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Our Score 6.3

Did you know that it takes less than a second for a user to make an opinion about a company or organization based on its website and first experience using it? This only means that if you want to create a successful eCommerce website, you need to make sure that it’s not only attractive-looking but is also easy to use and functional.  

In this Big Cartel review, we’ll cover all you need to know about Big Cartel website builder, including Big Cartel themes, pricing, features and usability. What is more, at the end of the Big Cartel review, I will provide you with Big Cartel VS Shopify comparison, a few examples of the best Big Cartel shops, and even more. 

Since there’s a lot to cover in this Big Cartel review, let’s get right to it. 

Verdict at a Glance

Big Cartel is an eCommerce website builder that’s created for artists. This website builder is easy to use, provides you with the necessary tools to manage your store, and has an app that you can use on the go. Big Cartel allows you to choose from 4 different plans, depending on how many products you’re selling. The free plan is available as well. Since it’s created for artists, the builder features truly attractive templates. On the other hand, this website builder is not the best option for those who own huge businesses, and it might be a bit expensive.

Pros

  • Very easy to use
  • Attractive templates
  • Positive customer reviews
  • App available

Cons

  • Not the best option for big stores
  • Limited number of templates

Big Cartel Review: What are the Company’s Main Goals?

Big Cartel was founded back in 2005 by Matt Wigham and Eric Turner. Since Matt Wigham was a musician as well as a web developer, he wanted to find the best way to sell his merchandise online. 

They sat together with Eric Turner, who’s also a web developer and has been working on a few projects with Wigham in the past. Initially, their goal was to create the easiest way for bands to sell their creation online

However, after Big Cartel was founded back in 2005, it was no longer just a platform for bands but also for other creative individuals, such as fashion designers, painters, authors, bakers, photographers, crafters, and other artists. 

Big Cartel review: front page.

Today, Big Cartel has expanded and become one of the better places for artists to sell their work. This website builder is used by over 1million people and generated more than $2.5 billion in sales

Big Cartel has a small, yet tight-knit team that works independently and aims to create a super easy-to-use platform that would work even for non-technical individuals. 

What’s truly interesting about Big Cartel is that back in 2018, the company made it to the Forbes list called “Best Small Companies”. It’s a list that includes companies that choose “great instead of big”.

It seems that this website builder is truly successful, however, to figure out more about this platform, it’s important to get into more details. 

Big Cartel Review: PROS

To figure out what’s good about the Big Cartel website builder, I’ll begin with the positive aspects. However, it can be difficult to figure out if it’s the right option for you without knowing what you should be looking for. That being said, here are some of the most important factors that you should focus on

  • Ease of use. If you don’t have that much experience in building your own websites, you should always go for an easy-to-use platform. In most cases, it’s recommended to go for drag-and-drop website builders as you’ll be able to see the changes that you’re making instantly. Many Big Cartel reviews will tell you that it’s the best option. 
  • The variety of themes and templates. Since each artist has a different style and products offered, it’s crucial to have a variety of themes and templates to choose from. The more options there are, the better. 
  • Modern and trendy designs. Of course, the number of themes and templates is important but you should also focus on how they look like. Some website builders offer very unattractive and distasteful templates that will stop you from creating a sleek-looking website. To avoid that, it’s crucial to choose a builder that offers modern and trendy-looking templates, especially if you’re an artist. 
  • Features. If you want to create a more interesting website, you’ll need various features. As far as Big Cartel website builder goes, it seems to provide you with the needed functionality. 
  • Pricing. If you’re creating a small online store, you probably don’t want to pay a fortune. Some website builders will provide you with free plans that might be great when you’re just starting. You can switch to another plan once your store is growing. 
  • Scalability. Not all website builders are suitable for big stores, some of them are very limited. That said, you should think about the future before deciding which website builder to choose. 

Now that you’re aware of the most important aspects, let’s focus on the Big Cartel review.

Attractive Templates

Since Big Cartel was initially created for artists who value the aesthetic side of things, you expect Big Cartel to provide you with attractive templates to choose from, and you wouldn’t be wrong. 

Even though currently Big Cartel provides only 16 themes to choose from, the majority of them are very attractive and professional. These templates will allow you to create a modern and sleek-looking website in no time

Also, what I noticed is that all Big Cartel themes feature a very different design. Some of them are minimalistic, other ones are very colorful, playful. What is more, there are very artsy options to choose from. 

Big Cartel review: website builder for artists.

That being said, whether you’re creating an eCommerce website for your paintings, crafts, merchandise or culinary-related products, everyone will be able to find an option for their personal needs. 

Also, once you choose the template, you’ll be able to customize it based on your wants and needs. You can easily change font, colors, add images, products, change their size, descriptions, add links to your social accounts, and more. So since Big Cartel provides attractive-looking templates, it will be easy to create a website just the way you like it. 

The final thing to be mentioned is that, unlike many other website builders, Big Cartel allows you to change themes any time you want. This means that if you start creating your website and don’t feel like the template you chose is the right fit, you can check out other available Big Cartel themes. Once you choose another theme, it will be automatically reformatted. You will only need to reupload your background images.

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Easy-to-Use Website Builder

If you’re not a very technical person or simply haven’t used any website builder before, your experience will completely depend on the platform you choose. You should know that the process of creating your own website doesn’t have to be torture, it should be fun and interesting

So what about Big Cartel? Is it easy to use? 

It seems that Big Cartel is one of the easier-to-use website builders, especially when it comes to the whole registration and enrollment process.

When it comes to registering your online store, all you will need to provide is your email address, password and store name. After you fill in this information, you’ll be immediately redirected to the website builder and will be able to start building your site immediately

When choosing from Big Cartel themes, you’ll be able to check them out by clicking only one time on your option. When it’s done, you can start customizing and easily change:

  • Header image
  • Repeating background image
  • Background
  • Secondary  background
  • Primary text 
  • Secondary text
  • Link hover
  • Header text
  • Boarders
  • Button text
  • etc.

While the Big Cartel interface is very clear, you also get helpful suggestions as well as reminders about what else should be added when creating a website. This helpful advice makes the platform very easy to use and friendly for beginners

Big Cartel review: interface.

Of course, when it comes to beginner-friendly platforms, you should also be aware of the fact that customization is a bit limited. If you will want to add anything outside the theme, you will need to know how to code.

To conclude the usability part of the Big Cartel review, I can say that the platform is easy to use as long as we’re talking about basic customization and everything revolving around a theme. However, if you will want to adapt the style to your personal needs better, you will need at least basic coding skills. It’s almost the same with every website builder out there. 

Good Features

When looking for a website builder to create an eCommerce website, one of the things that you will need to pay attention to is features. The more exceptional functionality the platform offers, the better your experience will be. Some features simply make things easier. 

Talking about Big Cartel, the builder is quite simple in terms of features, however, you get all the main functions you need to successfully run an online store. That said, let’s take a look at the most important features you get: 

  • Sell on multiple channels. When selling products, you’ll be able to do that not only on your website but also through other channels, such as Facebook. 
  • Five images per product. If you choose any of the paid plans, you’ll be able to add 5 images for each of your products. What is more, you can list your products as well as provide different prices for each of them.
  • Marketing. Big Cartel allows you to create discount and promo codes that tend to be really attractive to customers, especially if you offer a really good deal. Also, Big Cartel allows you to expand to other social media platforms. 
  • Sales tax autopilot. This one is a new Big Cartel feature that automatically calculates sales taxes for US citizens when checking out. 
  • SEO tools. SEO tools are necessary if you want your website to rank on Google. Big Cartel provides you with basic SEO tools, however, they should be really helpful. 
  • Google Analytics. If you choose a paid Big Cartel plan, no matter which one, Google Analytics will be already integrated into your platform. 
  • Tracking your inventory. This feature is only available with Big Cartel paid plans. It will track your inventory automatically, so you won’t need to worry about selling products you no longer have. 

While Big Cartel offers only basic features that are necessary for managing your store, they are definitely enough for small-to-medium online stores. Of course, you should pay attention to the fact that the Big Cartel free plan is very limited and you won’t be able to use the majority of the previously-named features.

App Available

When owning a website, especially when it comes to online stores, you might need to make changes on the go. That’s why I find it important to choose a website builder that has a mobile app. 

Big Cartel review: features.

Big Cartel provides you with such a possibility and allows you to manage your store on the go, no matter when and where. Using the Big Cartel mobile app, you’ll be able to perform these actions

  • Check your online store status.
  • Add, edit and rearrange products.
  • Add images of your products.
  • Track your orders and products that have been shipped. 
  • Change discounts as well as add and remove them. 
  • Check various details related to orders. 
  • Make changes to your account.

The Big Cartel app can be very helpful when you need to make changes instantly. Even though it’s evaluated only 3.4 out of 5 on the Google Play store, customer Big Cartel reviews show that people are quite happy with their experience

Satisfied Customers

If you don’t find Big Cartel reviews helpful when deciding if this website builder is suitable for you, it’s always recommended to check out what the customers are saying

Big Cartel has 4.2 out of 5 stars on g2.com. The evaluation shows that the majority of the customers are satisfied with this website builder, except for a few unhappy ones. 

Big Cartel review: creating website.

When going through customer Big Cartel reviews, I noticed that there are a few aspects that the majority of users distinguished as the better sides of the platform: 

  • Ease of use. Big Cartel allows you to create a website in just a few clicks. What is more, you can easily add coupon codes, carry out sales, and even turn on the holiday mode. 
  • Inexpensive. Compared to other similar website builders, Big Cartel is truly affordable. A free plan is also available. 
  • HTML and CSS customization. Big Cartel allows you to directly customize HTML and CSS, so if you have the needed skills you can create a website based on your personal needs. 
  • Attractive templates. Even though Big Cartel provides only 16 templates to choose from, it seems that many customers are happy with their visual side. 

As you can see, there are many aspects to take into consideration here. However, knowing that customers actually have a great experience using Big Cartel allows you to trust the platform more. 

Support Causes that Matter

The final aspect to be mentioned in this Big Cartel review is that the team cares not only about taking but also about giving. That’s why they’re supporting various causes of significant importance by developing skills, sharing knowledge and giving their team an opportunity to take on new projects. 

Big Cartel review: supported causes.

Here are some of those projects

  • DonorsChoose - charitable donation 
  • Main Engine Cut Off - Anthony Colangelo
  • Gollay - Rachel Gollay
  • City of Industry - Sarah Anderson

Now that all is said and done, let’s focus on different aspects of this Big Cartel review.

Big Cartel Review: CONS

All good things must come to an end. You understood this correctly, it’s time to move on to the other part of this Big Cartel review and find out what this platform is missing. Even though there aren’t that many negative factors that come into play, they must be considered before making a decision. 

The very first thing that you need to understand is that Big Cartel is best suitable for small online stores or beginners who are creating their first eCommerce website. If you're selling a huge number of products you’ll want to consider other options.

This has to do with the fact that Big Cartel has only basic features that are enough for smaller businesses. These features are quite limited, especially if you want to continue expanding. That’s something to take into consideration in this Big Cartel review.

Big Cartel review: website builder for clothing brand.

If you’re looking for an eCommerce website builder that would provide you with more possibilities, you should consider Shopify and Squarespace. These are a few of the most recommended options when it comes to creating an online store. 

Limited Number of Templates to Pick From

Big Cartel templates are truly sleek and attractive looking, however, the problem is that you get only 16 options to choose from. This means that you may not be able to find the option that you’re looking for. 

Let’s quickly compare Big Cartel to some other website builders in terms of the number of templates available

It’s fair to say in this Big Cartel review that the majority of website builders will provide you with more options than Big Cartel to choose from. That said, if you have a very specific taste, it’s recommended to go for website builders that provide you with a variety of templates to choose from, not only 16. 

Big Cartel Pricing

In this Big Cartel review, I’ve been talking quite a bit about Big Cartel pricing, so you’re probably wondering how much this website builder costs. 

Like the majority of similar services, Big Cartel features a subscription-based pricing model. The plans and prices look like this: 

Each of these plans comes with different benefits. Also, there are no hidden Big Cartel fees.

Here are the Gold plan features

  • 1 image per product
  • Customizable themes for free
  • Ability to sell online and in-person 
  • Ability to use a custom domain
  • Real-time stats
  • Ability to provide various deals and discounts
  • Ability to track the shipping
  • Product options groups
  • Sales tax pilot

It’s clear that the better plan you choose the more benefits you get. That said, if you choose a Platinum plan, you will get these features additionally

  • 5 images per product
  • Ability to edit a theme using code
  • Google Analytics
  • Ability to track inventory 
  • Bulk editing 

Now, both Diamond and Titanium plans will provide you with the same features, however, you will be able to add a different amount of products to your store. The Diamond plan allows you to add 250, while Titanium 500 products

Big Cartel review: pricing.

As you can see, the situation regarding Big Cartel fees and pricing is very clear. Keep in mind that you can start with a free plan and then upgrade it when expanding. 

Also, the fact that Big Cartel free plan is available gives you the opportunity to check the platform out before making a commitment. That said, you shouldn’t jump to the paid plan immediately and try it out first. 

Best Big Cartel Shops

It can be difficult to imagine what kind of website you can create using the Big Cartel website builder. To make it easier, it’s recommended to check out some of the best Big Cartel shops. They can help you to get inspired not only when it comes to the visual side of things but also content. 

José A. Roda

Big Cartel review: site example.

José A. Roda is an illustrator that designs and manufactures various illustrations, such as screenprints, riso prints, clothing, wood-related art, tote bags, pottery, and more

The website is quite minimalistic, yet colorful. Once you visit it, you can instantly see the artwork and add the pieces you like to your cart. It’s truly attractive and very clear, there’s simply no unnecessary information. 

If that’s the style for you, this website should definitely inspire you. 

Malika Favre

Big Cartel review: site example.

Malika Favre is a French artist who’s based in London and is creating various illustrations for Vogue and The New York Times. The artist creates interesting-looking prints that attract art lovers from all over the world. 

Her online store features a modern and sleek-looking design that’s definitely attractive for those who value aesthetics. Even though it’s quite simple, it allows you to easily find what you’re looking for. That definitely seems to be working. 

These are only a few examples of what kind of websites can be created using Big Cartel website builders. If you’re interested, you can easily check out more for inspiration. 

Alternatives to Big Cartel

To help you decide whether or not Big Cartel is worthy of your attention, it’s crucial to compare it to some of the leading website builders that are evaluated best when it comes to creating online stores. 

Big Cartel VS Shopify

Big Cartel review: Shopify homepage.

The majority of people who are aware of Shopify consider it the best eCommerce website builder in the market. That said, it wins strongly against Big Cartel, however, this website Builder also has quite good features to offer. 

One of the main advantages that Big Cartel has over Shopify is that it’s easier to use. Using this website builder you’ll be able to create a basic website in no time. With Shopify, it might take a bit longer. 

Also, when using Big Cartel, you’ll be able to switch themes whenever you want and everything will be reformatted based on the new theme (except for some images). When using Shopify, you will need to do that on your own. 

On the other hand, Shopify definitely has more to offer. It’s on top of the game when it comes to sales features. You get unlimited products and bandwidth, promo codes, financial reports, abandoned cart recovery, and so much more. Also, you get more than 100 payment gateways.

Another significant difference is that Shopify offers more than 70 templates to choose from, while Big Cartel provides only 16. What is more, Shopify can be integrated with more than 3500 apps, both free and paid. The number is definitely significant. 

All things considered, Shopify is definitely a better alternative. It’s more scalable, provides better features and more options. Unless you’re creating a basic online store, you should definitely go for it. 

Big Cartel VS Squarespace

Big Cartel review: Squarespace homepage.

Another option that you should consider when it comes to Shopify alternatives is Squarespace. This website builder is best-known for its attractive templates that will make sure your products are at the center of attention. 

What you should know, though, is that Squarespace is not initially an eCommerce website builder, it’s used to create various websites. Whether it’s a portfolio or an eCommerce website, you should definitely take it into account. 

Squarespace offers in-depth features, such as a mobile editor, design assistant, free hosting, SSL certificates, website restoration, email integration, membership creator, SEO tools, free custom domains, and even more

The price of this website builder starts from $12 per month, so it’s definitely affordable. Also, just like Big Cartel, this website builder is easy to use and navigate

Thus, consider Big Cartel alternatives before making a decision. 

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Conclusions

Big Cartel is an eCommerce website builder that was initially created for bands, however, it later expanded and became one of the more recommended options for various artists, including graphic designers, photographers, illustrators, and so on. 

This website builder provides the basic features that are needed to create a fully-functioning online store. Since it’s very easy to use, Big Cartel is definitely one of the better options for beginners. 

Big Cartel free plan allows you to check the platform out before making a commitment. What is more, it’s very affordable compared to some other website builders. 

On the other hand, Big Cartel is not recommended for huge online stores due to the lack of features and flexibility. Also, it has a limited number of templates. In case you want to check out better alternatives, you should definitely consider Shopify and Squarespace. Shopify focuses on eCommerce websites, whereas Squarespace can be used to create various types of sites. 

SQUARESPACE SHOPIFY

Overall Score

9.8
8.3

Most Suitable For

Most suitable for great visuals Most suitable for ecommerce

Latest Coupons

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Ease of Use

4.5 of 5.0

4.1 of 5.0

Verdict

A great website builder for both individuals and small business alike. Amazing Sales Tools and Features
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Table: Squarespace VS Shopify comparison.

Hopefully, you’ve made your decision and are ready to start creating your online store! 

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FAQ

What is Big Cartel pricing?

Big Cartel prices look like this

 As you can see, Big Cartel offers a free plan. What is more, the better plan you choose, the more advanced features you get

Is Big Cartel better than Shopify?

No, Big Cartel is not better than Shopify. Shopify is considered to be the best eCommerce website builder in the market. It offers more than 70 templates to choose from, amazing SEO tools, free hosting, email integration, app market, and so much more. 

Do website builders offer free trials and / or money-back guarantees?

Most website builders do offer free trials, and some have money-back guarantees. While it is common practice in the industry, not all website builder providers subscribe to it - you should always double-check with the builder that you decide to use.

Do I need to know a programming language to use a website builder?

While it’s certainly going to help, it’s definitely not necessary. Website builders are great in that anyone and everyone can quickly learn to use them and create their websites. There is no technical knowledge needed, and no prior coding skills required!

Will I be able to build a shop with a website builder?

If you choose a good website builder - yes. There are many builders out there that say they support eCommerce features, but as soon as you start using them, you see that there is little to no support for setting up a shop, and instead, there’s just a single widget that links to who-knows-where. That’s why you should always consult our website builder reviews before deciding on which product to purchase.

Are website builders safe to use?

If you use a trustworthy and reliable website builder, then it’s 100% safe. Whether it be online or offline (downloadable software), site builders are completely malware free, and you shouldn’t encounter any compatibility issues, either.