Big Cartel vs Shopify

There are several e-commerce platforms which could be right for a new online business. Two top choices that are often compared to one another are Big Cartel and Shopify.

What is Big Cartel? It is based in the United States out of Salt Lake City. They are an e-commerce platform which markets itself as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) opportunity. You receive multiple tools with this platform to run virtually any type of store, allowing for product uploads, order management, inventory tracking, and much more.

What is Shopify? It is based in Canada and offers full webstore functionality. As a SaaS platform, it allows you to manage your orders, keep track of your inventory, and sell items in various locations: including Facebook or Pinterest. There is a point-of-sale system that can be integrated into a new or current website as well.

In the Big Cartel vs Shopify debate, here are the key points that you may wish to consider.

1. Product Focus

Big Cartel is a small SaaS provider that is looking to help other SMBs grow to their full potential. Instead of focusing on being a catch-all product for an e-commerce platform, their product focus is on creating a personalized experience as much as possible. The goal is to grow relationships between your business and their platform. This helps independents, freelancers, and creative businesses thrive instead of simply survive.

Shopify is an e-commerce platform that has a generalized product focus. They offer a product that any business of any size, including independents and freelancers, can use to grow their revenues. They offer social integration, a point-of-sale system that is fully integrated, and more overall leverage because of their experience of being a top industry provider.

2. Dashboard

Big Cartel offers a dashboard that is based on a menu-based UX that is like a standard website. It uses icons to distinguish where subscribers need to go and this creates a small learning curve. Once you figure out how to use it, however, it is possible to get the job done.


Shopify offers users a standard dashboard that gives you the information needed to track the important metrics of an online business. It is structured in a way that is like other top platforms, such as WordPress, so learning how to use it doesn’t take much time. Clear directions are provided if there are any questions about what can be accessed, making it a user-friendly option that is highly self-directed.

3. Price

Big Cartel has four pricing plans that are available to consumers today.

Free. This plan has limited features, but is forever free and allows for up to 5 products to be sold through the platform.
Platinum. Priced at $9.99 per month, this is the lowest-priced plan that unlocks all the features of Big Cartel. It provides support for up to 25 products per month.
Diamond. This plan is priced at $19.99 per month and allows for up to 100 products.
Titanium. Priced at $29.99 per month, it allows for up to 300 products to be served.

Shopify plans feature three different tiers that can be used. Each has unlimited products and file storage, though an additional retail package at $49 per month may be necessary for some businesses.

Basic. This Shopify plan begins at $29 per month and allows for in-person or online transactions to take place. If you use Shopify Payments as your payment gateway, there are no transaction fees per purchase.
Standard. This plan is $79 per month and allows for 5 staff accounts. It also allows for gift cards, professional reports, and abandoned cart recovery to be part of the platform.
Advanced. This plan is for larger businesses who complete multiple sales per day. Priced at $299 per month, it features 15 staff accounts, discounted credit card rates, a 0.5% transaction fee for external payment gateways, and third-party calculated shipping rates.

4. Integration

Big Cartel offers integration for Facebook and there are WordPress plugins from third-party developers that can be used. An API is available so that brands can build their own integrations.

Shopify offers an app-based community with more than 1,000 pre-built add-ons or integrations that can be used with the platform. Some are free, while others may cost upwards of $500. Full social media integration is also available.

In the Big Cartel vs Shopify debate, the question to be answered involves authenticity. Do you want a personalized experience with a SaaS provider who builds relationships with SMBs? Or do you want an all-purpose platform that requires more self-direction? Answer this and you’ll have a better idea of which option to choose.