BigCommerce is making waves in the UK’s retail ecommerce sector. We decided to take a look at why it’s proving to be so popular.

The UK’s retail market

The pace of change in the UK’s retail sector has never been faster. For retail businesses there are both opportunities and risks.

In 2019 the sector had one of the slowest rates of spending growth since 2010. Uncertainty around Brexit was probably a factor, but there are some deep-seated problems which resulted in overall job losses of 85,000, and more than 9,100 store closures. However, online retail sales are continuing to grow, and are expected to deliver over 20% of the UK’s total retail spending by 2024. In January 2020 online sales increased by 4.9%, compared with January 2019.

Changing customer profiles

Millennials and Gen Z customers are an influential part of the trend for growth in UK online retail. They are becoming more vocal about their views and expectations. According to Deloitte’s 2019 Millennial Survey their opinion of businesses is continuing to decline. In their view, businesses are focused solely on their own agendas rather than consequences for society. Only 55% said business has a positive impact on society, which is down from 61% in 2018.

There’s a definite shift to mobile devices for all types of online interaction and it’s predicted millennials will be the last generation to prefer to use a PC – the move is to mobile devices. That’s an important factor in the growing preference for photos, video and other immersive experiences.

71% of millennials feel positive about their personal use of digital devices and social media. However, more than half said that, on balance, social media does more harm than good. Retailers who want to capitalize on social interactions will need to work even harder to achieve positive engagement with their audience.

More than one in 10 of millennials strongly agree that the benefits of technology outweigh the risks associated with sharing personal data. However, almost eight out of 10 are concerned about online fraud, and a quarter has ended relationships with brands because of poor data proection practices.


Customer experiences

Millennials enjoy online shopping as much as in-store buying, and their expectations are high. For all of the touchpoints, including marketplaces, connected spaces and digital journeys, they are looking for a more emotional connection with their shopping. With so many choices available, they are looking for curated experiences, often wider than single retailers can offer.

New technology will play an increasingly important and creative part, delivering connected retail spaces and immersive experiences.


Authentic purpose

The new generation of customers wants to engage with brands that support socially responsible causes. However, they expect this commitment to be at the core of the business, so new commercial and operational models will be needed to deliver it.

The priorities of younger online buyers mean that retail businesses must be agile; they need to rethink, test and revise their approaches quickly. However, there’s no room to compromise on customer experience in this process.


A European focus for BigCommerce

In 2018 software as a service (SaaS) providers, BigCommerce, decided their expansion into Europe would start in London, after opening offices in the US and Australia. The plan was to make their London office the focal point for tailored programs and services to customers and partners across Europe.

The decision was driven by the availability of ecommerce innovators in the UK and the expectation that London would be the natural destination for US ecommerce businesses wanting to expand internationally.

They positioned themselves as a solution for small businesses that want to increase sales, streamline business processes and expand into new channels. For larger businesses they also offer an Enterprise option, featuring high standards of reliability and advanced business tools. There’s also business to business (B2B) functionality for manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers.

Why is BigCommerce proving so popular in the UK?

Ease of use – one of the big attractions of BigCommerce is its ease of use. It offers an easy dashboard and clear instructions, so launching or replacing an online store can be done quickly.

The menu allows you to relate themes and easily access products, orders, and customer information. It’s also easy to take advantage of BigCommerce marketing settings, analytics, and tools to optimize your store's performance.

Responsiveness – with younger buyers’ preference for mobile shopping, delivering an outstandingly responsive user experience is becoming essential. The BigCommerce responsive offer is proving attractive for many retailers.

SocialBigCommerce social commerce solutions allow brands to sell their products directly through their social media networks without redirecting them to the website. They can checkout directly from whichever social network they are using.

Security – each BigCommerce store is protected by multiple layers of security to prevent unauthorized access. It has the highest level of certification both as a merchant and as a service provider, with protection against credit card data breaches to meet the stringent payment card industry (PCI) compliance requirements.

Product details – product attributes are clearly accessible, making it straightforward to add products. BigCommerce uses tabs to streamline the process of adding product characteristics.

Shipping – the package includes flat rate shipping, shipping by weight and store collection. You can add a shipping zone if you want to ship to a different country. The United Kingdom is automatically set up as the default option, but you can change this if you need to.

Administration – BigCommerce has removed a lot of administration tasks, based on your location. When you enter date and time zone settings you will see that information is pre-populated so that it will appear in the correct format on your website.

Partners – UK retailers can quickly find collaboration partners in the BigCommerce partner directory. There are currently over 30 BigCommerce partners available within the UK. Since there are 44 in the whole of Europe this shows how quickly BigCommerce is growing in the UK.

You can break down partners into categories based on their expertise, the services they provide, their specialist sectors, or your budget.

Try before you buy

For anyone who isn’t sure whether BigCommerce is the right solution for their business, BigCommerce offers a 15-day free trial (one day better than their major competitor, Shopify).

BigCommerce Preferred Partner

Williams Commerce is a BigCommerce Preferred Partner providing expertise in retail and B2B ecommerce solutions, marketing, systems integration, and software development. Our BigCommerce clients include marine wear specialists, Gill Marine, sportswear brand, Shock Absorber, and children’s footwear company, Startrite.

To find out more about a BigCommerce solution for your retail business, please get in touch.