Big Cartel’s strength is how simple it is. While other store builders are loaded with features, it remains purposefully simple. Because of this Big Cartel fills a niche in store builders: a simple store builder that lets you get up and running quickly. A portion of users may desire of this, but many users will find Big Cartel too limited.
Since Big Cartel is simple, the interface is usually uncluttered. For example, here’s the product editor— pretty simple, right?
It’s only when you try to customize your store that challenges arise. For example, taxes are just too simple— you can only set taxes for one country. That country cannot have regional taxes (unless it’s the United States). This means that if you have a Canadian store you can’t set provincial taxes— which is unhelpful as Canadian provinces have different tax rates.
Some Big Cartel themes set your homepage as a product page while other themes show a splash page. Unfortunately there is no way to choose a splash page or a product page for your homepage— you’re just stuck with what the theme defaults to. This is too simple and could annoy some users.
Easy to use but powerful discounts editor. Discounts can have spending thresholds, can be percentage or a flat rate, can be for free shipping, have expiry dates and more. Show Screenshot
There is only one email that you can customize— and that's the new order notification that customers receive. Unfortunately it's too complex for most users to be able to edit (requires coding knowledge). Show Screenshot
You can create digital products with Pulley (an app made by the creators of Big Cartel) that should be able to integrate with your Big Cartel store. However, it's not immediately clear how to do this and it definitely doesn't feel simple. Show Screenshot
There's an iOS app (no Android app) that lets users fill orders and manage products. It also lets you sell in person using cash or credit card (there is no magstrip swipe— instead customers enter their credit card details). Show Screenshot
Big Cartel itself only offers 9 themes. Of those, 2 are pretty out of date and not responsive or mobile friendly. I don’t really count those two as themes— which means you really only get 7 themes.
Good Billing Practices — We were able to pay and cancel our Big Cartel account easily.
Customer Support — Big Cartel provides email support (no phone support).
Review by Steve Benjamins — I'm a designer, developer and the founder of Site Builder Report. I started Site Builder Report after I built my own website builder in 2012. I quickly realized that people didn't need another website builder— instead they just needed to know which website builders were best. I also make music. You can follow me on Twitter @stevebenjamins.