive Innovation Model. This model, coined by Brent’s Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, describes the way in which a product or service gains footing by offering a solution to the bottom of the market, then steadily moves upmarket while retaining its commitment downmarket.
BigCommerce has shed its reputation of being “just for small companies” and is now taking the lead in bringing cutting-edge technologies to SaaS eCommerce.
With each innovation and update, they don’t just create a more compelling product for mid-market and enterprise merchants; they also make world-class commerce experiences accessible for micro-merchants at their lowest rate (just $30/month).
As the day progressed, the BigCommerce team hosted sessions that informed partners like Classy Llama of the specific features BigCommerce is creating to serve merchants of all sizes.
For this post, I want to share more about how BigCommerce is “thinking Big.”
Below are three areas that show how BigCommerce is a strong choice for mid-market and enterprise merchants.
Headless architecture is one of the biggest trends in eCommerce right now. This is because brands are digging deeper into offering unique, branded experiences through their sites.
Headless as a concept basically means that the merchant’s eCommerce features are decoupled from the front-end, as well as other parts of the brand’s online architecture.
The brand is free to build their site on the CMS of their choice (WordPress, Adobe Experience Manager, Gatsby, etc.) and plug pieces of the BigCommerce platform like cart, catalog, and checkout wherever they need it.
When headless, brand’s online architecture can be a network of independent micro services communicating with one another in any way the brand desires.
BigCommerce is enabling merchants and agencies to build unique headless experiences with their platform as an eCommerce hub.
One can’t talk about headless without talking about APIs. APIs are used to connect applications and let them pass information between each other.
Historically, REST was the standard for web-based APIs. GraphQL is a newer and more robust architecture for APIs designed by Facebook. To avoid getting too technical, I’ll say this: REST was released in 2000 and GraphQL in 2015. The internet has changed a lot in those 15 years, and GraphQL is an API solution designed for our modern web.
BigCommerce’s support of GraphQL is in beta. The end result will be even more data than what was previously available through their REST APIs. Not only will there be more data to get, but there will be better control of what data is called for and received, making applications faster and more efficient.
This future of BigCommerce with GraphQL makes it easy to imagine endless possibilities of headless configurations with BigCommerce as the eCommerce engine.
Multi-currency, multi-language, multi-brand, multi-channel, multi-store. With Multi, BigCommerce is continuing to push the limits of what’s possible on a SaaS eCommerce platform.
There are a lot of scenarios where multi makes sense. A single brand with multiple locales, multiple brands with a single storefront, multiple brands with separate stores, a single storefront with multiple currencies; there are a lot of possibilities.
Currently, BigCommerce supports multi-currency and multi-brand. This empowers merchants with scenarios like multiple brands on a single storefront, or a single storefront with multiple currencies.
Additionally, BigCommerce offers multi-channel support, equipping merchants with the tools to connect their catalogs to Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google Shopping from a single dashboard.
One of the greatest areas of possibility for BigCommerce is multi-storefront.
Right now the only way to accomplish that is by having multiple instances of BigCommerce, with completely separate admin panels. This means, without any added custom integrations, everything between the stores is managed separate from each other. This is changing, though.
Multi-language and multi-storefront support are being expanded. Site owners will soon have the power to control global and site-specific settings, as well as manage products, customers, and more at a central location. For both implementation and ongoing support, this is going to save merchants a lot of time, energy, and money.
BigCommerce continues to excel when serving merchants who have B2B needs.
As a whole, BigCommerce takes a unique approach to their feature roadmap and selection. They invest heavily into the support and improvement of their core platform and the enablement of partners to build upon it. This is an alternative to other platforms constantly adding new revenue streams and services, leading to feature bloat as they move upmarket.
Natively, BigCommerce can support large catalogs and offers customer and pricing segmentation down to the SKU level. Over the next year, improvements to customer account management are a focus, as well as account security features. Additionally, purchase orders are expected to be a native feature in 2020.
Through their partner network, many more of the usual suspects for B2B sites are supported. Punch out, net payment terms, advanced shipping, and re-ordering are all available through trusted third party extensions. Additionally, many integrations with major ERP, OMS and CRM systems are pre-built and ready to connect with minimal effort.
BigCommerce offers B2B sellers a consumer-like user experience and the flexibility and features they need.
There’s no denying that BigCommerce has a compelling offer for merchants seeking the benefits of SaaS for eCommerce. What I find most exciting is how they continue to push the envelope on what’s possible for merchants with complex requirements. More and more, merchants are seeing that BigCommerce’s offering of “Open SaaS” for eCommerce isn’t a game of trade-offs, it’s a new world of opportunity, with a well-engineered core platform and a powerful network of partners. We’re proud to be one of those partners and love the value BigCommerce brings to our clients.