Big Cartel - Features, Pricing, Alternatives, and More
Starting an online store seems like a big job—and it can be. You could easily spend hours setting up hosting, coding your own theme, and trying to figure out how to effectively manage your orders.
If you're starting the next Amazon, perhaps that's worthwhile. But for most new stores, all you need a tool like Big Cartel that makes it simple to list you products, get sales, and stay in touch with your customers.
Starting a Big Cartel store is as simple is setting up a blog. You'll choose a theme, add your site name and logo, add some products, and you're done. It might take a bit longer than that sounds, but you really can start a Big Cartel store in minutes. And if your store only has 5 or fewer products, you can actually run your entire store for free.
Just create an account, choosing the size of store you need—and don't worry, you can always upgrade later if you want. Big Cartel will then give you a checklist of everything you need to do to get your store open for business. You'll add your checkout settings—where you'll add a Stripe or PayPal account for payments, or can enable both if you'd like to let people use their PayPal accounts or pay via credit card with Stripe.
Then, add a product to your store, and list it as active, hidden, sold out, or coming soon, enough options to keep your in-word listings hidden, keep items that are out of stock still visible on your site, and to get people excited about things that are coming soon. Then, add categories to organize products, and list a base price along with options (perhaps for size or color) and a price for each variation. List shipping cost—per country or for the whole world—and then add images for your products.
With a paid plan, you can add extra products, along with 5 images per product (free plans only get one). You can also track inventory with a paid plan—which will show your items as active and then switch them to sold out once all of your available stock has been ordered. And if you don't want to tweak all those settings each time, you can list default pricing, options, and shipping settings, and add them to new products with the tap of a button.
Your only step left is to customize how your site looks—just click your site's name in the admin screen, and select Customize Design. Big Cartel includes 11 themes by default, and you can customize the colors and fonts used in each one. Or, you can add custom CSS and HTML, just to tweak an existing theme or to add your own hand-coded design. You can also add extra pages to your site there, to share info about your company or give customers a way to get in touch.
Then, launch your store to the world—share your new site, and wait for the orders to come in. When they do, you'll see all orders and sold-out products on your store's dashboard, along with quick stats about which pages get the most views. With a paid plan, you'll also see what search terms brought people to your site, who's referring visitors to your site, and your site's traffic over time. Big Cartel will also email you whenever someone buy's something—and can email the customer also with a customized Thank You email to let them know their purchase will be on the way soon.
Big Cartel isn't designed to run the next Amazon—in fact, you can only list up to 300 products with its top plan. What it does offer is one of the simplest ways to build an eCommerce site in minutes.
Big Cartel Resources:
- Learn how to build and customize your site with Big Cartel's Help center
- Create your own theme with the Big Cartel theme and API documentation
- Need help deciding which payment processor to use? Check out Zapier's roundup of the best ways to accept payments online for quick info on the best tools.
- Learn how to start your own business and online store with Zapier's The Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Software book.
Big Cartel Features
- Create an online store quickly with built-in customizable templates
- Manage orders right from your dashboard
- List upcoming or out-of-stock products in your store
- Sell digital products for download via Pulley integration
- Accept payments via Stripe and/or PayPal
- iOS app available
Big Cartel Pricing
- Free Gold plan for 5 products and limited features
- $9.99/month Platinum plan for 25 products and full features
- $19.99/month Diamond plan for 100 products and full features
- $29.99/month Titanium plan for 300 products and full features