Looking for ecommerce software? Here's how Big Cartel and Squarespace stack up.
Last updated 2o July 2020
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.
Best forIt’s best for small and medium retailers that don’t need extensive support for different languages and access to a large integration and extension library.
Can't decide between Big Cartel and Squarespace?
Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of Big Cartel and Squarespace. 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.
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.
Squarespace Commerce is an excellent choice for retailers that want to create and manage a stylish store. The platform is easy-to-use, includes a wide selection of features, and allows for unlimited products.
Squarespace Commerce is the “cool kid” of site-builder ecommerce platforms. Users have access to a powerful set of features - including unlimited bandwidth and storage, analytics, and POS - along with a library of sleek, professional templates.
It’s a fully-hosted solution, so you won’t have to take care of any backend tasks.
But while we like Squarespace Commerce, it’s not perfect. The editor does take a little getting used to. What’s more, the number of integrations on offer is a little limited.
Use Squarespace Commerce if you’re looking for a platform that combines ease-of-use with the option to take advantage of more advanced features like POS, discounts and promotions, and theme editing.
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 Big Cartel and Squarespace platforms are to run.
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.”
While the site-builder is very easy to use, it does take a little getting used to. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the basics, however, you’ll have no trouble changing everything from your logo to your color scheme.
The management dashboard, from where users manage listings, orders, and analytics, is intuitive and easy to navigate.
Beautiful template designs, user-friendly features, website is loading well. Very well coded and developed.
Easy to use, hugely customizable, great templates.
I love Squarespace. I have built my entire business on Squarespace, to annual revenues of over 500K.
Powerful features are great, but we all know first impressions count. So, do Big Cartel and Squarespace templates actually look any good? See for yourself. We outline each platforms design options, plus showcase a few real life examples.
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.
Squarespace Commerce strikes a rare balance for an ecommerce website builder by combining intuitive, accessible customization tools with the option to make more advanced code changes.
Because the site-builder has a lot of options, it does require a little familiarization. But once users have overcome that initial hurdle, an array of customization opportunities open up.
The only downside is that, while the templates are beautifully-designed and mobile-optimized, only ten are offered. If you’re thinking about opting for Squarespace, check that one of the themes meets your needs before signing up to a paid plan. There’s a free trial, so you can take the platform for a test-drive first.
Everyone’s favourite topic - pricing. Let's dive in to see if Big Cartel or Squarespace offers better value for money.
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.
All in all, Squarespace offers excellent value for money. The feature-set is extremely robust and includes unlimited products, multi-channel management (through the “Shopping Feed” integration), POS, abandoned cart emails, customer accounts, and more. It’s also possible to sell digital products and subscription services.
The only area where Squarespace falls is the limited add-on library. Compared to a solution like Shopify, Squarespace doesn’t offer smaller, less obvious features like countdown timers or personalized promotions.
To take advantage of all the features, you’ll need to sign up for the “Advanced” plan, but smaller retailers will get by happily on the “Basic” plan. The “Business” plan offers a limited feature-set and is designed for webmasters that want to sell a small number of products.
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 Big Cartel's and Squarespace's support measure up?
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 support package offered by Squarespace is excellent and users generally report high levels of customer satisfaction.
Customer support is available 24/7 via email and on Twitter. Live chat is available between 4 AM and 8 PM on weekdays.
Because Squarespace is a well-known and popular site-builder, a large community of users are active on the forums, which is another bonus.
The final say. Let's wrap up our thoughts on each platform.
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.
Squarespace is a popular ecommerce platform and site-builder with a loyal band of users. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use solution with a comprehensive and powerful set of features, then take advantage of the free trial and give it a test-drive.
One of the best aspects of Squarespace is its applicability to retailers with a range of coding abilities. Non-developers can take advantage of the feature-rich site-builder (which is easy to navigate one you’re familiar with all the options) and build a highly-customized site. Developers, on the other hand, can customize and alter a site’s code extensively using the “Developer Mode”.
So what about the downsides? While we’re big fans of Squarespace, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Although the feature-set is excellent - covering omnichannel listings, customer accounts, POS, promotion features, and email marketing - the integration library is a little sparse. Without coding experience, retailers will find it difficult to add smaller features, like countdown timers or personalization, without advanced coding abilities. If you want access to a large add-on library, a solution like Shopify might be preferable. Furthermore, while the themes on offer are superb, there’s only ten of them.
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