While most store owners and managers would love their shopping cart to come perfectly configured to match their needs, they don’t. The truth is that they shouldn’t as each store has unique needs. Shopping cart software is designed to form a core upon which you build exactly what you need. One primary reason store owners choose BigCommerce is because of the rich feature set already built-in. It truly has everything you need to get up and running. Still, some features are better handled by third-party software and there are extras most store owners want. This is why you probably will want to add these core plug-ins for BigCommerce to your new store.
Since everything you need is built-in, these plug-ins go beyond the basics to build a very robust selling machine.
Top must-have plug-ins for BigCommerce
Note, all of these offer a free plan for BigCommerce stores and many have a free trial where you can check out the paid plans. In many cases, there are attractive reasons to jump to the first level paid plan, but we get it, if you’re new, your budget it tight. If your sales are still light you may want to wait for more volume before jumping into a paid plan. That said, these tools let you look, and function, like one of the “big boys.”
While not free for all merchants, BigCommerce merchants can use it free for up to 50 shipments per month. Upgraded plans will still save you money. In a nutshell, ShipStation makes your shipping process easier and faster. Time IS money! You can print all your packing lists, pick lists (if you use them), and shipping labels at one time. Compare shipping options to select the one that is cheapest or faster. Track your overall shipping costs so you can make strategic decisions that include your total order costs. They also pass on the lowest commercial USPS rates available. This alone can more than pay for the software. It includes a free branded (your brand) tracking page, sends out much nicer shipping tracking emails than the cart does by default, and even has a built-in return center. It’s a no-brainer if you ship product. Starts at $9 mo for stores not on BigCommerce.
Nearly all businesses will, or should be, sending marketing emails. Mailchimp is our entry-level recommendation for those either new to email marketing, are on a tight budget, or are just dipping their toes into the idea of marketing and email automation. It’s drag and drop email designer is easy to use and all designs are mobile responsive. The technically sophisticated can add custom templates if they wish. There’s a good variety of segmentation options and it is fairly easy to set up automated marketing and welcome campaigns. It will also pull your products in from your store so you can build an email quickly. Those beyond the basics of marketing automation will want something else, but by that time your sales should support the 2X or more better software will cost. You have access to nearly all features for free with up to 2000 subscribers. Then it starts at $10 mo. The biggest drawback, until you are a paid customer you only have access to email support.
This one never costs you money; it makes you money, saves you stress and is really no work for you. What does it do? They audit your UPS and FedEx invoices, looking for damaged or late shipments, surprise fees, and credits you’re due. They’ll make sure you’re getting your negotiated pricing and provide analytics you can use to negotiate better rates. They get a cut of what they get back for you. So, it isn’t really free, but they are finding you money you may not know you have coming and don’t have time to look for. Don’t you wish everyone only got paid after they made you money?
Yeah, you say you hate popups. Trust me, you won’t hate them when they make you money. JustUno is marketing popup and banner software. What can you do with it? Most stores start with an entrance popup that encourages an email subscription. I like to use it for an extent intent to lower shopping cart abandonment. Other uses – welcoming people from a specific ad campaign with a message that matches the campaign. Maybe you want a special greeting for your Instagram fans. The use ideas are infinite.
Yes, there are many like it, but none offer anywhere near the value. Why do we like it? To begin with, the level of rule customization that lets you tailor who sees what, when and where is more robust than competitive solutions. Their customer support is totally amazing and they will help you figure out how to use it. Justuno bills by the visitor, not by the impression. What does this mean? Someone comes to your site, that is a visit. Most people don’t buy on a first visit, so they come back, that’s a second session but it is still the same visitor. Every time they see a banner or popup, that’s an impression. There are many cases for why someone may see a popup, or more than one popup, per session. Do you want to be billed for each view? Probably not. This can make them significantly cheaper. They also have a very generous free plan. It’s free (branded) for up to 5000 visitors per month. That is fully featured too! The only limitation is that you can run only 2 campaigns at the same time, and a mobile version of each. We use JustUno on this site so you’ve just seen it in action.
This product review software offers an extremely robust feature set at an extremely reasonable price. All plans include customizable review request emails that allow your customers to write a review from within the email. Less work for them means more reviews for you. You’ll also get moderation and commenting abilities, and social sharing of the reviews. Higher level plans start at $15 mo and rich snippets (these feed review stars to Google), more customization options, coupons for review, photo and video uploads, Q&A, Instagram curation, store reviews (net promoter score), and a lot more. Similar software can be thousands of dollars higher per year.
Customer loyalty is the holy grail of ecommerce. You spend so much time, money and effort bringing people to your store, then encouraging them to buy. That’s an expensive process! Customers who make repeat purchases really amplify your growth. At the most basic level, the free plan, you can still set up a rewards program for both referring new customers and repeat purchase.
Live chat software is one of those choices a lot of time-deprived new business owners are hesitant to add. However, most stores find it improves sales. Your ability to answer questions immediately can overcome the hesitation to buy. I will warn you, a fair percentage of questions will be customer support related but chat is still an easy way to help people out and earn their trust. Trust is a HUGE factor in conversion rates and people trust stores that have humans attached to them. The only drawback to this totally free program is that there is not a plug-in for BigCommerce. However, it is still very easy to install without programming knowledge. There are instructions on their website. Free.
One of the reasons we like BigCommerce is that it is nearly infinitely configurable so you can design the store, and create the technology ecosystem you desire. Plus it will grow with you and your business needs. Some businesses need specific features like recurring billing (for subscriptions), robust front-end shipping or sales tax calculations, text messaging, inventory and warehouse management software, help desks, product filtering, advanced search engines, product configurators and more. All of these functions can be integrated into a BigCommerce store.
One of the services we offer here at Redline Minds is technology stack planning and implementation. If you need help figuring out how to do something, just give us a call.