What is Big Cartel?
big Cartel is an on-line store builder that has traditionally focused on serving the needs of creative and artistic sellers.
This international relations and security network ’ thyroxine storm actually, given its origins — it was founded in 2005 by a musician, Matt Wigham, as a direction to sell his band ’ south trade on-line. Although it started out as a platform aimed at ‘ creative ’ merchants, Big Cartel can technically be used to sell pretty much anything — thus its userbase has expanded to include lots of early business types .Big Cartel fast fore to 2022 and Big Cartel has generated over $2.5 billion in sales and, according to internet statistics company Builtwith.com, now powers 76,000+ online stores. But how does the platform actually work ?
How does Big Cartel work?
large Cartel is a ‘ hosted solution, ’ which means that it runs on its own servers, and you don ’ t need to worry about installing software anywhere, or buying web host. equally long as you have access to a computer, a world wide web browser and the internet, you can build and maintain a big trust store from anywhere. The platform is a ‘ software as a avail ’ product, which means that you don ’ thyroxine own it, but rather pay a monthly fee to use it. And public speaking of fees…
Big Cartel pricing
The strongest argument for using Big Cartel over competing ecommerce platforms is its pricing — it ’ sulfur actually cheap by comparison to its rivals and, if you ’ re only selling a few products, can even be used for free. This means that despite its ‘ aesthetic ’ vibration, quite a set of minor businesses ( specially those with minor budgets ) have started using it .Big Cartel plans There are three Big Cartel plans available :
- Gold (Free) — $0 per month.
- Platinum — $9.99 per month.
- Diamond — $19.99 per month.
All these come with detached themes to design your shop with, and all plans allow you to…
- use a custom domain
- sell online or in person
- offer discounts and promotions.
As for Big Cartel ’ s ‘ unblock ’ design, ‘ Gold, ’ it is precisely that. Unlike the detached trials provided by competitors, we ’ ra not talking about a design that expires after a set clock time period. You can host a basic store on Big Cartel ’ s Gold design for detached indefinitely. As you might expect however, there are limitations to the Big Cartel unblock plan. It…
- limits you to selling a total of just five products
- restricts your ability to edit your site’s code
- doesn’t let you add Google Analytics
- doesn’t let you track inventory.
Despite these limitations, the ‘ complimentary ’ design can be a estimable way to start selling on-line and developing an on-line business. Turning now to the bounty plans, the ‘ Platinum ’ plan, at $ 9.99 per month, allows you to sell a maximum of 50 products in your store. It besides gives you access to inventory track, the ability to edit your store root ’ south code, and, importantly, the option to add Google Analytics. The most expensive plan, ‘ Diamond ’, costs $ 19.99. This design increases your product inventory limit to 500 products — but differently, all of its features are the same as those of the ‘ Platinum ’ plan. so all in all, the Big Cartel pricing plans offer access to an ecommerce platform at very competitive prices. If you are offering a limited range of products, and you have a very low budget to play with, Big Cartel is surely worth your consideration. however, if you have more than 500 products in your inventory ( or if you plan on having an inventory larger than 500 products ), you will decidedly need to look elsewhere for an on-line store builder. ( And, as we ’ ll meet late, Big Cartel ’ second limitations are not just restricted to the numeral of products you can sell. ) But for minor enterprises with basic needs, Big Cartel ’ s pricing social organization is very attractive. price, of course, is just one share of the ecommerce picture — and not necessarily the most crucial part ! so, let ’ s take a look at something that ’ randomness pretty key to a successful on-line memory : visuals .
There are 18 Big Cartel templates or ‘ themes ’ to choose from, which form the basic purpose of your store. This choice is a draw smaller than what ’ s available from other well-established ecommerce platforms. To put the Big Cartel offer into context, Shopify comes with 96 templates ; Wix gives you 800+ ; BigCommerce offers 193 ; Squarespace offers 139 .The Big Cartel theme library On the asset english, all of Big Cartel ’ mho templates are entirely dislodge, which isn ’ t the case with those offered by competing platforms — some on-line storehouse builders ( notably BigCommerce and Shopify ) charge you to use certain themes .
big Cartel themes are, on the wholly, pretty good. They are all amply responsive — meaning they ’ ll adapt themselves to display appropriately on the device they ’ re being viewed on ( mobile, tablet, background etc. ) — and there is reasonable diverseness across the 18 themes provided. Given Big Cartel ’ s history of being focused at aesthetic merchants, a distribute of the themes are geared towards creative projects. ( This is indicated by some of the theme names — ‘ Roadie, ’ ‘ Setlist, ’ ‘ Foundry, ’ etc. )Many of Big Cartels’ themes are geared towards a more ‘creative’ user base overall this means that Big Cartel templates, whilst aesthetically pleasing, decidedly lean towards the ‘ quirkier ’ side of plan. That said, there are decidedly some ‘ general-purpose ’ themes available from boastful Cartel — for example, the ‘ Ranger ’ and ‘ Neat ’ themes can be used for a pretty wide range of ecommerce applications .Big Cartel’s ‘Ranger’ template can be used for a wider variety of applications than some of its more ‘arty’ ones But if you ’ rhenium looking for something identical bodied for your business, there are ecommerce solutions out there that provide more ‘ conventional ’, enterprise-focused themes. nowadays, let ’ s take a count at how big trust stacks up when it comes to capacity management .
Content management and ease of use
When you log into Big Cartel, you see a fairly simple dashboard with an icon-based seafaring menu at the top. You use these icons to move around the content management system ( CMS ) .The Big Cartel These icons let you access basic analytics, add products, view orders, set up discounts and change account settings .Big Cartel’s navigation menu One matter they don ’ t permit you do, curiously, is access the Big Cartel template editor. You have to go to the ‘ score ’ section of your bad Cartel shop and locate a not-very obvious ‘ invention ’ clitoris to access it. This is the alone confusing aspect of what ’ s otherwise a very easy-to-navigate interface .
once you ’ ve located it, you ’ ll find that Big Commerce ’ s template editor program is pretty elementary to use besides. The independent settings are in a menu on the left hand side of the screen ; changes made using these are visible on the veracious hand english .Big Cartel’s template editor now, these days, many online storehouse builders provide very extensive drag-and-drop edit features that let you move any element around the page with relief ( this is specially the case with Squarespace and Wix ). In Big Cartel, there is some drag-and-drop functionality available — but merely for changing the order of products in a list or grid. A reasonable degree of flexibility is provided when it comes to branding elements however — a decent number of Google fonts is provided ( 57 ), and changing your site colors is very easy. If the design controls that are available don ’ thyroxine meet your needs, and you are on a paid-for Big Cartel plan, you can edit your root ’ randomness CSS and HTML code. Doing so gives you a draw more control over how your memory appear. not all competing platforms are terribly compromising on that front ( particularly Wix ), so a hitchhike up here for Big Cartel .
There are two ways to add products to a big Cartel storehouse — if you have quite a few of them, it ’ s normally best to bulk import them using a CSV file ( remember of course that the maximum phone number of products that you can import is 500 ). The other way — and the more suitable one for merchants who are good selling a few items — is to just add the products manually using the Big Cartel interface. Doing then is extremely aboveboard — you just go to Products, chink ‘ Add a product, ’ satiate in a few simple fields and you ’ re cook to go .Adding a product to Big Cartel is very easy Unlike many competing platforms, you won ’ metric ton be bamboozled with configuration choices when adding products. But what you might miss is the choice to present your products to your customers in unlike ways. For a startle, you are quite circumscribed in terms of how many product images you can add. The free plan merely lets you show one visualize of a product ; and the pay plans only let you add five. For context, Wix lets you add 7 and Shopify up to 250. additionally, not all Big Cartel themes feature a product zoom option ( and on the themes where it is available, the feature of speech is pretty basic ). And you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate get the choice to upload 3D models of your products, either. ( That said, a piece of coding and the function of jQuery plugins can serve as a workaround for adding a good merchandise rapid climb sport — one for those who are more technically minded, however ). You can add videos to products, but only if you ’ re glad to embed content from external services like Youtube or Vimeo into your product descriptions — big Cartel won ’ triiodothyronine server your merchandise video for you. And, as we ’ ll discourse in more depth later, you won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate receive much in the manner of transportation options .
curiously, there doesn ’ thyroxine seem to be a way to export products from boastful Cartel. You can export orders to CSV file — but not your product catalogue. Some competing platforms, like Shopify and Squarespace, provide migration tools that let you mechanically migrate your Big trust products across to them, so you might not end up wholly stuck if you switch to another solution in future. however, the miss of a CSV export tool for products may prove frustrating to Big Cartel merchants with large catalogues who in future switch to a platform without this sort of consequence facility .
When building an on-line shop, the the benefits of blogging when it comes to generating traffic shouldn ’ thyroxine be underestimated. Publishing high-quality web log capacity on your storehouse is absolutely key to attracting visitors to it — and generating more sales. accordingly, a lot of big ecommerce platforms, like BigCommerce or Shopify, tend to offer blogging tools out of the box. big Cartel doesn ’ t come with built-in blogging functionality, however. This is a shame, because the ‘ creative ’ audiences for Big Cartel stores are credibly quite centripetal to blog content from the many aesthetic merchants using the platform to sell their products .Leading ecommerce platforms like Shopify (pictured above) often come with a built in-blog. If you want to blog in Big Cartel, however, you’ll need to use a third-party tool to do so. so, if you want to blog using Big Cartel, you ’ ll want to add a third-party app to do so — a good option for this is the DropInBlog tool. This requires a bit of messing around with HTML code, however, which may not suit all users .
Managing your store on the go with a mobile app
What about editing your memory on the move ? well, in common with many other ecommerce platforms, Big Cartel now gives you a mobile app to manage your storehouse with — this is available for both io and Android .The Big Cartel mobile app This works in a fairly similar room to the background translation of Big Cartel — it gives you a dim-witted, icon-based navigation system that lets you work your way around the app easily. recently the app was improved to facilitate tweaks to your store design — however in our tests of these newly design tools ( using the Android version ) we found them to be a bit balmy and unreliable. Of the two versions of the app ( Android and io ), the io app is the better one, giving you some supernumerary features for taking in-person cash payments and issuing receipts. ( This is possibly reflected in the drug user ratings given to the app by io and Android users, who have given the app 4.8 stars out of 5 on the Apple app store — but only 3.5 out of 5 on Google ’ s. )
Summing up the Big Cartel CMS
In effect, the content management functionality Big Cartel offers is reasonably basic by comparison to that provided by many competing ecommerce platforms — everything ’ s fairly tightly locked down. The plus side of this is that getting to grips with its interface doesn ’ thymine involve a steep learn curve at all. The down side is that the actual come of ‘ management ’ you can do with Big Cartel ’ s content management system can, on occasion, seem small. The penetrate trace ? If you prize simplicity over complexity, you ’ ll like the Big Cartel CMS ; if you want to configure things to the nth degree, there are better memory builders available. now, let ’ s be active onto what for many readers is going to be the most authoritative function of this Big Cartel review : a discussion on ecommerce features .
Big Cartel ecommerce features
then army for the liberation of rwanda, we ’ ve looked at Big Cartel from a visuals and subject position. But of class what matters most is how it lets you sell your products. sol, let ’ s drill down into the chopine ’ s ecommerce features, starting with payment gateways .
Payment gateways for Big Cartel
A payment gateway is the software that lets you accept credit tease payments on your on-line store. many on-line store builders offer merchants either the option to use a built-in payment gateway, or an external matchless. There ’ s no built-in payment gateway for Big Cartel, however. It merely offers integrations with external requital providers, and equitable four at that : Stripe, Paypal, Square and Venmo ( digest for Afterpay is on the way soon, however ). On the asset side, careless of requital gateway used, Big Cartel doesn’t charge any transaction fees whatsoever when you accept a requital through your store. This compares positively with key rival Shopify, which takes a cut of your sales ( 0.5 % to 2 % ) if you use a third-party requital gateway. however, you ’ ll still be charged accredit card fees by the chosen payment gateway for your boastful trust store. Taking Stripe as an example, this typically equates to 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction in the USA ( fees can be lower in other countries, though ) .
When you start adding products to the platform, one of the key differences between Big Cartel and other ecommerce platforms reveals itself. This is because big Cartel limits you to a maximal of barely 500 products on its highest design. This is a very belittled specify — and keystone competitors Shopify, BigCommerce and Squarespace all let you sell an unlimited number of products .
Options and groups
If your product comes in different shapes and sizes, you can make use of Big Cartel ’ sulfur options and options groups to present these to your memory visitors. ‘ Options ’ let your store visitors pick one version of your product — so for case, if you were selling a carryall bag, your customer could specify that they wanted it in minor, medium OR boastfully. big Cartel ’ s ‘ option groups ’ let your customers mix and match their options. Merchants can create dropdown menus for key product attributes — for exemplar, color and size ( see movie below ). This lets your users choose their desire version of a intersection more well — i, using these dropdowns the customer could regulate a small, white carryall bag etc .Big Cartel product option groups You can create up to 150 product options with Big Cartel, and three option groups. This compares reasonably well with other platforms ; it ’ second broadly comparable to what Shopify offers when it comes to intersection options and group, but both BigCommerce and Squarespace are more flexible here ( and apps can be added to Shopify that remove these product option limits ) .
Adding products to categories is pretty easy in big Cartel — you can create them in the back end and then assign products to them ( this can be done more cursorily via a ‘ bulk edit ‘ cock if preferred ) .Managing product categories in Big Cartel Unlike some platforms — notably Shopify — you can ’ thymine use rules and tags to mechanically create and populate your intersection categories ; but then again, because most big trust merchants will be working with fairly small inventories, this international relations and security network ’ t a particularly big consider .
Abandoned cart recovery in Big Cartel
Cart desertion refers to a site where on-line store visitors add items to their patronize cart, but don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate complete the leverage. Statistics for haul desertion vary, with the Baymard Institute estimating an average of 69.80 % ( based on a assortment of industry studies ). Abandoned haul recovery allows you to email those memory visitors who added something to their cart but didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate complete the checkout work ; and it ’ s an authoritative way of increasing store tax income. unfortunately — and unlike most ahead ecommerce solutions — this functionality is not available out of the box in Big Cartel. If you want to avail of it, you ’ ll want to hook up an electronic mail marketing solution like Mailchimp or GetResponse to Big Cartel and use its commercialize automation features to program in abandoned cart recovery emails. This can be a spot building complex to set up, peculiarly for beginners — so it would be good to see big Cartel add abandoned cart saving functionality to its core feature set soon .
Point-of-sale ( POS ) features let you use your ecommerce chopine to sell not just online but in physical locations excessively. ( typically this is done with the help of a card reader that connects to the internet via a smartphone or pill ’ mho connection. ) The advantage of using your on-line storehouse ’ second POS system is that if you sell a merchandise in a physical location, your store ’ south inventory levels will be updated accordingly. It keeps things clean and tidy .Point of sale using Square hardware In order to use POS with Big Cartel, you ’ ll necessitate to use an consolidation from one of the platform ’ s four available payment gateways. As mention, these are presently Stripe, Paypal, Venmo, and Square. The demand POS hardware and features you ’ ll catch will depend on the payment gateway chosen — so make sure you inquiry each requital gateway cautiously before choosing one. overall though, the options are reasonably good here, and will normally meet the needs of the sort of ‘ creative ’ merchants that typically use big Cartel — it ’ second surely easy enough to use the platform to sell CDs at gigs or paintings at gallery exhibitions. For more corporate context involving sell products in multiple retail outlets, Shopify is normally a better stake ( check out the Style Factory Shopify review or the video recording below for more details on this ) .
Selling digital products with Big Cartel
From audiobooks and music to printables and trade patterns, more and more people want to sell digital products online. indeed, how easy is it to do this with Big Cartel ? well, in truth it could be easier — and cheaper. To sell digital products, Big Cartel requires the function of an app called Pulley — this requires a bite of configuration, and brings significant extra costs to the mix. Pulley provides 8 plans, which are priced according to how many products you wish to sell. Costs range from $ 6 per calendar month ( for a 25 product limit and a 100MB storehouse limit ) to a whopping $ 299 per calendar month ( to sell an unlimited issue of products using a 30GB memory specify ) .The Pulley app is necessary to sell digital products with Big Cartel Competing platforms make it much easier and cheaper to sell digital products. For exemplar, with Shopify, you plainly use its absolve ‘ Digital Downloads ’ app to do sol — and it lets you sell files of up to 5GB in size. Squarespace, Wix and BigCommerce besides let you sell digital goods more easily and more cheaply excessively. The download limits for those platforms are besides generous — for exercise, BigCommerce lets you sell files of up to 512MB in size out of the corner ; Wix lets you do the same, with a limit of 1GB being applied. In short, if selling digital files is your matter, there are well better options available .
Subscriptions (BETA feature)
recently, Big Cartel added a new ‘ subscriptions ’ tool to the chopine, which lets you accept monthly payments and ship items to your subscribers on a regular basis. ( It ’ sulfur presently in BETA mode. ) When you switch the subscriptions feature on, a subscription page is mechanically added to your store and its navigation — your store visitors can use it to sign up to your recurring military service. This sport besides lets you accept monthly ‘ Patreon-style ’ donations, which may appeal to artists and musicians who want to keep their merchandise sales and recurring gross streams all in one place ( its worth noting however, that Patreon offers much more in the manner of contented distribution tools ).
You can now accept monthly donations or allow users to set up subscriptions using Big Cartel The main limit of the subscriptions feature is that it only works with Stripe ( it ’ mho besides only available on the paid-for Big Cartel plans ) .
Capturing custom product data
To help them fulfil an order, some merchants require customers to provide some extra information when purchasing a intersection — normally textbook and images. For exercise, jewellers might require inscription replicate ; a jersey godhead might need a visualize to print on the jersey. big Cartel doesn ’ thyroxine let you capture this custom data or let users upload files when purchasing a merchandise ; this is storm very, given that many of its users work in the kind of creative industries that make personalized products .Other platforms, like BigCommerce (pictured above), are better for capturing custom product data. deoxyadenosine monophosphate far as competing platforms go, BigCommerce is credibly the best ecommerce solution we ’ ve come across for capturing customs fields and images ( you can read our BigCommerce inspection for more details ) .
Automatic tax calculations and VAT MOSS
A key challenge of selling on-line is that you can end up making sales in a variety show of jurisdictions with different tax rates — and this is something that you have to reflect in your products ’ pricing. To help you out here, Big Cartel lets you use a tool called Sales Tax Autopilot. This works well for sellers based in the United States — it automatically applies the correct tax pace for each US state. big Cartel sellers outside the US have to set their tax rates manually, however. European Union merchants can choose to collect tax for their home state or the whole EU ; and sellers in other countries can set taxes for their store ’ s family state entirely .Tax settings in Big Cartel One thing to pay particular attention to when it comes to tax calculations is something called VAT MOSS ( this is brusque for ‘ VAT Mini One Stop Shop ’ ). Regardless of your location, if the consumers of your digital products are in the EU, you ’ ve got to apply country-specific rates of VAT to these goods — one VAT rate for France, another for Germany and therefore on. unfortunately, there is no way to apply these VAT MOSS rates in Big Cartel. To be fair to Big Cartel, it ’ s not alone here in not providing this functionality — it ’ s hard to find many ecommerce platforms that actually facilitate VAT MOSS calculations by rights. Shopify is a celebrated exception, however — its ‘ Digital Downloads ’ app sorts this all out for you automatically. ( Because of this and its generous limits around digital intersection file sizes, Shopify is by and large our recommend product for selling digital goods ) .
big Cartel lets you offer your customers free shipping, flat rate shipping and in-store pickup. But if you ’ re looking to ship by weight, you ’ ll be disappointed — there ’ s no means to specify the system of weights of a product when adding it, and no way to factor this in when creating transport profiles. If your products are all the lapp weight, then this international relations and security network ’ t a particularly big issue ; but for merchants with goods that come in all shapes and sizes, and send out packages containing a variety of these, this is potentially a big headache. sol, there ’ randomness particular room for improvement here in Big Cartel — I ’ ve yet to come across a major ecommerce platform that doesn ’ thyroxine help ship by weight .
Dropshipping with BigCartel vs Shopify
Dropshipping is a manner to sell products online without having to buy, make or deliver anything. All you do is take an order for person else ’ randomness product through your shop, and leave its fulfillment to a supplier. big Cartel offers two dropshipping options, via Printful and The art of Where. Both these services let you upload artwork which is then printed onto products that you can sell to your store visitors — with fabrication and delivery being handled by the companies involved. ( The under television shows you how the integration between Printful and Big Cartel works ). If you ’ d like to dropship early types of products — for example, more ‘ consumer ’ stylus goods like electronics — you ’ ll necessitate to use a different chopine, with Shopify by and large being the best option here .
Displaying prices in your customers ’ currentness is significant, because it broadly leads to more sales. now, although big Cartel lets you use 25 unlike currencies in your store, only one can be enabled at a time. This contrasts negatively with competing ecommerce solutions, many of which offer you the option to present your goods in the currency that ’ s most allow for your users .Unlike other platforms like Shopify (pictured above), you can’t enable multi-currency selling in Big Cartel. ( BigCommerce and Shopify are particularly thoroughly in this regard, using geolocation to mechanically present your products in local prices, and letting your store visitors check out in their own currencies. ) If you truly want to sell in multiple currencies using big Cartel though, all hope is not lost : you can find developers that provide currency converting add-ons for the platform ( these won ’ metric ton help checkout in local currencies, but they do let you display product prices in a variety of currencies ) .
Hosting a memory in multiple languages isn ’ metric ton potential out of the box with Big Cartel — your best bet if you want to do this is to use a third-party app like Weglot .Big Cartel stores can be made multilingual — but only if you use a third-party app like Weglot Weglot uses machine translation to present your capacity in different languages. This normally works pretty well, but using the service will bring extra fees and configuration time. now, let ’ s motivate onto apps for Big Cartel — and the diverse ways you can add functionality to your storehouse .
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Apps and integrations
many ecommerce platforms feature app stores that let you entree ‘ add-ons ’ for your store. These typically add functionality to your memory, or let you integrate it with early on-line tools. big Cartel ’ second apps are slightly arduous to locate — rather than being presented in a memory, they ’ rhenium tucked away on a help page. however, there are 27 apps available, which include utilitarian tools for :
- payment processing
- store management
- order fulfillment
- marketing and promotion
The 27 apps that are available are reasonably utilitarian, and include integrations with key services like Mailchimp, Instagram, Google and Shipstation .Big Cartel apps and integrations now, while a excerpt of just 27 apps might seem humble by comparison to the number provided by other ecommerce platforms, it ’ sulfur authoritative to note that Big Cartel besides integrates with syncing service Zapier, which lets you hook Big Cartel up to a far 500 apps or sol ( including authoritative account ones like Xero and Quickbooks ). The downside here is that using Zapier often means paying an extra monthly fee — not all integrations are release, or are limited to a certain count of ‘ syncs ’ between apps each calendar month. And there can be a average measure of shape involved .
Email marketing features
In late years, leading ecommerce platforms have started to provide built-in e-mail market tools that let you host mailing lists and send e-newsletters. Shopify, Wix and Squarespace now all offer built-in electronic mail commercialize, and at very competitive prices besides .The Squarespace Email Campaigns feature lets you send e-newsletters without leaving the platform; with Big Cartel, you will have to use a separate app for email marketing. As things stand, this international relations and security network ’ t a feature you ’ ll find in Big Cartel — so in order to grocery store your products via electronic mail, you ’ ll indigence to use a dedicate e-mail market tool like GetResponse, Mailchimp or AWeber. On the plus side, all these e-mail apps can be made to work with large trust in assorted ways, thanks to an official integration in the case of Mailchimp, or a third-party Zapier one for the others .
Search engine optimization ( SEO ) is absolutely essential to the success of any on-line memory — organic traffic is normally key to profitableness. then, how does Big Cartel stack up when it comes to SEO ? well, Big Cartel does some things that Google and other search engines like — it gives you : however, it ’ s not all estimable newsworthiness. first, it ’ second hard to change some of Big Cartel’s URLs. The structure of page URLs helps Google understand what your capacity is about — so it ’ second important to have full control over this ( you can read Google ’ s guidelines on URL structure here ). It seems that in Big Cartel you can change product URLs, but not page URLs. moment, the process for creating redirects is identical foreign. When you change a URL, you need to create a redirect. This tells Google where the new translation of that page lives, so that it indexes newfangled URL alternatively of the old. now, in Big Cartel, you can redirect a page URL somewhere else by editing your store ’ s code ( and this won ’ t be for everyone ). But unusually, you can’t redirect product URLs. rather, when you change a product URL, a redirect from your product to the home page is automatically created. This has the likely to confuse Google a draw, and reduce the visibility of your product in search results. so, if you end up using Big Cartel as your ecommerce platform, give a draw of think to URLs at the beginning of your store build up — and avoid ever changing them ! Another fairly serious omission in Big Cartel ’ south feature set is the ability to change meta descriptions. Meta descriptions are the foliate or product descriptions that are typically displayed under titles in search results. not being able to edit meta descriptions matters because their quality can influence clickthrough rates ( CTR ) in search engines — which in change by reversal can boost rankings over prison term ( higher CTRs can lead to higher positions in search results ). And last, it ’ s not clear if big Cartel sites can be designed so that they meet Google ’ s new Core Web Vitals standards — a set of new metrics relating to the speed and constancy of a web site. ( To be fair, this is a problem that applies to a bunch of hosted web site construct platforms, but some platforms — notably Shopify — can be used in a Core Web Vitals-compliant way. ) The bottom line : there’s a fair bit of improvement needed in the Big Cartel SEO department .
The main advantage of using host platforms like Big Cartel is that the companies behind the software take responsibility for the security of the platforms. This differs, for case, from running a self-hosted WordPress site, where you constantly have to stay on top of software, theme and plugin updates to ensure there are no security system vulnerabilities present anywhere. In general, you won ’ thymine have to worry about any of this with Big Cartel — it ’ s the subcontract of their software engineers to worry on your behalf. That said, there are a couple of big Cartel issues relating to security that it ’ second significant to be aware of :
Two factor authentication
Two Factor Authentication — besides known as 2FA — is an extra layer of auspices used to ensure the security of on-line accounts beyond a username and password. When 2FA is in place, an extra piece of information — such as an SMS message or code generated by an appraiser app — is requested before access to an account is granted. This makes that bill much hard to hack. unfortunately, I couldn ’ thymine find a way to enable 2FA on a big Cartel shop — so this makes the platform a bite less plug than competing platforms like BigCommerce, Shopify and Squarespace, all of which allow you to set it up. This means that using firm passwords for your big Cartel history, and changing them sporadically, is peculiarly important .
PCI Compliance — or, to give its entire name, The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard — is a set of security standards designed to ensure that companies accepting, processing, storing or transmitting credit card information do so in a secure environment. however, Big Cartel is not PCI compliant. now, given that all store payments with Big Cartel go through third-party payment gateways ( Stripe, Square, etc. ) you can simply rely on your requital processor ’ randomness PCI submission. however — and as big Cartel ’ s merchant user agreement makes authorize, users are technically responsible for a Big Cartel store’s potential liability when it comes to PCI and the security of transactions .
I am not a lawyer, so please eminence that the under observations should not be interpreted as legal advice, but I ’ thousand going to do my best to spell out some of the key GDPR issues facing Big Cartel users below. With the introduction of the EU ’ s GDPR laws, there are many legal steps that web site owners nowadays need to take to ensure that they are adequately protecting EU customers ’ and visitors ’ privacy. You need to ensure your data is kept secure ; provide access to relevant privacy documents; and prevent any non-essential cookies on your site being run without user consent. large Cartel is fine for meeting the foremost two requirements — but not the third base. To ensure GDPR complaisance, you need to show a cookie banner to your visitors that :
- allows them to choose which cookies they want to run BEFORE those cookies are run
- logs their consent to run cookies
- allows them to revoke consent at a later stage.
The problem is that Big Cartel doesn ’ thymine give you this banner. This means that if you use a Facebook Ads or Google Analytics cookie on your big Cartel store, you will be breaking GDPR laws unless you have a standard in place which does all of the above .Big Cartel doesn’t give you a built-in GDPR compliant cookie consent banner. so, in order to get around this, you ’ ll need to invest in a third base party cookie accept solution and add it to your Big Cartel site. I personally haven ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate tried doing this — but I ’ five hundred front in the commission of tools like CookieBot or CookieYes.
( And this will constantly mean getting your hands a little bite dirty with code ! ). big Cartel is not alone in not providing an adequate built-in solution for managing cookie consent — early ecommerce platforms are guilty of this besides. But either way, it would be a lot better if cookie banner functionality was provided by bad trust without its users having to recourse to third-party software .
stopping point but not least, let ’ s have a agile look at the classify of customer defend that ’ south on volunteer from big Cartel. On the summation side, Big Cartel has a large count of high-quality help articles and television which digest you in construction and running your store. These are well put together, and provide a clear overview of the identify things you ’ ll need to know about selling with the platform. The photograph international relations and security network ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate american samoa good when it comes to support from real people, however. The company ’ sulfur support team is small ( just 12 people work on it ), and only available Monday-Friday from 8am to 6pm EST. many competing platforms provide back 24/7 .Big Cartel’s customer support is email-only furthermore, Big Cartel’s only support channel is email — no exist new world chat or call patronize is available. And ultimately, Big Cartel ’ s customer corroborate is only offered in English — other ecommerce platforms offer support in a wide assortment of languages .
Big Cartel review conclusion
overall, Big Cartel represents a cheap and simple way to sell products on-line ; its release plan is very generous ; and the memorize bend for the product is minimal. The templates provided are nicely designed and particularly suited to creative projects. If you just want a creature that lets you sell some CDs or handmade items from meter to meter, Big Cartel is a big choice, particularly if you ’ rhenium selling five or less products ( you can use it wholly for spare if so ). however, the functionality provided by the platform is not actually adequate for professional ecommerce merchants. The miss of features like multi-currency betray, abandoned handcart preservation, weight-based ship rules and — crucially — an adequate SEO frame-up will ultimately make it undesirable for anyone trying to construct a professional on-line store, or scale an ecommerce business in a significant way. I ’ ll leave you with a summary of the pros and cons of Big Cartel — and if you have any thoughts of your own on the chopine, do feel unblock to partake them in the comments section below .
Pros and cons of Big Cartel
Pros of using Big Cartel
- It’s cheap!
- The free plan is functional and generous for anyone with just a couple of items to sell.
- It’s extremely easy to use.
- All the Big Cartel templates are free.
Cons of using Big Cartel
- It limits the number of products you can sell to 500.
- The technical SEO setup is poor.
- You can’t sell in multiple currencies at once.
- There’s no weight-based shipping.
- There’s no abandoned cart saving tool.
- There’s no built-in GDPR-compliant cookie banner.
- There’s no 2FA authentication.
- Technically the platform isn’t PCI compliant (you have to rely on a third-party payment gateway’s PCI compliance).
- Customer support is only available via email, in English, and during EST office hours.
Our overall score : 3/5
Alternatives to Big Cartel
There is a very large number of alternative ecommerce platforms to Big Cartel available. Shopify is credibly the best-known of these, offering a very wide compass of selling features plus a huge library of apps that add significant functionality to your storehouse. You can access a free trial of the platform here, read our Shopify review here or view our lead to starting a Shopify store here .Shopify ( We besides published a Big Cartel versus Shopify comparison recently, which is of finical relevance hera. ) BigCommerce is besides deserving some unplayful retainer — particularly if you need to let users customize products or sell in multiple currencies. You ’ ll find our BigCommerce review here. Merchants selling ‘ creative ’ goods would be particularly advised to consider Squarespace, as its templates are in truth impregnable from an aesthetics distributor point of position, and it ’ s particularly good for showcasing portfolios. You can read our Squarespace review here, find out more about Squarespace price here and learn about the Squarespace absolve test here. Another choice is GoDaddy — like Big Cartel, this is priced fairly competitively. Our Shopify versus GoDaddy stake gives you lots of information about this platform. Wix is another platform that ’ s priced fairly competitively — you can take a expect at our Wix review here or watch our Wix v Shopify comparison below. last there ’ randomness always the option of selling on marketplaces like Etsy or Amazon. Our Shopify five Etsy and Shopify vs Amazon posts may be of relevance here — they look at the differences between selling online using a popular host solution versus an established on-line market .
Now…over to you!
We hope you ’ ve found this Big Cartel review utilitarian ! Got any thoughts or questions about the product ? If indeed, merely leave them in the comments section below. We read all queries and do our best to help .
Big Cartel review FAQs
Is Big Cartel free?
You can use big Cartel ’ s ‘ Gold ’ plan to sell for barren, but you should note that the functionality it provides is reasonably limited. With this plan, you can merely sell improving to 5 products, only one image per product is permitted, and you can ’ metric ton edit your root code or connect Google Analytics to your store .
What’s the best Big Cartel alternative?
For a more general-purpose alternate to Big Cartel, we normally recommend Shopify ( you can access a absolve Shopify test here ). We think BigCommerce is a good choice for merchants who need to let their customers customize their products extensively ; and for a platform that like Big Cartel caters for more ‘ creative ’ merchants, Squarespace is well deserving investigating.
Is Big Cartel good for SEO?
big Cartel ’ s SEO features are not equally dear as they could be. It ’ randomness difficult to change and redirect URLs ; there ’ randomness no built in blogging instrument ; and you can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate edit meta descriptions — meaning that overall, the platform compares less favorably than it might to competing ecommerce platforms .
Can I dropship with Big Cartel?
Yes — but only where printed products are concerned. big trust integrates with Printful and The art of Where ; both these services let you upload images that can be used as the footing of the invention for versatile products. Your storehouse visitors can then order these items, with manufacture and pitch being provided by your chosen service .
Should I use Big Cartel?
If you ’ re on a identical low budget, and you merely intend to sell a couple of products, then Big Cartel is worthy of some dangerous consideration — its free design is very generous and a great way to get started with ecommerce. however, Big Cartel is ultimately quite limited when it comes to selling tools, so if you are serious about ecommerce, we recommend using more professional ecommerce platform, like BigCommerce or Shopify .