Gone are the days when you needed a truckload of money to build an eCommerce website. Today, nearly anyone can start a website with an enterprise level shopping cart, thanks to the proliferation of affordable Do-It-Yourself site builders.
The market of eCommerce platforms has a lot to offer. There are both lightweight commerce solutions like Etsy and feature-laden commerce giants like Shopify or Volusion meant for established, successful companies.
Today, we take a look at two comparatively simple eCommerce solutions designed to cater for the needs of the average creative professional or retailer who has up to 500 products to sell online: MadeFreshly and Big Cartel.
#1 Ease of Use
MadeFreshly. MadeFreshly has a clean, intutive interface: buttons and copy are minimal and clearly labeled. There are also many prompts and direction cues guiding you through all the stages of the process.
Big Cartel. Big Cartel is also very easy-to-use. There’s a simple WYSIWYG editor that allows you to manage pages and customize your store’s look. Big Cartel keeps things simple, whether you’re adding new products, customizing fonts or adding a custom domain.
MadeFreshly vs Big Cartel. Both platforms are very easy to use. The only drawback of Big Cartel is the use of smaller-than-normal fonts in the control panel.
#2 Feature Set and Flexibility
Big Cartel. Big Cartel can’t boast a ton of features you’d find in Shopify, yet it has got everything to help you start a decent webstore, including order management, real-time stats, promotional tools and even mobile applications allowing customers to manage their stores on the go. Currently, Big Cartel only supports PayPal payments, but works on integrating Stripe as well.
MadeFreshly. MadeFreshly has a very similar feature set. It lets you easily manage you products: you can change product status (coming soon, hidden, sold out etc.), turn on inventory tracking, add product options, create coupons and more. MadeFreshly supports three payment methods: PayPal, Authorize.net and Braintree.
Similar to Big Cartel, MadeFreshly opens up the codes. Please note that advanced editing comes as part of Indie-preneur adn Mega-preneur plans.
Big Cartel vs MadeFreshly. Honestly, the site builders are very similar. But MadeFreshly seems a bit more flexible, as it offers three payment methods and lets you sell up to 500 items, while Big Cartel’s limit is 300.
MadeFreshly. MadeFreshly currently provides nine themes. Through the WYSIWYG editor you can make some slight customizations, specifically set the background, font style, upload logo, favicon among other options. To get access to the code you need to upgrade your account.
Big Cartel. Big Cartel’s themes are modern, clean and what’s more important – fully reponsive. Big Cartel makes it easy to customize any theme through the WYSIWYG editor. Advanced users can tweak the site’s code.
MadeFreshly vs Big Cartel. Both MadeFreshly and Big Cartel have beautiful, easy-to-customize templates. There’s no mention about mobile support among MadeFreshly features, so we decided to check whether its sample websites were mobile-friendly. We tested two websites: one was friendly, another was not.
#4 Customer Support
Big Cartel. Big Cartel’s online support is very helpful. You can tweet a question, email a question, view their FAQs and also contact one of the Big Cartel gurus via a ticketing system.
MadeFreshly. Madereshly’s Support Center provides you with articles covering different stages of the website building process: Getting Started, Products, Orders, Marketing, etc. What’s more, they offer live chat support even for free customers. We used this option during our test and were really surprised at how quickly they replied.
Big Cartel vs MadeFreshly. We think both site builders offer enough help resources.
#5 Pricing Policy
MadeFreshly. MadeFreshly offers a free lifetime package and three paid plans ranging from $11.99 to $34.99/mo. Plans are mostly differentiated based on the number of listed products (10; 30; 100 and 500); images per product, custom pages and HTML access.
Big Cartel. Big Cartel’s freemium model is also affrodable: there’s a free version and 3 paid plans ($9.99/mo; $19.99/mo; $29.99/mo).
MadeFreshly vs Big Cartel. We think both website builders have reasonable prices.
MadeFreshly vs Big Cartel: Conclusion
If you have a dozen handmade necklaces or designer T-shirts you’d like to sell online, both MadeFreshly and Big Cartel could handle it. Simplicity is their biggest feature.
Both site builders are designed for smaller shops. Stores with a lot of products have more complex needs, and there are many other more powerful services to accommodate them.
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