Big Cartel and Shopify are very different in nature, yet both offer great features and easy-to-use eCommerce platforms to support your product sales. Both platforms are highly customizable, but they target different types of businesses.

Big Cartel
Big Cartel targets small, artistic-type businesses as its primary customers. A main reason that it attracts these types of businesses is that it does not allow anyone to post links to other shops. This prevents other business owners from advertising themselves on your page and stealing your business.

It offers the basic features you need to run your store, without extra add-ons to complicate things. Big Cartel eCommerce software provides you with five themes to use in building your site and has limited security. It has email support that is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM EST.

Big Cartel s homepage, however, is a little complicated for buyers to navigate. They can find all of the shops that fit a specific category, but they cannot narrow down their searches with more specific options. Plus, if the buyers place items from your shop into their shopping carts and then visit another shop before checking out, they only see the items from that particular shop in their carts. This is because checkout occurs through each separate shop rather than through the Big Cartel site as whole.

Shopify
Shopify targets small- to medium-size businesses, especially those that want to use features such as inventory management, shipping, sale automation, marketing and more. It offers excellent security, as well as data tracking and reporting. With regular data reports on sales and customer information, you can learn how to improve marketing and sales.

Shopify offers a number of extra features and has an eCommerce University with all of the manuals and resources you need to learn how to use the software. It offers hundreds of free themes to inspire you as you design your website. Furthermore, it offers 24/7 customer service by phone, live chat and email.

Side-By-Side Comparison

  Big Cartel   Shopify
Targets small vendors, especially artists and those selling homemade items Targets small- to medium- size businesses
Offers only basic features for running a small site Offers many extra features for a comprehensive site
The website is a little difficult for buyers to navigate, especially as they browse through multiple shops Buyers can easily navigate your site, with search options and smooth check out
You are responsible for your site s security Robust security is included
Five available themes Hundreds of available themes
No data reports Regular data reports
Limited customer service and by email only 24/7 customer service by phone, live chat and email
Packages start at $10 a month for up to 25 products and are free for up to five products Packages start at $29 a month for unlimited products


Big Cartel vs. Shopify: Which to Choose?

If your business has less than 100 products, only needs a very basic setup and can live without extensive customer service support, then Big Cartel may be a better option for you. As long as you are willing to market your shop aggressively, you should not have many problems with Big Cartel s search functionality and navigation features. If you have a small- or medium-size business that is likely to grow in the coming years, then Shopify is probably a better option for you; while it is always exciting to see your business grow, it is not fun to have to change platforms as a result. Starting with a solution like Shopify allows you to accommodate growth and provides all of the tools and features you need.

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