July 30, 2010, 12:08 PM

Not your routine e-commerce platform upgrade

BigCommerce’s latest version of its e-commerce platform includes m-commerce sites.

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Most e-commerce technology providers routinely introduce new versions of their platforms with fresh additions and tweaks.

BigCommerce is doing so today, but following in a nascent but quickly growing trend, it’s adding mobile commerce functionality to its e-commerce platform. Doing so will enable its more than 6,000 small and mid-sized merchants to launch mobile commerce sites.

The sites are optimized for the iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Palm Pre and Android mobile devices. Entering a retailer’s web site address on one of these mobile devices automatically redirects shoppers from the e-commerce site to the mobile-optimized site.

To create the m-commerce sites, BigCommerce is taking the data feeds used for the e-commerce sites and funneling them into templates specially designed for mobile web sites. The company is not charging an extra fee for m-commerce; the functionality is bundled into the updated e-commerce platform offering.

BigCommerce tested the new technology with 500 of its clients. It expects most of its 6,000 clients to have their m-commerce stores up and running in the weeks ahead. This will change the face of m-commerce, increasing the number of mobile commerce sites from a few hundred to thousands. The platform is delivered in the software-as-a-service model and requires approval from the merchant to turn on the mobile functionality.

Other new additions to the e-commerce platform include:

  • eBay sales integration: Merchants can make their products available for auction or sale on eBay; when a product is auctioned or sold on eBay, a new order is automatically created in the customer’s BigCommerce store.
  • Social media: Merchants can make their sites more social by adding Facebook Like buttons for every product in their stores and taking advantage of BigCommerce’s integration with Facebook’s IntenseDebate and Disqus commenting systems to enable site visitors to use their existing social media profiles to log in, post and share their product reviews and comments with friends.
  • Shopping comparison integration: Merchants can list products on shopping comparison sites such as Shopping.com, PriceGrabber, Shopzilla, MySimon, Beso, Bizrate and others.
  • Automated e-mail marketing: Merchants can automate their e-mail list development by creating rules that define how newsletter subscribers and customers are added to their e-mail lists. This means, for example, that someone who just purchased an Apple product can be automatically added to an “Apple Customers” list and at the same time removed from the “Non-Customers” list.

E-commerce platform packages start at $24.95 per month.

“The old days of paying more for enterprise features are dead,” says Eddie Machaalani, co-founder and co-CEO of BigCommerce. “The Internet and especially software-as-a-service have leveled the playing field, and we want all BigCommerce merchants to have access to enterprise-level features that make them more successful, regardless of their industry, budget or experience.”

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