Looking for ecommerce software? Here's how Big Cartel and Storenvy stack up.
Daniel Adams and Mark Hammersley
Last updated 2o July 2020
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.
3.6 Stackupp rating
$ 14.99 / month
Best forsmaller, independent retailers that want access to an active marketplace along with the freedom to design their own store.
Can't decide between Big Cartel and Storenvy?
Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of Big Cartel and Storenvy. 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.
Storenvy describes itself as a “social marketplace”. Shoppers can like listings, add items to “collections”, and message sellers directly. As an option for online retailers, Storenvy sits between marketplace-only platforms like eBay and self-managed solutions like Shopify and Magento.
One of the great things about Storenvy is that it allows users to build their own fully-customized store, with an array of more advanced features, that can be hosted on a unique domain. This is in conjunction with listings on the main marketplace.
Pricing is also very reasonable, with a forever-free plan and relatively low monthly costs for premium packages.
you’re a small or medium independent retailer (less than 5000 listings) looking for an easy-to-use solution that will provide access to an established marketplace.
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 Storenvy 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.”
Storenvy is one of the easiest-to-use solutions we’ve reviewed. People with little design and technical experience will find it particularly appealing. It’s a browser-based solution and a central dashboard provides access to various areas for managing store operations, including orders, marketing, marketplace listings, storefront design, and so on. The website builder - which allows for limited CSS and HTML changes - is also very intuitive.
The initial set-up can be a little complicated, but overall we found that managing day-to-day tasks was straightforward.
"Storenvy is super customizable and I really appreciate that. Etsy is bigger and a bit more well known, though."
"I've been on Storenvy for awhile now and it's pretty simple."
"I like Storenvy! It's free to make a store and list stuff, but they take a processing fee."
Big Cartel is our winner for ease of use
Powerful features are great, but we all know first impressions count. So, do Big Cartel and Storenvy 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.
Storenvy has a website builder along with an HTML and CSS editor. Users with coding experience can make virtually any changes they want. Non-technical users, on the other hand, have more limited control over their storefront. Using only the site-builder, it’s possible to change colors, text, banners, background images, and certain parts of the layout. Retailers have access to a range of themes, some of which have an extra charge (usually around thirty dollars). It’s also possible to purchase a custom domain name for your store.
While the design features aren’t out of this world, they’re very easy to use and among the best we’ve seen for an independent store that’s coupled with a third-party marketplace.
It's a draw!
Everyone’s favourite topic - pricing. Let's dive in to see if Big Cartel or Storenvy 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.
Storenvy provides very good value for money, especially when compared to other ecommerce platforms, which can run up to hundreds of dollars.
There are three plans available. “Hobbyist” is free and allows for up to 1000 listings. “Plus” is $14.99/month and has additional features like discounts. “Pro” is $29.99/month and includes automation tools.
Payments are handled via either Stripe or Paypal, and associated fees apply. There are no additional fees for products sold through your store. If an item is sold via a listing on the marketplace, you will be charged 15% of the final sale price (which includes shipping).
Retailers can also opt in to the “Managed Marketing” scheme. If you decide to do this, Storenvy will advertise products on your behalf on sites like Facebook and Google, taking 25% of each sale.
It's a draw!
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 Storenvy'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.
Customer service for sellers is a bit of a mixed bag on Storenvy. Technical support is via email or the contact form. There is no phone or live-chat assistance. What’s more, it can take up to twenty-four hours to receive a response. There are no premium support packages on the paid plans.
Reviews online of individuals who have interacted with the support team are mixed, with many citing poor experiences. That said, it’s important to remember that the majority of online reviews are from customers (not fellow sellers) and independent store-owners are often responsible for handling issues, so Storenvy isn’t always to blame.
Retailers also have access to extensive documentation and a Facebook community group.
Big Cartel is our winner for support
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.
We think that Storenvy is one of the best solutions available to small independent sellers. It combines all the benefits of a fully independent store with access to an active marketplace. What’s more, additional services like “Managed Marketing” (Storenvy will market your products through third-party sites like Facebook) can be immensely useful to retailers without much advertising experience. It also has an excellent free plan and a fair, transparent pricing structure.
Larger retailers will find it insufficient for their needs and a more feature-rich platform like Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, etc. will be preferable. That said, there are still opportunities for these retailers to take advantage of the marketplace.
Overall, we found Big Cartel to be the better ecommerce platform.
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