Way back in 2016, BigCommerce released an update to their, even at that point, slightly outdated BluePrint framework. The new framework was called Stencil, and carried a myriad of benefits and upgrades to the older outdated BluePrint.
The majority of store owners have made the jump, and with regular updates and refinements, Stencil only set to get better and better, allowing for easier use and even more powerful e-commerce sites.
Despite these obvious improvements and general ease of use, many store-owners have still failed to upgrade and switch over. This is common all over the net, business owners have a good thing going and they don’t want to tinker with it, especially if it means changing something major like the overall theme framework.
However, the changeover couldn’t be more painless, while allowing you to simplify and speed up your site in a bunch of different ways. At the end of the day, simply staying up to date with updates and software is going to reap its own rewards in terms of functionality and website quality.
Here’s what’s happening with Stencil and why you as an e-commerce site owner really need to be thinking about getting the changeover underway.
BigCommerce Updates and Changes
As a powerful platform when it comes to any kind of e-commerce site, BigCommerce are forever looking to develop and refine their product. They depend on delivering a strong and innovative service to the many businesses using their platform, which is why they need to regularly update and, in some cases, completely replace software.
These updates are not something to be concerned about. With solid customer service as well as straightforward update procedures, changing over and keeping your site running strong does not have to be a headache.
In 2016, the launch of Stencil made BluePrint obsolete in many ways. The older software is outdated, slow and clunky to use by comparison. As is often the case, replacing means more than simply being up to date. It can mean a faster, more powerful website, as well as even better support and reliability.
It all comes down to simplifying and refining your website. Technology moves at such an alarming rate, especially for businesses, that failing to stay up to date can really limit a business.
Staying Ahead Means Staying Innovative
One of the best things about the internet for e-commerce business owners is also one of the worst. It can be really straightforward and easy to get set up as an e-commerce business, but even once established, there’s always the threat of competition from newcomers.
This means that, as with most businesses, you can’t ever truly rest on your laurels. Staying ahead online means getting the latest updates and software and getting it working for you.
Outdated software is no joke on sites. Clunky, unnecessary amounts of coding as well as obsolete features and practices all contribute to limiting your website. That’s not acceptable for any business nowadays.
Staying ahead of the competition and continuing to develop into an established, authoritative e-commerce store is key, and if you’re depending on older, outdated software, you’re building on a shaky foundation.
Having said that, updating and changeover don’t need to be stressful, expensive or protracted. It’s just very easy to keep putting off as a business, and we understand that. That’s why BigCommerce have made it as straightforward as possible.
Simplicity Equals Growth
If you want to stagnate as a business, you keep introducing new elements and factors, until you’re a complex and unreliable machine. If you want to grow, you pare things back to the bare core and keep refining that. Simplification is the key to growth, especially as an e-commerce business.
The website is the bare core of the e-commerce business. It’s the combination of store, billboard, business card and shop staff that allows start-up e-commerce sites to function on a shoestring budget and established stores to do some amazing things.
However, that simplifying and paring down doesn’t just mean continuing to lumber on without adding anything new. It means looking for ways to do things better and more efficiently, and updating and upgrading software within your site is the best way to do that.
Old software and frameworks can be incredibly limiting in a myriad of unforeseen ways. As a business, you need to avoid that pitfall and make sure you’re staying completely with the times. You have to remember, a number of your competitors won’t be bothering with keeping up and that can give you a powerful edge.
Stencil’s Benefits over BluePrint
When compared against BluePrint, Stencil’s extensive list of improvements makes the changeover something of a no-brainer. From digital marketing to simple site updates and maintenance, Stencil offers a better way to get things done.
Speed is one of Stencil’s biggest drawing points, and it’s a big improvement. As a website, you can’t underestimate the importance of speed. As a ranking factor to Google, it can have a big impact on where you’re sitting on those SERPs. When it comes to bounce rates, site speed can also have a huge impact.
Speed is not something you want to be neglecting, and Stencil prioritizes it with elements like Akamai, which is improved image management, condensing coding as well as innovative Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) support.
Another hugely appealing element inherent in Stencil is the way it simplifies customization. You won’t have to be a developer or experienced coder in order to play around with the look, style, and feel of your website. Elements like color, fonts, and items can be tinkered with without any coding or hassle.
That doesn’t mean to say it’s not a spectacular framework for developers either. This isn’t an oversimplified, limited piece of software, it’s great for the less experienced and the experts alike.
If you can do great things with Stencil as someone without much knowledge of programming, as a developer, you can do spectacular things. It’s a simpler and more powerful platform, and it’s as straightforward as that.
It’s not just those elements either. There are loads of things that Stencil can do that BluePrint is simply not capable of. From boosted desktop and mobile performance to third-party theme options, to cross-device previewing, to industry-specific themes, there are so many ways Stencil leaves the older framework in the dust.
While Stencil is inarguably better than BluePrint, that doesn’t mean that divide is just going to stay the same. With BluePrint ceasing to be regularly updated while Stencil is kept powerful and current, the older framework is only going to get more clunky and difficult to use with other plugins as time goes on.
That essentially means that the longer you wait to update, the potentially trickier it could be. However, BigCommerce understands this and have made updating and changing over as simple as possible.
Switching Doesn’t Have to be Difficult
You might be finding yourself concerned as a business owner when it comes to switching over, and it’s true, traditionally, making big updates to a site, especially when it comes to something as fundamental as a framework can be scary, with plenty of pitfalls to trip over.
It’s understandable then, the trepidation that so many business owners when it comes to making big changes to their precious business website. However, BigCommerce understands this, and they’ve created an upgrade that is easy and straightforward to implement, with minimal hassle.
If you’ve got your own team of developers, the process of moving over isn’t difficult and can be achieved quickly and effectively. In the process of migrating over, you can even play with and refine the look and finish of your site, using the sandbox design options to integrate other changes you might have been thinking about bringing in.
If you’d rather leave it to the experts, there are plenty of options there too, and you’ll be utilizing a faster and more modern website in no time at all.
The launch of new software by any major platform is always going to be a potentially scary shift for all the businesses depending on their service, but at the end of the day, it’s a necessary change.
Old, outdated software within your website is not something any business can afford to neglect. It’s like driving a car when you know a key engine part is set to wear out at any moment. Both limiting and risky.
At the end of the day, platform providers like BigCommerce understand these issues and make sure that their updates and changes are as functional and straightforward as possible, and worst comes to worst, you can always turn to the experts.