Big Cartel vs Shopify – Which To Choose in 2023

Both Big Cartel and Shopify are web-based e-commerce platforms that let you build an online store, handle customer orders, and manage sales and promotions.

Big Cartel is a good choice for independent artists and retailers with a small selection of products, despite the fact that the two solutions have comparable features. Big Cartel provides a free plan, basic themes, and the necessary tools to get started selling online.

Shopify, however, is more appropriate for a variety of e-commerce companies. A robust feature set, four subscription plans, an enterprise-level solution, and integrated payment processing with Shopify Payments are all provided by Shopify. Additionally, Shopify is ranked first on NerdWallet’s list of the top e-commerce website builders for small businesses.

Here is a comparison of Big Cartel vs Shopify that shows how they differ and overlap in terms of key features for e-commerce platforms.

What is Big Cartel?

Big Cartel
Big Cartel


  • Gold plan: $0 per month.
  • Platinum package: $9.99 monthly.
  • $19.99 monthly for the diamond plan.

Store Design

There are over 15 free themes. WYSIWYG, or what you see is what you get, is a theme editor; paid plans allow users to edit the theme’s HTML code.

Payment Processing

  • Accept payments from customers using Stripe or PayPal.
  • You need to take cash or use Stripe to accept payments in person.
  • You will only be required to pay the processing fees from Stripe or PayPal; Big Cartel does not charge transaction fees.


Fair enough. You have a choice of three different plans, but each one has a cap on the number of products you can sell. Top-tier plans don’t provide any cutting-edge sales features.

Customer Support

Fair, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m., email support is available. to 6 p.m. ET.

Ease Of Use

Excellent, user-friendly interface that is easy for beginners to use. Starting and managing your account is quick and simple. Online support resources are available.

Where Big Cartel Shines?

Free plan: One of the few online storefronts that permits free sales for an unlimited period of time is Big Cartel. While many competitors offer a free trial, Big Cartel’s free plan is a good option for sellers who want to try things out. The platform’s themes, custom domain, and inventory management features are all still available, despite the fact that you are only allowed to sell a maximum of five products.

Easy onboarding: You may need to solve problems independently on some other platforms. Big Cartel provides you with helpful prompts and reminders as you set up your store, ensuring that every aspect of your shop setup is finished and your website is optimized before you go live and begin selling. However, using the website builder can be difficult if you want to make any sophisticated changes to your store; you’ll need to know how to code to go beyond the fundamentals.

Focused on creatives: Big Cartel differs from other e-commerce platforms like Shopify because of its emphasis on artists and creators. Displaying your art is simple with Big Cartel. Furthermore, the platform’s product limits are never an issue because the majority of artists don’t mass-produce their works. To showcase your creative output on your web store, you can easily connect to social media with its free plan.

Promotions and discounts: With all of its plans, including the free one, Big Cartel allows you to run sales and promotions. This enables you to provide customers with a comprehensive shopping experience while fostering their repeat business and loyalty. Big Cartel stands out for its customizable discount feature, which is only available on a few other platforms and are only included with more expensive packages.

Responsive themes: Even on its free-for-ever plan, Big Cartel offers 19 various themes for your e-commerce website. Each theme is already mobile-friendly, which can improve search engine rankings and enable customers to shop on any device without additional effort on your part.

Selling on social: Big Cartel connects quickly to social media networks so you can advertise and sell your art there. Connect your store and promote your products on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media networks.

No transaction fees: With Big Cartel, there are no transaction fees incurred regardless of the plan you choose. You will only be charged standard credit card fees in addition to any charges made by your chosen payment gateways.

What is Shopify?



  • $5 monthly for the basic package.
  • Budget-friendly Shopify plan: $29 per month.
  • $79 a month for the Shopify plan.
  • $299 monthly for the advanced Shopify plan.
  • Shopify Plus: For companies with high volume sales, starting at $2,000 per month or on a quote basis.
  • Although you cannot create an online Shopify store with Shopify Starter, you can add a purchase link to an already-existing website or online store. (Learn how these best Shopify stores attract users.)

Store Design

More than 80 paid and free themes; the price range for paid themes is $150 to $350. All themes come with access to HTML and CSS, and the theme editor is WYSIWYG.

Payment Processing

  • You can accept payments from customers using one of more than 100 payment gateways.
  • Processing fees differ depending on the subscription plan; Shopify Payments is automatically integrated with Shopify.
  • Shopify will charge an additional transaction fee if you use a third-party provider.


Three plans, an enterprise option, and a lite solution are excellent. Advanced reporting, more users, discounted payment processing, and other features are all included in higher-level plans.

Customer Support

Excellent, live chat and email support are available around-the-clock. Phone support is also available around the clock for Shopify plans and higher.

Ease Of Use

Excellent; very user-friendly for all business owners. It’s simple to create an account and use the dashboard. Various online resources are available for additional help.

Where Shopify Shines

Website builder: You can easily modify the theme you start with using Shopify’s drag-and-drop page-building interface. You can select from 70 templates on the platform, many of which are free, and you don’t need any coding experience. When you publish your ecommerce site on Shopify, you automatically receive high-quality security and the website builder makes it simple to customize your shop.

Marketing and SEO: If you don’t have the time or desire to write your own product descriptions, Shopify can do it for you. With the aid of its SEO tools, you can further guarantee that your website is optimized for search engine visibility and increased visitor traffic. Additionally, if you change your URL, Shopify will automatically reroute visitors to your site.

Business management: You have all the tools you need to run your shop from one location, even on the mobile app, with tracking for finances, orders, and engagement. The platform keeps everything organized so you can quickly process returns and manage refunds. Additionally, Shopify offers up to 88% off shipping costs with its most advanced package. You won’t need to worry about finding your own couriers because it collaborates with them. There is no need to hazard a guess regarding costs because the platform even has a shipping calculator.

Payment methods: Shopify supports all popular payment gateways, which makes it easier for your customers to make purchases. Strong encryption on its PCI-compliant platform ensures the security of your customers while they shop.

Business support resources: Shopify is aware of the fact that no two businesses are the same and that different sectors have different requirements. Because of this, it provides specific resources for a variety of product types, such as targeted marketing. The best strategies for getting the right customers to see your online store are demonstrated.

Sales channels: Shopify has tools built-in that cover a variety of social media platforms for selling on social media. When your catalog is synced with your social media accounts, you can sell using TikTok and Instagram. Your customers can check out using social media directly once you’ve configured selling across channels.

Shopping cart options: With its 256-bit SSL certificate and Level 1 PCI-DSS compliance, Shopify is among the most secure platforms when it comes to shopping carts. It also comes with a “Buy Now” button and abandoned cart recovery without requiring you to pay extra for either feature.

Branding resources: Shopify offers a variety of branding tools, such as its business name generator, invoice generator, and business card maker, to help you get started quickly. The platform also includes industry-compliant themes, stock photos, and other tools to help you market your company and create a strong brand that appeals to your target market.

If you are interested in other platforms vs. Shopify, check the following guides!

Big Cartel vs Shopify Comparison

Big Cartel vs Shopify – Sales Features: Shopify Wins

Big Cartel vs Shopify

The crucial tools required to set up an online store and begin selling are provided by both Shopify and Big Cartel. Plans for Big Cartel, however, are rather constrained. There is a five-product maximum with one image per product limit for the free Gold plan. You are only allowed five images per product at the Platinum level, even though it can accommodate 50 products. The 500 products available under the top-tier Diamond plan are all limited to 5 images each.

On the other hand, Shopify allows you to add an unlimited number of products, each with a maximum of 250 images, 3D models, or videos. Additionally, you can add up to 250 tags per product, make product variants, alter how your website appears in search results, and even add subscription products.

If your Shopify variant images not working, you can check this step-by-step guide.

Despite the fact that Big Cartel provides simple tools for shipping, inventory management, and discounts, Shopify has more sophisticated features. All Shopify services include the ability to print shipping labels, multi-currency and multi-lingual selling, as well as multiple user accounts. Along with letting you sell through a variety of channels, such as social media and online marketplaces, Shopify also provides access to customer management tools and a built-in blog.

Big Cartel vs Shopify – Payment Processing: Shopify Wins

When it comes to payment processing, you have more options and a more seamless setup (with Shopify Payments), despite the fact that Shopify charges an extra transaction fee for using a third-party provider.

Only Stripe or PayPal are available as payment methods on Big Cartel. You’ll need to open a Stripe or PayPal account because these services are provided by third parties, but you can choose to use both processors to give your customers payment options, which Shopify does not. But you’ll need Stripe if you want to take payments in person.

Big Cartel doesn’t charge transaction fees. You will only be responsible for paying the fees your processor levies. For online payments, Stripe fees, for instance, begin at 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction. The fees for PayPal begin at 3.49% plus 49 cents per transaction.

On the other hand, Shopify Payments is automatically integrated with all Shopify plans. After creating an account, you can start accepting payments right away, including PayPal. For in-person payments, Shopify Payments start at 2.7% per transaction, and for online payments, the price is 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction. By upgrading your subscription plan, you can also lower your rates.

Additionally, Shopify integrates with more than 100 payment gateways globally, including well-known suppliers like 2Checkout, Adyen, and

Big Cartel vs Shopify – Cost: Big Cartel Wins

Big Cartel’s pricing is superior to Shopify’s in terms of affordability. Big Cartel has a completely free plan, and its most expensive plan has a cap of $19.99 per month, making it less expensive than even the Basic Shopify plan ($29 per month).

Although Shopify offers a Lite plan for $9 per month, you can only use it to add a buy button to an already-existing website or online store; you cannot build a store with this plan. On the other hand, all of Big Cartel’s plans permit you to set up an online store, accept payments from customers, and complete orders.

Additionally, Big Cartel offers free store themes for all of its products and does not add transaction fees to the fees Stripe or PayPal charge to process payments. Less than 25% of Shopify’s store themes are free, and if you use a payment processor besides Shopify Payments, Shopify will also charge a transaction fee of 2%, 1%, 0.5%, or 0.15% (based on your subscription plan) on top of the costs you must pay to the third-party provider you select.

Big Cartel vs Shopify – Ease Of Use: Both

Both Shopify and Big Cartel have user-friendly, accessible platforms. Choosing from one of their pre-designed templates and customizing it using a WYSIWYG editor will allow you to get started using Shopify or Big Cartel quickly.

The simplicity of Big Cartel’s templates is ideal for business owners who want to sell a small number of products, even though Shopify may provide a wider selection of templates and more customization options.

Both platforms have simple, intuitive user interfaces that are simple to use, and when new users sign in, both Shopify and Big Cartel provide a set of guiding instructions for getting started.

Additionally, Big Cartel and Shopify offer thorough online support materials, such as frequently asked questions, educational articles, instructional videos, and developer documentation.

Big Cartel vs Shopify: The Final Verdict

While Big Cartel frequently focuses on smaller artists or stores with just a few items, Shopify supports businesses of all sizes. Big Cartel is still a valuable platform on its own despite this, and many sellers might still find it useful for their businesses.

For the majority of businesses, Shopify offers more features and flexibility. For sole proprietors, like artists, its plans can be costly. But Shopify is the way to go if you want to expand your business.

Searching for the perfect e-commerce platform for your business? Don’t miss our comprehensive VS articles. Click the following logo to start exploring the differences among these platforms.

Ivy Smith

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