Shopify Vs Big Cartel – Which Of These Ecommerce Platforms Is The Best?


Online shopping has undergone a massive change throughout the last decade. The digital revolution has transformed the way brands and businesses perform and manage operations on the web. Distinct ecommerce platforms integrate a pool of tools and techniques, enabling a rewarding experience for online merchants while meeting and exceeding user experience.

Shopify and Big Cartel are two giants among a list of popular ecommerce platforms. Each has its own set of followers and users.

Shopify stands out due to its comprehensive features across all the categories

Shopify is a premium ecommerce platform that needs no introduction. It’s a legendary platform that provides solutions for small online boutique stores to global enterprises with a huge inventory. Shopify has grown over the years, dominating the digital selling space with web hosting features. And now, third-party integration has enabled Shopify to provide ecommerce capabilities to all types of online businesses.

Big Cartel

Big Cartel is a powerful ecommerce platform aimed at creative businesses

Big Cartel is a platform giving small-brand owners, artists, and creative individuals the opportunity to showcase their work, converting their passion into a lucrative business. This platform is developed and run by creative professionals who provide simple yet effective e-commerce tools, backed by revolutionary cloud-based solutions.

The Distinction Between Shopify And Big Cartel

The distinctions between the various features of these ecommerce platforms help you choose the right one matching your business requirements.


You just need to complete four steps to set up your store on Shopify. You can start by adding your products, followed by a customized theme. Then you need to add a domain and enter your tax and shipping info. Additionally, it has a responsive theme editor to fine-tune the look and feel of your online store before it goes live.

Similarly, it’s quite straightforward to set up your store on Big Cartel. You have to add the products, prices, and your desired theme. However, to enjoy the platform’s full potential, you need to know how to code. You can customize the theme only by editing the HTML.

The Design And Interface

When it comes to design, Shopify can help you create a distinct online store. The 71 captivating, professionally-designed, in-house templates give an attractive look to your online store. They provide advanced customization that helps you to craft an exquisite online store across any industry. 

Big Cartel has a distinct set of 16 mobile-optimized themes that are completely free. However, the platform concentrates only on a niche segment of industries related to the creative domain. Personalizing your theme needs coding, and you can’t edit the mobile version. However, most of the theme elements can be customized to suit your online business.

Online Store Management

With Shopify, you can upload an unlimited number of products, either individually or as a bulk. It comes with unlimited product categories and variations, giving you complete freedom over the number and product types you would like to add. You can take advantage of the fully-flexible product page to add or edit product attributes. Furthermore, you can keep track of shoppers with the automatic abandoned cart recovery option.

Big Cartel is great for a specific category of business. However, unlike Shopify, the maximum number of products you can upload is only 300. No bulk upload options are available, and uploading items individually is a daunting task. Although, Big Cartel does have an automatic abandoned cart recovery function.

Add-on Apps And Integrations

You can leverage the benefits of over 1500 app integrations that are available on Shopify. Also, this platform helps you discover the easiest ways to enhance your online store’s overall functionality. Shopify gives you exclusive options to work on reporting, finance and inventory management, productivity, security and customer support, and other critical factors. 

Big Cartel has a limited number of app integrations, though they are attractive enough. The Facebook app is the one that stands out, as it directly integrates and sells through the social media platform. The iOS app enables mobile POS integration to accept payments through an iPhone or iPad. There are also apps integrations for payment processing, store management, marketing, and others.

Payment Processing

The hundreds of payment gateways with advanced integration options on Shopify let you accept payments from anywhere and via any device. They give you the power to integrate it with your choice of credit card processor. However, you have to shell out a transaction fee every time a credit card processor is used. It is negligible for Shopify Payments.

Using PayPal and Stripe for processing credit card payments on Big Cartel is very limiting. However, having a PayPal account is not necessary since it processes credit card payments without an account. But having a business PayPal account in sound condition is mandatory.

The Pricing

Three membership levels, each with a vast variety of features to support and manage an unlimited number of products makes Shopify the clear winner in this case. The flip side is it becomes very expensive to run your business while calculating the overall cumulative costs. There is no limit when it comes to setting up your online store on Shopify.

Big Cartel gives you four membership levels, each with a host of attractive features. When it comes to pricing, the plans are not so scalable, unlike Shopify. It’s only about upgrading the number of products with no option to unlock advanced features. The bright spot is, you don’t have to shell out huge sums of money for maintaining your website.

The Final Word

Shopify emerges the winner in this battle with Big Cartel. However, that doesn’t mean Big Cartel can be dismissed easily since it’s great more creative merchants looking to sell their products inexpensively. You need to keep in mind that both platforms are aimed at different target audiences, hence, the difference in their features.


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