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2023 Review of the Big Cartel E-Commerce Platform

Big Cartel is effective for selling a small number of items, however it is lacking in cutting-edge sales capabilities that rivals can provide.

Independent artists and businesses should use the web-based e-commerce website builder known as Big Cartel. You can build an online store with Big Cartel, add goods and services, collect payments, and run promotions.

Big Cartel is a wonderful choice for fledgling businesses, especially those wishing to sell a small number of items, as it offers a free plan that enables you to list up to five different products and contains the essential tools to operate an online store. Smaller makers of distinctive products like T-shirts, prints, jewellery, or works of art may find this to be a profitable e-commerce site.

Big Cartel is not a fantastic option for larger sellers or those trying to develop their company rapidly, either, as it has few sophisticated sales tools and few third-party connectors.

ProsCons
A reasonable monthly price.Option for a plan that is perpetually free but only offers five things.Free, user-friendly shop themes.You just pay Stripe or PayPal processing fees; there are no transaction costs.Good for beginners, simple and friendly.
limits how many goods you may list.Sophisticated customizability and sales features are lacking.Minimal linkages with external parties.Can only process online payments using PayPal or Stripe.

Deciding factors

Cost
Gold plan: 0 monthly dollars.Platinum package: $9.99 monthly.$19.99 monthly for the diamond plan.
Store design18 no cost themes. Use a WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) theme editor to customise. Theme HTML is accessible to paid plans, allowing for coding-based design changes.
Payment processingTo receive payments from customers online, use Stripe or PayPal.You must use Stripe or accept cash to receive payments in person.The only fees you pay are the processing fees from Stripe or PayPal; Big Cartel does not charge transaction fees.
ScalabilityThere are three plan levels, however they have limits on how many things you may post on your website. There is no distinction between the plan alternatives, and the top-tier, premium tiers lack sophisticated e-commerce features to aid in business growth.
Customer supportEmail support is accessible from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday.
Ease of useSimple and easy to use, with a clear design and navigation. Quick and simple account creation, store creation and customization, and online sales. Very user-friendly for people with no prior knowledge of web development or e-commerce.

How does the Big Cartel operate?

A free e-commerce platform called Big Cartel allows you to set up and run your own online business. Create a Big Cartel account today to leverage the web-based platform and get started selling online quite quickly.

The operation of the Big Cartel is described here.

Create your own store

In order for you to create and personalise your online storefront, Big Cartel provides 18 free themes. With a WYSIWYG editor, you can preview your website before going live and add photos, modify the fonts and colours, and tweak the layout. Although you don’t need to know how to code to build a Big Cartel store, the pricier plans allow you to alter themes using HTML.

Put your items here

The number of goods you may sell on your website and the number of photographs you can submit for each listing are both restricted by each Big Cartel plan. However, in addition to the product name and price, you may also include descriptions, categories, statuses (such as active, hidden, and sold out), variants, and shipping charges when you upload your items.

Organise your payments

You may collect payments both online and in person with Big Cartel. You must utilise Stripe or PayPal as your payment processor in order to take online credit card payments, which necessitates opening a separate Stripe or PayPal account.

  • Customers who have Apple Pay can utilise the quick checkout function to make a purchase straight from a product page if you use Stripe.
  • If you accept payments through PayPal, your customers can utilise Venmo or PayPal Credit.
  • To provide your clients the most payment alternatives, you may activate both Stripe and PayPal.

Contrarily, to collect payments in person, you may either accept cash or process credit cards using Stripe using the Big Cartel app for iOS or Android smartphones.

Begin selling

You may launch your website and begin taking orders once you’ve configured the major elements of your online commerce.

The “orders” component of your dashboard allows you to check order history, modify shipping information, generate packing slips, and mark orders as sent. Customers can get notifications and tracking information.

You may utilise more techniques to engage your consumers as your shop grows in popularity. If you have a subscription account, you can also interface with more third-party tools like Instagram and LiveChat. You may also conduct a campaign or establish a discount.

Follow your growth.

Presenting current information on store performance is the Big Cartel dashboard. In addition to getting a more thorough analysis that includes conversion rate and income for a certain time period, you can track sales and visits in real time.

Big Cartel also produces data by product and category so you can discover which products are most in demand, how much money specific products have made, how frequently an item has been sold, and more.

Big Cartel price and plans

Big Cartel provides three plans with monthly pricing: Gold, Platinum, and Diamond.

It is “forever free” on the Gold plan. The Gold plan is free for as long as you use it, unlike some e-commerce subscriptions that provide free trials that end after a certain amount of time and then require a monthly price.

The prices and features of the various Big Cartel plans are displayed in the table below.

PlanFeaturesPricing
Gold
List five items.One picture per item.Customisable, free themes.Sell both offline and online.Sales and customer information for your shop in real-time.Make use of a unique domain.Run promotions and provide shop discounts.Declare orders as dispatched and notify clients of their shipments along with tracking details.Group the available product options depending on the size, colour, cut, and other details.Automate the calculation and submission of sales tax for transactions completed through your online business.

$0 per month.
Platinum
All of the Gold’s features.Provide 50 goods.Five pictures each item.Using HTML, edit themes.Google Analytics is integrated right into the system.Monitor product stock levels and make adjustments.With bulk editing, you may instantly change the status, categories, shipping, and tax codes of many goods.
$9.99 per month.
Diamond
All of the Platinum’s characteristics.provide a 500-item list.
$19.99 per month.

Processor fees for payments

Although Big Cartel does not charge transaction fees, you must utilise Stripe or PayPal and pay the processing costs levied by those companies in order to take online payments.

  • Online payment processing costs with Stripe start at 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction.
  • The initial cost for using PayPal is 3.49% + 49 cents each transaction.

Rewards of the Big Cartel

A reasonable monthly price

Big Cartel is a wonderful alternative for an e-commerce platform if price is a major issue for your company.

Despite having a maximum of five goods in your catalogue, Big Cartel’s Gold plan is absolutely free and gives you access to all the necessary resources for setting up, personalising, and managing an online store.

The Platinum and Diamond plans provide additional freedom if you wish to advertise more than five goods, but they also have monthly costs. The top-tier Diamond plan has a monthly cap of $19.99, which is less expensive than even the entry-level subscriptions of well-known e-commerce rivals like Shopify, Volusion, and BigCommerce.

Contrary to some of its rivals, Big Cartel does not tack on transaction fees on top of the costs from the payment processor (PayPal or Stripe), and all of its store themes are free.

Simple and Approachable

Big Cartel has a clean and simple dashboard, navigation, and general user experience, making it simple to use.

  • With a WYSIWYG editor that allows for easy customization of the online store without the need for coding, the platform is simple to use for those new to e-commerce.
  • Big Cartel makes ideas as you go along when you enter into your new account and offers guided steps to get you going.
  • Additionally, Big Cartel provides online help in the form of frequently asked questions, educational articles, instructional videos, and developer documentation.

Cons of Big Cartel 

Restrictions on product listings

The quantity of goods you may add to your online store is restricted for each Big Cartel plan. Five goods are allowed under the free Gold plan, 50 under the Platinum plan, and 500 under the Diamond plan. This is a rather restrictive limitation for businesses, especially those wishing to expand their operations, compared to e-commerce competitors, many of which enable you to list an infinite amount of goods regardless of the plan level.

Sophisticated sales features are absent.

Despite having three membership tiers, Big Cartel’s plans don’t differ much from one another and don’t provide many cutting-edge features that may help you expand your e-commerce firm.

  • You are only allowed a certain amount of photos with each listing.
  • Big Cartel is short in these areas compared to rivals that provide services like abandoned cart recovery, several sales channels, gift card and loyalty programmes, and reporting tools.
  • Customers may access app marketplaces with hundreds of third-party connectors thanks to rivals like BigCommerce and Shopify. On the other side, Big Cartel offers limited integration possibilities, some of which call for a premium plan.

Options to the Big Cartel

Shopify

Shopify may be a better choice than Big Cartel for a larger range of small enterprises.

  • Prices for Basic Shopify, one of Shopify’s three subscription plans, start at $29 per month. The company also provides light and enterprise-level solutions.
  • Shopify is readily scalable, offers a large feature set, and integrated payment processing with Shopify Payments.
  • Shopify may provide a larger range of capabilities and fewer constraints than Big Cartel, but potentially costing more. This is especially true for selling items, customising your online shop, and connecting with third-party solutions.

Square Online

Businesses looking for a free e-commerce platform with access to more sophisticated features and the opportunity for scaling up might choose Square Online.

  • The Free plan is the first of Square Online’s four membership packages, with the Professional plan costing $12 monthly.
  • All Square Online subscriptions provide marketing capabilities including SEO tools, Instagram integration, Facebook and Google Ads, as well as the opportunity to sell on social media and list an infinite amount of things.
  • Brick-and-mortar companies who want to increase their online presence, such restaurants or stores, can use Square Online. All plans interface seamlessly with Square POS, provide curbside pickup, in-store and on-demand delivery, and operations management capabilities.
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