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BigCommerce V2 vs V3: Overall Differences

Now that you’ve read the initial BigCommerce V2 vs V3 post, let’s look at the basic differences between them. They are both functional and design related. This post will cover these general V2 vs V3 differences that store owners should be aware of if considering an upgrade.

Left Navigation Instead of Top Navigation Tabs

The most obvious change from V2 to V3 is the navigation placement. In V2, you can navigate through the various product sections using tabs at the top of the screen. On V3, navigation is listed along the left side.

The rationale behind a left navigation was to make the product experience easier for mobile users. Unfortunately, the left navigation just doesn’t work well. There are more sections listed vertically than you can see on the screen (unless you’re using a giant monitor). To access the off-screen sections, you need to scroll. But scrolling with your mouse only scrolls the right side of the screen, where the product entry fields are located. It’s not until you scroll to the last visible section in the left nav does the left navigation list begin to scroll. This is the case whether scrolling up or down.

Therefore, if you’re trying to jump to the SEO section of the product, which is listed at the very end, you can’t. You have to scroll 2/3 of the page before that navigation link becomes visible.

In addition, the left navigation disappears entirely on mobile. There is no way to “jump” to specific sections further down the page. To make matters worse, the actual content area is too wide for a mobile screen. This means that the right-most 25% of the necessary fields are off screen. There’s no left or right scroll bar to let you access that hidden information. This makes editing product variants essentially impossible on mobile.

V2 vs V3 Difference: Content Not Visible in V3

Product Pricing Located in Two Sections

If your products typically have an MSRP, Price and Cost, you’ll need to enter them in two different locations. In V3, only the basic “Price” is located with the basic product details like name and category.

To access the other price fields, you’ll need to click the More Pricing link, which drops you about halfway down the screen. There, you’ll click Show Advanced Pricing to access the MSRP, Cost price and Sale price. Bulk Pricing is also located in this section.

One you’re done adding all your prices, you’ll need to scroll or click Basic Information in the left navigation to go back to the top of the screen.

Improved Creating New Categories on the Fly

This is one area where V3 makes things easier than V2. If you are adding a new product in V2 and realize you forgot to create its associated category, you have to leave the product edit screen to create the new category. In V3, you can click Add Category and create the new category without leaving the product edit screen.

Slower Adding Images from a URL

If you sometimes pull in images from the web, V3 has made that process a little more time consuming. In V2, when you click the “Add from URL” link, you are given five boxes in which to add image URLs. You can enter five URLs and then add them all at once.

In V3, clicking the “Add from URL” link only gives you one box, in which you can enter a photo or video URL. Once you enter the URL, the image or video is previewed below and you can save it to your product. Rather than being able to add five images at once, you’ll need to go through the add images from URL process five times.

Variations Instead of Options

In V2, things like sizes and colors are called options. In V3, they are called variations. Specific combinations of variations are called variants. How options are handled is a major V2 vs V3 difference.

For example, let’s say a t-shirt comes in three sizes (S, M, L) and three colors (red, green, blue). In V2, you can choose to assign skus to each combination (Small Red, Small Green, Small Blue, etc). You can also choose not to assign skus. In V3, each combination, or Variant, is automatically generated when you create your options and every variant is auto-assigned a sku.

If you already have skus for your variants (such as from a manufacturer), you will need to replace the auto-generated ones with you own. If you haven’t used skus in the past, you’ll be forced to use skus on V3.

Once variants are created, you can also assign a UPC, weight, dimensions and other attributes to them. This can be accomplished by changing the columns shown in the variant grid. You can then add the specific attributes for each variant.

V2 vs V3 Difference: Variant Column Display in V3

Customizations work essentially the same on V3 as they did on V2. They are just referred to as Modifiers.

Product URL Doesn’t Automatically Update

This V2 vs V3 difference is really important, and one that many store owners may not even notice. As you probably know, the product’s URL is automatically generated based on the product’s name. If you have a product named “Men’s Blue Short Sleeve Tee”, the product URL will be /mens-blue-short-sleeve-tee/.

Let’s say you change the product name to “Men’s Blue Short Sleeve T-Shirt”. In V2, the product URL automatically updates to /mens-blue-short-sleeve-t-shirt/. In addition, a checkbox displays asking if you want to create a 301 redirect from the original product URL to the new one. The box is checked by default.

In V3, I’ve seen two different results. On some stores, the product URL does not automatically change when you update a product name. Therefore, in the example here, the product URL would remain /mens-blue-short-sleeve-tee/. If you want the URL to reflect the product’s new name, you’ll need to scroll down to the SEO section and manually change it. On other stores, I’ve seen the URL automatically update, but the checkbox to automatically create the 301 redirect is not checked. I’m not sure why different stores exhibit difference behaviors. However, it’s important to note that neither works exactly like V2.

This is especially important when it comes to copying products. Many store owners duplicate existing products to save time creating new ones. Again, I’ve seen two different behaviors here. In some stores, when you update the copied product’s name, the URL updates to match. In other stores, I’ve seen the URL remain /copy-of-mens-blue-short-sleeve-tee/ (if using the example product from earlier). In the latter case, you’ll want to manually update the product URL so it reflects the new product name.

Read the next post, BigCommerce V3 Options, Variants and Rules Compared to V2 >