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    Last Updated | August 26, 2021

    If you have been following closely the evolution of the ecommerce industry, you must know the big cartel vs Shopify rivalry and debates for supremacy that aren’t going anywhere. While Shopify certainly has the numbers to claim its absolute domination with respect to the percentage of ecommerce stores powered by the platform, there is no scarcity of Big Cartel fans convinced that it is the most balanced ecommerce web development platform.

    Well, the catch here is that in business there is no space for emotions and that you may feel a little biased towards one platform, you always need tangible numbers and definite answers that can guarantee business success, right? Well, that’s why we are here for, comparing the Shopify vs big cartel to see which platform brings you more power, features, and functionalities you need to succeed.

    If you have been following our blogs lately, you must have seen how we three-way compare different platforms like Shopify vs big cartel vs BigCommerce or Shopify vs Big Cartel vs Storenvy and others. However, this time around we will stick to big cartel vs Shopify and see the features and power that each of these platforms brings for online stores.

    So, let’s get started…

    Why need to compare Shopify vs Big Cartel?

    Let’s see what makes Shopify and Big Cartel two great web development platforms by taking an overview of each of the platform.

    Big Cartel

    Big Cartel is no newcomer in the ecommerce web development platforms. It’s a highly reputed and stabled cloud-based platform offered integrated shopping cart solution coupled with some great ecommerce features for online stores. While there has been an increasing number of people comparing Big cartel vs Shopify, in reality, the platform targets a much different audience segment and market. The prime market for Big Cartel has remained artists and creatives for over a decade.

    Well, but that doesn’t mean you can write it off like that. The platform comes with some serious functionalities and features and has been powering hundreds of thousands of online stores for creatives, musicians, designers, crafters, and others.

    Perhaps the biggest selling point for Big cartel is its focus on simple ecommerce tools. The platform makes it damn easy for users to handle the entire ecommerce web development process, right from the hosting to development and management of the store; making it an ideal choice for entrepreneurs with little or no prior technical experience in web development or online store management.

    Shopify

    Honestly, Shopify needs little introduction. It’s one of the most established and leading ecommerce web development platform that is no short of creating a legend in the ecommerce world.

    While Shopify as the company was started in 2004, it was only in 2006 that the company launched its ecommerce platform and since 2008 it has been one of the top choices as a SaaS solution for online stores and businesses.

    Today, Shopify is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most comprehensive digital selling spaces powering hundreds of thousands of online stores of all sizes and shapes. The platform brings together powerful shopping cart functionalities with robust hosting capabilities and endless third-party integration options to guarantee success for its users.

    And with that sort of comprehensive approach, it’s no surprise that Shopify has been the choice for over 2 million online stores from across the world and more than half of them are still going strong.

    The Verdict

    Well, the two platforms have been around for over a decade which makes both of them reliable and mature platforms for hosting, site development, and store management. Both platforms come with a massive following and have powered hundreds of successful online stores.

    And while big cartel is primarily focused on creatives, it nonetheless is considered as one of the most potent competitors to Shopify given the large user demographic overlap between the two platforms.

    So, let’s see which one comes out on top for most aspects in our Shopify vs big cartel comparison.

    Big Cartel Vs Shopify – The Battle Begins!

    –         User-Friendliness

    Big Cartel

    The big cartel has remained focus on the philosophy of making it easier for users to create and manage stores. The entire process of store development, design, and managing is quite simple and interactive on the big cartel. You just have to choose the right theme from various templates, upload the product images, set the prices, and voila! You are all ready to get started running your store.

    The overall user-interface of the big cartel is intuitive with a minimalist feel, making it easier for even beginners or non-techie business owners to get started quickly. The learning curve for the big cartel interface is also quite simplistic and easy to follow and just in case you may experience any difficulties at any point in time, you can always revert to the competent Help Section to read through the problem.

    Shopify

    Well, the user-interface of Shopify can be termed as exemplary. It’s the complete manifestation of how a web development platform interface should look like to empower users. There’s little doubt about the user-friendliness and simplicity of the Shopify interface and that’s more incredible when we look at the overall complexity and intricacy of the platform that comes with various complex features and functionalities required to ensure the success of any online store. Perhaps, it’s the meticulous design structure of the platform that has enabled it to create a complex yet simple to use interface for users.

    To give you an idea, setting up the store on Shopify only takes four simple steps. You can start by adding your products, choosing the theme for customization, creating a domain, and lastly specifying the shopping details (including tax). And there you have it, a highly responsive and functional online store to start doing business, right away.

    The Verdict 

    Well, for the Shopify vs big cartel battle for user-friendliness; Shopify certainly takes the lead. While big cartel also offers an intuitive and interactive interface for the liking of most users, it’s the ability of Shopify to offer complex features wrapped in an impossibly simple-looking interface that we think is an achievement on its own. So, Shopify wins the first round in the big cartel vs Shopify contest.

    Web Design

    –         Big Cartel

    When it comes to website designs, big cartel certainly not let its users down. The platform offers 16 professionally designed and mobile-optimized design themes, available for free grabbing.

    Well, if you are a little disappointed to hear the number “16”, which is on the lower side, you are right. However, we may give some slack to the platform given that you won’t be paying a single dime for using these completely functional, mobile-optimized, and aesthetically pleasing themes that are specifically made for creative stores.

    Not to forget, you also get some customization options, which can be leveraged to add some personalization to the themes. However, to the disappointment, the customization level is much restricted, and no customization is possible for the mobile version of the theme. However, with the professional layout, there isn’t much need for the adjustment either.

    Since the platform primarily targets the creative audience like artists or photographers, the themes available with the platform are designed to meet the aesthetic needs of the same. This means that if you aren’t associated with the creative field you may be up for a disappointment.

    Shopify

    Shopify is altogether on a different level when it comes to web design options for online stores. The platform offer over 70 professionally designed themes that can be customized by users to match their business needs. The level of customization offered by Shopify while isn’t near to some of the other platforms like Wix, nonetheless it does offer better customization options than big cartel.

    However, the downside here is that only 11 of these themes are free, whereas, the others are paid web designs, and certainly not cheap; with the cheapest costing about $140, and the most expensive may set you back by $180.

    However, the pricing is certainly justified with the level of customization that comes with the premium themes, that go much beyond the basic edits. The premium themes can be completely customized as per your liking, enabling you to build an exquisite and exclusive brand that stands out amongst the crowd.

    The Verdict 

    One may argue that big cartel brings in the simplest of the web design process for beginners or non-techie businesses, still, the limited customization option and a low number of free themes are certainly a big drawback.

    Contrarily, Shopify with its free and premium professionally designed mobile-responsive web designs is certainly a step ahead of the big cartel. Not to forget the advance customization option available for premium themes further give Shopify the advantage to take the clear leader in our cig cartel vs Shopify comparison for web design.

    Inventory Management

    –         Big Cartel

    The big cartel at the core was meant for small businesses looking to sell limited items, which is also one reason why the platform offers free plans for up to five products, whereas, the most items it may support is 300, for which businesses have to go for the most expensive plan.

    And yes, 300 products means only 300 pieces and nothing more, not even variables of one product.

    In fact, the platform doesn’t upload multiple products at one go, rather you have to upload products individually. So, if you are looking to sell various products and variables or are a growing enterprise you may wish to reconsider the choice of platform.

    Shopify:

    When it comes to inventory management functions on Shopify, you get access to a whole new world of interactive features that let you easily upload and manage inventory. For starter, there is no limit on the number of products, which means you can upload as many products as you want, based on your plan. The platform also enables bulk products to upload for faster and more efficient inventory management.

    Once you are done with uploading all the products, you can easily modify all the required attributes like pricing, title, description, SKUs, and other characteristics. You can also add custom images to make things a little more appealing for customers and improve your conversion rates.

    Verdict:

    Well, once again Shopify comes out on top with its amazing inventory management and product uploading features. Big Cartel, on the other hand, is pretty much restricted to smaller stores looking to sell single or multiple products; mainly associated with the creative industry.

    SEO

    –         Big Cartel

    On the positive side though, the selling process on big cartel is as smooth as it can get. The platform includes some attractive SEO features that can be leveraged to bring in more traffic to the store, while you may also offer attractive discounts to improve the conversion rates, as well as, perform thorough tracking of every order during the fulfillment. The platform also offers easy Facebook integration, which further consolidates the selling capabilities for online stores through the social platform.

    On the downside, the platform doesn’t support the abandoned cart recovery feature, which honestly is a big blow for businesses looking to reclaim lost customers. And looking at the average abandonment rate for ecommerce stores which are 60% to 80%, this is a big lacking for the platform.

    Shopify

    When it comes to SEO features offered by Shopify, the platform certainly carries a lot of weight with advanced SEO features. The in-built SEO features of Shopify enable businesses to optimize the content, whereas, there are various auto-features that makes it easier for online stores to manage the SEO requisites of their store like auto-generated canonical tags are added automatically to the site pages, as a meant to avoid any duplicate content in the search results. Similarly, the sitemap.xml and robots.txt are auto-generated by the platform. Also, the themes you select auto-generate the title tags which also includes the store name, thereby making the entire process of on-site SEO easier for business owners to manage.

    Verdict

    Well, it’s a close content for supremacy in our Shopify vs big cartel comparison for SEO features but somehow the comprehensiveness of the SEO features offered by Shopify makes the platform better suited for all-purpose SEO and thereby is declared as the winner.

    Payment gateways

    –         Big Cartel

    Big cartel allows stores for the integration of major payment gateways including PayPal, Stripe, and Square. And while these certainly are the big names in the online transaction industry, still it would benefit the stores as the platform also enable other payment gateways.

    However, on the positive side, big cartel doesn’t charge you anything for the transaction processing. Yes, you heard it right; big cartel has zero transaction fees, which means that you don’t have to pay a single dime extra for transaction processing apart from the processing fees deducted by payment gateways.

    Also, it’s important to remember that big cartel doesn’t come with payment Card Industry Compliance (PCI).

    Shopify

    When it comes to payment gateway options for Shopify stores, the platform comes with its payment gateway which can be integrated easily. However, the downside of Shopify gateway is that it deducts hefty processing fees for the liking of most store owners.

    On the plus side, the platform allows store owners to integrate various third-party payment gateways to supplement their conversion process, but it still charges the transaction fee for every online transaction.

    On the bright side though, you have a wide range of payment processors to choose from. You can avoid Shopify Payments altogether and leverage other globally accessible gateways. But, sadly, that still won’t save you from Shopify’s transaction fees because it also makes deductions from payments processed by third-party gateways.

    Verdict

    Well, it’s a close tie in this case because while Shopify does offer its own “Shopify Payments”, as well as, enable integration of more payment gateways as compared to the big cartel, it does also charge a premium processing fee.

    On the other hand, big cartel may allow limited payment gateway integration but with its zero transaction processing fee it certainly brings a better proposition to the table.

    Add-Ons and Integrations

    • Big Cartel

    Big cartel allows few decent app integration options for the store owners with Facebook certainly being one of the most widely used and useful integration options, enabling stores to connects their inventory with the social media giant and sell directly from the Facebook page.

    Apart from Facebook integration, big cartel also offers its mobile POS integration for businesses looking to integrate their offline brick-and-mortar store with their online counterpart. The iOS app for the mobile POS integration comes in handy for businesses to accept card payments easily using their iPhone or iPad.

    Apart from these major integration options, big cartel also supports integration with various other third-party apps including payment processors, manufacturing, shipping, domain providers, order fulfillment, marketing, and others.

    • Shopify

    When it comes to app integration and add-ons options for Shopify stores, it’s again on another level. To give you an idea the platform enables easy integration with as much as 1500 third-party apps, which means you can be sure of having a dedicated solution for all the ecommerce functionalities you would ever need.

    You can easily integrate apps to improve your online store’s management, security, inventory managing, productivity, shipping, sales, and a whole lot of other aspects.

    Verdict 

    Do we even need to tell you this here?

    Well, Shopify is certainly the clear winner here. In fact, Shopify outpaces any other web development platform including; big cartel vs Shopify vs Etsy, big cartel vs Shopify vs Squarespace, Shopify vs big cartel vs Squarespace, or any other comparison for that sake when it comes to app integration for features and functionalities.

    Customer Support

    –         Big Cartel

    When it comes to customer support, the documentation and information available at big cartel’s knowledge base is certainly amazing. The resource packs come amazingly neatly categorized and easy to navigate articles and documentation that can help you with almost any vulnerability that you may face for the store operations.

    However, if you aren’t able to find the right solution with the big cartel’s knowledge base, you can always reach out to the official customer support through email. However, the platform doesn’t offer 24/7 support and you may have to wait for an official response.

    • Shopify

    Again, the customer support offered by Shopify is legendry. The platform is available at all possible channels you can think of including calls, emails, live chat, knowledge forum, Facebook, Twitter, support center, and where not.

    To add the cherry on top, the support teams are available 24/7, so whether it’s day or night at your place you can trust the customer support to help you even in the dead of night.

    And if that’s not all to tempt you, there are the Shopify Plus users who get access to dedicated support agents, great service, isn’t it?

    Verdict

    Obviously, Shopify comes out on top by a large margin in our big cartel vs Shopify comparison for customer support. The platform comes with exemplary customer support service that’s second to none.

    Pricing

    –         Big Cartel

    Gold Plan- Free

    Platinum Plan- $9.99 per month

    Diamond Plan- $19.99 per month

    Titanium Plan- $29.99 per month

    –         Shopify

    Shopify Lite- $9 per month

    Basic Shopify- $29 per month

    Shopify- $79 per month

    Advanced Shopify- 299 per month

    Shopify Plus- Negotiable

     

    Final Thoughts – Big Cartel or Shopify?

    So, eventually, it’s time to decide which platform comes out on top in our Shopify vs big cartel comparison.

    Well, if you have read our other comparisons, we always stressed that there is no winner or loser when it comes to the web development platform. Rather, it depends on the preferences and needs of the online stores that decide which platform suits better to serve the needs of the store.

    Now, since we have gone through all the different aspects of big cartel vs Shopify we can easily say that in most aspects Shopify outpaces big cartel by a long margin. However, for certain small entrepreneurs looking to sell limited creatives online, big cartel certainly brings in a tempting proposition with its cost for value pricing model and simplistic interface.

    However, when it comes to dynamic and robust ecommerce stores, Shopify is definitely the winner and the right choice by miles. The platform brings in some of the most advanced features for sales, marketing, SEO, customer support, design, and other crucial aspects to guarantee success for online stores.

    So, if you aren’t looking to sell photography or other creatives, you probably need to choose Shopify for all the right reasons.

    How much does it take to build a Shopify custom design app?

    The overall cost to develop a Shopify custom design app can range anywhere from $5000 to $15,000.

    The final cost of a custom app will depend on the customization, functionalities, and location of the development agency. Generally, Shopify app development companies in the United States tend to charge app developments using per-hour pricing models which start at around $150 per hour and can go as high as $500+ per hour.


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    About

    Folio3, a Software Powerhouse established in 2005, is one of the leading eCommerce solution providers for SMBs and Fortune 500. The Company has expertise in diverse industries such as Animal Care, Retail, Automotive, Food and Agriculture, and Health care. From ecommerce store design and development to full-scale ERP deployment and integration, Folio3 has done it all.