When you search for some of the best website builders online, Big Cartel is the name you may have probably come across often.
With so many amazing features, it has been an ideal choice for many online stores globally. We have experimented with various website builders over the last few years, and Big Cartel made our list of ‘must-try website builders’ too!
If you are wondering if Big Cartel is the right website builder to kick-start your eCommerce store journey, our honest Big Cartel review will help you unlock all the answers!
We will be reviewing Big Cartel based on various crucial parameters, including key features, themes, customization, eCommerce features, and more.
So, let’s get into the details to see if Big Cartel is the one for your store!
Big Cartel Review: Key Takeaway (2023)
We understand if you do not have time to review our detailed review. Below is a quick summary of our Big Cartel review!
|Overall Rating (G2 Rating)||4.3/5|
|Price||Free Plan, $9.99, and $19.99|
|Ease of Use||3.5/5|
|Themes/templates||18 pre-made free templates|
|Customization||Coding is needed for the best customization options.|
|eCommerce Features||Stripe and PayPal integration.Inventory management. Order management. Real-time analytics and stats. Options and Options Group feature. Point-of-sale features.No abandoned cart recovery feature.|
|Best For||Small creators who want to start selling. Beginners who want to launch their store without spending a lot.Creators and artists who want to sell their hand-made/designed products online.|
Big Cartel: Overview
Big Cartel is one of the amazing and affordable eCommerce platforms explicitly dedicated to online stores for creators. With an intuitive user interface, users can design their websites from scratch without needing prior experience or a single line of code. Safe to say, it is the only website builder that allows you to set up your store and sell your products without charging a single dollar.
With beautiful themes and plenty of tools, you can create a fully-fledged online store and sell your customized clothes, jewelry, artwork, prints, and more! Launched by a musician, the website builder was established solely for creators and artists, but over the years, people have been using it to create any online store in multiple niches.
One of the best aspects differentiating Big Cartel from other website builders online is that it doesn’t charge a single fee when you start selling. So, for creators who want to scale up their creativity by launching their online store, Big Cartel is the right pick!
How Does Big Cartel Work?
Big Cartel is an ecommerce platform designed for artists, creators, and smaller merchants to set up and run an online store easily. Some key ways Big Cartel works:
- Simple setup – Big Cartel has an intuitive signup process and provides themes to quickly customize the look and feel of your store without coding.
- Listing management – Products can be added to the store with descriptions, images, variants, and prices. Inventory levels are tracked in real time.
- Order management – As customers purchase products, orders are received and can be fulfilled directly or synced with shipping apps.
- Payments – Big Cartel integrates with payment processors like PayPal and Stripe to accept credit cards securely. Sales tax rates are automatically calculated.
- Discounts – Coupon codes and percentage discounts can be set up to offer promotions to customers. Abandoned cart discounts are also available.
- Blogging – Posts can be published to create editorial content that engages customers.
- Basic SEO – Page titles, URLs, and meta descriptions can be customized to improve search engine optimization.
- Analytics – Sales, traffic, top products, and other key metrics are tracked within the dashboard.
- Customer communication – Customers can be contacted directly through the platform with transactional emails.
With its easy store setup, built-in sales capabilities, and focus on creative entrepreneurs, Big Cartel enables selling products online quickly without needing advanced technical skills. Its features cater to small businesses and artists getting started selling their work.
Big Cartel: Key Features
Big Cartel offers many unique features that help you build your online store from scratch. You can add products, manage them, and sell them to your audience. While there are various features, we have picked some of the prominent features we liked about the website builder.
- Bulk editing to make changes across multiple orders, products, and discounts.
- Real-time statistics to track your store’s progress.
- Easily run promos and offer discounts to your customers.
- Beautiful and fully responsive themes.
- Various integrations to add extra functionality to your store.
- Easy shipment tracking options.
- Accept payments easily with Stripe and PayPal.
- Sell and launch your products on multiple platforms.
How Easy is It to Use?
Ease of use is one of the most crucial parameters to judge a website builder on. This is because if you want to create your online store, you don’t want to spend maximum time understanding the website builder. Instead, you need a website builder to help you build your store from scratch with minimum hassle. Fortunately, Big Cartel is an easy-to-use website builder with a clean and intuitive user interface.
To get going, you will have to sign up on Big Cartel. Again, signing up is quick and easy. All you have to do is enter your details as asked on the screen. When you enter your shop’s name, Big Cartel will automatically suggest a shop URL.
After completing the signing-up process, you will immediately be redirected to the dashboard. Big Cartel will also guide you on your dashboard with a ‘Getting Started Checklist.’ The checklist gives you a step-by-step guide on how you can create your store.
The onboarding process is simple as the reminders, suggestions, and guides from Big Cartel can make the process easier for beginners. In addition, you don’t need to look for a hosting solution elsewhere, as Big Cartel is a self-hosted platform.
The dashboard doesn’t have a fancy or clustered design, which is something we liked. With a clean interface, you can navigate through all the options quickly. Additionally, you can see various options at the top. You can manage orders, add/remove products and discounts, and change your account settings from the dashboard.
While most of the aspects are manageable from the dashboard, one thing that we were disappointed by Big Cartel’s interface is that you don’t get an option to access the template editor right from your dashboard. Instead, you will have to find the option through the account settings, which can confuse people.
Now, when it comes to customizing your store, the learning curve can be more extensive. Your store’s strength lies in the design; when you start designing, you get fewer options without coding.
Users who know how to code can use Big Cartel to its full potential and bring their dream design to life. But, if you are a beginner, designing your store without coding can be complex. So, overall when it comes to ease of use, Big Cartel can be straightforward for users who want to stick with the original theme and don’t want to go too deep into customization.
Templates, Designs, And Customization!
Since Big Cartel is ideally designed for creators, you must be curious about the templates and design options it gives you. Your website design plays a vital role in the success of your website. The more appealing your website looks, the more your users will be attracted to explore your site.
However, if you are a creator or an artist selling their merch or designs through your online store, you need to ensure your design outshines everyone else’s. This is because if you are a designer/artist and have a basic theme for your website, the impression on your audience won’t be good.
Now, coming to Big Cartel’s themes or templates, offers you only 18 options to pick from. The number of choices is a bit disappointing, as the other website builders in the market offer hundreds of themes. However, all these ready-to-use templates are modern, clean, and professional.
These designs are mobile-responsive, meaning they work well, irrespective of the device. Furthermore, since Big Cartel leaned towards artists, these themes fit perfectly for stores selling merchandise.
Additionally, you can get a quick preview of all the themes before choosing one. One feature we loved about Big Cartel’s themes is that you can switch between themes anytime without rebuilding your store from scratch. For instance, if you decide to give your online store a new look after a few months, Big Cartel will automatically reformat your products to fit your new theme. However, the only manual work will be to add additional content, such as a background image.
Editing and Customization
After choosing a suitable theme for your store, you want to give it a personal touch to match your overall brand. Nowadays, most website builders come with drag-and-drop functionality to make editing easier. However, Big Cartel only offers drag-and-drop functionality to change the product order. This was a bit disappointing for us.
When discussing fonts and changing colors, Big Cartel gives you enough flexibility to design your website according to your preferences. The template editor can be a bit frustrating to navigate, but once you do, you can find the settings and options on the left hand.
What surprised us when customizing the templates through the website builder was the lack of options for beginners. For instance, if you want to have complete control over how you want your website to look, you must know how to code. Without coding, there is not much you can do to improve your store’s appearance.
If you want to learn more about customization, you can learn from Big Cartel’s resources HERE.
When you bring your talent online and start selling, you need to ensure that the website builder you picked provides plenty of eCommerce features to make your selling journey easier. Whether selling, marketing, adding product tools, or payment gateways, it is crucial to see what your website builder offers.
Fortunately, Big Cartel provides various selling tools to facilitate easy selling through your online store. Since you are going to sell your products, you would want to ensure you get an easy way to collect payments. Big Cartel lets you receive payments from your sales through Stripe and PayPal. While there is no built-in payment gateway, its integration with PayPal and Stripe can make accepting payments quicker.
On a positive note, Big Cartel doesn’t charge any transactional fees on your selling, unlike other platforms that generally have a percentage of the amount as a transaction fee.
If you are selling your product in multiple shapes and sizes, you can take advantage of the options group and options feature by Big Cartel. Using this feature, your customers can pick the product in its desired size and shape. Furthermore, you can also add categories to your store and manage them easily.
Another prominent eCommerce feature that you need is managing and adding products. Big Cartel is disappointing for large online stores as it allows you to add only 500 products, even with the highest-paid plan. Another eCommerce feature that Big Cartel lacks is abandoned cart recovery. The only way to achieve this feature is through the MailChimp integration.
Significant features like inventory management and order management are also easy and hassle-free with Big Cartel. Moreover, you can take advantage of the point-of-sale features to sell your products in person and online through integrations with payment gateways.
Lastly, you can see an in-built analytics feature on your dashboard as you scroll. The analytics by Big Cartel tracks your store’s performance and shows how well your store is performing with your audience. So, if you want to track your progress, the built-in analytics can come in handy.
Overall, Big Cartel provides some essential eCommerce features suitable for small stores.
Additional Tools And Features
A good website builder provides additional tools and features to ensure your site is fully functional. So, where does Big Cartel stand in other tools and feature parameters? Let’s check it out!
- Mobile app
If you want the flexibility to edit your online store anytime and anywhere, the mobile app from Big Cartel can be your best assistance. The app is available on Android and iOS and works similarly to the desktop version. You can manage your products, sell online, receive payments, and design your store through the mobile app.
- Apps and Integrations
Apps and integrations are crucial to making your store more robust. Big Cartel offers 27 apps, including Shipping, store management, marketing and promotion, and more. All these applications integrate seamlessly with some popular services, including Google, MailChimp, Instagram, and more. While the applications and integrations may feel less, it is worth noticing that it integrates with Zapier, through which you can connect to additional hundreds of services. So, you will never run out of options for integrations with Big Cartel. You can check out all the apps and integration detail here.
- Social media sharing.
Since you want to ensure your products reach a wider audience, Big Cartel allows you to sell your products through Facebook. In addition, you can tag products on Instagram. One of the best parts is that you can do all these things even with the free plan of Big Cartel!
- SEO and email marketing.
Big Cartel is SEO-friendly which means you can ensure your online store performs well. Moreover, you will also be given basic guidelines for building an SEO-friendly store. Now, coming to email marketing, there are no in-built email marketing tools to send emails and newsletters to your customers. However, you can opt for MailChimp to facilitate effective email marketing.
Is Customer Support Of Big Cartel Reliable?
We focus highly on website builder customer support because we firmly believe having a reliable team to assist you can make the process of building your site faster and less burdensome.
When it comes to Big Cartel’s customer support, they have experts from the field who are available to help you whenever you get stuck. However, there is no 24/7 customer support through the experts. You can contact the team during workdays between 8 am to 6 pm EST.
However, their in-depth resource center is helpful if you like to do things yourself. You can browse through hundreds of articles covering every single aspect. You can find reliable resources to overcome the issue, from customization and orders to products.
Overall, customer support can be a bit disappointing for users who want expert help since there is no 24/7 customer support access. But, if you only need resources to solve your problems, the articles can be helpful.
Who Should Use Big Cartel?
Big Cartel is best for everyone with a creative mindset. This platform is best for bakers, photographers, authors, painters, crafters, and so on. If you have created a unique product that is totally different from the usual products we can see online, then Big Cartel is the best platform for you to create an online store with that unique product. You can use pre-designed templates to design your online store without putting in so much work.
You can create a strong presence with your online store on the internet with Big Cartel without having any website building or coding skills. The one thing you need to remember is that it is only best for small online stores which are selling niche products with not more than 20 products. If you’re planning to start a big eCommerce store, then Big Cartel is not the right platform for you.
Big Cartel: Pricing
Now that we have seen all the features, let’s talk about one of the essential parts -pricing! Let’s take a look at the price below!
The free plan is for users who want to start their online store without worrying about spending anything. The free plan covers all the basic features you would need to set up your online store and start selling. However, with the free plan, you can only sell up to five products. So, the plan is ideal if you are just beginning to sell your products and don’t have more than five products to list.
Platinum and Diamond plans both come with similar features. The only difference is the number of products you can sell. While the pricing is straightforward, the product difference that makes the pricing double for the Diamond plan can be tricky for some users.
For example, if you want to list your 100 products, you will have to upgrade to Diamond since Platinum has a limit of 50. Now just to add 50 more products to your store, you will have to pay double the price you previously paid. But, if you are considering scaling up and adding more products in the future, this won’t be an issue in your case.
So, we are pretty impressed by the affordable pricing plans by Big Cartel, making it ideal for any users who do not have the budget to pick the expensive website builders.
Big Cartel: Pros And Cons
Now that you are aware of various features of Big Cartel, let us quickly summarize the Big Cartel review by weighing its pros and cons below!
- Easy to get started for beginners.
- It doesn’t charge any transactional fee when you start selling.
- Free themes to choose from for designing your store.
- A complete free plan for life.
- Reliable customer support team.
- No option to add products in bulk.
- Coding is needed for complete customization.
- Limited product adding options.
Final Thoughts: Big Cartel Review (2023)
You finally made it to the end of our Big Cartel review. After using Big Cartel, let’s summarize it quickly to clarify the website builder better.
Big Cartel is ideal for creators who want to start selling their products online with all the basic eCommerce functionalities. It is an affordable solution for any small creator or artist to launch their products and scale accordingly.
Since it has a free plan, you can use the website builder yourself to understand the functioning better and decide if it fits your needs. In the end, we would not recommend it for prominent business owners but either for small business owners or beginners.
Yes. Big Cartel is backed by robust SSL security, so you can ensure your store is secured.
Yes. Big Cartel doesn’t restrict who can set up an online store. You can create any type of online store and sell any product of your choice through Big Cartel.
Big Cartel provides a forever-free plan to its users. You can create your store and sell your products with its free plan. However, you can only sell up to five products through the free plan. You can opt for the paid plan if you want to sell more products.
Yes! Big Cartel allows you to upgrade or downgrade your plan even in the middle of an already-paid subscription. In case you want to downgrade your plan, your pending amount will be refunded by Big Cartel.
No, Big Cartel does not charge any transaction fee whenever you make a sale on your products. With the free plan, you can sell up to 5 products in your store, and you will only have to pay standard credit card transaction charges and nothing more.
Yes, you can connect your Big Cartel store to a custom domain. If you don’t have a domain, then you will get a free domain from Big Cartel, which will have .bigcartel in the end. You can not remove the .bigcartel from your store’s domain unless you connect it to a custom domain.
Yes, there are many better alternatives to Big Cartel, and some of them are Shopify, BigCommerce, Squarespace, Wix, etc.