Big Cartel Review (2020) – A Good Ecommerce Platform?

Bigcartel Review

Big Cartel is an ecommerce platform specifically designed for small, boutique style ecommerce websites such as fashion designers and artists, with a promise of being able to easily build an online shop without any hidden fees or charges. Basically, keeping things simple!

But is the platform any good? Well that is what I am going to be looking at in this review and delving into aspects such as the features on offer and how easy the platform is to use.

Big Cartel Logo

Pricing
Features
Theme Selection & Customisation
Support
Hosting & Performance
Ease of Use

Total out of 5

3.7

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Disclosure – this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you sign up to services via a link in this post, I do receive a commission, which helps keep the site running and at no cost to you. BUT in no way does this influence my review of the platform, if I don’t like something then I will say so!

Big Cartel Pricing

Big Cartel Logo

Platinum

$9.99/m

Up to 50 Products
No Turnover Limit
No Transaction Fees
Free SSL Certificate
Google Analytics
5 Images per Product

Big Cartel Logo

Diamond

$19.99/m

Up to 250 Products
No Turnover Limit
No Transaction Fees
Free SSL Certificate
Google Analytics
5 Images per Product

Big Cartel Logo

Titanium

$29.99/m

Up to 500 Products
No Turnover Limit
No Transaction Fees
Free SSL Certificate
Google Analytics
5 Images per Product

As Big Cartel is aimed at smaller, more boutique style businesses, it is not surprising that their pricing is towards the lower end of the market and they also offer a free plan for life but this is limited to 5 products and a few less features, which is understandable.

From my research, it seems that the only difference between the packages is the number of products that you can add. There doesn’t seem to be any additional features available on the larger packages.

Free Trial

Big Cartel don’t offer a free trial but rather a free package, which as I mentioned above, is limited to 5 products but it is a great way to test the platform out.

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Customer Reviews

Before I get full on into my review, I thought I would take a look at what some of their existing customers thought of the platform. For this I look on Trustpilot, Facebook and Google.

Trustpilot Logo

1.7 out of 5

FaceBook Logo

No Reviews

Google Logo

No Reviews

Big Cartel Features

Finding out all of the features that Big Cartel has to offer is quite difficult as their website doesn’t really offer much information. In fact, their website has a total of four main pages, which are are Home, Examples, Pricing and About.

There is a help section but this is mainly how to guides rather than a feature list and while I get that they want to keep things as simple as possible, not advertising the features you have to offer, really doesn’t help your brand.

This means that unlike my other reviews, I can’t break the features down into sections, instead I am just going to list what I can find!

  • Google Analytics
  • Real Time Stats
  • Inventory Tracking
  • Discount Codes
  • Shipment Tracking
  • Bulk Editing

They do have a small amount of apps that add some features but the majority are to integrate third-party software such as MailChimp or Printful.

Theme Selection & Customisation

Big Cartel has a pretty small selection of 18 themes but they are very varied in terms of design, so there is a good chance you will find one that fits your business.

When it comes to customising the theme, there are some really good options and it is a live customizer, so you can see all of the changes before you send them live.

The main options are colour and layout, such as your header and how your products are displayed on the homepage. All of the layout options are changed by either checking/unchecking boxes or selecting options from a drop down menu, one thing I did notice that the live preview does take a little time to update.

While this is good, there aren’t any options to allow you to add different sections to the homepage, meaning that it is very limited in terms of the content that you can add to your site.

Payment Gateways

Big Cartel is quite limited when it comes to payment gateways, which is a common theme with smaller ecommerce platforms. However, the main players are there, including:

  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • Apple Pay
  • Square

The last two are apps that need to be installed separately.

Do Big Cartel charge transaction fees?

No, Big Cartel do not charge any transactions fees, no matter what plan you are on.

Big Cartel Support

The support options for Big Cartel are quite sparse as their main source of contact is via Email but their support team is available 8am – 6pm EST, 7 days a week.

This means that you shouldn’t have too many issues getting a response to your enquiries.

They also actively promote on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, so that may be another avenue for getting support from them.

Hosting & Performance

I thought finding information on the features was hard but finding information on their hosting set up is even harder! The only thing I could find was that all of their sites include a free SSL certificate but no information on things such as PCI compliance, uptime or bandwidth restrictions.

Still doesn’t stop me testing them though! As for all of my platform reviews, I took three of their customer example sites and ran them through Pingdom’s Speed Test tool using their Washington D.C and San Francisco servers along with Google’s Page Speed Insights. I did this once a day for three days to get some good data.

Washington D.C: 0.99 Seconds
San Francisco: 1.29 Seconds

Google Logo

Mobile: 59/100
Desktop: 94/100

The performance of the Big Cartel servers is really impressive and it out performs pretty much every single ecommerce platform out there!

Not only were the results impressive but they were also consistent, except for the mobile scores as these did fluctuate a bit. But the rests of the tests were really good and this is something that you want from your ecommerce website.

Big Cartel Review Video

How Easy is Big Cartel to Use?

Big Cartel is marketed as platform for creatives and independent businesses, which reading between the lines means that it should be easy to use? That is why I look at 4 main areas for this section of the review:

  1. Getting Started
  2. Navigating the Dashboard
  3. Adding and Managing Products
  4. Managing Orders

Getting Started

Getting started with Big Cartel is very simple, simply go to the Big Cartel site and either click on the Open Your Store button from the homepage or select the package you want from the pricing page. Then all you need is your email address, create a password and store name and you are ready to go (if you are selecting a paid plan, then you will need to enter your payment details).

Once you have completed the sign up process, you will be taken through to the Big Cartel dashboard and be greeted by the set up process, which is very well suited to the platform and it takes you through the basic essential steps such as creating a product, choosing and customising the them and set up your checkout process.

While the steps are good and logical in terms of process, there isn’t any follow up guides when you go through to the relevant sections. A few pointers would be helpful, even though the sections are pretty easy to use.

Navigating the Dashboard

The Big Cartel dashboard is very simply laid out and as you can see in the image above, there are only 5 headings and it is easy to move from one section to another.

One thing I did find is that the dashboard doesn’t show up until you have finished the set up guide, so make sure that you go through the set up guide before checking out the rest of the platform.

If there is something that you can’t find, it is probably in the account section and this is the case for all of the design and customisation elements.

Adding and Managing Products

When it comes to products on Big Cartel, you are limited to physical products but they have made it very easy to create a new product.

In fact, the Big Cartel add new product page is the simplest I have come across and has a very small number of sections that need to be filled in and this makes it very easy for anyone who is new to ecommerce websites to add their inventory.

While it is easy to use, there is one quirk in that to create a custom URL, you need to create and save the product and then go back in and edit it. Not sure why this can’t be done when creating the product in the first place? There is also no option to set a custom meta description.

Organising your inventory is a little strange as there isn’t a dedicated category section. Instead, you can create categories by clicking the three circles in the product section and then selecting manage categories. In here you can create a new category but the only control you get is the name of the category.

You can also create categories in the product creation page by clicking the + icon next to categories. While this does make it very simple to do, there is no option to as sub-categories. Categories that contain products are also automatically added to the product section of your sites navigation bar.

When it comes to managing your inventory, on all of the paid packages, their is a bulk editor but on the free package, it all has to be done on a product by product basis.

Managing Orders

Unfortunately, I was unable to test the order management system out because there is no option to create an order manually.

Conclusion

Big Cartel Review

Paul @ EcommerceGold

Big Cartel Logo
Pricing
Features
Theme Selection & Customisation
Support
Hosting & Performance
Ease of Use

Summary

Is Big Cartel a Good Ecommerce Platform?

It isn’t bad and works pretty well for its intended purpose but it is lacking in quite a few areas, especially when it comes to features and it almost feels a little incomplete.

Not being able to find out information about the features or the quality of hosting is a slight concern to me, especially as this platform is purpose designed for building ecommerce websites. When you are paying for a service, you want to know exactly what you are getting.

The Good:

• Hosting Performance
• Cheap Plans
• Easy to learn
• Attractive themes

The Not so Good:

• Limited features
• No real SEO tools
• Only email support
• Not really scalable
• General lack of information

Big Cartel has a lot of potential but it is lacking in a number of features and I feel that there are better options out there.

3.7

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