Press Release: BigCommerce and iContact Announce Integration to Benefit 80,000+ Customers

RALEIGH, N.C., March 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Leading email marketing platform, iContact, today announced an integrated partnership with the fastest growing e-commerce platform in the world, BigCommerce. The partnership will provide integrated e-commerce email marketing opportunities to the company’s combined client base of 80,000 businesses.

As a result of the partnership, BigCommerce merchants now have access to point-and-click integration with iContact’s email marketing platform from their store’s control panel. Customers who order from a BigCommerce merchant or subscribe to their newsletter can be added to one or more email lists setup in iContact automatically, allowing merchants to segment their customers based on purchase history, location, amount spent and more.

“With over 10,000 customers in a little over a year since launching, BigCommerce is the fastest growing SaaS ecommerce platform in the world,” said Michael Tschirret, Manager of Business Development at iContact. “Their expertise and shared commitment to helping customers grow their businesses has made this an ideal partnership that will make it easy for merchants to increase their average order value and provide up sell and cross sell opportunities to their customers.”

The integration between the two leaders provides advanced email marketing functionality that is typically only available to enterprise merchants. “Our integration with iContact really does give our combined 80,000 small and medium business clients the email marketing and segmentation options typically only available through enterprise e-commerce offerings — and it’s available in all of our plans, starting from just $24.95 per month. For e-commerce merchants this is a huge win because email marketing has been proven to provide the best return on investment out of all available marketing channels,” said Mitchell Harper, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of BigCommerce.

The integration was announced on the BigCommerce blog last week and is available immediately as part of BigCommerce 7, the company’s latest update featuring a host of new functionality and improvements.

For more information about iContact, or to try it free visit iContact.com.

For more information about BigCommerce, or to try it free visit BigCommerce.com.

About iContact

With more than 67,000 customers, iContact provides email marketing and social media tools for small to mid-sized businesses and non-profits. iContact’s award-winning solutions allow for easy creation of email newsletters, surveys and other online marketing programs. iContact founded in 2003, obtained B Corporation status in 2010; iContactPlus, a suite of custom and managed services designed for mid-sized organizations, is available at www.iContactPlus.com.

About BigCommerce

BigCommerce, ranked #633 on the Inc 5,000 list of fastest growing companies for 2010, is the fastest-growing shopping cart software in the world with over 10,000 clients since launching just over a year ago. A unique combination of enterprise-level features (including multi-channel retailing, automated email marketing and inventory control) and unmatched ease-of-use make BigCommerce the preferred shopping cart software for both new and established businesses looking to outsell their competitors, reach their financial goals faster and automate as many business processes as possible. BigCommerce has been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, Inc Magazine and Internet Retailer. For more information or to try BigCommerce for free, go tohttp://www.bigcommerce.com.

Media Inquires:
Monica Sims, iContact, msims@icontact.com, 919.957.6125

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Community.BigCommerce.com Redirecting to Forum.BigCommerce.com In 2 Days

Hi all. Just a quick reminder that on April 1st 2011 (2 days from now) we’ll be redirecting our GetSatisfaction community at community.bigcommerce.com over to our new forum at forum.bigcomerce.com which I announced on the blog a few weeks ago. If there are any posts or tips in the community that you’d like to save then I recommend copying-and-pasting them today, as they won’t be available after April 1st.

The new forum has well over 1,000 posts and thousands of members already, so it’s off to a flying start. There are 3 great reasons why we decided to switch to our own forum:

  1. To give you a place to “talk shop” about marketing and growing your business
  2. To communicate with each other using our real names and photos, not aliases
  3. To get to know each other and build both business relationships and friendships

To read about why we’ve switched from GetSatisfaction to our own forum, see this post.









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Announcing Order Fulfillment & Inventory Warehousing With Shipwire (via Shipiro)

Shipwire is a great platform which provides outsourced order fulfillment and inventory warehousing options for companies that would rather not invest in their own warehouse and logistics systems – which can be expensive and complex to setup.

We’ve talked to the folks at Shipwire numerous times over the last few months and an integration has always been on the cards, but earlier this week I received an email from Bill Dalessandro, founder of Shipiro.

Introducing the Free Shipwire Connector, Shipiro

Shipiro is a free web connector that connects your BigCommerce e-commerce solution with your Shipwire account. As you receive new orders in your BigCommerce store they’re passed to Shipwire automagically. Once Shipwire receives the order they pick, pack and ship the products to your customer. Your Shipwire account preferences can also be setup so that Shipwire sends a tracking number to your customer.

Here’s what we love about Shipiro:

  • It reaches out to the BigCommerce API and looks for new orders multiple times per day
  • It intelligently screens for physical item orders only
  • It pulls order tracking numbers from Shipwire back to Shipiro
  • It converts those orders to a .CSV file with the order ID and tracking numbers
  • These can then be imported back into your BigCommerce store

If you’d rather not hold your own inventory or ship your own orders then Shipwire and Shipiro are definitely worth looking into. Shipwire makes the complex process of order fulfillment and inventory warehousing easy, and they have multiple warehouses which will take receipt of your inventory, meaning your customers get their orders shipped from the warehouse closet to them.

The Ultimate Outsourced Supply Chain

Combine BigCommerce, Shipwire and Shipiro with a drop shopping wholesaler like Doba and you’ve got a serious supply chain on which you can build a huge e-commerce business with great margins, low startup costs and even lower operating costs. Outsourcing your supply chain is definitely something to consider if you plan to scale your e-commerce empire up fast.









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BigCommerce 7 Rolling Out to New Stores: Product Options, Bundles, iContact Integration, New Design, oLark Integration, Visual Website Optimizer Integration, Dropshipping via Ordoro, Speed Improvements, Improved Category Management & PCI Compliance

Last week I announced the new features in BigCommerce 7, specifically integration with iContact, completely revamped, improved and expanded product options, product bundles and a fresh new control panel design. As of today all new stores include the features in BigCommerce 7.

Existing clients: you’ll start seeing the upgrade option in your control panel over the coming 1-2 weeks.

So What’s New?

Here’s an overview of the amazing new features in BigCommerce 7, as well as all of the new features we’ve added since the last major release:

  1. Product options. With BigCommerce 7 we’ve really improved on product options (what we currently call variations), because we know how important they are to your merchandising efforts. They’re now easier, faster and more flexible. You can create 11 different option types: checkbox, date, file upload, multi-line text, radio button, dropdown, rectangle, numbers only, product list, color swatch and text field. On top of that you can create rules to change product attributes, such as “When Size=L AND Style=CASUAL OR Style=FORMAL, PRICE = PRICE + $5 AND WEIGHT = WEIGHT + 4LBS”.
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  2. Product bundles. If you sell computers or furniture packs or any other products that include bundled items then you’ll appreciate this new feature. You can now create a product option of type “Product List”, which allows you to bundle related products into one “set”. When a bundle is purchased, the inventory on each product in the bundle can be reduced and bundled prices and weight can be increased or reduced as required. Very powerful stuff.
    .
  3. iContact integration. Email marketing is the killer strategy that can really take your e-commerce business to the next level. iContact is now our recommended email marketing partner and with BigCommerce 7 you can sync newsletter subscribers and customers directly to your iContact email lists. Not only that, but you can create rules to send customers to different email lists based on what they’ve purchased in your store. You can also sync their order details for list segmentation and autoresponder creation. Please note that Mailchimp *is* still supported.
    .
  4. New control panel design. We’ve revamped and streamlined the entire BigCommerce control panel design. It’s now more slick. The menus are smaller, it takes fewer clicks to complete regular tasks and we’ve introduced new wizards to help you get your store live and then promote it to the world using BigCommerce’s 22 built-in marketing tools – more than you’ll find in competing platforms. Combined.
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  5. oLark integration. oLark is a funky live chat application that helps increase your sales and conversion rate. There’s a completely free version and it takes just a few clicks to integrate into your BigCommerce store.
    .
  6. Visual Website Optimizer integration. Any marketer worth their salt understands the importance of split testing – and nothing makes split testing easier than Visual Website Optimizer. You can test different home page promotions, different product photos and more. Split testing is a great way to increase your conversion rate and average order value – plus it’s easy and fun.
    .
  7. Dropshipping via Ordoro. It’s easy to integrate BigCommerce orders with your favorite dropshipping provider thanks to our integration with Ordoro. Simply click a few buttons, punch in your store details and you’ve got a professional dropshipping platform ready to go in a few minutes.
    .
  8. Speed improvements for product importing. BigCommerce supports importing tens of thousands of products at once – either from another platform or for bulk editing and we’ve managed to get huge data sets importing in seconds instead of minutes – a 300x speed improvement.
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  9. Manage thousands of categories effortlessly. We’ve added treeview controls to all pages that deal with product categories, meaning you can now effortlessly create and manage (via drag & drop) thousands of categories with as many sub categories levels as required – and it’s lightning fast.
    .
  10. PCI compliance. Arguably the most important feature we’ve ever added, PCI compliance is a security standard created by the credit card companies and banks to protect against credit card fraud online. BigCommerce is one of only a handful of PCI compliant e-commerce providers and our compliance means you can rest easy when it comes to dealing with security and fraud. Our systems are rock solid and constantly maintained and scanned by our full time PCI team to ensure the security and reliability of your BigCommerce store.

We’ll begin rolling out BigCommerce 7 as an opt-in upgrade to existing clients over the next few weeks, so watch your control panel for the upgrade option. If you don’t have a BigCommerce store yet, then why not start your free trial right now so you can take advantage of the new features in BigCommerce 7?

Screenshots of New Features

Here are some screenshots for those who prefer to see new features in action:

Variations are now called options – and here’s how you create one (such as Color, Size, Style, etc)

Here’s a color swatch option (see the last screenshot to see how it looks in-store)

After creating a set of options, we assign them when adding or editing a product on the “Options” tab

We can create a unique SKU based on a combination of option values

We can also create rules to make adjustments to price, weight, photo, etc based on selected options

Here’s how this product looks in-store with options applied. Notice the color swatch and rectangular size option?

iContact integration settings for both newsletter subscribers and customers

The streamlined dashboard with the marketing promotions wizard

We’ve removed the explanatory text in the drop down menus because we felt it was hard to read

Notice the blue search bar and the eye and star icons which represent visible and featured settings for products

When you scroll down the page the main navigation elements move with you – notice the gray bar along the top?









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[Screenshots] Coming Soon: BigCommerce 7 – Product Options, iContact Integration and a New Design

Update: BigCommerce 7 has been released. Get full details here.

As our quality assurance team put their finishing touches on our next release (now officially called BigCommerce 7), I wanted to share a few screenshots with you and talk to you about the release – which has been almost 6 months in the making (of course we’ve still pushed out new features and updates every 2 weeks during that time!).

Revamped & Expanded Product Options

With BigCommerce 7 we’ve really improved on product options (what we currently call variations), because we know how important they are to your merchandising efforts. In the screenshots below you’ll see that product options have been completely redone. They’re now easier, faster and more flexible. You can create 11 different option types: checkbox, date, file upload, multi-line text, radio button, dropdown, rectangle, numbers only, product list, color swatch and text field.

Also, instead of huge sets of product combinations, you can simply setup smart rules, such as “When Size=L OR Size=XXL, Add $5 to Price & 0.2LBS to Weight”. You can also create unique SKUs based on options. I’m pleased to say that BigCommerce 7 has better functionality regarding product options than both Amazon *and* Zappos (the two stores I consider leaders in product merchandising via options)!

Variations are now called options – and here’s how you create one (such as Color, Size, Style, etc)

Here’s a color swatch option (see the last screenshot to see how it looks in-store)

After creating a set of options, we assign them when adding or editing a product on the “Options” tab

We can create a unique SKU based on a combination of option values

We can also create rules to make adjustments to price, weight, photo, etc based on selected options

Here’s how this product looks in-store with options applied. Notice the color swatch and rectangular size option?

iContact Email Marketing Integration

BigCommerce 7 also includes integration with iContact, our recommended email marketing solution for BigCommerce clients.

You can setup rules to add/remove newsletter subscribers to your lists and also customers based on which category/brand/product they’ve purchased. You can then setup email promotions and autoresponders to market to them – powerful stuff. All BigCommerce clients get a 30 day free trial of iContact too.

Please note that Mailchimp *is* still supported.

iContact integration settings for both newsletter subscribers and customers

New Control Panel Design

Finally, we’ve revamped the design of the control panel. At first it was subtle, but as we started playing with different fonts, gradients, menus and panels, we decided to go all in and completely revamp it.

One big change you’ll notice in the first screenshot below is that once you’ve completed the 7 steps in “Let’s Get Your Store Open For Business”, a new dashboard called “Now Let’s Promote Your Store to the World” will appear. It includes 6 steps to get the most out of the marketing tools built right into BigCommerce.

The streamlined dashboard with the marketing promotions wizard

We’ve removed the explanatory text in the drop down menus because we felt it was hard to read

Notice the blue search bar and the eye and star icons which represent visible and featured settings for products

When you scroll down the page the main navigation elements move with you – notice the gray bar along the top?

Release Date & Upgrade Options

We’ll be rolling BigCommerce 7 out to new stores only starting in the next few days. We anticipate making the upgrade available to existing clients in the next week or so. We will of course keep you informed via the blog and our Facebook page, so make sure you’re a fan.









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New Minor Update Available Today

Hi everyone. Just a quick note to announce that we’ve released a new version of BigCommerce, which will appear in your control panel shortly. It’s comprised of various bug fixes and improvements, so be sure to schedule your upgrade soon.

The following reported issues have been resolved:

  • Inconsistent currency rounding in some stores
  • Google Checkout intermittently ignores shipping constrains
  • Manual orders not applying taxes in some stores
  • Cancelled eBay listings still showing in some stores
  • Product coupon codes displaying incorrect tax amounts
  • Grand total calculation erros with some coupon codes
  • Saving a shipping address using the address book can fail to save
  • Issues with some discount rules in some stores
  • Facebook social shop presents a little red “X” – should present “No image available”
  • Forgotten password email being caught by user’s Spam filters

We’ll also be releasing BigCommerce 7 (yes, the release we’ve been working on for 6 months!) shortly. If all goes well it will start rolling out to new stores next week and existing stores shortly after. Mitch will post screenshots, etc before the release goes live.









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How We Did It: From 58% to 87% Support Satisfaction In 4 Months (And How We’re Still Improving)

Outstanding support is the hallmark of great organizations, especially those in the software space. To achieve it requires an organization’s focus and commitment from the founders, through to managers and on to the rest of the team. A strong support mind-set has to be embedded deep in their culture or DNA of the company.

Our core values reflect our commitment to support, and it’s something I spend most of my time thinking about – and acting on. Most of our customers are non-technical business owners, so when something doesn’t work, or they have a “how to” question, we’d better be fast with accurate answers.

In today’s blog post I want to share some insights into how our clients have rated our support over the past few months. If you’ve read any of Mitch’s previous blog posts then you’ll know we’re all about transparency and incremental improvements – and this post is no different.

Below I’ve included various charts that show weekly scoring for three of the questions in our support satisfaction surveys, which are sent to anyone who either calls in for support, submits a ticket or chats with one of our support ninjas using our live chat tool.

You can see the scores early on were nothing to be proud of, but as we started to achieve momentum on several key projects our ratings have really started to improve (58% to 87% in 4 months).

Our New Support Initiatives

So what are the initiatives we’ve put in place? Here’s the list:

  • Doubled the size of our support team
  • Continued to focus heavily on hiring A players exclusively
  • Everyone and anyone in our support department operates on KPIs
  • Expanded the hours we’re available for support
  • Introduced live chat as another support option
  • Focused on keeping support tickets in a manageable state daily to achieve quicker time to resolution
  • Put in place internal SLAs to ensure we’re timely on our responses
  • Also expanded our remote support teams in Asia and Europe

Chart #1 – How Would You Rate Our Support?

The chart shows Good/Very Good/Excellent as a percentage of total responses.

Chart #2 – Are You Satisfied With the Progress of This Issue?

The chart shows the percentage of people who answered Yes.

Chart #3 – Are You Satisfied With the Time to Resolve the Issue?

The chart shows the percentage of people who answered Yes.

These numbers are certainly moving in the right direction but we know they need to be consistently higher (our goal is > 90% for all three metrics).

There’s still a lot of work for us to do to achieve our goals, but I hope you can appreciate the rapid improvement in our ratings from clients like you over the last few months. As we continue to surge forwards in both number of clients and total team size, we’re working harder than ever to make you as happy and productive as we can.

We’re Hiring (But Only if You’re an A Player!)

If you love BigCommerce, e-commerce, helping people and working with a passionate, smart team then why not join us and take your career to the next level?









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10 BigCommerce Stores Strut Their Stuff

If you know a little HTML, CSS and Photoshop you can really work wonders on your BigCommerce template. You can start with one of our 100 built-in templates and customize it as required or you can even build a template from scratch too. Everything you need to know is included in our design guide. If you’d rather have someone do it for you, then our design partners can help.

Here are some beautifully customized BigCommerce stores to marvel at (a big shout out to Madwire Media – one of our fantastic partners who designed most of the sites showcased below):

Try BigCommerce free for 15 days and see why it’s trusted by well over 10,000 businesses.









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Accepting Credit Cards Online Just Got More Affordable (And Easier!)

In addition to helping you setup an online store with BigCommerce, we can also help you get setup to accept credit cards online too. It’s a handy feature we’ve offered for over a year now and makes it easier for you to get started because you can get everything from the one provider (that would be us!).

Starting today, however, we’ve made two changes to how we offer merchant accounts:

  1. We now have three plans instead of just one. Just like our BigCommerce plans, you’ve told us you have different needs when it comes to accepting credit cards through your online store. We looked at our pricing and decided it made sense to offer three plans. If you’re just getting started then our merchant account is now more affordable. If you’re an established merchant then our Professional and Elite plans have lower fees than all other merchant gateways.
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  2. We’ve reduced the monthly fee on the starter plan. Our original plan is now called the starter plan and we’ve dropped the monthly fee from $19.95 to $14.95. Sure it’s only 5 bucks, but every bit helps when you’re getting started, right?

Take a look at our new merchant accounts page and feel free to compare our rates to those offered by other providers. I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised.









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