In this continuing series, we the Bitches will bring you a review of alternative selling venues, website hosting services, shopping carts, and basically anything else that you can use to sell your lovely handcrafted goods. First up, Big Cartel!
Tagline: We bring art to the cart.
Company Information: BigCartel is run by IndieLabs, which is actually just two guys: Matt Wigham and Eric Turner.
Storefront: The site is actually a shop hosting service where you can setup a store and direct buyers in for purchases, as opposed to being one shop in the mall with buyers drifting from store to store. The site was initially set up for independent musicians, artists, and bands to sell their wares.
Use their webhosting, use your own domain (with a subscription), customize a skin or the template (depends on subscription level), it’s all pretty open to make it your own. They aren’t too worried about uniformity. Each shop is its own entity, but you don’t have to know how to code to have a shop.
Cost: There is no final value fee or commission.
There are three types of shops: free (5 product limit, 1 image per product, limited stats to product information), $9.99 per month (25 product limit, 3 images per product, stats and full customization available), and $19.99 per month (100 product limit, 5 images per product, more stats and full customization available).
The Service is billed in advance on a monthly basis and is non-refundable. There will be no refunds or credits for partial months of service, or refunds for months unused with an open account. In order to treat everyone equally, no exceptions will be made. Upon non-payment Indie Labs may re-attempt to collect the amount due up to 3 times before suspending or terminating Your Account.Features: Place items in multiple categories in your shop, hide an individual item or mark as ‘sold out’ or ‘coming soon’, label in item as ‘on sale’, add tax without using Paypal, and subscription shops can track inventory.
Payment: Integrated with Paypal, correction: choose your currency!
Community: There are forums, linked next to the login at the bottom of the main page.
Customer Service: There is a contact page with a form that can be filled out as well as a direct email address. The business hours and whether someone is immediately available is posted on the form and there are help forums linked on the page. The turnaround on email responses is said to be same or next day.
Items that can be sold: Read their Acceptable Use Policy. Items are not limited to handmade, but there is a separate “crafters and artists” link on the main page.
“I have a site I can customize as I learn more html. I have inventory
control, coupon codes and stats. Yes, stats. I know exactly where my customers are coming from and where to target my advertising dollars. BC has excellent customer service that I have used a few times.
They just celebrated 3 years of success.I pay 20.00 a month to keep 100 pieces in my shop. That's 1/3 of my etsy bill.”
One thing users pointed out when we asked them for feedback is the item limit per store and picture limit for the free shop. Some have multiple shops to overcome this limitation.
Also, there no stats for the free shops.