Tictail is an e-commerce platform that was founded by four Swedish entrepreneurs back in May 2012, with the exclusive function of benefitting anyone who has an ace product to sell it online with ease.
As part of that mission, Tictail pledge to handle the technical aspects of operating an e-commerce site, and in doing so leave you to focus on what you understand best – your brand, your products and your service.
In fact, it seems fair to say that their aim is to beat their indisputable competitor,Shopify, at their own game – and make Tictail the most uncomplicated e-commerce platform available.
And that is something they do a fantastic job of.
Like Shopify, there is nothing to install or host with Tictail. Tictail follow the software-as-a-service or “SaaS” model, and will host your site on their servers on your behalf. If you don’t know your software from your servers, Tictail could save you weeks of research or a fortune in consultancy fees.
Speaking of saving money, Tictail is also free to use for an unlimited amount of products and bandwidth, you only pay for extra features. Shopify on the other hand has many features built in or available for free, but only offer a 14-day free trial. Shopify costs $29/month after that.
What Tictail is brilliant at
If you have never launched an online store before, you’ll be pleased to know that with Tictail, the process is as simple as can be. First, input your email and password, then pick from the 18 available themes, and you’re off.
You are then shepherded through steps (they really do hold your hand) in which you set your country of origin, currency and tax rate. Then you input your social account details, the name your store, a description of the store and add your all-important first product.
Ultimately, you are taken through integrating your PayPal account, setting up shipping options and putting privacy and returns policies in place.
This might seem quite a lot of work, but the whole process only takes about 10 minutes with Tictail, if you have your content pre-prepared. That’s a very impressive set-up time, especially when e-commerce platforms such as Magento can take days to get set up correctly.
However, there are significant problems with Tictail
We applaud the free entry point that Tictail offers, and the ease-of-use they provide is both unparalleled and much needed in this arena. However, some very basic features are not included in the cost-free offering.
For example, to use your own domain (practically essential for any serious business) costs $1.50 per month at the time of writing. Not much at all. But then, you’ll want to add a contact form on your site. That costs $5 per month. Putting featured products on your home page costs $2 per month. If you want to display prices in multiple currencies, that’s another $1.50 each month. As you can see, it’s not difficult as all for these costs to start adding up.
More advanced features are even pricier. The “product upsell” app recommends add-on purchases to customers based on what the customer has already added to their selection. For example, it may recommend lightbulbs to go with that lamp that’s in your cart. This relatively common feature will cost you $7.50 per month on Tictail
An app that emails customers when an item that they previously requested comes back in stock, costs $20 per month. The same app by the same developers is free to start using on Shopify.
So far, we’re up to $37.50 per month, and we haven’t even gotten into analytics and email marketing integration yet.
True, we aren’t talking about huge amounts of money here, but Tictail is a super simple offering with comparatively basic features. That suggests to us that Tictail is being marketed at less experienced individuals who might be trying out e-commerce for the first time. With that in mind, an invoice clocking in at $40+ per month is actually quite a big ask. Especially when Shopify is nearly as simple and twice as flexible.
Another issue is that taking credit card payments using PayPal’s services is the only option available to Tictail users. As many businesses are moving their payment processing over to rival Stripe, this restraint is likely to put off a lot of potential users.
Tictail have confirmed via Twitter that they are not planning to allow anyone to create apps to allow different payment systems for the forseeable future.
Conclusion: Use Shopify
While Tictail appears to be a high quality e-commerce platform that takes Shopify’s ease-of-use principle to extremes, to build even a lean online shop with this software is likely to cost you something heading towards $40 per month. By the time you are turning over enough to make that cost worthwhile, you’ll already be thinking about more (expensive) features you’d like to add.
While Shopify also has a marketplace full of subscription based apps, they have more features built-in as well as more free apps or free alternatives.
It’s incredibly simple to get started with Tictail, but it’s just as easy to outgrow it. With that in mind, it’s really quite difficult to see why you would choose this package over Shopify.