Big Cartel Vs Shopify: Who Is The Winner? [2022]


Most businesses, regardless of size, have moved online. Today online sales have exceeded high street retail sales. The latest trends highlight the need for eCommerce websites for businesses of all sizes. These websites serve as online storefronts and as essential marketing resources.  

The functionality of websites is no longer limited to marketing. Today, standard websites are deemed incomplete without eCommerce elements. Therefore, companies are investing in powerful websites to capitalize on major eCommerce opportunities.

Are you in the process of starting up a retail or services business online? As you've most likely found out by now, there are several options for choosing an eCommerce platform to design and host your store’s website. Shopify and Big Cartel are two big names on the list. But which of these is the better choice for your business? 

That is the question you will see answered as you read the article below. Scroll down and try not to miss anything. 

Big Cartel Vs Shopify 

Shopify and Big Cartel each serve client businesses with slightly different needs. Both platforms are used by successful companies all over the globe.

Big Cartel was founded in 2005 and has created at least $2.5 billion in sales for the businesses they host. But rather than hosting big retail, the big chunk of Big Cartel clients comprises Photographers, Graphic Designers, Arts and Crafts shops, customized fashion and decor sellers, and other businesses that sell goods or services upon receiving orders. Such sellers usually don’t have huge lineups of products to showcase.

Shopify was founded in 2006. Unlike Big Cartel, Shopify has hosted sales worth at least $495 billion for its clients. As you might expect, Shopify serves a wider variety of niches in the market. Everyone from huge furniture and decor brands to chic boutiques to sports equipment sellers uses Shopify to run their online stores.

Big Cartel Vs Shopify: Pricing Plans

Let’s review the difference in the pricing plans for both, and dive into the Big Cartel vs Shopify fees policy.

Can I Use Big Cartel And Shopify For Free?

Signing up on Big Cartel, you are offered 3 pricing plans right off the bat. The free plan (Gold) includes basic functionality for small businesses or individuals selling services. It has some free themes and an online shelf for up to five products, each with a single image to describe it. You also get a custom domain. 

But the free plan doesn’t allow Google Analytics to help you plan a future marketing strategy and lacks inventory tracking.

 The other two plans require monthly payments. For $9.99 a month, you become a Platinum member and get some added features, and $19.99 will unlock all Big Cartel features as you become a Diamond member.

big cartel vs shopify

Source: BigCartel 

Shopify offers three plans, but they are much pricier than Big Cartel. Even worse, there is no free plan for aspiring Shopify users. The cheapest plan costs $29 a month, and the most expensive one costs $299 a month. 

However, users can enter a 14-day free trial period to test the features and make up their minds. But Big Cartel still wins for the economics in Big Cartel vs Shopify because of their light plans that can accommodate young businesses.

Source: Shopify

Big Cartel has another edge in budget-friendliness since they don’t take even a fraction of your sales income. Shopify charges transaction fees unless you use Shopify as the primary payment processor for your store.

Which Is Easier To Use - Big Cartel Vs Shopify? 

Shopify offers more features than Big Cartel regardless of the pricing plan. This means it is not as simple to set up as Big Cartel. On the other hand, Big Cartel has to pay for this by limiting customization options. The Big Cartel interface has far less clutter than Shopify’s.

Still, Shopify manages more powerful eCommerce features in its arsenal. You can achieve far more customization, some of which can be done on Big Cartel if you are familiar with coding and using the CSS functionality.

Source: BigCartel

Shopify is great if you are not easily overwhelmed. It lays out everything you’ll need to design the perfect online store. Both Big Cartel vs Shopify uses drag-and-drop mechanics in the design process. However, creating websites on Big Cartel takes less time and energy because there are simply fewer steps and decisions involved.

Source: Shopify

Big Cartel Vs Shopify: Styling and Visual Templates

Shopify offers 10 free themes, and users can purchase more than 50 themes. These are beautifully crafted and heavily customizable to create and maintain your brand’s unique identity.

Source: Shopify

Big Cartel offers 16 themes, all for free. These have limited customization, and you can never be sure if your changes will be visible for viewing on phones and other platforms. The themes are still good-looking and fairly versatile, but we have to award Shopify for offering better design options due to a lack of customization options.

Source: BigCartel

Big Cartel Vs Shopify: App Integration Support

Shopify supports integration with around 3,500 apps. Store owners hence have greater reach, i.e. the audiences of all those individual apps. This means that Shopify users potentially have better marketing, customer relationship management, and payment channels than those running their businesses using Big Cartel.

Source: BigCartel

Shopify even offers extensions to its design and customization abilities if users get the right apps and integrate them. Since many of these apps are not free, this counts as a scalability function for Shopify businesses. As they grow, they can invest in enhancing their customer’s experience and getting more and more eCommerce functionalities for their stores.

In the context of scalability, app integration, and add-on support, Shopify wins when it's Big Cartel vs Shopify.

Final Verdict 

To conclude this Big Cartel vs Shopify article, both are great options for internet entrepreneurs, Big Cartel is best for businesses that are in their infancy or don’t plan to ever be too big in the future. The costs are low, the functionality is quick and minimalist, and the designs are all going for simplicity. Independent artists, creators, designers, and craftspeople are best suited to use Big Cartel.

Shopify is the most popular eCommerce platform and the largest name brand in the market. Shopify brings big-budget dents and limitless possibilities in exchange. If your business is starting off big or scaling up regularly, you need the management options that come with Shopify. 

Does Your Business Need An Online Store? 

Still on the fence? The following reasons will convince you to take your business online.

  • Stay active 24/7 

An eCommerce website ensures your business stays open even after traditional working hours. People with busy lifestyles don’t have time to visit brick-and-mortar stores during working hours. They are left without an option to shop online. Imagine how many opportunities you will lose if you don’t have an eCommerce store.

  • Never miss out on sales opportunities. 

Fuel prices are at an all-time high. People aren’t willing to travel miles to shop for their desired items aside from occasional shopping trips. That’s why “near me” is a commonly searched term on Google. 

With an eCommerce website, you can expand your customer base from the nearby area to beyond borders. It is also an ideal way to scale your business because most eCommerce website builders allow you to accommodate local and international orders. 

  • Social media integration 

Online marketing has taken over traditional print media marketing methods. Over the last decade, companies have extensively used social media to sell their products and services. ECommerce website builders allow you to integrate your online store with social media platforms. This way, the online store also handles the sales made through social media pages, allowing customers to shop directly from your Facebook or Instagram page.

  • Integrate your inventory

With eCommerce website builders, you can sync your inventory to your website. This feature ensures you don’t take orders for items out of stock. You can also create a sense of urgency by showing your customers the number of items left in the stock or if the stock is running low.

  • Adapting to the rapidly changing market landscape 

The Covid-19 lockdowns were no less than a nightmare for businesses, big or small. They remained open and operational when physical stores were forced to stay close. Thousands of stores were forced to shut down, and some have only recently reopened. 

On the contrary, companies with a powerful online presence were least affected by the pandemic-induced recession. Online eCommerce websites allow you to adapt to the ever-changing market circumstances when the need arises.

  • Budget-friendly

You may find the initial cost of a good eCommerce website development high. However, the running cost is much lower than the cost of managing a brick-and-mortar store. A good reason for investing in an eCommerce website is the dynamic online advertising website builders offer. Dynamic online ads pull data and images directly from your website, making it easier to convert potential customers.

3 features of a good website builder 

Choosing a good website builder allows you to create a powerful eCommerce website integrated with social media platforms, marketplaces, and third-party tools. A good website builder provides you access to various plugins and integrations, including Google and social media. 

You can benefit from multiple tools such as live chatbots, email marketing, and more. All these features help you create a website that sells and effectively represents your business.  

The following are the features you should look for in an eCommerce website builder: 

  • Drag-and-drop feature

The best website builders allow you to develop aesthetic yet functional eCommerce websites using drag-and-drop technology. 

However, to create web pages, you should have some basic skills. You should know how to set up apps and plug-ins to create product pages and add products to the business.

Even though website builders have made it easy to create a featureful eCommerce website, there are certain things that only web developers can help you with. 

However, if your budget doesn’t allow you to hire a web developer, you should choose the website builder that enables you to develop the type of eCommerce site you want. Every website builder has its own advantages as well as its drawback. So, make sure to choose wisely.

  • Access to a range of Professional Templates

Whether your goal is to start or expand your business, creating an online store is essential for both. While choosing a template for your eCommerce store, ensure it meets your and your audience’s needs.

Sites built with good eCommerce website builders are not just featureful but also allow businesses to maximize their profits. Every website builder comes with a range of professional templates. Each of these templates has its own unique features. These features include domain hosting, SSL certification, abandoned shopping cart recovery, and various valuable tools that make it easier to market, manage and sell your products.

A good eCommerce website opens a plethora of business opportunities. Various small businesses rely on eCommerce website builders to set up online shops.

  • No need for Programming Knowledge

Every business requires an online presence to establish a strong position in its market. But with the latest eCommerce website builder, anyone can create a beautiful and functional website. 

Key Takeaway 

Any online store can stand out from the crowd with easily navigable, aesthetically appealing websites with striking displays and professional product catalogs. Regardless of your budget, you will find a website builder that allows you to create amazing designs and memorable user experiences without compromising the website's performance, functionality, and quality. 

If you want to create a memorable online presence for your business or trying to improve your existing website, you should get in touch with us for a quick site review and quotes. 

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