Wondering which is the better online shop platform Big Cartel vs Squarespace? If you’re in a dilemma among these 2 platforms, then you’ve landed precisely on the right page.
Both Big Cartel and Squarespace are designed to offer all the required features for your online store. You can easily create stunning online store websites using any of these platforms.
However, each of these platforms has its own strength and weakness. Now, you might be in confusion choosing the better option for you. Well, that obviously depends on your needs!
So, in this article, we’ll compare Big Cartel vs Squarespace from every angle. We’ll go through its features, pricing, support, pros, cons, and more.
Let’s get rolling!
First, let’s begin with a brief overview of both platforms, i.e., Big Cartel and Squarespace.
Big Cartel is purely an eCommerce builder platform that allows you to quickly start building your website for free. It’s designed for selling individual items rather than bulk uploads like artworks.
Basically, Big Cartel is suitable for small businesses that are just starting out and aren’t looking to scale up quickly. It’s due to its simpler sales feature, which makes it easier for hobby sellers and creatives.
Further, this platform comes with a much simpler interface and setup process than one can ever imagine. Its user-friendly onboarding procedure assists you with prompts and reminders to set up your online store.
Although it’s suitable for small-scale businesses, it has interesting features to fully support your eCommerce website. Such as multiple product images, inventory tracking, bulk editing to quickly make changes across multiple products, and much more.
Founded in 2003, Squarespace, is primarily a website builder that offers advanced eCommerce functionality. Millions of businesses have used it to establish their eCommerce websites as well as other types of websites.
Whether you’re just starting off or an established brand, this platform helps grow your business. Because it comes with a set of tools that has everything you require to create online shops. It offers various template designs, fonts, colors, hosting services, etc.
Additionally, Squarespace is a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform. It implies that you need to pay a monthly cost and utilize all of its features to create/maintain your site.
Here’s an example for a clear understanding. If you purchase the eCommerce plan of this platform, then you’ll get all the elements and features required for a typical online store. It can be billing, shipping, delivery information, social sharing, email campaigns, and much more.
Further, being a simpler platform, it allows even beginners to create their eCommerce website effortlessly. As you don’t require any coding skills or techy stuff.
Without any question, both platforms offer a user-friendly environment to set up your online stores.
But, let’s contrast Big Cartel and Squarespace to determine which is easier to use.
Big Cartel comes with a simple platform that is straightforward to set up your online store.
Simply, go to bigcartel.com and click on the Open your store button which will take you to pricing plans. Just go with the plan that is suitable for you. However, you can select the Free Plan as well just like we did!
There, you can sign up for free where you need to create an account if you don’t have one and get logged in. But, if you’ve got an account, then simply go to the Log in option from its home page.
Anyway, once you’ve logged in to your dashboard, you can see a checklist to get you started. It includes adding products, exploring shipping profiles, connecting payment processors, designing your shop, launching your shop, etc.
You can configure them immediately, or even later on. You can also go through the Orders menu to check your orders, the Discount menu to create discount codes, etc.
Apart from that, check out the Account menu. From there, you can edit your shop info, or start with designing your shop. Besides, you can check other options for configurations like getting paid, billing, shipping profiles beta, preferences, security, apps, and more.
Easier than your imagination, right? We guess everyone can agree on this!
Squarespace is yet another simplest platform for creating eCommerce websites. This is because it doesn’t require any technical knowledge or skills which saves your time.
This platform is completely easy-to-use using its drag-and-drop builder. Along with that, it’s a fully hosted platform so you don’t need to purchase and set up any web hosting or an additional application.
So, to get started, visit its official website and log into your account by clicking on the Log In button. However, if you don’t have an account, then go to the login page and click the Create Account button.
Now that you’ve logged in to your account, on your dashboard go to the Create Website button. Then, select the type of website which is an “Online Store” and you can see a lot of templates for online stores. Select one of them and click on the “Start With” option.
After that, you need to fill in the series of details to build your eCommerce site. It includes site titles and edits to change the style and design. After that, you can get started and configure each option like pages, design, commerce, marketing, and much more.
To demonstrate, take the eCommerce menu as an example. It has other sub-menus that lets you set up your online store. There, all you need to do is go through each sub-menu and fill in the details that are requested. Such as adding products for sale, ways to get paid, and so on.
Hence, setting up and configuring your online store is effortless.
Although both of these platforms don’t require any assistance or expertise to set up an online store, Big Cartel wins this round. Big Cartel appears to be a little easier to configure and has fewer steps with effortless configuration.
Meanwhile, Squarespace has slightly longer configuration steps. Along with that, it includes some advanced settings that obviously you can configure later on.
Having an exclusive design and template is as crucial as having comprehensive features. This helps to attract and convert potential visitors into regular customers.
A theme is therefore the most important component that determines the appearance of your website. Let’s find out which platform offers a wide selection of themes!
Big Cartel provides theme options which are 18 templates in total that you can access for free. However, the templates seem really simple although they come with clean features and attractive designs.
Additionally, it can be challenging to make your designs stunning. Because the customization option is limited by the theme and you’re allowed to make small changes only. Like the basic layout, change logo, colors, font size, etc.
Other than that, if you want something bigger changes to your template, then you need to dive into the coding. And coding is clearly not the most user-friendly way to customize your site if you’re not into techs.
Squarespace comes with a collection of appealing and elegant themes that you can choose from. Each of those themes has all the necessary features that are required to create an intriguing online store.
So, this platform has arranged its templates by industry like online stores, membership sites, food, restaurants, and more. This is to simply precisely get you started with a similar or matching industry. So, you shouldn’t feel constrained by templates that apply to your field.
However, specifically in online stores, it comes with 7 stunning templates. But as mentioned above, you can choose the one that appeals to you the most. And then, the customization is no biggie!
Additionally, its drag-and-drop editor enables you to build new pages as well as customize the existing ones. You can also quickly customize the fonts, and color schemes that represent your company, move around any elements, and many more.
This round is a tie!
It’s because the templates of Squarespace are comparatively gorgeous that deliver high-quality websites. However, Big Cartel provides a clean, attractive, and organized although basic template with targets smaller businesses.
There’s a clear distinction between the eCommerce features of Big Cartel and Squarespace. Obviously, one of them provides an in-depth list of features whereas the other provides basic features.
With that being said, we’ll look at the crucial eCommerce features that an eCommerce platform must have. And, after comparing both of these platforms on each feature list, we’ll come up with a conclusion.
In general, inventory management means ordering, storing, using, and selling a company’s products. And being an eCommerce store, selling your products is the primary goal. So, you need to select the platform that can handle your products.
The number of products you can include on your website depends on the plan you choose in the Big Cartel. That being said, it lacks this feature as it limits up to 5 products on its Free Plan. Similarly, 50 and 500 products respectively on the Platinum and Diamond Plan.
Besides, Big Cartel has the option to add different variations. However, you won’t be able to show them on your product page as tiny thumbnail images. Instead, those variations will show up as a drop-down list.
Squarespace offers room for an unlimited number of products as well as assistance for product variations. This entails that you can display goods in various sizes and colors. Both of these are quite necessary if you sell goods like apparel.
Customers can view all of these options on a single page. Because these variations will be presented as tiny thumbnails on the screen.
So as to display an unlimited number of products and a range of different variations of each, it provides you with a content manager. This helps you to control and arrange your stock levels all in one handy spot.
Nowadays, digital goods and subscriptions are just as popular as physical products when it comes to an online store. So, an eCommerce platform should provide the ability to sell any type of product.
Now, let’s compare this feature in Big Cartel vs Squarespace!
Well, Big Cartel doesn’t automatically support this feature. To sell different types of products other than physical goods, you’ll need 3rd party applications or extensions. Then only, you can sell digital products.
However, most of the 3rd party apps charge on a monthly basis though some of them are free. If you use a paid extension or app, then it can increase your overall cost of running your store.
Unlike Big Cartel, Squarespace includes everything you need to start selling your digital and physical goods right away. Better yet, you can also sell services that are useful especially if you’re a consultant or service provider.
So, whenever you’ll get started with building your online store, you can configure the types of products to sell. And boom! There you’re able to sell any products without any headache.
The eCommerce platform should offer the feature to purchase confirmation and cart abandonment. You must be able to set up automatic purchase notifications or shipment notifications so that your clients can follow the progress of their orders.
Big Cartel has no such feature of sending purchase confirmation notifications or recovering abandoned carts. This is a major error given how many additional sales could be generated with the help of this feature.
The higher plan of Squarespace, i.e., Advanced Commerce Plan, it offers abandoned cart recovery. This implies that you can send a reminder email to a customer who has started the checkout process but hasn’t completed it.
With reminder emails on each step of the purchasing, it’s a great way to attract and re-engage customers that are indecisive.
Big Cartel and Squarespace both have a number of built-in eCommerce apps and extensions. You can add the required ones to increase the features of your store. Though these aren’t necessarily required, they can enhance both your and the customer’s overall experience.
Big Cartel surely does have add-ons, apps, extensions, and integrations that you might need to use for more functionality. This is because the in-house features of Big Cartel are limited which may not meet your requirements.
Basically, there are different categories of apps and extensions of Big Cartel. They are marketing & promotion, manufacturing, shipping, fulfillment, store management, payment processors, domain providers, etc.
With the above-mentioned categories, you can simply go to the section and select suitable extensions. However, note that some of the extensions are free, freemium, and premium. So, the choice is all yours!
Squarespace doesn’t heavily rely on apps and extensions like Big Cartel. Although Squarespace comes with an adequate eCommerce feature, you can also access the apps and extensions of Squarespace. They simply enhance features rather than add new ones.
There are different categories of extensions so it’ll be easier for you to find the exact one you need. They are shipping and fulfillment, finance, inventory and products, sales and marketing, etc.
Some of these apps and extensions cost you monthly whereas some are completely free to use.
Fortunately, both the Big Cartel and Squarespace seamlessly integrate with social media platforms. This allows you to streamline your selling across several social platforms.
All you need to do is share and post your products on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and much more. This way, you can get more customers and it also helps in promoting your brand.
To ensure the success of your online store, you must monitor the performance of your website closely. This way, you can find the areas of improvement or changes in strategy that works well for your site.
Big Cartel doesn’t have its own software, instead, it depends on 3rd party apps. You’ll get access to Google Analytics as a user of the Platinum and Diamond Plan. With this, you can get strong and precise insights into your site’s performance which is fairly enough to analyze your site.
Meanwhile, Squarespace has its own analytics packages and provides all the major elements required to analyze. It offers tracking revenue, customer behavior, total orders, conversion rates, and much more.
However, it doesn’t provide stock monitoring notifications which is quite a downside!
Besides, you can integrate your Squarespace store with Google Analytics as well. And with the combination of Squarespace analytics and Google Analytics, you can examine even more closely.
If you’re selling products online, then you just can’t avoid taxes. However, both of these platforms have your back! They come with features to help you with taxes effortlessly.
Big Cartel calculates your tax automatically and adjusts your customer’s cost accordingly at the checkout depending on their location. Therefore, you won’t have to spend a lot of time stressing over tricky tax formulas to get your prices straight.
Squarespace also helps you with taxes. You’ll be able to create different tax rules for each location you ship to. This allows you to ensure that you’re complying with the local tax rules and regulations in all of those areas.
Additionally, you can also use one of its extensions, i.e., TaxJar to be even simpler. This is a free extension that you can use right away. It powers sales tax calculations for your store, automated filing, tax reporting, automated sales, etc.
On evaluating all of the features, Squarespace provides more advanced eCommerce features. Whereas, Big Cartel comes with the most basic features for online store websites.
So, the winner of this round is Squarespace!
When talking about online stores or eCommerce sites, payment gateways and options are a must factor to look out for.
So, let’s contrast the payment gateways of Big Cartel vs Squarespace.
Big Cartel offers a number of payment getaways such as Stripe, PayPal, Square, and so on. Along with that, you can find that all of its pricing plans cost 0% as a transaction fee.
Besides, there’s one thing to note about Big Cartel! If you’ve enabled Stripe payment on your website, then instant checkout is available to Apple Pay users. Thus, customers can complete their purchases and transactions without ever leaving the product page.
However, it doesn’t have a customer login feature. So, customers need to enter their details and payment option each time they want to make a purchase. It’s because it lacks the tools to store this kind of details and information.
The payment gateways available in Squarespace are Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, Afterpay, Square, and more. With more payment options than Big Cartel, it provides an easier checkout process as well.
Basically, on its specific pricing plans, it doesn’t charge a single penny as a transaction cost. But if you’ve Business Plan, which includes the most basic eCommerce features, then it costs a 3% transaction fee.
Moreover, when using 3rd party payment gateway, customers have to leave the website to complete the purchase. Whereas, in Squarespace, you won’t have to switch to another web page while using a 3rd party payment gateway, which is convenient.
Squarespace is clearly the winner of this round!
Squarespace comparatively has more options of payment gateways than Big Cartel. In addition, it includes extensions or 3rd party tools to add more payment options that also in convenient way.
Meanwhile, Big Cartel has fewer options and lags behind in terms of storing customers’ details for the payment process.
The top priority for every eCommerce website is security. It’s because the customers that use your website to make purchases are entrusting you with their personal info. Therefore, the site owners must safeguard their data.
Let’s compare the security features of Big Cartel and Squarespace now!
The Big Cartel platform comes with a free SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. SSL certificate basically means that the connection between a browser and your website is secure. And the customers can feel secure on your site knowing their data is safe.
Also, this security is a must for any eCommerce website that accepts online payments where sensitive details are required.
However, there’s something you must be aware of is that Big Cartel isn’t PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant. This implies that you are in charge of abiding by PCI standards while handling and accepting credit card information from customers.
On the other hand, Squarespace comes with great security features as they have technical and organizational security measures. They have a security team that manages the standards, protocols, and practices related to security.
With this platform, you can get an SSL certificate for free. Also, it provides PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance. That means it follows and meets all the standards that handle payment details and credit card details.
Along with that, it comes with DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) protection as it’s especially needed for an eCommerce site. Because every minute your website is down and you’ll be losing out on sales.
The HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security) feature is another addition. This aids in encrypting the content delivered during sessions and allows access to your customers.
After going through the security details of each platform, you can say that Squarespace wins over Big Cartel.
Because Big Cartel provides the security that is just enough to keep your site secure. There is still a lot to enhance their security. Because with this platform, you’ll have to put in a lot of extra effort to keep your site and customer info secure.
Meanwhile, Squarespace comes with proper security as it offers a number of securities for different purposes. So, you won’t have to worry about having a secure site and you can focus on other things.
Though eCommerce features are crucial for online stores, marketing options are equally important for any type of website.
Both of these platforms come with great marketing features that promote your business and attract customers to your store. But you must be confused about selecting your platform.
So, we’ll go through some major marketing options and analyze Big Cartel vs Squarespace in each of the marketing features.
Let’s get into our business!
In general, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a marketing technique that enhances your rankings in search engine results. Such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, etc. This automatically increases the traffic, clicks, sales, etc. on your website
The Big Cartel offers basic SEO features which automatically apply to all of its websites. So, if you’ve your online store on this platform, then you can get access to its features instantly. It includes allocating alt tags for your images, straightforward site navigation, SEO-friendly URLs, etc.
However, when compared to other eCommerce platforms, you might find giving the effort a bit more to impact your rankings. In addition, you’ll need to go through each element of SEO that also without any checklist to help you out.
The Squarespace comes with built-in SEO features for all those websites which are created on this platform. This platform includes the most technical SEO aspects, such as managing your sitemap, HTML markup, meta tags, clean URL, etc.
Moreover, to further assist you, it offers handy SEO checklists. This ensures that you’re doing everything possible to improve your site’s ranking. Thus, this kind of support in this area is beneficial for the newbie who usually needs additional guidance.
Email marketing is one of the best marketing channels despite the rise of social media. Because the inbox with marketing and advertising emails still affects the customer’s purchasing decision positively.
Big Cartel doesn’t come with its own email marketing feature. That’s the reason why you won’t be able to have a set of custom or personalized emails sent to your customers instantly or automatically.
But the optimistic thing to rely on is that you’ll be able to get an app/extension on your website to access this service. Having said that, you can use Mailchimp on the Big Cartel platform, to fully enjoy all of the email marketing features.
Unlike Big Cartel, there is built-in email marketing software for Squarespace. Its email campaigns provide a unique way to expand and interact with your audience. Along with that, there are visually stunning email layouts that you can access and can be customized to fit your brand.
Hence, this is a great method to grow a subscriber list, engage the audience for your regular newsletters and promotions, and more.
On top of that, it also comes with various pricing and plans of email marketing that start at $5/month. However, it offers a trial version as well which you can test and try out. After which, you’ll need to pay for a subscription plan to continue.
You can think of blogging as merely the act of writing a blog. There, you can share information on different niches and include it on your website. This helps your customers to know more about your website and interact with them as well via comments, feedback, forms, etc.
Sad to say, but adding a blog to your online store using the Big Cartel platform isn’t as simple as you think.
First of all, it doesn’t offer an inbuilt blogging feature which already lags behind in terms of marketing. Therefore, to add a blog to your website, unsurprisingly, you’ll have to use an app to launch your blog.
However, your disappointment just doesn’t end here! Even though you use an app, you’ll probably need to know some coding stuff to connect the blog to your store. This makes it even worse because it’s targeted for beginners and is just complicated in this case.
Unlike Big Cartel, Squarespace enables you to include a blog in your online store. In addition to that, its eCommerce layout seamlessly incorporates blogs. Along with that, you’ll get a professional choice to establish your brand’s presence online as well by including a blog.
On top of that, you’ll be able to configure some of the settings of your blogs also. Such as post URL format, comment settings, enable simple liking, enable using AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages).
Squarespace unquestionably offers a much more advanced set of marketing features than Big Cartel. With the above features on both platforms, it’s safe to say that Big Cartel somehow lags behind.
Whereas, with the comprehensive features of Squarespace, you can really grow your online business slowly with the online presence. Thus, Squarespace is the winner!
Pricing/Budgeting is the most significant factor to be considered, let’s compare the pricing packages of Big Cartel and Squarespace now!
The pricing options of Big Cartel are simple and affordable and don’t come with any hidden fees. It comes with a free plan and 2 premium options. So, altogether, there are 3 pricing packages on the Big Cartel platform. Let’s take a look at them!
The pricing plans of Squarespace have much more transparent similar to the Big Cartel. However, it doesn’t offer any free plan; rather, you can get 2 weeks of the free trial. So, it means it comes with premium plans only. But it does allow you to change or cancel your plan anytime.
So, specifically for the eCommerce sites, there are 2 premium pricing plans of Squarespace which are worth checking out.
Big Cartel is the winner of this round as it offers affordable costs with the free plan. Whereas Squarespace doesn’t have a free plan and the cost is comparatively higher. But it does offer advanced features given the money value.
Thus, with Big Cartel, you can start right away for your start-up business and that is also within your budget.
Your online shop is bound to encounter some issues occasionally or once in a while which might get you stuck. That’s when excellent customer support from the platform is the most critical factor to take into account.
So, let’s compare the customer support services of Big Cartel vs Squarespace!
You can get access to the customer support service in Big Cartel from its official website on the footer section. Just click on the Help link, and you’ll be redirected to the page with loads of documentation and a knowledge base.
There, you can find the articles where you can get started to set up your store to customize each setting. Also, with its tutorial articles, you can quickly configure each element by simply following the steps.
Other than that, it also comes with email support which is available on the working days, i.e. Monday to Friday. There, you can send your queries, and a team of experts will respond with possible answers immediately.
But for the common issues and queries, most of the things are already included in their knowledge base articles.
Squarespace offers great customer support to its users. On its official website, go to the Help Center from the footer section.
It comes with the guidelines for each of their products like website, domain, and especially for eCommerce. In the search box, you can search for a specific topic and you can find related articles.
There are also video tutorials on various topics such as getting started, accounts, billing, analytics, and much more. Other than that, you can also check out its forums and restore options.
Besides, it comes with email support and social media support that is also 24/7. In addition, it also offers live chat support which is available on working days.
Undoubtedly, Squarespace is the winner! It offers a wide variety of support options with its comprehensive knowledge base, video, tutorials, and more. Meanwhile, Big Cartel only offers email support and documentation for guidelines, which simply makes it difficult for it to compete.
|One of the few eCommerce platforms that allow you to sell online products for free.
|There is a lack of advanced and in-depth features and quality needs enhancement.
|Access to its templates for free.
|Doesn’t let you sell in multiple currencies at once.
|Ideal Platform for selling individual products or shops with a small inventory.
|The theme’s design is comparatively basic and inflexible as it offers lesser customization options.
|Comes with clean navigation and user-friendly prompts that allow you to set up your online shop quickly.
|Requires coding skills to gain more flexibility and create a website exactly to your requirements.
|Offer stunning templates with a gorgeous storefront and a responsive design that looks great on any device.
|No free plan included.
|Comes with the most user-friendly design and content management system.
|With a steeper learning curve, it might take some time to get grips with the editor.
|No transaction fee on its eCommerce plans.
|The cost of its plans is quite expensive.
|Provides extensive eCommerce features that elevate your online store, including a strong inventory system and analytical tools.
|Customization and content adding can occasionally be challenging.
Big Cartel and Squarespace both are great platforms for building an online store. However, each of them has its own set of unique features, criteria, needs, and demands when it comes to the online store.
Overall, Squarespace provides the most comprehensive eCommerce and other packages. This platform is ideal for small to medium businesses that are planning on growing and scaling. It’s perfect for anyone who needs a visually appealing website with high-resolution images that feature their products prominently.
Big Cartel, in contrast, comes with a basic set of features. It’s the best suitable for independent artists and other personal site owners who require a platform for single items. It attracts users who want to sell as a hobby or side business with simpler functions, restricted inventory, and lower cost as well.
Although the decision is entirely yours, we would like to recommend you to go with Squarespace. Because it competes favorably with top rivals with its advanced features despite being a website builder with additional eCommerce functionality.
That’s it, folks! We’ve arrived at the end of this article.
Hopefully, you’ve understood the differences between Big Cartel vs Squarespace after reading this article.
We expect this article to serve as a guide and help you make a better choice. We wish you all the best in creating your eCommerce website. Also, leave us a comment on which platform you chose and why so. Your feedback can be helpful to our other viewers as well.
If you’ve any more queries, then feel free to ask us. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Also, share this article with your friends and colleagues.