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Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Choosing the right eCommerce platform is a crucial decision that can spell the difference between your online store’s success or failure. Two popular options we’ll be looking at today are Big Cartel vs Shopify, each boasting unique features, with varying strengths and weaknesses. 

When choosing between the two, several aspects come into play, such as user-friendliness, design functionality, sales features, available apps, customer support, and monetary value. 

It’s not a matter of one being better than the other overall but more about which one fits your specific needs best. This guide offers a comprehensive comparison to help you gauge which of these platforms would be most beneficial for your business voyage.

Big Cartel Vs Shopify: How Do They Stack Up?

A phone with shopify open,

Throughout this guide, we have broken down various key aspects of Big Cartel and Shopify. Now, let’s delve into a comprehensive comparison between these two eCommerce platforms.

Aspect Big Cartel Shopify
User-Friendliness Easy to use with prompts; no HTML coding required Complicated learning curve; access to a wide range of features
Sales Features Locks product quantity based on plans; offers various features including discount codes Scalable and powerful; over 100 payment gateways, unlimited products, extensive app store
Apps and Integration Integration with over 1,500 apps through Zapier; limited without Zapier Well-supported with over 6,000 apps in its store; wide variety of integrations
Design Functionality Less than 20 themes; harder to customize; mobile-optimized Over 80 paid themes, 9 free themes; customizable and mobile-optimized
Customer Support Email support only; Monday to Friday from 8 am-6 pm EST 24/7 phone support, live chat, social media support, email, forum, video tutorials
Value for Money Free plan available; three paid plans, maxing at $19.99 per month Three pricing tiers; more expensive but offers unlimited products and no transaction fees

Ease of Use: Big Cartel

Since Shopify gives users access to a wide range of features, it can be a little complicated to use when compared to Big Cartel. That doesn’t mean that Shopify isn’t accessible to users. It just means it has a bigger learning curve. With that said, neither product is a chore to use.

This is important when you’re a new entrepreneur or LLC struggling to figure out how to file your taxes or answer questions like “What is an LLC operating agreement?” You simply don’t have the time to navigate a complex website builder when you’re already tackling other things.

However, the reason why Big Cartel wins this category is because it offers useful prompts that are super easy to use. You won’t need any knowledge of HTML coding to edit your themes. 

Sales Features: Shopify 

Shopify has some of the best sales features on the market, and it’s difficult for any competitor, including Big Cartel, to compete. For one, Shopify is simply a more scalable and powerful builder. They offer more bang for your buck, and that’s important when you’re just starting out.

Shopify gives users access to over 100 payment gateways, an extensive app store, and a surprising amount of features. They let you upload unlimited products, give you access to unlimited bandwidth, and provide you with features like discount codes, financial reports, staff discounts, customer support, a mobile point-of-sales system, and abandoned cart recovery.

Big Cartel, on the other hand, locks the amount of products you can sell to specific plans. However, they do offer unlimited bandwidth, bulk editing, discount codes, free themes, shipment tracking, inventory tracking, and Google Analytics. But even though Big Cartel provides something similar to Shopify, Shopify still beats Big Cartel on its variety.

Apps And Integration: Shopify 

We already discussed briefly the sheer number of apps Shopify has, but it’s truly unbelievable. Shopify is well supported, with over 6,000 apps in its app store. Most of these apps are free. With that said, you’ll find apps that can be as low as $1.99 to as high as $300 per month.

On Shopify, you’ll find apps in every category and for every industry. But keep in mind that quantity doesn’t equal quality. Fortunately, you can check the ratings for each app. 

While BigCartel does integrate with over 1,500 apps, it can do so thanks to Zapier. If you don’t include Zapier, you’re left with only 50 apps. These 50 apps also include payment processors, meaning you only have access to a small number of integrations compared to Shopify.

Design Functionality: Shopify 

Shopify really runs the gamut when it comes to design functionality. While design isn’t the main focus of either platform, Shopify does come with over 80 paid themes and 9 free themes. Paid themes can range from $200 to $400, but they’re customizable and mobile-optimized.

What’s more, Shopify’s themes are more varied than Big Cartel. You’ll find a mix of modern, professional, and personalized options, meaning you can easily find one that fits your brand. 

On the other hand, Big Cartel has less than 20, meaning there’s a big chance you won’t find a theme that fits your industry. Not only that, but their themes are much harder to customize. You’ll need to use code to edit your themes to the point they’re unique to your brand. While Big Cartels themes are mobile optimized, they can’t beat the design functionality of Shopify.

Customer Support: Shopify

Shopify has customer support options that eclipse those of Big Cartel, and this is likely because they have more capital to offer it. While you will have to share Shopify’s customer support team with Wix, it still offers a wide variety of help options. These include 24/7 phone support and live chat, social media support, email, forum, video tutorials, and advanced specialist support. 

You need this kind of support in case your website goes down, or you lose access to your site. And even if you think this scenario would never happen to you, this is a case where it’s better to be safe than sorry. You’ll want quick support when the worst possible scenario happens.

However, Big Cartel is unlikely to come through for you when you need it. While their customer support team is staffed by humans, meaning you’ll have clearer answers to your problems, it can only be done by email. They’ll also only answer Monday to Friday from 8 am-6 pm EST.

Value For Money: Shopify

When examining the positives and negatives of both options, Shopify is, without a doubt, a bigger bang for your buck. While their three pricing tiers are more expensive than Big Cartel, Shopify allows you to have unlimited products and no transaction fees.

However, Big Cartel has one free plan and three paid plans, with the highest capping out at $19.99 per month (Shopify’s most expensive option is $399 per month). A business would save $4,550 per year if they used Big Cartel instead of Shopify, but Big Cartel caps your growth. 

With that said, if you’re a small business and you don’t see yourself selling more than 300 products, then Big Cartel could work. Otherwise, Shopify is the best solution for your needs.

Case Study: Sweetie Pie Organics Shopify Website By Matchbox Design Group

Sweetie Pie Organics, a brand specializing in innovative food solutions for expecting and breastfeeding mothers, partnered with Matchbox Design Group to revamp their visual identity and messaging through a new eCommerce website. The collaboration aimed to enhance the purchasing experience for customers and reinforce the brand’s focus on natural ingredients and convenience.

Key Features:

  1. Site Mapping: The project began with a strategic site mapping process, ensuring a well-structured eCommerce platform.
  2. Shopify Website Design & Development: Leveraging a Shopify template, Matchbox Design Group implemented a custom site structure and design to elevate the brand’s online presence.
  3. Content Strategy: A comprehensive content strategy was devised to effectively communicate Sweetie Pie Organics’ unique selling propositions.
  4. Copywriting: Engaging and informative copy was crafted to resonate with the target audience and highlight the natural ingredients and convenience of their products.
  5. Branding: A fresh approach to the brand was achieved by creating a new style guide, introducing additional colors, unique visual elements, and playful iconography.

Visual Enhancements:

  1. Style Guide Revamp: A new style guide was developed, incorporating additional colors, illustration styles, and organic shapes to elevate the brand’s visual identity.
  2. Custom Illustrated Icons: Playful and custom icons were introduced, adding a hand-drawn touch to various pages and infusing more brand personality and color into the website.
  3. Brand Growth Integration: The design team collaborated closely with Sweetie Pie Organics to align the website’s style with the brand’s unique product offerings, fostering a cohesive and visually appealing online presence.

Impact: The collaboration resulted in a bright, lively Shopify website that significantly improved the overall purchasing experience for Sweetie Pie Organics’ customers. The incorporation of custom icons, a refreshed style guide, and strategic content placement contributed to a visually engaging platform that reflects the brand’s values.

Matchbox Design Group‘s redesign of the Sweetie Pie Organics Shopify website showcases a successful marriage of aesthetics and functionality. The project not only addressed the immediate needs of the brand but also paved the way for future growth through a visually appealing and user-friendly online presence.

Related Projects:

Big Cartel Vs Shopify Summed Up

When comparing Big Cartel vs Shopify, Shopify wins the war unless you’re not concerned with scalability. While Big Cartel could serve your business better if you’re a small startup that doesn’t intend to scale rapidly, Shopify is the better option in nearly all other cases. Even Shopify’s lowest tier offers more options and functionality than Big Cartel’s highest, making it the more desirable option.

While Shopify is a younger brand than Big Cartel, Shopify has proven itself to be the king of growth. So take it from them. Use Shopify to scale your business to new heights.

Contact Matchbox Design Group Today!

If your website could use a refresh or you’re looking to drive more traffic to your site, fill out the form below and we’ll contact you to learn more about your digital needs.