FAQs

Building a business is a lot of work – there’s setup, product management, order fulfillment, stats, customization, promotion, and a whole lot more you’ll need to learn about to do things right. Even after the initial setup, there’s still things that will come up day-to-day. Well we’re here to help. Below is a grab bag of the most frequently asked questions we hear from people who are setting up shop with Big Cartel.

Welcome

Do you create the products for me and ship them?

Fair question! We’re not a manufacturing or fulfillment company–Big Cartel is geared toward sellers who have their own goods on hand to sell and ship. What we can do is host your online store and help you get paid for all the great stuff you create.

If you’re looking for spots to help manufacture your goods, though, resources like Maker’s Row or Rush Order Tees can help. You may find the info at Mintees and in our tees field guide handy too. Printful also integrates with Big Cartel for on-demand printing and fulfillment.

We love to hear from folks starting out, so let us know when you’re getting ready to launch!

How exactly do I get paid when stuff sells in my store?

That all depends on if you’re using PayPal or Stripe to collect payments in your shop.

With PayPal Express checkout or PayPal Standard checkout enabled, money is deposited instantly and automatically into the PayPal account you’ve set in the Settings > Checkout area of your store’s admin.

Once the money is in your PayPal account, you can spend it right from there, request a withdrawal to your bank account, put it on a PayPal debit card, or receive it via check.

If you’re using the Stripe option for collecting card payments, Stripe makes transfers to your bank account in 2-7 days (depending on your account), with your first deposit always taking the full 7 days.

If 7 days is too long, and you’re in the US, you can request expedited transfers. »

If it’s been longer than 7 days, then something is up–maybe because a banking holiday fell in that timeframe. To get the full details you’ll need to contact Stripe. »

How much do paid plans cost?

Right now we’ve got four plan options:

  • Gold - free!
  • Platinum - $9.99 per month
  • Diamond - $19.99 per month
  • Titanium - $29.99 per month

You can check out the differences between each plan at our signup page. If you’re not sure, we suggest giving our free Gold plan a spin to see how you like it. You can always upgrade at any time if you decide you need more features. Signup options »

Login

I don’t remember my Shop URL, how can I access my admin?

No worries! If you can find your site online, you can simply copy the URL in the address bar and paste it into the Shop URL field and that should work. If you can’t find your shop at all, just send us an email from the contact email tied to your account and we’ll help out.

I have more than one Big Cartel store, how can I login to both?

Your Big Cartel store’s admin is built to remember your most recent login session to make accessing your shop as easy as possible. If you’re accessing multiple admins from the same browser, you’ll want to make sure you’ve completedly logged out of one session before logging into your other account. If you absolutely need to be logged into several admins at the same time, you’ll want to enable “private browsing” or “incognito mode” in your browser so your current login session isn’t repeated in multiple tabs/windows.

What if I forget my password?

No worries – if you ever need a new password, you can quickly reset your password and we’ll send a link to your store’s contact e-mail to create a new one.

Dashboard

Can I get more detailed stats about my shop?

For sure–we suggest using our Google Analytics integration in your shop for additional stats tracking. It’s free, quick to set up, and includes a ton of reporting features.

Why are some referrers missing from my Dashboard?

Modern web browsers like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer have been beefing up security to protect the browsing privacy of visitors to your shop. One of the things they’ve decided is to not share the referrering URL when someone visits your shop from a website using https (the very beginning of the URL).

So if you’re missing some sites in your referrers Dashboard that you know are sending people to your shop, it’s likely because the site is using https and your visitors are using browsers that are making that information private.

Why are there weird referrers listed in my Dashboard?

If you notice some weird or spammy-looking domains referring back to your Big Cartel shop, it’s most likely referrer spam, a pest in the world of website statistics.

If you’ve identified some referrer spam, you can report it to Big Cartel and we’ll see if we can filter it. You can also report it to Google and other search engines if you’d like.

Regardless, this isn’t anything to worry about. This doesn’t mean anyone is hacking into your shop, you can crawl on out of your bunker, and proceed like normal.

How do I reset my store’s stats?

If you’ve been working behind the scenes on your store for a little while, you’d probably like to clear out all of the stats before you officially launch. Cool, you can totally do that in the desktop admin!

  1. From your Dashboard, click Reset Stats in the far bottom right corner.
  2. Select the stats you wish to erase. Be careful because, this, like a bad tattoo, is instant and permanent.
  3. Click the Reset button. Gone!

Orders

How exactly do I get paid when stuff sells in my store?

That all depends on if you’re using PayPal or Stripe to collect payments in your shop.

With PayPal Express checkout or PayPal Standard checkout enabled, money is deposited instantly and automatically into the PayPal account you’ve set in the Settings > Checkout area of your store’s admin.

Once the money is in your PayPal account, you can spend it right from there, request a withdrawal to your bank account, put it on a PayPal debit card, or receive it via check.

If you’re using the Stripe option for collecting card payments, Stripe makes transfers to your bank account in 2-7 days (depending on your account), with your first deposit always taking the full 7 days.

If 7 days is too long, and you’re in the US, you can request expedited transfers. »

If it’s been longer than 7 days, then something is up–maybe because a banking holiday fell in that timeframe. To get the full details you’ll need to contact Stripe. »

Can I edit or delete orders from my admin?

While there isn’t a way to totally delete an order from the admin, you can edit the order contact information or add an internal note to the order if you’re using the new admin preview. It’s easy: from the Orders tab in your admin, click Preview our new admin and choose the order you want to edit.

How do I refund an order?

Refunds are no bueno, right? But we’ve made it easy to reverse a charge, to help ease the sting of losing that money. From the Order Details page, click the ‘View in Stripe’ or ‘View in PayPal’ link. That will take you directly to the transaction details in your payment processor’s account, where you can click ‘refund’ to issue a partial or full refund.

Can you email my customer when an item is shipped?

Not right now. The shipping status in the admin isn’t tied to our email system, so marking items as shipped won’t notify your customer. It’s just there to keep you organized–we wouldn’t want you to ship the same order twice!

If you use PayPal for printing postage, though, you can automatically notify the customer when their order is on its way. PayPal shipping tools »

Why are my payments pending?

When a payment is marked as Pending in the Big Cartel admin, it could be a variety of issues associated with your PayPal account.

The most common reason for a large amount of orders marked as Pending in the admin is because you don’t have a verified Business or Premier PayPal account, or your email address isn’t confirmed with PayPal. Check your account in PayPal »

You can confirm the email address for your PayPal account from the Profile > Edit Email link in PayPal’s admin.

And sometimes we find that store owners will accidentally misspell their PayPal email when signing up for Big Cartel, and not realize it until they received a few orders. You can double-check this from your Big Cartel admin in Settings > Checkout > PayPal email.

If that’s the case, and you happen to have access to the email address where orders are being received, you should just be able to add that address to your PayPal account and confirm it, and the payments will clear.

Otherwise if payments were sent to a non-existent email address, the person who placed the order will have to cancel the payment and place the order again, or you will need to reach out to PayPal directly for help getting that order into your account. Contact PayPal »

Why are orders invalid?

This is because our system found a discrepancy between the actual amount paid and the order total. Check out the Order History section at the bottom of the order for more info.

OR, it’s possible your customer’s payment failed shortly after the order was placed–contact your customer and ask them to try the order again.

Can I see how many of a product I’ve sold?

You bet! If you’ve got Inventory Tracking enabled in your settings, you can see the sold count for each product and option in the Products area of the desktop admin. Just click the little arrow to the left of your product’s name, or the detailed view icon in the top right, and the amount sold will display in the column on the right.

Why are orders missing from my dashboard?

No need to panic! If you use PayPal checkout, your IPN (Instant Payment Notification) might be disabled in your PayPal account, which prevents PayPal from notifying us about new orders. Here’s how you can fix that:

  • Go to your PayPal account’s IPN settings ».
  • Click the Choose IPN Settings button at the bottom.
  • Click the Receive IPN messages button, and enter http://bigcartel.com/ipn in the Notification URL field.
  • Click Save.

After that, PayPal should be able to get us all the info we need about your new orders to display them in your Big Cartel admin automatically.

Why do some orders have an order number instead of a customer name?

That means you took that order in-person with your handy Big Cartel for iPhone app. Since collecting the customer’s name is optional on in-person sales, an order number is used in its place.

What is the billing zip discrepancy warning all about?

If your customer enters a different postal code for their shipping address than they do in their billing details section, you’ll see this billing zip discrepancy status on the order instead of a paid status. This discrepancy on its own isn’t always cause for concern necessarily, since the customer may be purchasing a gift and having it shipped directly to the recipient, for example.

But, if that discrepancy is found with other red flags, say, a super large order or multiple orders from the same name with different credit cards, then that’s when fraud may be suspected. Proceed with caution if anything about the order seems suspicious. You can learn more about avoiding fraud payments here.

Why did emailing my customer open the wrong email application?

When you click to email the customer of an order, Big Cartel will automatically use the default email application for your computer or device. If it opened something you don’t want, you can simply change your default email application:

Products

How can I edit product categories?

Your store comes with some categories to get you started (tees, prints, albums, etc.), and changing them is easy:

  • Go to the Products section of your admin area and choose a product listing.
  • Click the Edit Categories link to add, edit, and reorder categories.
  • Once you edit a category name in one product listing, it will apply to your entire shop. You’ll also see links to your active categories in your shop’s navigation.

How do I add images of my products?

From the desktop admin, when editing a product, click the Add Images button at the bottom and pick image files to upload from your computer. When the thumbnail loads, click Save.

To get rid of an image, hit the x below the image to remove it.

If you’re accessing your admin from a mobile device, you’ll tap the menu icon in the top left, tap Products, select or create a new product, and tap the camera icon (or + icon for existing products) to upload images straight from your phone or tablet.

A couple tips: keep your individual image files under 5MB in size. We also recommend cropping images to have matching dimensions for consistency–1000 x 1000 pixels is a solid range to aim for.

We know you’ll want your customers to see your products in glorious detail, so we’ve put together some advice for taking the sharpest shots in our Product Photography Field Guide »

Can I include more than one set of options for a product?

Right now, Big Cartel only supports one dropdown menu of options per product. As a workaround, some stores double up on the options. If your product comes in multiple options, like size and color, you can combine options. For example:

Small / Black, Large / Black, Small / Red, Large / Red

You can also separate an option out into its own product listing, like a Black T-shirt that has its own set of size options (Small, Medium, Large).

Can I collect preorders?

You’re more than welcome to collect preorders for products, but with the way our system is set up, your customers will need to pay up-front to process the order. You can then send out your orders when they are good to go!

Of course, making sure customers are aware of the lag time with preorders is an essential part of the process, so make sure to note that in your product description and include a date or time frame for expected shipping.

Can I sell digital products?

You bet! From music to e-books to software, we’ve got you covered – just use our sister service, Pulley, to sell all of your digital products.

Customers will be sent an email to download your digital goods automatically once they make their purchase. You can even connect your Big Cartel shop to your Pulley account, and, with a few clicks, you’ll be selling your crochet patterns, beat samples or font files in no time.

Can I take orders for free products?

Since a payment is required to process an order through our system, we don’t offer a feature for setting up free products, sorry. Instead, you can add any enticing details about bonus items or add-ons in your product descriptions–customers can even add a note at checkout to collect their freebie.

How do I change the URL for my product?

The link to your product listing will be generated based on the product name. So if you have a tee you’ve named Black Metal, it’ll be located at mystore.bigcartel.com/product/black-metal.

However, if you change the name of your product, it won’t change the URL, it’ll stick to what you first named the product. If you need an updated URL, your best bet is to delete that product and list a new one with the updated name.

How often can I update my products?

You have complete freedom to add, edit, and delete any of your products, any time! Adjust prices, swap out images, get rid of old stock, add new options…there’s no limit to the updates you make.

Can I set up shipping rates for all products and countries at once?

If you’re using Big Cartel’s shipping settings and want to use the same shipping details for each product, you can set those details once and then import them into each product to save yourself a ton of time!

From the desktop admin, just set up the shipping details you’re happy with and then click on the symbol to the right of the Shipping section that looks like a floppy disk (ask your Dad if you don’t know what that is). That will save your current settings as your defaults. Now, when you list a new product (or edit an old one) just click the other symbol with the arrow on it and that will load those shipping defaults for you!

Can I set a local pickup or delivery option for my products?

The best way to do this is to create a locals-only discount code. You can set up a code for free shipping, and have locals put in that code at checkout for local pickup or delivery.

You’ll want make it specific—something like localsonly or localpickup. That way you can still advertise it on your site, but someone buying from a different state won’t think they can use it.

Can I use my PayPal shipping settings with PayPal Express?

No, sorry. PayPal’s tax and shipping settings only work with PayPal Standard. If Big Cartel’s shipping settings aren’t doing it for you, you can always switch to the PayPal Standard checkout option to take advantage of your PayPal shipping settings.

Discounts

How many discount codes can customers apply to an order?

To keep things simple, customers can add only one discount code per order.

Why can’t I set a discount for 100% off?

Since PayPal and Stripe don’t accept order transactions with a zero value, every transaction through your Big Cartel store will require a payment of some sort. But don’t let that stop you from handing out free goods–you’ll want to work that out directly with your customer, or surprise them with a bonus item when you ship a package.

Settings

What if I forget my password?

No worries – if you ever need a new password, you can quickly reset your password and we’ll send a link to your store’s contact e-mail to create a new one.

Can you email my customer when an item is shipped?

Not right now. The shipping status in the admin isn’t tied to our email system, so marking items as shipped won’t notify your customer. It’s just there to keep you organized–we wouldn’t want you to ship the same order twice!

If you use PayPal for printing postage, though, you can automatically notify the customer when their order is on its way. PayPal shipping tools »

Can I use a checkout provider other than PayPal, Stripe, or Square?

Nope, sorry! Big Cartel currently supports PayPal, Stripe and Square as payment processors.

How do I change which PayPal or Stripe account is connected to my store?

If you’re using Stripe or PayPal Express, head to the Settings > Checkout section of your admin, and click the Accepting credit card payments or Accepting PayPal payments button to unlink your current Stripe or PayPal account, and then click the button again to connect your new one.

If you’re using PayPal Standard, head to the Settings > Checkout section of your admin, and update the PayPal email field. Make sure that new PayPal account is set up properly within PayPal (verified, and on the Business or Premier plan) and you’ll be all set!

If you’re using your mobile admin, open the menu at the top of the screen and tap on More and select View desktop admin to make those changes from a mobile device.

Why isn’t my checkout working?

Oh, shoot! If the checkout button isn’t working like it should, here are a couple things to check that may be messing it up:

Is your store set up at a custom domain?

If so, make sure you followed our instructions for setting that up correctly using a CNAME redirect. Be certain that you (or your domain provider) didn’t set up any frame redirects or domain masking instead, as those can cause checkout issues.

Have you edited your site’s HTML?

Be really careful with editing the built-in HTML. If you’ve altered your code a lot and checkout is busted, make sure you didn’t accidentally break something while you were in there.

You can always back up your changes in Customize Design > Advanced > Download my theme, and switch back to one of our default themes in Customize Design > Themes to fix anything that broke.

Still having problems? Hit us up with all the details and we’ll take a look.

How do I charge tax in my shop?

You can set your taxed location and rate in the Settings > Options section of your admin. Check the Charge tax on orders box, select a location from the dropdown menu, and enter your rate. Taxes will automatically be added to applicable orders. Easy!

Heads up! If you use our old PayPal Standard checkout, our tax features won’t work. You’ll need to set up a tax profile in your PayPal account instead.

When should I charge tax?

This can be a bit tricky since the laws are different for each state and country, so it’s best to consult the laws in your area for collecting and reporting tax. Take a gander at our super-straightforward Tax Field Guide, too, if the idea of tax law makes you break out in hives.

As a general rule, most U.S. states require that you charge tax only in the state where you have a physical presence. But be sure to read up on the specific laws of your location to make sure you’re getting it 100% right.

How can I see how much tax I owe?

While we give you the tools to charge tax on your orders, we don’t have any reporting or accounting features built in, so that would be something you’ll want to keep track of on your end. We’d suggest taking a look at our Tax Field Guide for some pointers.

Why would I want to charge tax on shipping?

Depending on where you live, shipping may be considered a taxable service. There are quite a few resources out there that can simplify this for you, but when in doubt, reach out to a tax professional in your area to get the final word.

How can I find out how much tax I’ve collected?

Use the export .csv link in the bottom right corner of your Orders area to save a report to your computer, and then you can do some spreadsheet magic to tally up the tax column for your orders!

Can I collect sales tax on some products, but not others?

No, sorry—the tax rate you set will be added to all items in your shop (for applicable orders).

Can I add a text field at checkout?

Yup! Need to collect special instructions from customers? We’ve got you covered.

If you’re using Stripe and/or PayPal Express, your customers will see a notes field included by default, so they can drop in any custom information they’d like to their order when completing their purchase. You’ll see the note in the order details in your admin, and it’ll even print onto the packing slip. Pretty slick, right?

If you’re using PayPal Standard checkout, customers can click the add note link at checkout to drop you a line along with their order, and the text will be imported into your order details.

Don’t see the “add note” feature in your PayPal Standard checkout? It’ll appear just below the area where a customer selects their shipping address, on the second page of the checkout process. If you still don’t see it there, log in to your PayPal account and head to Profile > My Selling Tools > Block Payments and select yes next to the Display “Add Instructions to Seller” text input field. Hit save, and you’re golden.

Why does my store say it’s under maintenance?

This just means means your shop is in maintenance mode, which is totally optional and can be turned off or on anytime in the Settings > Options area of the admin.

When maintenance mode is switched on, you can preview your shop while you’re logged in to the admin, but customers will see the we’re working on our site message instead. It’s really handy when you’re tweaking your design, updating products, or just need to maintain that air of mystery until you’re ready to raise the curtain.

Can I use multiple currencies in my store?

There’s not a built-in feature that would allow you to display your prices in more than one currency, but if there’s another currency you’d like your products listed in, you may want to add that price to your product descriptions for customers to reference. Another option would be to add a currency conversion widget to your shop’s design. And as long as your customer can pay using a valid debit/credit card or PayPal account, and you support shipping to their home country, they’ll be able to purchase from your shop.

Can I use my PayPal shipping settings with PayPal Express?

No, sorry. PayPal’s tax and shipping settings only work with PayPal Standard. If Big Cartel’s shipping settings aren’t doing it for you, you can always switch to the PayPal Standard checkout option to take advantage of your PayPal shipping settings.

What’s the difference between PayPal Express and PayPal Standard?

PayPal Standard is a simple way for your customers to pay using a PayPal account or credit card on PayPal’s website. Unfortunately, this very old checkout option doesn’t match your store’s theme, and it can also present issues and delays to payments and inventory tracking. Because of this, we really don’t recommend using it unless you have to. Learn about switching to our new checkout with PayPal Express »

I received a suspicious email asking me to confirm some account info with Big Cartel. Is this is a scam?

We’ve been made aware of a phishing scam against some Big Cartel store owners. If you see an email that is supposedly from Big Cartel containing a confirmation or login link other than my.bigcartel.com, please do not click the link and mark that email as spam. Filling out the form linked to by these emails could lead to your account being compromised.

If you’ve already filled out that form, please contact our support team to let them know, and if possible change your Big Cartel account password right away in Settings > Password. You can also report phishing scams to the FTC along with the full email headers.

If you’re ever in doubt, get in touch with us and we’ll verify if an email actually came from us or not. Be sure to never give out any type of sensitive info through emails or click any links that are suspicious.

Plan

How much do paid plans cost?

Right now we’ve got four plan options:

  • Gold - free!
  • Platinum - $9.99 per month
  • Diamond - $19.99 per month
  • Titanium - $29.99 per month

You can check out the differences between each plan at our signup page. If you’re not sure, we suggest giving our free Gold plan a spin to see how you like it. You can always upgrade at any time if you decide you need more features. Signup options »

When will I be billed?

Well, first, thanks so much for signing up! We’re thrilled to have you using Big Cartel!

Your first payment will be made the day you signup up or upgrade to one of our paid plans, and then you’ll be charged on the same day each month after that.

Can I change how I pay for my Big Cartel store?

Absolutely! To update your payment info from the desktop admin, click on your store name in the top right corner of the admin and select Plan & Billing from your list of choices. If you see a Billing Information link to the right, simply click that link and update your credit card or PayPal information. That’s it!

Using a mobile device? If possible, we’d recommend switching to a desktop computer instead to access your billing information. Otherwise, tap the menu icon in the top left corner, tap More, and View desktop admin to access the desktop version of your admin from mobile.

Don’t see the Billing Information link? That means you’ve been with us for awhile (thanks–you rule!), so your account uses our old PayPal-only billing system. Contact us if you need to update your payment method and we’ll get you fixed up.

Why won’t my payment to you go through?

Ahh, that’s such a pain! We wish we could be more help, but our payment processor doesn’t have a way to force a payment through when your card issuer is declining it.

There are a ton of reasons why your card issuer may be declining the payment, so you’d want to contact them directly. Have them look up failed verifications, and they should be able to find the reason they’re declining the payment.

Oh, and make sure you’re not using a pre-paid card. Most pre-paid cards don’t allow recurring payments for a monthly service like Big Cartel.

What should I do if my monthly payment fails?

Don’t worry! Our system will automatically try the payment again a few days later, and in the meantime your store will remain open and available.

If your payment fails on the second or third try, though, you’ll need to re-enter your payment details to manually make that month’s payment. You can do that by clicking your store name in the top right corner of the desktop admin > Plan & Billing > Billing Information. Then you’ll be all set!

How do I close my store?

We hate to see you go, but we’re happy when our stores do so well they outgrow us.

Because closing an account is permanent and you lose all info and customizations associated with your store, we’d prefer you close things up yourself. If that’s an issue for any reason, just email us giving permission to permanently close your shop, and we’ll take care of that.

Otherwise, you can close your account at any time by clicking your store name in the top right corner of the desktop admin > Plan & Billing > I’d like to close my account at the bottom of the page.

Can I get a refund?

You bet! Refunds aren’t automatic, so send us over an email, tell us what’s going on, and we’ll get you taken care of. Contact us »

How do I reopen my store?

While we welcome you back with open arms, our system doesn’t archive any store details when you close your shop, so there’s not a way to reopen a closed account. Sorry!

What you can do is sign up for a new store though! We’d love to have you.

Customization

How do I change my store theme?

If your store needs a fresh new look, before hiring a designer to revamp the site you should consider testing out some of the other built-in themes we’ve made available to you.

Just go to Customize Design in the desktop admin and click on the first icon on the far left to access Themes. After you select a new theme you can play around with the customization to see if it’s right for you before you commit to it.

Once you click Save though, all of your customizations from the old theme will be gone. If you’ve done some tinkering in the code, make sure you download your theme before you choose a new one–otherwise you won’t be able to retrieve that old code.

Where can I find more themes?

If none of the built-in themes strike your fancy, but you don’t have any coding experience, you may want to check out pre-made themes from third party theme builders:

Each theme provider will give you their own set of instructions for applying their design to your shop. It’ll involve copying + pasting the code they give you into the Customize Design > Advanced area, so make sure your account is on a paid plan first.

Are Big Cartel themes optimized for mobile browsers?

It’s no secret that mobile shopping is on the rise, so we’re making sure your customers can easily buy your products from their phones and tablets.

Most of our built-in themes–Lunch Break, Neat, Good Vibes, Picklejuice, Snakebite, Nova, Luna, and Sidecar–include swanky, mobile-optimized versions. That means your store will automatically adapt to the size of your customer’s screen, so they can view products and place orders anytime, anywhere.

You won’t need to do anything to set it up, either–the code’s baked in already!

How do I create my own custom theme?

You may have already sketched up the perfect look for your store that doesn’t match any of the themes we provide. That’s cool! We give you complete freedom to edit our built-in themes, or you can whip up a theme from scratch. If you go that route, you’ll need a good handle on HTML, CSS, and our theme API »

Where can I find a designer to build my custom theme?

Allergic to code, but still really want to make the custom theme of your dreams into a reality? You may want to hire a pro–we’ve got a list of developers and designers who are well versed in Big Cartel themes. Take a peek at their portfolios and maybe drop one a line:

How do I back up my theme code?

As you save changes to your code you’ll want to make sure to download your theme, and you can do that by clicking “Download current theme” at the bottom of your side navigation.

We don’t archive any theme code so if you accidentally delete some or all of your theme code we don’t have a way of retrieving that. If you delete your theme code (we’ll cross our fingers that this never happens) you may be able to retrieve some of it from Google.

Google crawls and indexes our stores regularly, so sometimes they’ll have a cached version of your old theme if you’ve accidentally delete it. Just pull up your store in a Google search, then click the small arrow to the right of your URL, then click “Cached”. If Google still has your old theme cached you can click “Show Page Source” to see your theme’s code.

Can I embed my store into my website?

There are a few ways you can integrate your shop into your existing site. The easiest way would be to customize your Big Cartel shop to match your current site, and then add a link to your shop within your website’s navigation.

You can even set your shop up on your own custom domain, like shop.example.com. Learn how in our Domains article »

Importing your product feed into an RSS feed widget can also be a handy option for displaying the latest goods on your site. Access your product feed by adding /products.rss to the end of your Big Cartel URL. For example: http://shop.bigcartel.com/products.rss

Website-building platforms like Virb also have built-in integrations with Big Cartel - just plug in your Big Cartel store URL and you’re good to go.

If you’re more code-savvy, we also have an API for displaying product data on another site. Keep in mind that the cart processes must take place on our our end, so when adding to cart/checking out, customers would need to access the Big Cartel-hosted pages.

Can I translate my store in another language?

You’re more than welcome to customize your shop using the language of your choice! However, keep in mind there’s not a built-in way to switch between languages in one storefront or localize it automatically. For now you can dig in to your theme’s HTML to replace the default links and text with your preferred translations, or include more than one language side-by-side.

While it’s not exactly perfect, adding a Google Translate widget to your Layout HTML can be a solid workaround if you’re reaching out to customers from around the globe.

The only exception to this for now is at checkout. There isn’t a way to edit the text fields on the final checkout page where customers enter their details.

How do I set how many products appear on each page?

In the Customize Design section of your admin, scroll down until you see the Products Per Page drop down menu in the basic editor. The number you choose will determine how many products appear on each page. Hit Save when you’re ready to roll.

Some themes also let you choose how many products appear on the Home page using the Featured Products drop down menu.

How do I add social media sharing buttons to my products?

Almost all of our built-in themes include optional Like, Tweet and Pin It buttons for your products. Once you’re in the Customize Design area just click to enable sharing buttons and you’re all set! Your product details and images will automatically be included in posts, too, so all the right stuff gets shared on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Using an older theme theme that doesn’t include those options (Sidecar, Sexy, or Blocks)? You can drop a ShareThis or AddThis widget into your HTML in Customize Design > Advanced > Product.

When you enter your Facebook or Twitter username in the Customize Design section of your site, make sure you’re only entering the page username and not the full URL.

For example, when you’re entering your Facebook page username don’t enter facebook.com/example. Instead, just enter example.

Basically, all the stuff after facebook.com/ will be what you enter as your username.

How do I add a slideshow to my shop?

Just set your store’s theme to Luna, Snakebite, Nova, Picklejuice or Neat in the Customize Design > Themes section, and your design editor will now include a tool to upload slideshow images.

Click + to add any image you’d like to show off, and they’ll load in automatically on your Home page in slideshow format. Too easy!

It’s best to use the same sized images so it all looks smooth and consistent.

My custom page looks weird! Why can’t I edit it?

The editor in Customize Design > pages will stick to HTML-only mode if the editor picks up on a tag it is not sure how to handle. That problem shouldn’t occur with most edits you make, but on occasion a bit of HTML added in will force it into HTML-only mode.

If there’s code showing up in your custom page that you didn’t intend, you may want to make sure the text you paste into the visual editor is plain-text first. Sometimes pasting in from a Word document or another word processor might contain some pesky hidden formatting that renders in HTML.

Your best bet is to type your content directly into the page, or make sure what you’re pasting in is in plain text. There are also some handy plain text converters you can use to strip away unwanted code/formatting.

Why are buttons and text missing from my site?

Make sure when you set your color choices for your shop that you’re careful to not choose font or button colors that match background colors. If your button colors are black and your background color is black, your checkout button will be invisible. Since we love you so much, we put together a customization guide that has some tips on picking the right color scheme that you may find helpful.

Can I edit my store’s meta keywords and description for SEO purposes?

Each Big Cartel theme dynamically generates the appropriate metadata about your shop for search engines to index. This includes the store description (set in Settings in the admin) and search keywords based on the content included in the page (product names, descriptions, custom page text, and so on).

So instead of needing to edit keywords by hand, your theme will automatically pick up on the detailed info from your shop and include it in the <head> section of your Layout page following Google’s recommendations. Your store will also be optimized for sharing on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Advanced Customization

How do I create my own custom theme?

You may have already sketched up the perfect look for your store that doesn’t match any of the themes we provide. That’s cool! We give you complete freedom to edit our built-in themes, or you can whip up a theme from scratch. If you go that route, you’ll need a good handle on HTML, CSS, and our theme API »

Where can I find more themes?

If none of the built-in themes strike your fancy, but you don’t have any coding experience, you may want to check out pre-made themes from third party theme builders:

Each theme provider will give you their own set of instructions for applying their design to your shop. It’ll involve copying + pasting the code they give you into the Customize Design > Advanced area, so make sure your account is on a paid plan first.

Where can I find a designer to build my custom theme?

Allergic to code, but still really want to make the custom theme of your dreams into a reality? You may want to hire a pro–we’ve got a list of developers and designers who are well versed in Big Cartel themes. Take a peek at their portfolios and maybe drop one a line:

How do I back up my theme code?

As you save changes to your code you’ll want to make sure to download your theme, and you can do that by clicking “Download current theme” at the bottom of your side navigation.

We don’t archive any theme code so if you accidentally delete some or all of your theme code we don’t have a way of retrieving that. If you delete your theme code (we’ll cross our fingers that this never happens) you may be able to retrieve some of it from Google.

Google crawls and indexes our stores regularly, so sometimes they’ll have a cached version of your old theme if you’ve accidentally delete it. Just pull up your store in a Google search, then click the small arrow to the right of your URL, then click “Cached”. If Google still has your old theme cached you can click “Show Page Source” to see your theme’s code.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Why isn’t my store in Google search results?

Search engines will “crawl” your store periodically, so it can sometimes take a couple months before you will show up in their search results. Even then, the search engine needs to find your store valuable before it will rank it very well. Because of this, it’s common to have lower rankings when your site is still new and you may not have many inbound links yet.

Connecting your store with Google’s Webmaster Tools can really help–it offers diagnostic information about your visibility in search results. Google Webmaster Tools »

To be honest, it’s not always an easy process to become listed at the top of search results, especially if you have common terms in your store’s name or products. Rest assured, we’ve done everything we can on our end to help improve your search engine rankings.

In the meantime you can use your store’s direct URL on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, newsletters, and more to drive traffic to your store. We’ve got more tips for promoting your shop in our Marketing Field Guide »

How can I get my custom domain ranked higher than my Big Cartel URL in search engines?

All of our built-in themes include canonical HTML tags in the header by default, which indicate to Google that your custom domain is preferred over your Big Cartel URL in their rankings. It may take a bit of time for Google to pick up the changes if you’ve recently set up your store on a custom domain, but in time you should see your custom URL ranked higher up in search results.

What will my store look like when shared on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest?

Our built-in themes include the meta tags that social networks require to display the right image thumbnails and descriptions of your links.

Translation: when a product link is shared, a thumbnail of your product image and the description will automatically appear in the post. Sharing your store’s home URL will show your store’s account image and store description. If a custom page link is shared, the account image and a snippet of the content on the page will show up.

And all of our themes are set up for Pinterest Rich Pins and Twitter Cards, which makes getting the word out about your shop and sharing detailed info about your products even easier!

Check out our blog post for the full rundown.

How do I verify my store with Google?

Google Search Console is a free tool that will show you useful info about how your store is indexed and ranked in their search results. To use it you’ll need to verify your URL with Google using a meta tag. Here’s how:

  1. Head to Google Webmaster Central and click Add a Property. Enter your Big Cartel URL in the field provided and click Continue.
  2. Copy the meta tag and head to Customize Design > Advanced > Layout in your Big Cartel admin in a separate window or tab. Click “custom” and paste the tag in after the opening <head> tag near the top.
  3. Click Done and Save, then click the Verify button in Google to finish.

How do I verify my store with Pinterest?

To take advantage of Pinterest’s rich pins feature, you’ll need to make sure you’ve verified your Big Cartel store URL with Pinterest. Since this requires adding a line of HTML to your Layout, your store will need to be upgraded to a paid plan.

  1. Log in to your Pinterest account and click your name at the top. Click the gear menu, then Account settings.
  2. In the Website field, make sure your store URL is entered, click Confirm website and copy the meta tag.
  3. In your Big Cartel admin, head to Customize Design > Advanced > Layout, click “custom” and paste the Pinterest meta tag in just after the opening <head> tag near the top.
  4. Head back to your Pinterest admin and click Finish (they’ll automatically check the meta tag and confirm your URL).

If you run into any trouble, you can use the Rich Pin Validator to check your links and make sure everything’s good to go.

Should I hire a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) service?

No, we recommend you avoid SEO services promising to increase your search engine ranking. These services typically use questionable methods that will often times get your store ignored or penalized by search engines. Google and other search engines reward quality content, so focus on that instead of trying to game the system. For more info, see Google’s SEO information page.

Can I edit my store’s meta keywords and description for SEO purposes?

Each Big Cartel theme dynamically generates the appropriate metadata about your shop for search engines to index. This includes the store description (set in Settings in the admin) and search keywords based on the content included in the page (product names, descriptions, custom page text, and so on).

So instead of needing to edit keywords by hand, your theme will automatically pick up on the detailed info from your shop and include it in the <head> section of your Layout page following Google’s recommendations. Your store will also be optimized for sharing on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Mobile

Is there a Big Cartel app?

Yep! The Big Cartel for iOS app can be used to sell items to your customers in-person from an iPhone or iPad. You can accept cash and card payments for your goods, and it’ll track the order into your Big Cartel admin, and adjust your stock levels too (if you’re using inventory tracking).

Where can I download the Big Cartel app?

You can get it for free in the App Store for use on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch on iOS 9.1 or later.

Can I use the Big Cartel app if my store is on the free Gold plan?

Yep, no restrictions here! You can use the app with any Big Cartel store on any plan.

What payments can I accept when selling in person with the app?

You can accept credit cards with Square and Stripe, or accept cash payments for in-person orders processed through the app.

Is there a Big Cartel app for Android?

Sorry, currently the app is only available on iOS.

How do I get help with the Big Cartel app?

First, if you’re having technical issues with your app make sure you’ve updated to the latest version available in the App Store. If you’re up-to-date and still having a problem, just contact us and we’ll help you out.

Domains

Why do I get an Oops! message after setting up my custom domain?

Well, just look at you and your fancy custom domain! Sounds like you even set it up correctly, but simply forgot to add your domain name to the custom domain field in your Big Cartel admin. Head on over to Settings > Domains > Custom Domain, add your custom URL, Save, and you’ll be all set. Nice work, hot shot!

Why can I only access my store with ‘www’ in my address?

Whoops! It looks like you’ve missed a step in your custom domain setup.

Let’s say your custom domain is mycustomdomain.net. We want anyone who types mycustomdomain.net (without the www) into their browser’s address bar to be sent to www.mycustomdomain.net automatically–which is really displaying the content at mybigcartelstore.bigcartel.com.

This is done from within your domain provider’s admin using a 301 redirect without masking. Make sure you’ve followed all our steps to set this up from start to finish, and if you’re stuck you’ll want to get in touch with your domain provider to have them set it up for you.

Just make sure they don’t use masking or a frame redirect - that’s a lil’ shortcut that can actually mess up your store’s checkout and search engine visibility. So, just like your gym teacher always said: no shortcuts!

Can I get your IP address or Name Servers for my DNS Host?

For your own good, the answer is no. You won’t need to use our IP address or name servers to link your custom domain to your Big Cartel store. IP addresses change over time, and if we change ours, the redirect to your domain would break - leaving your shop inaccessible.

Trust us: using a CNAME record to redirect your domain will prevent major frustration, and keep your store open for business around the clock.

Why am I not receiving emails since I’ve set up my custom domain?

Oh no! Sounds like you probably set up your CNAME incorrectly, and it’s conflicting with your email settings. Hop into your domain provider’s admin to check your CNAME settings. The CNAME should be set up for your custom domain with www in front. If you’re missing the www, that is likely what’s causing the email problem.

At this point it’s probably a good idea to double-check your settings against our instructions. Custom domain instructions »

Why does my domain revert back to the Big Cartel URL in the address bar?

If you visit your custom URL and it switches to the .bigcartel.com address in your browser, then it sounds like the wrong type of redirect was set up for your custom domain. To fix that, you’ll want to make sure you’ve set up a CNAME redirect instead of a basic URL forward. Follow our custom domain instructions »

Can I set up email through my Big Cartel site?

We don’t offer any email hosting but there are lots of email-only service providers available if you are using a custom domain and your domain provider doesn’t offer email hosting. You could try Google Apps, Rackspace Email, or Zoho Mail.

Why is there a blank white page at my custom domain?

That means your custom domain is set up with a frame redirect instead of a CNAME. Follow our instructions for setting up a CNAME redirect at your custom domain instead »

Why doesn’t my domain change to reflect the product or page I’m viewing as I navigate through my store?

If you don’t see link paths change as you click through your store’s products and pages, then your DNS provider is using a frame and masking. This is a big no-no. Using a frame can cause problems with your store’s checkout, and will negatively impact your search engine rankings. Yikes.

To fix that you’ll need to contact your domain name provider, and ask them to remove the frame and masking, and set up a CNAME redirect instead. Custom domain setup steps »