Big Cartel Website Builder is the perfect option for you, providing all the essential tools to run an online store, aesthetically pleasing templates, and a simple process of adding products!
Last Updated | August 2022
Big Cartel is a simple e-commerce platform designed to meet the needs of independent artists and shops that allows you to create a site using templates and designs meant to make your products stand out. You can create an online store, add products and services, connect a payment gateway like Stripe or PayPal, collect payments, sell things without additional listing or transaction costs and run promotions with Big Cartel. If you’re just getting started, Big Cartel might be the perfect choice for your business.
Big Cartel, founded in 2005, distinguishes itself from other commerce platforms by focusing on artists looking for simple ways to sell their work online. The platform is an all-in-one solution that allows you to create, manage, and run your e-commerce site from a single place.
Big Cartel’s user base has grown to include many different businesses. Even though it is a website builder that caters to the demands of creative and artistic merchants, it can be used to sell almost anything. Big Cartel already powers over 250,000 online stores in 2022, with artists from around the globe.
Big Cartel is known for its simplicity of design and ease of use while providing all the necessary features to operate your online store. The company offers free and paid plans, and its features are pretty basic. However, you will need to know how to code if you want to take your Big Cartel store beyond the basics and make it more advanced and professional-looking.
So, while you decide which plan to purchase, you should decide based on your future business plan. Read this Big Cartel brand review to see if this website builder is the best solution for you to design a website.
Big Cartel was established for makers, creative people, and anyone who has created a product and wants to sell it online. Big Cartel is ideal for designers, painters, jewelry makers, woodworkers, and other creative people. The Website Builder gives your online store a significant visual presence without requiring any website-building expertise.
Big Cartel is a web-based, fully-hosted eCommerce platform that allows you to connect to a custom domain and is ideal for small businesses that are just getting started rather than expanding. The free plan it provides is particularly appealing to individuals on a tight budget. The provider also encourages individuals in their efforts to make and sell things by charging no transaction fees, listing fees, or other costs. Big Cartel gives you:
Big Cartel will not be a good fit if you want an eCommerce website that can grow with your business because of its restricted feature set. You’ll also need coding skills to take your business beyond the basics and get the most out of this website builder. So you might be better off looking for a website builder that better suits your needs.
My first experience working with Big Cartel was good. Creating my website was simple, and everything was easy to navigate.
So, if you’re just getting started, need simplicity, and don’t need a lot of advanced features, then Big Cartel Website Builder is perfect for you. Keep reading this Big Cartel expert review to learn about its pricing, features, etc.
Big Cartel Website Builder is the perfect option for you, providing all the essential tools to run an online store, aesthetically pleasing templates, and a simple process of adding products!
We use extensive eCommerce builder testing to rank the website builder to give you the best and most accurate Big Cartel expert review. We check its ease of use, features, and everything else it offers through testing. During testing, we use specific parameters, and here are the ones we used in this Big Cartel brand review.
|Ease of use||8.5||Creating a website with Big Cartel’s free plan is easy. However, if you want to purchase a plan with more advanced features, you will have to have coding knowledge.|
|Value for Money – Pricing & Plans||8.8||Big Cartel is one of the best free ecommerce builders if you want to start small and keep it small. If you want to expand your online store, its features are restricted, and Big Cartel isn’t the best option.|
|Templates (Design flexibility)||9.1||Big Cartel offers interesting and eye-catching themes but a small template selection. However, they are all free. The customization is limited, but you can change the theme.|
|Features and Business Features||7.9||BigCartel offers good features for small businesses that aren’t looking to scale up soon. But, it does lack advanced sales features, so it is not a great choice for larger businesses.|
|Performance||9.7||Big Cartel’s website takes 2.07 seconds to load fully on a desktop and 2.00 on a mobile phone. Big Cartel provided 99.9% uptime. The results were constant, which is something you want from an ecommerce site.|
|Help and customer support||7.1||Big Cartel lacks various help and support tools, and its customer service is only available in English. However, it excels at assisting users during the website building process.|
|Overall rating||8.5||The Big Cartel Website Builder is easy to use, but it does need improvements, especially in the features and customer support sections.|
Because Big Cartel provides the essential features in its free plan, it is easy to use. However, if you want to purchase a plan with more advanced features, you will have to have coding knowledge. But as stated before, if you are a beginner, the free plan would be suitable for you.
So, the first step is to go to bigcartel.com and click on Open your store on the homepage.
Next, you should choose the plan you want. I chose the free plan because I wanted to see what Big Cartel offers at the most basic level.
Once you choose the plan you want, you will need to fill in your information such as email, password, shop name, and shop URL.
And that’s it! You set up your account in only a minute, and now you can start creating your website.
When you access your account, you should click on design your shop in your Dashboard.
Next, Big Cartel gives you a small, three-step guide that can help you design your website.
Next, click on Design to start editing and customizing your website.
Big Commerce’s template editor is pretty simple to use, and the main settings are in the menu on the left side of the screen.
Big Cartel automatically chooses a theme for your website, but you can change it and customize it to your needs and liking. You have 18 free themes to choose from.
Big Cartel’s editor also uses some drag-and-drop functionality. You can drag or select header, background image, add a slide show, change the theme colors, change the font, add socials, etc. You can also add more pages.
While editing your website, you can click on Desktop in the top right corner to change to a tablet or phone view to see your page displayed on different devices.
Big Cartel offers only two subscription plans besides the free one. The free plan is best for a simple and small website, while the other two are better suited for larger businesses. This price range varies from $0 on the free plan to $19.99 a month on the most expensive one. Also, the amount of products you can sell through your store varies across the plans from five to 500. Let’s go over them and their features to help you choose.
|5 Products||$0 a month|
|50 Products||$9.99 a month|
|500 Products||$19.99 a month|
Big Cartel’s plans are very affordable.
Big Cartel’s primary appeal is its completely free plan. It’s one of the few free ecommerce platforms that allows you to set up an online store and accept payments. The free plan is excellent if you are a beginner, just starting, or have a small business. You will get all the essential features with no money spent.
However, if you want a more advanced feature for your store, you should go with a paid plan. Both plans offer the same set of features, and the only difference in the plans is the number of products you are allowed to sell. So choose which plan to purchase based on how many products you want to sell.
If you start with the free plan and like Big Cartel’s features, you can always upgrade later. Big Cartel is one of the most excellent free ecommerce builders if you want to start small and keep it small. However, if you want to expand your online store, Big Cartel isn’t the best option. The restricted and basic features of Big Cartel keep it from being a great offer. However, if you want to start with a free plan, this is the best option! So, we give Big Cartel an 8.8 for the price to value ratio.
Big Cartel offers themes with bright and minimal designs, but there are only 18 to choose from. Big Cartel’s selection of themes is a lot smaller than the selections of other eCommerce platforms. But you will undoubtedly be able to find something that suits you. Every design is fresh and fully responsive and works well on various devices, smartphones, and tablets.
Big Cartel’s templates are free, which isn’t the same as other competing platforms that charge you to use specific themes. You can also preview the theme before choosing it, and you can change it whenever you want. Your products will be reformatted to fit the new design automatically. Bur any additional content will not be transferred to the new layout, and you will have to manually re-upload these, which could take some time. To optimize the themes, you will have to know how to code.
Many of the themes Big Cartel provides are aimed toward creative and artistic merchants. However, Big Cartel does provide some ‘general-purpose’ themes. But if you’re looking for something more enterprise-focused for your organization, other providers offer that kind of theme.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the themes Big Cartel provides.
The Roadie theme has a simple and minimal design combined with near-infinite layout options that make this theme one of Big Cartel’s most versatile themes. With this theme, you can set an announcement message displayed on the top of every page, display your desktop navigation as a header or a sidebar, etc.
Netizen is a retro theme that is dynamic and colorful, with a graphic look. With this theme, you can set the products per row, showcase categories with banners on your home page, customize the number of featured products on the home page, and set the number of products per page.
Big Cartel offers interesting and eye-catching themes but a small template selection. However, they are all free. The customization is limited, but you can change the theme. So the overall ranking would be 9.1.
Big Cartel is an all-in-one solution for creatives that is simple to use. You can effortlessly put up your products, take payments, and ship orders from a single dashboard once you sign up. Here are a few features that Big Cartel offers to help you set up your store.
Big Cartel is ideal for anyone looking to sell a few unique items online. It provides simple features and good sales choices for creators looking for a platform to market their work. Big Cartel also offers options to promote your work online by allowing its users to use Instagram to tag their Big Cartel products, which is a great way to show off their artwork and unique designs.
Online store owners understand the importance of security because if customers are concerned about protecting their personal information, they are likely to go with another provider. One of the benefits of using Big Cartel is that the provider is responsible for the platforms’ security. So, you won’t have to worry about your site’s security because Big Cartel’s software developers will take care of it for you.
Big Cartel uses industry-standard SSL encryption to keep your information secure. All information sent and received will be encrypted regardless of what connection you use to access your Dashboard. Every page of the Big Cartel store will be encrypted with SSL. Your payment processor secures the transactions.
App stores are available on many ecommerce platforms, allowing you to access add-ons for your store. These apps can enhance your store’s functionality or allow you to integrate it with other internet resources. Big Cartel’s apps might be difficult to find because they’re in the Help Center, and there isn’t an app store. Big Cartel recommends apps for many ecommerce functions such as selling digital goods, accessing more advanced finance, creating promotional pop-ups, making drop-shipping available to your consumers, etc. These might help you build your online store and improve customer service.
Big Cartel provides 27 apps to choose from in the following categories: marketing & promotions, manufacturing, shipping & fulfillment, store management, payment processors, and domain providers. The 27 apps provided are helpful, with popular integrations such as Mailchimp, Instagram, Google, and Shipstation. While Big Cartel’s categories cover the fundamentals of running an online store, there’s a chance you won’t find an app that suits your needs.
While the app selection may seem limited, it is suitable for creative artists. Art of Where and Printful, two print-on-demand platforms that allow dropshipping through a Big Cartel store, will be suitable for artists. Another good app is the Pulley app, which allows you to sell digital things such as music, ebooks, films, software, graphics, etc. The integration with Zapier, which allows you to connect Big Cartel to more than 500 apps, considerably widens the possibilities. So, although the number of integrations isn’t excessive, it may be sufficient for Big Cartel’s target demographic.
Besides selling on your site, Big Cartel offers social media integration options and allows you effectively sell through Facebook and Instagram.
Selling through social media is an option that is available for free and paid plan users.
Mobile optimization is critical in today’s society. The customers must be able to view and interact with your website regardless of the device they are using. Big Cartel provides a mobile app through which you can manage your store, available for both iOS and Android.
Big Cartel’s themes are fully mobile responsive, and each theme reformates to fit mobile and tablet screens. Big Cartel gives you a simple, icon-based navigation system that lets you easily work your way around the app. You can also make changes to your store design.
Big Cartel’s target market is artists and creative people looking to sell their unique products online. Hence, it focuses on small entrepreneurs and doesn’t offer many business features. However, let’s look at some of the few ones offered.
Product management tools allow you to keep track of your inventory and product assortment. This will ensure that you do not run out of products that clients are looking for. You can also mark things as sold out or coming soon, so your customers can be notified of forthcoming product assortment changes. It’s also quite simple to add products. You need to upload a photograph of the product you want to sell, enter its name, price, category, and status, write a description, and establish delivery settings.
When it comes to order management, Big Cartel has a separate section where you can view the whole list of orders. This is where you can keep track of orders and their statuses and set up automated confirmation emails to send to customers who complete purchases. Premium plan users can make discount offers and promo codes in the discount section to attract more customers.
Big Cartel offers integrations with external payment providers for its users like Stripe, Paypal, Square, and Venmo. But regardless of the payment gateway used, Big Cartel doesn’t charge any transaction fees. However, the payment method you choose for your Big Cartel store will charge you transaction fees. The fees are normally 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.
You also get a customized checkout with confirmation emails that match your brand and theme. You can keep track of your transactions and order details in the orders area.
In addition, Big Cartel provides Point-of-sale (POS) features that allow you to sell online and at physical locations using your eCommerce platform. When you use your online store’s POS system, your inventory levels will automatically be updated if you sell a product at a physical location and maintain everything in order. To use POS with Big Cartel, you’ll need to use one of the previously mentioned payment gateways.
One of the most challenging aspects of selling online is that you may make sales in various countries with different tax rates, which you must account for in your product pricing. Big Cartel’s Sales Tax Autopilot calculates and collects sales tax on all orders placed in the United States. This applies to all sales made to sales tax-collecting states and territories.
If your store is located outside of the United States, you can manually set taxes for your store’s home country. You’ll receive a report detailing the amount of taxes collected, which you can use to file your taxes.
Organic traffic is vital to making a profit. Therefore, search engine optimization (SEO) is critical to the success of any online company.
Big Cartel utilizes SEO features and gives you a fully responsive design that adjusts itself appropriately to suit the device it’s being viewed on, valid HTML markup, plain-text URLs, an automatic generated sitemap, the ability to edit alt text easily, and a canonical URL.
People don’t like waiting for websites to load. Hence speed is a key factor in a website’s success. It is not just a ranking criterion in Google, but it also impacts user experience. With the free plan by Big Cartel, you can use third-party apps to access your site’s analytics. And if you have purchased one of Big Cartel’s paid plans, you will have access to Google Analytics which you can use to gain accurate and powerful insights into your store’s performance. We did a few tests to check Big Cartel’s performance.
We checked Big Cartel’s load time a few times. I visited the page several times, and its loading speed was consistent. The website takes 2.07 seconds to load fully on a desktop and 2.00 on a mobile phone. So, when it comes to speed and loading time Big Cartel’s performance was excellent.
We did some tests to see how Big Cartel performed in speed and performance. And based on our tests Big Cartel provided 99.9% uptime. The Big Cartel servers are also extremely fast. In addition, the results were constant, which is something you want from an ecommerce site.
The overall performance ranking is 9.7 based on the tests and results.
Customers have a positive experience when they receive excellent customer service. They are more inclined to trust and be loyal to a brand if they are satisfied with the service they receive. Customers can contact Big Cartel customer support via email, blog, and the company’s Help Center.
Across all of Big Cartel’s plans, there is just one sort of direct support: email support, accessible Monday through Friday from 8 am to 6 pm EST. They do not, however, provide phone or chat help.
Big Cartel also provides a Help Center, which is well-written and straightforward. The help center contains various articles, videos, and FAQs to assist you in setting up and administering your store. These are well-written and provide a comprehensive overview of the most important aspects of selling on the platform. Basics, Customization, Products, Orders, Dashboard, Discounts, Settings, Billing, Security, and Apps & Integrations are covered in the Help Center.
In addition, Big Cartel has a blog that features many artists that use the platform and offer valuable business advice.
While Big Cartel lacks a variety of help and support tools, and its customer service is only available in English, it excels at assisting users during the website building process. You’re less likely to contact email support for solutions because of regular prompts, reminders, and messages. Aside from a few comments expressing a wish for phone support, we haven’t noticed any negative Big Cartel reviews relating to customer service.
Over a million artists and manufacturers worldwide have used Big Cartel to set up a business, start a side project, or create a full-time income selling unique goods online. Look at some of the websites created using Big Cartel to better picture the platform. So, here are a few examples of the websites created with the Big Cartel Website Builder.
Jose A. Roda (Online Store)
Jose A. Roda is an online store by Jose A. Roda that sells colorful illustrations and precise paper cuts with simple shapes. The template used for this site is a minimal and simple black and white one.
Ceramics by Jenny
Ceramics by Jenny is an online store that sells hand-made ceramics. The template used for this online store is very dynamic and colorful, with a background picture of the ceramics.
Delish Condish (Online Store)
Delish Condish is a skincare brand that sells hand-made products with plant-based ingredients. This website uses a minimalistic theme with simple black and white colors. A picture of the products brings in a pop of color.
This Big Cartel review shows the provider is the perfect choice for individual creators, artists, musicians, small merchants, and others who want to sell online. Its ease of use lets you design beautiful themes. Its simple sales features allow users to develop and administer their store from any device with Internet access, making it perfect for freelancers. However, If you want to buy a plan with more advanced features, you will need to know how to code.
Big Cartel offers affordable plans, but its free plan is most appealing because it is the only eCommerce builder that lets you sell online free of charge and with no transaction fees. The templates provided by Big Cartel have pretty designs and are suited for creative projects.
For experienced web developers, Big Cartel’s simplicity may not be suitable. Since it is designed for artists, Big Cartel’s features are not adequate for professional eCommerce sellers. It also does lack some features, like multi-currency selling, abandoned cart saving, and a good SEO setup, so it is not suitable for anyone trying to grow their eCommerce business.
But, the features Big Cartel provides are great for building and supporting a small online store. So, if you need to sell only a few products and don’t need many different themes or advanced features, Big Cartel might be the ideal eCommerce platform.
Still not convinced? Sign up for the free plan that Big Cartel offers, and check out the platform. You can test it out and see if Big Cartel is the right website builder for you.
You can find various Big Cartel customer reviews online, and after spending some time scouring customer review sites, and comment threads, here are the most common Big Cartel reviews.
There are many things to like about Big Cartel, and most of the reviews I read were positive, with most users liking that it gives them more power to build their brands. The users liked that Big Cartel allows them to sell entirely free of charge, paying only the fees for credit card processing when they make a sale. At the same time, they also liked Big Cartel’s affordable paid plans. Other positive reviews liked Big Cartel’s consistent uptime and web design.
When it comes to ease of use, people overall found it simple and easy to get their site online fast. But some Big Cartel customer reviews disagreed. While some of the Big Cartel customer reviews stated that it is a simple, easy-to-use website builder that’s good for starting, the other half of the Big Cartel customer reviews found it limiting and stated that everything had to be coded. However, they all agreed that if you want a higher level of customization, Big Cartel will not be suitable for you.
Other Big Cartel negative reviews disliked that it lacks some advanced features for scaling and that Big Cartel can be limiting for some sellers because its plans allow up to 500 products.
Big Cartel might not be the best for growing your business. With the most expensive Diamond plan, you can only sell 500 products maximum, which is not enough to grow your business on a larger scale. So, it’s better to look at other eCommerce builders if you want to grow your business.
No, there aren’t. However, you will need to use third-party apps to get the most from your Big Cartel store. Because of this, the monthly cost of your website may increase. So, it would be best if you considered this fact when you’re planning your budget.
Big Cartel doesn’t provide a built-in tool for changing your site’s language. However, all of their stores on paid plans have access to their HTM, and you can either go in and translate your code by hand or embed a translate widget. You could also integrate an app like Weglot with your Big Cartel shop to display your site in multiple languages.
Yes, you can upgrade your plan if you need more product listings and features. Or you can also downgrade if you don’t use the paid features. You can do everything from your Big Cartel admin through Edit your plan & billing.
You can add customer reviews to your shop by using third-party integrations or widgets on the paid plans. You can use services like Disqus or Testimonial Robot that provide an embed code that you can copy and paste into a custom page in the design section of your admin.
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