What’s Better – Shopify or Big Cartel?


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Shopify vs. Big Cartel is an ongoing debate for anyone interested in ecommerce. 

Your e-commerce store should be built using the best platform available. It should be the right platform for your business.

Let’s be clear:

Shopify is the best ecommerce platform, with over 1,000,000 users worldwide. Shopify is a superior platform because of its large user base, a wide range of themes, ease of use, and strong app store.

Shopify may not be the right platform.

Big Cartel is the only platform that lets you sell online for free. Shopify works well for all businesses.

Let’s not waste any more time and compare Big Cartel vs Shopify. Here’s the answer.

Comparison between Shopify and Big Cartel – The pros and cons

1. Which one are you more comfortable using?

Both platforms are similar in their ease of use. Every e-commerce platform is designed to make it easy for anyone to set up an online store.

It is easy to use which allows you to focus on what matters most in your site-building. 

Shopify can be more complicated than Big Cartel due to its many features. You can create and manage your store in just a few steps.

You can use it even if you’re not a professional web designer or developer. 

Big Cartel offers many tips and prompts through a setup wizard that will guide you through the entire process. 

Upload product images, choose their prices, and then you can start selling. 

But there are more!

Once you’ve completed the simple onboarding process, it gets a little more difficult. To modify the HTML code for the Big Cartel theme,

Big Cartel vs Shopify – The Verdict

Shopify is slightly more user-friendly than Big Cartel, despite both platforms being simple.

2. Which Provides Better Customer Service?

Customer support is not the most important aspect of e-commerce platforms for businesses. You can’t predict when you will need it.

Big Cartel provides customer support via three channels: Email and Help Center. Big Cartel’s knowledge base can be a great place to start if there are any questions.

It offers users useful and well-categorized articles.

Or you can email them directly via support@bigcartel.com. The biggest problem is that Big Cartel customer support isn’t available 24/7. Only email is available for assistance, and it’s only between 9 AM and 6 PM EST on Monday through Friday.

Shopify’s customer support scores are better than those of Big Cartel. There are many help options, including

  • Social media support
  • Support is available 24 hours a day by phone
  • Live chat is available 24 hours a day
  • Video tutorials
  • Forum
  • Email
  • Expert support

Shopify vs Big Cartel – Support – The Verdict

Shopify wins. Shopify wins.

3. Which has better sales features than the other?

Sales features are essential to an easy and profitable e-commerce journey.

Shopify’s appeal lies in its simplicity and versatility. Shopify offers more than 100 payment gateways and allows you to accept online payments.

The app store contains all the apps that you will need to create your e-commerce site

Big Cartel on the other hand has fewer features and is more suitable for small businesses that sell individual products.

Let’s take a look at the core features and benefits of both platforms.

Shopify’s core functions are:

  • Financial reports
  • Coupon codes
  • Unlimited products
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Accounts for Staff
  • Mobile POS
  • Customer Support
  • Recovering abandoned carts

Big Cartel’s core characteristics are:

  • No cost
  • Coupon codes
  • Inventory tracking
  • Bulk editing
  • Google Analytics
  • Tracking shipment
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • It is possible to order up to 25100 or 300 products depending on your price plan 

Upload your product

Big Cartel does not allow you to upload 5 products. The second plan allows you to upload 50 products. With the highest plan, you can upload 500 products.

Shopify’s inventory management system is however far more advanced than other systems. Upload single or bulk products with no restrictions.

Shipping options

Shopify offers the Shopify Shipping Suite, which allows users to set rates, bulk print labels, and get discounts for shipping via DHL Express or UPS.

Big Cartel offers third-party apps to ship services.

Big Cartel Vs. Shopify – The Winner of the Best Features

Shopify won for its sales features. It allows you to focus more on your business.

Big Cartel’s features are not as good as Shopify’s. Big Cartel may still be an option if you think the basic features will suffice to manage your business.

4. What are you more at Flexibility, Themes, & Design

Big Cartel Themes

The design of your online store can make a huge impact on how products are presented. Big Cartel offers 18 themes free of charge.

It is even more frustrating that you cannot modify themes with your free account You will need to upgrade from a paid plan

But, artists and photographers still like free themes. These themes could also be appealing to online shops that sell clothes and jewelry.

There will be some limitations and very limited customization. 

  • The theme can be changed at any time
  • All products are automatically redesigned to reflect the new design.
  • Mobile devices automatically adapt to the layout you choose, but you can’t modify the mobile version.

Shopify Themes

Shopify is better than BigCartel when it comes to design, themes, and flexibility. 

  • 10 free themes and 50+ paid themes starting at $140-$180
  • All themes are compatible with mobile devices.
  • You can adjust the mobile version.
  • Incredible level of customization

Big Cartel vs Shopify Design: The Verdict

Shopify is the new king in design. Shopify has more themes and flexibility than Big Cartel. Shopify is easier to customize than Big Cartel. You will need to know coding to add or modify images. Shopify makes it easy.

5. What Apps & Installations Have More?

Shopify Apps

Shopify has the solution. Shopify App Store offers over 7000 apps. This allows users to tailor their experience and allows third-party apps access to new features like popups or upselling.

Shopify’s most popular app categories are Marketing, Store Design, and Shipping. App prices and quality can vary.

All Shopify apps have 5-star customer reviews. This could lead to security problems and slow down your store’s speed.

Big Cartel Apps

Big Cartel allows integration with over 500 third-party apps using Zapier. This plugin costs $25 and can be used to integrate with 25 third-party software tools such as MailChimp, Facebook Store, ShipRobot, and MailChimp.

Be aware that add-ins can have monthly fees. All your items can be managed from any of your smartphones.

Shopify vs Big Cartel Apps – Who is the winner?

Shopify is the winner in terms of integrations and apps. It’s not about how many apps you have but whether or not you can find the extensions you need to manage the store.

Shopify and Big Cartel cover the essentials of email marketing and CRM management.

6. What is the most cost-effective?

Last in the Shopify comparison was the value that you get for your money. E-commerce should not be your primary income source or a side venture.

What do Shopify and Big Cartel have to offer in terms of price and value?

Shopify has three plans available, including a free 14-day trial. Prices start at $29 and go up to 299 per month.

Big Cartel has three pricing plans. The monthly price for a paid plan ranges from $9.99 to $19.99 with no listing fees.

This is Big Cartel’s greatest selling point and advantage:

Big Cartel allows you to sell online without any fees.

Credit card information is not required. Big Cartel may have lower prices than Shopify, but you get more value if you upgrade.

Shopify’s Basic plan is $29 per month. It instantly grants you access to more features, such as:

  • Unlimited products
  • Blog
  • Sales channels
  • Gift certificates
  • Shopify POS app
  • Recovering abandoned carts
  • Two accounts to staff

Transaction fees

When you create an online store, transaction fees are another aspect that you should be aware of. Each transaction will require payment of these fees.

Shopify offers several pricing plans that have different transaction rates.

  • Basic Plan: 2.9% Plus an Additional $0.30
  • The main plan is 2.6% with an additional $0.30 for transactions
  • Advanced Shopify plan: 2.4% & $0.30 per transaction

Shopify’s payment provider Shopify payments doesn’t charge any transactional fees or additional fees. 

Big Cartel has a smaller focus and is unable to process transactions. Customers will need to connect to a third-party service. Stripe, Paypal, and Big Cartel are Big Cartel’s online partners.

Stripe and PayPal have the same transaction fees: 2.9% plus $0.30.

The Verdict: Value For Money

Shopify & Big Cartel are equal in cost-effectiveness. 

Shopify offers more features, but a steeper price. However, Big Cartel is cheaper and better suited to small businesses.

Big Cartel and Shopify: Which one is better?

Big Cartel and Shopify have different target audiences. Big Cartel is for artists and small businesses.

Shopify is the winner overall, but Big Cartel remains an option if you want to sell smaller quantities of individual items such as artwork in limited quantities.

About the author

Kobe Digital is a unified team of performance marketing, design, and video production experts. Our mastery of these disciplines is what makes us effective. Our ability to integrate them seamlessly is what makes us unique.