If you are just starting out in e-commerce and you’re wondering whether you should use Big Cartel or Etsy. Then you have come to the right place.
This is a question that a lot of online sellers face, and it can be tough to decide which route to take.
In this comprehensive guide, I will compare Big Cartel and Etsy and break down the features of each platform so you can make the best decision for your business.
At a glance, here are the core differences between Etsy and Big Cartel
|Customer Base||Looking for unique, handmade crafts||Tends to be Indie artists and people passionate about homemade art|
|Ease of Use||Has more features which you can edit, but can be slightly challenging to do as a beginner.||Has a simple and easy-to-use template but you cannot change it.|
|Customer Service||Has 24/7 Customer Service Support||Has 12 Customer Service Consultants working from 8am to 6pm EST on Mondays to Fridays only.|
|Fees||Listing fee of USD $0.20 Transaction Fee of 6.5% of displayed price||List up to 5 products for free 50 products at USD $ 9.99 / month500 products at USD $ 19.99 / month|
|Pricing Plans||Etsy Plus at USD $10 / month||Same as above|
|Customization||No website building feature You can change other design aspects such as images, logos, banners, and product listings.||Create your online store using a site-builder Drag-and-drop features to customize your site|
|Payment Plans||Installment plans using Klarna at Checkout.||None for now.|
|Ecommerce Features||Comprehensive search function to prioritize the customer experience. Analytical features that provide comprehensive data for sellers||Easily categorized product pages Sales pages to promote products Easy tools to promote products|
|Design||Clear and concise design to make it easy for customers to search for products. Allows for multiple product images so you can see how products are used.||Clean design that easily features large images. Allows only 1 image per product.|
|What Products Sell Well?||Unique handmade items that capture the heart of the buyer.||Art prints, clothing and stationery specifically designed for Indie Artists.|
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Alternatively, you can also check out this free Etsy Ebook that will share a list of best-selling products by month and teach you how to capitalize on seasonal trends to skyrocket your Etsy sales.
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What Is Big Cartel?
Big Cartel is an e-commerce solution similar to Etsy or eBay. You get your online store where you can upload your products so customers can browse through, pick the items they want, and pay for them using PayPal or Stripe.
Once they have paid, you get a notification and can then go ahead and ship the items to them. Big Cartel is designed to make it convenient for you to sell online.
For free users, you can list up to 5 different products and it provides you with all the tools to set up your store easily. You can pay to list more products.
You need not be an IT expert to have a Big Cartel store. As a merchant, you will have plenty of control over your store’s design and function.
With Big Cartel, there’s no need for coding or design experience since you’re able to customize your shop with just a few clicks using the site’s easy-to-use interface.
Does that mean Big Cartel is better than Etsy? It depends on what you are looking for.
What Is Etsy?
Etsy is an online marketplace that connects buyers and sellers of handmade or vintage items. Sellers can open their shops on Etsy, and buyers can search for items by keyword or category.
Etsy has over 60 million items listed, which means there are a huge variety of options.
Etsy also offers a wide range of features to help sellers run their businesses, including payments processing, shipping labels, advertising, and more.
If you’re looking to start selling your handmade or vintage creations online, Etsy may be the perfect platform for you in the battle of Etsy vs Big Cartel.
Difference Between Etsy And Big Cartel
Now that you know what both these platforms are, you must be itching to find out the differences between Big Cartel or Etsy to see which is most suitable for your needs.
Do read on to find out more about which is better between Big Cartel or Etsy for your business.
As of 2020, Etsy had a whopping 81.9 million buyers. While the sellers on Etsy are both men and women. Etsy’s customer base is filled with people mainly looking to buy unique, handcrafted items that cannot be found elsewhere.
Big Cartel appears to favor artists who are selling unique goods online. So the customer base is filled with indie artists and people who are passionate about homemade art.
Ease Of Use
With Etsy, more features can be edited by your self but it can be slightly complicated to edit them on your own compared to Big Cartel which has a template that you cannot change.
There are guides available on Etsy and YouTube to set up your Etsy store easily for beginners.
While Big Cartel may not have fantastic features, setting it up is very easy. Big Cartel takes you through the steps of adding your product, designing your site, and setting up your checkout.
Big Cartel is an online storefront builder and e-commerce website.
You will feel comforted going through this because of its simple prompts and instructions. For those who prefer video tutorials, you can try watching this step-by-step guide instead.
In the battle of Big Cartel vs Etsy, ease of use appears to be quite balanced between the two platforms.
Etsy has the option of getting support during your time of need through a phone call request or email. Etsy has 24/7 support so you can rest assured that you will be able to get the help you need immediately.
Their help site is also highly informative and could provide you with the answers you need before you need to approach their customer service consultants.
Big Cartel has 12 customer service consultants working from 8 am to 6 pm EST on Mondays to Fridays. This may not be as favourable as Etsy.
Do not panic though, similar to Etsy, Big Cartel’s help page is highly informative and may help to resolve your issues.
One of the biggest areas of concern for sellers in the comparison of Big Cartel Vs Etsy is the fees.
Etsy charges a listing fee of USD $0.20 for each item that you list on the platform. This is regardless of the sales you make.
Etsy also charges a transaction fee of 6.5% of the displayed price. This means that you need to account for these in your costing or it will eat into your profit margin.
Another type of fee that is charged is Advertising and Promotional fees. However, this depends on the type of ads you run on Etsy which is calculated when you start adding your ads into the system.
Other types of fees are charged by Etsy and it varies. This is depending on the location and currency you use such as delivery fees and currency conversion fees.
Big Cartel operates differently. You can list up to 5 products for free on Big Cartel. You can list 50 products at USD $9.99 / month and $19.99 / month for 500 products.
Big Cartel does not take any transaction fee for selling on its platform. You only need to pay for the payment processing fees. If you are wondering about the benefits of the Big Cartel selling fees, perhaps this may make you feel better.
The Big Cartel fees that you must pay are to the payment merchants.
Stripe Fees are 2.9% plus USD $0.30 and Pay Pal charges 3.49% plus USD $ 0.49 per transaction.
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When you become an Etsy seller, you will immediately be part of the Etsy Standard suite which gives you the option to customize your store features. Etsy Standard is free and available for all sellers.
You can opt to sign up for a paid option which is Etsy Plus and it has extra features. It costs USD $ 10 / month.
Etsy Plus has certain benefits such as:
- More options to customize your store
- More discount options
- Providing more promotions
- Easier for customers to request restocking for your out-of-stock items
- Showcase discounts easily
- Credits in your account that helps with product listings and running Etsy ads
The only pricing plan available for Big Cartel was shared above. That is if you wish to increase the number of products you are listing from 5, which is the free option. You can list 50 products at USD $9.99 / month and $19.99 / month for 500 products.
Etsy does not have a website building feature. You are essentially listing items and sharing information using pre-determined spaces. However, do not be disheartened.
There is still a lot of design you can add to your Etsy store, such as the banner of your page, your page logo, a photo of yourself, the about me section, a product listing area, and more. These are all customizable in terms of what you add to it.
The benefits of customizing your Etsy or Big Cartel store are based on the needs of the individual seller.
Customization can range from simple changes to a store’s look, including font colors and logos, to using one’s customized domain name, which can benefit sellers who operate their stores as an online business rather than just a hobby.
Appearance customization is used by many Etsy store owners as it is easy to do with a couple of clicks. Even if many store owners use one of Etsy’s pre-existing themes, being able to easily update the store’s look and feel can be an advantage for many sellers.
Customizing your Etsy or Big Cartel store can be beneficial because you may find that certain design elements can be improved to entice more buyers to visit and make a purchase.
Big Cartel is an online store that allows sellers to create their customizable store through the use of the site builder. It is essentially a drag-and-drop feature and that makes it easy for those with no coding or website building experience.
Big Cartel stores are essentially just websites, so they can be customized with custom URLs, colors, fonts, logos, domain name usage. You can play with the design to your heart’s content to get a look and feel that fits your branding.
Furthermore, if you have the expertise, you can use HTML and CSS in a Big Cartel store that allows for more interesting and unique customization options such as creating a completely new website layout.
Etsy provides an installment plan for shoppers who wish to pay in installments.
For now, it is available only for shoppers in the United States. Shoppers need to select the Klarna option at the checkout and then they can split their purchase into multiple payments.
This is helpful for shoppers who wish to indulge in something extra such as their anniversaries or festive occasions.
However, please be mindful of the installment options. You are highly encouraged to spend within your means as you do not wish to be shocked by a huge bill months later.
There are no existing payment plans or installment plans for shoppers available on Big Cartel for now.
E-commerce is a type of business where goods or services are traded electronically. These goods and services may be physical merchandise, such as books and CDs; virtual items like digital music files; or non-physical items such as event tickets and airline flight reservations.
E-commerce features can help with:
- Getting the product out to the customers through search functions.
- Different types of buttons make it convenient for buyers.
- Displaying the rules and regulations of online purchases.
Etsy’s e-commerce features are very minimal because they want their users to be able to sell any handmade product off of their website.
Etsy has a search function where people looking for different handmade items can type in their search item and Etsy will show you all of the results that match your criteria.
Etsy has taken the effort to prioritize the customer’s experience. Hence, it is easy to search for items, see which are popular and top-selling.
Etsy’s analytical features are useful for the seller too. Sellers can see who has had the most page views and can make adjustments by studying this data.
Big Cartel is very different from Etsy because Big Cartel has a store attached to their website so they have e-commerce features such as:
- Products pages with categories and tags for easy searching.
- Sales pages to promote products and their sales.
- Easy tools for promoting and creating your business.
- In-built payment feature so you do not have to think about setting up your own.
Big Cartel also has a store that makes it easier for large businesses to create an online shop. Their sales pages are easy to navigate and have categories of products which can be good for promoting different products.
E-commerce features are important because they allow people to easily find what they are looking for whether it’s handmade or a product.
E-commerce features also make it easy for businesses to promote their store and merchandise, which makes it easier for people to find information about the business.
Etsy reflects simplicity in its design choices, but this simplicity does not take away from the user experience. The first element that draws the eye is a large image of featured items, displayed prominently above the fold.
These highlighted products are separated by categories so users can quickly find what they are looking for. The design is clear and concise.
Etsy’s layout makes the most popular items easily discoverable, which encourages browsing and can lead to more sales
Another popular element of Etsy’s design is the display of other sellers’ shops under the related products section, so people can discover similar stores or browse the latest additions.
Big Cartel has a layout that features large images prominently on the home page. Each product’s image is accompanied by its price, name, and tagline. Categories appear at the top of the page, with subcategories appearing below each main category.
The design is clean but has less of a focus on making the most popular items easily discoverable. Unlike Etsy, Big Cartel does not show the most popular products right away.
Another huge difference in design is that you can upload multiple photos to one product listing on Etsy. However, with Big Cartel you can only upload 1 image per product using the free plan.
This means that your buyers can see more ways that the product can be used from Etsy rather than Big Cartel.
Overall this approach to design makes Etsy more conducive to finding what users are looking for quickly.
What Products Sell Well?
Is Big Cartel like Etsy in terms of the products that sell well? Yes, certain overlapping products sell well on both platforms.
The best-selling items on Etsy are unique, handmade designs that capture the heart of the buyer.
Categories that do especially well include jewelry, stationery, clothing/fashion accessories, art prints, housewares (especially mugs), and bath & beauty products.
The top niches on Big Cartel tend to be art prints, clothing, and stationery and are designed specifically for artists and indie stores.
If you wish to learn more about the best items to sell on Etsy, check out this free guide.
Can You Connect Big Cartel To Etsy?
Yes you can connect Big Cartel to Etsy! If you already have an Etsy profile or a shop with Shopify or Squarespace, you can quickly load your catalog into your Big Cartel shop with our product import feature.
The good news is that with a few simple steps, you can connect your Etsy and Big Cartel accounts.
You can import products from Etsy into Big Cartel within your Big Cartel dashboard. Once you click on Import products, just follow their simple instructions.
You are advised not to delete your Etsy account until everything is working well on Big Cartel after the import.
Similarly, you can migrate your store from Big Cartel into Etsy. Though there is no guide available on the Etsy Help Centre, you can engage a Migration expert to help you with this.
Please do take note though, migrating or importing your store does not mean that they will work together. Meaning, visitors on Big Cartel cannot be linked to make purchases on your Etsy store and vice versa.
Likewise, there is no cross inventory linking. Meaning if you run out of stock on your Etsy but still have stock on your Big Cartel store, it will not be transferred over to enable a sale on the other platform.
Is Big Cartel Good For Small Businesses?
Yes, Big Cartel is good for small businesses that are on a tight budget. Due to the free plan which allows you to sell up to 5 products, you can keep your costs low while starting out.
Once your sales increase and you have a bit of extra cash to spare, you can always upgrade to the paid plans which allow up to 50 or 500 products to be listed.
Another excellent advantage for small businesses is the fact that Stripe and PayPal are already included in the e-commerce features.
You need not subscribe separately to payment merchants, which is what would happen if you created your site.
Is Big Cartel better than Etsy in this case? I think it is.
Is Etsy Good For Small Businesses?
Yes, Etsy is good for small businesses. Etsy has a specific and structured process to take when you set up your Etsy store. None of the requirements for Etsy require you to have big capital or existing followers.
If you do your keyword research right, analyze your competitors, take great photos, and be disciplined, there is no reason why you will not succeed on Etsy as a small business owner.
Etsy shoppers love buying unique and handmade items that have a beautiful story with the product or seller. These are all values that resonate with small business owners.
However, selling on Etsy does present its share of challenges for small business owners.
For example, listing and transaction fees can bite into your profit margins which may be hard to handle as a small business owner
Additionally, there is a free shipping guarantee that sellers can put for shoppers within the USA. This means that those items that are listed as free shipping will get priority search for USA shoppers.
This can get costly for small businesses that are selling to shoppers based in the USA. They may lose out on shop views by not giving this guarantee. However, if they do give it, their costs may pile up.
Well, there you have it, folks! Were you lost about whether to choose Big Cartel or Etsy before you read this article?
Hopefully, after reading it, you feel more confident about what to choose. There is no one right size fits all approach. Do you want Big Cartel or Etsy? It depends on your business needs, budget, product, and target market!
With that, I wish you the very best of luck in your brand new e-commerce adventure!