Big Cartel Vs. Shopify | Page Kits

eCommerce platforms allow more customers to shop from anywhere in the world. Today, you can launch and scale your online business with website builders like Big Cartel and Shopify. These two are among the most recognizable and user-friendly platforms businesses can use.

To further understand how they can help you in the world of eCommerce, let’s take a look at how they stand out when it comes to their features, themes, integrations, customer support, and pricing plans.

How do you determine which one is better suited for your needs? Find out as we compare Big Cartel vs. Shopify.

How Is Big Cartel Different From Shopify

With Big Cartel, you can set up your online store and sell products for free. It’s a trusted cloud-based shopping cart solution catering to the needs of 70,000 online stores. Since 2005 it was launched in 2005, Big Cartel made it vital to focus on providing services catered to artists, creatives, musicians, and designers.

Meanwhile, Shopify is a powerful platform suitable for all sorts of businesses. It offers impeccable eCommerce tools as you venture into the online marketplace. Using this web builder, you can build, launch, and operate your business website with the utmost convenience.


When differentiating Big Cartel vs. Shopify, the first thing that most businesses will look into is the option for pricing plans. Big Cartel has cheaper pricing options in contrast to Shopify’s plans. However, the expensive Shopify packages are justified by their advanced features which are necessary for mid-sized and large enterprises.

Big CartelShopify
Big Cartel Gold: The Free PlanOnly up to 5 products No credit card neededFree TrialFree for 14 daysNo credit card required
Big Cartel Platinum:50 product listings$9.99/monthBasic:For occasional in-person sales$29.00/month
Big Cartel Diamond:500 product listings available$19.99/monthShopify:For growing businesses$79.00/month
N/AAdvanced:Advanced reporting$299.00/month

User Friendliness

Big Cartel offers a fairly straightforward approach to website-building. The overall user interface has a minimalistic feel, and learning how to navigate is not complex. Shopify also thrives on being user-friendly, boasting a very responsive editor to help users make changes with ease. Setting up your online store would usually require four key steps in this platform. 

Both Big Cartel and Shopify offer simple and straightforward solutions for beginners, startups, and small businesses. Overall, it is notable that Shopify has a slight edge with more functionalities and better responsiveness.

Big Cartel

Only takes a few minutes to set up your eCommerce storeMay be unsuitable for large eCommerce stores requiring advanced features and capabilities
Simple and intuitive to useImprovement in search functionality
Simple control panel and a manageable dashboardLimited features


Maximize creativity with Shopify’s drag-and-drop interfaceBuilding takes time and effort
Seamless dashboard and control panel that includes all the necessary toolsNot too straightforward compared to Big Cartel
Does not require programming experienceUnconventional categories add to the learning curve

Designs, Themes, And Templates

When it comes to design, both Big Cartel and Shopify offer free, mobile-optimized themes— 18 for Big Cartel and 11 for Shopify. However, with free themes, there are often limitations. If you want to take it to the next level, you may opt for Shopify, as they have about 60 more themes ranging from $140 to $200.

The themes on Big Cartel are best-suited for photographers, artists, fashion brands, as well as jewelry stores. On the other hand, Shopify’s themes extend to all types of businesses. Whatever niche industry you’re in, Shopify has a theme to match your needs if you want to start an eCommerce store

Big Cartel

18 free neatly designed, mobile-responsive, and elegant themesUpgrade to a higher plan is required to modify coding
Design features don’t require any coding experienceLittle room for customization since themes are focused on the needs of creatives, designers, and artists
Full control of the font, logo, colors, and styleNo advanced image editor


70 elegant and creative templates to ensure Your web store looks professionalCoding knowledge in Liquid is highly recommended for the best outputs
Ready for template editing using the built-in languageOnly ten templates are free and paid themes can be expensive
Templates are categorized based on industries or nichesSome learning curve when it comes to the built-in language

Online Store Management

When it comes to inventory management, Shopify shines. With a Shopify site, you can introduce as many items as you wish. There’s no need to worry about limits. You even have the option to do bulk imports, edit product attributes, add images, improve SEO features, and prepare shipping options.

On the other hand, Big Cartel is limited when it comes to uploading products. Since it is designed for small businesses with small items, the free plan only offers five product uploads. On their costliest plan, you can go for a maximum of 300 items.

Shopify is more suitable for:

Big Cartel is more ideal for:

  • Startups offering individual items
  • Small businesses with limited products
  • Designers and creatives

Big Cartel

Upload up to five items for free, with the option to upgrade to a maximum of  300 itemsLack of an abandoned cart recovery function
Variety of payment processing options, including PayPal credit, ePay, Venmo, or StripeConfiguration and additional costs for digital products
Straightforward back-end interface that makes the shopping experience more convenientNo way to specify product weight for shipping or pick-up


Abandoned cart recovery function to notify clients who haven’t completed ordersNo specific and strict guidelines on what products you can sell
Easy and quick payment processors, including credit cards, Amazon, Apple Pay, and PayPal, plus Point-of-Sale functionality and hardwareRoom for improving handling product variants and options
Upload as many items as you wantQuite a high price for Shopify POS Pro add-on


Big Cartel offers decent app integrations, covering various business needs. You can also opt for Big Cartel’s mobile POS integration, which means you can even sell in a brick-and-mortar store.

Here are some apps you can integrate into your BigCartel store:

  • Google Analytics
  • LiveChat
  • Lucky Orange
  • Instagram
  • Zapier
  • ShipStation
  • ShippyPro

Shopify beats Big Cartel again with a whopping 1,500 app integration options. You can get apps for reporting, finance management, customer support, shipping, sales channels, security, productivity, among others. However, it is notable that these apps come with an added cost.

Here are some apps you can integrate into your Shopify store:

  • Facebook
  • TikShop
  • Booster
  • CJDropShipping
  • Handshake
  • Shopcodes
  • Vitals
  • Automizely
  • Transcy
  • Order Tagger

Big Cartel

Integration with over 500 third-party apps, from shipping to marketingFewer add-ons and integrations compared to Shopify
Mobile integration of POS to manage your business using your IOS or Android devicesAdditional costs may be associated with some add-ons
Seamless and fast integration, even without coding skillsLack of business management systems


More than 4,000 third-party apps availableAdditional monthly fee for app integrations
Quick and easy app installationLack of great apps that are free
Permits integration with CRM, landing pages, and forms are necessary to boost salesConstraints on custom app development

Customer Support

Between Big Cartel vs Shopify, the latter is more advanced. Shopify earns the winning point in terms of 24/7 accessibility, responsiveness, and the number of channels where a client can raise concerns.

Big Cartel offers numerous options, including a knowledge base and an email support team available during work hours, but it is still lacking in some areas. Getting in touch with a company representative via live chat or phone is difficult.

On the other hand, Shopify’s customer support is the stuff of legends. Shopify provides technical help through all of the channels available— Facebook, email, live chat, phone, Twitter, and a dedicated support center.

Big Cartel

Email ticketing systemCustomer support is accessible only from Monday to Friday
Accessible Big Cartel Help CenterNo telephone or chat support
Entertains concerns on social media channels, including Facebook and TwitterResponses on social media may take time


Plenty of support channels, including email, live chat, phone, blog, forum, support center, social media, and Shopify communityDelayed responses 
Customer support operates 24/7Though merchants experience exemplary support, some merchants’ customers struggle with reaching customer support.
Shopify Plus subscribers have access to dedicated support agentsNot a 24/7 service

Frequently Asked Questions About Big Cartel And Shopify

At this point, if you still have questions about these two remarkable web builders, you may refer to a few frequently asked questions below. 

Does Big Cartel charge transaction fees?

No. There are no transaction fees on Big Cartel but you may incur fees on processor charges.

Does Big Cartel take a cut on your sales?

No. Big Cartel is one of the few that does not take a cut on your sales.

What percentage does Shopify take?

When using its own processing payment, Shopify does not charge any transaction fees. However,  there will be about 0.5% to 2% fees when a third-party payment gateway is used.

In the competition between Big Cartel vs. Shopify, each of them offers outstanding features that can greatly contribute to every eCommerce store. Although they are often compared to each other, they hugely differ in many aspects you would have to weigh depending on your business needs.

Big Cartel is a highly recommended platform to showcase your artwork pieces, prints, music, pottery, and more. Meanwhile, Shopify is best for mid-sized and large enterprises that are looking for advanced eCommerce tools.

Learn more about the best website builders at Page Kits.

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