Get your bearings
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
How to upload 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 on 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: 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
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.
Capacity comes with four unique theme styles that curate the fonts, colors, and general style of your store: Bright, Clean, Cool & Warm. 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: 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.
Fonts and Colors
Capacity comes with a selection of hand-picked fonts and colors for your store. You'll find them under the first two tabs of the theme editor: Typography and Colors.
Under Typography, first select your Primary font family and Secondary font family from dropdown list of font. Then, you can assign either of these font families to the following text areas: Main navigation font, Footer navigation font, Price font, Button font, Capitalize navigation font.
To customize the Color for the store, look under the Colors menu and 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.
The Global Settings section contains a few theme options that are applied (you guessed it!) globally across your store.
The Use full-width setting, will adjust the overall layout of your store, removing the background you see on every page. Instead, your store's content will fill the entire screen with no background. You ca see below and example of how the different layouts look on the same page:
When Restrict purchase to login setting is enabled, pricing and purchasing functionality will be hidden on your storefront. Customers will have to login into a customer account order to see prices and proceed with any purchases. Below, you can see an example on the left of regular purchasing on a product page and the same page on the right when Restrict purchase to login is enabled, where the price is replaced with the text "Login for pricing" and the Add to Cart button is hidden.
The Header is the rectangular area that runs across the top of your store above containing your logo, search, main navigation currency converter, account login and cart. It appears on every page and is intended to be used to promote your company's brand and to make your site easy to navigate.
Capacity's header settings contain a number of ways to customize the look and functionality contained within your shop's header:
Show logo above navigation - moves your logo or store name to appear above the main navigation
Logo dimensions :
- Original (as loaded) - your logo will appear in the same dimensions as the original file that you have uploaded
- Optimized for theme - this will resize your logo from it's original uploaded size to dimensions that work best with the Capacity theme
- Specify dimensions - use this option to resize your logo to specific dimensions. Just enter the maximum width and height in the Max Width and Max Height fields, up to 480x386px. Note: On smaller browsers and mobile devices, the theme will resize the logo accordingly.
Reduce header height - reduces header height for a more compact look
Show "Home" link in header - chooses wether or not to add a "home" link to your main navigation that will link to your homepage (note: your logo will always link to your homepage)
Show categories & Show pages - chooses whether or not your main navigation will show your stores categories and/or pages, respectively
Categories display - if you've chosen to display your store's categories in your navigation, use the options in this dropdown to chose whether to display them In the main navigation or In a dropdown. If you chose to display them In a dropdown, they will appear under a "Shop" link in the navigation.
Dropdown display - if, the previous setting, you've chosen to display your categories In a dropdown, you have a further three options of how to display the category's dropdown:
- Standard dropdown: simple, vertical dropdown list (most suitable for small catalogues)
- Expanded dropdown: displays menu items horizontally instead of in a basic navigation style (suitable for medium size catalogues)
- Meganav dropdown: larger panel formatting, making it easier for customers to navigate large catalogues (most suitable for 20+ categories)
Show "All" links in parent links with dropdown menus - If you've used sub-categories to refine your product catalogue, enabling this setting will insert an "All" link below top level navigation link so that customers, if wanted, can easily navigation to top level category pages.
You can see this in the example below. If you look at the first category, Arts & Crafts, the theme has used the main parent category as the title for the category's menu, which has been further broken down into subcategories. Enabling the "All" link, inserts the "All Arts & Crafts" link so the customer can also easily access the category as a whole.
Show category images in dropdowns - if you've uploaded an image for your category, enabling this setting will display that image in the navigation. (to add images to your categories, in your BigCommerce dashboard go to Products>Product Categories>Choose the category>Category details>Category image)
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.
Also like your header, Capacity comes with settings that allow you to customize the information and functionality found in your footer:
Show sitemap link in footer - the sitemap is basically an XML file the contains a list of all 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.
Show brands in footer - enabling will turn on the display of a Brands menu in your footer. You can add a Brand to your store in you dashboard under Products > Brands.
Number of categories/brands to show in footer - Since the number of categories and brands that merchants have in their stores can be quite extensive, you have two dropdown menus that allow you to cap the number of items that each menu will display: Cap at 5, Cap at 10 or Show all. If you chose to cap at 5 or 10 and there are more items to display, they will be collapsed under a "All Categories (or brands)" dropdown that, when selected, expands to reveal all items.
Show store address in footer - The store information that appears in your footer is set up in your dashboard under Store Setup > Store Profile.
Show copyright in footer - the copyright consists of the "© 2018 'Store name', as seen in the bottom right of the footer
Show social icons as first column in footer - whenenabled, the social icons for those that you have setup in the dashboard (Store setup>Social media links) will appear in the first column of the footer. If this setting is not enabled, these icons will in the last column and your branding and store information (if enabled to show) will appear in the first column instead.
Lastly, the Payment Icons settings allows you to control which icons show in your footer, just above the credit messaging:
Just check or uncheck the box next to the payment method to show or hide that particular icon:
Your homepages settings are comprised of two parts: Carousel and Homepage Sections
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 Capacity, it's just below your header). Firstly, you'll set up the "slides" for your Carousel in the BigCommerce admin under Storefront Design>Design Options>Carousel & Social Media (more on that below—or here)
Your Carousel comes with two styles to choose from: Traditional or Mosaic. The Traditional style is likely the one you'll recognize and is what's described above- a large display of rotating images, often with some marketing text and call to action buttons.
If chose the Traditional style, the following settings apply to your carousel: Carousel aspect ratio & Autoplay
Carousel aspect ratio will help you to control how your images look in the carousel:
- Default: Images in your slideshow will be displayed in Peak'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 Peak16:9: Sets your carousel images to a 16:9 ratio regardless of what the original image size is and can result in cropping
- 3:1: Sets your carousel images to a 3:1 ratio regardless of what the original image size is 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 guide on understanding and working with aspect ratios.
The Autoplay setting allows you to turn on/off the automatic rotating of your images. If enabled, your images will automatically rotate at intervals which you can set in the BigCommerce admin under Storefront Design>Design Options>Carousel. If you chose to disabled autoplay, customers can click and manually navigation through your images.
The Mosaic style, on the other hand, uses the same images and text that you upload in the BigCommerce admin (BigCommerce admin under Storefront Design>Design Options>Carousel) but they'll be organized into a tiles in a mosaic, rather then as rotating slides:
When using the Mosaic style, to ensure your images retain their approximate proportions, we recommend following these guidelines for image aspect ratios:
5 slides: All 1:1
4 slides: 1-3 are 1:1, 4 is 2:1
3 slides: 1 is 1:1, 2-3 is 2:1
2 slides: Any ratio, but consistent (1:1 recommended).
1 slide: Any ratio
Next up, you get to setup your homepage sections, fun! Capacity has 4 homepage sections that are completely customizable. For each section, you get to choose the content, number of items that show and how they're laid out on mobile:
Section item type - choose what content you would like to display in the section:
- Featured products - the products that you have set at "featured" in the BC admin. (You can find out more info on Featured Products here)
- New Products
- Top selling products
- Latest blog posts
Number of items - dropdown to chose how many items you'd like to display in this section. Here you can also chose to Disable the section altogether if you don't want to use the section at all.
Enable horizontal scrolling - by default the items in the homepages sections will stack vertically on mobile devices. Enabling this setting mobile setting arranges the items horizontally on mobile instead. Customers will be able to flick through the sections with their thumb. This really decreases the amount of vertically scrolling customers have to do to view your homepage on mobile.
These settings will control the display of content on your Product pages.
Automatically send the client to the cart page after adding a product - does just what it says! When enabled, instead of displaying a success message when a customer adds a product to their cart, when they add a product they will taken directly to the cart page to proceed with checkout.
Show extra product details (heigh, width etc.) - want to share your nitty gritty product details with your customers? Well, this is the setting for you! Turn it on to display the following details:
- Min purchase quantity
- Max purchase quantity
- Stock level
- Gift wrapping
- Custom fields
(Note: the details will only show if you've entered information for these details into their corresponding fields in your dashboard)
Number of related products setting relates to the carousel of products that appears at bottom of your product page and allows you to chose how many products to show.
Related products are setup in your dashboard per product. Check out this BC guide for more information on setting up Related Products.
The Product listings settings are applied to the pages on your site that have a product grid: Homepage sections, Category, Brand and Search Result pages.
Image aspect ratio - adjust the aspect ratio off your product images. This may results in cropping
Number of products per page - control the number of products that will display in the grid
Hide product filtering sidebar - toggle on/off the product filtering side bar on Category, Brand and Search results pages
Show quickshop - toggle quickshop on/off
Display product sales badge - toggle on/off display of theme styled "sales badge" for on sale items
Add 'As low as' text - enable the display of 'as low as' pricing text on products. This text will display next to product with options.
Show cart actions - enabled/disables in-line add to cart functionality. When enabled, an Add to Cart button will appear when a customer hover over a product, allowing them to add an item to their cart directly from the product grid.
These settings control the display of brands at /brands, where all the Brands you've created in the control panel will be displayed. To manage your brands, have a look in your control panel under Products > Brands
Show brand images on brands page lets you control whether you show images for the brands or not
Post updates on products, upcoming events, and other news in your shop’s built-in blog. To setup a blog, navigate to the Blog settings by clicking on Content > Blog.
The Blog settings in your Theme Editor, let you toggle on/off whether you're blog's name as set in the BigCommerce admin displays as the Blog Title on your store front
Edit Theme Files
If you have a knowledge of CSS and HTML, editing your theme files can be a great way of taking your store customizations to the next level. We're not going to go there in these docs, but if you're looking for a good primer, you'll find it here.
Note that BigCommerce is unable to offer support for any theme that has been modified with Edit Theme Files. Proceed with caution.
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.
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 check mark 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.
You may also find this video on updating the links of your main navigation helpful.
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 — what an exciting and precious time for you! — then you won't see much here yet. You might want to start by naming your blog. Here's how:
Navigate to the Blog Settings page by clicking the "..." button at the top of the page (between the "+" button and "Blog Visibility"). This is where you should be:
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 on 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
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.
SUPPORTED 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 Mogul, 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 Mogu, 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 the 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 in 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 Mogul, 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.
World-class customer support
We've covered a lot of ground in these docs, but there will no doubt be questions they don't answer. If you've got a burning question—or if you're just stuck—don't hesitate to get in touch with us. Our friendly and knowledgable support team will dig into the issue and get you back on track ASAP.