Ecommerce Design / Enterprise Ecommerce / Product News

What You Need to Know About Stencil: The Next Generation of BigCommerce Websites

Ethan Giffin / 2 min read

For more than a decade, Groove Commerce has built world-class ecommerce experiences for midmarket and enterprise companies. The demand for online retail often presents a challenge for retailers to keep up. We’ve seen it all and we’ve gotten our hands dirty with most platforms to customize the right design and development solutions for clients.

In our experience, the design of a company’s site is directly related to its revenue. Design and user experience influence how a customer navigates an online store, ultimately converting them into paying customers. For this reason, we were delighted to be given early access to BigCommerce’s new Stencil design framework, which will soon offer the entire industry the following:

  • Stencil Framework and Developer Toolkit: The toolkit enables developers to design and iterate themes locally, with full access to all assets –– but with no impact on the merchant’s live storefront.
  • Theme Marketplaces: Third-party marketplaces enable developers to distribute themes to multiple merchants. The Bigcommerce Marketplace will begin distributing partners’ Stencil themes in 2017 –- allowing ample time for agencies and designers to build out a profitable business model around Stencil theme creation and conversion.
  • Theme Editor: This graphical, browser-based tool enables merchants to rapidly customize their themes’ look and feel – and their storefront’s function – with no coding. Theme developers’ configuration choices determine which theme aspects merchants can customize, with what range of choices.
  • Storefront Customization: Merchants acquire themes, apply them to their storefronts, and customize them – creating an elegant user experience that resonates with their brand, and makes it easy for customers to find and purchase the products they want.

Stencil, Development and Increased Retailer Sales

To give a bit of background, last year, Groove Commerce became a BigCommerce Enterprise partner, working closely with the BigCommerce partner and engineering teams to create customized ecommerce solutions for clients. We have launched nearly 20 sites on the platform to date.

When Bigcommerce first presented its new product, Stencil, we knew it was going to be distinctive to the industry and we willingly offered insight during its development. Dubbed the “world’s leading design framework for branded storefronts,” Stencil is sure to disrupt the ecommerce technology landscape. Here’s why.

The Next Generation of BigCommerce Websites

Historically, website design on all SaaS platforms has been restrictive and often rigid, with minimum flexibility for retailers. Stencil is the baseline for the next generation of Bigcommerce sites, providing companies with unique custom capabilities and freedom in SaaS for the first time.

Stencil is dynamic with a cleaner development process and flexible template systems. Gone are the days of creating 25 templates to do 25 different things. With the ability to create logic within sites using the “handlebars” language, you can now create one template that can do 25 things.

Leverage Risk

Other platforms require developer certification and ultimately create a dependence on the agency for changes. Stencil helps companies leverage risk. This means companies do not need to rely on an agency to make changes and evolve their site. Stencil’s platform is adaptable.

As we gear up to launch the first official Stencil sites, we are excited to see where Bigcommerce’s product roadmap takes us and what the future holds. For developers, check out the Stencil documentation here. For merchants and retailers looking to benefit from the Stencil framework, stay tuned. A new themes launch is almost ready for general availability –– and we can say with certainty that you’ll be impressed and excited with what you have to work with out-of-the-box.


Ethan Giffin

Ethan Giffin

Ethan Giffin is the Founder and CEO of Groove Commerce, a full-service eCommerce agency. Ethan is an industry expert in eCommerce, inbound marketing and the dynamic technologies that power client success. An entrepreneur at heart, Ethan started his first business at 10-years-old and has grown to become a 3x Inc. 5000 honoree and an EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist.

View all posts by Ethan Giffin
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One comment on “What You Need to Know About Stencil: The Next Generation of BigCommerce Websites

  1. Jim McCarthy on

    I have a site now, ,And I want to replace it with a new site(also on Big commerce) the new domain will be
    My question is this : You talk about how themes can b changed dynamically to develop a new domain..could an, a/b split test, or multivariate test be done using multiple themes ? Different themes would be used for each variant of the test?

    thx!, Jim

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