New to BigCommerce?
If you're setting up a BigCommerce store for the first time, we highly recommend heading over to their site and taking a look at their support resources. From their community forums to their documentation to their BigCommerce University video series, they have everything you need to start your ecommerce journey on the right foot.
Here are a few articles that cover the basics of setting up a store:
The BigCommerce dashboard
This is what your dashboard will look like when you first sign up for BigCommerce. You can go just about anywhere and do just about anything from here. It can be a little overwhelming at first, which is why we recommend taking a quick guided tour to get your bearings.
Our documentation deals primarily with customizing the content and design of your store. If you're looking at the dashboard, we'll be covering the items listed under Storefront Content, Storefront Design, and a little bit of Marketing in these docs. If you're looking for basic information on how to add products, configure categories, set shipping rates, or anything else that isn't directly related to your theme, please consult BigCommerce's documentation or contact their support centre.
Upload and customize your theme
If you've purchased your theme directly from BigCommerce, it will be automatically installed when you log into your BigCommerce dashboard. You'll find all of your themes by navigating to Storefront Design>My Themes. Your Current Theme will display at the top, and any previously installed themes will appear below it.
If you want to publish a theme that isn't currently installed, simply select it and click Apply on the next screen. If you have a theme from another source besides BigCommerce, you can click Upload Theme and either drag or upload it from your computer. Once you click Apply on the following screen, it will be installed in your store.
How to select a theme style
You can change the style of your theme from the Stencil Theme Editor. We'll dig deep into this below, but for now, all you need to know is how to navigate to it: Storefront Design>My Themes>Customize (it's that big blue button next to your current theme).
Once you're in, select Styles from the sidebar menu and you'll be presented with your four options. Select the one that closest matches your vision for your store, click Save Changes, and you're good to go!
Note that applying and saving a new style will overwrite your current style settings, however, you will not lose any content from your store. It's always a good idea to make a backup copy of your theme before you start making customizations.
The Stencil Theme Editor
Once you've uploaded your theme and selected a style, it's time to make it your own. While all of your products, collections, pages, and marketing (including the carousel) will be configured from the BigCommerce dashboard, most of the changes you make to the look and feel of your store will happen in the Stencil theme editor. You'll access it by navigating to Storefront Design>My Themes, and then clicking the blue Customize button under Current Theme.
You'll notice that the theme editor sidebar menu is divided into a whole bunch of sections: History, Styles, Typography, Colors, Navigation, and more. We'll cover all of them — in more or less the order that you might encounter them — below.
Like the History tab on your web browser, the History section on your theme editor keeps a log of all the changes to your store since you first started building it. All of the entries are time-stamped and include the name and version of the theme you were using. This is handy if you ever want to revert the settings on your store back to a previous version. Just select the version you want to use and click the blue Apply Theme button in the bottom right corner.
Brixton comes with four unique theme styles that curate the fonts, colors, and general style of your store Classic, Warm, Luxe, and Industrial. You can preview how they will look in your store by clicking through the options in the sidebar and watching for the change.
Once you've settled on a look, click Save Changes in the bottom right corner, and you're good to go!
Note that applying and saving a new style will overwrite your current style settings, however, you will not lose any content from your store. It's always a good idea to make a backup copy of your theme before you start making customizations.
Colors and Fonts
Brixton comes with a selection of hand-picked fonts and colors for your store. You'll find these options under the Colors and Font tabs, respectively, in the Theme Editor.
For colors, you're able to select the Primary color, Secondary color, Highlight color, Background color, Error alert color, Success alert color, Info alert color, Body text color, Heading text color, and the Button color for the Apple Pay button.
Simply find the feature or area of your site you want to customize and click the swatch beside it. A dropdown color selector will appear, which allows you to adjust and experiment with custom colors. You can also add a hex code as a text input if you wish. This can be helpful for matching colors across your site (you can copy and paste the codes into multiple fields).
Any changes you make here will be automatically displayed in the preview.
For fonts, you can select the Primary font, which will be used for headings, navigation and text logo, and a Secondary font, which will be used for the body text throughout your store.
The header is the rectangular area that runs across the top of your store above containing your logo, search, currency converter, account login, and cart. It appears on every page and is intended to promote your company's brand and make it easy for customers to access regularly used tools.
Brixton's header comes if the option to change the position of your logo. You'll find this setting in the Header section of your Theme Editor and it gives you the option of positions your logo to the Left, Right or Centre.
In web design parlance, the Carousel refers to the rotating cycle of images that generally occupies the "above the fold" area of our store (in Brixton, it's just below your header). You'll set up the "slides" for your Carousel in the BigCommerce admin under Storefront Design > Design Options > Carousel & Social Media.
Brixton offers a few options to customize your carousel: Carousel style and Carousel slide aspect ratio.
Carousel style allows you to pick from three different color variations for the text content of the carousel: Light, Dark and Accent
Aspect ratio refers to the proportional relationship between an image's width and height. The Carousel slide aspect ratio setting gives you six options for controlling at which aspect ratio your carousel images will be displayed: Fill Screen, Don't Constrain, Wide (16:9), Short (4:3), Square (1:1) and Tall (3:4).
Fill Screen: your carousel images will be displayed at Brixton's default aspect ratio. This may result in your images being cropped but fear not! This ratio was specifically chosen by our word-class designers and works great on Brixton.
Don't Constrain: Preserves your image's natural dimensions so they won't be cropped at all. This setting is best used when you've already done the work to resize and crop your images to just how you want them.
The remaining options ( Wide, Short, Square, and Tall) crop carousel images at the aspect ratios specified in the brackets, regardless of the original image's size and can result in cropping.
Wrapping your head around aspect ratios can be tricky. If you need a little help on the basics, check out this great article on understanding and working with aspect ratios.
Brixton features a persistent left-hand Sidebar that, similar to the header, will appear on every page and follows the user's scroll so that it is always in view.
The Sidebar is comprised of two sections: your store's main navigation, made up of your Categories and Sub-Categories, as configured in your dashboard, and an Additional Link List. The Additional Link List appears below the main navigation and you're able to choose what content to display here in the Sidebar section of the Theme Editor:
You can choose between displaying a Pages, Brands or Social link list. The Social link list will display links to your social media accounts that are configured in your dashboard under Storefront > Social Media Links.
Your homepage is made up of the Carousel, up to four custom sections, and a Recent blog post section. In the Homepage tab, for each section, you're able to choose what content to display and a few options customize the look. For each section, you have the following options:
Section item type:
- Featured Products - products marked as "Featured" in the BigCommerce control panel Checkout this BigCommerce big for more info on setting up Featured Products.
- New Products - pulls the latest products you've added to your BigCommerce control panel.
- Top Selling Products - chosen by calculating which products have been ordered the most in your store. Cancelled orders, test orders, and refunded orders are not used in these calculations.
- Categories - this option will display your categories in the order that they appear in your admin. To change the order, in the BigCommerce control panel, go to Products > Product Categories and hover over the category you'd like to rearrange. A hand will appear and you're able to drag and drop the categories into a different order.
*Note: rearranging your categories will affect the order anywhere they appear in your store (ex. main navigation or footer link list)
- Featured Grid - will display two items at the top of the section, followed by a three-column grid. This layout works best with 5, 8, and 11 items to display.
- Carousel - will display the items in a carousel will navigation arrows to scroll through the items.
- Grid - this will display the items in a grid, similar to what you see on the product catalog pages. This works best when displaying 4+ products in the section.
Number of items
- 0 (Disable) - use this option if you'd like to disable the section all together
- 1-12 - displays the number of items specified
Last, in the Homepage tab, you're able to hide or display Recent blog post section with this setting:
Product Catalog settings are applied to the pages on your site that have a product grid—think Category, Brand, and Search Result pages.
Product Grid Image Ratio allows you to set the aspect ratio of your product images (i.e. the relative height and width of your images) to either Short (4:3), Square (1:1) or Tall (3:4). Click here for a great article on understanding aspect ratios.
Note: If, your product images were shot on a white background and your site background is also white, it might be difficult to tell the difference between some of these options.
Product Grid Image Cropping allows you to have your product images either Uncropped or Cropped and Centred to the size of the image container.
If you have a product whose price varies based on options (e.g. if your product comes in different sizes and larger sizes are more expensive), the setting Add 'As low as' text to the prices of products with options allows you to toggle on pricing text that lets customers know the lowest starting price of that product.
You can set up your product prices to vary by option in the BigCommerce dashboard. First, you'll need to create the product's options under Product > Product Options. Then, under Product > Edit Product > Options & SKUs, assign the product an Option Set from the Option Set Dropdown. Now you can assign the different options a SKU and price in the SKUs tab.
Number of items on catalog page controls how many items will be displayed on a single page in the product grid. If there are more items to be displayed, then pagination will kick in, unless you have the setting Use Infinite Scroll Instead of Pagination, enabled (see more on that below).
If you've uploaded featured images for any of your Product Catalog pages, the Catalog Banner Image Ratio setting allows you to control the aspect ratio at which they display. Catalog banners include Category and Brand images. Your options include: Don't Constrain, Shorter (10:2), Short (10:4), Medium (16:9), Tall (4:3). The numbers in brackets represent the aspect ratio for that setting.
Note: the Parallax effect does not work when the banner is set to Don't constrain.
Use Parallax lets you do exactly that! Parallax is a style of web design where the background moves at a different speed than the rest of the page. With Brixton, this means that the banner image scrolls independently from the page. It's very cool. Give it a shot and see if you like it!
Use Quick View allows you to turn quick view on/off. When enabled, hovering over a product, reveals a Quick view button.
If you have Product Filtering disabled for your store (see Products > Product Filtering), then by default, shop by price and brand options will display on catalog pages. The Show Shop by Price and Brand lets you toggle these on or off.
Use Infinite Scroll Instead of Pagination means that you won't see traditional pagination on your catalog pages. Instead, the product grids will continually load on one page whenever you scroll the bottom of the page.
Show Product Stock Levels lets you control whether or not to the stock levels on product pages. In order for this setting to work, you must have the BigCommerce dashboard set up to track inventory for the product (Products > View Product > Inventory).
Again, here you're able to choose the aspect ratio for the image. Blog image aspect ratio options include: Don't constrain, Wide (16:9), Square (1:1), and Tall (4:3).
The Payment Icons settings allow you to control which icons show below your, just above the credit messaging:
Just check or uncheck the box next to the payment method to show or hide that particular icon:
Like the site Header, the Footer is a long rectangular area that appears on every page but runs along the bottom of the site. Footers are used to display important store information, like addresses and contact information, as well as, menus featuring links to specific Categories, Brands and Pages.
Lastly, Brixton contains a number of settings that allow you to control styling and information contained in your Footer.
Footer Style includes two style options for the footer: Light and Dark. Choosing Light will apply the Highlight Color to your footer's background. While, Dark, will apply the Text Color to the background (See Theme Colors)
- Show Store Copyright will display a copyright mark in your footer with the year.
- Show Theme Credits will display the Pixel Union and BigCommerce credits found right at the bottom of the footer.
- Display Sitemap in Footer Links allows you to control whether a link to your store's sitemap shows in the pages list. The Sitemap is basically an XML file that contains a list of the URLs in your store. To customers, it looks like a page with links to all the other pages in your store:
The Sitemap also helps search engines find all the pages on your site and is important for your SEO. Got more questions about the importance of your sitemap or about SEO in general? Checkout BigCommerce's list of SEO Success Essentials.
The remaining settings allow you to customize what content display in your footer with up to four sections. You can add up to four sections and each section has the option of displaying Pages, Social, Brands, Newsletter, and Address. You can also disable a section altogether.
Optimized checkout is BigCommerce’s new single-page checkout and order confirmation page. It includes features that reduce friction and improve the overall flow of checkout to increase sale conversions.
You can customize the look and feel of your store's checkout experience from the theme editor.
From the top, you can customize the Background color using the color picker or inputting a hex code to match your store's design. If you want to Use (a) custom background (i.e. an image), ensure that box is checked. We recommend using a 1000 x 400px image (that optimizes it for the theme, you can Specify (other) dimensions if you wish).
You can also upload a Custom logo to your checkout page if you don't want to use the same one as your storefront. Just select Custom from the dropdown and then choose a Position.
If you want to display a Discount Banner on your store, you first have to create it in the BigCommerce admin under Marketing > Banners (more on how to do that below, under Marketing)
If you want to customize the Background color of your order summary (that's the box on the right side that says "Order Summary") you can do so from the Order summary > Background color selector.
Likewise for the Checkout steps ( Background color is the "bubble" color around the numbers; Text color is the color of the numbers themselves).
Actually the same goes for Primary headings, Secondary headings, Body, Primary content, Secondary content, Links, Primary button, Secondary button, and Form inputs. There is effectively no component of the checkout experience that cannot be customized.
The Storefront Content tab of your BigCommerce dashboard is where all of your pages, blog posts, and images live. If you're looking to create or edit a page or post, or if you want to manage the images contained in those pages and posts, this is the place to do it.
BigCommerce has some great resources on these topics (which we've linked to below) but we wanted to supplement them with a bit of quick n' dirty setup info so you can get your store up and running (and selling) ASAP. Scroll down for Storefront Content 101.
- BigCommerce's Guide to Adding Web Pages
- BigCommerce's Guide to Using the Built-In Blog
- BigCommerce's Guide to Using the Image Manager
The web pages on your BigCommerce store should be used to display content that doesn't change very often. Yes, your product, brand, and category pages are all technically web pages, but they are all generated and managed automatically. It's pages like your "About," "Contact" and maybe a "Size Guide" or "Return Policy" that you'll create and manage here.
How to add a contact page
Our BigCommerce themes have a built-in Contact Page that provides customers an easy way to send a message or question to store merchants without leaving the storefront.
To create one, go to Content>Web Pages and click Create a Web Page at the top of your Pages list.
Under Web Site Link, enable the Allow people to send questions/comments via a contact form option.
Then, under Web Page Details, enter a name for your contact page. The Page URL will auto-fill based on the page name.
You can also insert content (such as text and images) in the Page Content area, which will appear above the Contact Form.
Now, if you navigate to that page in your store, you should see something resembling this:
Now your customers can get in touch to tell you how much they love your store!
If you want to create any other type of page, just use the radio buttons under Web Site Link and complete the fields that display below. You should be able to create most kinds of ecommere store pages (About, FAQ, Size Guide, etc.) by using the Contain content created using the WYSIWYG editor below option. You'll find more information here.
How to set up a navigation menu
Your store's navigation menu will be generated automatically from your created pages and categories.
To control which pages are displayed in your menu, go to Content > Web pages. Here, you can select and deselect pages using the checkmark under Visible. You can also drag and drop your pages into the desired order.
The categories that automatically display as links on your main navigation can be controlled in the same way. Just navigate toProducts>Product Categories and under the Visible in Menu? column, you can select or deselect products as well as reorder items. The changes will automatically be reflected in your live store.
Blogging can be a great tool for promoting your products and giving your store a personal touch, as well as give a boost to your site's SEO ranking.
By default, a basic blog is included on the BigCommerce platform, which you can access by navigating to Storefront Content > Blog. Here, you'll see an index of all the posts—drafted and published—on your store's blog.
If you've yet to publish your first post then you won't see much here yet. You might want to start by naming your blog.
Navigate to the Blog Settings page by clicking the "..." button at the top of the page (between the "+" button and "Blog Visibility").
Give your blog a name in the Blog Title field (a simple "Blog" will do) and set the URL in the Blog URL field.
You can also enable or disable Disqus Comments at the bottom of this page. Social Sharing is now controlled under Store Settings>Share (more on that here).
Create a blog post
To add a post, navigate to Content>Blog and click the + icon under the Published tab. Your screen should look like this:
Give your post a title in the Title field, write the content in the Body field, add some images (using the toolbar icon that looks like a photo of mountains or a house or a Tetris piece), and enter the author of the blog in the Author field. You can also add tags for each post in the Tags section. To add a tag, type a tag in the Tags field, and hit Enter or the comma key to separate the tags. You can also add an optional Summary thumbnail image and set the Publication date here.
In the SEO (optional) section below, you can customize each post’s URL in the Post URL field, and specify what happens If the Post URL changes. Adding a Meta description to your posts will help improve your SEO.
Click Save Draft to save the post without publishing to work on it later, or click Publish to publish the post immediately. Make sure your Blog Visibility is set to On for the main blog settings.
The Storefront Design section of your BigCommerce dashboard is the place to be for all of your logo, carousel, social media needs. It's also where you go if you want to change or update your theme (Storefront Design>My Themes>Customize/Upload Theme). In this section, we'll focus on the things you'll want to do to get your store up and running — and looking good.
How to set up a carousel
In web design parlance, the term "carousel" refers to the rotating cycle of images that generally occupies the "above the fold" area of your store. Brixton's carousel supports up to five images with a heading, subtitle, and call-to-action button that can link to any page within your store or an external site.
To add images to your Carousel, go to Storefront Design>Design Options and click the Carousel & Social Media tab.
Click on Slide 1 (or whatever slide you want really) and either drag and drop a file to the outlined area or click Select from your computer to upload an image.
Add carousel text content
Once you’ve uploaded an image, you can add a Heading, Subtitle, and Button Text by typing in the corresponding fields at the top. Click Save when you're done.
You can set the URL for the call to action button links by either typing the link directly into the Link field or clicking Browse to choose a Product, Category, Brand, Page, or Blog from the Store Linker. Click Insert Link and Save.
Support file types and image sizes
The carousel supports JPEG, GIF, and PNG file types, but we recommend using JPEG files to ensure a balance between image quality and fast loading-time. We also recommend using images at least 1200px wide. But most importantly, you'll want to ensure your slide images are consistent in dimension.
Set carousel autoplay time
Along with the carousel’s content, you can customize the duration that each slide appears on the screen before automatically switching to the next slide. Type the number of seconds between slide changes under the Settings heading on the right side of the same Home Page Carousel page. Then click Save.
How to upload a store logo
Your store's logo provides branding for your site and a clickable link to return to the homepage. The logo will appear in the header of your site.
To replace your store title with a logo image, go to Storefront Design > Design Options and then click the Logo tab.
By default, BigCommerce will display your store's name as a logo. If you're okay with this, do nothing! (Just ensure that Show text where my logo will be displayed is activated.) However, if you want to display a logo, activate the Upload a logo image from my computer option.
Then choose the image file you want to upload under the Logo Upload section. For Brixton, we recommend a logo image that's 230 x 100px or larger. Once your image is selected, click Upload Logo Image. It will display in the Current Site Logo section.
How to set up your social links
You can include links to your different social media accounts (e.g. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram) on your storefront. With Brixton, these links are displayed as icons in your store's footer. By providing links to your social media accounts, you can encourage shoppers to follow you and share your business and products with their own friends and followers.
To set up the social links on your store, navigate to Store Design > Design Options, and click the Carousel & Social Media tab. Scroll down to the Social Media section, and input your various profile links into the corresponding fields beside Available Networks. Make sure to include http:// before the link.
You can also re-order your social media links to display in a particular order by clicking on the dotted grid to the left of the icon and dragging it to rearrange the order.
The links that are live on your storefront will, predictably, appear in the top Live on Your Storefront section.
How to set a favicon for your store
A favicon (also known as a website icon, tab icon, or bookmark icon) is a small icon that represents your website and provides a shortcut to it wherever the icon appears. There are a whole bunch of sites that can help you generate a favicon for your store, or you can create your own.
To upload a custom favicon for your store, first find or create an image 16 x 16px or 32 x 32px in dimension. The image must be saved in ICO, JPG, GIF, or PNG format.
Then go to Store Design>Design Options, then click More>Favicon. Click Choose File to select the favicon from your computer. Click Upload Favicon.
Marketing is a huge topic, and we don't have the space to get too deep into it here. If you're looking for some basic articles to get your marketing juices flowing, BigCommerce has some great resources, but for our part, we're going to focus on two things that most merchants want to get up and running before they launch their online store: banners and newsletters.
How to add a banner to your store
Banners allow you to add content to the top or bottom of categories or web pages without the need for code. They're great for advertising sales, displaying coupon codes and shipping information, and creating urgency around limited-time offers. A banner can only be applied to one page at a time.
To create, edit, or delete existing banners go to Marketing>Banners.
Click the Create a Banner button on the top left side of your screen.
Enter a Banner Name (which will only be used internally, and will not be visible to your customers).
Then enter your Banner Content in the field below.
Select the page you want your banner to display on from the choices adjacent to Show on Page. Note that you can only add a banner to one page at a time.
Next, select the Date Range for the banner to display. If your summer sale ends August 31st, for example, choose Only display this banner between specific dates, and make sure 31/Aug/2017 is selected as the end date.
Ensure you've checked the box Visible before you save your banner if you're ready to have it live on your site.
And finally, use the Location dropdown to select whether the banner should appear at the Top of [the] page or Bottom of [the] page.
Save your work, then go to your store to see how your banner looks. You can customize the fonts and colors used in your banners from the Banners tab of your theme editor (see instructions above).
Email Marketing is a great way to keep in touch and build relationships with your customers. BigCommerce comes with a built-in newsletter sign-up box and easily integrates with email marketing apps such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, and iContact. All customer data is stored on a CSV file, which can be accessed from Marketing › Email Marketing.
This is where you can select your email marketing service provider and customize the experience of visitors who add their email to your list. In Brixton, the newsletter signup appears right aligned in the footer of your store. Here:
By default, it also appears on the 'Order Confirmation' page at the end of the checkout process.
To configure your newsletter, start by selecting your provider from the Email Integration Providers box at the top.
Then, check Yes, allow customers to subscribe to the store newsletter from the Allow Newsletter Subscriptions? box. If you want to disable email collection at any time, you can uncheck this box and it will remove the field both from the footer of your store and the order confirmation page.
You can learn more about collecting newsletter subscriptions here.