Do you want to skip the read and get right to my pick? Between BigCartel vs Squarespace, the better website builder is Squarespace.
Introduction to our BigCartel vs Squarespace comparison:
You're reading our BigCartel vs Squarespace review!
With so many enterprises making the shift from brick-and-mortar to the online marketplace over the past few years, it is no longer a surprise that site builders have amped up their features to include several eCommerce-centric capabilities that would allow users to transform their sites into online shopfronts.
But as with anything, these site creation/storefront building platforms are not all the same. Each has specific capabilities and tends to cater to specific markets, enabling users to create sites appropriate for their respective market segments.
For our Big Cartel vs Squarespace review, we’ll see how these two platforms perform in terms of how easy they are to use, what they can offer online businesses, and whether these are cost-efficient ways to putting up and managing an online storefront.
Overview of BigCartel vs Squarespace:
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 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.
Squarespace has become the darling of the global creative community over the past few years – and there’s a great deal going on for it.
This platform is one of the few ecommerce builders available that offers solutions for visual and performing artists to market their work online.
While, admittedly, this isn’t the most tractable of site builders, Squarespace’s growing following stems from the fact that it allows users to offer scheduled services and digital downloads on top of physical products.
Quick Comparison Table for BigCartel vs Squarespace
|Big Cartel||Squarespace (My Choice!)|
|Ease of Use||Simplistic interface, particularly designed for artists and creatives. No coding skills necessary.||Intuitive, yet requires some time to get familiar with its all features.|
|Features||Basic but solid features for small online stores. Limited in comparison to competitors.||Extensive features for all kinds of websites including advanced e-commerce capabilities.|
|Design Flexibility||Less flexible, offering a limited number of themes. Good for basic, creative-focused online stores.||High design flexibility with professional, customizable templates. Ideal for visually-stunning websites.|
|Customer Support||Offers email support and a helpful FAQ section, but lacks live chat or phone support.||Provides 24/7 customer support via live chat and email, plus a comprehensive knowledge base.|
|Pricing||Offers a free plan. Paid plans start at $9.99/month.||No free plan. Pricing starts at $12/month with more features available in higher-priced plans.|
|My View||Best for artists and creatives looking to set up a simple, aesthetic-focused online store.||Ideal for businesses of all sizes needing a visually appealing and feature-rich website.|
|Try Big Cartel For Free||Try Squarespace For Free|
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 website 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, then select either Stripe or PayPal as modes of payment, and start doing business.
The thing about Squarespace is that learning how to use it takes a while. Unlike other site builders, it isn’t laid out as systematically and some tools are buried deep within the UI. You’ll need to sit down with it for an hour or so to orient yourself with the platform, but once you get the hang of it, it’s intuitive enough to adapt to your work style.
Winner – BigCartel! Big Cartel wins in this BigCartel vs Squarespace ease of use comparison. It can help you get started much faster and it’s a whole lot easier to learn.
BigCartel vs Squarespace Features & Flexibility:
Out of the box:
Developed for small and medium scale businesses, as well as startups, Big Cartel’s site building platform enables users to create their first five-item store online. We see this as the ultimate in ease: you don’t need to know any form of coding or even a background in site creation to use Big Cartel’s storefront builder. Much like the most basic and user-friendly site-building platforms, you just point, drag, and click elements to suit your purposes.
Squarespace offers a stellar ecommerce building and hosting package right out of the gate. It has an appealing WYSIWYG editor, standard subscription inclusions offer unlimited bandwidth, more than ample storage, and an incredibly extensive range of ecommerce tools for both products and services.
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.
Depending on your industry, you’re bound to find a Squarespace template to suit your website or online store. The platform offers over 100 distinctive templates which are organised by industry rather than by aesthetic.
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.
Squarespace’s in-platform marketplace Squarespace Extensions offers more than 3,000 unique applications ranging from productivity management solutions to ecommerce tools. Rather than depend on community-made plugins, many of Squarespace’s integrations come from notable – and trustworthy – names in the IT industry like Google, Stripe, PayPal, and Mailchimp.
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.
Squarespace offers its users fully-managed hosting to ensure constant uptime.
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.
Squarespace doesn’t have an automated backup process in its UI, but it offers a tutorial in its knowledge base for backing up and redeploying saved site data in the event of a crash or hacking incident.
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.
Moving non-ecommerce sites or standard blogs is easy, as there is a feature already built into the UI. Store data, on the other hand, needs to be uploaded to one’s Squarespace account manually in the form of *.csv files.
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.
The platform offers SSL certificates for all users, along with two-factor authentication, advanced password protection, as well as measures against Denial of Service attacks.
Winner – Squarespace! Both platforms have so much to offer, but we have to declare in favour of Squarespace in this BigCartel vs Squarespace features comparison.
BigCartel vs Squarespace 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.
Squarespace teamed up with payment solutions developer Square for its own POS system which enables users to accept payments in person. The system also allows them to manage their inventory through one’s mobile device. Unfortunately, the system is currently available only for iOS.
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.
Where Squarespace is concerned, abandoned cart recovery is only offered as a premium service and works by sending customers an email reminder and a link back to the site.
In terms of payment processors, Big Cartel works with ApplePay, PayPal, and Stripe.
Squarespace Commerce enables users to accept credit/debit card payments via its own facility, or through third parties like Google Pay, Apple Pay, and PayPal.
Winner – DRAW! Both platforms have so much to offer, so we are calling this a tie in this BigCartel vs Squarespace ecommerce features comparison.
BigCartel vs Squarespace SEO & Marketing:
Big Cartel offers the following SEO capabilities 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.
Squarespace’s UI is already equipped with its own impressive set of SEO tools.
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.
Squarespace is available to download on both iOS and Android devices. There is a caveat, however: do not expect the same level of flexibility and functionality as the standard desktop edition.
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. 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.
Along with a number of third-party options, Squarespace offers users its own digital marketing tools and analytics, with options ranging from email-centric solutions, social media integrations, and metrics monitoring solutions to give you a clearer idea on how well your site is performing.
Based on our January 2023 speed test, the average pagespeed / loading speed for Big Cartel is pegged at around 205 milliseconds with an overall performance grade of 91 out of 100.
Squarespace’s pagespeed has improved slightly since our last review of the platform, clocking in at 1.18 seconds, with a performance grade of 68 out of 100.
Winner – DRAW! Both BigCartel and Squarespace are neck and neck in this SEO and marketing features comparison.
BigCartel vs Squarespace 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 customisation, to billing – practically everything you need to know about working with the platform and more.
Some platforms rely on knowledge bases available on their websites. Big Cartel on the other hand allows its users to interact with it through its social media channels. Online technical support thru live chat 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 transactions, you will need to send the platform an email requesting 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.
Squarespace’s customer support is efficient and knowledgeable about common technical issues plaguing site users. Issue escalation to more knowledgeable team members also goes off without a hitch, and their knowledge base is extensive and frequently updated.
Winner – DRAW! Between BigCartel vs Squarespace, both platforms are levelled in terms of customer service.
BigCartel vs Squarespace Pricing:
Big Cartel is free to use under its Gold plan, but users may only sell five products at any given time.
The Platinum plan will set you back by $9.99 monthly 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.
Click for the latest BigCartel pricing
Squarespace’s four plans range from $12 to $40 monthly, and features are dependent on your plan of choice. For ecommerce users, we recommend the two highest subscription tiers as these options offer the best possible range of tools and solutions.
Click for the latest Squarespace pricing
Free trial, refund policy, and money-back guarantee:
As stated in their service terms, Big Cartel offers a free plan but keep in mind that features will be limited.
Squarespace service terms allow potential users to experience it for themselves through a fourteen-day trial period. Afterwards, however, you’re going to have to avail yourself of a paid account to keep using the platform.
Winner – DRAW! Between Squarespace and Big Cartel, both offer great value for money, so they are tied in this pricing comparison.
Comparison Winner: Big Cartel vs Squarespace?
Squarespace is the winner in our BigCartel vs Squarespace comparison test!
Conclusion and Recommendations for BigCartel vs Squarespace comparison:
What is BigCartel best for?
A great platform for artists who want to sell their craft and don't want to burn through their budgets.
What is Squarespace best for?
Also an awesome platform for professional creatives who don't mind a learning curve.
BigCartel vs Squarespace Alternatives:
Among the best alternatives to these two platforms are;
|Rank||Key Features||Price (Basic Paid Plan)||Transaction Fee||My View|
|1. Shopify||Comprehensive e-commerce features, large app store, excellent SEO tools||$29/month Check Pricing||2.9% + 30¢ per transaction (for online credit card rates)||Ideal for most online stores due to its comprehensive features||Try For Free|
|2. Squarespace||Beautiful templates, great for small to medium-sized stores, powerful marketing tools||$12/month Check Pricing||None (but payment processor fees apply)||Great for creatives and those who need a visually stunning online store||Try For Free|
|3. Webflow||Deep customization options, good for web designers, CMS features||$12/month Check Pricing||2% on customer's checkout total||Best for designers needing high degree of customization||Try For Free|
|4. Square Online||Syncs with Square POS, good for small to medium-sized stores, unlimited products||Free to start, e-commerce from $12/month Check Pricing||Yes, 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction||Great for existing Square POS users||Try For Free|
|5. WooCommerce||Open-source, highly customizable, requires WordPress||Free Check Hosting Pricing||Depends on payment gateway used||Best for WordPress users and those who want total control||Try For Free (with Nexcess Hosting)|
|6. Wix||User-friendly, great for small stores, wide range of templates||$14/month Check Pricing||None (but payment processor fees apply)||Great for small businesses or beginners||Try For Free|
|7. Big Cartel||Designed for creators and artists, easy to use, limited features||Free for up to 5 products, plans from $9.99/month Check Pricing||None (but payment processor fees apply)||Ideal for artists and creators with smaller product lines||Try For Free|
|8. Ecwid||Can be integrated into any website, good for small to medium-sized stores||Free for up to 10 products, plans from $15/month Check Pricing||Depends on payment gateway used||Good for those who want to add a store to an existing site||Try For Free|
|9. Volusion||Good inventory system, comprehensive e-commerce features||$29/month Check Pricing||None (but payment processor fees apply)||Good for medium-sized businesses||Try For Free|
|10. Weebly||Easy to use, good for small stores, powered by Square||Free to start, paid plans from $6/month Check Pricing||2.9% + 30¢ per transaction||Good for small businesses or beginners||Try For Free|
BigCartel vs Squarespace Final word:
To wrap up our BigCartel vs Squarespace comparison;
Although both are great and are almost comparable in terms of features, we find that Big Cartel edges Squarespace in terms of affordability and user-friendliness. So we highly recommend that you give this platform a try!
Click for the latest Squarespace pricing
That's all for now:
If you've read all the way through this BigCartel vs Squarespace comparison, we are thankful. We hope you can now answer the question of what are the pros and cons of these website builders! 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;
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