10 best BigCartel alternatives in 2021 (free & paid)

10 best BigCartel alternatives in 2021 (free & paid)

BigCartel is a hosted eCommerce platform that slightly stands aside from similar solutions as it specifically targets artists keen on selling art online.

A hosted eCommerce platform is a type of SaaS (software as a service) that lets you build an online store from scratch without having to worry about hosting, online payment integrations, and inventory management as it’s all included.

BigCartel
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BigCartel markets itself as super easy-to-use while offering all the necessary features for managing an online store. The overall look and feel of a BigCartel store is minimalistic and very straightforward, which makes it a perfect choice for a non-techie. Apart from that, it’s one of the few eCommerce platforms that lets you build an online store for free. 

So, in case you’re not looking for anything too advanced, BigCartel sounds like a good choice—right?

Not so fast.

Why should you look for BigCartel alternatives?

Now that we’re through with the basics, let’s take a look at a few reasons why you should consider looking for BigCartel alternatives:

  1. Not enough features. At a closer look, the list of features seems poor. 
  2. Limited customization. Only 10 free themes available means that your creative freedom will be very limited when it comes to store design.
  3. Poor customer support. It’s restricted to email between 9:00–18:00 EST, Monday-Friday, so you’ll have to wait until Monday if something happens with your store during the weekend. 
  4. Only 5 products can be sold on the free plan. 

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not trying to discourage you from choosing BigCartel if you’re sure it’s the right fit for you.

But, I have to say this:

It’s quite obvious that BigCartel is more suited for small businesses looking to stay small.

So, if it’s not what you’re looking for, we’re here to help you out. We’ve done our own research and gathered this list of the 10 best BigCartel alternatives for you. 

Here they are:

  1. Sellfy
  2. Gumroad
  3. Shopify
  4. Ecwid
  5. Etsy
  6. WooCommerce
  7. Squarespace
  8. Storenvy
  9. Wix
  10. Shift4Shop

10 best BigCartel alternatives

1. Sellfy

Out of all BigCartel-like hosted eCommerce solutions, Sellfy is by far the best option. And yes, its setup is as simple as BigCartel’s (and, maybe even better). In fact, with Sellfy, you can start selling instantly—it’s possible to build a store in less than 10 minutes.

Sellfy
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Unlike BigCartel, Sellfy started as an eCommerce platform for selling digital products and quickly became an absolute leader in that niche. 

And, now it has all the necessary features for also selling physical products, subscriptions as well as print-on-demand merchandise—no integrations needed. With Sellfy’s POD, you can easily create and sell custom clothing, home decor, and accessories along with your digital and physical products.

Just like BigCartell, Sellfy offers a free plan for those who are just entering the world of eCommerce. Plus, it won’t take more than a few clicks to embed the “Buy now” button or the whole storefront into your existing website.

Sellfy is equipped with awesome marketing tools to help you maximize sales. For example:

  • Discounts and coupon codes with a possibility to set start/end times, add a countdown timer, and customize SALE badges.
  • Cart abandonment to help recover lost sales.
  • Pay-what-you-want pricing to increase customer engagement.
  • Email marketing to craft and run compelling email campaigns, send product updates and “thank you” notes.
  • Upselling and cross-selling to offer an additional (discounted) product to the buyer when they add one of your products to the cart. 

Apart from that, Sellfy offers way more third-party apps than BigCartel. And, if you ever need more, Sellfy also has a Zapier integration that gives you access to 750+ apps.

Is Sellfy right for you?

Even though Sellfy doesn’t target artists specifically, it’s a perfect platform for all types of creators who want to spend all their time CREATING instead of taking care of technical details.

How much does Sellfy cost?

Sellfy comes with a generous free plan as well as three paid plans startitng at $29/mo ($19/mo if you take a yearly subscription) and offer more advanced functionality.

Pros

  • Fully-hosted eCommerce platform
  • Has a free plan
  • Effortless setup
  • Support for digital, physical & subscription products
  • Built-in print-on-demand
  • Built-in marketing tools 
  • Pay-what-you-want pricing
  • Possibility to add a shopping cart to the website
  • Sell an unlimited number of products
  • Mobile app as a bonus
  • Accepts credit cards & PayPal
  • Fast and clean checkout

Cons

  • Limited integrations
  • Limited customization & web design tools
  • No advanced product filtering or sorting options

2. Gumroad

Gumroad is sort of becoming the go-to platform for artists wanting to sell art online. It’s a simple and straightforward eCommerce solution that gives you a head start without making you spend hours setting up your store.

Gumroad
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Just like Sellfy, Gumroad supports both digital and physical products. So, as a basic checkout cart, Gumroad seems like a great fit.

Even though it’s far from winning the best eCommerce platform award, it’s easy to use, customizable, and has an overall clean look. Apart from that, Gumroad is one of the most affordable solutions on the market. 

Similar to BigCartel, Gumroad has a free plan. However, an expensive transaction cost of 9% plus 30 cents per transaction doesn’t make it free after all.

There also are few things that will make you think twice before you choose Gumroad. For example, they don’t have bump offers or product upselling. And then, you won’t be able to access the same in-depth analytics and support that you’d get from a tool that integrates with a wider range of selling solutions.

Is Gumroad right for you?

Gumroad works well for artists who are new to the world of eCommerce or those looking for a basic checkout solution. But, in case you’re looking for more advanced sales and marketing capabilities, Gumroad might disappoint you. 

How much does Gumroad cost?

Starting August 30, 2021, Gumroad has eliminated all paid plans. The fees you pay will be determined by your lifetime revenue, starting with 9%, which lasts until you make $1000.

Pros

  • Fully-hosted eCommerce platform
  • Simple set up
  • Free plan and reasonably priced paid plans
  • Built-in membership platform that hosts audio, image & video files
  • Supports digital and physical products
  • Accepts credit cards & PayPal
  • Built-in discount feature
  • Store embed option

Cons

  • No Apple Pay or other forms of payment processing
  • No built-in marketing features
  • Basic customization
  • Poor Help Center & limited knowledge base
  • No live chat or Facebook group
  • No way to sell services
  • Limited integrations

3. Shopify

Without a doubt, Shopify is still one of the most popular eCommerce platforms because it claims to be one of the easiest to use. 

Shopify
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Shopify’s main advantage is that it’s very feature-rich. 

As soon as you sign up, you have access to a set of tools required to build an online store without having to write a single line of code. With the right app integrations, you can sell pretty much anything on Shopify—from physical products to services and digital goods.

On the flip side, you have to keep in mind that you have to pay extra for most third-party app integrations on Shopify. For example, Shopify’s paid store themes cost between $140$180, while the monthly fees for the apps can vary from just a few dollars up to $100/month.

When compared to Shopify, BigCartel and Sellfy offer a more advanced built-in marketing toolkit that can help you promote your product and increase conversion rates.

Lastly, Shopify markets itself as an easy-to-use platform, and there’s some truth to that. But, even though you don’t have to be a professional web developer to build an online store with Shopify, it certainly comes with a learning curve. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be so many “how-to” guides on starting a Shopify store.

Is Shopify right for you?

Overall, Shopify works for everyone—baby businesses and advanced retailers. However, you must be ready to spend some time and money (mainly on third-party apps) to build a fully functional store.

How much does Shopify cost?

Shopify doesn’t come with a free plan and has three paid monthly plans with prices ranging from $29299/month.

Pros

  • Fully-hosted eCommerce platform
  • Marketplace with a wide choice of app integrations
  • No coding experience required
  • Built-in blog
  • Store embed functionality
  • Mobile app
  • Multi-currency selling with Shopify Payments
  • Built-in cart abandonment functionality

Cons

  • Key functionalities require the installation of an app
  • Third-party app integrations may be pricy
  • Steep learning curve
  • Multi-currency selling available only for Shopify Payments users
  • Transaction and card processing fees
  • Limited built-in marketing functionality

4. Ecwid

Ecwid
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Essentially, there are two types of platforms for building your online store:

  • A fully-hosted one that lets you build an entire eCommerce website (like BigCartel or Sellfy).
  • A self-hosted solution that allows more flexibility when designing an online store, but requires coding skills or help from a professional web developer.

Well, Ecwid really is neither.

Let me explain:

Ecwid is more like an advanced eCommerce widget (Ec-Wid, get it?) for your existing website. In other words, it was designed as a solution that helps you integrate an online storefront into your website.

Ecwid has a free plan, and while it differs from solutions like Sellfy or Shopify, it also gives you an opportunity to build a basic eCommerce website if you don’t already have one. 

It may seem like a perfect solution for business owners looking for a simple way to integrate store features on an existing website and sell via different channels. However, Ecwid has almost no customization features.

Is Ecwid right for you?

Ecwid might be the best solution for anyone who knows the pain of trying to migrate products to an existing website.

How much does Ecwid cost?

Ecwid’s free plan lets you sell 10 products and build a basic storefront as well as three paid plans ranging from $1599/month.

Pros

  • Designed to integrate well with social networks
  • Effortless integration with your existing website
  • Integrated store adapts to your site’s theme
  • Automatically detects and translates 50+ languages
  • Has a free plan
  • No transaction fees
  • GDPR compliant
  • Supports multi-channel sales
  • Allows to create a basic eCommerce website

Cons

  • Limited customization
  • The free plan supports only 10 products
  • No SEO editing in the free plan
  • No possibility to edit product URLs for SEO purposes
  • No support for product page AMP versions
  • Impossible to build a complete eCommerce website on EcwidEtsy

5. Etsy

Etsy is usually the first platform that pops up in your head when you think about selling anything creative. But, when we compare Etsy to fully-hosted eCommerce solutions, it’s like trying to sell your art at a fair instead of selling it from the comfort of your own store.

Etsy
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What sets Etsy apart from all of the above-mentioned platforms is that Etsy is a creative marketplace. And, like almost every other marketplace, Etsy comes with an established customer base interested in the arts and crafts, which gives you a chance to draw some attention to your products. 

On the one hand, you have 30+ million potential buyers browsing Etsy that can notice your products. And, on the other hand, you have 50+ million other products to compete with.

Apart from being able to list your products on its marketplace, Etsy also offers its own eCommerce platform—Pattern by Etsy. It’s somewhat similar to a fully-hosted solution like Sellfy, but not as sophisticated or customizable. It’ll cost you a monthly fee of $15, but it’s nothing more than an add-on for someone who’s already selling their products on Etsy.

Is Etsy right for you?

Etsy is perfect for any beginner artist who doesn’t want complicated solutions or any store customization (the only thing you can customize on Etsy is your logo), and whose products are ready to withstand tough competition. 

How much does Etsy cost?

Etsy is free, but there’s a $0.20 charge for every product listed. There’s also a 5% transaction fee and an additional 3%, plus $0.25 for payment processing on every item you sell. If you’re interested in additional functionality, you can subscribe to Etsy Plus for $10/month.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • No monthly costs
  • Good for exposure

Cons

  • No customization options
  • Transaction and listing fees
  • No control over your store
  • Strict product guidelines
  • No marketing features

6. WooCommerce

If there was a popularity contest among BigCartel alternatives, the chances that WooCommerce would take second place (right after Shopify) are pretty high. But, is it as good as it is popular?

WooCommerce
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WooCommerce is a free open source eCommerce plugin for WordPress. Yes, both WooCommerce and WordPress are free, but you should always consider additional costs associated with building an online store on an open-source platform. For example, things like hosting, paid store themes, a domain name, third-party app integrations, and an SSL certificate. 

And, of course, as with any open-source platform, you have to either know how to code or hire a person who will help you set up your store. So, even though WooCommerce is a free solution, it still requires investment and actual effort to build your eCommerce store. 

But, don’t get me wrong, WooCommerce is still a great option for someone who’s looking for more freedom in store modification and advanced customization—that’s why it’s so popular. There are hundreds of custom-built plugins being constantly created for WooCommerce.  Plus, you get full control over the selling process and your data.

Is WooCommerce right for you?

WooCommerce is perfect for anyone looking for total control over their online store—you’ll get access to thousands of store themes and plugins that can extend the functionality of your store.

How much does WooCommerce cost?

WordPress and the WooCommerce plug-in are free but don’t forget about the cost of domain hosting, plugins, extensions, and even web design services.

Pros

  • No monthly fee
  • Full control and advanced customization
  • Many store themes and plugins
  • Integrates with WordPress

Cons

  • Both WordPress and WooCommerce have a huge learning curve
  • WooCommerce requires an existing WordPress website
  • No direct technical support
  • Not the best option for beginners

7. Squarespace

Similar to WordPress or Wix, Squarespace was initially developed as a website builder. But, it was always more inclined towards creating a page with a unique designer look. Later on, they developed a platform called Squarespace Commerce that, essentially, is a fully hosted eCommerce platform.

Squarespace
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As I’ve already mentioned, Squarespace is well known for its looks. With Squarespace, even those who don’t have a single design muscle in their body can create a truly stunning store. They offer more than 80 beautiful and hip store templates to choose from so that you can create a professionally designed store without having to write a single line of code.

Although its feature list isn’t as advanced when compared to other platforms, it’s enough for running a small or medium-sized business. Plus, there’s no limit to the number of products that you can sell. 

Similar to WordPress, Squarespace offers decent drag-and-drop functionality. However, it’s not an obvious choice in terms of ease of use, and you shouldn’t expect to build your store quickly and easily.

Is Squarespace right for you?

Squarespace is a great website builder and a good eCommerce platform for both beginners and advanced users. It comes with a slight learning curve, but you can expect to build a modern-looking online store relatively easily.

How much does Squarespace cost?

Squarespace has two pricing plans: $24/month and $36/month. But, you should keep in mind that most of the marketing features are only available on the expensive plan.

Pros

  • Fully-hosted eCommerce platform
  • Great choice of beautiful store themes
  • The annual plan comes with a free domain name
  • Unlimited number of products
  • Good customer support
  • Possibility to integrate on social media platforms
  • Decent eCommerce features list

Cons

  • Majority of marketing features on the expensive plan
  • Limited payment options
  • Difficult to navigate for a beginner
  • Store templates aren’t fully customizable
  • Not focused on eCommerce

8. Storenvy

Somewhat similar to Etsy, Storenvy positions itself as a “social marketplace”. The main difference from Etsy, however, is that with Storenvy you can actually build your own store that is connected to the main marketplace. It’s also important to note that Storenvy comes with marketing tools and a possibility to host your storefront on a unique domain.

Storenvy
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At a glance, Storenvy seems to be very user-friendly and even fully customizable. Its website builder allows you to make CSS and HTML changes, which is great for those looking for more design and technical capabilities. But, at the same time, beginners and people with no coding experience will find Storenvy’s customization quite poor and limited in terms of functionality and store control.

Is Storenvy right for you?

Storenvy is a solid solution for small independent sellers who aren’t looking for award-winning functionality. In essence, it combines all the benefits of a fully independent store with access to an active marketplace.

How much does Storenvy cost?

It looks like Storenvy has a free plan that lets you build a store and sell 20 products, but it takes commissions from your sales—each transaction will be charged 15%. It also has three paid plans ranging from $9.99/month to $49.99/month.

Pros

  • Access to a large marketplace
  • Free plan
  • Possibility to build a separate storefront
  • Built-in marketing features

Cons

  • Marketing features only on paid plans
  • Big commissions on sold products
  • Limited functionality & customization
  • Marketplace isn’t as big as Etsy or eBay

9. Wix

Wix is a well-known drag-and-drop website builder that has helped thousands of creators build their blogs, online portfolios, and other websites without a single line of code. And, Wix Commerce allows you to start selling online right from your Wix website.

Wix
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You can sell anything on your Wix store—from physical items to digital downloads. Apart from that, Wix also allows you to accept bookings with a booking app (you won’t be able to sell services, though).

Wix doesn’t come with the best inventory management, but it’s enough to get by and manage your store somewhat effectively. At the same time, Wix’s product presentation options are pretty impressive. For example, you can upload product videos and your customers will be able to zoom in on product images.

Wix offers a set of modern-looking store themes that are almost 100% customizable thanks to its famous drag and drop functionality. But, you must remember that once you’ve published your store theme, you won’t be able to change it anymore. Also, with a tool called Wix Code, you’re able to access the API for advanced customizations and integrations.

Is Wix right for you?

Although it’s not as easy to use as BigCartel or Sellfy, and its themes are far from the good ones offered by Squarespace, Wix Commerce is a solid solution for beginners and growing businesses in terms of user-friendliness and design.

How much does Wix cost?

Wix has three eCommerce plans ranging from $23/month to $49/month.

Pros

  • Extensive add-on library that doesn’t revolve around just eCommerce
  • Big choice of modern store themes
  • Easy to use platform
  • API for advanced customizations and integrations
  • A mobile app

Cons

  • Lack of built-in features
  • Issues with the loading speed
  • Limited customization options
  • No support for multichannel selling
  • Many features come through costly third-party apps

10. Shift4Shop

Similar to BigCartel, Shift4Shop (previously 3dcart) is a hosted all-in-one eCommerce solution that allows you to build an online store without any previous experience. The good news is that, just like BigCartel, Shift4Shop offers a free plan. The bad news is that the free plan is only available to US citizens who are fine with having only a native Ship4 payment gateway. 

Shift4Shop
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Shift4Shop offers a wide range of in-built eCommerce features, including decent marketing and SEO tools, and customer management features. Also, paid plans come with more than 300 payment gateways. Apart from that, there are over 100 free store themes available (in comparison, BigCartel offers just 10). 

However, in terms of ease of use, Shift4Shop falls far behind solutions like Sellfy. For starters, most of the store themes will only fit bigger stores and grown businesses, and customizing them might be a challenging task for a beginner. In addition, product pages look more intimidating than they should. There have also been reports that technical support at Shift4Shop is not particularly helpful.

Is Shift4Shop right for you?

It’s a perfect fit for those who need to build a professional store for their mid-sized or growing business, and not necessarily have an easy-to-use solution.

How much does Shift4Shop cost?

There’s a free End-to-end plan for those devoted to Ship4 payment gateways, and then three paid plans ranging from $29/month to $229/month.

Pros

  • Fully-hosted eCommerce platform
  • Drag-and-drop functionality
  • A free plan + three paid plans
  • No transaction fees
  • 300+ payment gateways
  • User-friendly interface for an experienced user
  • Built-in eCommerce features

Cons

  • The solution isn’t easy-to-use
  • No multilingual capabilities
  • Reputation concerns with payment gateway
  • Free templates may look too professional
  • Poor customer service
  • Steep learning curve
  • Revenue limits on paid plans

Over to you

As you can see, looking for the best eCommerce platform boils down to your business needs. So, if you’re more inclined towards selling your products on a marketplace, then you should look into solutions like Etsy or Storenvy. Or maybe you’re looking for more technical freedom? Then you can try platforms like Ecwid or WooCommerce.

But, if you’re looking for a direct alternative to Bigcartel that is suitable for beginners, has a better feature list, and simply performs better, you should take a closer look at Sellfy.

 

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Aleksey is a Content Marketing Specialist at Sellfy. He loves using language and the power of words to make even the driest eCommerce topics fascinating. Using his degree in literary studies and passion for the latest trends, he creates well-researched and structured content to inspire other people and help them grow their eCommerce business.
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