With shopping cart software being so easily available and to set up, is there really any more room for another? Yes, there is. Dear SWB readers, meet Tictail, a free eCommerce website builder with headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden.
Launched in 2012, in about two years the start-up has helped to create over 50,000 stores selling over 1M products across the globe. The key goal of the web service is to help anyone who has a great product, to easily sell online. Let’s see 😉 .
#1 Ease of Use
Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be taken into the admin panel. Firstly, you need to select a design. No worries, you can change it later. Afterwards, you’ll be taken to a handy website creation wizard. Simply follow the prompts and watch the progress line. It’s really great. Seeing only 30% in the progress flow inspires you to work harder on your website 🙂 .
You can skip some stages and get back to them when you have enough content or required links, like Facebook Fan page or Twitter account for your store.
When it comes to content uploading and configuring settings, everything is intuitive. But when it comes to making changes in the design, things get complicated. In order to edit your theme you’ll have to get your hands dirty with HTML and CSS.
Unlike Wix or Weebly, Tictail doesn’t provide a visual way to change your site’s design. It doesn’t support drag-and-drop. If you don’t know any HTML/CSS, but want to customize your store, Tictail suggests that you: ask for help fellow Tictail users; ask someone in your personal network; hire a web developer or even learn how to do it yourself. You must be flexible to use Tictail 🙂 .
All in all, the builder is a joy to behold. I also love the way they incorporated Swedish national colors into the design.
#2 Feature Set and Flexibility
Tictail is geared towards building eCommerce websites, so its feature set offers a decent choice of commerce-specific apps and settings. In general, it will do all kinds of things you’d expect an eCommerce website builder to do: upload products and create product galleries, set up different payment methods, including Stripe and PayPal, manage your inventory, customize shipping options and more.
You don’t even need a PayPal account to start selling. After your first sale through your Tictail site, PayPal will email you at the email you specify during activation with instructions on how to set up an account and claim your money.
In general, the feature set can be divided into two parts: a free, basic part and applications. Tictail offers an app market where you can find both free and paid applications to supercharge your webstore. Here are some examples of the apps: Footer generator (free), Easy social shop (free), Soundest email marketing (free), Custom domain ($1/mo), Live currency converter ($1/mo), Recover abandoned carts ($7.5/mo) etc. All the apps have a 30-day trial period.
Besides, Tictail gives you the power of coding but in an easy-to-use visual user interface. See screenshot.
Tictail has an Android and iOS applications that let you not only browse and search over 75,000 Tictail stores, but also manage your own website from your pocket. After installing one of the apps you’ll start receiving immediate notifications on new orders and get the possibility to upload new products, view stats and change your site’s appearance, specifically set a cover page, update discounts and copy.
Tictail has a great collection of modern eCommerce templates. They’re clean, beautiful and designed with commerce in mind. Thanks to the smart architecture of the service, templates can be switched anytime. They’re also optimized for mobile viewing. This feature is optional, so you can turn it off, if needed.
Tech-savvy users can create their own, custom themes using Tictail documentation. You’ll find everyhing you need to create a truly personalized store: detailed guidelines on creating themes, a walkthough of a typical Tictail template structure, and a full index of all available template variables.
#4 Customer Support
The builder offers a well-structured help center. There’re FAQs, detailed how-to articles and Tictail Community. It is really helpful. They also offer email support.
#5 Pricing Policy
Technically, Tictail is absolutely free. Its basic feature set is free to use. No monthly fees, no restrictions like limited number of products or bandwidth, no checkout fees. Using PayPal and Stripe is free on Tictail’s end, however, standard PayPal and Stripe fees may apply.
You’ll pay for the Tictail applications, if you use any. You subscribe to these apps on a monthly basis. You can cancel your subscription anytime.
Let’s do some math to help you estimate the cost of your Tictail site. To attach a custom domain, you need to use the Custom domain app ($1.5/mo). Suppose we need the Discounts app ($1/mo) and Live Currency converter ($1.5/mo). That makes $4/month. It seems that Tictail’s offering is really generous, compared to the competition 🙂 .
If you’re looking for a drag-and-drop site builder, Tictail isn’t the best option. You can’t change the header of footer of your website the way you do this with Weebly or Wix. To do that, you have to get under the hood.
Tictail Review: Conclusion
We like it. It’s simple, straightforward and rather affordable. As I see it, Tictail is primarily targeting creative professionals looking for a simple way to build and maintain a website that will maximize their brand identity. I think it offers enough tools to create a decent webstore for your small biz or hobby. But if you need to set up a large international webstore will all the bells and whistles that modern eCommerce can offer, there are many other more powerful solutions out there. And what are your thoughts?
Have you had success using Tictail for your business? Tell us your story in the comments!