Looking for ecommerce software? Here's how 3dcart and Big Cartel stack up.
Matthew Taylor and Daniel Adams
Last updated 2o July 2020
4.4 Stackupp rating
$ 19.00 / month
Best for3dcart is one of the “big boys” of hosted ecommerce platforms, catering to businesses of all sizes.
4.0 Stackupp rating
$ 9.99 / month
Best forBig Cartel has carved out a specific niche in the ecommerce space. It’s a platform designed specifically for creatives that want to sell original work.
Can't decide between 3dcart and Big Cartel?
Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of 3dcart and Big Cartel. See how each platform stacks up across ease of use, design, support and value for money.
Let the comparison begin. Don't worry, we'll guide you.
3dcart is a widely-used and fully-hosted ecommerce platform that comes with an extensive set of features.
Like Shopify, 3dcart offers packages for retailers of all sizes. Smaller online sellers can take advantage of a site-builder and straightforward management dashboard. Larger retailers, on the other hand, can choose from a comprehensive premium plan or several enterprise options (for stores turning over millions of dollars).
For retailers that want to start on a smaller plan but are expecting to scale, 3dcart will be particularly attractive.
On the negative side, absolute beginners may benefit from a more intuitive, streamlined platform like Weebly or Squarespace. The themes aren’t the most visually-pleasing that we’ve seen, either.
Use if you’re a large retailer looking for a fully-hosted solution with a wide feature set, extensive customizability, and excellent customer support. Equally, smaller retailers that are expecting to scale should consider 3dcart.
Big Cartel is a fully-hosted ecommerce solution built specifically for small-scale creatives. If you sell original work, like art, jewellery, woodwork, refurbished furniture, and so on, then Big Cartel is ideal.
While the general look-and-feel and functionality are minimal and straightforward, Big Cartel doesn’t skimp on features or support. Users have access to a comprehensive suite of ecommerce tools, including payment gateways, promotional features, and integration with social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. What’s more, Big Cartel is very well-priced, with plans starting at $10/month and a “forever free” option.
Retailers that need more than three hundred product listings and a more powerful set of features, however, will have to opt for another solution.
Use Cartel is you’re a creative (with an inventory of fewer than 300 products) looking for a hassle-free, cost-effective solution.
Our first comparison criteria, ease of use. Why? Because it’s the most important.
Think about it. You don’t want to invest a lot of your precious time setting up an online store and tweaking the design only to find out that it’s a pain in the butt to manage day to day.
We take a look at how simple the 3dcart and Big Cartel platforms are to run.
3dcart offers a site-builder and collection of ready-made themes for beginners, along with an advanced editor for developers. Setting up a store for the first time is a straightforward process.
Because 3dcart has a huge array of features, the interface can feel a little overwhelming at first. And it doesn’t boast the same level of intuitiveness as some other platforms.
That said, once users are familiar with the various features, store-management becomes easy. Extensive video and written tutorials are also provided.
I like it. At first it was a bit over whelming. I am self taught, so just had to figure things out my self.
I would never use another shopping cart software. I started using them in 2010. They have always been light years ahead of the others.
I like 3Dcart. I have been using them for about 10 years.
Big Cartel is one of the easiest-to-use platforms on the market, and gives hyper-intuitive products like Weebly and Wix a run for their money.
Users are initially guided through a step-by-step set-up process and will be prompted to configure their store and add their first product. Themes can be customized via a WordPress-style editor, and all products and orders are managed from a central dashboard.
“We would recommend Big Cartel without reservations.”
“I would definitely recommend using Big Cartel. They have a lot of ready made layouts that are really easy to use (especially for people like me who have zero knowledge in website building).”
“We’ve been using BigCartel since 2010 and have been very content with their shopping cart and ability to easily customize our store and portfolio.”
Powerful features are great, but we all know first impressions count. So, do 3dcart and Big Cartel templates actually look any good? See for yourself. We outline each platforms design options, plus showcase a few real life examples.
Generally speaking, 3dcart excels when it comes to design flexibility. Developers and designers that are seeking a solution that balances a high level of customizability with the benefits of a fully-hosted plan should definitely consider this platform.
Retailers will little design experience will also benefit from a solid website builder that allows them to make changes to their site’s look-and-feel and layout options. The one downside is that the free templates are a little lacking in terms of visual appeal.
Experienced developers can take advantage of the theme editor. A REST API is available for the creation of apps to add extra functionality to 3dcart’s existing feature-set.
Big Cartel is designed for retailers with little or no coding experience. Because of this, the site editor is very easy to use and provides control over key design elements like the logo, colours, layout, font-size, and so on.
The theme library, which includes just under twenty themes, is relatively small compared to other ecommerce platforms. This is more than made up for, however, by the quality of themes, all of which are free. They ‘re beautifully-designed and will appeal to a variety of creatives.
On the downside, retailers that need to make deeper code changes will struggle. Only limited HTML and CSS changes are possible.
Everyone’s favourite topic - pricing. Let's dive in to see if 3dcart or Big Cartel offers better value for money.
3dcart is very competitive when it comes to pricing. The lowest-priced “Startup” plan, which has everything you need to run an online store (unlike some other ecommerce platforms where the entry-level plans have limited feature-sets), costs $19/month. There are no extra transaction fees on any of the packages. New users can also sample the software with a 15-day free trial.
The top “Pro” plan, which is suitable for stores making up to $1 million in sales per year, and comes with omnichannel sales, 24/7 support, and unlimited bandwidth and product listings, costs $229/month. There are significant discounts for a yearly subscription across all plans. 3dcart is also one of the few ecommerce platforms to publicly show it’s enterprise options, which begin at $499.99 a month for stores making up to $5 million a year.
Big Cartel offers reasonable value for money. Users have access to a solid package of features, including analytics, discount and promotional codes, shipping tracking, and more. Retailers can also take in-person payments with a Square reader (useful for taking orders at trade fairs, conventions, markets, etc.) There is also a “forever free” plan that allows for five products and a small selection of features.
The big downside is the limited number of product listings. The basic plan only allows for twenty-five products, and the premium $29.99/month plan has a maximum of three hundred products. What’s more product options (such as different colors or sizes) are only available on the higher-level plans.
If things go wrong (and they often do) you need to know someone’s there to help get you back on track. So, how does 3dcart's and Big Cartel's support measure up?
3dcart offers one of the best support packages on the market. All plans include live chat and help tickets. All but the lowest-priced option also offer 24/7 phone support. Customer reports regarding the quality of support are very positive.
Furthermore, users have access to extensive documentation and an active community of fellow retailers and developers.
Support is available via. email from Monday to Friday between 9 AM and 6 PM EST. While support is only available on workdays in working hours, reports about the quality and speed of support in these times are generally very good. Phone and live chat options are not available.
The final say. Let's wrap up our thoughts on each platform.
Overall, we were very impressed with 3dcart. Pricing is competitive, the feature-set is comprehensive, and there are plans to suit every type of online outlet, from small boutiques to international enterprise-level stores.
Features include support for multiple staff accounts, omnichannel sales, advertising automation, unlimited products and bandwidth, access to hundreds of payment processors, and more. Beginners can take advantage of a robust site-builder. And more experienced developers will find it easy to make deeper backend changes via the code editor or through the use of the REST API.
With all of that in mind, there are a small handful of downsides. Costs for apps can run into hundreds of dollars per month, there’s no support for multiple languages, and the quality of themes isn’t as high as some other providers. Smaller retailers that aren’t expecting to grow significantly might also prefer a more streamlined solution.
Our advice? If you’re looking for a powerful hosted solution that won’t break the bank, give 3dcart a whirl and see how the features work for you.
Big Cartel is one of the most interesting and unique ecommerce platforms we’ve reviewed on Stackupp. At first sight, enforcing a limit of 300 listings on the premium plan would seem ridiculous. Serious retailers need unlimited products, right?
But this seemingly arbitrary limit on product listings ties in with Big Cartel;’s core value proposition as a “tight-knit company, built to stay small, independent, and do right by our team and artists for years to come.” The whole package is designed to give small-scale artists a professional, easy-to-use platform that stands head-and-shoulders above other entry-level options like Wix and Weebly.
If you’ve got a limited selection of products but want a beautiful online storefront to showcase them, along with the ability to take in-person orders at craft fairs, then Big Cartel is worth checking out. If, on the other hand, you run a more traditional ecommerce store, you’re better off seeking an alternative solution.
Overall, we found 3dcart to be the better ecommerce platform.
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