With shopping cart software being so available and easy 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.
The system was launched in 2012 and quickly gained popularity with users willing to build visually appealing and functional web stores. The key goal of the web service is to help anyone, who has a great product, to easily sell it online.
Tictail is a free solution allowing users launch their online stores in a quick, safe and effective way. Signing up for Tictail is super easy. Just provide your name, email and password to be redirected to the dashboard. This is where you can start building your web store. The process is quick and simple as well.
Even if you have never had such an experience, you won’t face problems here – just follow step-by-step instructions the system offers and get ready to manage your website and fill it with content.
The system does not offer powerful eCommerce design customization features like Shopify, for example, but those that are available, will be enough to create a visually appealing website by adding products, filling out the titles, descriptions, pricing and adding images.
Are you interested to find out more about the system? If so, then let’s see what Tictail has to offer us now.
1. Ease of Use
Tictail interface is one of the simplest you can find out there. It’s just impossible to mix something up here – so intuitive and understandable it is. What you are expected to do is:
- provide your web store name and description;
- choose the country you’d like to sell your products in;
- connect social network accounts (if any);
- start adding your products.
Once you’ve signed up for the service, you’ll be offered to set up your online store on the free subdomain like mystore.tictail-dot-com, but you also have an opportunity to select a domain or use the one offered by the third party domain provider. This can be done in the dashboard of the system.
When it comes to content uploading and configuring settings, everything is intuitive. However, 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.
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. The basic feature set is available for free and it is enough to start and manage a nice online store. However, if you wish to give your platform extra performance and functionality, you should consider integrating some of the apps available in the Tictail app market. This is where you can find both free and paid applications to supercharge your web store.
Among the free apps, you can make use of Klarna, Yotpo Product Reviews, Kudobuzz Social Testimonials, Omnisend, Printful, Easy Social Shop, Easy Social Ads, Fortnox by Sharespine.
Speaking about paid apps, you can choose between Sendicate ($12/mo), Product Upsell ($7.50/mo), Featured Products ($2/mo), Facebook Shop ($8.99/mo), Sell on Facebook ($9/mo), Promotion Bar ($4/mo), Product Feed Exporter ($7.50/mo), Simple Message ($5/mo) and more. Besides, Tictail gives you the power of coding but in an easy-to-use visual user interface.
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.
What’s more, the website builder allows building multiple stores on one and the same account. There is even an opportunity to set up one and the same online store for different locations, thus, boosting your popularity, amount of sales and growing your customer base.
As to the rest of the features, you won’t find many of them here. However, those that are available will be enough to build a decent web store. Thus, you can connect your own custom domain name here (for extra fee), add an unlimited number of products, set shipping details, currency and taxes, connect social network accounts, get the unlimited amount of bandwidth, create discounts, manage products and orders etc.
Tictail has a nice collection of modern eCommerce templates, but the choice still leaves much to be desired. The system cannot boast an extensive assortment of themes as opposed to the renowned eCommerce web building platforms. However, the design of of the available templates is clean, beautiful and easy to customize in case of necessity. All the themes are designed with commerce needs in mind. Thanks to the smart architecture of the service, templates can be switched anytime.
When it comes to template customization, you will be amazed with the simplicity of the process. There is much space to add and manage the products here, which are logically structured and organized in a standard convenient grid format. It is possible to create a web store with responsive interface, but this feature is optional and it’s up to you to decide whether to switch it on or not.
Tech-savvy users can create their own, custom themes using Tictail documentation. You’ll find everything you need to create a truly personalized store: detailed guidelines on creating themes, a walkthrough of a typical Tictail template structure, and a full index of all available template variables.
4. Customer Support
The website builder offers a pretty nice and informative customer support service. There is a Help Center and a blog here, where you can find useful eCommerce-focused articles. The Customer Support team of the service will help you get started with your online store and run it effectively afterwards.
The Help Center comes with popular FAQs. For the searching convenience of users, it is subdivided into the Help Section for Shop Owners (community guidelines, settings, marketplace, products, orders, shipping, payments, apps and billing, customization, Tictail Mobile app and marketing) and Help for Shoppers (using Tictail, shopper profile, shops on Tictail, order questions and technical issues). By browsing these topics, you’ll find answers to all the questions you are interested in.
If there is still something you have not managed to find in the Help Center, you can make use of the search option. Just type your answer and wait until the support team answers it. There is also the email support and live chat here, but it may take some time to get an answer from the Customer Support team.
5. Pricing Policy
Tictail pricing policy is one of the issues that appeals to most users. Technically, the platform is free. It comes with free hosting, unlimited number of products to be added for free, unlimited bandwidth and absence of checkout fees. All in all, Tictail offers two pricing plans. These are:
- Marketplace (free) – includes such features as the unlimited number of products, abandoned shopping cart recovery, built-in email marketing, automated advertising, discount codes, advanced analytics.
- Your Custom Shop ($9/mo) – includes all the above mentioned features plus an ability to create your own custom shop, advanced customization options, individual domain connection option, Facebook and Google tracking, free HTTPS certificate.
When using a free plans you may still have to pay for integrating some apps to boost your website performance. They are added on a monthly basis, though, and if you decide that you don’t need them any moment, you can unsubscribe any moment. Apart from that, you may have to pay some transaction fees, when using Klarna, PayPal or Stripe. Keep this in mind, when making your choice.
6. Advantages and Disadvantages
Just like any other eCommerce website builder, Tictail comes with its pros and cons you should be aware of prior to launching an online store with the system. Among the advantages of the service, it makes sense to mention the following:
- Easy and quick set up;
- Absence of listing fees (mind, however, the commission fees when selling via the marketplace as well as payment transactions);
- User-friendly interface, which is intuitive, simple and convenient for newbies and web design pros;
- Multiple web store creation option;
- Availability of applications that can add functionality to your website.
When it comes to the disadvantages of the system, there are no many of them, but they still exist. These are:
- Absence of integrated shipping options, which often slows down the delivery process (especially in case of bulk sales);
- Inability to create a decent web store for free (if you focus on functionality, you won’t go without upgrading to a paid plan or adding paid applications);
- Lack of web store customization tools (you can’t change much here, even with the paid plan);
- Absence of a blog, which is a handy tool for any online store (even though, it is possible to integrate a blog from other external services, which often takes much effort and time).
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 has a decent feature set to help you set up a simple store. But it can’t compete with Shopify and Volusion which are more feature-heavy.
We like it. Tictail is not new to the market, but it’s simplicity, straightforwardness and affordability just cannot be left unnoticed. 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 web store for your small biz or hobby.
With free hosting, bandwidth and nice template gallery, this is a nice start for any inexperienced user, who wants to establish reliable online retail presence and learn the way this should be done. At the same time, the system comes with limitations that do not allow using it for launching large international web stores with all the bells and whistles that modern eCommerce can offer. If this is right what you need, then there are more powerful solutions out there.