Big Cartel or Shopify which one would be a better pick in 2023?

Read this in-depth Big Cartel vs Shopify comparison to make a well-informed decision.

Selling products online can be a hard nut to crack but the availability of numerous impressive eCommerce platforms has made it a little easier.

eCommerce platforms prove to be vital as they assist you in flourishing your business by providing all the necessary tools and features to promote your business, drive traffic to your store, as well as to increase the performance, security, and speed of your store.

Due to the increase in such eCommerce platforms, merchants find it really difficult when it comes to choosing the best eCommerce platform for their online store. The most suitable way to pick one is by comparing these platforms against numerous categories.

This is why we have compared Big Cartel and Shopify against eCommerce features, pricing, ease of use, customizability, customer support, template library, and a lot more.

So, continue reading in order to make a wise decision for your store.

Big Cartel Overview

Big Cartel is a potential eCommerce solution that provides trustworthy functionality and excellent techniques for users. Its ease of use and uncomplicated features coupled with cost-effective pricing plans make it a good choice for beginners. However, it mainly focuses on artists and thereby, lacks a handful of important tools that other big names from the eCommerce world have to offer.

Shopify Overview

Shopify is one of the best eCommerce platforms out there. It leaves no stone unturned in providing tons of necessary tools and features for your online store. It makes itself a good choice for both beginners and experts by offering creative freedom, pocket-friendly pricing plans, 24/7 customer support, various apps, an intuitive dashboard, and an impressive template library. Kudos to its scalability and robust features, it has become very popular in the eCommerce world.

Worried about the ticking clock? Have a look at the summary of the Big Cartel vs Shopify comparison below.

Breakdown of Comparison

Criteria Winner Notes
eCommerce Tools Shopify Shopify prevails over Big Cartel as it over a wide range of advanced features for all business types whereas Big Cartel lacks multiple essential features.
Ease of Use BigCartel Big Cartel is comparatively easier to use and comes with a quick and simple onboarding process and no such learning curve.
Themes Shopify Big Cartel provides more free themes but is quite limited and simple, whereas Shopify leads due to greater creative freedom, a huge professional template library, along tons of customization options.
Pricing BigCartel Big Cartel offers cheaper plans than Shopify but Shopify offers greater value for money as even its basic plan offers more features than the most expensive plan of Big Cartel.
Integrations Shopify Shopify clearly wins the round as it comes up with a huge app market compared to a few integrations of Big Cartel
Support Shopify Shopify is far ahead of Big Cartel as it offers numerous 24/7 support options and self-help resources while Big Cartel only provides a Help center and limited email support.

Short Verdict

Shopify wins against a Big Cartel in this ultimate Big Cartel vs Shopify comparison. Shopify provides a wide range of advanced features, an extensive app market, amazing customer support along with numerous designing options and creative freedom.

This makes it suitable for all businesses while Big Cartel with its basic features, limited customization, and ease of use targets mainly artists and small businesses only.�?

1. eCommerce Features

A store must have sufficient eCommerce tools in its pocket as they are an important building block of an online store. Let’s see how Big Cartel and Shopify stack up against each other.

Big Cartel’s Features

Big Cartel is a cloud-based platform that has a powerful eCommerce engine enabling you to set up a fully-functional online store and start selling online. But it must be noted that features provided by Big Cartel are mainly suitable for small businesses with single items and limited to certain industries.

Big Cartel, like Shopify, give the ability to form product tags and product categories, like shirts and pants, allowing potential customers to easily find the product they are interested in. But when it comes to listing products, Big Cartel limits its users.

You can upload from 5 to 500 products depending on the plan you go for, meaning the larger and growing businesses will find it limiting. So yes, you can’t even add multiple varieties of the same product.

Furthermore, it is impossible to bulk upload products, so you will have to add each item individually making it an arduous task. With that being said, it’s appreciable that you can at least do bulk edits so a change can be made across multiple products, orders or discounts.

Commendably, it offers an iOS and Android mobile app which can be used to manage orders and your store from anywhere easily. Managing a store is made easier through inventory tracking functionality that informs you about your stock and automatically marks “Sold Out” on out of stock products.

It is, however, disappointing to see that even an important feature like abandoned cart recovery is missing, which is a massive drawback. Nonetheless, it does provide Payment solutions- Stripe, PayPal, and Square- but it would have been better to offer multiple payment gateways like Shopify which comes with over 100 payment gateways.

It’s praiseworthy that no transaction fee is imposed on you. But Big Cartel is not PCI compliant whereas Shopify is fully PCI compliant. It is, however, cool to have features like unlimited bandwidth, free themes, shipment tracking, and a free SSL certificate at Big Cartel.

Furthermore, Big Cartel extends your selling capabilities by enabling you to sell your goods on different social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. But it’s a little difficult to integrate these platforms with Big Cartel.

You can also make use of Big Cartel’s SEO features, discount coupons, and order tracking to boost sales and easy fulfilment of orders.

It’s time to jump to Shopify’s eCommerce features category.

Shopify’s Features

Shopify is popular for its eCommerce features and tools as it has the widest and most in-depth range of tools available. Shopify provides all the necessary tools to make your online store succeed, while also making your life as a business owner as easy as possible. It allows the selling of both physical and digital products along with various memberships, subscriptions and videos.

On the brighter side, the feature-flooded content management system, blogging functionality and CMS enable you to host an entire website on Shopify. Shopify allows you to print on demand via third-party applications.

The mobile app is embedded with numerous impressive features including contacting the audience, tracking trends and a lot more which makes things easy by allowing the user to access everything with its fingertips.

Shopify Mobile Features

Moreover, Shopify does not limit its users when it comes to product listing. It allows you to make categories and assign three options for each product along with the feasibility of selling the different varieties of products at different prices.

Abandoned Cart Recovery is also Shopify’s useful eCommerce feature that is integrated by default for all pricing plans.  Added to this, the store is fully customizable and lets you get back to your retail store via the POS feature. Shopify also lets you add and manage videos, 3D assets and use its remarkable inventory management feature.

To add more, the analysis capabilities of Shopify remain unchallenged. They provide all the necessary statistics which include important information like visitors’ location, customer rate, top pages, conversion rate etc. Reports of sales, profit, customers, marketing etc are also available.

Furthermore, this eCommerce platform successfully bridges the communication gap globally and allows international selling by translating the store into 50 different languages and converting the prices into 133+ currencies.

Shopify International Commerce

Another impressive feature of this store includes the ability to calculate import fees automatically and provide secure payment gateways. It also offers a free SSL certificate, free shipping and the ability to set shipping rates.

Moreover, Shopify extends its support by letting you sell your products on different popular marketplaces and social media platforms namely Amazon, eBay and Facebook. It provides different promotions, as well as interesting email templates. You can generate sitemap.xml, and offer gift cards and discounts.

 In a nutshell, Big Cartel’s features are no match to that of Shopify’s. Shopify offers a wide array of features of multiple categories so you can set up a feature-packed online store.

Winner: Shopify

2. Big Cartel Vs Shopify: Ease of Use

We need an eCommerce platform that saves us from frustration making it easy for us to set up an online store and sell products. Who do you think will win the ease of use comparison between Big Cartel and Shopify?

Big Cartel considers the ease of use as a priority of its platform. The main reason behind its ease of use is its amazing onboarding process. Setting up a store is pretty simple and straightforward as you just need to sign up and you are good to go with setting up your store within a few clicks.

Big Cartel guides its users through the setup with very useful prompts, suggestions, reminders and a step by step process. It’s like Big Cartel holding your hand through each and every step, making it much easier for beginners.

Moreover, it provides a user-friendly control panel and uncluttered dashboard along with an icon-based navigation menu for ease of navigation. All of the tools and options are arranged perfectly making your progress far more effective.

It lets you access various parts of the system, such as analytics, viewing orders, settings, products, discounts and much more. Overall, it’s a simple user interface with a minimalistic feel that comes with a little learning curve only.

But it has to be noted that it’s comparatively difficult to look for a template editor. However, once you access it, it’s too simple to use with basic drag-and-drop functionality.

So, overall, Big cartel is very intuitive but it does come at the compromise of features and functionality. Because the functionality here is pretty basic compared to Shopify or other ranking platforms.

Now, Let’s take a look at Shopify’s ease of use. 

Shopify does a great job at user-friendliness as it’s a complex multi-featured engine, but still, it manages to be easy to use and is structured in a simple systematic way. Its onboarding process is also straightforward involving four steps.

But Big Cartel comes with an easier onboarding process. Moreover, Shopify also guides its users throughout the signup process for a better user experience.

The Shopify dashboard is also simple and clear but it does have a small learning curve. It can get a little laborious to manage the store but that’s understandable, considering the functionality that comes with it. With all the high-end functionality, Shopify lays out everything perfectly.

Shopify Dashboard

However, it should be noted that a little complexity with features during setup results in easy shop management, making it particularly easier to manage orders, track inventory, and overall running of online store.

 In addition to that, it comes with an intuitive editor and does not require coding for customization whereas Big Cartel requires coding for creative freedom.

When it comes to ease of use, Big Cartel turns out to have a slightly upper edge as it is easier to use and has an excellent onboarding process. But Shopify with its advanced functionality is still user friendly.

Winner: Big Cartel

3. Big Cartel Vs Shopify: Template And Customization

The look is not everything but when you are selling, the look and feel of your store play a role in attracting your users. The process of making a captivating store is made easier through various themes and customization options. So which one of Big Cartel and Shopify will make your store shine?

Big Cartel offers around 18 themes all of which are mobile-optimized, which automatically reformat to fit on different screen sizes. However, it does not grant you editing control over the mobile layout of your store. Though it provides a few themes we can cut Big Cartel some slack as all of these are free.

The templates are nice and catchy, but basic. Moreover, the template library covers a smaller range of industries, focusing mainly on artists and photographers. So if you are not one of them, be prepared for encountering problems as the platform does not seem interested in other industries.

Before selecting the theme, you can also preview it to make sure it’s the right one for you. And even if you don’t find the selected one the right choice, you will still have the option to switch to another theme. But any extra content like background images won’t be transferred instead you will need to add those manually.

Big Cartel templates are nice, but what you can do with them is quite limited. As a matter of fact, the customization options are basic and simple. You will also not find an image editor, leaving no option but coding to add or edit images. Unfortunately, you won’t find features like product image zoom, product videos or customer logins as well.

If you want creative freedom and the ability to customize the themes, coding is the only way out. This begets huge disappointment and problems for non-techies and even novice coders.

Do you think Shopify can take the lead here? Let’s see.

Shopify is not as great as Wix and other top-ranking website builders in designing but it does provide tons of customization options and everything you need to create a fabulous online store across all eCommerce categories.

It comes with an enchanting template library where the themes certainly outnumber the themes at Big Cartel. You can easily browse through 70 eye-catching and magnificent themes which are designed by Shopify professionals and neatly organized under various categories in its Template library.

Shopify Themes

Although there is a wide range of templates for different industries, only 10 of these are free, while all others with much greater customizable options are premium and costly. But this makes sense as well; considering the themes go well beyond the standard level of edits granted and provide you with everything to design an incredibly exquisite online store.

When it comes to customization, it allows the personalization of every element on the template. You can customize typography, colours, banners, homepage layout, slideshows, sections, images, and much more, in real-time.

Furthermore, the drag-and-drop editor makes it simple for you to drag various elements and place them on the canvas.

Shopify Editor

In addition to that, it allows you to modify the shopping cart, checkout page, header and footer, pages, headings etc. That said, Shopify grants users the ability to tweak the mobile version of the site as well. Apart from these designing options, Shopify provides social media icons, drop-down navigation support, colour palettes, free theme updates, free stock photos, and much more.

And you know what? Shopify does not leave out professional developers. It provides granular control over customization through HTML and CSS, enabling them to make a complex site for their businesses.

In summary, Big Cartel offers more free themes but simple and limited customization options. Shopify is significantly ahead of it as it offers much greater customization freedom without coding along with a wide range of mesmerizing themes.

Winner: Shopify

4. Big Cartel Vs Shopify: Pricing

Pricing is an important aspect to look for in the eCommerce platforms so that you don’t end up wasting your money on an unsuitable platform,  blowing up your budget.

Big Cartel starts with a big shot by offering a forever free plan, so you can build an online store and easily start selling your products for free. This becomes its big selling point by being one of the few eCommerce platforms that let you build a store and sell for free.

It comes with 3 pricing plans, including the free one. The free plan is although limited to only 5 products, it can be an ideal place to test your eCommerce skills and the market, along with testing the functionality of the platform.

However, with the free plan you get free customizable themes, shipment tracking, real-time stats, sales tax autopilot, the ability to offer discounts, promos and set up a custom domain. These features are pretty impressive, especially coming from a free service is quite rare.

Apart from that, it includes 2 premium packages as well. Below are the details of Big Cartel’s pricing plans.

<Big Cartel pricing plans>

The biggest drawback is the limitation of the product listing. Even the most expensive plan only allows you to list a maximum of 500 products only, not more than that. This proves to be a hindrance in growing your business.

The plans are not scalable at all, you only get an allowance to list more products rather than more advanced features on subscribing to higher plans. With Big Cartel, you have no option to pay annually and get a discount on pricing.

Moreover, big Cartel does not offer payment gateways, so you will have to go with third-party services like PayPal and Stripe who will charge you the transaction fee.

Now, let’s jump straight to the pricing plans of Shopify.

Shopify, on the other hand, does not come up with a free plan. But still, it allows you to start selling for free without even entering your credit card credentials. During this 14-day free trial, you can fully explore the features that Shopify has to offer and get used to the interface and functionality.

So once the free trial is over, you will be asked to choose any of its premium plans. There are 3 core Shopify plans (starting at $29 a month) along with 2 additional plans for a special purpose and user type. The additional two plans are known as Shopify Lite and Shopify Plus.

Shopify Lite is the cheapest of all which lets you add a Buy Now button to any of your existing websites for such a low cost. This enables you to accept payments and sell your products online with the help of various eCommerce tools and features.

Shopify lite Plan Features

Shopify Plus is designed for large businesses that generate large sales volume. As it contains advanced and high-end features aimed at flourishing large businesses. Some of those features include a work manager, increased security and much more.

Shopify pricing structure is described below;

Shopify Plans Regular Price Discounted Price
Shopify Lite $9 Check Price
Shopify Basic $29 Check Price
Shopify $79 Check Price
Shopify Advanced $299 Check Price
Shopify Plus Varies Check Price

Shopify, unlike Big Cartel, offers much more powerful features where even its Basic plan offers more robust features than Big Cartel’s most expensive plan. Imagine how scalable Shopify plans are.

In addition to that, Shopify even allows you to either pay month-to-month, yearly or sign up for a 2-year plan. Subscribing for the annual plan grants you a 10% discount whereas a 20% discount is granted for going with a biennial plan.

Furthermore, Shopify charges transaction and payment processing fees. However, you avoid the transaction fee by using one of Shopify’s in-house payment methods rather than third-party gateways. Otherwise, you will have to pay in the range of 0.5-2% of transaction fees depending on the plan you choose.


In conclusion, Big Cartel is cheaper than Shopify but it should not be ignored that Shopify comes with a much greater number of features than Big Cartel and still it’s affordable.

Winner: Big Cartel

5. Big Cartel Vs Shopify: Integrations

Now it’s time to see which one of these performs is better in terms of integrations.

Big Cartel comes with a decent collection of apps, extensions, add-ons,  and integrations to extend the functionality of your platform. It supports a number of integrations for marketing and promotions, manufacturing and shipping, store management apps, and domain providers.

But it should be noted that overall Big Cartel offers fewer than 50 apps and integrations only, which is quite laughable when compared to the number of integrations offered by the Shopify app market.

Some of the notable apps include Mailchimp, Instagram, Elfsight, Printful, ShipStation, Google Analytics, and Zapier which in turn lets you integrate with hundreds of apps.

Now let’s see what Shopify brings to the table. 

Shopify’s enormous app market comprises a wide range of integrations and extensions which roughly exceed 3500. These are divided into several categories, sub-categories and sections to assist the user in finding his targeted one quickly and offer a wide array of options to increase the store’s management, reporting, productivity, security, sales and conversion, marketing, merchandising etc.  

Shopify supports multichannel selling, allowing you to integrate your store with Facebook, Amazon, eBay, WordPress, Zapier, Walmart. There are tons of options to choose from no matter what the target is. For instance, you can use Oberlo, Sprocket for dropshipping, Booster SEO, Privy, MailChimp, for marketing and SEO. In regards to accounting, Quickbooks is a great option. Printful and Printy cater to print-on-demand.

Shopify App Market

Added to this, Shopify offers many apps to deal with store development, security, analytics, customer support, advertising, navigation, media library, upselling, promotions and a lot more.

In short, there is no denying that Shopify is way ahead of Big Cartel in this lap too. Shopify provides an enormous app market with thousands of apps whereas Big Cartel is quite limited in this aspect.

Winner: Shopify

6. Big Cartel Vs Shopify: Customer Support

Customer Support is not the most essential factor to look into but at the same time, it may become the first thing you find helpful when you get stuck during your store development or management process.

Big Cartel provides a promising knowledge base with detailed articles which are well categorized to offer a neat navigation process. The articles cover issues in a step by step process along with pictures for your better understanding.

If this does not pan out, you can go with support options. But in support options, you will only find email as a source of contact to reach out to the support team.

It’s disappointing that, not only does it provide only email support, but this one source is also available from Mon to Fri 8 am – 6 pm EST.

Now let’s see how Shopify competes with Big Cartel in terms of customer support.

Shopify offers a high-tier level of support and provides help features to its customers by various means. It comprises a Help centre that has a handful of articles and guides categorised into different sections along a search bar to enable the user to search for solutions.

Shopify Help Centre

Video tutorials, FAQ’s, webinars, blogs, podcasts, guides, a business encyclopedia, business courses and different useful social media platforms add to Shopify’s humongous help support resources.

These self-help resources not only are useful in solving any issue the user might have but also provide the user with knowledge on a wide range of topics. Product experts, developers and experienced users also extend their support by answering any query you post on the Community Forum.

Added to this, Shopify also arms store owners 24/7 e-mail, phone, and live chat facility. The support team will respond to you within a few minutes and help you deal with your issues as soon as possible. Shopify’s technical support is also available in many different languages which enables the support to be available to a large number of people.

To conclude, Shopify is miles ahead of Big Cartel when it comes to customer support because of its numerous self-help resources, a large community form and always available multiple support options whereas Big Cartel only has limited email support and a Help Centre.

Winner: Shopify

Final Verdict

Now it’s time to finally settle the Big Cartel vs Shopify issue. Both of these platforms are way different and so is their target audience. Big Cartel mainly targets creatives and artists who want to run small businesses selling limited goods. Therefore, it is easy to use, comes with basic functionality, a simple editor, and affordable pricing plans. It does not offer high-end features, flexibility, and creative freedom. Hence, it is not scalable.

On the other hand, Shopify appeals to a wide range of business types with features that provide every user type with whatever they require. It is the best all-around eCommerce platform that targets small to large-scale businesses with dynamic selling needs.

It comes with a huge app market, multiple support options and resources, much greater creative freedom along with an impressive template library, tons of customization options, and an intuitive editor. In conclusion, Shopify emerges as the absolute winner in Big Cartel vs Shopify comparison.

By Lawrence

Lawrencebros is a Technology Blog where we daily share about the Tech related stuff with you. Here we mainly cover Topics on Food, How To, Business, Finance and so many other articles which are related to Technology.

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