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How we helped BigCommerce grow their reach with a headless solution for the WordPress community

The challenge

Brands that sell online had access to great ecommerce platforms, like BigCommerce, and they had access to great content management systems. But the two tools often didn’t play well together or make each other better.

The Solution

Leverage the power of BigCommerce and the scope and reach of WordPress to create a fully-featured plugin that prioritizes user choice and embraces open-source philosophy. This way, more brands can integrate BigCommerce solutions into their core platform.

The birth of BigCommerce
for WordPress

Brands with online stores built on an ecommerce platform have had pretty unappealing solutions for managing a large product portfolio or using content to support sales: a separate ecommerce site, which splinters the buying experience, and simplistic widgets that don’t speak to the sophistication of their brand.

BigCommerce envisioned a new solution that would merge the simplicity and reliability of a robust SaaS tool with the flexibility and customization of an open-source plugin, and they tapped us to help shape it and bring it to life.

Building something bigger

With access to a team ready to move fast, BigCommerce strategically requested a minimum viable product. From roadmapping to initial launch, we dropped a beta version for developers within 10 months, ultimately releasing the public version in time for a WordCamp US debut one month later.


Scaling fast

For early proof of concept, our mission was very focused: pull product data from the BigCommerce catalog and inject it into a WordPress page with a “buy now” button. But the deeper we got into the process, the longer the feature list became.

We soon realized we could create a true end-to-end ecommerce experience that lets buyers complete an entire transaction within a WordPress site. Another major plugin could facilitate this—but not with the scale, performance, and stability of the BigCommerce platform behind it.

We needed to build ‘the WordPress way,’ which meant developing a product the community could easily hook into and do with it what they please, in a way that felt native to WordPress.
Avatar Nate Stewart VP, Platform Strategy at BigCommerce

Breaking down barriers and simplyfing installation

The biggest hurdle to adoption was the merchant onboarding experience. It was a complex process with a series of steps for installing the plugin and connecting to their BigCommerce product catalog. For version 2.0 of the plugin, we automated onboarding.

The middleware app runs merchants through a series of questions about how they’re using the plugin, and they just check the appropriate boxes. Now, connecting a merchant’s entire existing catalog takes just a single click. Then the app generates and fetches the API keys and connects the store database automatically.


We’re setting the stage for headless commerce

WordPress is only the first stop. Our long-term partnership allows us to continue supporting the plugin and iterative improvements while spinning up a separate team to help create BigCommerce’s developer tools.

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    API Collaboration

    As some of the first developers to use the API and expand its functionality, we were able to give feedback directly to BigCommerce in an agile flow, speeding up development and helping their team identify opportunities and priorities.

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    Expanded API Clients

    In the coming months, developers will have access to API clients for Java, Python, PHP, and Node.js, giving merchants even more options to customize their channel strategy and tech stack.

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    React Component Library

    A comprehensive library of React components will help BigCommerce customers create web and mobile apps or modular blocks for Gutenberg or Drupal. Non-technical content creators can also use these to spin up variations for testing.

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