When there are free options to running your online store, why in the world would you want to pay for eCommerce services? Sites like WordPress make it easy for you to create your online store with plugins like WP-eCommerce and WooCommerce. I’ve personally used both of these plug-ins and they worked fine for what I needed at the time since I was low-volume seller. Later on, when my store became more and more popular and as WordPress started to release more and more updates, I started to notice some problems; mainly with compatibility and customization problems. I’m sure now these plug-ins have evolved into something more powerful but plugins can never compete with a full-fledge eCommerce platform. Sites like Big Cartel and Shopify are years ahead of what simple plugins can do.
Big Cartel has an amazing free and premium storefront options, which range from $10 a month to $30 a month. The question that I’ve found that most Big Cartel users ask themselves is “will I ever need to post 25/100/300 products?” The answer is, maybe. Maybe you will. Maybe you won’t. But you will need more than 1 product image. Customers want to view different angles of product images and see how people look like when wearing your product. Stats are important but with Google Analytics, you might not need that option. You will however need customization, inventory tracking and discount codes.
The drawback with Big Cartel is that you won’t get the customization options like that of Shopify. Shopify has a whole team dedicated to assisting their clients with everything from designing to marketing to merchant services. You won’t get that with Big Cartel or WordPress. You won’t really need to learn how to code or even touch the code. If you had your store on WordPress and had a shopping cart plugin, you’ll get your hands dirty once a week at the least; coding the templates, adding in a payment gateway like PayPal, and blah blah blah.
The thing with these eCommerce platform is that you don’t have a blogging option and that you might just need to link it to your WordPress (but that’s really easy and not all online stores want/need a blog).
I’m not endorsing Shopify nor am I hating on Big Cartel or WordPress and it’s plugins. All I’m saying is that if you want to make your life easier and have someone deal with the nitty gritty, by all means, pick an eCommerce platform that allows you to customize your site with ease and lets you process payments so that you can focus your attention to marketing your brand. $30 a month is a small fee compared to a headache that lasts for hours and hours.