Big Cartel Review for Creative Entrepreneurs (2024)

Big Cartel Review for Creative Entrepreneurs Text Image

In this Big Cartel review, we’ll provide you with the candid details you need as a creative entrepreneur.

You’ll discover whether the platform’s ease of use, pricing structure, and design options facilitate a thriving online shop for artists and makers.

With transparency as our guide, we’ll help you ascertain if Big Cartel’s toolset can elevate your online presence or if you should look elsewhere to sell your creative wares.

Key Takeaways

  • Big Cartel is a user-friendly eCommerce platform tailored to artists and creative entrepreneurs, emphasizing ease of use, and financial accessibility with no listing fees, and providing a free plan option.

  • The platform offers 18 free customizable themes and a straightforward dashboard that require no coding skills, but significant theme customization and advanced SEO/marketing tools are limited without technical expertise.

  • Despite its cost-effectiveness and zero transaction fees, Big Cartel has limitations in product customization, SEO capabilities, inventory management, and advanced marketing tools, which may not suit the needs of larger businesses or those heavily reliant on SEO and marketing.

Introducing Big Cartel: An Artist’s Ecommerce Platform

Big Cartel logo on a colorful artistic background

Big Cartel has carved a niche for itself as a value-priced eCommerce platform, designed especially for artists and artisans looking to start their ecommerce business.

It boasts intuitive dashboard designs, a variety of themes, and a track record of over $2.5 billion in sales by artists.

But can it really provide the big cartel ecommerce features and support needed to thrive on a big cartel site in the online market, or should you consider opening a big cartel store?

Ease of use is at the heart of Big Cartel’s philosophy.

Its user-friendly dashboard and straightforward setup process cater to the needs of creative professionals with minimal technical skills.

This focus on artistic and creative sellers is evident in the platform’s design and functionality, providing a conducive environment for hobbyists and makers, even those on a very low budget.

What sets Big Cartel apart is its ethos of financial accessibility.

It offers no listing fees, allowing artists to retain a larger portion of their earnings.

It even provides a free plan option, demonstrating its commitment to affordability and minimal learning curve requirements.

From art to clothing, jewelry, and music, Big Cartel offers creative entrepreneurs the opportunity to market a variety of goods.

Setting Up Shop with Big Cartel

Setting up an online store with Big Cartel

Establishing an online store with Big Cartel is a straightforward process. You don’t need coding or website experience, and you can build an online store in less than 45 minutes.

But how easy is it?

Creating an online shop on Big Cartel starts with signing up for a Big Cartel account.

All you need is an email address, a password, and a desired shop name.

Then, a setup checklist guides you through all the necessary steps like adding location and currency details, helping you launch your store with minimal fuss.

Big Cartel also makes product addition a simple task.

All you need to provide is information like:

  • Product name

  • Description

  • Price

  • Image

And you’re good to go.

Managing categories or product variants can be easily done through the dashboard options.

However, it’s worth noting that while Big Cartel’s security for both custom and Big Cartel-branded domains is handled via SSL encryption, it is not PCI-compliant for payment processing, which is managed through integrations with Stripe or PayPal.

Big Cartel’s Visual Appeal and User Experience

Visual appeal and user experience on Big Cartel

Big Cartel takes pride in its 18 free themes that enhance visual appeal and user experience.

Designed with a simple and aesthetically pleasing look to cater to small businesses and creative individuals.

But with a limited number of themes, does this result in a similar appearance across different users’ stores?

The possibility exists.

Users have limited customization options for Big Cartel themes without coding knowledge, although they can make basic changes such as color and font adjustments.

Significant alterations to Big Cartel themes require coding expertise, which can be a barrier for users without technical skills.

Switching between themes is easy, but ensuring a cohesive site appearance after the change may necessitate manual adjustments.

Customizable Themes and Templates

A selection of 18 free themes is offered by Big Cartel, praised for their stylish and modern design, optimized for both mobile and desktop devices.

These themes can be customized via a what-you-see-is-what-you-get editor, and paying customers have the added ability to edit CSS and HTML for greater control over their store’s appearance.

However, customizing themes to differentiate online stores on the platform can be challenging due to the limited options provided.

Big changes may require knowledge of coding.

This could be a drawback for users who want a unique look for their online store but lack the technical skills to make significant changes.

On the flip side, Big Cartel facilitates seamless theme switching through the ‘Customize Design’ section.

Although some manual adjustments may be required to maintain a consistent aesthetic, the process is generally straightforward and user-friendly.

Navigating Big Cartel’s Dashboard

Big Cartel stands out due to its user-friendly nature and intuitive big cartel dashboard, suitable even for beginners with minimal technical skills.

The dashboard layout is simple, with an icon-based navigation menu at the top, which users utilize to access different parts of the content management system.

In this context, a cartel review can provide valuable insights into the platform’s usability and effectiveness.

The dashboard provides a vivid and eye-catching display, allowing users to easily track:

  • Visitors

  • Orders

  • Conversions

  • Sales revenue

This feature is particularly handy for sellers who want to keep a close eye on their store’s performance and make data-driven decisions.

Evaluating Big Cartel’s Ecommerce Capabilities

Evaluating Big Cartel's ecommerce capabilities

Big Cartel’s features are considered sparse, lacking the breadth of options offered by competitors.

The website builder is basic and offers limited customization.

Does this imply an underperformance of Big Cartel in ecommerce capabilities?

Despite these limitations, Big Cartel’s server performance is noteworthy, with speed tests indicating it outperforms other platforms.

Performance analysis can be enhanced through integration with Google Analytics on Big Cartel’s paid plans.

These features, combined with the unique features offered by Big Cartel’s mobile apps, enhance the flexibility and overall ecommerce experience.

Yet, Big Cartel lacks in the department of marketing and SEO capabilities.

The platform supports the creation of various types of discount codes to incentivize purchases.

However, without advanced marketing and SEO tools, reaching a wider audience and driving sales could be challenging.

Payment Processing and Integrations

Big Cartel provides a restricted selection of gateways for payment processing, including:

  • PayPal

  • Stripe

  • Apple Pay

  • Square

While Big Cartel does not charge any transaction fees for payments processed through the platform, the payment processing fees depend on the selected provider, such as Stripe or PayPal.

Big Cartel supports integration with a range of third-party apps, including but not limited to:

  • Mailchimp

  • Elfsight

  • Zapier

  • Under 30 direct app connections

This enables sellers to extend functionality for marketing, customer engagement, and app connectivity.

Special features offered by Big Cartel include:

  • A subscription tool for recurring payments

  • Zapier integration allows connection with approximately 5,000 apps

  • Compliance with PCI standards through the use of third-party payment gateways like Stripe, which also offers additional local payment methods.

Inventory Management and Shipping Features

Inventory tracking, discount codes, shipment tracking, and bulk editing are among the features provided by Big Cartel that help streamline the management process for sellers looking to sell online, including handling sales tax.

With sales tax autopilot, when using inventory tracking on Big Cartel, an item is automatically displayed as sold out once its inventory is depleted.

However, SKU management is not available on Big Cartel, adding complexity to inventory tracking for sellers with a large number of unique products.

This could pose a challenge for sellers with diverse product offerings, as they would have to manually track the inventory of each product.

Moreover, Big Cartel’s shipping features are limited.

There is no ability to calculate shipping by weight, which can be a significant drawback for products of varying sizes and weights.

The free version of Big Cartel is quite restrictive with only one image per product allowed, while the Diamond plan permits up to 25 images per product, although the product limit is capped at 500.

Marketing and SEO Limitations

The SEO tools offered by Big Cartel are limited and do not support a native blogging feature, which is crucial for content marketing and improving SEO.

Professional merchants find Big Cartel’s SEO capabilities lacking in comparison to other platforms like Shopify, and the absence of product URL redirection could lead to reduced search visibility.

Big Cartel’s marketing features are minimal, offering basic tools like discounts and promo codes, without built-in email marketing functionality, and necessitating third-party integrations for more complex features like abandoned cart recovery.

The limited marketing and SEO capabilities of Big Cartel could hinder reaching a wider audience and recovering additional sales, potentially affecting the overall success of creative entrepreneurs on the platform.

Thus, sellers who rely heavily on marketing and SEO to drive their sales may find Big Cartel’s limitations a considerable drawback.

The Artistic Entrepreneur’s Verdict on Big Cartel

Forbes has chosen Big Cartel as the best e-commerce platform for creatives, suggesting a strong value for money.

Compared to competitors like Shopify and BigCommerce, Big Cartel’s top-tier plan is considered more affordable.

But does affordability equate to value?

Although affordable, Big Cartel caps the maximum number of products to 500 on its top-tier plan, which is notably less than competitors such as Shopify which offer unlimited products.

The sales and product features scored 2.75 out of 5, reflecting some limitations in these areas, making it essential to consider big cartel pricing before making a decision.

Alternative platforms like Squarespace are considered to provide more functional paid plans with better ecommerce features and greater control over site design than Big Cartel.

Thus, while Big Cartel is a suitable choice for creative entrepreneurs on a budget, its limitations in ecommerce features and customization options may make other ecommerce platforms a better option for those seeking more advanced functionality on other ecommerce platforms.

Summary of Your Big Cartel Store

Big Cartel stands out as an affordable and user-friendly platform specifically designed for artists and artisans.

Its ease of use, intuitive dashboard, and customizable themes make it an attractive option for creative entrepreneurs seeking to establish an online presence.

However, its limitations in ecommerce features, customization options, marketing, and SEO capabilities may be significant drawbacks for sellers seeking more advanced functionality.

While Big Cartel may not provide the full suite of features offered by some competitors, it does cater to a specific niche of creative entrepreneurs.

For those just starting out or operating on a limited budget, Big Cartel is a viable choice.

However, for sellers looking for more advanced ecommerce features and greater customization options, alternative platforms like Squarespace may be a more suitable choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What percent does Big Cartel take?

Big Cartel does not charge a transaction fee for payment processing. The fees for payment processing will depend on the provider you choose, such as Stripe, which charges 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction for online sales.

How easy is it to set up an online store with Big Cartel?

Setting up an online store with Big Cartel is straightforward and can be completed in less than 45 minutes, requiring no coding or website experience.

What customization options does Big Cartel offer for its themes?

Big Cartel offers 18 free themes with basic customization options, but advanced alterations may require coding expertise.

How does Big Cartel’s ecommerce capabilities compare to other platforms?

Big Cartel’s ecommerce capabilities are somewhat limited compared to other platforms, with basic features and a lack of advanced marketing and SEO tools. This may impact the platform’s ability to support more complex online stores.

What payment processing options does Big Cartel offer?

Big Cartel offers a limited number of payment gateways, including PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, and Square, providing you with multiple options for processing payments.

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