All About BigCommerce Apps & How to Build One - Copper Mobile
Bigcommerce Apps

The technology platform that we will talk about today isn’t an unknown entity. Instead, it is one of the most prominent players in the eCommerce marketplace. Yes, you guessed it right, we are talking about none other than BigCommerce apps. This functionality-rich SaaS-based eCommerce solution has helped numerous businesses build eCommerce apps that helped them turn into renowned online brands by offering a robust, differentiated commerce experience without compromising security, stability, or scalability.

Brands like SONY, Casio, Razer, and Almanac are using BigCommerce to drive business amidst these competitive times and offer an unparalleled eCommerce experience to their customers.

If you are looking for a good eCommerce platform option or trying to improve your existing system, this article will be worth reading. So, without further ado, let’s quickly look at the intricacies of BigCommerce and why it is the most suitable solution for your business.

Also Read: All About Ecommerce Business App Development – A Comprehensive Guide

BigCommerce Apps: A Detailed Insight

Founded in 2009, BigCommerce is one of the most advanced, NASDAQ-listed SaaS-based eCommerce app development platforms with highly flexible APIs and robust headless commerce functionality to make it easier for businesses to set up a professional online store. In addition to the online store creation, this platform offers search engine optimization, hosting, marketing, and security services for small to enterprise-sized businesses.

BigCommerce is widely used by websites from countries like the USA, Australia, UK; over its lifetime, it has hosted more than 145,000 websites and currently has around 52,198 stores active on the platform.

Key Features of BigCommerce

Bigcommerce provides several features to help you grow your business.

  • Visual drag-and-drop page builder and editing of HTML and CSS
  • Integration with 55+ payment gateways
  • Supports up to 600 SKUs per product
  • Enables payments in 140+ local currencies in over 95 countries
  • Product Reviews & Product Search Facility
  • Coupons and Discounts Options
  • Order management and checkout

Why Choose BigCommerce apps for your first eCommerce?

1 Manage products, orders, and customers like a pro.

In addition to the easy-to-use interface, BigCommerce equips eCommerce businesses with the most intuitive dashboard for managing products, orders, and returns and offers comprehensive filtering options, making it more engaging and fun to use for the end-users of the online store. 

Earlier, enterprises had to maintain multiple eCommerce platforms to feature different prices for different customers, but with BigCommerce, enterprises don’t have to hustle so much. Instead, BigCommerce enables businesses to handle large volumes of customers and segment them into different customer groups based on the pricing, promotions, product access, and store information tailored to them. 

2 An SEO-ready Platform

Keeping your eCommerce business afloat in an increasingly competitive market is not an easy task. Especially when it comes to the digital space, optimizing your store to meet the dynamically changing algorithms of the search engines can be a crucial driver for your eCommerce growth. Adhering to the most recent SEO guidelines, the BigCommerce platform lets you add keyword-rich information manually in the SEO fields along with the other SEO features like auto-optimized titles and URLs.

3 Secure and Compliant

Security is always a top priority for all eCommerce businesses. And, when it comes to security, it’s always better to choose a hosted platform than self-hosting as you’ll get higher quality and incorporate security measures.

For example, BigCommerce offers ironclad security and Level 1 PCI compliance with any account on any plan. And if you need something more for your business, there is also an Enterprise level that includes protection from DDOS attacks on your system and multi-layered security.

Some of the security features you’ll get in BigCommerce are

• File integrity scanners and perimeter

• Server-specific firewalls intrusion detection software

• 24/7 Customer Service

• Cutting-edge DDOS mitigation

4 Impressive eCommerce Development Help Guides, Resources, and Tools.

BigCommere best understands the needs of developers and thus equips them with Quick Start Guide and Dev Centre. It’s primarily a one-stop guide with excellent tools and resources focused on positively affecting the user’s development experience. 

To develop an app with BigCommerce, you need a few developer accounts and their registration credentials to create the app you’ve envisioned for your business. We’ll learn more about this moving forward, but let’s look at another benefit of BigCommerce app development for now.

5 Robust built-in marketing tools and analytics.

The critical difference between the other platforms and BigCommerce is the third-party integration of analytical platforms or add-on legacy tools. Still, with BigCommerce, it is a built-in feature. BigCommerce equips businesses with rich analytics to draw impactful data-driven insights and ultimately help improve your conversion rates based on performance benchmarks.

Salient features of the marketing and analytics enablement in BigCommerce:

• You can sell gift vouchers.

• Offer exclusive cart-level discounts.

• Auto-generate and validate coupon codes.

• Launch and publish email marketing campaigns.

BigCommerce Plans and Pricing

Image Source: https://www.pcmag.com/reviews/bigcommerce 

How to build BigCommerce Apps

As read earlier, one can build installable eCommerce apps on BigCommerce stores using BigCommerce’s robust APIs, SDKs, and toolkits. Once an app is built, tested, and approved, one can sell apps (or make them available free of charge) to all BigCommerce merchants on the Apps Marketplace. 

But before we get on to the actual development of the BigCommerce app, we must know how apps are discovered, displayed, and managed in the BigCommerce stores. 

About BigCommerce Apps 

Discovery

This is how approved BigCommerce apps are listed on the app Marketplace for merchants to browse, search, and install.

App Marketplace image by – https://developer.bigcommerce.com/ 

Management

Apps installed on a store can be managed in the store’s control panel under Apps > My Apps. And this is the place where store users can launch or uninstall their draft app.

App Management image by – https://developer.bigcommerce.com/

Display

When a merchant launches an app, BigCommerce requests the app’s /load callback and displays the app’s UI in an iFrame.

App Display image by – https://developer.bigcommerce.com/ 

The above-given pictures explain how Bigommerce apps can be discovered, managed, and displayed. Now it’s time to decide what kind of app you think would be best for your business. 

Types Of BigCommerce Apps

With BigCommerce, enterprises can primarily create two types of apps, single-click, and connector, defined by the method of authentication. On the one hand, Single-click apps use an OAuth Authorization Code Grant flow.

In contrast, Connector apps use manual OAuth token creation instead of the single-click app flow and require store owners to generate and configure store API credentials manually. In addition to the authentication method, apps can differ by visibility.

We can also classify BigCommerce apps into three visibility options: Drafts, Unlisted and Public.

VisibilityDescriptionUse Cases
DraftApps registered in the Developer Portal but never submitted for approvalInstalling on stores owned by the same email address as the Developer Portal account emailBeta testing before publishing to the App Marketplace
UnlistedApps submitted and approved but not listed on the App MarketplaceInstalling on stores not owned by the same email address as the Developer Portal account emailBeta testing before publishing to the App Marketplace
PublicApps submitted, approved, and listed on the App MarketplaceMaking apps visible and installable on all storesMaking apps sellable on the App Marketplace

Getting Started with BigCommerce App Development

Here’s how to get started with BigCommerce app development:

  • Create a BigCommerce sandbox store.
  • Apply to be a Partner to get paid for your apps.
  • Create a Developer Portal account to register and submit apps.
  • Join the Developer Community to get help from other BigCommerce developers.
  • Check out the Marketplace to get inspiration on what to build.

Post following the above steps, you can explore the array of pre-developed sample apps and tools that BigCommerce has developed to assist developers in the initial phase of app development. 

BigCommerce’s Dev Centre is the ultimate source to access a plethora of tools, APIs, developer docs, lists of all available APIs, endpoints, and the designed objective as read above. 

But, to review API specifications, you will require a Client ID and Password, which you can easily create from the Storefront and My Apps. However, you will need both a sandbox store and a developer account to access all the APIs. Only then can you open the request runner in your browser to start interacting with various APIs like Storefront, Graphql, and REST. To know the detailed process, you can have a look here

After getting your hands on the details of the APIs, you can further test app authentication locally using ngrok

Thereafter, when you have exposed your app to the internet, the next step is to register your app in the developer portal as a draft; how you’ll do it, let’s get to know:

Registering & Installing App as a draft

  1. Sign in to the Developer Portal with the ID & password you created previously.
  2. Click Create an App.
  3. Name your app.
  4. Click Technical.
  5. Enter your app’s callback URLs. If you’re using ngrok, they’ll look like this:

Auth: https://4022ffe4.ngrok.io/auth 

Load: https://4022ffe4.ngrok.io/load 

Uninstall: https://4022ffe4.ngrok.io/uninstall 

  1. Click Update & Close.
  2. Click View Client ID to view the app’s client_id and client_secret.

Please note that any store registered to the same email as your Developer Portal account can install your draft BigCommerce apps. To install, all you have to do is 

  1. Sign in to the store 
  2. Navigate to Apps > My Apps > My Draft Apps.
  3. Click the draft app thumbnail to install the draft.
  4. When you click Install, BigCommerce will begin the OAuth flow by making a GET request to the app’s /auth callback URL. If the app handles all the requests successfully, the app has been installed, and you can begin feature development.

Managing & Publishing Apps in BigCommere 

Once you’ve successfully installed the app, you can move ahead and develop features that you want in your envisioned BigCommerce app. In addition, you can access the BigCommerce dev center to get your hands on their ultimate guide on how you can manage apps, implement QAuth, and develop the UI with the best practices.

As soon as you have a well-built app in hand, you can go to the Dev Center, click MyApps, and edit the app to get suitable callbacks. Once the edits are done, navigate to your sandbox store, find your draft app and then install it to the store in just a few clicks. 

Become a Technology Partner

A pivotal step to publishing your app to the marketplace is to enroll in BigCommerce’s technology partner program. You can apply to become a partner on their Partner Portal and click “Get Started” to apply for the program. Ensure that you select that you are applying for the Technology Partner Program. 

While completing the application, you have to provide your business email id, company website, intent to offer your app publicly, ability to support your app users, and evidence of your expertise in app development.

When you become an approved tech partner, you get access to review the next set of app store approval requirements, which will walk you through a step-by-step guide about how you can submit your app for review. And then, as soon as your app is tested and approved, it will be deployed to the marketplace and available for the merchants to purchase. 

Conclusion

Associating with BigCommerce can be one of the best ways to ensure your eCommerce business’s success. Once you become a technology partner, you’ll have access to one of the most comprehensive development tools and guides, which ultimately will act as an asset for your business, empowering you to deliver the best customer experience to your customers. You can also connect with our experts to get started with your first BigCommerce application. 

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