It’s time for our 3rd e-commerce platform breakdown in our e-commerce series. Today we are touching on the pros and cons of using Big Cartel. To see our breakdowns of the other platforms so far, click on the links below.
Big Cartel is pretty sweet. We think it is also pretty cool that headquarters are in our home town, Salt Lake City, UT (woot woot!). They focus on the artist, keeping things independent and highly emphasize the design in their templates. Here’s a list of some swoon worthy Big Cartel sites out there so you can get a sense of their clean aesthetic…
This platform has many features that are similar to Squarespace and Shopify. I’ll try and uncover the ways that it is different.
Big Cartel is unique in the fact that they do not charge any listing or per transaction fees. You will still have the payment processor fees, but other than that, it’s just the monthly payment that you pay to Big Cartel.
You have 2 options for taking payments on your site – Paypal or Credit Cards through Stripe (or both).
Their monthly billing is offered in 4 different packages (see below). All of the packages (except the free Gold package) get to take advantage of all the features, which is very nice. The differences in the monthly pricing are merely based on how many products you sell.
Here’s some of the features we find more unique compared to other platforms:
Sell in-person – Use their iPhone app to hit the road and take orders in-person. This also helps you keep all your orders in one place (as opposed to switching back and forth from Square or other mobile selling apps).
Sell on Facebook – Add a Store tab to your Facebook page to show off your products to friends and fans.
Digital Products – With little extra work on your end you can sell digital products with automatic downloads. You can sell digital art, music, videos, fonts, photos, eBooks, and other downloadable products with their integrated sister-service, Pulley.
Guides & Videos – They have great step-by-step guides and videos that share information on running a successful shop.
Here’s the more standard features they include that you can find in most E-commerce platforms:
Stats – See how many visitors you’re getting and what sites and search terms they’re using to find you, or dig even deeper with their Google Analytics integration.
Fast & Stable – Their platform was built for speed and stability around the world, so your customers have an amazing shopping experience wherever they are.
Friendly Support – Their support team is ready to answer any question you have along the way. You can contact them through their contact page.
Search Engine Optimized – Big Cartel shops come with built in SEO, based on Google’s own recommendations.
To dig in a little deeper, we asked a few of our favorite Big Cartel Shops to shed light on their experience thus far.
Aubry is the wonder behind Hello Maypole, that sells the adorable packs of felt balls.
Kiley designs and hand makes the cutest children’s and women’s clothes. Her taste is impeccable.
These ladies were nice enough to share their insight on their shop.
– When I opened my shop, I jumped in with Big Cartel right away. The clean aesthetic of it, coupled with the simplicity of listing products on the back end, was worth more to me than the built-in audience other platforms (like Etsy) provided.
Wren & James
– Their customer service by far has always exceeded my expectations. If I need a question answered, I can rely on them to get back to me quickly, sometimes within 15-20 mins. They always offer the best solutions and advice.
– As I’ve worked to grow my business, and reaped the rewards of a more steady stream of orders, the back end interface for printing invoices and marking orders as shipped has proved to be a little bit more clunky than I’d like. There’s not an option to batch print. So, instead, I have to climb in and out of each order (quite the feat come sale time!) to print each invoice and mark it as shipped.
Wren & James
– I don’t like that you can’t make notes on someone’s order(s), i.e. like when a customer decides she wants to change her order for a different size, because she ordered the wrong one from the beginning. Overall, admin organizational options (such as noting or changing an order) is just not something they offer. Also, for design, it’s pretty limited, unless you know coding and then you can make it more of what you want.
– I really like the automatic optimized mobile site – it still looks great and is easy for the user to view my product.
– While I only offer paypal payments through my shop right now, it has a lot of options for how a seller would like to collect their payments.
– Less is more! There are a lot of formatting options these days, but I chose to make my product the focus of my shop. Everything else is clean and white!
– Pay a few more dollars each month to upgrade your shop to the option that allows for the maximum (five) photos of each product.
– Invest in quality photos. Pretty + deliberate is better than easy + rushed. 🙂
Wren & James
– Go for the upgrade of using your own domain. I love that my site seems more dignified without the “bigcartel.com” included at the end.
Overall, we would recommend Big Cartel as an option for starting your online shop! They offer simple design templates at affordable prices, however, if you have more custom needs for order management, you might want to look into a different platform.