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Big Cartel vs WordPress for eCommerce: Let’s Find The Best Solution

Shams Sumon





36 min read

Since eCommerce is an ever-expanding industry, choosing the right platform for your online store is crucial. Two of the most popular options are Big Cartel and WordPress. While both have their own strengths and weaknesses, they cater to different types of businesses and needs.

Big Cartel was founded in 2005 by a musician, Matt Wigham. It is a hosted eCommerce platform designed for artists, makers, and small businesses.

On the other hand, WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that can be used to create a wide variety of websites, including eCommerce stores. It was founded by Matt Mullenweg in 2003.

In this blog post, we will compare Big Cartel and WordPress comprehensively. We will discuss the features that they offer as well as their ease of use, design flexibility, shipping, payment gateways, and many more. We will also help you to determine which platform is the right choice for your eCommerce business.

So, stay tuned for our in-depth comparison of Big Cartel and WordPress for eCommerce!

Big Cartel vs WordPress– A Short Overview

What is Big Cartel

Big Cartel is an eCommerce platform that allows artists, makers, and independent entrepreneurs to create and manage their online stores.

It offers customizable templates and tools for managing inventory, processing orders, and handling payments. It’s a popular choice for individuals and small businesses looking for a simple and artist-friendly way to set up an online store to sell their creative products.

Market Share of Big Cartel

Big Cartel is an eCommerce platform that is popular among artists and makers. It is a relatively small platform, but it has a loyal following.

According to W3Techs, Big Cartel has a market share of 0.5% of all websites that use a content management system. As of now, Big Cartel is used by more than 70,000 websites worldwide.

Big Cartel’s market share is smaller than the WordPress market share. However, Big Cartel is still a popular choice for many small businesses and independent creators.

What is WordPress

WordPress is the most popular free and open-source Content Management System (CMS). It was launched back in 2003 as a blogging platform, but with time, it has become the most popular choice for creating any type of website that includes eCommerce websites as well.

The ease of use, user friendly interface, and little to no learning curve make this platform massively popular, especially among non-techy people.

Market Share of WordPress

As we already said, WordPress is the most popular Content Management System. According to the latest data shared by W3Techs, WordPress has a market share of 43.1% of all websites, as of October 12, 2023.

This means that WordPress powers over one-third of all websites on the internet.

If we look at only websites that are created with CMSs, WordPress’ market share is even higher: 63.1% of websites built with an identifiable content management system are currently using WordPress!

Big Cartel vs WordPress for eCommerce: Key Features, Similarities, and Differences

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As we have said earlier, Big Cartel and WordPress both are Content Management Systems but they have some differences like WordPress is a self-hosted platform, on the other hand, Big Cartel is a hosted platform. That proofs both have some similarities and differences, right?

In this segment, we are going to briefly discuss the features, similarities, and differences between these two platforms. Here is the list of the topics that we are going to cover:

  1. Interface and Ease of Use
  2. Design and Personalization
  3. Shipping
  4. Tax
  5. Payment Gateways
  6. Security and Backup
  7. Product Management
  8. Marketing and SEO
  9. Help and Support
  10. Pricing

Now let’s get started with the first point-

1. Interface and Ease of Use

As a beginner, first, you need to know which platform is the easiest to use. If your chosen platform has a complicated learning curve, it will demotivate you to continue further.

That is why, now we are focusing on which platform is easier to use between Big Cartel and WordPress.

Interface and Ease of Use of Big Cartel

Big Cartel is a hosted solution which means that it runs on its own servers, and you don’t need to worry about installing software anywhere or buying web hosting. As long as you have access to a computer, a web browser, and the internet, you can build and maintain a Big Cartel store from anywhere.

The platform is a SaaS (Software as a service) product, which means that you don’t own it, but instead pay a monthly fee to use it.

Big Cartel is known for being one of the easiest eCommerce platforms to use. It has a clean and intuitive interface, and it is easy to get started even if you have no prior experience with building websites.

This is a screenshot of the Big Cartel dashboard

The Big Cartel dashboard is clean and organized, and it gives you quick access to all of the important tools and information you need to manage your store.

Interface and Ease of Use of WordPress

Unlike Big Cartel, WordPress is a self-hosted platform. That means you have to buy domain and hosting on your own from other providers. After buying a domain and hosting, you can easily install WordPress on your cPanel in 10 minutes. You’ll get a clean slate after installing the WordPress.

WordPress comes with a very easy user interface. Even if you have no prior experience with web development, you should be able to figure out how to use WordPress quickly and easily.

If you want to create any post, page, or media, you’ll get everything on the left sidebar.

WordPress dashboard

WordPress, by default, doesn’t come with any eCommerce features. So, to create an eCommerce store with WordPress, you have to install a free plugin called WooCommerce. This plugin has all the features to easily create and manage any kind of eCommerce store.

2. Design and Personalization

The competition among eCommerce site owners is fiercer now more than ever. Everyone wants to make their site stand out and so do you.

You can only make your site exceptional and attractive with a simple and sleek design. To do that you need to have design flexibility. In this part, we are going to discuss the design flexibility of these two platforms- Big Cartel and WordPress.

Big Cartel Design and Personalization

Big Cartel offers 19 themes, all of which are free to use. This is a smaller selection of themes than other e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify and WordPress, but Big Cartel’s themes are well-designed and customizable.

Big Cartel’s themes are divided into two categories: General and Industry themes. The General themes are suitable for a variety of businesses, while the Industry themes are more specialized for specific industries, such as art, fashion, and food.

This is an image that shows the list of the Big Cartel themes

To customize a Big Cartel theme, you can change the colors, fonts, and layout of your store. You can also add your own images and branding. If you have some coding experience, you can also edit the theme’s code to make further customizations.

WordPress Design and Personalization

  • WordPress offers a vast library of themes, both free and premium, that control the overall look and layout of your site.
  • In the WordPress repository, you will find 2200+ free themes for eCommerce stores.
  • You can easily switch between themes, and most come with customization options for colors, fonts, and layout, allowing you to align your site’s appearance with your brand.
This image shows the list of the WordPress themes for eCommerce websites
  • WordPress has more than 60,000 free plugins in the repository. And this number is only getting larger every day. Also, WordPress has a numerous number of third-party premium plugins available for you.
  • For implementing eCommerce features like store SEO, payment gateway, shipping, product preview, etc., you will get several plugins for each purpose in the repository.
  • Page builder plugins like Elementor, Divi, and Beaver Builder empower you to create custom layouts with a user-friendly, drag-and-drop interface.
  • These tools often include pre-designed content modules that simplify the process of adding various elements to your pages.
  • If you have coding knowledge, you can add custom CSS styles to fine-tune your site’s design and appearance.
  • WordPress offers a range of widgets that you can place in widget-ready areas on your site. These widgets can display content like recent posts, categories, and more.

3. Shipping

Shipping is the process of delivering purchased products or goods from the seller’s location to the customer’s designated address. So, when you are selling products from your eCommerce store, it’s your responsibility to deliver products smoothly to your buyer’s address.

Let’s check which platform gives you the most flexibility in terms of shipping:

Shipping Feature of Big Cartel

  • Shipping Profiles: Big Cartel’s shipping profiles allow you to create custom shipping rates for different regions and shipping methods. You can create multiple shipping profiles and assign them to different products or categories.
This is a screenshot of the Big Cartel Shipping profile
  • Product-Level Shipping: You can also override the shipping rates set in your shipping profiles by setting product-level shipping rates. This is useful for products that have unique shipping requirements.
  • Free Shipping: Big Cartel allows you to offer free shipping on all or select orders. You can also set a minimum order amount for free shipping.
  • Local Pickup and Delivery: Big Cartel allows you to offer local pickup and delivery options. This is a great way to reduce shipping costs and offer your customers a convenient way to receive their orders.
  • Shipment tracking: Big Cartel integrates with popular shipping carriers to provide shipment tracking information to your customers.

Shipping Feature of WordPress

  • eCommerce Plugin: To enable shipping features on your WordPress website, you’ll typically use eCommerce plugins such as WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, or WP eCommerce. These plugins offer comprehensive shipping solutions.
  • Shipping Method: eCommerce plugins provide a range of shipping methods to choose from, including standard shipping, express shipping, local pickup, and more. You can configure and customize these methods based on your specific business needs.
This is the screenshot of WordPress Shipping
  • Shipping Zone: You can define shipping zones, which are geographical regions where you offer shipping services. Each zone can have its own shipping methods, rates, and rules. This allows you to tailor shipping options to different locations.
  • Shipping Calculators: eCommerce plugins often include shipping calculators that automatically determine shipping costs based on factors like package weight, destination, and shipping method. This provides real-time cost estimates during the checkout process.
  • Shipping Rules and Discounts: You can set up rules and discounts related to shipping, such as offering free shipping for orders over a certain amount or applying discounts for loyal customers.
  • Notifications and Tracking: You can set up automated notifications to keep customers informed about their order’s shipping status, including tracking information and estimated delivery dates.

4. Tax

Tax for an eCommerce website is the sales tax that you charge and collect from your customers. It is a percentage of the price of the items you sell, and it works similarly to the tax you would charge your customer in a physical store.

Let’s check how to handle taxes using Big Cartel and WordPress platform:

Tax Feature of Big Big Cartel

  • Tax Rates: Big Cartel allows you to set up tax rates for different regions and product types. You can also set up default tax rates for all products in your store.
  • Automatic Tax Calculation: Big Cartel offers an automatic tax calculation feature that will automatically add the correct amount of sales tax to your customers’ orders based on their shipping address.
This screenshot shows the Big Cartel tax settings
  • Tax Reports: Big Cartel generates tax reports that can be used to file your sales tax returns.
  • Integrations: Big Cartel also offers a variety of integrations with tax software, such as TaxJar and Avalara. These integrations can help you automate your tax compliance process.

Tax Feature of WordPress

  • WooCommerce Plugin: WooCommerce is a free, highly flexible eCommerce plugin for WordPress that provides robust features for managing taxes.
  • Tax Configuration: Once WooCommerce is installed and activated, you can configure tax settings from the plugin’s settings in the WordPress dashboard. You can specify your business’s location and address to set up tax rates accordingly.
  • Tax Zones and Classes: WooCommerce allows you to create tax zones, which are geographical regions where you’ll apply taxes. You can define different tax classes based on the type of products you sell, such as standard, reduced, or exempt.
  • Tax Rates: Within each tax zone, you can set up different tax rates based on local tax laws or regulations. WooCommerce lets you create both standard and reduced tax rates as needed.
  • Tax Calculation Options: You can choose to apply taxes based on the customer’s shipping address, billing address, or your store’s base location, ensuring accurate tax calculations during the checkout process.

5. Payment Gateways

A payment gateway is like a digital cashier for your eCommerce website. It securely collects and processes customer payments. It also offers features like fraud protection and works with various payment methods, making it easier for businesses to accept online payments.

Big Cartel and WordPress both have integration with popular payment gateways. In this part, we are going to discuss about that.

Big Cartel Payment Gateways

Big Cartel offers two payment gateways: Stripe and PayPal. Both Stripe and PayPal are good payment gateways for Big Cartel businesses.

In terms of payment gateways, Big Cartel falls behind WordPress.

Big Cartel also doesn’t support other payment types like Cash on Delivery or Direct Bank Transfer.

WordPress Payment Gateways

WooCommerce is the dedicated eCommerce solution for WordPress. It has integration with all the major payment gateways, including PayPal, Stripe, Wirecard, Google Pay, Apple Pay, etc. You can install the WooCommerce Payments plugin to accept credit cards, debit cards, and other popular payment methods.

You can also configure WooCommerce to accept the following payment methods:

  • Check payments
  • Cash on delivery
  • Direct bank transfer
  • Local payment methods, such as Boleto Bancário, Paytm, and Alipay
This is the screenshot of WordPress Payment Gateways

To configure WooCommerce to accept these payment methods, you will need to install and activate the appropriate extensions. For example, to accept check payments, you will need to install and activate the WooCommerce Checks extension.

6. Security and Backup

Security is one of the main concerns for an eCommerce website. Unless you are able to ensure bulletproof security for your site, you won’t be able to gain your customers’ trust.

Big Cartel and WordPress both are secure platforms. Also, they have different ways to provide automatic backup for your site. Let’s talk about that!

Security and Backup of Big Cartel

All Big Cartel stores are protected by SSL encryption, which helps to protect your customers’ personal and financial information. Also, Big Cartel uses a variety of fraud prevention measures to help protect your store from fraudulent orders.

Also, it offers two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security.

Big Cartel is PCI compliant, which means that it meets the highest standards for security for businesses that process credit card payments.

In terms of backup, Big Cartel automatically backs up your store data on a daily basis. You can also manually back up your store data at any time. If anything happens to your store data, you can easily restore it from a backup.

Security and Backup of WordPress

WordPress has the largest number of users among all the CMS platforms. Since it has the most users, the possibility of attacks is higher here. WordPress itself is a secure platform, however, the problem arises when someone uses third-party plugins or themes from untrustable sources.

To tighten the security of your WordPress-powered eCommerce store, you have to use a security plugin like Wordfence, Sucuri, Security Ninja, etc.

Since WordPress doesn’t offer any built-in backup service, you have to install a backup plugin like UpdraftPlus, BlogVault, Duplicator, etc. to ensure automatic backup for your eCommerce site.

You should also regularly update your WordPress core version, plugins, and themes to secure your website from any unwanted threats.

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7. Product Management

Product management for an eCommerce website involves handling everything related to the products you sell online. This includes creating detailed product listings with descriptions and images, organizing products into categories, setting prices, managing stock, optimizing for search engines, and presenting products attractively.

Let’s check how Big Cartel and WordPress manage products:

Big Cartel Product Management

There are two ways to add products to a Big Cartel store. If you have quite a lot of products, it’s usually best to bulk import them using a CSV file. But remember you can import a maximum of 500 products if you are using the highest-paid plan.

The other way and the more suitable one for merchants who are just selling a few items is to simply add the products manually using the Big Cartel interface.

This image shows how to add products to a Big Cartel powered online store

Remember, you are quite limited in terms of how many product images you can add. The free plan only lets you show one image of a product, and the paid plans only let you add five.

Additionally, not all Big Cartel themes feature a product zoom option. And you don’t get the option to upload 3D models of your products, either.

You can add videos to products, but only if you’re happy to embed content from external services like YouTube or Vimeo into your product descriptions — Big Cartel won’t host your product videos for you.

WordPress Product Management

  • Product Creation: WooCommerce- an eCommerce solution for WordPress, makes it super easy to add, edit, and delete any products to your eCommerce store. It enables you to create detailed product listings, including product descriptions, images, pricing, and variations.
This is the screenshot of WordPress Product Management
  • Customization: You can customize products with various attributes, including size, color, SKU, and more. This flexibility allows you to cater to different product types and variations.
  • Categories and Tags: Organize your products by categorizing them and adding tags for easy navigation. This enhances the user experience, helping customers find products quickly.
  • Inventory Management: Keep track of your product stock levels, receive low-stock notifications, and manage inventory efficiently. Various inventory management features are available through WooCommerce and other eCommerce plugins.
  • Product Images and Galleries: WordPress provides excellent support for product images and galleries. You can showcase your products with high-quality images and create appealing product displays for your online store.

8. Marketing and SEO

Marketing for an eCommerce site involves strategies to attract customers, such as creating content, using social media, and email marketing.

As an eCommerce store owner, it’s your utmost priority to attract customers to your store. Here is how Big Cartel and WordPress will help you to get this job done.

Marketing and SEO of Big Cartel

  • Optimized Page Titles and Meta Descriptions: Big Cartel automatically generates optimized page titles and meta descriptions for your store pages.
  • Valid HTML Markup: Big Cartel uses valid HTML markup, which makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index your store.
  • Social Media Integration: Big Cartel allows you to integrate your store with social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This makes it easy to share your products with your followers and drive traffic to your store.
  • Email Marketing: Big Cartel allows you to collect email addresses from your customers and send them email newsletters.
  • Discount Codes: Big It enables you to create discount codes that your customers can use to save money on their purchases.
  • Analytics: Big Cartel provides you with analytics that show you how your store is performing. This information can help you to identify areas where you can improve your marketing efforts.

Marketing and SEO of WordPress

  • Built-in Features: WordPress doesn’t offer any built-in features for marketing and SEO except permalink settings. But there are several free plugins to get this job done.
  • SEO Optimization: WordPress offers powerful SEO capabilities. You can customize meta tags, URLs, and other SEO elements, enhancing your website’s visibility in search engine results. Popular SEO plugins like Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack provide these features.
  • Blogging: WordPress is renowned for its blogging feature. You can easily create and organize content, including articles, blog posts, landing pages, and more, allowing you to effectively engage your audience and improve SEO.
  • Social Media Integration: WordPress seamlessly integrates with social media platforms. You can share content, add social sharing buttons, and engage with your audience on various social networks, extending your reach and increasing brand visibility.
  • Email Marketing: WordPress supports email marketing through plugins like Mailchimp and Constant Contact. These tools allow you to build email lists, send newsletters, and run targeted email campaigns to promote products or services effectively.
  • SEO Plugins: WordPress has a vast collection of SEO plugins. In addition to Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack, you can explore plugins like Rank Math and SEOPress, which offer advanced SEO features and enhancements.

9. Help and Support

The Help and Support feature for an eCommerce platform is very crucial. This feature ensures that users can easily find the help they need when they encounter issues, have questions, or need guidance while using the eCommerce platform.

Let’s find the help and support facilities that Big Cartel and WordPress offer for their users:

Big Cartel Help and Support

  • Knowledge Base: Big Cartel’s knowledge base contains a wide range of articles and tutorials that cover a variety of topics, such as setting up your store, adding products, and managing your orders.
  • Email Support: Big Cartel offers email support to its users. You can submit a support ticket and a member of the Big Cartel team will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.
  • Community Forum: Big Cartel has a community forum where users can ask questions and get help from other Big Cartel users.
  • Social Media Support: Big Cartel is active on social media and you can get help from the Big Cartel team by contacting them on social media.

WordPress Help and Support

WordPress doesn’t provide any direct support like email ticketing, or WhatsApp messaging. But you can get answers to your every query through its community, official documents, and forums. Since it has the largest user base, so you won’t feel alone whenever you need any help.

  • Official Support Forums: hosts an active support forum where users can ask questions, seek help, and share their experiences. The forum is a valuable resource for free users, and you can usually find solutions to common issues and answers to your questions.
  • Official WordPress Documentation: The WordPress Codex and official documentation provide a wealth of information. They cover a wide range of topics related to WordPress usage, configuration, themes, plugins, and more. These resources are freely accessible and can help you troubleshoot issues and learn more about WordPress.
  • WordPress Community: WordPress has a vibrant and helpful community of users and developers. You can connect with other WordPress enthusiasts on various social media platforms and join user groups for support, advice, and discussions.
  • WordPress Meetups: WordPress Meetup groups often organize local and virtual events where users can meet, share experiences, and seek help. Check for meetups in your area or attend virtual meetups to connect with other users.

10. Pricing

Pricing is always a concern for every eCommerce startup owner. Before choosing a platform for creating your eCommerce store, you must check the pricing of your chosen platform.

Big Cartel Pricing

Big Cartel offers three pricing plans:

  • Bronze: The Bronze plan is free to use and allows you to sell up to 25 products. It includes features such as a product catalog, payment processing, and shipping options.
  • Silver: The Silver plan costs $9.99 per month and allows you to sell up to 100 products. It includes all of the features of the Bronze plan, plus additional features such as discount codes, gift certificates, and analytics.
  • Gold: The Gold plan costs $19.99 per month and allows you to sell an unlimited number of products. It includes all of the features of the Silver plan, plus additional features such as abandoned cart recovery, product reviews, and a blog.

In addition to the monthly fee, Big Cartel also charges a transaction fee of 2.9% + 30¢ for each sale.

WordPress Pricing

WordPress is an open-source and free content management system. So, you don’t have to pay any fee to use this platform to create your eCommerce websites.

Also, you don’t need to share any transaction fee with WordPress.

Dokan multivendor solution for WordPress

Comparison Table of Big Cartel vs WordPress for eCommerce

Here’s a table comparing Big Cartel and WordPress in terms of various features and considerations:

FeatureBig CartelWordPress
Ease of UseVery easy to use, designed for artists and small businesses.Generally user-friendly, but may require plugins for eCommerce functionality.
CostOffers a free plan with limited features. Paid plans are available.Open-source WordPress is free, but hosting and plugins may have associated costs.
eCommerce FeaturesDesigned for eCommerce, but limited compared to WordPress.Robust eCommerce features with various plugins and themes available.
SEOProvides basic SEO options.Offers extensive SEO customization through plugins.
SecurityBasic security features.Security depends on hosting and plugins used, can be highly secure with proper setup.
SupportOffers customer support.Large community and extensive online resources, with various support options.
BloggingLimited blogging features.Robust blogging capabilities.
MultilingualSupports multilingual stores.Versatile, and suitable for various business types and website purposes.
Developer ToolsLimited customization options.Highly customizable with numerous developer tools and plugins.
Good ForArtists, makers, small businesses.Versatile, and suitable for various business types and website purposes including eCommerce.
LimitationsLimited scalability, not ideal for large or complex stores.Requires more technical knowledge to set up and configure.
Multivendor SupportDoesn’t provide built-in multivendor support.Can support multivendor marketplaces through plugins.

Which Platform Is Better for eCommerce- Big Cartel vs WordPress?

Both Big Cartel and WordPress are suitable solutions for creating eCommerce websites. But if you want us to specify which platform is best for what purposes, here is our suggestion:

Reasons to Choose Big Cartel Over WordPress

  • Ease of use
  • Lower cost
  • Built-in eCommerce features
  • Security
  • Support

Reasons to Choose WordPress Over Big Cartel

  • Design flexibility
  • Wide range of eCommerce features
  • Large community
  • Extensive plugins and themes ecosystem
  • Scalability
  • Product management
  • Payment gateways
  • Content and marketing
  • SEO

That’s all from our side!

Now it’s your turn. Share your feedback regarding the blog using the comment box below!

Check our other popular comparison posts on WordPress vs different eCommerce platforms-

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