BigCommerce: Blueprint versus Stencil - 1Digital® Agency
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Important Distinctions Between Blueprint and Stencil

BigCommerce is a wonderful platform that provides excellent features for their customers, and the new Stencil platform is no exception. Although Stencil does boast more options than Blueprint, it’s important to recognize that a few features on Blueprint aren’t available on Stencil, and vice versa. Before taking the leap from one framework to another, you’ll want to stay educated on which one better suits your business.

1Digital Agency loves everything about BigCommerce, and we know how to navigate the platform to optimize your site to its fullest potential. Although Stencil and Blueprint are similar systems, differences in checkout page and minimum recommended image size (and many more) make them somewhat separate entities. When we recreate your store, we’ll try to stay as faithful to the original design, but upgrading to a new framework may mean that you’ll need to grow accustomed to some changes.

Before diving into Stencil read through this article for a better understanding of the differences between these two frameworks.


An Overview of the Difference Between Frameworks

As BigCommerce has stated, Stencil will take on the bulk of theme components that Blueprint has to offer. These are the transferable components:

  • Products/SKUs
  • Categories
  • Promotion rules
  • Product images
  • Google Analytics will still work with your new theme
  • Store logos

Any sort of advanced customization could be problematic for transfer, including:

  • Code injected into your header
  • Checkout customizations
  • Storefront app integrations


What Will You Lose?

Development can take longer with Stencil but can be a safer process to making changes on Stencil code because you’re able to download your theme files, make the desired edits, and then re-upload and published your changes. It’s important to have developers who can easily navigate the platform, otherwise, you’ll lengthen the development process in general. Luckily, 1Digital Agency is proficient in both Stencil and Blueprint, so we can help you with all of your BigCommerce needs.

As you can see, you won’t sacrifice too much for the transition, but there are a few key elements to Blueprint that you may prefer. It’s important to consider this factor before making your decision. Due to a heavy page load time, BigCommerce has disabled several features for Stencil that Blueprint still utilizes. Below are some of the key changes:

After a customer adds a product to their cart from the category page, “add to cart” confirmation popups will cease to exist on Stencil.


The Name Field will not be a part of the Stencil theme.


A few key Product Page changes will also take place between Blueprint and Stencil:

The “Find Similar Products by Category” section will not be available on the Stencil theme.

You’ll also have to say goodbye to the lightbox feature on the product click.

The “add to cart” confirmation popup will still exist on Stencil, but it will look more like this:

System pages will also be integrated by means of the Stencil theme. Check out this example!


What Will You Gain?

Although these changes may seem like a lot, they pale in comparison to the benefits that Stencil contains. You’ll be able to do most of the same things that you could on Blueprint and enjoy many extra features that make Stencil a preferred framework for many. BigCommerce really hit the nail on the head with this one, and we’re excited to show you all of the fantastic things that Stencil can do for your website and for your business.

There are plenty of functionalities that remain exactly the same between the two platforms, so you don’t have to worry about dropping total familiarity. You’ll still be able to preview new themes on your existing site (although free themes can only be viewed through the Stencil Theme Editor) and you won’t need to recode any of your products. Your SKUs will also transfer. Take note, however, that although you retain your purchased Blueprint themes and can access them, you cannot access the Blueprint marketplace.

Stencil benefits from AMP, a feature that will not only increase your site’s loading speed but will actually improve your rankings on Google. With Stencil, your developers can also make modifications that you can overview before actually implementing them on your site. This is massively helpful for site development and gives Stencil a significant advantage over Blueprint. Many different functions that require HTML/CSS customization on Blueprint are simplified with the use of the Stencil Theme Editor, including:

  • Adding Trust Seals to your checkout page
  • Displaying payment icons in the footer
  • Adding a GeoTrust SSL Seal to your store’s footer
  • Toggle ‘Displayed by BigCommerce’ in the footer
  • Adding non-Google Analytics tracking codes to your checkout page

The Stencil Theme Editor also makes the following theme configurations easier than Blueprint, where they must be configured in the Store Settings:

  • Number of blog posts displayed on the homepage
  • Number of featured products displayed on the homepage
  • Number of new products displayed on the homepage
  • Number of most popular products displayed on the homepage

The Stencil Theme Editor creates an environment in which you can change your storefront attributes without any coding. Sound great? It is! Stencil’s abilities with themes certainly surpass Blueprint’s capabilities. Within the Themes Marketplace, you’re allowed two free themes, one with 3 variations and the other with 4. You can preview themes within your store and filter the themes by featured variations and industries.

Stencil themes are adapted to suit a wide variety of catalog sizes, promotions, verticals, and content. Designs are fully responsive and *hold your breath* optimized for desktop, tablet, and mobile browsers. Also, the optimized checkout on mobile is structured to reduce your cart abandonment rates. It’s the only hosted platform that offers out-of-the-box Browser-sync (you can check out changes on tablet, mobile, and desktop), development in languages developers prefer (YAML conventions, Sass/SCSS, Handlebars), and flexible local theme development that allows your developers to make changes to your storefront without any disruption to your live store.


How 1Digital Can Help

Regardless of which skeleton you choose for your site, 1Digital Agency can help you meet your standards. We’re fluent in both Stencil and Blueprint, and we’ve been partnered with BigCommerce since our inception in 2012. If you need help with data migration, site building, or anything BigCommerce related, 1Digital is the answer to your problems. With expert designers and developers, we’ve created beautiful sites for a plethora of clients, all coming from different industries and backgrounds. For more information, feel free to contact us here. We’ll be happy to give your site the boost that it deserves.


Dan Kogan

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