BigCartel eCommerce Builder Review
“The only eCommerce builder you can sell with for free”
If you’re a maker or artist trying to sell your unique products online, BigCartel is what you want.
BigCartel is one of the most popular eCommerce builders that allow artists and makers to build a creative online store for free. It’s an eCommerce site builder that’s highly suitable for small scale businesses that aren’t interested in upscaling their business soon.
Beginners who’re new in this competitive eCommerce industry, BigCartel is a perfect option for them because of its user-friendly onboarding process. However, to get most out of it, you need to know how to code.
A free plan and basic sale features makes BigCartel a risk-free choice for entrepreneurs who’re planning to start a small eCommerce business.
BigCartel is often compared with eCommerce builders like WooCommerce and Shopify. Since these 2 are big names in the eCommerce industry, does this mean we start avoiding BigCartel? Well, No!
Today in this article we’ll do a complete review on BigCartel – it’s features, pricing, tools, and more.
Overview of BigCartel – an eCommerce builder
You might have heard about BigCartel and you might be interested in knowing whether it’s a right eCommerce builder or not. People usually only know that it’s a free eCommerce builder. That’s too good to be true, isn’t it?
BigCartel is an eCommerce builder that is perfect for small online businesses that are just starting out rather than looking to expand their business venture.
For those who’re on a tight budget, BigCartel is certainly a big appeal for them. The user-friendly on boarding process is another appalling feature, it prompts and guides users through the whole store set-up process.
Unfortunately, to get the most out of this amazing free eCommerce builder you need to know how to code. While it cannot compete with popular eCommerce builders like Shopify or WooCommerce, still it’s a good option for those who want to start on a small scale.
Now it’s time to check out features of BigCartel, so let’s begin.
BigCartel: the major features
Ease of use
The task of building an online store is pretty exciting especially for the newbies. For some it can be fun. However a lot of users end up banging their head against their screens in frustration.
Because building an eCommerce store isn’t that easy as it seems like. Therefore it’s necessary to test whether the eCommerce builder you’re choosing is easy to use or not.
So the question is , “Is BigCartel easy to use?”
Let’s find out.
BigCartel has a very easy user-friendly onboarding process. This eCommerce builder gives users helpful reminders, prompts, and suggestions while they’re building their online stores. Being guided throughout the process makes it easy for beginners to set-up their online store.
One of the BigCartel users state,
“It has its strengths in that I felt more confident using it because it guides you through tasks, this just made it feel easier.”
However, the real problem starts in BigCartel when you start customizing and add things by yourself.
The design of your site heavily depends upon the theme you have chosen. The themes offered are very basic and gives less room for customization. So if you want to add those things that are beyond the theme’s guideline, that’s where you will run into frustration.
So if you want to make the most out of it and customize it, then you need to know how to tweak the lines of code. Ideally, beginners use Big Cartel and they are not confident coders, therefore using BigCartel without knowing how to code is very challenging.
According to our research, BigCartel stood last when it comes to ease of use. As long as you stick with the basic features and are happy with following the guidelines then BigCartel is simple and easy.
Users who’re looking for creative freedom, BigCartel is definitely not made for them.
Features and sales tools
To sell products on your online store, you need a set of tools to make the customer journey easy and engaging. BigCartel offers a big range of sales features. However, if you choose a free plan you’ll be able to add only 5 products on your eCommerce store and you cannot offer discounts.
Let’s check some of the sales features and tools of BigCartel
BigCartel offers 3 payment options to its users which they can use on their online store including, PayPal, Stripe, and Square. You can also customize your checkout process by choosing a theme that reflects your brand. It also offers a section where customers can keep track of their orders and transaction details.
However, BigCartel isn’t Payment Card Industry compliant. It means that you have to follow all the guidelines of PCI while processing transactions and collecting customers’ payment card details.
This can be a big huge responsibility and calls for a lot of effort.
If we look at the brighter side, BigCartel doesn’t charge any additional transaction fees. It means you have to only pay the standard charges applied by your chosen payment gateway. BigCartel doesn’t even charge a single penny even if you choose the free plan.
BigCartel allows you to use third party apps/plugins to increase the functionality of your store. You need plugins or apps to unlock advanced features like,
- Selling digital products
- Creating pop-ups for promotion
- Accessing advanced analytics and finance tools
- Making drop-shipping option available to your shoppers
Adding these advanced features on your eCommerce store will make the customer experience better. Unfortunately, BigCartel cannot compete with BigCommerce and Shopify in the sales area, you cannot add product reviews on your site as this option isn’t available even if you’re using third-party apps/plugins.
BigCartel has no login option for your customers, it means you can only offer guest checkouts on your store. Online shoppers are accustomed to saving their shopping details on their account for a quick shop. BigCartel neither allows your customers to save their details nor it allows you to upload products in bulk to your store.
Users like artists who prefer to upload their artworks individually, BigCartel is ideal for them.
Themes and design
By default, BigCartel offers 16 professional and clean themes. These themes are great to kick-start your eCommerce store. It also allows users to preview themes before they select them.
The best part is you can switch your eCommerce store theme whenever you like. All your products will be reformatted automatically according to the theme. However, if you have added any extra content, it will not be reformatted.
You have to re-upload all the extra content again on your store, which can be pretty time-consuming.
Moreover, customers prefer those websites that are not only user-friendly and engaging but mobile optimized too. All the themes you’ll find on Big Cartel are completely mobile responsive, so you don’t have to worry about your mobile customers.
When it comes to image editing, BigCartel doesn’t have much to offer. Unlike BigCommerce and Shopify, BigCartel doesn’t provide an image editor by default. You can only edit images by tweaking the lines of code.
Also there are no clipart or stock images available, you have to upload all the images yourself if you want to add them.
Another drawback of using BigCartel is the themes are not flexible at all. They are very restrictive in nature and don’t allow you to showcase your creative side. By default, the themes are dreary, simple, and dull. You cannot not use them if you want to impress your customers.
And if you want to customize them, you need to know how to code.
Overall, themes of BigCartel are simple, clean and functional. Don’t go an extra mile to make your store visually appealing.
BigCartel offers customer support via email to all its users, no matter which plan they have chosen. The email support is available from Monday to Friday (9am to 6pm). It does offer a live chat feature but don’t be fooled by it because it will take you back to email support.
BigCartel also offers support via BigCartel knowledge base. The knowledge base is intuitively designed and it’s very easy to navigate.
Here’s what BigCartel user has to say about it’s help and support knowledge center,
“Amending the shipping costs was really easy and was explained well within the help and support knowledge center.”
Even though BigCartel lacks in providing proper support and help to its users, it’s still really good at supporting users during the building process via frequent reminders, prompts, and messages.
At the end of the day, pricing is one of those factors that can influence your choice. Afterall, you’re making a site to earn money not to splash all your hard earned savings on it.
If you’re on a budget, BigCartel is ideal for you. It’s the only eCommerce builder that allows users to create online stores and accept online payments for free.
BigCartel offers 4 price plans – gold, platinium, diamond, and titanium. These pricing plans range from $0 to $29.99 per month. The products you can sell in your store varies from plan to plan.
The free plan (gold) allows you to add up to 05 products to your store along with the option to promote your products on social media communities like Facebook and Instagram. This a good plan if you’re planning to start out small.
The platinum plans allow you to add up to 50 products on your digital store. Other remarkable features offered in this plan are, free customizable themes, five images per product, Google Analytics, shipment tracking , bulk editing and many more. It costs you $9.99 per month.
The diamond plan costs you $19.99 per month and allows you to add 250 products while the titanium plan costs $29.99 per month and allows users to add 500 products on their eCommerce store.
The features offered in platinum, diamond, and titanium pricing plans are the same.
Overall, BigCartel is a highly affordable initiative website builder. If you’re looking for something basic to kickstart your eCommerce business, the free-plan is ideal for you.
No other eCommerce builder will allow you to start selling without signing-up to a premium plan.
Customer ratings and satisfaction
Here comes the main question, do users recommend BigCartel? According to our research, BigCartel receives 3/5 ratings from it’s users and 52% users recommend it.
Let’s find out what BigCartel users had to say,
“A simple, easy to use website builder that’s maybe good if you are starting out and you want a basic store, but not so great if you want a higher level of customization.”
“It’s quite deceptive, at the start I thought it would be really easy and customer friendly because it mentioned that you were 10% of the way there, don’t forget this, do this, do that. But then you realize that everything has to be coded in the back end.”
Overall, people find it easy and simple to use in the beginning. But most of them disliked the fact that to customize and add things for your own user should know how to code.
Do we recommend BigCartel?
BigCartel, an eCommerce builder that comes with many pros and cons.
The free plan it offers to users is the most appealing fact about it. It’s the only eCommerce builder that allows you to sell products online without signing-up for a paid version, plus it doesn’t charge any transaction fees which is quite rare.
The layout of the builder is ideal for those who’re looking for a platform to sell their one-off pieces. So if you’re looking for an eCommerce builder to start on a small scale, you should definitely go for BigCartel.
However, if you want to build a full-fledged online store, we suggest you look elsewhere. The standard features are suitable to support small businesses. So if you want to expand your business, Big Cartel isn’t the right option for you.
We hope this detailed review on BigCartel eCommerce builder will help you in understanding whether you should consider this eCommerce builder for your business or not.