In March 2012, I stepped into the ecommerce world and launched a Volusion store for my non-profit, Stupid Cancer. I understood the basic functions of ecommerce, and felt like I could figure the rest out as I went. My expectations were pretty accurate, and found that navigating the unknown was a lot of fun. I picked Volusion because a colleague of mine had found success with their platform, and like any other digital software vertical, there were so many options. The sales started, issues that popped up along the way were remedied, and before I knew it, I had a successful online store.
Remember when you learned how to drive? That sense of confidence that followed? Before you knew it, you wanted to go faster.
Enter Bigcommerce: I received a solicitation to take a tour of their product by a Bigcommerce sales rep. I found myself building a carbon copy of my store on their platform within the first hour, and noticed the little things that were different than what I had been used to. I found myself building out shipping rates by weight, and entering those pesky sales tax rates by county. (Thanks a lot for that, by the way, New York State. #sarcasm)
I have to insert here that Volusion did get me off the ground with a very generous 80% discount. So, while Bigcommerce was unable to offer the same discount, I felt like I was getting much more in personal back and forth e-mails with their team, along with some on-boarding conference calls.
So here I am, with the holidays approaching rapidly and a steady flow of orders coming in, planning to abandon ship with Volusion and start on a new course.
I had everything pretty much built out on BC when it came time to flip the DNS. I say pretty much, because you’re never really ready when it comes time to go live.
To my surprise, my new store was online about two hours later, and the orders resumed. A critical step here is to put your old store into maintenance mode, and have your provider restore it back to its original(demo) URL. Luckily, I was headed to a conference for the days following, so I had some downtime to watch the fallout, which ended up being related to the following:
This is arguably the most important thing you will need to do. With a new ecommerce platform comes a new URL structure. For example, http://store.com/productname could end up being http://store.com/product-name. Anyone who searches for your product and clicks on your old URL will get a big old “Page Not Found.” Bigcommerce makes it easy to point potential customers in the right direction.
You probably set these up once and then left them alone, right? With Bigcommerce, I had an issue where I capped off my shipping rates at 2 pounds, without a price for anything heavier. This resulted in customers not being able to proceed with checkout. Make sure you test everything thoroughly, and let customers get in touch with you easily. (Install a “Contact Us” tab.)
I was operating under the assumption that I had a relationship outside of Volusion with Authorize.net. I plugged in my payment gateway info into my new store, and subsequently learned that it would be a breach of contract if I moved forward with that setup. I investigated my options, and found that PayPal Pro is a very nice solution if you're already accepting PayPal payments in your web store. It's a seamless application, and you get the great service that PayPal provides. (It's important to note that you can use a new Authorize.net account with Bigcommerce. You cannot use your Volusion Authorize.net account with Bigcommerce.)
Once I had everything pretty much straightened out, I focused on getting my product offering back up to 100%. A new store offered the opportunity to audit my product images, descriptions, etc.
Having been live on Bigcommerce for a few weeks now, I am much happier with the mobile version of my store, and am seeing a lot of mobile checkouts. I was also happy to see that a lot of my favorite tools integrate just as well, if not better, with Bigcommerce. Check them out on the Bigcommerce App Store.
I have written extensively about Bigcommerce apps and integrations on the Bigcommerce Blog. If you need assistance with your Bigcommerce store, feel free to reach out to me directly via my contact page.