Home Big Cartel Big Cartel vs Squarespace: Which One Is Best For You In 2023?

Big Cartel vs Squarespace: Which One Is Best For You In 2023?

by Matt Turner
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Big Cartel vs Squarespace: Which Is Best For You In 2023?

Big Cartel and Squarespace are two of the best website builders that creative and artistic people would love. That is why we created this Big Cartel vs Squarespace article to see which one is best for the creative person in you.


Big Cartel is an e-commerce platform geared more towards artists or creative sellers selling vintage or handmade products. It is incredibly affordable compared to some of its counterparts and powers over 80,000 stores online. Reasonable pricing and straightforward customization are reasons why creative people gravitate towards Big Cartel.

Big Cartel - Overall ratings

Squarespace, on the other hand, is a prime example of one-size-suits-all. It is a multifaceted website builder serving various niches. From artists to e-commerce to restaurants to personal websites, Squarespace has a place for you, no matter who you are or what you do. That could be why almost 3 million websites are hosted on Squarespace. It is easy to use, affordable, has plenty of customization, and has many marketing features.

Squarespace Overall Ratings

Big Cartel vs Squarespace: Which one is best for you?

Deciding which e-commerce platform to go for can be a bit tough and why not? Big Cartel is a dedicated e-commerce builder while Squarespace was a website builder, they only added e-commerce functionalities sometime later.


Squarespace is a good solution for small to medium businesses. It focuses more on the visual aspects, so you can rest assured your store will look stylish. Getting started and setting up a store is relatively easy and has plenty of e-commerce features, including unlimited inventory.

Building a website easily isn’t the only thing Squarespace is good at. It also has a bag full of impressive offerings. For example, you get unlimited bandwidth, a free domain on a yearly plan, a Squarespace Analytics tool, and a whole suite of stunning-looking templates.

Squarespace Editor

Another likable thing about Squarespace; it is self-hosted. It means you don’t have to fiddle around wasting time buying hosting and setting up a domain. All the task on the backend is handled automatically.

That said, Squarespace isn’t perfect. It has some flaws. Its Fluid Engine editor initially looks easy to work with but has some learning curve. However, once you get used to it, creating an online store becomes an effortless process. You can read our Squarespace Fluid Engine review here.

Big Cartel

Similar to Squarespace, Big Cartel is also a self-hosted e-commerce platform created with creative people in mind. For people who love to make handmade products, music, jewelry, and home decor items, Big Cartel is for them.

The interface is nothing that would blow your mind. It is minimal and gets the job done. The editor is intuitive and has a learning curve, resulting in a rustic-looking store with a grid-like layout.

Big Cartel

Big Cartel has more than enough e-commerce features to help you integrate your platform with social media, run promotions, do marketing, and use multiple payment gateways. Big Cartel also offers a forever-free option where you can sell up to 5 products.

If you’re into selling creative products on a large scale and seeking a robust e-commerce platform with potent marketing tools, Big Cartel isn’t for you.

Also Read: Big Cartel vs Etsy: Which Platform Is Best For Creative Sellers?

Big Cartel vs Squarespace: Pros and Cons

No e-commerce platform is perfect. Each has its own good and bad. Here are some pros and cons of Big Cartel and Squarespace.


Easy to use editor and store management.Customizations limited to grids only.
List unlimited products.No automatic saving feature.
Professional marketing tools, including SEO, social media and email marketing.Steep learning curve to get the best out of the editor.
Stunning themes/templates for desktop and mobile devices.Only the top plan offers abandoned cart recovery
Excellent customer support.

Big Cartel

Artistic-looking themes with grid layout.A limited number of themes.
Easy and intuitive to set up a store.Even the top-tier plan puts a cap on listings.
Free forever plan to test the platform.Basic templates with not many functionalities.
Dedicated towards hobbyists, artists, and creatives.Requires a bit of technical know-how.
Quick social media integration.

Big Cartel vs Squarespace: Ease Of Use

We will determine how easy both platforms are based on two metrics: a) Getting Started and b) Managing The Store.

Getting Started

Squarespace is a little complicated to begin with, and that puts off many builders. For example, when you first sign up with Squarespace to create a store, you have to go through a setup checklist process. You can skip this process as it all leads to the same destination, the template page. If you want to learn how to edit or change Squarespace template, we have a created guide that you can check.

As you get the hang of Squarespace’s editor, you will learn to love creating designs with it. To make things better, Squarespace has help prompts at each step when you first start. And there’s always easy access to help materials in the help center or Squarespace forum.

Squarespace Getting Started Step 1

Compared to Squarespace, Big Cartel is friendlier to work with. The moment you signup, you’re presented with a dashboard to add products, connect a payment gateway, design a shop, and launch the shop. Creating a store on Big Cartel doesn’t feel intimidating, and that is something beginners would love. By completing this checklist, you can launch a store in minutes.

Big Cartel vs Squarespace - Getting Started

The designing part is where Big Cartel gets trickier. You can select a new theme anytime, but editing a layout will be difficult if you don’t know how to code. To add products, you have to leave the editor and go to your account to add products and descriptions. You’ll see a product tab, and there you can add products, images, and prices and put a sale tag on. We would have loved to see the product editing option in the design section.

The free plan only allows for 5 products and 1 image per product. You can also decide on the shipping location and charges in the products section.

Managing The Store

Squarespace is one of the easiest platforms to use that gets easier as you spend more time on it. The store is super convenient to manage once you get a template live. As Squarespace is a WYSIWYG builder, you can see the changes made in real time. To add products, you can open the side panel and click commerce.

Squarespace Commerce

The commerce dashboard lets you add products, payments, and subscriptions. You can publish the store as you finish adding all these. All the options are clean and clutter-free. You can also use other sales channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Google Merchants. The best thing about Squarespace is that it lets you access to inventory or items to edit right from the builder.

Commerce Dashboard

Big Cartel gets complicated as you progress towards adding inventories. Unlike Squarespace, Big Cartel requires a basic level of technical know-how. The templates are basic, and with products listed, your layout may appear plain and not too attractive. Technical knowledge gives you more control, letting you manipulate the design elements.

Big Cartel - Managing the store

It is off-putting knowing that beginners with no coding knowledge may have to settle with a basic store, something they wouldn’t want.

Big Cartel Add products

The most annoying part of Big Cartel is you have to leave the editor completely to add or edit a product. You’ll have to juggle back and forth to see how your listed products appear.

Big Cartel vs Squarespace: Design & Flexibility


When you compare Squarespace with Big Cartel in terms of designs, Squarespace is the clear winner here. With stunning and highly customizable templates, Squarespace goes head-to-head with some dedicated e-commerce players like Shopify and Big Commerce. With little learning, Squarespace is extremely easy.

There are over 40 beautiful online store templates with great functionalities and appealing layouts. You can also browse other templates Squarespace has categorized for different industries and niches.

Background Editing 1

The best part about all Squarespace templates is they use one core template with different block item placements. It means you can create just about any template or layout on your own, no matter what template you choose. There’s no wrong way here. Any item or block you add to the section gets locked to the grid, making for precise placements.

Block Categories

Changing color palettes, section backgrounds, main bar logo, fonts or navigation menu is easy. New pages get added to the menu automatically. As Squarespace is a visual-first website platform, you require high-definition images in the background. If you don’t have graphics, Squarespace’s media library has a fairly decent collection of high-res images.

Big Cartel

Big Cartel may be easy to set up, but designing a template is challenging. There are only a handful of templates to choose from. The templates are plain, and there is no depth to them. So if you compare your Big Cartel store with Squarespace, you’ll be disappointed because there is no way to customize the theme without coding.

Even with technical knowledge, there is only so much you can change with codes; honestly, it may not be worth the time. Every theme offers a different level of customization, leaving a lot to be desired.

Big Cartel Editor

Big Cartel also does not support the zoom-in feature for product images, which may affect sales in the long run as consumers love to check product images for detail.

Big Cartel Customization options

You can change the theme of your store on Big Cartel. However, doing so may cause losing custom codes you may have used for customization. You will also need to upload some elements again. And don’t worry, your products and inventory won’t be affected.

Big Cartel vs Squarespace: E-commerce Tools

Big Cartel is a dedicated e-commerce platform, while Squarespace is an all-in-one website builder, including e-commerce. However, a quick comparison shows Squarespace leaping ahead of Big Cartel when comparing the basic features necessary to operate an online store. Let’s take a look at important features.

Product and Inventory Management

Big Cartel

For any online store, managing products and inventory is critical. An online store platform must provide this feature with easy management. Let’s say you’re selling 2000 products, and you wouldn’t want to list all that manually. The e-commerce builder must have options to import products and also bulk edit.

Big Cartel allows users to import products through a . CSV file and bulk edit them. However, the most number of products you can sell on Big Cartel is 500, even on their top plan. You wouldn’t expect this limitation from a dedicated online store builder. As a result, people selling or planning to sell over 500 products in the near future can’t opt for Big Cartel.

If you’re a hobbyist, artist, or any creative wanting to sell your products, Big Cartel might be perfect. For anything larger, it’s a disappointment for sure.


Squarespace, on the other hand, allows for unlimited listing of products right from their basic commerce plan. You can also add variants of products, something not available on Big Cartel. This feature is particularly interesting for apparel businesses as you can add different variants of the same products, like different colors or sizes, and show them via small thumbnails on the same screen.

Squarespace lets you manage the inventory from one place. This feature is handy for larger businesses selling hundreds or thousands of products. Big Cartel, too, lets users add product variations that it shows in a drop-down list, it is however not as appealing as Squarespace.

Some might argue Squarespace’s basic commerce plan is pricier than Big Cartel’s top plan so the benefits are obvious. Sure, but you get far more than what you pay, for example, a free custom domain on the yearly plan.

Selling Services

Not all businesses want to sell physical or digital products; some also want to offer services. Squarespace lets you sell services from the start. In fact, Squarespace has dedicated templates for selling professional services.

Big Cartel has no direct option for selling services. If you want to sell professional services, you may have to use 3rd party apps attracting a monthly premium, adding extra costs to your already planned budget.

Abandoned Cart Recovery

Abandon cart recovery is significantly more important as it can help with better sales. Shoppers often leave products in their carts and forget to checkout. By sending a notification for their abandoned shopping cart, you increase the chances of shoppers completing their purchase. It is a powerful remarketing or re-engaging technique for improved conversion.

You can find the abandoned cart recovery feature on Squarespace’s top-tier plan. Unfortunately, Big Cartel doesn’t offer that in any of their plans.

Big Cartel and Squarespace have automated shipping and purchase notifications. Whenever someone buys a product on either platform, they get a purchase and shipping notification. It allows buyers to track their shipments.

Social Media Integrations

You can integrate Squarespace and Big Cartel with social media platforms and use them as sales channels.


Analytics gives you crucial performance data like customer acquisition, engagement, tracking revenue, and more. You can use the acquired data to improve your marketing approach.

Squarespace shines here by providing a built-in analytical tool to monitor performance. You can also integrate your Squarespace store with Google Analytics.

Big Cartel is a letdown in this department as it doesn’t have any built-in tool and relies on 3rd party integration like Google analytics for data. Even the top plan lacks any tool whatsoever for analytics.

Big Cartel vs Squarespace: Marketing Tools

E-commerce features are good to have, but without proper marketing, even the most beautiful stores get unnoticed. To grow your store and be visible to the audience, you may need certain marketing features:

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO is a process of optimizing your store to rank in Google search results. It includes metadata like title, description, alt text, tags, and more.

Big Cartel vs Squarespace: Squarespace SEO optimization

Squarespace handles SEO flawlessly, as it has inbuilt optimization capabilities. By default, Squarespace applies all the optimizations automatically with the option for manual intervention. It has an SEO checklist to assist users in ensuring the best optimization possible.

If you’re new to SEO, you’d appreciate this assistance because you wouldn’t have to search on Google for help.

Big Cartel automatically optimizes your store with the information it has, like using the product name and description for metadata, HTML markup, and alt texts. Creates search engine-friendly simple URLs for your pages, places accurate header and anchors for clear navigation, generates automatic robot txt file, and points it to the sitemap.

Big Cartel SEO Optimization

The only human intervention you can make is buying and using a custom domain name and providing related and accurate product descriptions. The drawback is you have to trust Big Cartel’s optimization capabilities.

Email Marketing

Squarespace offers both an in-built email marketing tool and 3rd party integration. You can select email templates to start editing and then sending.

Squarespace Email Marketing

Big Cartel lacks an in-built email tool. Your only option is to use a 3rd party email service provider like Mail Chimp with Big Cartel integration.

Big Cartel vs Squarespace: Payment Processors

Squarespace offers 3 payment processors, including Stripe, PayPal, and Square. Square lets you accept offline payments but is limited to the US only. With Stripe, you unlock several payment options like Apple Pay, After Pay, and more, while with PayPal, you can also use Venmo.

You pay a 3% transaction fee on Squarespace unless you’re subscribed to their Basic and Advanced commerce plans.

Squarespace payment options

Big Cartel provides 2 payment gateways, Stripe and PayPal. Again, with Strip, you can use Apple Pay, Afterpay, and more. You can sell offline on Big Cartel using their mobile app for both Android and iOS. Big Cartel’s offline selling is much simpler than Squarespace. You can accept online or card payments using Stripe when selling offline.

Big Cartel doesn’t charge a transaction fee for any of its plans.

Big Cartel - Payment Option

Big Cartel vs Squarespace: Pricings

Squarespace plans start at $16/month, billed annually. But to start selling, you need to subscribe to either Business or Commerce basic costing $23 and $27/month, respectively. Given the price and features, Squarespace is a bang for your buck if you plan on creating a beautiful store to sell tons of items and manage and market the store.

You get advanced features like premium themes and templates, great marketing and e-commerce tools, analytics, and reporting. You can sell as many products as you want without any restrictions. There’s a 14-day free trial period that you can sign up for to test the platforms and its functionalities.

Squarespace Pricings

Big Cartel offers three plans; Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. The gold plan is forever free and lets you sell up to 5 products. You get access to basic features and customizations on the store. The Platinum plan costs $9.99, letting you sell up to 50 products. You get advanced customization access, like custom coding the theme, bulk editing, and inventory tracking. The top Diamond plan is priced at $19.99 but offers the same feature set as Platinum.; the only difference is you can sell 500 items through your store.

The premium plan opens access to inventory tracking, app integrations, Google Analytics, email marketing and more.

Big Cartel Pricings

Big Cartel vs Squarespace: Customer Support

Squarespace offers a suite of customer support, including a Help Center, Live Chat, and Email support. They have covered almost every topic of website building and store setup in their help center.

However, if your problems are still unresolved, you can contact them via email, live chat, or Twitter. There’s also a dedicated Squarespace forum where users discuss topics related to website building on Squarespace.

Squarespace Customer Support

Big Cartel is timid in customer support. The only available option to reach experts is by email on business days between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM. There’s a chat-like feature, but that also leads to emailing conversation. All your queries are sent to the Big Cartel team via email, and you receive the answer similarly.

Their help center isn’t as helpful as you think. That said, the communities on the internet can be helpful if you’re stuck somewhere and want help with anything.


Big Cartel vs Squarespace: Conclusion

Big Cartel and Squarespace are e-commerce platforms serving different purposes. One focuses more on artistic and creative people, while the other is an all-rounder. Which one is best for you? Well, it depends on which category you fall into.

Big Cartel, for example, is more suited to hobbyists or people looking for a side hustle. Squarespace can be ideal for small to medium size businesses looking for an affordable e-commerce solution. Big Cartel isn’t bad, but it fell short of several of our measures.

In our comparison, Squarespace is the clear winner for being beginner-friendly, offering a bag full of useful features like SEO, Email marketing, blog, and analytics. You can list unlimited products and all that while maintaining a stunning-looking website.

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