The BigCommerce for WordPress plugin was built with the intention of being a monolithic plugin, meaning that it would hold all needed features in one plugin, without the need for many addons like WooCommerce. That said, there are some features which either really shouldn’t be in the core plugin, or were already existing so well in the WordPress ecosystem already that it seemed pointless to try to recreate them. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the add-ons that can enhance your BigCommerce for WordPress store.
FacetWP adds faceted search to the BigCommerce user experience, so people can better find what they’re looking for. Faceted search functions offer all possible variations in a UI, and the customer narrows the search results by making selections. With FacetWP the results pane reloads over AJAX, so the narrowing experience is very fast and smooth, with new results appearing instantly.
You’ll need to replace the built-in search bar called the Refinery with some custom code. Fortunately, FacetWP has full BigCommerce support, including excellent documentation and code samples, found at https://facetwp.com/documentation/integrations/bigcommerce/.
While BigCommerce for WordPress comes with the Refinery, a dedicated and powerful search tool, the sitewide search tool built into WordPress is not very powerful. This isn’t an issue with the BigCommerce plugin, the search in WordPress is simply poor.
SearchWP is a WordPress plugin that greatly enhances the WordPress search. One of the nicest parts is that it hooks into the existing search seamlessly, so there’s no coding required for the most part.
Most of your work will involve creating a search “engine” in SearchWP. This is accomplished with the UI seen above. You may create multiple engines, so you could have a global search, a products-only search, or one that excludes products. This is particularly useful if your site is more than a store, and you also want to be able to search some other kind of content.
You can also give different weights to different search values, so if you want people to mostly find results by category you can do that.
Once you have your engines built then you can place Search fields in your theme or content. A global search engine will simply use the built-in WordPress search functions. For narrowed or custom engines you can either use the Search Widget provided by SearchWP, or some of the custom code provided in the documentation.
The default checkout for BigCommerce for WordPress is an embedded iframe. If you don’t want that because the store site is running HTTP, or the checkout page is heavily customized, then customers could be directed to a whole page on the BigCommerce servers. Bolt Checkout is an attractive, powerful alternative to those options.
Bolt Checkout replaces the iframe with a modal checkout, similar to Amazon or Stripe. Beyond the improved appearance there are additional features that make it valuable:
- The streamlined checkout can improve revenue by 10–50%
- Bolt has a zero fraud guarantee
- Bolt works exceptionally well on mobile
All WordPress sites should have a caching layer in front of them. The site speed advantages are enormous. One of the very best caching plugins for WordPress is WP Rocket. It’s by far the simplest of the available options, yet covers all the bases a caching plugin should.
Additionally, it’s one of the few caching plugins allowed by hosts that do their own caching. This is because WP Rocket does extra things, and plays nicely with the built-in caching.
The issue with any caching plugin and ecommerce is that some things shouldn’t be cached in ecommerce. The cart page for example. If it gets cached then the second person on the site will get the same cart as the first person, regardless of what’s in it. The same holds true for the checkout page, and personal account pages.
This means that if you install a caching plugin you need to carefully whitelist all the right pages.
The great thing about WP Rocket is that it comes with BigCommerce support, and all the proper pages are automatically whitelisted without any configuration on your part.
As far as BigCommerce is concerned, there isn’t any implementation. Simply install the plugin, configure it however you wish, and the BigCommerce whitelisting is taken care of for you.
As time goes on, more and more add-ons will be made available, expanding the BigCommerce for WordPress plugin far beyond what we’ve imagined so far.
If you have any favorite add-ons, or if you’ve written one yourself, please leave a comment, we’d love to hear about it!