Big Cartel is one of the few eCommerce builders where you can actually start selling your products online for free. If you want to sign up to Big Cartel, you can do, without the need for a credit card and you can sell up to five products.
However, we all know that not all great things come for free. You’ll still need extras as well, such as cheap VPS and a domain name.
Before we begin, we will say that Big Cartel isn’t a match for Shopify and BigCommerce. However, they are a good option if you want to start things out or you don’t plan to sell much online. Beginners will have limited customization and options, but if you know how to code, you can push the builder beyond its starter limits.
|✔ Can set up an online store and start selling for free||✖ Theme designs are quite simplistic|
|✔ User-friendly interface||✖ Customisation options are very minimal|
|✔ Great for artists||✖ Higher levels of customization require coding|
The whole premise of website builders and eCommerce builders is to make people’s lives easier. They are designed for those without coding skills or knowledge to be able to build a website from scratch. So, it’s important that usability is top-notch, otherwise, what’s the point?
Unfortunately, Big Cartel didn’t fair too well on the ease of use front. Signing up to Big Cartel isn’t a problem, in fact, that process is quite easy and user-friendly, enticing beginners in before confusing them!
The onboarding process is good. There’s a clear overall percentage of tasks completed towards setting up your shop. There are also helpful prompts throughout and suggestions as to what you should do next. For beginners, or for someone that hasn’t used Big Cartel before, this is great.
However, things start to get a little more tricky when you begin customizing your online store. Once you’ve chosen a theme, you’re pretty much stuck with it and its limitations. What we mean by this is that if you want to add or change anything outside of what the theme has set out, you’re going to come into lots of difficulties.
To push the editor beyond its very basic limits, you’re going to need to have some coding knowledge. This is where it becomes frustrating for me because I truly believe eCommerce builders shouldn’t require you to have this knowledge. They are supposed to be easy!
Big Cartel is an eCommerce builder with quite a few issues. Yes, it might be a suitable option for some people, but it’s certainly not going to attract a wide audience. Its free plan is definitely appealing for those who want to try their services out, and there are no transaction fees, so that’s a bonus.
However, Big Cartel has far too many cons to make it worthwhile. The onboarding process is good, but once you get past that, things go downhill rapidly. Its themes are fairly basic, there are not many of them, and they’re very limited in terms of customization.
If you’re a coder, you’ll probably be alright, but if not, you’ll find the editor very frustrating. On top of this, Big Cartel’s sales features are slim pickings. Basic features like abandoned cart recovery don’t exist, making it seem like a website builder rather than an eCommerce builder.
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