When building an online store, it takes more than just a simple website and a cool product for people to figure out who you are and start talking about you.
You need a community.
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One that scours the internet for the best new products, while also sharing your online store with others who might find it interesting. Crowdsourcers have Kickstarter, but what about those companies that are simply looking to sell online without the help of crowd-based investors? Wouldn't it be nice to generate your own ecommerce shop on a platform that also includes a community of people who are looking to discover new and emerging brands, and help them grow?
That's where Tictail comes into play.
It's a relatively new player in the ecommerce platform game, since the company start in 2012. The community not only lets you create and manage your own online store, but it hosts over 1 million products and 100,000 online stores that are open for discover to the Tictail community.
Since the market is already saturated with platforms for you to choose from, this only makes the decision harder for you. So, we're going to give you an in-depth review to discover if Tictail is the right route for you to take.
The true standout feature from Tictail is the Go Shopping area, which consolidates all of its shops into categories for people to come and explore Indy products that they wouldn't find elsewhere on the internet. It's somewhat similar to Etsy, but it has a fresh look with large banners for categories such as the great outdoors, holidays, fashion and items for pets.
Obviously the Go Shopping page is ideal for both consumers and sellers, but what can you expect to find in terms of building your own online store? The feature set is minimal, but they include most of the basics for you:
- Implement your own custom domain.
- Add an unlimited amount of products.
- Receive access to an unlimited amount of bandwidth space.
- Connect to your Twitter and Facebook accounts.
- Set country, currency and tax.
- Manage orders and products with ease.
- Create discounts for customers.
- Create a store with a mobile responsive interface.
- Gain access to hundreds of apps to improve how your store works.
Tictail Ease of Use
The Tictail backend interface is one of the simplest we've seen, with several steps for launching your store such as naming your store, setting the country, connecting social accounts and adding products. The primary tabs are located towards the top of the page, with options for orders, products, discounts, the app store and the marketplace.
At first you receive a domain that's hosted on Tictail (mystore.tictail.com,) but you have the option to transfer over a domain or buy your own through a third-party vendor. All of this happens in the Tictail dashboard.
Customizing your store isn't as great as more powerful ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Bigcommerce, but adding a product works rather well, with fields for a titles, images, descriptions, pricing, variants and navigation.
This is where I would assume Tictail becomes really appealing to some people.
Tictail is a completely free platform, with free hosting, and an unlimited supply of bandwidth and product uploads. Keep in mind that you must still pay for any transaction fees through options like Stripe, PayPal and Klarna, but everything else is free.
This means no monthly or checkout fees, and no need to worry about paying for feature upgrades or early terminations.
Tictail Templates and Design
As of this post, the Tictail theme library only has 17 options. This isn't that great when compared to other ecommerce platforms, but the designs are modern and clean, and they are super easy to implement and customize.
Simplicity is an understatement when talking about the theme designs, since you receive plenty of space for your products, and most of them are organized in a basic grid format. Some people may not like this, but I tend to assume that conversions are easier to come by with formats like these.
Inventory is fairly rudimentary, since it all works through the Products and Orders page. You can see how many items are still available for each product and that's about it.
The same goes for orders, since it just gives you a full list of the orders that have recently come in and been fulfilled. If you'd like any other functionality for managing inventory, you must turn to the app store.
Tictail SEO and Marketing
As with many ecommerce platforms, SEO components are automatically generated, but if you'd like to implement further features, the app store is your best bet. The same goes for marketing.
For example, Tictail provides several free apps for things like email marketing, product reviews and social media integration. You can also choose to market your store with paid apps. Some of the more popular ones include support for product upsells, abandoned cart recoveries and selling directly on Facebook.
Stripe, PayPal and Klarna are the only payment systems you can find with Tictail. This isn't all that bad since each of these are reputable companies, but you can certainly find more options if you were to go with something like Shopify or Bigcommerce.
Regardless, setting up tools like PayPal and Stripe are super easy in Tictail, allowing you to input your credentials and click a few buttons to start accepting payments. Remember that Tictail doesn't collect any transaction fees, so the only payments you can expect are to the payment processors.
You don't have to worry about implementing your own SSL, since everything is taken care of through Tictail. This basically means that when working through your dashboard it is always on an SSL connection. The same goes for when your customers are walking through your checkout process. In the checkout area your customers will see a badge that states they are working through a secure SSL page, helping you ensure your customers that your website is professional and safe.
Both a blog and documentation center are offered through the Tictail site, and they both get you started with marketing and implementing tools on your own. The company also provides a full Help Center where you can browse by topic, search a past question or make your own questions to begin a discussion. They have a private question module, and you can always shoot Tictail a message through social media, but they don't seem to have any areas to call a support team.
The same goes for live chat, so you'll have to rely on the private email form or try to figure out questions yourself in the Help Center.
Tictail is certainly new to the market, and it has huge competition in terms of Etsy. However, Tictail provides more of a branded interface that is truly your own unique website. The fact that the hosting and website is offered for free is at least enough to warrant a test run, so we would recommend playing around with the service to see if it works for your needs.
In terms of downsides, the payment processors are not that plentiful, and the support is far from perfect, but they do the job, especially since you get everything for free.
If you have any questions about the Tictail platform, feel free to leave us a line in the comments section below.
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