BigCommerce vs. Etsy

Looking for ecommerce software? Here's how BigCommerce and Etsy stack up.

Matthew Taylor
Mark Hammersley

Matthew Taylor and Mark Hammersley

Last updated 10o July 2020


BigCommerce

4.4  Stackupp rating


Pricing from

$ 29.95 / month

Free Plan?

Trial


Best for

Small to medium retailers looking for a hosted and easy-to-use platform at a reasonable price-point.

Etsy

3.8  Stackupp rating


Pricing from

$ 10.00 / month

Free Plan?

Yes


Best for

small retailers that sell vintage items, handmade products, or craft supplies.

BigCommerce or Etsy: Which is best?

Can't decide between BigCommerce and Etsy?

Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of BigCommerce and Etsy. 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.

Is BigCommerce right for you?

BigCommerce is a popular ecommerce platform with a number of solutions for small and medium-sized retailers. Custom enterprise plans are also available.

BigCommerce appeals particularly to users with limited development skills because of its usability out-of-the-box. That said, those wishing to make more complex backend changes can do so.

Smaller retailers experiencing growth are also drawn to BigCommerce because of its scalability features. The BigCommerce feature-set has everything you would expect, including responsive website templates, shopping cart, and payment integrations, single-page checkout, analytics, and more.

Retailers looking for a fully-hosted solution at a reasonable price point will find BigCommerce appealing. Customer service ratings are consistently high, and BigCommerce customers can take advantage of an active, helpful community of fellow users.

Advantages

  • Easy-to-use from the get-go and fully hosted, which removes the hassle of maintaining servers.
  • A wide selection of features with regular updates and a diverse addon market (with many free options).
  • No transaction fees for use of popular payment gateways.

Drawbacks

  • Some features, like price lists, are only available on the more expensive plans.
  • Can be difficult to make extensive design and backend changes.
  • Themes and add-ons are often quite expensive.

Use if you are a small to medium-sized retailer with limited development skills (or budget) and expecting your store to grow.

Is Etsy right for you?

Etsy is a well-known marketplace and ecommerce platform for retailers that offer vintage items, handmade products, and craft supplies.

It’s a straightforward, cost-effective option for small businesses and individuals with an inventory that meets Etsy requirements. By running your store on Etsy, you’ll avoid many of the challenges that come hand-in-hand with larger solutions like Shopify and WooCommerce, while also gaining access to one of the world’s largest third-party marketplaces. You can upgrade to Etsy’s separate solution, called Patterns, which enables you to build your own store and sell whatever you like on it while still using the Etsy engine.

Retailers with diverse inventories and high product turnover, however, will almost certainly need a more feature-rich platform.

Advantages

  • Inexpensive.
  • Easy to use.
  • Provides access to the Etsy marketplace.

Drawbacks

  • Limited inventory options.
  • High fees.
  • Limited feature-set.

you’re a small independent retailer specializing in handmade or vintage items (or craft supplies). Etsy has a forever-free plan, along with an inexpensive premium option, so it’s an incredibly cost-effective solution.

Ease of Use

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 BigCommerce and Etsy platforms are to run.

How easy is BigCommerce to use?

Rated 4/5 for Ease of Use

BigCommerce is very easy to use. After signing up, you’ll be guided through the process of setting up your store.

You can access essential features from the central BigCommerce dashboard, including product listings, customer information, analytics, app integrations, and more. Once your store is ready to go, day-to-day tasks of managing orders and content can be handled easily through the main interface. Adding new products and running reports are straightforward tasks.

One reason that BigCommerce doesn’t score a straight 10 out of 10 is because designing extra functionality beyond what’s offered directly can be tricky.

What BigCommerce customers are saying...

I've been on BigCommerce since 2010 and it's terrific. Support is great, and they're always improving the platform and coming out with new features. The app directory is robust but almost everything you need is already part of the main package.
We have been using Big Commerce for over 7 years now and love the functionality of it compared to other platforms. The online technical support is great too and we use this very often!
BigCommerce has been good to work with. The e-commerce store is easy to manage.

How easy is Etsy to use?

Rated 5/5 for Ease of Use

You won’t find a platform that is easier to use than Etsy. This is partly due to the fact that there aren’t lots of complex features (which some might see as a downside) and partly due to the simple, intuitive design of the seller dashboard. Etsy makes essential tasks, like creating listings and generating reports, nearly effortless.

What Etsy customers are saying...

“Discovering Etsy and opening a shop enabled me to take control of sales.”
“Etsy has allowed me to build an international customer base that already appreciates handmade products.”
“Etsy has been an incredible experience for me.”

Etsy is our winner for ease of use

Design

Powerful features are great, but we all know first impressions count. So, do BigCommerce and Etsy templates actually look any good? See for yourself. We outline each platforms design options, plus showcase a few real life examples.

How good are BigCommerce's themes?

Rated 4/5 for Design

BigCommerce offers a robust default design along with dozens of free and paid themes in the theme store. The themes on offer are well-optimized and cater to a range of ecommerce sectors and site preferences, including for both large and small catalogs.

Crucially, BigCommerce offers an intuitive storefront editor for managing your store’s frontend design, and you can tweak most aspects of the default theme. It’s possible to make limited CSS and HTML changes. Developers that want to build a theme from scratch can take advantage of the BigCommerce framework.

One drawback is paid themes can be quite pricey, running into several hundred dollars for the paid options. Nonetheless, you have a range of free themes to take advantage of.

BigCommerce Examples

  • Avery Dennison
    Avery Dennison
Item 1 of 3

How good are Etsy's themes?

Rated 2.5/5 for Design

Design flexibility and freedom isn’t one of Etsy’s strongest points. Most Etsy stores look very similar, and there’s a reason for this: Etsy only offers a limited number of customization options.

As a seller, you can change the colours, fonts, and photo styles in your store. You’ll also be able to upload a unique logo and banner - which has the option of a photo “carousel” - and set a homepage description.

Users of the Etsy Plus premium plan will have access to a handful of additional features, such as the option to highlight top-performing products on the homepage.

Customizing your store is a very fast and straightforward process. While design freedom is limited, this won’t be a problem for people with little development experience who already like the standard Etsy storefront.

Etsy Examples

  • Planner Kate
    Planner Kate
Item 1 of 3

BigCommerce is our winner for design

How much do they cost?

Everyone’s favourite topic - pricing. Let's dive in to see if BigCommerce or Etsy offers better value for money.

How much does BigCommerce cost?

Rated 4.5/5 for Pricing

BigCommerce has three pricing options: £$29.95/month, $79.95/month, and $249.95/month. There is also an enterprise edition that includes unlimited API calls, price lists, and ShipperHQ (a leading rules engine for working out shipping prices). You can save a little on the monthly fee by opting to pay annually. There are no up-front fees for getting started, and 24/7 support is included at all price-points. There is also a two-week free trial to sample the platform before jumping in.

Features are generally uniform over most of the paid plans, although the middle “Plus” plan includes some features you may need which aren’t included in the “Standard” plan, such as the “cart saver” for remembering abandoned carts. Paid templates usually average around $200.

How much does Etsy cost?

Rated 3.5/5 for Pricing

At first glance, Etsy looks like one of the most cost-effective ecommerce solutions on the market. It has a forever-free plan and even the premium option, Etsy Plus, only costs ten dollars per month. “Pattern by Etsy”, a service which allows you to run an “independent” online store on your own domain (in conjunction with your Etsy store) only costs $15 a month.

But it’s crucial to take account of fees. Retailers are charged $0.20 for every listing. When a sale is made, Etsy takes a 5% transaction fee, along with a 4% payment processing charge, which amounts to nearly 10% of the overall item price.

If you only process low sales volume, then these fees can be viable. With higher volumes, however, Etsy becomes less feasible.

BigCommerce is our winner for cost

Help and Support

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 BigCommerce's and Etsy's support measure up?

How good is BigCommerce support?

Rated 5/5 for Help and Support

BigCommerce routinely ranks as one of the best ecommerce platforms for customer support. Seek out any review site online and you will find glowing praise for the level of customer service.

24/7 live agent support is provided on all plans. API and priority support is offered for the enterprise plan.

How good is Etsy support?

Rated 4/5 for Help and Support

Etsy has an excellent support package, even on its free plan. Along with one of the largest seller communities on the web and extensive and in-depth training materials, users can also take advantage of live-chat and phone service.

Inexperienced retailers, in particular, will find a lot to like in the comprehensive tutorials and “seller handbook”. The online forum, through which users can join “teams” to exchange ideas and collaborate, is an excellent learning tool.

All support options are accessible from a tab in the seller dashboard, so assistance is easy to find when you need it.

BigCommerce is our winner for support

The Bottom Line

The final say. Let's wrap up our thoughts on each platform.

BigCommerce: Our Verdict

BigCommerce is an excellent choice for small and medium-sized retailers that need an easy-to-use platform that is ready to scale. Superb management functionality, covering product listings, orders, and reporting, combines with an intuitive and easy-to-use dashboard. This streamlines the process of carrying out routine day-to-day ecommerce tasks.

Users also get a lot of bang for their buck. All plans allow for unlimited products and unlimited customer entries in your CRM. Furthermore, BigCommerce retailers can take advantage of a library of templates and add-ons (for Facebook, MailChimp, Quickbooks, etc.). 24/7 customer service is provided on all plans. On the downside, themes can be expensive, often reaching several hundred dollars. Equally, if you are eager to make extensive design changes to your frontend, BigCommerce might not be for you. That said, the development framework is an option for advanced developers.

Oh, and there’s a 15-day trial. So you can dip your toes in the water before diving in.

Etsy: Our Verdict

Retailers considering Etsy should understand that it isn’t an ecommerce platform in the traditional sense. It’s not a standalone app like Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. You should only consider it as an option if you’re planning to sell your products to the broader Etsy marketplace.

If you do fall into that category, however, then you’ll find a lot to like - it’s a streamlined, easy-to-use platform at a fantastic price.

Furthermore, Etsy “Pattern” enables retailers to have a store at their own domain that isn’t bound by typical Etsy restrictions but is still managed from the central store manager. If you think it might be for you, sign up for a free account and give it a whirl.

Overall, we found BigCommerce to be the better ecommerce platform.

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