Big Cartel vs Squarespace (2024) – Which Is Best For Small Businesses?

Big Cartel and Squarespace are two very popular options for small businesses and creatives who are looking to start selling there products online but which one is the best option?

Well, that is what we are going to look to answer in this post by doing an in-depth comparison between these two platforms, so let’s get started…

EcommerceGold is reader supported and we may earn a commission from products or services purchased through links on our site at no additional cost to you, to learn more please see our affiliate disclosure.

Big Cartel vs Squarespace: Quick Summary

Big Cartel vs Squarespace – which one is the best? It really isn’t close between these two platforms as Squarespace is the clear winner for a number of reasons:

  1. It has a much better website builder
  2. It offers a much better selection of standard features
  3. You can sell a lot more product types
  4. It can be used to build and grow an online store

Squarespace is just a more complete platform and isn’t even that much more expensive on a monthly basis, we just found Big Cartel to be too basic and while it is easy to set up and run, it just doesn’t offer the infrastructure to grow an ecommerce business.

ShopWired Logo

EcommerceGold Score

ShopWired Logo

EcommerceGold Score


Big Cartel Logo
  • Gold: $0/m
  • Platinum: $9.99/m
  • Diamond: $19.99/m
Squarespace Logo
  • Business $33/m
  • Basic Commerce $36/m
  • Advanced Commerce $65/m

As you can see from the table above, Squarespace is the more expensive of the two platforms and it should be noted that these are the Squarespace prices are for if you pay monthly, if you pay for your plan annually, they do offer a discount.

Big Cartel

Even though Big Cartel is cheaper it does also have some limitations in terms of the number of products that you can list:

  • Gold: 5 Products, 1 Image per Product
  • Platinum: 50 Products, 5 Images per Product
  • Diamond: 500 Products, 5 Images per Product

Big Cartel doesn’t charge and transaction fees or have annual turnover limits.


Squarespace is a little more straightforward with their pricing as only the Business plan has an additional transaction fee but this doesn’t apply to the Basic or Advanced Commerce plans and they all offer:

  • No product limit
  • No annual turnover limit
  • Up to 100 images per product (which is more than enough!)

And while it is the more expensive option, Squarespace is still a great cost-effective option.

Free Trial

Big Cartel and Squarespace take a different approach to letting you try out their platform as:

  • Big Cartel offers a free plan with limited features and resources
  • Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial


As two of very popular options for small businesses and creatives, you would expect them to both come with a good range of features, but what do you get exactly?

Big Cartel

Features is definitely an area that Big Cartel do not shout about as unlike pretty much every other ecommerce platform, Big Cartel doesn’t list all of the features that they offer but we did manage to find the following:

  • Google Analytics
  • Real-Time Stats
  • Inventory Tracking*
  • Discount Codes
  • Shipment Tracking
  • Bulk Editing*

*Not available on the free package

While this may be ok for users who are just getting started and are unsure of what they require but if you know exactly the types of features you need, you will probably be left with more questions than answers from Big Cartel.

One thing that is quite limited on Big Cartel is the number of payment gateway options, as they only offer the following:

  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • Venmo (requires PayPal Business Account)
  • ApplePay (requires Stripe)

And while these will cover most payment methods, it still may prove to be restrictive for some businesses.

Also, somewhat surprisingly, Big Cartel doesn’t offer the option of digital products or downloads as standard (which would be very useful for many creative types) and if you want to add this functionality, you will need to install an app that starts from $6/m.

Big Cartel Apps

To add their existing features, Big Cartel does have a small number of apps that can be used to integrate the platform with third-party software or bring that functionality into a Big Cartel site. While this is really good, only a few of the apps are free to use, with most requiring a paid plan to get full access, which can make Big Cartel quite a bit more pricey.


To access all of the features that Squarespace offers, you do need to be on the Advanced Commerce plan and the Business and Basic Commerce plans are a little light when it comes to features, which is why we have summarised all of the features that are available on Squarespace:

Ecommerce Tools

  • Sell Physical, Digital, Service based products
  • Custom Forms
  • Product Quick View
  • Limited Availability Labels
  • Product Variations
  • Gift Cards

Marketing & SEO

  • Built-in Blog
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery
  • Discounts
  • Sell on Instagram
  • Product Reviews
  • Email Campaigns
  • Social Media Integration


  • Revenue
  • Units Sold
  • Number of Orders
  • Conversion Rate
  • Average Order Value
  • Revenue per Visit

Payment Gateways

  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • Afterpay
  • Square (for POS)

Squarespace Extensions

Squarespace also offers a range of extensions that allow integrations with third-party platforms, such as:

  • Printful
  • Xero
  • Quickbooks
  • Shipstation

Squarespace doesn’t offer the largest extension library but it still offers a lot more integrations that what is available with Big Cartel.

Squarespace Extensions

Website Builder

Big Cartel

Big Cartel has a pretty basic website builder that offers a small selection of 18 free themes that are well-designed and varied in terms of style.

But when it comes to theme customization, Big Cartel is very limited as there are only a small number of changes that you can make in the live customizer and these are:

  • Change colors
  • Change fonts
  • Change the alignment of some on-page elements

But there are no options to add additional sections to pages and customization options are very limited for your site’s header and footer.

You can add additional pages to your store but the only way to add content is via a basic text editor in the live customizer and there are very limited options in terms of formatting but there is no blog functionality with Big Cartel along with a lack of SEO options for your store and pages.

So while it is easy to use, it is very limited and this isn’t going to be ideal for a lot of businesses.


The Squarespace website builder is significantly better than Big Cartel as they offer a full-site customizer with many different design options that can be configured using the live editor.

One big change that Squarespace made recently was to basically scrap their theme selection and instead use a core template that can be easily customized using the selection of sections and content blocks that are available in the customizer.

You can start with a pre-built design but unfortunately can’t switch to any other designs, instead you have to customize your existing design to match the one you like.

Squarespace also includes a selection of site-wide options that includes fonts and colors.

A look at the Squarespace website builder

The Squarespace website builder is arguably one of the best on the market as it balances being very easy to use with a host of design and customization offerings, which allows even people brand new to building websites the ability to create a really good-looking website.

Squarespace also includes a built-in blog that can be customized using the sections available in the website builder, meaning that you can create some really good-looking content.


One of the reasons why people choose a hosted platform such as Big Cartel or Squarespace is that they get help and support to run their website. But how good is either platforms offering?

Big Cartel

Support options are quite limited with the Big Cartel platform as the only options are to contact them via email and that goes for all of the packages. There are no extra support options on the larger packages, which is a little surprising.


Squarespace does offers 24/7 support but this is only available via email.

They do offer live chat support but this is only available 4 am – 8 pm EST, Monday to Friday and they don’t offer any phone support.

Hosting & Performance

Finding information about the hosting of either of these platforms is very challenging and with Big Cartel, the only thing we found is that they include an SSL certificate but that is it.

We did manage to find more information about Squarespace (although it took a bit of digging) and they include:

  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Unlimited Storage
  • PCI Compliant Servers
  • Free SSL Certificate

But this doesn’t stop us from putting both platforms to the test!

And we did just that by taking 5 customer example sites and running them through Uptrends Speed Tool, using the New York server to check both Desktop and Mobile performance on both load time and Google PageSpeed Scores.

We ran these tests once a day for 5 days to get a good spread of data and you can see the results below:

Big Cartel Logo


  • Load Time: 2.17 Seconds
  • PageSpeed: 49/100


  • Load Time: 2.37 Seconds
  • PageSpeed: 84/100
Squarespace Logo


  • Load Time: 1.91 Seconds
  • PageSpeed: 23/100


  • Load Time: 2.27 Seconds
  • PageSpeed: 65/100

As you can see, there isn’t a lot of difference between Big Cartel and Squarespace and in terms of load speed, they are two of the fastest that we have tested but Big Cartel did perform better in the PageSpeed tests.

If you want to see where both platforms came in my performance leader board then check out our Fastest Ecommerce Platforms post.

Ease of Use

Now I do know that ease of use is subjective to the person using the site so the following is just my opinion and should only be used as a guide.

Getting Started

Big Cartel

Getting started with the Big Cartel platform is really simple to do, all you need to do is go to the Big Cartel website and click the sign-up icon in the top right-hand corner, this takes you to the pricing page so that you can choose the package that you want.

Once selected, you are taken through to the sign-up page and all you need is an email address, create a password, create a shop name and a shop URL and you are good to go. If you have selected a paid plan, then you will need to set up your billing information as well.

Once you have signed up, you are taken through to the Big Cartel dashboard and are greeted by a setup guide and unlike other platforms, you do need to work through the steps in this guide in order to access the dashboard section of the admin area.

Fortunately, the setup guide is pretty good and takes you through most of what you need to do to get your website up and running.

The Big Cartel admin dashboard is very simplistic as there are only 5 sections, so it doesn’t take long to know where things are and even within the sections, there aren’t many options. While this is good in one way, it does show how light on features the Big Cartel platform is.

But some things do take a bit of digging to find and the most notable one was the ability to create pages on your website for say Terms and Conditions or Privacy Policy. This is done through the theme customization section and there are very limited formatting options, which makes creating aesthetically pleasing about or promotional pages a bit of a challenge.


Getting started with Squarespace is also very simple as you only need an email address and to create a password.

You will then be taken through the onboarding process, which includes some questions about the type of site you are creating, what type of products you will be selling and if you want to choose a pre-built design or do your own from scratch.

Once you have completed this, you will be taken through to your admin dashboard and initially it doesn’t seem like there is much help to get you started but if you click on the selling heading in the sidebar, you will be taken to a short setup guide to help you get your store configured.

Squarespace set up guide page

The Squarespace dashboard is very well-designed and easy to use, this is mainly down to the sidebar navigation menu being well-labeled and easy to navigate, with any options not labeled being available in the settings such as payment and shipping options.

Adding and Managing Stock

Being able to manage your stock efficiently and effectively is a hugely important part of running an online store and there are three main areas to this, which are:

  • Adding products
  • Organizing your Products
  • Managing your inventory

Big Cartel

Big Cartel has one of the simplest product creation pages out there, which makes it very easy to add a new product but you are limited to purely physical products. This is surprising as it is aimed at creative types who may have digital versions of their creations.

Something that is missing from the product creation page is any kind of SEO settings and you can only change the URL of a product by creating it and then going back in and editing it. While having a light and easy-to-use product creation page is good, it does feel like there are some things missing.

Organizing your products is a little strange as categories are created either within the product creation page or by clicking the three dots on the inventory overview page and they are created by just giving them a title. There are no description or SEO tools associated with them.

It also doesn’t allow you to create sub-categories or choose how you display the categories on the front end of your site. Categories are simply added to the main navigation menu product drop-down list when a product is added to the category.

Bulk inventory management is only available on the paid plans but having it as an option is still good. On the free plan, all editing has to be done on a product-by-product b


One thing that is very noticeable with Squarespace is the number of different product types that you can sell when it comes to adding a new product, this is because when you click to add a new product, you are presented with eight different options.

And the add new product page is slightly different for all of these product types, for example, when adding a physical product there are fulfillment (shipping) options and for digital downloads there is a field for uploading your file.

The design of the add new product pages are very well done and easy to use with a good workflow between all the different sections and it is all done on a single page.

Squarespace add new product page

Organizing your products isn’t quite as good as the category system feels like a bit of an afterthought as there isn’t an option to manage your categories from the main navigation menu, they have to be done through the product add/edit page or through the website customizer, which isn’t ideal.

Squarespace also doesn’t have the option to create sub-categories, which makes creating a product hierarchy a bit difficult.

When it comes to managing your inventory, Squarespace has one of the best systems we have come across as you can update titles, prices and stock quantity directly from the product overview page, which removes the need for a separate bulk editor and this can save a lot of time when it comes to inventory management.

Another nice inventory management feature is that all of the product types are listed under different tabs, which makes finding your products a lot easier than a single list of all of your products.

Managing Orders

Big Cartel – Unfortunately, we cannot say how good or bad the Big Cartel order management is as there is no option to manually create orders.

Squarespace has made order management very simple as you can easily:

  • Print invoices
  • Update order statuses
  • Export orders

This can be done to orders in bulk or individual orders, which makes order management very easy to do with Squarespace.


Big Cartel Summary

Website Builder
Hosting & Performance
Ease of Use

Big Cartel Pros

• Hosting performance
• Cheap plans
• Easy to learn
• Attractive themes

Big Cartel Cons

• Limited features
• No real SEO tools
• Only email support
• Not really scalable
• General lack of information


Squarespace Summary

Website Builder
Hosting & Performance
Ease of Use

Squarespace Pros

• Easy to use
• Good website builder
• Good features
• Sell different product types
• Pricing

Squarespace Cons

• Limited payment gateways
• lack 0f sub-categories
• Can’t change between pre-built templates



Big Cartel vs Squarespace – Which one is better for an Ecommerce Website?

Squarespace is the clear winner out of the two platforms for a number of reasons:

  • It offers a much better and more complete website builder
  • It comes with a larger selection of features for both the website builder and an online store
  • It can be used to sell more different product types (ideal for creatives)
  • It has the infrastructure in place to build and manage an online store

Squarespace just offers a much more complete ecommerce platform and while Big Cartel is very easy to set up and use, it wouldn’t take long to outgrow, which would mean having to migrate to a new platform.

ShopWired Logo

EcommerceGold Score

ShopWired Logo

EcommerceGold Score

Other Comparisons

Hi, I'm Paul, the Owner and Founder of EcommerceGold.
I ran my own Ecommerce Business for over 7 years and now help others start their own online retail empires!