Big Cartel Review (2022) – 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 we are 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 & Customization
Support
Hosting & Performance
Ease of Use

Total out of 5

3.3

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Big Cartel Pricing

Big Cartel Logo

Gold

Free

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

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 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.

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

Free Trial

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

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Big Cartel Reviews

Before we get into the review, we looked at what some of their existing customers thought of the platform by checking Trustpilot, G2 and Capterra.

Trustpilot Logo

2.8 out of 5

g2 logo

4.3 out of 5

Capterra logo

4.2 out of 5

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 Home, Examples, Pricing and About.

And while there is a breakdown of some features in the pricing section, there isn’t an in-depth breakdown and not advertising what your platform offers isn’t a great way to get to customers.

So, unlike our other reviews, we can’t break the features down into sections but we have listed the main features that we could find below:

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

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

Theme Selection & Customization

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.

Bigcartel theme customisation

When it comes to theme customization, Big Cartel is quite basic as there are limited options in the theme customizer, with much of this focused on colors and alignment options for the page.

There is no option to add or remove sections from your homepage and while you can add custom pages, these are limited to a basic text editor, which means that design options are limited.

This means that choosing the right theme is very important as there is little customization that can be done beyond this and making your store stand out from other Big Cartel stores is quite difficult.

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 does not charge any transaction 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 8 am – 6 pm EST, 7 days a week.

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

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

Big Cartel provides basically no information regarding its hosting environment and this isn’t great for an ecommerce platform and the only information we found was that they include a free SSL certificate with every store.

This doesn’t stop us from testing the Big Cartel out and to do this we took 5 customer example sites and ran them through Uptrends Speed Tool to test load time and Google PageSpeed scores.

We used their New York server and tested on both mobile and desktop devices, running each site through the tool once a day for three days and you can see the results below:

Uptrends Logo

Mobile Load Time: 2.00 Seconds
Desktop Load Time: 2.07 Seconds

Google Logo

Mobile PageSpeed Score: 58/100
Desktop PageSpeed Score: 89/100

The performance of the Big Cartel servers is really impressive and it outperforms 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.

To see how Big Cartel performed against its rivals in terms of speed and performance, check out our Fastest Ecommerce Platforms post.

Big Cartel Review Video

How Easy is Big Cartel to Use?

Big Cartel is marketed as a platform for creatives and independent businesses, which reading between the lines means that it should be easy to use. To test this out, we looked at 3 main areas for this section of the review:

  1. Getting Started
  2. Inventory Management
  3. Order Management

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 signup process, you will be taken through to the Big Cartel dashboard and be greeted by the setup 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 customizing a theme and setting up the checkout process.

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

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.

To access the dashboard completely, you have to finish the setup guide, so make sure that you go through the setup 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 customization elements.

Inventory Management

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 we have used 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.

Organizing 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. Here you can create a new category but the only control you get is the name of the category.

You can also create categories on 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 site’s navigation bar.

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

Managing Orders

Unfortunately, we were unable to test the order management system because there is no option to create an order manually.

Big Cartel FAQ

How Safe is Big Cartel?

Big Cartel secures all of its sites with an SSL certificate, including the checkout pages but there is no information regarding the security of their hosting such as PCI compliance.

Is Big Cartel Good for Beginners?

Big Cartel is very beginners friendly due to the very simple admin dashboard, which makes it easy to learn for people who have never built an online store before.

Conclusion

Big Cartel

Paul @ EcommerceGold

Big Cartel Logo
Pricing
Features
Theme Selection & Customization
Support
Hosting & Performance
Ease of Use
3.3

Is Big Cartel a Good Ecommerce Platform?

For creatives looking for a very simple platform to build an online store, Big Cartel will get the job but growing with the platform is going to be a challenge due to the limited features not only in terms of ecommerce but also as a website builder.

If you are looking for a platform to build a fully-fledged ecommerce website, there are better options out there and while they may be more expensive, you do get a lot more for your money.

Big Cartel does have potential but it is lacking in a number of features and doesn’t the tools and scalability that the best ecommerce platforms on the market offer.

Big Cartel Pros:

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

Big Cartel Cons:

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

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Hi, I'm Paul, the Owner and Founder of EcommerceGold.
I ran my own Ecommerce Business for over 7 years and now help others start their own online retail empires!