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WooCommerce vs Big Cartel: Which Ecommerce Platform to Choose in 2022?

Updated on June 30, 2022

7 Min Read
woocommerce vs big cartel

New to ecommerce? You need to understand the differences between major ecommerce platforms, as their selection will heavily affect your business’s success.

Keeping that in mind, I’ve compared two major ecommerce platforms – WooCommerce and Big Cartel – in detail to help you pick the right option for your business.

WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin that lets you set up an ecommerce store almost instantly. On the other hand, Big Cartel is a hosted ecommerce platform that is relatively simple to run.

WooCommerce vs. Big Cartel – An Overview

Let’s quickly overview both ecommerce platforms here.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is the leading ecommerce application (that’s actually a plugin!) that can be added to any WordPress website. Developed by WooThemes in 2011 and later acquired by Automattic in 2015, it’s built for websites of all sizes.

woocommerce overview

As an open-source plugin, WooCommerce opens doors to all sorts of customization, allowing users to create their own store and tweak it as per their liking. WooCommerce is currently the most widely-used eCommerce platform due to a number of reasons, including its free-of-cost availability, SEO-friendliness, and customization options.

What is Big Cartel?

Founded in 2005 by Matt Wigham, Big Cartel is an eCommerce platform designed for artsy online stores. Big Cartel is suited well for small businesses that offer limited products and has a great sense of aesthetics.

big cartel overview

It allows you to create your own store, add products, manage orders, monitor real-time stats, and even run promotions. You may use their built-in themes or customize the existing theme’s HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.

WooCommerce vs. BigCartel: Which Ecommerce Platform is More Popular?

Well, there’s no room for doubt here.

  • WooCommerce is currently leading the industry with a market share of 34.32%, whereas Big Cartel only holds a 0.11% share. [Source: Datanyze]
  • WooCommerce is a well-known and powerful ecommerce application used in over 2,094,811 live websites. On the other hand, Big Cartel only has 6,818 live websites. [Source: Datanyze]

The graph below shows the drastic difference between both ecommerce applications.

Of course, just because WooCommerce is more popular doesn’t mean it’s right for your store! Read on to see if it’s WooCommerce or Big Cartel that you’re looking for.

WooCommerce vs. Big Cartel – Head to Head Comparison

The table below compares WooCommerce and BigCartel against each feature.

POD WooCommerce Big Cartel
Ownership & Hosting Open-source, host on any ecommerce hosting provider A fully hosted platform, with no sole ownership
Security Security plugins Free SSL
Design Multiple customizable themes Theme customization
Ease of Use Intuitive UI, beginner-friendly Simple to use, uncomplicated dashboard
Scalability Easy scalability with unlimited products Only supports 300 products max
Customization Free and paid extensions for easy customization HTML, CSS, and JavaScript customizations
Community & Support Active community, live shows, WooCommerce Facebook group Email support on weekdays (8 am to 6 pm EST)

Ownership & Hosting

Ecommerce users prefer a platform with a user-friendly and powerful dashboard.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce, as mentioned earlier, is a free-to-use platform and is also open-source, making it customizable. It allows you to host your store on any ecommerce hosting provider and gives you complete ownership without any third-party interference.

Big Cartel

Big Cartel is a web-based, fully hosted platform that allows you relief from major hosting woes but cannot host your store anywhere other than Big Cartel. Unlike WooCommerce, you are not the sole owner of your stores’ data, and all your customer data and information is shared with Big Cartel.

Security

WooCommerce

The WordPress core is secured well. WooCommerce is built on WordPress, the CMS that runs 43 percent of the websites, and is regularly audited by Sucuri, an industry leader in security. But third-party plugins can make a store hosted on WooCommerce susceptible to hacking and malicious attacks.

WooCommerce offers tons of security plugins to solidify the security of your online store. Remember that your store’s safety depends a lot on the hosting provider, so always opt for a secure WooCommerce hosting provider. Users can also add a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate (offered for free at Cloudways).

woocommerce security

Big Cartel

All Big Cartel checkouts are SSL-encrypted, using the most robust protection available. The free SSL encryption ensures that all your customers’ details and payment information remain secure. Also, Big Cartel’s admin panel is password-protected.

big cartel security

Design

WooCommerce

WooCommerce offers a number of themes, so you may choose the one that suits your brand well. You may also edit the themes and the design elements to your liking. Use any existing child themes to enhance your site or even create a new child theme to personalize your store even further.

woocommerce design

Big Cartel

Big Cartel offers many design features that let you customize your shop the way you want. You can select a theme and customize it by adding a header image, slideshows and colors, and adjust fonts too

You can add custom information about yourself and your shop in the pages tab. Coders can use the code tab to get even fancier with the design elements. Also, you are free to change the display of your shop to see how it’d look on a desktop, phone, or tablet.

big cartel design

Ease of Use

WooCommerce

Even if you’re a complete beginner, WooCommerce is a pain-free way to host your first ecommerce website online. Its intuitive UI lets you easily use its incredible customization options to personalize your stores.

woocommerce ease of use

Big Cartel

Big Cartel is a one-click solution for hosted stores. Adding products, creating discounts, and managing orders in inventory is incredibly easy. You can play around with the design features and settings to customize your store the way you want.

big cartel ease of use

Scalability

WooCommerce

WooCommerce allows its users to add as many products as they want. It can handle thousands of transactions per minute, provided you are using premium WooCommerce hosting. With WooCommerce, you have no limits on scaling, unlike with other ecommerce platforms.

Big Cartel

Although Big Cartel is a decent fit for startups and young entrepreneurs, it’s not the ideal option if you wish to scale up your store. Big Cartel only supports a maximum of 300 products on its highest-tier plan.

Customization

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is counted among the most personalizable ecommerce platforms due to its customization options. It comes up with hundreds of free and paid WooCommerce extensions that are enough to fulfill all the needs of your ecommerce store.

Moreover, it lets you modify your store by just playing around with the themes.

Big Cartel

Like WooCommerce, Big Cartel allows you to edit your themes by adjusting the colors, fonts, and layout through an easy-to-use and intuitive platform. You can preview the live changes.

Community & Support

WooCommerce

WooCommerce has an active community where you can learn, get help, and contribute. The community has thousands of web
development experts to help you and respond to your queries.

WooCommerce also promotes local meetups and hosts a 30-minute live show every week where store owners discuss the latest happenings, discuss different topics, and answer viewer questions. You can also join the WooCommerce Facebook group, which is home to a number of store owners, developers, and WooCommerce enthusiasts.

woocommerce community

Big Cartel

Big Cartel offers support five days a week, Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 6 pm EST. It also has a community that responds to your queries.

big cartel support

WooCommerce vs Big Cartel – Pricing & Plans

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is available for free with no extra or hidden charges. All you have to do is pay for the hosting. Opt for managed WooCommerce hosting for scalability and security.

Among the top managed WooCommerce hosting providers, Cloudways offers the best plans, starting as low as $10/month. It provides features like Cloudflare, an optimized stack, free Object Cache Pro (originally priced at $95), and many other benefits. And you can experience all this for free via the 3-day trial with no credit card details required.

cloudways wordpress hosting

Other than a reliable hosting provider, you may require developer services for your store’s customization if you are not technically sound.

Big Cartel

Big Cartel offers three plans to its customers:

  • Gold plan, available for free, without any credit card requirement, and allows 5 products
  • Platinum plan, available at $9.99/month, with no listing fees, and includes 50 products
  • Diamond plan, available at $19.99/month, with no listing fees, and includes 500 products

big cartel pricing

WooCommerce vs Big Cartel – Pros & Cons

WooCommerce Pros

  • Open-source and customizable
  • Unlimited products
  • Easy to use
  • Multiple extensions, integrations, and themes
  • Completely free, no hidden costs

WooCommerce Cons

  • Does not offer its own hosting
  • Difficult to implement multi-currency
  • Some extensions are paid

Big Cartel Pros

  • Excellent for small-sized businesses
  • Artistic and aesthetic themes
  • Intuitive dashboard
  • Real-time stats
  • Easy to set up

Big Cartel Cons

  • 300 products maximum
  • Limited features
  • Not easily customizable

Final Verdict

You should now be able to choose the better ecommerce platform for your business between WooCommerce and Big Cartel. If you have a small, artsy store with limited products, then Big Cartel is a safe option. However, if you want an easily scalable store that supports unlimited products, then WooCommerce is an obvious choice.

Which one do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below:

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Customer Review at

“Great performance for the price, and plenty of control”

Sean P [SMB Owner]

Sajjad Shahid

Sajjad is an Ecommerce Community Manager at Cloudways. He loves helping out Ecommerce store owners, merchants and marketers in establishing their businesses and startups. Sajjad enjoys playing table tennis and cricket over the weekend.

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