BigCommerce – Free Trial, Recommended Apps & Tutorials

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Recommended Apps for BigCommerce

A lot of BigCommerce apps are worthless. Some are cool but nothing to write home about. But these BC apps are game-changers you've absolutely gotta have!

One of the things that makes the BigCommerce shopping cart such a great one is that there are so many applications that have been built for it. The problem, though, is that when you go to their apps page, there are so many of them, it is overwhelming. Compounding the problem is the fact that so many of the apps seem to do exactly the same thing.

We tested dozens of the Big Commerce applications in order to find the handful that were unique, performed truly valuable functions and that were reasonably priced. Below, are the select few that we have selected as our recommended Big Commerce apps. Although we have not tested them on other shopping carts, the majority of the following applications should work with pretty much any kind of website or shopping cart ...

Zopim

Zopim is a fantastic application that allows you to see what customers are doing on your website in real time and chat with them. You can often learn a lot about what is working well on your store and what isn't, simply by seeing how people move from page to page.

The built in chat feature of Zopim allows a visitor to initiate a chat with you or you can start the conversation, yourself. You also have the ability to be “invisible” and just watch site visitors if you don't want to chat.

One of the things that makes Zopim truly fantastic is that it can be integrates with popular IM programs like Google Talk, Yahoo IM, MSN, AIM and Skype. This allows you to see what is going on at your website and chat with people wherever you are – even from your phone!

There is a free version of Zopim that allows you to carry on a single conversation at a time and a couple of other versions that offer advanced options like customizing the look of your Zopim plugin, chatting with multiple visitors simultaneously and automating some of the conversations.

Although we recommend getting the lower priced Zopim Basic, everyone should at least download the free Zopim trial – even if they decide to only keep the free Zopim Lite version on their website.

AddShoppers

The AddShoppers plugin for BigCommerce allows you to take social sharing to a new, smarter level. AddShoppers allows you to replace your static social buttons with more intelligent social buttons that allow you to collect actionable intelligence on the pages that are being shared the most and who is actually sharing them.

AddShoppers also features revenue boosting social applications that let you offer rewards to those who share the purchases they have made with their social network followers. The AddShoppers analytics data allows you to reach out to those customers who are generating the most revenue for you and get them to share even more.

You can set AddShoppers up to email daily, weekly or monthly reports to you that provide a summary of social data you want along with suggestions on how to use that data to increase your social shares and sales. It will show you which products and social channels are performing the best, allowing you to concentrate your efforts on your best performers.

There are three different pricing levels of the AddShoppers plugin starting at free (a price we can all afford!). You can learn more and sign up for your free AddShoppers account here.

Omnistar Affiliate Manager

Some of the most time consuming tasks in eCommerce are building links and marketing your website. Paying affiliates a small percentage of the sale is one of the best ways of getting more traffic and links to your website. By letting other people do the link building and marketing, it frees up your time for other things like article writing or relaxing with your family.

Omnistar Affiliate Manager is the only affiliate marketing software designed for use with the BigCommerce shopping cart. It is ridiculously customizable, allowing you to very closely match the look and feel of your website. Used by more than 14,000 companies wordwide - giants like Macys, Cisco, and several prominent universities like Cornell and LSU - Omnistar is truly the maker of big league software!

The Omnistar Affiliate software is hosted on Omnistar's secure servers, so you never have to worry about software installs or backups. There is a login interface for you and another one for the affiliates that you sign up and both are accessible from PCs, tablets or smart phones.

You can create multi-tier affiliate payout programs that provide a link for your affiliates to sign up their own affiliates to promote your website, too. And, if you don't want to create your own banners, you can opt to offer affiliates a site replication feature, that basically lets them run their own versions of your website which pass the orders along to you.

Unlike some other affiliate marketing software, Omnistar does not charge a percentage of the sale. They employ a simple monthly fee pricing structure that starts as low as $27.00/month. That low price plan is probably more than most websites will ever need, in fact!

You can learn more about Omnistar Affiliate software and sign up for your free trial here.

MailChimp

MailChimp has long been recognized as one of the very best Email marketing programs in existence. Not just a program that sends out mass Emails, MailChimp allows you to segment your Email list so that you can target newsletters to the people who will really care about the subject of that Email.

MailChimp allows you to import customer lists, make notes so that you can segment those customers and even integrates with Google Analytics. Autoresponders, Email delivery by time zone, RSS-to-Email, A-B Email split tests and more are possible with MailChimp.

You don't have to be an Email marketing wizard to use MailChimp, either. They include pre-designed templates that you can drag or drop things into, allowing you to easily “make them your own.” There is no need to be tied to your desk, either. You can access your account to compose, edit or send Email campaigns from a PC, tablet or even your smart phone.

Best of all, if you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers, MailChimp lets you send up to 12,000 Emails per month totally free! For folks with bigger mailing lists and needs, their pay as you go pricing format ensures that you won't be paying for anything that is not actually used.

You can learn more about MailChimp and sign up for your free account here.

Abandoned Cart Saver for BigCommerce

Although you cannot purchase the Abandoned Cart Saver separately, it comes at no extra cost with all BigCommerce Gold Plan or higher memberships. Obviously, if you already have 1,000 or more products in your store, you have to sign up for the Gold Plan. If you have less than that and are paying for one of their less expensive plans, it might be well worth the money to pay a little extra per month just to get the Abandoned Cart Saver, though.

The Abandoned Cart Saver integrates automated Email marketing to recover sales when someone leaves your cart just before they were ready to buy something. Statistics show that the average website is able to get 15% of those people to return and make a purchase by implementing the Abandoned Cart Saver. Offering a coupon code makes recovery rates especially higher.

Needless to say, for most websites, a couple of extra sales per month more than pays for the difference between the least expensive BigCommerce plan and the Gold Plan. Some Store Coach members are reporting recovery rates in excess of 25% using BigCommerce's Abandoned Cart Saver, resulting in hundreds or even thousands of dollars in extra profit per month!

You can sign up for the BigCommerce Gold Plan here. You can learn more about the Abandoned Cart Saver here.

Our BigCommerce Tutorials

bigcommerceOver the years, we've created dozens of tutorials for the BigCommerce shopping cart platform. Those tutorials not only cover the technical how-to stuff, but they also contain Store Coach's expert advice on how to optimize your store and maximize your conversion rate. Plus, they link to related Store Coach training videos and articles.

Unfortunately, like all things "internet", someone comes along and decides to change the design of things and what you became used to finding in one place is no longer there. We are as guilty of making major changes as anyone and although we feel our recent design changes have resulted in an overall better eCommerce training experience, some folks have been wondering where all of the BigCommerce tutorials that used to be available from the main navigation bar went. Not to worry; they are all still available; we just moved them to the blog. To help you better find them, this page links to all of the Store Coach BigCommerce tutorials here on the blog.

Before clicking the links, below, we should also point out that we are not the only ones who have made big design changes. BigCommerce has also radically changed the Control Panel admin interface. Because of that, some of the steps outlined in the tutorials we created years ago may be slightly different now. For instance, there is no "Browse Template Files" button anymore. Now, to get to the the place where you edit your template files, you need to click the Design link at the top-right and then click the Edit HTML/CSS button. Also, BigCommerce no longer supports FTP file transfers - it's all done through WebDav now. Hopefully, you'll be able to figure it out when changes like that are encountered. If not, drop us a question in the comment section below any of the articles and we'll try to answer them.

Finally, we should point out that BigCommerce has done an excellent job of creating hundreds of how-to articles and videos in their own BigCommerce Support portal. Just click the Help button near the top-right of your admin Control Panel, select Support Portal from the drop-down menu and then choose the User Guide that best describes the area you are having problems with. There are various articles and videos within each user guide section that probably answer your questions. And, if that doesn't work, give them a call. They have staff available 24/7 to help you with whatever problems you may be having. From the Support portal, click the Contact Us button at the top-right, scroll down the page a bit and you will see phone numbers to call for your particular country as well as links to Email and Live Chat support.

Getting Started

Checklist for Completing Your BigCommerce Store and Making it Live
How to Change your Login Password
How To Create New User Accounts
How to Create Email Addresses for Your BigCommerce Store
What basic store settings should I set up on my store?
How do I set up shipping on my BigCommerce store?
How To Add Your Company Billing Name To Your Order Confirmation Email
How do I set up sales tax on my website?
How To Charge Separate Tax Rates for Different Suppliers
How do I move my store to the domain name?
What are the BigCommerce nameservers?
How do I change my name server settings in GoDaddy?
How do I install a 3rd party SSL certificate?
How to Re-Key a 3rd Party SSL Certificate
How to Create an Anchor Text Link
How to Install Google Analytics Code on Your BigCommerce Store
How to Create a Shopzilla Feed File
Follow Visitors and Interact with Them Using Zopim
How To Get a Free Trial on Subsequent BigCommerce Stores

Checkout

How do I set up payment options for my store?
How To Add Your Company Billing Name To Your Checkout Page
How To Notify Customers Where They Can Expect A Charge From
How to Configure Durango for Taking Credit Card Payments
How do I set up 2checkout as a payment method?

Products

How do I import and export products with a feed?
How to Export Your Products into a Feed File
How to Create Options for your Products
How to Link to Amazon Affiliate Products

Blogs

How to Activate and Use the New BigCommerce Blog Functionality
How do I create a Sub Domain blog for my BigCommerce Store?
How to Add a Tumblr Blog to a Sub Domain of Your Store
How to Add a Blogger Blog to a Sub Domain of your Store
How to Map a WordPress Blog to a Sub Domain of your Store
How to Move a Blog From a Sub Domain to a Sub Directory

Store Design

The Store Design Section - The Basics
How do I change my template?
When I Change a Page Layout, What Other Pages Are Affected?
What Each BigCommerce Panel Does
How To Add Text & Other Content To Your Home Page
How to Add Panels to Your Home Page
How To Re-Order Home Page Panels
How To Remove A Home Page Panel
How To Change The Headings Of Home Page Panels
How to Edit the Top Navigation Bar
How to Edit Your Main Navigation Bar
How to Add a “Contact Us” Page
How to Drag Panels to New Locations Using Design Mode
How to Add a GoDaddy Secure Website Seal to Your Website
How to Add a Logo to Your Website
How to Add a Favicon to your BigCommerce Website
How to Add a Brands Page
How To Re-Order Sidebar Panels
How To Change The Headings Of Sidebar Panels
How To Remove A Sidebar Panel
How To Remove Sidebar Columns in BigCommerce
How To Show Subcategories in Your Side Panel
How to Create a Custom Side Panel with Links
How To Add A Custom Home Page Panel
How To Change Heading Fonts
How to Keep Product Name from Overlapping Social Share Buttons
How to Add an Image Header to a BigCommerce Template
How to Edit the Footer of Your BigCommerce Store
How to Edit the Copyright Line of Your Footer
How To Change Your Background Image
How to Change Your Checkout Button Image in BigCommerce
How to Change the Words on your Checkout Page
How to Create Custom Pages with BigCommerce
How to Create a Custom 404 Error Page
How To Make A Product Page Your Home Page
How to Hide the Zopim Chat Widget on your Website
How Do I Revert To My Website’s Original Files?

Search Engine Optimization

Suggested SEO-Optimization Steps For Your BigCommerce Store
How to Use Robots.txt to Block a Page from Being Crawled
Suggested Improvements to the Default Robots File
How to Add the Publisher Tag to your BigCommerce Store
How do I generate an XML Sitemap?
How do I implement microdata rich snippets?
How do I make my product names H1 tags?