Choosing between Big Cartel and Etsy - Which is Best for Your Small Business?

Choosing between Big Cartel and Etsy - Which is Best for Your Small Business?

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Differences Between Etsy and Big Cartel
  3. Pros and Cons of Etsy
    • Pros of Etsy
    • Cons of Etsy
  4. Pros and Cons of Big Cartel
    • Pros of Big Cartel
    • Cons of Big Cartel
  5. Comparison of Fees
    • Etsy Fees
    • Big Cartel Fees
  6. Customization and Design Options
  7. Payment Processes
  8. Shipping Options
  9. The Importance of Reviews
  10. Making the Transition: Moving from Etsy to Big Cartel
  11. Conclusion

Etsy vs Big Cartel: Which E-Commerce Platform is Better for Your Small Business?

In today's highly competitive online marketplace, choosing the right e-commerce platform for your small business is crucial. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide between platforms like Etsy and Big Cartel. In this article, we will explore the differences between these two platforms, analyze their pros and cons, compare their fees, and discuss other important factors to help you make an informed decision.

The Differences Between Etsy and Big Cartel

Etsy and Big Cartel are both popular e-commerce platforms, but they have significant differences. Etsy is a well-established marketplace that caters to a diverse range of sellers and buyers. It provides sellers with a ready-made customer base and offers various features to enhance visibility, such as the ability to list multiple products, utilize tags for better searchability, and receive reviews. Big Cartel, on the other hand, is a platform that allows sellers to create their own customizable online stores. It focuses on simplicity and offers free website creation and a limited number of free product listings.

Pros and Cons of Etsy

Pros of Etsy

One of the major advantages of selling on Etsy is its large and established customer base. With millions of active users, Etsy provides sellers with significant exposure and the potential for high sales volumes. The platform also offers features like tags, reviews, and the ability to connect with buyers, which can help build trust and credibility.

Additionally, Etsy provides a range of powerful marketing tools, such as targeted advertising options and promotional opportunities within the platform. These tools can help sellers reach their target audience and increase brand awareness.

Cons of Etsy

While Etsy offers many advantages, it also has some drawbacks. One of the biggest concerns for sellers on Etsy is the fees. Etsy charges a fee for each product listing, as well as transaction fees and additional charges for optional features like auto-renewal and multi-quantity sales. These fees can significantly impact a small business's profitability, especially if they have a high volume of listings or sales.

Another drawback is the lack of customization options. While Etsy allows sellers to personalize their shops to a certain extent, the platform has limitations when it comes to design and branding. This can make it challenging for sellers to differentiate themselves and create a unique brand identity.

Pros and Cons of Big Cartel

Pros of Big Cartel

One of the biggest advantages of using Big Cartel is its simplicity and ease of use. The platform allows sellers to create their own customizable websites for free and provides a straightforward listing process. This makes it an ideal choice for small businesses that want to maintain control over their branding and design.

Another advantage of Big Cartel is its transparent fee structure. Unlike Etsy, which charges fees for various features and services, Big Cartel has a straightforward pricing system. Sellers can choose from different price tiers based on the number of products they want to list, without any additional transaction fees or hidden charges.

Cons of Big Cartel

Although Big Cartel has its advantages, it also has some limitations. One of the main drawbacks is the lack of a built-in customer base. Unlike Etsy, which attracts millions of buyers, Big Cartel relies more on the seller's marketing efforts to drive traffic to their online store. This means that sellers need to allocate more time and resources to promote their products and reach their target audience.

Another limitation is the absence of certain advanced features available on other e-commerce platforms. Big Cartel might not offer as many integrations, apps, or plugins as some of its competitors, which can limit the scalability and functionality of the online store.

Comparison of Fees

When comparing the fees between Etsy and Big Cartel, it is essential to consider the impact on your small business's profitability.

Etsy Fees

Etsy charges a fee for each product listing, which is currently set at $0.20 per listing. Additionally, sellers are subject to transaction fees and other charges based on their sales volume and optional features. These fees can add up quickly, especially for sellers with a high volume of listings or multiple product variations.

Big Cartel Fees

Big Cartel offers a range of price tiers based on the number of products you want to list. Currently, the platform provides a free plan that allows for up to five product listings. For sellers looking to grow their business and list more products, Big Cartel offers paid plans starting at $9.99 per month for up to 50 products.

The transparent fee structure of Big Cartel can be highly beneficial for small businesses, as it allows for better financial planning and cost control.

Customization and Design Options

When it comes to customization and design options, both Etsy and Big Cartel offer some degree of flexibility.

Etsy allows sellers to personalize their shop banners, profile pictures, and shop policies. While some customization options are available, there are limitations on design elements and overall branding. Sellers rely heavily on product photography and descriptions to showcase their brand identity.

Big Cartel, on the other hand, provides more control over branding and design. Sellers can create a fully customizable website using templates or custom HTML/CSS coding. This allows for a unique and cohesive branding experience that can help establish a strong brand identity.

Payment Processes

Both Etsy and Big Cartel offer payment processing options, but there are differences in how they handle transactions.

Etsy primarily uses its own payment processing system, called Etsy Payments. This system allows sellers to accept various payment methods, including credit cards, debit cards, and Etsy gift cards. Etsy Payments automatically handles the payment process and deposits the funds in the seller's account after deducting the applicable fees.

Big Cartel offers integration with external payment gateways, with PayPal being the most popular option. Sellers can choose their preferred payment gateway and handle transactions directly through the chosen service. This gives sellers more control over the payment process, but they need to be aware of the specific fees and policies associated with their chosen payment gateway.

Shipping Options

Shipping options are essential considerations for online sellers. Both Etsy and Big Cartel provide options for sellers to handle shipping, but there are differences in how they approach this aspect.

Etsy offers integrated shipping labels through USPS (United States Postal Service) and other postal services. Sellers can purchase and print shipping labels directly from their Etsy accounts, streamlining the shipping process. Etsy also calculates shipping costs based on weight, dimensions, and destination, providing accurate shipping rates to customers.

Big Cartel, however, does not have a built-in shipping label feature. Sellers need to use an external shipping service, such as Pirate Ship or other third-party integrations, to handle the shipping process. While this adds an extra step, it also allows for more flexibility in choosing shipping providers and potentially accessing discounted shipping rates.

The Importance of Reviews

Customer reviews play a crucial role in establishing trust and credibility for online sellers. While both Etsy and Big Cartel allow customers to leave reviews, the presence of reviews on Etsy is more prominent due to its large customer base.

Etsy provides buyers with the option to leave reviews for products and sellers, which can significantly impact a seller's reputation and sales potential. The review system helps build trust and allows sellers to showcase their quality and customer satisfaction.

Big Cartel, on the other hand, does not offer a built-in review system. Sellers on Big Cartel need to rely on external platforms, such as social media or email, to gather and display customer feedback. This makes it essential for sellers to actively seek reviews and establish a reputation outside of the Big Cartel platform.

Making the Transition: Moving from Etsy to Big Cartel

If you are considering moving from Etsy to Big Cartel, it is essential to plan the transition carefully. Here are some steps to help you navigate the process smoothly:

  1. Evaluate your products and determine which ones are most suitable for selling on Big Cartel.
  2. Set up your Big Cartel store, utilizing the customization options to create a unique brand experience.
  3. Transfer your product listings and update any necessary information.
  4. Communicate the transition to your existing customer base through email, social media, or other channels.
  5. Update your promotional strategies to drive traffic to your new Big Cartel store.
  6. Monitor and analyze the performance of your Big Cartel store, making adjustments as needed.

Remember that the transition may take time, and it's crucial to be patient and proactive in promoting your new store.


Choosing the right e-commerce platform can significantly impact the success of your small business. Both Etsy and Big Cartel offer unique features and advantages, as well as disadvantages. Consider the specific needs and goals of your business, such as fees, customization options, branding, and customer base, when making your decision.

While Etsy may be suitable for businesses looking to leverage an existing customer base and benefit from integrated marketing tools, Big Cartel offers simplicity, transparency in fees, and control over branding. Ultimately, the choice depends on your individual business requirements and priorities.

By carefully considering the pros and cons of each platform, analyzing the fees, customization options, payment processes, shipping options, and the importance of reviews, you can make an informed decision that best suits your small business's needs.

Remember, transitioning from one platform to another may require time and effort, but it can be a valuable opportunity for growth and increased profitability. Good luck with your e-commerce journey!

Are you spending too much time looking for products?
App rating
Trending Product
Trusted Customers

Etsyshop has the world's largest selection of ETSY store to choose from, and each product has a large number of ETSY products, so you can choose ETSY store & product for your Ecommerce and dropshipping business without any hassle.

Browse More Content