Last Updated on April 10, 2019
BigCommerce hasn’t become the preferred e-commerce platform for growing and mid-market businesses by accident: their powerful SaaS platform has the features and flexibility to support the complex needs of sophisticated merchants, within a simple interface that makes it usable for seasoned pros and technological newbies alike.
But none of that matters to the most important group — customers. They want a simple shopping experience that brings the products to life and makes the checkout process a breeze. Offering this experience increases customer retention and helps reduce the 6-7x cost of acquiring new customers. BigCommerce was always a leader in that department, but there was certainly room for improvement.
The brand-new theming engine from BigCommerce is already in the process of transforming how merchants build, customize, and optimize their websites to convert more customers and grow their brands. Stencil encompasses several groundbreaking components, including:
- Stencil Framework and Developer Toolkit: The toolkit enables developers to design and iterate themes locally, with full access to all assets –– but with no impact on the merchant’s live storefront. Instead of limiting developers to proprietary languages, they can use the ones they love such as Handlebars, YAML, Sass/SCSS, and more.
- Theme Marketplaces: Third-party marketplaces enable developers to distribute themes to multiple merchants. The Bigcommerce Marketplace will begin distributing partners’ Stencil themes in 2017 –- allowing ample time for agencies and designers to build out a profitable business model around Stencil theme creation and conversion.
- Theme Editor: This graphical, browser-based tool enables merchants to rapidly customize their themes’ look and feel – and their storefront’s function – with no coding. Theme developers’ configuration choices determine which theme aspects merchants can customize, with what range of choices.
- Storefront Customization: Merchants acquire themes, apply them to their storefronts, and customize them – creating an elegant user experience that resonates with their brand, and makes it easy for customers to find and purchase the products they want.
Each one of these parts is packed with enough features and benefits — both to web developers and customers — to justify their own deep-dives. But one in particular, Theme Marketplace is especially noteworthy.
New Themes from BigCommerce
Bigcommerce wanted to give developers the ability to tweak and hone a storefront like no other platform, but they also wanted to offer themes that were visually astounding from the get-go. Their new Theme Marketplace offers 68 total styles of beautiful, modern templates that allow merchants to express the power of their brand without necessary customizations. For merchants who want to go beyond the template, the Theme Editor and Stencil Framework allow them to get the most out of their theme — with or without a developer.
Optimized for Conversion
Looking great is obviously a critical part of closing sales, but it’s not the only one. Bigcommerce made sure their new themes were designed with a conversion-first mindset. But before someone can convert, they need to find a store in the first place. That’s why themes are optimized for conversion and search engine optimization by:
- Mobile-Optimized for a streamlined shopper experience and high mobile rankings (see Google’s mobile algorithm update to learn more)
- Optimized check-out capability which has been shown to increase conversion by 12%
- Faceted search which has been shown to increase conversion by 10%. Customers can find what they’re looking for — fast.
- SEO optimization out of the box, including strong URL structure and built in metadata. Centralized in-app SEO make advanced optimizations easy to deploy throughout a store.
More on Stencil
Stencil is loaded with perks that make it easy for developers and merchants alike to customize and test a theme. A few more include:
- A local development environment w/ rapid theme upload & preview
- All the versatility of an on-premise platform, minus the cost and headaches
- Out-of-the-box Browsersync to preview changes across mobile, tablet, and desktop.
- Quickly make or test changes without having to perform manual uploads or affect the live store, maximizing speed to market and minimizing site disruption.
How GolfEtail dramatically improved their site with a Stencil theme from BigCommerce
Read more at the BigCommerce Blog.
What was your main goal in moving to Bigcommerce and with the site re-design?
Our ultimate goal for choosing a new ecommerce platform was simple: increase revenue. As part of this, we felt three fundamentals areas were an absolute necessity: first, a seamless integration into ChannelAdvisor; secondly, enterprise-level functionality; and thirdly, a high level of security and stability. Each of these were critical factors in making the choice to move to Bigcommerce.
Is there any part of the site in particular that stand outs to you?
The stability of the site has dramatically improved. We no longer need to worry about third party applications impacting our site performance. Bigcommerce manages this for us.
Speaking of performance, how is the new site doing in terms of average order value (AOV), conversions and time on site?
Since we have only been live for a week, it would be premature to draw any long-term conclusions, and we are still making refinements. With that that said, here’s some anecdotal data that compares the week prior to launch versus the week post launch:
- Pages per session: up 13.5%
- Session Duration: up 21.4%
- Bounce Rate: down 5%
- Number of items in basket: up 13.6%
- Transactions: up 12.4%
- Revenue: up 8.9%
Those are some impressive first numbers. How was it working with Diztinct?
We have worked with Diztinct for the past decade or so. Jeff Dyken, who owns Diztinct, has a keen eye, understands our business and focuses on results. He is a seasoned website developer.
Great to hear. Any advice you’d give to other brands looking to either move platforms or re-design their site within the Stencil framework?
We looked at other other ecommerce platforms that offered similar enterprise-level flexibility and features that Bigcommerce brings to market, but Bigcommerce far exceeded the others by offering a high level of stability in their integrations with their various apps and partners. Simply said, we don’t need to dedicate an IT team to making Bigcommerce work; Bigcommerce does that for us. In all, Bigcommerce brings us the enterprise level functionality and support we need, which allows us to focus on what we do best: namely, sell golf equipment.