⏳ Do you want to skip the read and get right to my pick? Between Big Cartel vs Etsy, the better online marketplace for creatives is Big Cartel.
Introduction to our Big Cartel vs Etsy comparison:
For many creatives, the primary measure as to whether you’ll succeed in your career is based on whether or not anyone supports you. By support, we don’t just mean the encouragement that drives your creative process; it also involves giving you how to express yourself, display your work, and offer your work or products to those who show an interest in or a use for them.
This is the basis for today’s Big Cartel vs Etsy review. We are looking at two platforms that were devised explicitly by creatives for creatives, but we’ll see if either of them is the better choice in terms of ease of use, pricing, as well as features, and functionality.
Quick Comparison Table for Big Cartel vs Etsy
|🥇 Big Cartel (My Top Pick!)
|Ease of Use
|Simple and easy to set up, best for small scale sellers.
|Easy to use, user-friendly interface, popular among handmade and vintage item sellers.
|Key Features & Flexibility
|Basic features, product management, customization, limited themes.
|Robust features, listing options, customization, shipping labels, coupons.
|SEO & Marketing
|Limited SEO features, no built-in marketing tools.
|SEO tools, marketing and promotional tools, and a large built-in audience.
|Focused on e-commerce for artists and makers, limited features.
|Extensive e-commerce features tailored for small-scale crafts and vintage item sellers.
|Customer Support & Resources
|Email support and help center.
|Community forums, help center, and email support.
|Free plan for up to 5 products. Paid plans start at $9.99/month.
|No monthly fees. $0.20 listing fee per item and transaction fees apply.
|Best for independent artists and makers with a small product range.
|Ideal for sellers of handmade, vintage, and unique goods seeking a large audience.
|Try For Free
|Try Big Cartel For Free
|Try Etsy For Free
Overview of Big Cartel vs Etsy:
Big Cartel is the epitome of a 100% independent creative platform. Since 2005, the company has been helping users sell around $2.5 billion worth of unique/bespoke products to a steadily growing clientele.
As of the time we did this review, Big Cartel’s online footprint remains small compared to its competitors. It presently boasts just 83,000 stores worldwide and a user base of 2,876 independent creative teams. This reflects a 25% increase in users over just two years.
We also like that Big Cartel’s management team works virtually from numerous locations, giving it strong regional flavour and diversity in terms of race, gender, and even culture.
If you want to talk about the craftsman’s platform, that would have to be Etsy. Since 2005, the company has served as a way for many crafters and creatives to find creative validation and a market for their products, from apparel and accessories to home decor and furniture.
The platform currently boasts nearly 7.5 million creatives selling their work online, as well as a 40-million-strong customer base.
Likewise, Etsy is the platform of choice for crafters for a very valid reason. Aside from vintage items and certified antiques, it only allows users to sell handmade or crafted items to customers.
Ease of Use:
Big Cartel offers one of the easiest onboarding processes we’ve seen on any creative platform. You can easily sign up for an account and immediately get started with a working five-item store.
Also, it allows users to create their own unique online storefronts. Users have at least eighteen different design templates at their fingertips, all of which are customisable in terms of colours, fonts, and widgets. Once that’s set up, you can add your products, places images per product, then select either Stripe or PayPal as payment gateways, and start doing business.
Just how easy is it to get started on Etsy marketplace? It’s just a matter of creating an account – and it’s all systems go.
It’s literally a matter of making your account, choosing an eCommerce store name, adding a selection of items to your stock, and putting in your billing details. All in all, you could be running your store in less than an hour – and this is regardless of whether you have any prior experience creating web pages or selling online.
Winner – DRAW! This match between Big Cartel vs Etsy is a draw. Big Cartel and Etsy are easy to use and friendly to beginners.
Big Cartel vs Etsy Features & Flexibility:
Out of the box:
For those who want to create a truly unique online shop for their work, Etsy provides its own site building platform with which to create a gorgeous and engaging online store. It may come off as somewhat amateurish compared to the more sophisticated tools offered by other platforms, but if it works, there’s no need to fix it;
Themes & Template Design:
Despite the fact that you can't really work on your design options from the primary dashboard (you'll find customisation under the Account Settings dash), you have to admit that Big Cartel's eighteen pre-installed customisable themes takes a great deal of stress and guesswork out of the equation in terms of your storefront's aesthetic. While there isn't much in terms of variety, you have to admit that all the templates at your fingertips are all clean, modern, and professional-looking – perfect for creating a striking-looking storefront.
At last count, Etsy had over 5,000 working themes and related templates ready to be selected and implemented by users. Likewise, these themes are categorised based on product type and market niche, so it’s quite easy to select a template that is appropriate for one’s Etsy site.
3rd party apps market:
Big Cartel's ability to enhance its users' capabilities through a choice selection of third-party applications is an ace in a winning hand for this platform. From maximising one's marketing initiatives, to social media integration in order to expand one's market, and the ability to work with leading payment platforms certainly makes things easier for online store owners. But one particular app, Pulley, gives Big Cartel an edge against Etsy as it enables creatives – composers, musicians, authors, and even filmmakers – to to sell digital downloads through their sites.
Along with the usual payment gateways, Etsy also interfaces with a number of integrations, but not as extensive as Big Cartel's.
Big Cartel is a web-based and fully-hosted platform which means that it is also the server which houses user sites. While this takes the stress of having to look for a host, it unfortunately means you can’t host a Big Cartel-built site anywhere else.
Since 2018, Etsy has relied on cloud-based hosting for user sites via Google Cloud.
Automated backups are made possible on Big Cartel through its integration with Amazon AWS’ backup facility which can be programmed to backup site data within a set schedule.
The platform’s automated shop backup feature is part of its Seller Toolsuite and, much like Big Cartel’s, can be programmed to back files up within a set schedule – and that can be done by simply linking one’s file storage account with the feature.
While migration from a different platform to Big Cartel is not built in, applications like LitExtension make things easier for those who want to transfer their sites or online stores. It just takes a few steps, and soon one will be working exclusively on Big Cartel.
You may not necessarily be able to migrate your site to Etsy, but those who own Etsy sites can actually migrate these to other platforms like Shopify and Cart2Cart. However, the methods and tools used will differ from one platform to another.
SSL is built into Big Cartel sites, so encryption isn’t an issue. In recent years, with user data privacy becoming a serious concern, it has also revised its user policy on privacy to protect its customers’ information.
Etsy has a feature called Pattern which has made the creation of more secure custom sites easier for its users. Pattern already manages each site’s SSL certificates and also ensures that sites are secured under HTTPS protocol.
Winner – BigCartel! Big Cartel runs away with the prize in our Big Cartel vs Etsy features comparison.
Big Cartel vs Etsy eCommerce Tools:
Big Cartel’s POS feature is powered by payment gateway developer Stripe. The Payment by Stripe system allows users to collect payment in person with the same Stripe account they use to collect payments online. Likewise, this mobile POS tool also helps users manage their stores aside from handling transactions.
Etsy doesn’t have its own native POS feature. Instead, it offers several third-party options for its users to consider. In which case, any related POS hardware will be dependent on which options they go for.
Abandoned cart saver:
Having an abandoned cart recovery feature is a great way to help boost sales on one’s site. However, this feature is not automatically available on Big Cartel. Instead, you’ll need to use a secondary email marketing solution like Mailchimp which could send messages to users who have items left in their carts from previous login sessions.
Users have the option of sending customers one-time discount coupons as Etsy’s means of cart recovery.
In terms of payment processors, Big Cartel works with ApplePay, PayPal, and Stripe.
Etsy’s native payment feature Etsy Payments not only allows users to opt for the usual suspects in terms of gateways, but also localised options which accept credit and debit cards or virtual accounts in the countries they’re in.
Winner – BigCartel! We are giving this win to BigCartel for this comparison of eCommerce tools between BigCartel vs Etsy.
Big Cartel vs Etsy SEO & Marketing:
In terms of SEO, Big Cartel offers the following services to its users:
- Unique titles and meta descriptions based on their products and pages;
- Valid HTML markup;
- Neat and already search-engine-ready URLs, as well as canonical URLs for custom domains;
- Quick navigation;
- Appropriate headers, anchors, and alt tags; and
- A robots.txt file pointing to a sitemap pre-generated by the system.
Here’s our problem with Etsy: much like the crafted items its users sell, SEO here is pretty much a DIY thing. Nevertheless, the platform offers an online guide on how users can improve their site’s rankings on both Etsy SEO and Google SEO.
Store management on the run is a crucial thing for ecommerce, so Big Cartel's mobile app is a perfect way to help people work on the go whether they're using iOS or Android devices. While these don’t exactly have the same level of functionality as the desktop / website version of the platform, they will nevertheless help users track orders and make necessary adjustments to orders whenever necessary regardless of their location and the time of day.
Installing Sell on Etsy, the platform’s mobile application is an excellent way to improve an online store’s efficiency and impact. Much like the one deployed by Big Cartel, Etsy’s app allows users to keep tabs on their orders, payments, and reviews. While it is rather basic compared to the more elaborate online sales applications deployed by competing platforms, it is a great way to help store owners get things done without needing to lug along a laptop wherever they go.
Real-time monitoring of your site's metrics and analytics gives users the real picture as to how well (or not) their online stores are performing – and that's where Big Cartel's site monitoring dash comes in handy. Not only will it tell users how many people browsed through the store, but it also points out which items were bought, which items got the most views, how many were left in people's virtual shopping carts, and at which specific times did one's store see the most purchases. It's a great way to determine which products are the most saleable and which ones are moving too slowly to be profitable;
Now, this is Etsy’s ace in the hole: a whole plethora of tools with which to promote your work through numerous channels. The marketing suite allows users to cross-post to their social media platforms, boost the visibility of your store, and even offer discounts for loyal customers;
For more advanced users, Etsy Plus, the platform’s premium service, is a valuable tool that enables them to step up their game in terms of online advertising, marketing, audience engagement, and even earn more credits to enhance any promotional initiatives. Those using the service can also offer discounts to loyal customers on their sites.
The average pagespeed / loading speed for Big Cartel is pegged at around 205 milliseconds with an overall performance grade of 91 out of 100.
Etsy’s pagespeed is not within ideal limits. Based on our last test, its average loading speed is a much slower 1.59 seconds. Its overall performance grade is 86 out of 100.
Winner – BigCartel! Again, BigCartel performs better in the SEO and marketing area of this comparison.
BigCartel vs Etsy Support and Resources:
As with most creative platforms, Big Cartel’s primary online support measure is its Help Centre which is divided into different sections ranging from the basics of setting up, to online security, to customization options, to billing – practically everything you need to know about working with the platform and more.
However, even though Big Cartel allows its users to interact with it through its social media channels, online technical support is only offered through its website during business hours (EST) and only from Monday through Friday.
For more pressing concerns regarding your Big Cartel account and/or transactions, you will need to send the platform an email requesting for support. Turnaround is a little slow, though: around two days tops.
But what we like about Big Cartel is that even customers are given priority regarding support. There is a separate email address where they can air their grievances regarding certain vendors on the platform.
Etsy has a regularly updated Help Centre that has relevant information on most of the likely issues one may encounter as either a buyer or seller.
It also has an order-specific support platform that allows sellers to take action regarding individual orders, along with a more general technical support platform.
Keep in mind, however, that while you can sign onto the support platform using your Google, Apple, or Facebook credentials, Etsy does not offer cross-platform support.
Winner – Big Cartel! Between Big Cartel vs Etsy, the former has a slight edge over its customer service.
Etsy vs Big Cartel Pricing:
Big Cartel is free to use under its Gold plan, but users may only sell a number products (5 only) at any given time.
The Platinum plan will set you back by $9.99 monthly fee and the Diamond plan by $19.99 a month. Both allow users to sell more products and also gain access to numerous premium features that will enhance their store management experience.
Big Cartel vs Etsy Free trial, refund policy, and money-back guarantee:
Keep in mind that you really need to read the fine print before you set up shop on Etsy as there are a number of fees you need to take into consideration.
First, the platform charges a flat listing fee of around $0.20 per product you choose to put online, regardless of whether it's a physical or digital item. Note that listings expire after four months, so you'll need to pay the fee again for any products that haven't sold but you want to keep in your inventory. This may be done manually or you could set it up so that it renews automatically.
Second, there is the matter of listing and transaction fees. As of April of this year, Etsy now charges a 6.5% transaction fee on top of the final price for all items sold through the platform. This includes shipping fees, product customisations, and even gift wrapping.
Then, while you can technically use Etsy for free, those who want to avail of the additional perks offered under the Etsy Plus feature can subscribe to the service at an additional $10.00 a month.
Etsy also charges a number of transactional fees, including additional charges for purchases made during in-person trade shows, currency conversion, and even regulatory fees. That said, you may need substantial capitalisation if your business is to survive and thrive through this particular platform.
Big Cartel vs Etsy Free trial, refund policy, and money-back guarantee:
Similarly, under Etsy's house rules, you may also create a free account on Etsy, but we strongly advise you to reread the previous section on the different fees charged per transaction.
Winner – DRAW! Both BigCartel vs Etsy are free to use, but each require payment for transaction or processor fees.
Comparison Winner: Big Cartel vs Etsy?
BigCartel is the winner in our Big Cartel vs Etsy comparison test!
Conclusion to our Big Cartel vs Etsy Comparison:
Now, to wrap up our Big Cartel vs Etsy comparison;
What is Big Cartel best for?
Perfect for artists and small business owners who want to sell their products inexpensively.
What is Etsy best for?
Best for craftspeople who'd like to sell in this space.
Alternatives to Big Cartel vs Etsy:
Among the best alternatives to BigCartel or Etsy are;
Big Cartel vs Etsy Final Word:
We are giving this match to Big Cartel. Why? It is as easy to use as the most basic site building and ecommerce platforms while offering a great deal more in terms of features and functionality. Also, we like the way that it is upfront with users about any fees it may charge – that’s always a plus, especially for those who are just starting out.
That's all for now:
If you've read all the way through this Big Cartel vs Etsy comparison, we are thankful. We hope you can now answer the question of what are the pros and cons of this online marketplace platforms! We have a large collection of articles, guides, and comparison reviews of eCommerce solutions, web hosting providers, website builders, and more! Feel free to check them out;