Big Cartel is an eCommerce solution for artists and creative people seeking a way to sell their items with their very own online store.
With everything you need to manage your store, fulfill orders, update products, run promotions and much more, Big Cartel is a one-stop platform that lets you run your entire business online with just a few clicks.
Big Cartel is the ideal solution for artists and individuals who sell their own creations, but it should be avoided for pretty much all other business types.
With heavy limitations on amount of products you can sell and the amount of pictures you can upload for each product, this makes it difficult for you to scale your business.
- Support: 24/7
- Pricing: $9.99 to $29.99
- Powers: Thousands of Businesses
What is Big Cartel?
Big Cartel makes it simple for you to set up an online marketplace where you can sell your items on the internet.
Their drag and drop editor allows people with no coding skills to easily customize their website to make it look exactly as they’ve always imagined.
Free themes allow you to quickly get started with a ready-to-go template, or you can choose to build an entire online store from scratch for a fully customized experience.
Along with excellent designing tools, Big Cartel provides all of the additional tools in order to successfully run your online store.
You’ll easily be able to keep track of inventory, manage orders, find customer orders, set up shipping rates, run promotions and much more.
As an all-in-one eCommerce platform, Big Cartel takes away the stress of running an online business by making everything simple and straightforward.
Big Cartel was founded in 2005 and they’ve remained 100% independent ever since.
The CEO, Matt Wigham launched this eCommerce solution along with co-founder Eric Turner in order to provide artists and creative minds to have a simple way to market their items on the internet.
Today, they are one of the top rated eCommerce solutions for artists on the internet.
They have headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah and they run the entire platform with under 50 employees.
While Big Cartel is a niche-specific website builder, it remains an excellent solution for creative products and the platform as a whole is constantly innovating with new features, allowing you to continuously improve your online presence. Big Cartel is definitely a solid option for artists who want to sell custom products online.
The lack of transaction fees and their affordable pricing structure is a great benefit for individuals with few products, but even the priciest plan doesn’t offer enough flexibility for growing businesses.
Speed is definitely a huge benefit since Big Cartel sites are greatly optimized for loading quickly.
Customer support on the other hand is far from perfect with only email support available and this, only during business hours.
While they have limited features and a small selection of themes, artists and individuals with few products should find Big Cartel to be more than enough.
Just like with most eCommerce solutions, Big Cartel offers a selection of free themes so you can hit the ground running. Unfortunately, they only have roughly a dozen free themes to choose from, making their selection quite limited.
Apps and plugins are what make website builder platforms simple to use. Simply install an app and enjoy functions that would traditionally take days to code on hard-coded websites.
However, Big Cartel falls short when it comes to app integrations. We only noticed about a dozen apps to choose from on their platform, which is far below the industry average.
Pricing & Fees
Pricing plans vary greatly from one eCommerce solution to another and Big Cartel is definitely among the most affordable options.
Their competitive pricing structure allows you to get started with your very own online store for free.
If you choose to upgrade towards one of their paid plans, you will still be saving a ton of money in comparison to other similar platforms.
However, it’s important to note that they limit the amount of products you can place for sale on your store, so if you have lots of products, Big Cartel may not be the best option for your specific needs.
Overall, you will find Big Cartel to be an affordable option, especially when you consider that they don’t charge any type of transaction fees.
The pricing plans at Big Cartel are very competitive.
They offer a limited free plan, which isn’t always the case with eCommerce platforms.
This allows you to get a feel of the platform before committing to a paid plan.
Their paid plans start with “Platinum”, which limits you to 25 products. The next plan is “Diamond”, which limits you to 100 products and the final plan is “Titanium”, which limits you to 300 products. All of their pricing plans limit you to 5 images per product except for the free plan, which limits you to 1 image per product.
Overall, Big Cartel is an affordable eCommerce solution for small stores and individuals wanting to sell their own creations.
5 Images / Product
No Listing Fees
5 Images / Product
No Listing Fees
5 Images / Product
No Listing Fees
One of the major benefits of choosing Big Cartel if you’re an artist or someone who sells their own creations is the lack of transaction fees.
Most eCommerce platforms charge a transaction fee with each sale or they disguise this fee by limiting bandwidth.
Big Cartel has no transaction fees whatsoever other than requiring you to upgrade your pricing plan to sell more products.
If you’re an individual with just a few products available for sale at any given moment, you’re going to love the savings you can make by choosing Big Cartel as your eCommerce solution.
We searched all over their platform trying to find hidden fees or other expenses that you may encounter by using this eCommerce solution.
One thing we noticed was their limited selection of payment gateways.
With just a couple of payment gateways available to choose from, your options are rather limited and this could result in having to choose a payment gateway that is more expensive than options available on other eCommerce platforms.
It’s worth taking a moment to look at their plugins page to discover which payment gateways are currently available before committing to a paid plan with Big Cartel.
Speed & Performance
The speed and performance of your website is just as important as the products you sell.
You’ll want to have a rapid interface that allows users to quickly go from one web page to another.
After testing several websites using the Big Cartel eCommerce platform, we can easily say that their websites are well optimized.
Compared to other similar platforms, Big Cartel sites load very quickly and most optimizations are in place in order to get the best speed possible.
Uptime shouldn’t be much of an issue either, since they don’t seem to have any regular outages or breaks in their platform.
Overall, if you’re looking for a stable platform that delivers fast loading web pages, you’re going to love using Big Cartel for your online store.
Being able to monitor the uptime history for an eCommerce solution is crucial if you want to ensure that you’re choosing a platform that delivers a stable environment.
Fortunately, you will be able to keep an eye on the uptime at Big Cartel by visiting their status page.
We analyzed their status page as well as other indicators online and their uptime is average. When compared to other platforms, they do not crash more often and they do make sure to list every incident so you aren’t kept in the dark.
Big Cartel does not list an uptime guarantee like other platforms, but they do deliver a rather stable eCommerce platform.
Big Cartel has an incident status report page, which allows you to get updated on recent issues with their platform.
This page has absolutely nothing listed for the past few months, which could either mean that they have an incredibly stable environment, they don’t update their platform very often or they simply do not list any incidents on this status page.
We searched the internet for any major incidents with the Big Cartel platform over the past few months and we couldn’t find anything.
Overall, Big Cartel is above average as far as incident frequency is concerned since we couldn’t find anything concerning recent issues with their platform.
We tested a bunch of web pages using the Big Cartel eCommerce solution in order to determine the average loading speed for this platform.
Big Cartel sites performed above average with most pages loading in under 2 seconds and some even loading in under 1 second.
Most of the necessary speed optimizations were performed, making for a rapid platform that loads quickly.
Overall, you can expect fast loading websites when choosing Big Cartel.
Customer Services & Support
Running an online business isn’t as easy as it seems and occasionally, you’ll need some assistance in order to fix problems, resolve issues or debug certain functions.
This is why most eCommerce platforms provide outstanding support teams, so online merchants can quickly fix issues that arise.
Unfortunately, when it comes to providing support, Big Cartel is a huge disappointment.
They only provide support via email and this sole support channel is only available during business hours.
There is no priority support available no matter how much you spend or make using their platform.
A few tutorials are available on their Help page, so you shouldn’t have any issues setting up your online store and navigating the built-in tools.
However, if you run into more complex problems such as being unable to process a client’s payment, you’ll be out of luck.
No immediate assistance is available, so even when contacting them during business hours, you’ll have to wait several minutes, even hours.
Overall, Big Cartel’s support team is a huge let down.
If you’re in the market for an eCommerce solution that delivers outstanding support, you’ll want to avoid Big Cartel.
They only have email support – no phone, no live chat, no ticketing system, nothing.
Plus, to make matters worse, they only provide their email support assistance from 9am to 6pm EST, Monday to Friday.
This is a huge problem, especially for people running online stores. If you run into issues on a Friday night, you won’t get any assistance until the following Monday.
Online merchants expect immediate assistance with urgent issues and Big Cartel simply does not deliver.
Speed of Response
With the lack of phone and live chat support channels, there is no way to get an immediate response to your inquiries.
For those of you who enjoy talking to an actual person on the phone, you’ll be completely out of luck.
However, when contacting their email support team during business hours, you can still expect fairly quick responses.
We attempted to contact them via email numerous times and the average wait time was just under 1 hour.
Some of our emails were answered in as little as 30 minutes.
Friendliness & Helpfulness
While attempting to contact Big Cartel for this review, we took their friendliness and helpfulness into consideration.
Overall, they were quite nice and always tried their best to answer our inquiries.
They were often able to provide us with detailed and informative responses to basic inquiries.
However, when asking their support team more technical questions, we were often out of luck.
This resulted in them escalating our inquiry to the tech team, which could often take several hours, even days before getting taken care of.
The support team at Big Cartel is friendly and helpful, but aren’t the best with technical issues.
If you choose Big Cartel as your eCommerce solution, you better love contacting support teams via email, since this is the only available support channel that they offer.
The email support team is rather helpful and was always able to answer basic inquiries within hours, sometimes minutes.
However, more complicated inquiries could take days to resolve since they had to escalate them to the tech team.
Email support at Big Cartel is slightly above average when compared to similar platforms, but keep in mind that it’s the only available support channel and it’s only available during business hours.
Functionality & Features
- If you’re looking for a basic eCommerce platform that delivers simple features without much hassle involved, Big Cartel is an excellent choice for you.
- If you need ease of use, a quick set up procedure and the ability to have your products listed for sale online within minutes, Big Cartel is for you.
- If you need to list hundreds of products with dozens of images each and you need to perform specific customizations, you should avoid this eCommerce solution.
Big Cartel is a basic eCommerce platform that caters to artists and people who make their own products from home and wish to set up an online store.
The product and image limitations as well as the very basic features make Big Cartel a great eCommerce solution for individuals, but not for actual businesses.
Ease of Use
Simplicity of use is one of the strong points at Big Cartel.
This eCommerce solution was created for artists to market their creations online.
They don’t expect most users to have lots of coding skills so they created one of the easiest dashboards in the industry.
Upon creating your account, you will be greeted with a setup wizard that walks you through every step of the process of setting up your online store.
By answering a few questions, picking a few options and checking a few boxes, your online store will quickly be set up within minutes.
Big Cartel definitely shines when it comes to ease of use.
Big Cartel was created for artists and people who make their own items.
This means it’s not the ideal eCommerce platform for large retail chains with thousands of products.
They have very basic features with loads of limitations, which shouldn’t be a problem for artists with a few products, but becomes problematic for larger merchants.
Big Cartel limits the amount of products you can list ranging from 5 to 300 products depending on your pricing plan.
You will also be limited with the amount of images you can use for each product. Overall, Big Cartel is great for artists, but not ideal for large online stores.
Themes & Templates
Choice of Themes
Quality of Themes
Their selection of themes is slightly below average.
This means that you’ll need to perform quite a lot of customizations in order to make it look different from other Big Cartel store owners.
However, customizing the themes requires some coding skills and not all pricing plans allow for themes to be customized.
Making matters worse, the quality of the free themes at Big Cartel is not that great.
They come equipped with basic features and offer very average looking designs. Overall, the themes at Big Cartel are far from impressive and if you really want to stand out, you’ll need to customize whichever theme that you choose.
Apps & Plugins
Choice of Apps & plugins
Quality of Apps & Plugins
Other similar eCommerce platforms have hundreds of plugins to choose from, allowing you to really customize the entire website with ease.
That’s not the case with Big Cartel. However, if you’re an artist wanting to sell your own creations and aren’t thinking about growing a big business, then that shouldn’t be a problem.
Big Cartel’s apps deliver as promised and most of them are free to use, but it would really be nice to see them add a lot more apps moving forward.
If you plan on using Big Cartel as your eCommerce solution, you should ensure that the themes you want to use have most of the functions already built-in, which will remove your need for additional plugins.