Tips to Make Your Big Cartel Shop Shine
- 4 August 2022
- ByAnna Brones
- 7 min read
You’ve signed up for a Big Cartel site—you clearly have great taste! 😉 But now what? Running an online shop requires more than just posting products and hoping that people will buy them. There are all kinds of ways to maximize the capabilities of the Big Cartel platform. Here are a few hacks and tips for making your shop feel more like you and be more successful in the process.
Who Are You?
Ok, that’s a pretty broad question, but when it comes to running your shop, it’s an important one. Who are you and why are you running your business? What do you stand for? Why do you create your work? Honing in on your who and why help you to better identify what you want your shop to look like, and to communicate with your customers. Let people coming to your shop know there’s a real human behind the screen. Make an About page so they can learn more about you as an artist and creator. You might also want to consider running a newsletter to keep people up to date on what you’re making and offer a little insight into your process.
Don’t Let Perfectionism Get in the Way
It’s easy to want to have everything dialed in before you launch your shop. But you don’t have to have everything exactly perfect in order to get started. After all, striving for perfectionism is a great way to procrastinate on launching your business. You may be nervous about things like setting the right shipping rate or how to price things, but you don’t have to get it exactly right straight away.
If you’ve never run an online shop before, understanding the ins and outs of how it all works simply comes from doing it and learning along the way. Don’t be shy—dive right in! That being said, before you launch a shop, there are a few things that you do want to get squared away. The most essential are setting up your checkout and setting your location and currency correctly. Everything else can be changed and adapted as you learn and grow and figure out what works for your business.
Pretend You’re The Customer
What does your shop look and feel like to the person visiting? Go through your shop with the eyes of a customer. Pretend you’re there to buy something. Who is this page about and what are they selling? Do you feel drawn in and excited about clicking around in the shop? Do the colors pop? Do the fonts look good? Are descriptions accurate and easy to read? Is it easy to search through your products? It can be hard to have a totally objective opinion, so consider asking a couple of friends to weigh in, as well.
Personalize Your Shop
One of the main perks of setting up a Big Cartel shop is that you don’t need to have any design expertise to get started, and there are lots of tweaks that you can do to help make your shop more personal. Start with figuring out what theme will work best for your shop. Different themes serve different purposes, but they can all be adapted. Then you can change the colors to fit your aesthetic. If you’re feeling stuck, Coolors and Adobe Color can both help you figure out a color palette to work with. Finally, take a look at the fonts. What font feels in line with your work and your products? Do you want a bold approach or something that’s a little more minimal or classic? Remember, there’s no “right” color or font, there’s simply what works for you and helps to share your work in the best way.
Get Customers Excited About New Products
One of the favorite features of a lot of Big Cartel users is the bulk edit function. This is perfect for when you have a new collection of products dropping. You can feature them on your site as “Coming Soon” so that customers have a chance to look through what’s coming. This allows you to promote them and create some buzz. You can even announce a specific day and time that new products will drop. Once you’re ready for them to go live, use the bulk edit function to change them all to “Active.” Your new products are now officially launched!
A lot of independent creative businesses thrive because customers believe in the person running the business and want to support their work no matter what. That makes subscriptions a great option if you want to plug into a supportive fan base that isn’t always necessarily dependent on buying a specific item. There are a variety of ways that subscriptions can work. You can use subscriptions as a “tip jar,” run them as a way for subscribers to get a discount code, or even set up a monthly box or shipment of an assortment of goodies to your subscribers. Here are some great examples of how subscriptions work and what they can look like.
In an article about ways to make your shop successful, it may seem counterintuitive to give advice on not selling. However, breaks (from small coffee breaks to longer vacations) are essential for a sustainable business, and it’s worth considering how to build them into your workflow. Many Big Cartel themes have an editable welcome message to let customers know that you’re taking a break from shipping orders. Want an even more concrete break? Any Big Cartel user can put their shop in Maintenance Mode, and if you’re on a paid Platinum or Diamond plan, you can even customize the text on the welcome screen to let people know when the shop will be back up and running. People won’t be able to order while you’re on break, and then you have the opportunity for a marketing push when you open it back up.
Adapt and Grow
Consider what you were doing a year ago. How does it look different from today? As humans, we are always learning and growing, and the same goes for our businesses. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. That’s one of the benefits of being a small business owner: you have the ability to be much more nimble than larger corporations. Allow your shop to change and evolve with you. Don’t be afraid of choosing a new color palette or an entirely new layout. Running a successful shop means analyzing what works well. But it's also just as important to think about the potentials of what might work and be open to experimentation.