Big Cartel vs. Shopify: Which is Right for Your Business?

Big Cartel and Shopify, both allow people to create an online store with various features such as shipping, billing, marketing, and CRM tools.

No matter which side you’re leaning towards, one thing for sure is you wish for the best one to be used in creating your online store.

Both these eCommerce store website builders have their intriguing features, and we will help you in choosing the best website builder that you need.


It is considered the best eCommerce platform by almost all the sources and developer firms as it scored high in every factor and category when compared to other platforms, in particular with Big cartel except for the value of money.

It makes it highly preferable by anyone and everyone, and that does not mean it is a suitable eCommerce platform for everyone.

The level of hype Shopify receives among eCommerce platforms makes it a legend. 

Though the company was founded in 2004 it did not start making money until the year 2008 as an online SaaS solution.

Today, Shopify has firmly consolidated its position in the digital distribution field. It is a network that combines web hosting capabilities with a wide variety of shopping cart features, including various third-party integrations.

That alone makes it perfect for almost any form of an online company, including online business.

Big Cartel

Big Cartel is also considered as the best eCommerce platform with reputable features and exceptional strategies.

Many people compare it with Shopify and this is the reason we created this guide.

But Big cartel focused on artistic and creative stuff since 2005.

It seems to be the only eCommerce platform or website that allows people to sell products on an online store for free and is ideally suited for those selling retailed products or individual items like art pieces etc.

In reality, according to independent web use statistics, the eCommerce platform or website has hosted more than 70,000 online shops, most of which are owned by innovative artists such as musicians, designers, and craftspeople.

When you first come across this eCommerce platform, one of the first things you’ll notice and come to know about Big Cartel is that its primary focus stays on necessary eCommerce software and tools.

It handles the entire complicated process from hosting to website building on eCommerce platforms and managing the online store.

Both Big Cartel and Shopify managed to attract and generate a quite large audience. 

The verdict here is that both are excellent in their markets. Big Cartel can account to ease of use and user-friendliness when it comes to targeting creativity and artistic areas, and that is mostly because of the noticeable demographics and ethnic overlap between consumers.

Shopify, on the other hand, is versatile and can take hold of any kind of company, firm, or enterprise.

The verdict says that both have the attributes that differentiate them from each other, but the debate about which is best is insane. Each of them focuses on different markets, and every individual cannot rely on a single platform but has to choose a suitable one.

Pros and cons

Big Cartel

Pros: The main advantage of Big Cartel is that it offers ease of use and a wide range of sales and business across a wide range of platforms which include Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Big Cartel also supports a brilliant and bright frame network. It is one of the top eCommerce builders for sales and consumer scores.

Shopify may have a wide range of potential fanbase. Still, Big Cartel, on the other hand, is no less and has a decent share of a potential audience too, which are quite intrigued and persuaded by its online sites which are mostly balanced.

Luckily, the user interface here is just as direct, simple, and pretty basic. Its overall style has a minimalist feel, even for newcomers and entrepreneurs.

You’re going to have an easy time talking about the usability of Major Cartel. But, in case you encounter any problems, the Support portion of the website has your back. It illustrates it all in-depth.

Cons: Even though it is easy to use, Big Cartel imposes a transaction fee that applies to all kinds of external payment gateways. This imposition on payment gateways acts as a hindrance to its improvement.

The other disadvantage is that to switch themes; it requires material reforming of content.


Pros: Without a doubt,  it is the best eCommerce website that assists retailers or marketers and allows them to sell products and services online for free. This makes it easy for entrepreneurs or newbies in business to move forward without any major complications act as the best eCommerce solution.

It also offers customer support and is brilliant in assisting in on-boarding processes for new users. 

One of the key things that make Shopify incredibly successful is its user-friendliness.

While the entire online store platform is a complex featured multi-engine, advanced Shopify is created to achieve in a simple, systematic manner and is easy to use.

Establishing a website takes a little effort and can be summed up in four steps which include adding products, changing themes, building domains, and managing shipping and tax information.

You’ll also get a sensitive theme editor to focus on your store’s overall outlook before it goes online.

CONS: None

The other con is that it offers business owners or customers, little or no customization in deciding theme designs. It is easy to use Big Cartel but unlike that Shopify is not at all beginner-friendly as it is quite complicated because of coding.

Big Cartel or Shopify both effectively work when it comes to the case of setting up online store businesses for well-equipped marketers or retailers or new business people.

They are designed in such a way as to break down the complicated steps and present them in simple basic ways.

However, it is undeniable that the affiliation or interface of Shopify is superior and better when compared to Big Cartel and also provides much more efficient demographics.

Which is easy to use and which one manages the online store best?

We face many kinds of troubles and complications regularly and let us not add creating an online store to that list by making it even more complicated.

Business improvement can be done using many tactics and strategies and creating an online store tops all of them. Beginners in the business field already have a lot to deal with and a complex store creating an app store would add to their burdens, so it is essential to select the one which is suitable and comfortable to start with.

BIG CARTEL: Big Cartel was essentially designed to make it easy for small businessmen to compete with single products.

That’s why Big cartel offers a free plan that supports up to five images per product or right, while the most expensive one you can do is 300. Yes, here 300 means what it means. It’s just 300 bits—nothing further, not even multiple variables in a single product. In reality, it is difficult to upload multiple items at a time. You need to add each object separately.

Today, the resulting sale process is pretty straightforward. You can take advantage of Major Cartel’s SEO functionality to draw traffic on any platform and also social media, incentives to raise your conversion rate, and then order monitoring to track any single transaction during the completion.

You might also consider capitalizing on Big Cartel’s Facebook incorporation to expand the distribution capability to the social media network. The abandoned cart recovery feature is one essential item lacking here.

Few of the many features offered are IOS on-the-go monitoring software, Full-time inventory monitoring, Digital merchandise sales, Automated order confirmation emails, Bulk order history export, SEO features, Product discount codes, Facebook activation, Order tracking, Smartphone POS for brick and mortar shops, Google Analytics service, Customer visitor checkout, discount codes for goods and services.

At the end of the day, the leads you try to effectively turn payment processing by Square, Stripe, or PayPal. In contrast, these are undeniably some of the most successful payment processing methods or payment processors. Customers would not feel bad if Big Cartel added few more features to this.

The fascinating thing is that you do not have to pay Big Cartel for any purchases. It is because the transaction fees policy offered is zero, which effectively ensures that only transaction fees are deducted for card processing from the payment portal and that too from the purchase amount.

Big Cartel doesn’t cooperate with the Payment Card Industry (PCI). So, you might be responsible for any of the industry requirements when processing card purchases with minimal transaction fees.

SHOPIFY: Shopify vs Big Cartel is nothing less than a civil war. Each has its advantages and avail them in different markets.

You must choose the one which is most suitable by considering all the features offered. The main pro of Shopify is that it allows us to introduce as many items as we want without having a limit and allowing us to upload them separately or import at once as a bulk completely depends on our wish.

Now, at this point, you are free to edit a range of product attributes such as price, specification, title, barcode, and their distinctive SKUs. Also, the accompanying product page allows you to install personalized or customized photos as well as adjust and modify shipping options.

When the retailers start selling a good number of products they can use Shopify’s group and prioritize individual leads, drop-in integrations, auto-delivery rate calculation, guest checkout assistance, auto tax calculation, and many more.

Out of all, Shopify is incredibly excellent in allowing multi-channel sales. This helps the sales rate of businesses to grow and reach beyond and set up secondary sales points on social media and third party websites, external online app store markets.

Shopify also provides a default abandoned shopping carts recovery feature which allows retailers to follow up in case they miss any customers after the checking out process. It helps you to connect with the customers and offers customer support by following up on the reasons for their withdrawal and increases the number of products you sell. It also helps in competing with a third party.

Shopify is a popular and interactive online shop management tool. Still, after facilitating it all, it strikes you with a shock at the final stage of the deal. Apparently, after paying a monthly membership fee, Shopify goes ahead and deducts large transaction fees each time you make a purchase.

Though you have a wide variety of payment providers to pick from, you should altogether skip Shopify Payments and utilize other internationally open gateways. It also won’t save us from Shopify’s processing costs, so it still allows exemptions from sales collected by third-party gateways.

Few of the best online shop management functionalities are Automated carrier-calculated delivery rates, Automatic tax calculator, Abandoned cart recovery, SEO features, Product promotions, Social Media connectivity, Various distribution platforms, Built-in Analytics, Own website checkout.

The sales features of Big Cartel can not complement Shopify’s. Shopify blends a range of store management features with a variety of payment gateway solutions, and, of course, a massive app store. You can use third-party software to extend the e-commerce capabilities eventually.

Big Cartel is best suitable for small companies and start-ups where management is more susceptible to individual products.


Big Cartel aces when it comes to website designs as it provides 16 optimized themes that are completely available for a free trial. Many people may wonder why this much hype when the number is just 16 but the fact that they are all available for free accentuates the number and for that reason, 

The optimized themes are especially suitable for art and creative based online stores and can be opted for a free trial.

Another intriguing factor that attracts customers is that Big Cartel allows people to accommodate customized themes, but the modifying options for the corresponding themes are slightly limited. In reality, it’s impossible to make changes to your version of your mobile site. But again, this might not be important, provided that the interface automatically adjusts to mobile devices.

The themes which are offered by Big Cartel attracts those type of users who are typical creativity lovers like artists and photographers. They are the ones who could make the most use of the presented optimized themes. The people other than these might face slight disappointment as the Big Cartel website builder seems to be not interested in other industries as it only provides themes suited or related to art persons.

Newbie coders who are planning on building an online store may face difficulties in using Big Cartel even if the themes do not demand to code and can be customized usually.

It is challenging to be able to create a fully customized or personalized website with low technical skills in coding as one may need them to make changes and modifications in edits of products you can sell and images per product.

SHOPIFY: Shopify in many people’s views might not be as a dedicated website builder as many others like Squarespace and Wix in terms of website designing. However, that does not stop it from becoming one of the topmost online site builders, which allows creating unique online stores across a wide range of business categories.

The built site templates or themes offered by Shopify are far more than Big Cartel, and here we are allowed to choose themes between 71 attractive ones. Shopify professionals mainly design these templates.

The only drawback is that only 11 out of 71 can be chosen for a free trial while the others come with specific pricing plans and customizable features. One thing for sure is they are all super sophisticated, but they are not cheap.

The themes offered can be used by different businesses. The Shopify payments or pricing plans start at $140, which is the lowest, and $200, which is the highest. The pricing could make some sense when you get to the editing section. You see, Shopify’s themes go beyond the average level of editing and provide you with vast customization capabilities enough to help you in creating an online site that will make your business stand out.

Shopify offers a comfortable site-building experience without any technical skills in coding, and that does not mean it leaves out professional coding developers. It also suits them and allows in creating or building complex online sites using their coding skills and allow them to edit and modifying themes at a much deeper level. Customization does not only refer to the online edition of the site.

Although Shopify’s themes are designed for mobile devices by default, the app allows you to change even the mobile versions to your preferred outlook.

Big Cartel vs Shopify

Apps and Integration

BIG CARTEL: Big Cartel aids a few reasonable add ons and integrations of which the most famous one is Facebook. It allows users and customers to connect with touch device users quickly, and the products you can sell can be sold directly from the social media platform. And if you run a secondary offline brick-and-mortar shop, you can connect it to your online counterpart via Big Cartel’s mobile POS integration.

The iOS app add ons is also convenient for accepting credit card rates and card payments via iPad or iPhone.

Besides, Big Cartel offers and supports a range of application integrations for domain vendors, payment processing, store administration, production, distribution, order fulfillment, marketing, and promotion.

SHOPIFY: The app store offered by Shopify is commendable and remarkable as it comes with a long list of 1500 app integrations. The options and functionalities Shopify offers include customer support and emphasizes the store’s production, finance administration, security, customer support, inventory administration, shipping and orders, sales, designing, marketing with minimal pricing plans.

The only obstacle, though, is the cost of third party incorporation. Because most of the premium options come at a charge, the total cost of operating and maintaining your online store will begin to rise steadily.

The debate between Shopify and Big Cartel, in this case, leans towards Shopify, which means Shopify beats Big Cartel when it comes to app integrations. Big Cartel will only suffice for a specific art industry whose interests lie in creative stuff.

You should be able to sell on Facebook plus marginally boost the functionality of your online site to offer customer support and assist in customer service. When it comes to customization of an online site, then the best choice is Shopify with 1500 integrations.

Big Cartel vs Shopify

Which offers better customer service?

BIG CARTEL: The articles here are well classified to include a friendly and easy navigation method. So, in a matter of seconds, you should be able to work it out to find what you need. But if that doesn’t work out, you can contact Big Cartel directly to

Unfortunately, there is no support team available 24/7. They’re just coming back to you between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST from Monday to Friday. Alternatively, you would be able to use Twitter. The support team of Big Cartel responds typically to user concerns through their @bigcartel handle. Yet that’s what you’ve got. There is no live chat or phone service on the Big Cartel.

SHOPIFY: Shopify offers a customer service system, which is remarkably iconic. The technical assistance Shopify offers is available through almost all platforms that are present like Facebook, Twitter, Email, phone, live chat, and many more.

The agents or assistance staff are available 24/7 and can help to clarify any kind of queries like Shopify payments, credit card rates, pricing details, product details, and many more.

Though Big Cartel lags behind small service options, Shopify takes customer care very seriously. Its agents are available 24/7 via phone, social media, email, and live chat. Compare this to Big Cartel, whose squad is only available on email during regular EST operating hours. We can agree here that Shopify wins.

Big Cartel vs Shopify

Which is better value for money?

If you’re starting up a shop on the sidelines or using your shop as your main source of revenue, your e-commerce platform should be there to make money for you. It begins with not wasting the budget on-site builders.


Big Cartel has four paid plans, plus a free version of it. Payment options range from $9.99 to $29.99 a month, with a product cap of 300. 

This is the big selling point of Big Cartel: it’s the only eCommerce builder that lets you sell online for free and is a huge plus point for businesses, you don’t have to pay a single penny to set up and make money from your Big Cartel shop but if a business person wants to sell products which are more than five, they will need an up-gradation to paid plans of Big Cartel.

The paid plans of Big Cartel are available at cheap prices for businesses that start from $9.99 a month.

Pricing Big Cartel plans.

Gold Plan- Free

  • Can sell up to 5 products
  • Updated statistics.
  • Smooth checkout.
  • permits to sell on Facebook.
  • Permits to sell in person.
  • Digital products.
  • Order administration.
  • Quick setup.

Platinum Plan- $9.99 per month

  • Features of gold plan.
  • Can sell up to 25 products.
  • Shipment tracking.
  • Permits editing in bulk.
  • Promos and discounts.
  • Inventory tracking.
  • Google Analytics.
  • Code editing for themes.
  • Customized domain
  • Customized themes for free.
  • Images of five products.

Diamond Plan- $19.99 per month

  • Features of the platinum plan.
  • can sell up to 100 products

Titanium Plan- $29.99 per month

  • Features of the platinum plan.
  • can sell up to 300 products


It has three pricing options ranging from $29 to $299 a month. All plans offer free trial. Moreover, Shopify has more efficient features, even if the prices are high. Its cheapest plan begins at $29 a month.

Lite Plan – $9 per month

  • Accepts credit card payments for businesses.
  • Can add products to any blog or site.
  • Permits to sell on Facebook.

Basic Plan- $29 per month

  • POS
  • Discount codes.
  • Abandoned cart recovery.
  • Free SSL certificate.
  • Manual order setup.
  • Permits to sell on a social platform.
  • Permits to sell on online marketplaces
  • Customer support is available24/7.
  • User accounts can be managed by two.
  • Can sell unlimited products.

Shopify- $79 per month

  • All features of the plan are primary.
  • Professional reports.
  • Gift cards.
  • User accounts can be managed by five.

Advanced – 299 per month

  • All features.
  • Advanced report builder.
  • User accounts can be managed by fifteen.

Shopify Plus– It is negotiable.

Final thoughts

Shopify or Big Cartel, this sure is an infinite loop. Both have some significant and varied distinctions that are because they aim at different markets and focus on a different audience.

Big Cartel, in particular, is designed to sell individual products and goods and focuses on supporting small businesses. It mainly targets art industries that involve typical artists, photographers, etc. The theme templates also majorly focus on art stuff and that kind of industry.

Shop up attracts a much wider variety of businesses. Our analysis has proven Shopify to be the best all-rounder business platform on the market, which provides premium features and a high degree of customization in its designs.

It is excellent for small business firms seeking to expand or big business corporations looking for innovative features.

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