If you are a beginner in the field of eCommerce and want to hit the floors, you will be curious about what kind of platform best serves your needs. You’re probably reading this because you’re in the process of choosing an appropriate eCommerce platform to launch or convert. Therefore, we’ve put together this detailed analysis of the key differences between Big Cartel vs Shopify for ecommerce business. 

Shopify and Big Cartel are two of the potential eCommerce solutions that provide a range of online store development, service, and management features. In this article, we’ll together dive deep into the Big Cartel vs Shopify comparison to help you determine which one is better for your business.

big cartel vs shopify

Big Cartel vs Shopify – An Overall Look


Shopify is known as one of the industry’s top eCommerce platforms for dropshipping as it achieved a high score in every factor compared to other platforms, particularly with Big Cartel, except for the price.

The solution, which is a website designer, was launched in 2006, even though the firm was officially established in 2004. Still, as an online SaaS solution, Shopify did not start making profits until the year 2008. Moreover, Shopify is a more powerful tool for eCommerce and can be used to keep up with entrepreneurs or organizations of any scale.

Shopify has strongly established its position today in the world of digital distribution. It is a network integrating web hosting capabilities with a wide range of features such as shopping carts, also including numerous integrations from third parties.

Shopify also offers users an array of applications from its app store, which is one of the most compelling features with the marketplace of over 8000 apps and plugins. There are also apps expanding Shopify’s capabilities and enabling it to integrate directly with all sorts of external platforms.

Right now, Shopify has hosted over 4 millions web stores and that number is increasing steadily. Shopify has been the favorite choice of the industry after a promising IPO earlier in 2015.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Fully-hosted platform
  • Elegant-designed templates
  • No product limitation
  • Extensive features on all plans set
  • Amazing features with the Shopify App Store
  • The transaction fee is not free
  • Apps can be costly

Big Cartel

In spite of Shopify’s supremacy, there is space in the industry for newcomers, one of those rivals is the Big Cartel. The solution delivers trustworthy functionality and excellent techniques for users.

Instituted in 2005, Big Cartel is a software-as-a-service solution based on the UT eCommerce platform. They also have all of the main features that your eCommerce store needs such as products, orders, inventory, etc.

Big Cartel is a solution that is much smaller than Shopify. They definitely don’t have the exposure like Shopify. They haven’t hit the IPO point yet. Though, the platform hosts about over 150,000 web stores which is definitely amazing.

The primary focus of Big Cartel is to remain on the eCommerce software and resources tools. It manages the whole complicated process, from hosting to eCommerce portal website construction and online store management.

Although ease of use and user-friendliness can be accounted for by the Big Cartel when it comes to exploiting innovation and creative fields. On the other hand, Shopify is flexible and can take hold of any form of market, organization, or enterprise.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Simple and intuitive to use
  • Affordable price
  • Stunning templates
  • Capability to use themes without cost and adjust coding of the web
  • Fully hosted
  • Not suitable for big stores or stores that require advanced capabilities
  • Not flexible, difficult to customize
  • Limited payment options
  • Limited support, only email

Which is Better Big Cartel or Shopify?

shopify vs big cartel

Pricing Plan

When it comes to pricing between Big Cartel vs Shopify, there are 4 separate subscription tiers provided by Shopify.

  • Shopify Basic – $19/month
  • Shopify – $49/month
  • Shopify Advanced – $299/month
  • Shopify Plus – $2000+/month

The Shopify pricing plans vary from $19/month to $299/month, which are largely focused on the number of items and more advanced features such as gift cards and monitoring available. They don’t give a free version, but with a 3-day trial so that you can get started.

On the other hand, Big Cartel offers users four main plans, including Diamond, Platinum, and Gold. The plans vary in price from Free to $19.99 per month.

  • Gold Plan – Free
  • Platinum Plan – $9.99 per month
  • Diamond Plan – $19.99 per month

It’s pretty clear that the Big Cartel is considerably cheaper than Shopify’s price. It provides a free plan with restricted options at the lowest level – which is appropriate, especially given that Shopify’s free alternative is a 3-day trial.

shopify pricing plan

By using its premium features on all plans, Big Cartel further strengthens its aggressive pricing. Also, the cheapest Platinum Package comes complete with features. Unfortunately, there is one of Big Cartel’s price downsides is the lack of packages for mid-sized and large enterprises.

On the other hand, Shopify does a great job by offering all its plans for an infinite number of items. However, when you take into account the total accumulated costs of operating an online store, it becomes an expensive enterprise to choose Shopify.

Ease of Use

Big Cartel is an easy-to-use solution with a manageable dashboard and intuitive control panel. It is pretty simple and straightforward to create a new store with Big Cartel. All you need to do is upload your product photos, set the prices, and then pick an apt store theme. 

To do that, no coding skills are needed, just complete a quick registration process to enter the admin panel, where you can set up your web store. The framework can provide you with a range of automated tools and features to control items, configure the chosen template, and change payment and advertising criteria for the website.

If you have come up with any difficulties, a configuration wizard can carefully lead you through all the steps. Also, you can find more information in the Big Cartel’s Help Center.

big cartel ease of use

Here are some reviews in terms of Big Cartel’s Ease of use (the tactics are taken from TrustRadius and G2):

“Big Cartel is perfect for our business’ simple e-commerce needs. It’s very easy to use and does not require a lot of configuration or setup.” – Andre Yeu (TrustRadius, Rate 10/10)

“The program easily allows you to make a beautiful functional online store, customize its appearance, colors, font as you want. Completely individual appearance, directly customizing HTML and CSS. You have the ability to manage your store on the road with a mobile version. The control over orders is quite simple, you can quickly confirm the order, thereby your customers will be satisfied.” – Adriane M (G2, Rate 4.5/5). 

Shopify can hardly be considered a straightforward eCommerce framework, but launching projects with the platform is always easy. Users just need to get used to the structure of the dashboard of the app and its control panel, which includes all the required instructions and tools to launch the framework with a full-featured project.

Firstly, users have to sign up so that the system can start working on the creation of the web stores. This will help you complete all steps of the production process of the web store with minimal cost in time/effort. No specialized programming experience is needed here, but it would still be preferable to have simple coding knowledge.

“Shopify is intuitive. I believe that even this is what makes Shopify one of the platforms preferred by those who are in the beginning or starting your online store, as it is very easy to operate in it. In a few minutes after you add a product to your store, it already puts the sale online.” – Marcio Vizoli (TrustRadius, Rate 9/10)

Key Features of Big Cartel vs Shopify

Hosting features

With Shopify, the choice to use a new or current domain name is provided to users. With Shopify, users can purchase one, or they can customize an existing domain. All of the software upgrades are completely set up by Shopify, it also provides unrestricted bandwidth and web hosting and shopping cart software compatible with Level 1 PCI. This ensures that all of the users’ information is highly protected.

Shopify automated backups and a Content Delivery Network that makes it convenient and easy to load your website no matter where your clients are.

Big Cartel allows users to create a new domain or use an existing domain. The company does not help much with web hosting features. In reality, by addressing frequently asked questions, Big Cartel offers details about domains but provides relatively little in the way of understanding how web hosting functions operate.

shopify big cartel hosting

Payment options

Big Cartel integrates with payment gateways containing Square, Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Venmo. The platform runs with a zero transaction fee policy, which means users just have to pay the gateways’ processing fees. That will be a plus point as users needn’t pay the gateway’s processing fee like other solutions.

Nevertheless, Big Cartel does not cooperate with the Payment Card Industry (PCI). Therefore, when processing card purchases, users may be following company instructions.

On the other hand, with Shopify, you have a wide variety of choice of payment gateways. Shopify provides over 100 alternatives to select from, including PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, and Shopify Payments in-house. However, any time you process a purchase, Shopify Payment takes away huge transaction fees.

shopify payment

Abandoned Cart Recovery

According to the Geckoboard eCommerce survey, the average rate of shopping cart abandonment is nearly 70% with the most recent report demonstrating 74.52%. As a result, the abandoned cart recovery function is extremely essential for every online business so that they can maintain their clients to purchase items. 

Big Cartel’s lack of abandoned cart recovery function is a downside for this platform since lacking this key element will cost Big Cartel’s shop owners a massive loss of sales.

Along with any plans provided from Basic to Advanced, Shopify provides an abandoned cart recovery feature. This will help users remind clients of their forgotten items through emails and evaluate the cases of abandonment comprehensively. Shopify is a solid and dynamic solution for online store management.

An in-depth look at Shopify Abandoned Cart Email: How To Win Back Your Customers

big cartel feature

Design and Templates

Comparing Big Cartel, Shopify provides users with one of the most elegant-designed templates in the eCommerce market. About seventy beautiful templates are available to select from with the price starting from $150 to over $300 depending on the features of each. Each design’s quality is above average, which finally gives a professional look to your web store.

Top 13+ Best Shopify Single Product Themes in 2024

For users with no coding experience, Shopify’s design features in the website builder are intuitive and relevant. Tweaking colors, buttons, videos, etc. is super supportive. One typical Shopify theme you can take a look at is Eurus. 

eurus shopify theme

Moreover, Shopify accepts template editing with the use of the Liquid markup language, in addition to the basic interface customization options. It delivers a completely unsurpassed web design experience and provides access to numerous tech-related tips as well as how-to guides and Liquid language resources. Shopify also accepts HTML template editing.

A guide to Shopify Liquid: What it is & How to use?

Unlike Big Cartel, Shopify separates its templates into groups based on the niches to which they belong. This adds to customer convenience and time savings.

Big Cartel is suitable for users with little familiarity with coding. Also, the web editor is very simple to use because the platform has control over main design features such as the logo, colors, style, font size, and so on.

However, in terms of design customization, Big Cartel doesn’t have anything to offer. The website creator comes with an integrated WYSIWYG editor, enabling users to monitor the development process of the web store in real-time mode.

Also, unlike Shopify, Big Cartel doesn’t have an advanced image editor. This means that, in order to change the picture template, you would have to manually edit the code. This could pose a challenge if you lack coding skills. Similarly, the platform does not contain stock photographs and clipart. You’ll have to pick and import them from third-party resources to incorporate the necessary images.

Big Cartel actually has a pretty small set of templates, which contains just 16 themes. However, all of them have a professional look and allow for the editing of CSS code. The models are completely responsive and free of charge, but because of their limited number, they are not sorted out in the eCommerce market.

big cartel design

Big Cartel vs Shopify’s Apps & Integrations

Shopify App Store is incredible, and most of them are worth the price and affordable. The app store comes with over 8000 app integrations for nearly all web-based store functionalities. By choosing from a wide range of Shopify apps, you can boost your store’s reporting, efficiency, management, security, customer service, SEO, design, selling channels, and even more.

Check Out: Best Apps on Shopify For Unlocking Success

There’s no doubt that Shopify is more likely to fulfill your needs if you’re looking for a large variety of integrations and add-ons. To help users easily customize their store, the Shopify app store has more than 4,200 choices to do it. You are most likely to find what you need, from inventory management to distribution, from marketing to social media. However, besides many free apps available, all these apps will add up to one major budget buster, with many apps for sale and many others charging monthly fees.

shopify app

The difference between Big Cartel and Shopify is, Big Cartel offers far fewer add-ons and integrations, but that isn’t a big deal for those just looking for a quite simply friendly solution. You’ll find the basics are covered, with apps for marketing and promotion, shipping, fulfillment, and store management.

And Zapier is one of the applications you’ll find on the Big Cartel app store, enabling you to connect the store to more than 500 integrations that cover everything from email marketing to customer service and more. You may also connect with the Facebook Shop, MailChimp, Instagram, ShipRobot, etc. to boost sales for your store. In terms of promotions, shop operations, distribution, these extensions will significantly expand your store.

Hence, it’s easy to understand that Shopify overpasses Big Cartel in terms of apps and integration. 

Marketing Features


Big Cartel doesn’t have an advanced integrated solution for blogging. Hence, it seems impossible to run a blog with it.

On the other hand, Shopify’s system comes with a very powerful blogging engine that helps users link and maintain a blog filled with features. It also gives users a hand to improve the levels of consumer interaction, keeping users aware of news and updates from your business.

shopify big cartel seo


Big Cartel online stores are designed with good SEO tools. The solution has recently strengthened its SEO criteria to help stores come up with the latest suggestions from Google. The website designer now creates exclusive meta descriptions along with meta keywords for web store categories.

The sitemap is also created by the sitemap automatically without wasting your efforts. In a different portion of the web store dashboard, each of the SEO configurations can be changed individually as well.

Shopify is an SEO-friendly and powerful solution making it easy to set up standard criteria to customize the project for SEO. It makes it easy to adjust basic SEO settings, such as meta tags for various web pages and sections, names, explanations, ALT image tags, and so on. It’s up to users to fill them out, depending on the SEO requirements of the project.

Moreover, between Big Cartel vs Shopify, Shopify makes it easier for users to track their web store’s statistics, analyze their current positions, traffic fluctuations, and sources, as well as other essential variables that influence the creation of search engine web stores for users.

In addition, Shopify will instantly create a sitemap for online retailers for consumers, which matters a lot to first-timers.

📌 For more information: 

Customer Support

In terms of customer service approaches between Big Cartel vs Shopify, Big Cartel is far from as supportive as Shopify. Surprisingly, there is no telephone or chat support available for users. Basically, the only help channel is email, which seems like a very hands-off customer service strategy and is accessible from Monday to Friday only. In order to find answers to related concerns, you can also search the Big Cartel’s Help Center.

Big Cartel is a little light on methods of customer support with no telephone or chat support. Basically, the only support channel in Big Cartel is email, available from Monday to Friday. It seems like a rather hands-off approach to customer support. 

shopify big cartel customer support

However, the firm is available on social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, so that users can ask general questions, but the company may possibly be guided to send an email request.

Shopify customer support is more advanced, compared to Big Cartel. Besides emails, users can also ask for help with social media support, 24/7 phone and live chat support, expert video guides, and Shopify Community. You can choose the alternative that suits you best with such a great choice. The Help Center is also available.

Discover more: Top 14+ Free eCommerce Platforms to Start Online Businesses

Big Cartel vs Shopify – Who Is The Winner?

  Big Cartel Shopify
Price $9.99 – $19.99/month $19 – $299/month
Ease of use An easy to use solution with a manageable dashboard and intuitive control panel Easy to use eCommerce platform. Its framework sphere goes down to the creation/promotion of web stores filled with features. This is where the program has no rivals at all
Design Limited template collection with 16 designs only. But they are free, responsive, and quality.  Elegant-designed templates in the eCommerce market: 150+ beautiful templates with price ranging from $150 to over $300
Features  Several features and resources are given out of the box. It ensures a seamless process of web store development. For newcomers and web design experts, the method can be suitable for both The platform gives access to various solutions. They are required for effective merchandise, order and web store management, sales monitoring and efficient interface customization.
Apps Few add-ons and integrations but Zapier is merged with 500 integrations 8000+ app integrations for nearly all web-based store functionalities
Marketing Big Cartel-powered online stores score high in the search engines but the platform does not connect with blogs. Shopify is an SEO-friendly solution making it possible for search engines to customize web stores built with it. And it’s also a versatile blogging engine that lets you link and maintain a blog filled with features.
Customer support Email Ticketing System Shopify Help Center, 24/7 live support, video tutorials, Shopify Community

Final Thoughts

Big Cartel vs Shopify are quite distinct platforms. Their specifications vary greatly when they are tailored for multiple business styles.

Big Cartel is structured for small companies with simple selling criteria. Then, on the other hand, Shopify addresses small, medium-sized, and big enterprises with dynamic selling needs. As a result, it comes with more functionality, plus comprehensive versatility.

Shopify probably wins as many perks as it has over Big Cartel. It is clear that Shopify is the undeniable pioneer and the top-notch choice for businesses who plan to run a professional online store after evaluating and comparing all eCommerce platforms. The solution is the niche pioneer, offering impressive optimized features along with customization possibilities for high-end design.

More interesting information: Shopify vs building your own website

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