Big Cartel was founded in Salt Lake City by Matt Wigham, a member of a band who wanted an easy way to sell his band’s products online. It has since expanded and now hosts online stores for more than 250,000 people.

 

Rank Chart
Price
Features
Our Score
#1
$9 - $179
256
8.5
#2
$30 - $200
256
8.4
#3
$15 - $135
128
8.3
#23
Big Cartel Feat
$10 - $30
256
5.9

The Good

Some people may find the simplicity of Big Cartel’s templates unappealing, but if you’re looking to set up a small online shop, Big Cartel is a great option. Setting up a shop with Big Cartel doesn’t require coding knowledge and its user interface is very easy to navigate.

Things that we liked about Big Cartel include:

  • Free version available.
  • 5 images per product with all plans except Gold.
  • Uniqueness and trendiness of their website.

The basic membership is perfect for someone who is just starting out with a few products, and it’s easy to upgrade or cancel your plan at any time. Big Cartel also uses technology to track your store statistics and helps you with search engine optimization, meaning you’ll have the tools to grow your small business quickly.

The Bad

We like the artistic take that Big Cartel brings to the table in the e-commerce platform industry but there are some things that are concerning to us when we looked at Big Cartel:

  1. Their pricing is one of the cheapest in the industry. There is a Gold plan which offers a freemium version of their e-commerce platform but it only allows 5 products to be sold on it and it has limited features. When you upgrade to a Platinum plan, you are granted all of the features that Big Cartel offers and the pricing is very doable compared to other e-commerce platforms. However, even with Big Cartel’s most expensive plan, you are limited to only having 300 products on your website. This shows that Big Cartel really is for small businesses only.
  2. Big Cartel seems to only offer two different payment gateways at this time, Stripe and PayPal Express. While these are two very popular payment gateways, it doesn’t offer online store owners the variety they need if they already own a store and are wanting to switch to Big Cartel or if they are starting out brand new. Our top recommended companies for e-commerce platforms offer many different options for payment gateways.

Big Cartel isn’t the best option for everyone since it caters mostly to small online store owners. If you want to have a large presence as an online store and you plan to advertise hundreds of products, you’ll need to use a larger online marketplace.

Some other things we didn’t like about Big Cartel is:

  • 7/10 from our features list.
  • Hardly any templates or themes available to use.
  • No live chat available from Big Cartel to help you.

Big Cartel also doesn’t offer the large amount of free templates that some other e-commerce platforms have, and customization is very basic unless you upgrade to one of the paid plans. Once you have a paid plan you’re given the option of using HTML or CSS to modify your storefront.

The Bottom Line

As mentioned before, Big Cartel has an attractive layout and it’s easy to use, which makes it a great platform for new store owners to get started on. It’s simple to get a basic overview of how your store is doing since Big Cartel is integrated with Google Analytics, and customers can pay for your products easily using PayPal, which is also integrated. Big Cartel is also secure and hosts thousands of successful online stores.

Monthly Price (basic package):

Big Cartel’s basic package is free. It allows you to list five products with one image per product, and allows for simple customization. Up to ten product orders can be placed using the Big Cartel Checkout iPhone app as part of the basic package. Big Cartel also has three other plans to choose from if the basic package doesn’t suit your e-commerce needs. These packages range from $9.99-$29.99 per month.

Fees (transaction fees): No

Hidden fees: No

Free trial: No—unlike its competitors, Big Cartel offers a free basic package that you can keep until it’s time to upgrade

Storefront Security (10=highly secure): 7. Big Cartel uses industry standard SSL encryption in all of its stores. However, there is no mention online of Big Cartel being PCI compliant, which is why their security score is lower than other e-commerce website developers. Most Big Cartel payments appear to be routed through Paypal, although Big Cartel’s site does give you the option of paying with a debit or credit card.

Storefront Design (10=highly designable): Big Cartel is clear about their product being geared toward small online stores. Their most expensive package allows for a maximum of 300 product listings. Since Big Cartel markets toward a smaller audience, their website themes are very simple and easy to set up. Big Cartel offers three free templates and it’s easy to customize the photos and colors for each of them. No programming is required, although you are given the option of altering the HTML and CSS code if you would like to. Big Cartel doesn’t offer a step-by-step tutorial for setting up your shop, but the user-friendly interface makes it a straightforward process.

Time in business: Big Cartel was established in 2005.

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