Product Name: Big Cartel
Price: Free – $29.99
Free Trial: Yes
Guided Tour: No
Support: Email Only
Big Cartel is an online store builder designed for creative-types. It lacks some features but its purpose is to serve those with just a few basic needs. Artists, hobbyists, solo musicians and crafters might enjoy the solutions Big Cartel offers.
What I Liked
When you sign up with Big Cartel it's very apparent they're not looking to compete with the bigger, more popular online store builders. They know their customers well and they offer them a no-frills solution. Sometimes, that's exactly what you need.
If nothing else, Big Cartel offers its users ease of use and simplicity. Once you've decided on a name for your store you're taken right to your admin panel. Here, you will see all you options, six of which will be the main tools you use to create and manage your storefront.
These six options give you control over the important things – Tracking orders, adding/editing products, promotion, store settings and a general overview of the stores performance.
Big Cartel offers the most competitive price options available. Unlike other store builders, Big Cartel offers an option that's completely free to use. It's quite limited, only allowing five products to be sold and you can't use your own domain name. So your store's URL would be something like this: Jimsplace.Bigcartel.com
However, other options are available and the prices are tough to beat compared to other builders.
Ranging from free to $29 monthly, Big Cartel might be limited in some ways but their prices are certainly fair.
Under the “Promotions” tab in your store's dashboard you have the option to offer discounts. This is a common feature for store builders but it's often very difficult and time consuming to implement.
Big Cartel's discounting option however, is very simple to use and allows for a variety of different promotions.
You can create discounts by order date, total purchase amount, category, or even use special codes. Big Cartel makes adding discounts much simpler than with other builders.
What I Didn't Like
Big Cartel wants to cater to those with simpler needs. This is fine, except when it's not. What happens when you outgrow the limited options? The point of starting a store is to grow and become successful. I'm afraid that's not an option with Big Cartel.
Most online store builders offer an option for unlimited products. Sometimes it's part of their base pricing, other times it's only available with an upgraded version. Unfortunately Big Cartel offers neither of these.
Even with Big Cartel's most expensive plan you're limited to only 300 products. Sure, 300 sounds like a lot but for some folks it's just the beginning. Even though they are focused on smaller stores, I'd still like to see an option for unlimited products.
Big Cartel only offers seven templates for you to design your store. If you know how to alter the HTML code you can change them around a bit. But you don't have access to that HTML part of your store until you purchase the “Titanium” package.
Even then, the customization you can do is very limited. And if you're like most artists, you probably don't know anything about coding. Which means you'll have to hire a professional programmer and that can cost thousands of dollars.
No Search Option
Big Cartel stores don't have an option for visitors to search your store. Anyone buying online likes to look around for the things that might suit them better or compliment their purchases. A search feature is common for any type of website, the lack of one could cost you.
Adding a product to your Big Cartel store is easy. However, editing later is not. If you ever have a need to change anything about your products, you cannot edit later. If you decide to stop selling a product, or even run out a certain sizes or colors you're in trouble.
Simply deleting the product is an option but that can cause problems like 404 errors.
Lack of Live Support
Although they handle support issues professionally – the lack of over-the-phone support is a big problem. No matter the size, running an online store requires lots of maintenance and support.
Sometimes waiting 24 hours for an email can feel like an eternity. And depending on the problem, it could be costing you a lot of potential sales. It would be worth adding a few dollars to their price plans to allow for support.
What Makes Big Cartel Different?
Big Cartel's focus on artists and solo product creators is what sets them apart from the other online storefront builders. They seem to know their ‘market' well and do a good job of handling the things important to them.
Who Is Big Cartel For?
If you're an artist of any kind, you might find that Big Cartel is the solution for you. however, if you're looking to grow quickly you might cause yourself more trouble by signing up with them. If you believe your products will be popular in the future, it will be difficult to manage things within the limits of Big Cartel.
This ecommerce platform didn't score too well, but there are other amazing ones out there that I've reviewed. My favorites so far are Big Commerce (92/100), Shopify (91/100), and Volusion (90/100). They all have different features, so check them out and see which one fits your goals best.
Big Cartel Versus Affiliate Marketing
When you compare Big Cartel to affiliate marketing you find some very major fundamental differences.
Affiliate marketers don't have the burden of creating products, shipping them or storing them. You don't have to worry about customer service issues, like complaints and returns.
And let's not forget the technical side of things like uploading products to a website. For affiliates that burden lies with the retailer.
As an affiliate all you need to do is link to the product. And since you can sell products from companies like Amazon, WalMart and any other company you can think of, the potential for profit is endless.
The training offered at Wealthy Affiliate is the best affiliate marketing training available. They have 100's of hours of video training, categorized classrooms for beginners and intermediates, live support 24/7 and to top it all off they give you two websites.
If you want to make money and build your own business online, there's no better place to learn.