Big Cartel or Etsy, which eCommerce website builder would be a better pick in 2023?
Read this in-depth Big Cartel vs Etsy comparison to make a smart choice.
When you are planning to sell your products online, you search for an eCommerce platform that can fulfill all your requirements. Here we have two renowned eCommerce platforms BigCartel and Etsy- both of which have a huge customer base.
Big Cartel and Etsy primary targets are the same- crafters and artists. BigCartel is used by independent artists who want to start small initially whereas Etsy is mainly used by small retailers for selling vintage and homemade products. With their feature-set and simplicity, they are both suitable for beginners and small-scale businesses.
So whichever side you choose, one thing is clear- you want the best eCommerce platform for your online store. With their feature-set and simplicity, they are both suitable for beginners and small-scale businesses, however, there are still some significant differences that set them apart.
So, why not choose the best one for you right now?
We have carefully examined and evaluated each eCommerce platform in terms of eCommerce features and tools, ease of use and customizability, pricing, integration and add-ons, customer support, and themes to present you a detailed Big Cartel vs Etsy comparison.
In a rush? Check out the summary of the Big Cartel vs Etsy comparison below.
Breakdown of Comparison
|Big Cartel has a slightly upper edge over Etsy in terms of eCommerce features. Both largely offer features that are perfect for beginners and small-scale businesses.
|Ease of Use
|Both of these eCommerce platforms have simple and basic interfaces along with limited customization options.�?
|Big Cartel prevails over Etsy as it has a template library and greater theme editing and designing options at your disposal that can help create a unique storefront as opposed to the similar storefront designs at Etsy.
|Big Cartel takes the lead due to its affordable pricing structure and a free plan with numerous features to run an online store with no additional fees.
|It is a clear winner as it provides plenty of better integrations than Etsy.�?
|Etsy is miles ahead of Big Cartel in terms of customer support due to a myriad of support options that even includes scores of self-help resources.
Big Cartel Vs Etsy: Short Verdict
Big Cartel is the absolute winner of the Big Cartel vs Etsy eCommerce comparison as it takes the lead in 3 out of 5 categories we evaluated. Big Cartel offers a better feature-set and tools for your personal eCommerce store, numerous eye-catching themes with better designing and customization options, plus free and affordable premium packages with no extra fees.
Etsy, admittedly, is one of the most intuitive eCommerce platforms but Big Cartel proves to be a tough competitor. However, Etsy is superior when it comes to customer support as its support options, assistance team, and resources are up to the mark.
1. eCommerce Features
Ecommerce tools and features play a crucial role in making your business successful. If you have poor eCommerce features at your disposal, you might run into trouble quickly, no matter how much effort you put in. So, do Big Cartel and Etsy provide powerful eCommerce tools and features?
Big Cartel’s Features
Big Cartel is a cloud-based fully-hosted eCommerce solution. It has a powerful integrated eCommerce engine through which you can set up an online store and start selling in a matter of minutes through the plethora of features it has to offer.
Big Cartel does not have an extensive list of features to boast because it is focused on small or medium-sized businesses, therefore, it provides basic and must-have eCommerce features.
Big Cartel like Etsy, also has a mobile application so that your web store is in your pockets anywhere you go hence easily accessible.
At Big Cartel, the number of products to be displayed for sale depends on the plan you choose. The higher the plan, the greater the listing offered with a maximum of 500 products on its highest-tier plan. Moreover, you can post up to 5 images shedding light on different aspects of the same product.
Moreover, the feature of Inventory tracking comes in handy as it tracks the number of products in stock and notifies you when products are close to being finished. It even automatically marks “Sold Out” on the out-of-stock products. Etsy does not offer this feature so you have to do this all manually there.
Unlike Etsy, Big Cartel does not charge you any posting or transaction fee even in its free plan. When it comes to payment, you have three payment gateways; Paypal, Stripe, or Square.
In addition to that, you can sell in person and on other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. However, integrating these platforms into Big Cartel requires some coding. To make your managing effective, it also provides a bulk editing feature. Through this feature, you can make changes across all products and orders.
Big Cartel recommends using available third-party applications and plug-ins to extend its functionality. These will unlock features like creating promotional pop-ups, selling digital products, availability of drop-shopping for buyers, and accessing advanced analytics tools through apps like Google Analytics.
For security, it also comes with a free SSL certificate for end-to-end encryption of your data.
Now let’s take a look at Etsy’s eCommerce features and tools.
Etsy has basic but strong eCommerce features that make selling online easier and effective. As Etsy is a marketplace its features are a bit different from that of Big Cartel.
It has a mobile app that helps track your ongoing business on the run, where you can organize stuff, receive notifications, get access to orders, and even manage and create listings.
Etsy focuses mainly on vintage, homemade, and arts and craft products. To sell the products it allows you to open your store and start selling and customize your store to give it an attractive look. Moreover, at Etsy, you can sell both digital and physical products while you can also display multiple images of your product to showcase it in a better way.
Furthermore, the marketing side of Etsy is easier than at Big Cartel as here you already have a potential customer base due to your inclusion at Etsy marketplace.
With its free tools, you can share your listed products on Etsy and social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. You can also create coupons or use third-party tools like Google Shopping to drive in more traffic.
Moreover, it offers two marketing options, Etsy Ads and Etsy Offsite ads. Through Etsy ads, you can advertise your products throughout the Etsy marketplace while through Etsy offsite Ads you can promote your products on search engines like Google.
It also shows detailed analytics to improve your business which includes traffic sources, conversion rates, revenue, and data on visit orders.
Moreover, it even makes sure that you can reach out to a global community. For that, it automatically translates your shop and converts the currency into customers’ preferred ones.
The Highlight of this Etsy feature list is a website building tool known as Pattern that is powered by Etsy.
Here you can create and design your own custom website like at Big Cartel to sell your products. Pattern website is accompanied by its list of features as enumerated below.
- The products listed at Etsy shop are automatically synced to Pattern.
- Sell products that do not fall under Etsy shop guidelines.
- Manage both Etsy and shop and Pattern Website with Shop Manager.
- Free SSL certificate
- SEO tools
- Setting up and tracking analytics in Google.
- Marketing tools and guides.
- Blog creation
- Inventory management
- No need to configure third-party payment gateways.
- Template library of 10 templates.
To sum it up both of these eCommerce platforms provide basic features and tools to sell products. These features are not the most amazing ones but as their target is small-scale businesses, these can be enough. However, Big cartel has a slightly upper edge over Etsy as it provides a comparatively better feature-set.
Winner: Big Cartel
2. Ease of Use/ Customizability
You, like every business owner, would want an intuitive eCommerce platform so that you don’t end up banging your head against the wall in frustration. So let’s examine both of these for ease of use and customizability options.
Big Cartel has an intuitive approach such as setting up an online store and starting selling your products is a piece of cake that’s the reason many beginners prefer to start their eCommerce business with Big Cartel.
You just have to sign up, access the admin panel, upload a product image, determine its price and select an appropriate theme for your store, and voila! Now you can begin selling your products. Big Cartel also guides its users with prompts, suggestions, reminders, and with a step-by-step process.
Moreover, the project management features and robust integrated features at Big Cartel make it convenient and easy to use. It also has a user-oriented dashboard and a simple interface with a minimalistic feel as it does not offer a wide array of customization features.
This is not always seen as a drawback as not encountering a bazillion of options may be relaxing for those who just want a simple no-fuss eCommerce store.
The themes offered by Big Cartel are cool but basic, allowing limited customization options, therefore, if you are looking for more creative freedom, then it may not be possible if you are unaware of coding.
However, Big Cartel with its simple layout is best for beginners but not a good option for creative novice coders.
Etsy is one of the easiest to use eCommerce platforms, in fact, it’s the major stronghold of Etsy. This is because, at Etsy, you are free from all the fuss of creating an eCommerce website and marketing to promote it.
Here you don’t have much customization control so there are not enough advanced features to deal with which makes it simple and easy to use.
But still, you can make a few tweaks with the help of limited customization options like changing colour, font, pictures, etc. Besides that, you can also use third-party integrations to further improve the look and feel of your web store.
The seller dashboard of Etsy is also simple and intuitive such that adding products, creating listings, managing orders, generating reports, and monitoring traffic become as easy as ABC.
You don’t have to do much effort for marketing like in Big Cartel since all items are displayed at the same marketplace and to make it more visible to buyers, just pay a bit more to Etsy and it will do the rest.
Similarly, setting up Etsy’s Pattern website is also easy-peasy. The Pattern is automatically integrated into your Etsy shop so that the products listed at your shop are transferred to the Pattern site flawlessly. You can access and manage both the Etsy shop and Pattern site from the Etsy shop manager.
Briefly, we can say that both Big Cartel and Etsy are simple and easy to use with limited customization options.
Winner: It’s a Tie
3. Themes And Designs
Having an attractive storefront is as important as having a strong feature set. It helps you stand out from the crowd and drive traffic to your web store. So, how much flexibility, creative freedom, and designing options does Big Cartel and Etsy grant?
Big Cartel not only grants simple design options like changing logo, colour scheme, font size, etc but also gives access to its free template library. The template library contains 18 majestic and eye-catching themes that are free for all plans and skillfully designed for art-based web stores.
The templates are mobile-responsive, and also have an option to preview all of its details closely before choosing it for your storefront. For creating an attractive storefront you won’t need to have much knowledge of coding.
Big Cartel allows customizations but ties your hands when you try to move to proceed more than just minimalistic changes as it grants limited designing options on your chosen template. If you wish to have a fully personalized store then you will need some technical expertise, for example for editing and changing photo design you would need manual editing.
Etsy grants fewer customization options and little creative freedom. As it’s a marketplace, where you have a single store to sell your stuff, Etsy wants to keep things uniform for a consistent experience for buyers. That’s the reason most of the stores at Etsy look similar with little to distinguish them.
At Etsy, you can only change the font, colors, shop icon, display photo, cover photo, banner, and store description. It also allows you to arrange the items at your store in the way you wish. Etsy has also partnered with Canva making it intuitive for you a custom cover photo and an eye-catching shop-con.
To have a handful of additional customization tools, you can have Etsy Plus. One of its features is an option to showcase your top products prominently at your storefront.
Furthermore, you can use its Pattern by Etsy that allows you to choose from 10 available themes which can be customized. The customization process includes, changing cart format style, adding or removing content pages, add images to photo galleries, etc
In a nutshell, Big Cartel takes the lead as with the help of its attractive themes and design options you can have a storefront that stands out from the crowd while at Etsy you will have a storefront having much familiarity with others with far fewer editing options than at Big Cartel.
Winner: Big Cartel
As a business owner, when planning on building an eCommerce website, the most crucial thing to consider is to find a platform that can deliver great benefits without draining your pockets. So let’s take a look at how much both of these platforms will cost you.
Big Cartel has a straightforward pricing plan in contrast to the complicated pricing structure of Etsy.
Big Cartel costs are primarily monthly based on the package you choose. So let’s take a look at its 3-tier Pricing Plans
- Gold Plan is its basic free plan that allows 5 listings with 1 image per product. You can also get a free theme, opportunity to sell online and in-person, custom domain, real-time stats, offer discount and run promos, but with limited customization options.
- Platinum Plan allows you 50 listings with 5 images per product. It comes with advanced features such as theme code editing, Google Analytics, bulk editing, and shipment tracking. It is priced at $9.99 a month.
- Diamond Plan allows 500 product listings in addition to all the features offered by Platinum Plan. It costs $19.99 per month.
Amazingly, Big Cartel does not take a cut from your earnings, unlike Etsy. At Big Cartel, you don’t have to pay listing fees or even transaction fees.
However, you will have to pay online payment processors like PayPal or Stripe for their services which is usually around 2.9% + $0.3 per transaction.
The unusually impressive thing about Big Cartel is that it’s the only eCommerce platform that allows you to build a store and sell online for free. The features in its free plan like custom domain and themes are jaw-dropping.
However, the biggest drawback of Big Cartel pricing is the limit of products to list. Even its highest-tier gives an allowance of listing a maximum of 500 products which can hinder the growth of your eCommerce store.
Etsy has a relatively complicated pricing plan than that of Big Cartel.
At the first sight, you may jump to the conclusion that Etsy is quite cheap as it even offers a forever affordable plan and its other plans do not even cost high monthly fees. But there is much more to it. Etsy’s prime method of pricing is through charging fees.
Let’s take a look at Etsy’s monthly plans;
- Standard Plan that is free with basic features to sign up and start selling, These include Sales and coupon creation and discounted postage rates.
- Plus Plan that costs $10 per month. It offers an expanded set of tools that includes advanced customization features, free store domains, new layouts, banner options, ad and listing credits, discounts on promotional materials and ustom web addresses.
Now let’s examine its main pricing that is through Etsy Fees charged at each transaction;
- Listing Fee of $0.20 per item which renews after 4 months or after it’s sold.
- Transaction Fee of 5% of the total product cost.
- Shipping Transaction fee that is 5% of total shipping cost.
- Payment Processing Fee of 3% plus $0.25 of the total transaction fee.
- Offsite Ads Fee that costs around 15% on Attributed Orders. This is mostly optional but may be required depending on the sales you make in the whole year. To learn more about advertising fees click here.
There are few other additional fees that Etsy charges optionally such as in-person selling fees and currency conversion fees. For more details, check Etsy’s Fees and Payments Policy.
When you take account of the monthly and all the fees that Etsy costs, it will become a bigger chunk of money making it less viable especially for those who make serious sales. You can do the maths and see if it could work out for you.
Etsy also offers an eCommerce website builder known as Pattern to build your own separate store powered by Etsy. It has only one pricing plan that is for $15 a month. You can try its functionality and website with its 30 days free trial.
To cut a long story short, Big Cartel is the winner over Etsy in pricing comparison. Big Cartel has a free plan with multiple features to set up its own online store without any additional fees, unlike Etsy that charges numerous fees which when summed up will cost you a lot for running an active business.
Winner: Big Cartel
5. Integrations And Addons
No eCommerce platform stands alone; you at times need to integrate a third-party application to expand the functionality of your store.
Big Cartel provides numerous apps and integrations which are neatly categorized as follows;
- Marketing and Promotional Apps like Elfsight, Power.io, Instagram, Zapier, Poptin, Mailchimp etc.
- Manufacturing, Shipping, and order fulfillement apps include Printful, Pulley, ShippyPro, ShipRush, ShipStation, etc.
- Store Management Apps Like Luckyorange, Google Analytics, Dext, Big Cartel for Android and ios.
- Payment Processors like Stripe, PayPal, Venmo, etc.
- Domain Providers such as Namecheap, Hostmonster, Netregistry, Godaddy, Google Domains, eNom, Dreamhost, Hostgator, etc.
Here, Zapier alone provides additional integrations with various additional services. All of these Big Cartel integrations, help increase the reach, manage better, extends functionality, helps manufacture products, fulfil orders, and connect with customers.
Etsy also provides numerous integrations to help its sellers to grow:
- Marketing and Promotional Apps include Pinterest, Mad Mini, Mailchimp, AWeber, Crowdfire, WiseStamp, etc
- Print on Demand Etsy integrations includes Printify, Teelaunch, and Printful.
- Listing Optimization comprises of softwares like MockupEditor, eRank, Marmalade.
- Order fulfillment apps include ShipRush, Shippo, ShippingEasy, and ShipStation amongst many others.
- Accounting software like Quickbooks, Taxify, TaxJar, Avalara etc.
- Inventory Management apps Includes Square, CraftMaker Pro, Craftybase, and Putlet.
Here you don’t need to integrate social media accounts to Etsy like Facebook, you just need to connect your accounts and just like that you can promote your goods there as well.
Both Etsy and Big Cartel offer top-notch integrations but Big Cartel offers more integrations and also includes Zapier.
Winner: Big Cartel
6. Customer Support
Setting up and running an online store may be accompanied by issues therefore, you need to know if there is someone strong who has got your back to solve those issues. That’s why we analyze eCommerce platforms in terms of customer support to help you make a wise decision.
Big Cartel has a humongous knowledge base that is well organized offering a simple navigation process so that you can get to your answer within a matter of seconds. All of these articles are informative containing pictures and videos to cover various aspects of different issues comprehensively. Therefore, the first thing to do when you face a problem is to turn to the Big Cartel Help page. When compared to Etsy’s Help centre, this one is far better.
But in case it doesn’t pan out, you can directly email Big Cartel’s experienced support team. Unfortunately, they are not available 24/7 so will only reply to you Monday to Friday between 8 a.m and 6 p.m. EST. There are no options other than that as It does not offer live chat or phone support. Although they are available for a limited time, the service in this period is fast and the quality of the response is good enough to rely on.
Now let’s jump to Big Cartel’s competitor and see how much support it has to offer.
Etsy provides an array of resources to make sure you get things straight and can run your online store without any hindrance.
It has a huge Help Centre containing detailed articles for both buyers and sellers. But unlike in Big Cartel, these articles are not much of a pictorial guide. Moreover, You can visit Etsy’s Community Forum to ask questions and exchange ideas. Other active sellers and even Etsy teams will try to solve your queries.
In addition to that, inexperienced retailers will find its Seller Handbook quite beneficial and a seller newsletter to improve their businesses.
Other resources include video tutorials and links to marketing and eCommerce resources.
If you are still not satisfied, then you can get in touch with their team directly through email, live chat, and phone call support. Etsy claims that Email and chat are available 24/7 but in email, you get a reply within 1 or 2 days while in chat you get a reply within 5 minutes. Phone support is only available during working hours.
All of these support options are accessible from the seller dashboard.
In a nutshell, Etsy beats Big Cartel in this round of Big Cartel vs Etsy comparison as it provides multiple support options so that your problems can be resolved one way or another. Not to mention, the self-help resources that come with it. On the other hand, Big Cartel has only email support which also is limited to certain hours. Only its Knowledge base is better.
Big and Etsy both have similar target audiences- small-scale businesses of crafters and artists. But they have some major differences. At Big Cartel you can own a personal eCommerce website to market your brand and products whereas at Etsy you share a common marketplace where your brand is not highlighted much. However, you can go with Pattern by Etsy if you want a standalone eCommerce store.
On account of pricing, both are reasonable but Etsy charges more fees. Both are easy to use with limited customization options, but Big Cartel offers numerous themes which can be customized to have a unique attractive storefront. The customer support offered by both the platforms is helpful and quick however Etsy takes the lead with greater support options and resources.
When it comes to the features, they are geared mainly towards small-scale businesses who want a no-fuss eCommerce store to sell their goods. At the end of the day, Big Cartel wins the Big Cartel vs Etsy comparison, now the decision is yours to make.