An executive conversation with
Steve Berke, Founder & CEO
As a certified BigCommerce Partner, Always Open Commerce builds custom eCommerce stores that drive growth through UX specialization and then serve as our client’s back office for all their day to day needs once they are ready to begin selling. Most SMB’s can’t afford to hire in-house for eCommerce related job duties. Our tag line is “Grow your team, not your payroll” as our ongoing services are extremely affordable.
With offices in the U.S, Australia, and the Philippines, we serve businesses of all shapes and sizes on both sides of the globe.
We specialize in multiple areas of eCommerce; building out new sites, migrations from other platforms, UX design, conversion, product data, SEO, content writing, email marketing, retention, marketplace listing, and consulting. A lot goes into each! I always tell our clients “we do everything you need and nothing you don’t.”
BigCommerce: The Perfect Fit
Always Open Commerce was primarily a Magento agency since starting in 2012. Then in 2016 we became a Shopify partner. In Spring of 2018 a project that I had on the back burner for years was pushed to the front of the stove. Magento wasn’t right as it would put too much burden on my agency to manage the infrastructure. Shopify didn’t feel like a good fit either as it was too constrictive and wouldn’t give us enough freedom on the development and UX end. Up until that point I always looked at BigCommerce as Shopify’s little brother. When I finally did my homework I soon realized that BigCommerce was a completely different product than Shopify. I saw it as the best of breed and the perfect fit for the project. We have since made a full transition to primarily only supporting BigCommerce.
BigCommerce is robust enough to handle small startups or large multinational companies, so the full potential means different things to different people. For a small brand, we are all about helping them carve out their niche. One of our favorite clients; Christopher Bean Coffee loved the seamless details our team has put into every page of their new BigCommerce store. They were originally on Magento and then migrated to Shopify years ago. Last fall I was discussing with their owner why we had made the transition to BigCommerce on the agency side and wasn’t even going for a soft sell. I was genuinely explaining the features and benefits of the platform. Shortly thereafter we were putting together a plan to migrate Christopher Bean Coffee off Shopify and onto BigCommerce. Pleased to say that migration is complete and Christopher Bean Coffee could not be happier with the final product.
If potential clients are interested in moving their online stores to BigCommerce, we have experience in migrating sites from one platform to another. Two years back, one client project led us to switching to BigCommerce.
King’s Great Buys Plus – After thirty plus years of exceeding customer’s expectations in the brick and mortar world; Kings was ready to apply their same winning formula to their online business. We recently completed their migration from custom-built e-com platform and onto BigCommerce.
Christopher Bean Coffee – A streamlined interface, on-point product data management, an all-new rewards system, and a lot more make this switch one of our proudest project completions to date.
CWR Enviro – A distributor and retailer of water filtration systems and air purifiers. Their old site was more of a “tell” rather than “show”, so our team creatively built a user experience around visuals and features that improves the overall feel of the store.
Bedding Stock – A Florida-based online only retailer of mattresses, Bedding Stock recently made the switch to BigCommerce when it was time to migrate off Magento. This bed-in-a-box business is taking full advantage of the out of the box features that BC offers. They are now saving close to $500 a month in using the native marketplace connectors that were only available on Magento via 3rd party applications.
Catalyst Surf Shop – With 3 stores in FL and 2 in California Catalyst is yet another brick and mortar retailer who is looking to capitalize on the shift to e-commerce by expanding out their online footprint. They contacted AOC looking for a quote on migrating from Magento to Magento 2. We introduced the Catalyst to BigCommerce and are pleased they made the decision to go with them. This migration is currently in progress.
I was taught very early on in my own journey that we don’t have to be better than our competition; instead be different. Always Open Commerce doesn’t believe we are superior to any other agency, but we are different. Go where others are unwilling to go, do things others can’t or won’t do, and always stand out from the crowd; that’s where we find our success.
AOC has experience working in big box and independent retail, owning successful and unsuccessful e-commerce companies, and now running a full-time BigCommerce agency, so we have worn many different hats over the years. This provides our clients insight, perspective, and accountability like no other.
We understand that no two projects are the same, which means our execution and delivery methodology always vary. What clients like best about our approach is that we work on their schedule. While we do prefer to knock out a new store build or migration as quickly as possible; we are fine with taking it slow. This means our clients are never under pressure to rush anything and also ensures they never receive a 5 figure invoice for our work.
Always Open Commerce is the only BigCommerce agency that bills on an hourly model and have a dedicated office in the Philippines to support our U.S and APAC clients. This gives us the ability to provide unrivaled value as our Developer and UX Designer rates start at $15 an hour. Everything in this business is based on time. The more time spent on a project the better the results.
We tell our clients that we are an extension of their in-house team. We do our best to adapt to each of our client’s individual needs, but it is certainly tough at time as every business has different expectations. However, we firmly believe that the customer is always right and we do everything in our power to ensure they are always taken care of.