Big Cartel Review (2023): All the Pros and Cons

Big Cartel is one of the more popular tools for online selling on the market today, often ranking alongside market leaders like Shopify.

Big Cartel is an online sales solution specifically designed for smaller business owners and freelancers. Big Cartel isn’t strong enough to handle a huge number of transactions, and each plan in the pricing tier comes with limits on product listings.

If you want to sell as much as possible with your online store, Big Cartel is likely to have some limitations. It’s not intended for use with the biggest stores. However, for smaller business owners, it is easier to get started online, with plenty of options for uploading products, customer checkout solutions, and a range of basic sales functions.

Founded by Matt Wigham in 2005, Big Cartel sets itself apart from other commerce solutions by specifically targeting artists looking for easy solutions to sell their products online. The company has placed a great emphasis on making their platform as easy as possible, while they provide all the necessary features to operate your own online store the features remain pretty basic.

Big Cartel Features

From the very moment you sign up with Big Cartel it becomes apparent that they just aren’t interested in offering all the bells and whistles of other ecommerce platforms, they are not aiming for the large online retail stores but instead they are focused on smaller companies. This is also very visible through the features offered.

One of the biggest problems I see with Big Cartel is the fact that the stores do not offer a search option, in other words your customers cannot enter a search query in order to find a product. While this might not seem like a problem if you are only selling a few products, it quickly becomes a great annoyance if you have a store with more than 20 products.

Similar to their competitors the company offers different pricing plans, and of course the more you pay the more features you can unlock. These features include things such as inventory management, stats about the number of visitors, which links people use to access your site, as well as what search terms are being used to find your site.

If you are just looking for a few features then Big Cartel will have enough to meet your needs, however as your store grows bigger many users are complaining about the lack of features.

Big Cartel Pricing

Let’s start by looking at the pricing structure.

There are three Big Cartel Pricing plans available:

  • Gold – Free for up to 5 products
  • Platinum plan – $9.99 per month for up to 50 products
  • The Diamond plan – $19.99 per month for up to 500 products

Here’s a breakdown of each pricing plan:

Free plan (Gold)

For hobbyists and people just making the first steps into the digital sales landscape, Big Cartel is an excellent product to experiment with. The free plan is decent for dipping your toe in the water of online sales, with the option to sell up to 5 products easily. The Gold plan offers:

  • Support for up to 5 products
  • 1 image per product
  • Free customizable themes
  • Selling online and in-person
  • Real-time stats
  • Custom domain
  • Promo codes and discounts
  • Shipment tracking
  • Product option groups
  • Sales tax auto pilot

The Platinum plan ($9.99 per month)

For those who need the freedom to sell more than just five products, the Platinum plan supports up to 50 products, with 5 images per product. This package, costing around $9.99 per month, is an excellent choice for beginner business owners who want a little room to scale. Features include:

  • Support for 50 products
  • Five images per product
  • Online and in-person sales
  • Real-time stats
  • Custom domain support
  • Theme code editing
  • Google analytics
  • Inventory tracking
  • Promotion management
  • Bulk editing
  • Shipment tracking
  • Product option groups
  • Sales tax management

The Diamond plan ($19.99 per month)

The most expensive plan from Big Cartel is still extremely affordable for most companies, starting at $19.99 per month for listing up to 500 products. There are no listing fees to worry about, and you get all the features of the Platinum plan, plus a few extras. Features include:

  • 500 products per month
  • Five images per product
  • Online or in-person sales
  • Real-time stats
  • Custom domain
  • Code editing for themes
  • Google analytics
  • Tracking for your inventory
  • Offer discounts and promo codes
  • Bulk editing
  • Product groups
  • Shipment tracking
  • Autopilot for sales tax

The last “Titanium” plan for Big Cartel is no longer an option at the time of writing.

Big Cartel Ease of Use

As mentioned above, the number of features offered by Big Cartel is rather limited, while this can be both good and bad it certainly comes with one big advantage, ease of use.

Creating your first store with Big Cartel is extremely easy, whether you have zero previous experience or years of coding experience it doesn’t matter; there is something for everyone.

The dashboard can sometimes be a bit daunting, however this isn’t the case with Big Cartel as their dashboard is about as easy to use as they come. Navigation is easily achieved through the use of large buttons at the top of the screen. The different areas allow you to see your latest orders, a list of your current products as well as different promotion options. Others have argued that the text is too small and I must admit I agree, now while I have almost perfect vision my mother would have a hard time reading the text on the dashboard.

Once you have completed the basic steps of your store you can easily delve right into the customization process. Even with no coding experience you can quickly create a great online store. Should you feel more adventurous you can always start modifying the HTML and CSS codes to your personal liking.

As mentioned at the beginning of this section, it really couldn’t be easier to create and run a store through Big Cartel, still we would have liked a few more features and themes.

Big Cartel Templates and Design

Big Cartel offers various ways to make your site look its best. There are around 16 themes to choose from, and they all look professional and clean, ideal for getting your store live as fast as possible. Although Big Cartel’s themes are relatively nice to look at, they’re quite simplistic.

You won’t have a lot of creative control with Big Cartel, but if you’re looking for something to build a decent site quickly, this service has you covered. A big bonus of Big Cartel’s themes is your ability to switch them at any time. Your products will automatically reformat to suit the new design. However, extra content isn’t transferred onto the new style.

Another plus is mobile optimization. Your customers need to be able to view your website and explore its pages no matter where they’re visiting from, which is why all of Big Cartel’s themes are completely mobile responsive. Each one reformats to fit mobile and tablet screens, so you don’t have to worry about mobile visitors missing out.

When it comes to adding and editing new visual content, Big Cartel doesn’t have as much to offer as some alternatives. There’s no image editor built in, but you can edit your images with code. There’s also no access to stock images, so you’ll have to upload everything yourself.

Big Cartel Inventory

If you sign up for the free plan be prepared that it comes with absolutely no inventory management. With all other plans inventory tracking is included as a standard feature.

One of the biggest gripes I have with Big Cartel is the fact that once you have given your product a name and the URL has been created there is no going back. In other words you cannot edit the URL at a later time, and this means you really need to consider your product names carefully before you create a new product, because once created they become set in stone, or at least set in URL.

Big Cartel SEO & Marketing

Unlike competitors, Big Cartel comes with very simple features that can help your marketing efforts. These include among other things the option of offering a time sensitive discount.

You can also connect your store with Facebook. Thanks to the Big Cartel’s Facebook app is it easy to start selling your products directly from your Facebook page, although I have yet to see a successful online shopping user experience on a Facebook page.

Unfortunately when you really break it down, unlike some of the more feature rich ecommerce platforms you are really left on your own when it comes to marketing your store.

Big Cartel Payments

Similar to their no frills approach to design and features Big Cartel only offers two choices for payments, you can either use Stripe for Credit Card acceptance or your customers can complete their orders through PayPal.

There’s also Square payment processing for selling your physical and digital products too. Unlike other shopping cart and selling solutions, BigCommerce doesn’t charge any specific transaction fees when you add products to your ecommerce website. However, you will need to pay the fees of your payment processor. 

Big Cartel Security

Every online store owner knows the importance of security, if your customers feel uncertain about the security of their information then chances are they will complete their shopping elsewhere.

The company provides top-notch industry standard SSL encryption to keep customer information secure. This means that no matter which connection you use to enter your dashboard all information sent and received will be encrypted.

Big Cartel Integrations

Big Cartel is pretty flexible website builder overall. Once you’ve chosen one of the paid plans for your main feature set, you’ll be able to implement additional features through integrations and add-ons. Like other website builders, you can adjust your Big Cartel store with Zapier, for multiple advanced integrations, or just access one of the pre-existing integration options. There’s access to everything from Shipstation for shipping, to Mailchimp, and tools for creating discount codes.

You can even expand your payment processing options, access a mobile app on Android or iOS, and make sure you have a system in place for abandoned cart recovery.

Big Cartel Customer Support

One thing we noticed during our Big Cartel review, is there’s one type of support offered across all plans. The best way to get answers to your questions is with email support, available from Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm. Though there may appear to be a live chat feature available, this actually just directs you straight to email support.

If you need any form of support then Big Cartel offers email support Monday – Friday from 9AM to 6PM EST. However, they do not offer any form of phone or chat support.

The company does offer access to their help site, which is very well written and filled with helpful content and FAQs. They has also uploaded several videos to help make the store creation process easier. Another good source of information is their Twitter site.

While I noticed they respond to emails in a timely manner I am just worried that their lack of phone support might scare some potential clients away. At the very least they should offer some form of live support for those clients signing up for the more expensive packages.


One of the biggest pluses Big Cartel has is the fact that you can set up a store without paying a dime, albeit a small shop with only five products but still free. Even if you do decide that selling five products just isn’t enough the pricing plans offered are still very affordable.

Big Cartel might not offer all the features of bigger competitors, but truthfully it feels as if they are not catering towards the large multibillion-dollar corporate clients but rather have found a comfortable niche in the arts and crafts community, some of them graduating from Etsy to a solo career.

If you are looking to sell a few products and do not need a ton of different themes or extravagant SEO features then Big Cartel might be the right ecommerce platform for you, otherwise you might want to look at offers from different companies, like Shopify or BigCommerce.

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