Big Cartel vs Squarespace: Which Is Top Of The Shops?

Our independent research projects and impartial reviews are funded in part by affiliate commissions, at no extra cost to our readers. Learn more

Choosing the right ecommerce builder for your online store is a big decision, especially with so many great options out there. To help you out, we’re going to compare two of the biggest hitters side-by-side: Squarespace and Big Cartel.

Although they both have their strengths and weaknesses, Squarespace and Big Cartel have been designed to fulfill very different needs. Squarespace is primarily a website builder that offers ecommerce functionality, whereas Big Cartel is a platform for ecommerce stores only.

Out of the two, it’s clear that Squarespace is the overall winner – it scored an impressive 4.5 out of 5 in our research, compared to Big Cartel, which only scored 3.1.

Squarespace delivers a better all-around experience and offers more sophisticated ecommerce features, making it perfect for small to medium businesses. But that doesn’t mean you should rule Big Cartel out completely. It’s a great choice for hobby sellers – artists in particular.

We’ve tested each builder thoroughly, trying out all of their features so we can confidently report which one comes out on top. You can take a look at their full score breakdown below, or read on further, where we’ll be digging deeper into each builder.

Best for independent artists

3.1

out of 5
Ease Of Use

3.7 out of 5 stars

Design Functionalities

2.2 out of 5 stars

Website Features

1 out of 5 stars

Sales Features

2.3 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

2.4 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

1.1 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

3.7 out of 5 stars

Best value for money

4.5

out of 5
Ease Of Use

4.2 out of 5 stars

Design Functionalities

4 out of 5 stars

Website Features

4.2 out of 5 stars

Sales Features

3.4 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4.4 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

3.5 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

4.3 out of 5 stars

Big Cartel vs Squarespace: Pros and Cons

Squarespace Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Stunning templates
Wow your customers with a beautiful storefront that looks sleek and professional
Powerful site features
A wide range of features that will help elevate your online store
Excellent ecommerce capabilities
A strong inventory system and analytical tools
Transaction Fees
You’ll need to upgrade to a basic ecommerce plan if you want to avoid a 3% transaction fee
Steep learning curve
Can take some time to get to grips with the editor

Big Cartel Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Sell for free
Big Cartel has a free plan, unlike Squarespace
Best for hobby stores
Ideal if you’re selling individual pieces, or have a small inventory
Straightforward onboarding
Just follow the helpful hints, tips, and reminders to get set up
Features are limited
The basic set of features will satisfy casual, first-time sellers, but frustrate ecommerce veterans
Not as easy as it looks
You’ll need coding knowledge to push your store to the next level
Basic templates
They’re not bad – but they can’t compare to Squarespace’s

Pricing and Value for Money

squarespace logo

Pricing and Value for Money: The winner is… Squarespace

Although it doesn’t offer a free plan, Squarespace’s ecommerce plans are excellent value for money given the many features they offer.

 

There’s no better feeling than knowing you’re getting plenty of bang for your buck, and this is especially true when selecting an ecommerce builder. You need to make sure it’s a good return on investment, right from the very start.

Big Cartel Squarespace
Value score/5 2.4 4.4
Free plan or free trial? Free plan Free trial (14 days)
Number of ecommerce plans 3 3
Cheapest plan (monthly cost) Free $26
Mid-tier plan £19.99 $35
Advanced plan - $54
Extra costs • App Integrations •App integrations
•Email Campaigns
•Email marketing

Big Cartel’s plans are cheaper than Squarespace’s, with its paid packages starting at a very reasonable $9.99 per month. Even its most advanced plan only costs $19.99. Plus, it’s one of the only ecommerce builders to offer a free plan, so you won’t have to spend anything to get started if you don’t want to.

However, if you dig deeper, it quickly becomes clear that Big Cartel’s offerings are limited. The free plan is restrictive, and if you do opt for one of the paid packages, you don’t get much for the price you pay.

Big Cartel’s features are fairly basic, and its inventory capacity is unimpressive. Even on the most advanced plan, you’ll only be able to feature up to 500 products at any one time, which isn’t ideal if you’ve got a large catalog.

BigCartel Pricing
Big Cartel offers a free plan, so you can start selling without spending a single cent

Squarespace is more expensive, but it’s much better suited to stores with a larger inventory – indeed, you’re able to sell unlimited products on all three of its ecommerce plans. In fact, compared to Big Cartel, Squarespace offers a wider range of tools to help you scale your store, so you’ll be less likely to outgrow the platform.

Despite the steeper monthly outgoing, Squarespace offers the better value for money in the long run, which is why it scored an impressive 4.4 out of 5 in this category. In this case, you definitely get what you pay for.

One thing to note is that Squarespace doesn’t have a free plan, but you can still take it for a spin with its free 14-day trial. And in our opinion, the lack of a free plan isn’t a deal-breaker –Squarespace is worth paying for, especially because it’s as close to a professionally designed site you’ll get without actually hiring an expert.

Further Reading

Here, we’ve just given you a brief summary of Squarespace’s pricing plans. If you want a more detailed look at whether or not it’s worth your hard-earned dollar, check out our Squarespace Pricing Review.
Like the look of Squarespace’s ecommerce plans? Well, you’re in luck! We’ve got an exclusive discount code that will give you 10% off any full-price Squarespace plan, so you can make your dream website for a fraction of the price.

Ease of Use

squarespace logo

Ease of Use: The winner is… Squarespace

Despite the initial steep learning curve, Squarespace is straightforward and easy to use once you know your way around. You also don’t need any prior coding knowledge to get the most out of it.

 

Onboarding

Out of the two, Big Cartel has the easiest onboarding process. After selecting your plan and entering your details, you’ll be directed to a dashboard with various prompts designed to make setting up your store a breeze. It feels very beginner-friendly, and you won’t have to guess your way through the setup process.

BigCartel Setup
Big Cartel’s handy prompts take the mystery of out setting up your store

Getting started with Squarespace is less clear-cut. After choosing your template, Squarespace does display a quick tutorial popup, and there is a setup checklist on the editor page, but it’s harder to work out where things are and how to begin editing. It’s worth it in the long run, though, as one of our users pointed out during testing:

‘For someone fresh to website building, Squarespace does appear a little intimidating. But stick with it – it’s great, and you’ll become so familiar with it within hours.’

Squarespace popup tutorial
Squarespace’s popup tutorial gives a basic overview of how to navigate the editor
Squarespace popup checklist
You’ll find a checklist in the editor, to remind you of the various steps you need to complete

Further Reading

We know that building an online store can be a daunting task, but we’re here with you at every stage of the journey. If you’re planning to get started with Squarespace, you can use our step-by-step guide to help you along the way!

Managing your store

Once you get to grips with Squarespace’s editor, it’s actually one of the easiest platforms out there, and affords a generous amount of creative control over your store’s design.

In fact, the more you use it, the easier it gets – which is why we gave it a score of 4.2 in our ease of use category. To give you an idea of the competition, that’s better than both Wix and Shopify, which are our top two ecommerce builders (scoring 4.0 and 3.5 respectively).

The secret to Squarespace’s success is that you can make a visually stunning website in a matter of hours, without having to know a single line of code. Plus, its What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor means that you can view changes as you make them, so there’s less chance of error.

Big Cartel, on the other hand, isn’t as straightforward as it first appears. Despite its helpful onboarding process, it only achieved a score of 3.7 in our ease of use testing.

This is because it needs a bit more technical know-how than you’d expect. Its templates are quite basic, so some coding knowledge is essential if you want to take your store to the next level.

This will be frustrating for beginners and experienced designers alike, especially if you want some creative control over how your store looks. You can still build something without venturing into coding territory, but be warned – it won’t carry the same ‘wow’ factor that you’d get with one of Squarespace’s more versatile templates.

Website Design

squarespace logo

Website Design: The winner is… Squarespace

Squarespace is famous for delivering beautiful, high-quality websites. Although Big Cartel’s templates are clean and attractive, there’s really no competition here!

 

Squarespace is the reigning monarch of website design, and our highest-scoring ecommerce builder (alongside BigCommerce) in terms of design functionalities. It has a whole host of beautiful templates to choose from, each boasting the trappings necessary for building a captivating online store.

Squarespace splits its templates by industry, so there’s a starting point for everyone, regardless of what you’re planning to sell. However, you don’t need to feel confined to templates that only cover your specific area. You can pick whichever one appeals to you most, and then adjust it to match your needs.

Squarespace Templates
Use the filter at the top of the template page to browse Squarespace’s professional and stylish templates

Squarespace’s drag-and-drop editor gives you a large amount of creative control over your store, so you can move elements with a simple click, as well as add extra pages. You can also easily tweak your fonts and color schemes so that they represent your brand and business.

All Squarespace templates are very image-centered. If you don’t have any hi-resolution images of your own, Squarespace has partnered up with Getty Images, so you can use stock photos instead. These are mostly free, although some will charge a small fee for usage.

In contrast to Squarespace, Big Cartel looks a little plain. It only has 19 templates to choose from, and although they all feature clean and attractive designs, they pale in comparison to Squarespace’s visually stunning layouts.

BigCartel themes
Big Cartel offers a limited number of store themes

It’s also pretty hard to make them more exciting. Customization is limited by the theme you choose, and the editor only allows you to make small changes, such as adjusting your logo, colors, basic layout, and font sizes. If you want to do anything more drastic, you’ll have to dig into the code – not the most user-friendly way of customizing your store!

Unlike Squarespace, Big Cartel’s templates don’t support product zoom or product videos. 93% of consumers say that visuals play a large role in their buying decisions, and without these extra features, there’s a higher chance that customers won’t take the risk of purchasing a product they aren’t sure about.

Good to know...

Both Squarespace and Big Cartel allow users to switch their themes out at any time, so don’t panic too much about picking the perfect one straight off the bat. If you decide later that it’s not the right fit, you can choose another. Just bear in mind that with Big Cartel, you’ll need to re-upload elements like your background images, although all of your products will automatically be carried across.

Further Reading

Need some help nailing your website design once you’ve picked out your template? Check out some of our handy guides to get you started!

Designing Websites – We’ll take you step-by-step through designing a website. Don’t worry! It’s not as intimidating as it seems!

How to Choose a Color For Your Website – Take a look at our hints and tips for choosing the perfect color scheme for your site.

Best Fonts for Websites – Which font is the best for your website? We’ll help you decide!

Ecommerce Features

squarespace logo

Ecommerce Features: The winner is… Squarespace

Despite not being a dedicated ecommerce website builder, Squarespace delivers a strong suite of features to make selling a breeze. Big Cartel has a more limited offering that covers the basics, but doesn’t go the extra mile.

 

When it comes to ecommerce features, the differences between Big Cartel and Squarespace quickly become obvious, with Squarespace offering a much more comprehensive list of capabilities.

Squarespace Ecommerce Features

Business Plan ($18/mo) Basic Commerce Plan ($26/mo) Advanced Commerce Plan ($40/mo)
•Fully integrated ecommerce
•Accept donations
•Gift Cards
•Fully integrated ecommerce
•Accept donations
•Gift Cards
•Point of sale
•Customer accounts
•Checkout on your domain
•Powerful ecommerce analytics
•Powerful merchandising tools
•Products on Instagram
•Fully integrated ecommerce
•Accept donations
•Gift Cards
•Point of sale
•Customer accounts
•Checkout on your domain
•Powerful ecommerce analytics
•Powerful merchandising tools
•Products on Instagram
•Abandoned cart recovery
•Sell subscriptions
•Advanced shipping
•Advanced discounts
•Commerce APIs

Big Cartel Ecommerce Features

Gold Plan (Free) Platinum Plan ($9.99/mo) Diamond Plan ($19.99/mo)
•Feature 5 products
•One image per product
•Sell online and in-person
•Real-time stats
•Use a custom domain
•Offer discounts and run promos
•Shipment tracking
•Product option groups
•Sales tax autopilot
•Feature 50 products
•Five images per product
•Sell online and in-person
•Real-time stats
•Use a custom domain
•Theme code editing
•Google Analytics
•Inventory tracking
•Offer discounts and run promos
•Bulk editing
•Shipment tracking
•Product option groups
•Sales tax autopilot
•Feature 500 products
•Five images per product
•Sell online and in-person
•Real-time stats
•Use a custom domain
•Theme code editing
•Google Analytics
•Inventory tracking
•Offer discounts and run promos
•Bulk editing
•Shipment tracking
•Product option groups
•Sales tax autopilot

Below, we’ll look at the finer details of the features both of these platforms offer, and most importantly, those that they don’t! Click on the small plus sign next to the headings to dig deeper into each one.

The main purpose of a store is to sell your products, so you need to make sure you choose a builder that can accommodate your items. Otherwise, it’s a bit like picking a restaurant that doesn’t serve any food.

Big Cartel is limited in this area, and the number of products you can feature will depend on the plan you select. If you opt for the free Gold plan, you’ll be able to sell up to 5 products, whereas the Platinum and Diamond packages allow for 50 products and 500 products respectively. These categories are fine for a side hustle or hobby store, but you’ll want more if you’re a full-time ecommerce business.

Squarespace caters to this, providing space for unlimited products, as well as accommodating product variants. This means you can feature items in different colors and sizes, both of which are pretty essential if you sell clothing, for example. These alternatives will be displayed as miniature thumbnails on-screen, so customers can see all their options on one page.

Because you can technically feature an unlimited number of products and a range of different variations of each, Squarespace also comes with a ‘content manager’ that helps you to oversee and organize your stock levels, all in one convenient place.

Big Cartel also gives the option to add different variations, but you won’t be able to display them as small thumbnail images on your product page – instead, they’ll appear as drop-down lists. Although this isn’t as visual, it does help to keep your listings tidy and streamlined.

It’s not just physical products that can be sold online nowadays – digital products and subscriptions are also very popular.

Squarespace comes with everything you need to sell digital products right from the off. Even better, you can also sell services. This will be particularly useful if you work as a consultant or service provider.

Unfortunately, this isn’t something that Big Cartel automatically supports. If you want to sell digital products, you’ll need to download third-party apps to do this. Although some of these are free, many will have a monthly charge attached, and make the overall cost of running your store higher.

Both Squarespace and Big Cartel are set up to send automatic purchase confirmations after a sale, making the process quick and painless. You can also send shipment notifications too, so your customers can track the status of their order.

Squarespace offers abandoned cart recovery on its Advanced Commerce plan. This means that if a customer has begun the checkout process, but hasn’t completed it, you can send a reminder email prompting them to return and finish up. It’s a great way of catching and reengaging indecisive customers.

Big Cartel doesn’t offer this at all, and it’s a big oversight when you consider how many extra sales could be made with this feature.

Both Big Cartel and Squarespace have social media integrations that allow you to streamline your selling across more than one platform.

This means you can share your products across a number of social media sites, as well as tag them on Instagram.

Although both Big Cartel and Squarespace come with a set of pre-existing ecommerce features, you can also boost your store’s functionality by adding some apps or extensions. This isn’t strictly required, but it can improve the overall store experience, for both you and the customer.

These extensions include inventory and shipping, as well as more in-depth analytics and ecommerce solutions. Some of them are free to use, whereas others cost a monthly fee. Most come with some kind of trial period though, so you can decide if a plugin is right for you before committing.

It’s worth noting that Big Cartel relies on app integrations more heavily than Squarespace does. This is because its in-house features are more limited, whereas Squarespace’s commerce plans offer more functionality from the very beginning.

Monitoring your store’s performance is crucial to ensuring its success. Squarespace ticks all the major boxes when it comes to analytics, and has its own analytics software. This allows you to track revenue, customer behavior, total orders, and conversions, although it doesn’t provide stock monitoring alerts.

Once again, Big Cartel relies on third-party apps to provide analytics, rather than investing in its own software. For users on the Platinum and Diamond plans, you’ll have access to Google Analytics, which will afford you some powerful and accurate insights into your performance.

If you want, you can also integrate your Squarespace store with Google Analytics too. Combined with its proprietary platform, this will allow you to scrutinize your data in even finer detail.

Taxes are an unavoidable part of selling online, but Big Cartel and Squarespace have got your back. Both come with features to help make this part of the process effortless.

Squarespace allows you to create different tax rules for all of the locations you ship to, so that you can ensure you’re complying with local tax requirements in all of those areas. You can also choose to add one of Squarespace’s excellent extensions, such as TaxJar, to make things that little bit simpler.

Big Cartel also automatically calculates your tax, and adjusts your customer’s total at checkout dependent on their location. This means you won’t need to spend ages sweating over complex tax equations to get your numbers right – great news! At the moment, this feature only applies to orders in the United States.

Overall, Squarespace offers the most comprehensive package of ecommerce features, from top-notch inventory management to useful plugin extensions. They outpace Big Cartel, which is basic and overly reliant on app integrations to boost performance.

Big Cartel is satisfactory for small sellers who aren’t looking to grow too much, but if you’re hoping to turn your hobby into a business, you’ll quickly outgrow this platform. Squarespace offers more sophistication and scalability – and it looks good doing it.

Payment Options & Transaction Fees

squarespace logo

Payment Options & Transaction Fees: The winner is… Squarespace

Squarespace offers more payment options than Big Cartel, and you can escape transaction fees if you opt for either the Basic or Advanced Commerce plans. It also supports offline selling too!

 

Big Cartel and Squarespace both offer a number of payment options to ease your customers through the checkout process. Out of the two, Squarespace is compatible with more payment gateways than Big Cartel.

On the other hand, Big Cartel has no transaction fees, even on its cheapest plan. With Squarespace, you’ll be charged an extra 3% unless you upgrade to the Basic or Advanced Commerce plans.

Big Cartel Squarespace
Payment Gateways Available Stripe
PayPal
Square
Stripe
PayPal
Apple Pay
Afterpay
Square
Transaction Fees 0% across all plans Business plan – 3%
Basic and Advanced – 0%
Offline Selling? Yes Yes

Payment Gateways

When using a third-party payment gateway, more often than not, your customers will need to leave your website in order to complete their purchases. This isn’t always convenient, and makes the checkout process more cumbersome.

However, this isn’t the case with Squarespace. Customers won’t need to navigate to another web page to complete their payment, which makes for a much better user experience.

Big Cartel doesn’t offer this, but if you have Stripe enabled, customers that use Apple Pay can take advantage of Instant Checkout. This means they can complete their purchase without even having to leave the product page. Handy, right?

Despite this, Big Cartel loses points in other areas, such as its lack of a customer login function. Nowadays, visitors want to checkout with just a few clicks. The option to save your details and payment options makes this simple and straightforward. Because Big Cartel doesn’t have the means to store this kind of data, potential customers will need to re-enter everything each time they want to make a purchase.

In the event that you want to take your sales offline and sell in real life, Squarespace and Big Cartel both offer ways of accepting payments in person.

Squarespace does this using its Square integration. You’ll need to download the Squarespace Commerce app, as well as purchase a Square card reader for an additional $49. You can also sync up with your online inventory so that every time you make a sale, your stock numbers will adjust to reflect this.

Big Cartel takes offline payments via its mobile app, available on both iOS and Android. Using Stripe, you can take card payments, and even add discounts and special offers to your prices. It might not be as sophisticated as Squarespace’s system, but it’s ideal for smaller sellers.

Website and Marketing Features

squarespace logoWebsite and Marketing Features: The winner is… Squarespace

Squarespace offers a more developed set of website and marketing features to help your store grow.

Although ecommerce features are the most important thing when building an online store, there are other website elements that can really add to your success and help you grow your strategy. They’re responsible for boosting your marketing, and encouraging visitors to your store.

Click on each heading below to take a look at the extra website features Big Cartel and Squarespace offer.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is an unavoidable part of running a successful website. This is the thing that helps your site rank higher on Google, increasing your traffic, clicks, and – hopefully – your sales.

Squarespace comes with its own suite of built-in SEO features, all of which are automatically applied to each of its sites. This covers most technical SEO bits and bobs, such as managing your sitemap, HTML markup, meta tags, and more. If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of its featured tools, you can check out our full Squarespace SEO review.

Squarespace also provides a handy SEO checklist to help you make sure you’re doing everything you can to improve your site’s ranking. This is great if you’re an SEO newbie and need some extra guidance.

Big Cartel provides similar features, automatically allocating alt tags for your images, maintaining clear site navigation, and providing clean, search-engine friendly URLs. But you’ll need to do a bit more on your end to really make a difference to your rankings. Unlike Squarespace, there’s no handy checklist to help out with this, and support in this area is generally lacking.

Email is a tried and tested marketing channel that’s been around the block a few times. Despite the surge in social media, the inbox is still king, with marketing and advertising emails influencing the buying decisions of 50.7% of customers.

Squarespace comes with its own email marketing software, Email Campaigns. Much like its website templates, all of Squarespace’s email layouts are visually stunning, and can be tailored to match your brand. This is an excellent way to build a loyal list of subscribers, providing you with an engaged audience for regular newsletters and promotions.

You can test out Email Campaigns using its 14-day free trial, but after this, you’ll need to pay for a permanent plan. These start at $8 per month.

Big Cartel doesn’t come with a custom-made email package. Instead, you’ll need to rely on an app extension to get this service. Big Cartel can be connected with Mailchimp for free.

As well as showing off your products to their best advantage, Squarespace also allows you to add a blog to your store. Blogs are smoothly integrated into its ecommerce templates, and give you a professional way of building your brand presence.

Unfortunately, adding a blog to your Big Cartel site isn’t as easy. It’s not an inbuilt offering, so unsurprisingly, you’re going to need to use an app to get your blog up and running. Even worse, you’ll probably need to know some code to connect it up to your store.

Further Reading

Squarespace Review – We’ll take an in-depth look at Squarespace’s features to see whether it can hold its own against the most popular dedicated ecommerce providers.

Big Cartel Review – Get to grips with everything that Big Cartel has to offer, and discover more about whether it could be the right builder for you.

Performance and Security

squarespace logoPerformance and Security: The winner is… Squarespace

Squarespace is fully PCI-DSS compliant and comes with a free SSL certificate, as well as DDoS protection to help your store withstand hackers or malicious internet attacks. Big Cartel does just about enough to keep your site secure, but its lack of PCI compliance means you’ll have to do a lot of the legwork.

Even with a website builder, setting up an online store is a time investment. The last thing you want is for all of that hard work to turn to dust as a result of shoddy security measures. Any builder worth its salt should come with a host of added extras to protect your website and your data from external threats.

Both Big Cartel and Squarespace come with a free Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. This means that the connection between a browser and your website is secure, and visitors can rest assured knowing that their data is safe. This is a must-have for any ecommerce site, as customers will have to input sensitive payment details if they want to make a purchase.

Squarespace takes security seriously, which is why it carries out regular scans across all of its websites as well as providing DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. This is when bots work to overwhelm a website with a surge of fake traffic, which can cause sites to crash and prevent visitors from accessing your store. This is particularly harmful in the ecommerce sector, as every minute your site is down is another minute you’re not making any sales.

Of course, no site can promise a 100% uptime guarantee, but Squarespace and Big Cartel put on a pretty solid performance. Both are well-equipped to deal with a high volume of traffic, so you won’t need to worry about prolonged downtime.

One important thing to note is that Squarespace is fully PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant. This means that it follows and meets all official standards for organizations that handle credit card or payment details.

However, Big Cartel isn’t. As a result, the responsibility for adhering to these guidelines falls entirely to you. Not only is this a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of pressure. Other ecommerce platforms and builders usually take care of this for you, so you can focus on running your store and making sales.

Switching Process

As your store grows and develops, you might find that the ecommerce builder you first started out with no longer provides everything you need. But the big question is, how easy is it to switch between the different providers?

Unfortunately, there’s no magic button that allows you to transfer a full website over to Squarespace or Big Cartel. For both of these platforms, you’ll need to make the switch bit by bit.

To get started, sign up with your new plan and select one of their templates. Because you can’t transfer your pre-existing layout, you’ll need to do your best to imitate it using the editor that comes with your new provider.

Next, you’ll need to copy and paste your text across, before reformatting it. Luckily, both Squarespace and Big Cartel allow you to import your products directly into your new website using a .csv file, so you won’t have to spend hours uploading pictures and typing out descriptions.

Here’s what you’ll need to do to import your products to Squarespace:

  1. Head to the Home Menu, click Commerce, and then select Inventory.
  2. Click the Import button in the top right-hand corner.
  3. Click Download CSV template (Squarespace uses a special CSV format).
  4. Copy your products into the CSV template.
  5. Navigate back to the Inventory panel and select Import
  6. Drag and drop your completed .csv into the Upload Squarespace CSV box.
  7. Uncheck the Update product quantities (this stops the import adjusting your stock levels)
  8. Review the results – you can fix any errors by editing your .csv file and uploading the correct one.
  9. Click Save.

Good to know...

Squarespace actually has two different versions floating around on the web: version 7.0 and version 7.1. This second version is the most up-to-date version, although there might still be some websites out there running on the older 7.0 format.

When importing products into version 7.1, you’ll need to create the store page, categories, and subcategories your products will live in before you import them. Previously, this wasn’t necessary with version 7.0.

With Squarespace, you can also import blog posts and pages from WordPress, Blogger, or Tumblr. You can find in-depth instructions on how to do this in the Squarespace Knowledge Base.

If you’re importing products into Big Cartel, here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

  1. Navigate to the Products tab,
  2. Click the Import products link.
  3. Upload the .csv file downloaded from your previous platform, containing your product details.
  4. Once the upload is completed, Big Cartel will send an email summary straight to your inbox.

Top Tip: Don’t close your store until the very last minute!

Once you’ve imported all of your products from your old store, it might be tempting to close it down straight away, but we recommend you resist this urge and keep it open as long as possible. Even if you’ve got all the data you need, your customers will still need somewhere to go whilst you’re setting up your new site, and closing the old one could cost you precious sales.

Help and Support

squarespace logoHelp and Support: The winner is… Squarespace

Squarespace offers a huge range of support options to go alongside its extensive Knowledge Base. Given that Big Cartel only offers email support, it struggles to compete.

Unless this isn’t your first rodeo, there’s a good chance that you’re going to come up against a couple of roadblocks when you first start building your ecommerce store. In these instances, your builder’s support functionality is crucial.

Big Cartel Squarespace
Knowledge Base
Telephone support
X X
Live chat
X ✔ (Mon-Fri)
Social media support
X ✔ (24/7)
Email support
✔ (Mon-Fri) ✔ (24/7)
Forums
X
Restore options
X
Video tutorials
X

When it comes to help and support, Squarespace is miles ahead of Big Cartel. It has a wide range of options to get you out of any sticky situation, including live chat and email support – you can even get in touch with them via Twitter. They don’t currently offer telephone assistance, but considering the many ways you can contact them, this is a minor gripe.

BigCartel support contact
Email is the only way to contact Big Cartel, but it provides a number of addresses so your query can find its way to the right place

Compared to Squarespace, Big Cartel wilts. Its only means of customer support is via email, available Monday to Friday, between 9am and 6pm. It might seem like they also offer live chat because of the little box in the bottom left-hand corner of your dashboard, but this is really just its email line in a different guise. Any answers to queries submitted here will be sent straight to your inbox, hours later.

If you encounter any issues outside of these hours, you’ll have no choice but to turn to Big Cartel’s Help Center. This is clear and easy to navigate, but it’s very text-based, so visual learners might find it harder to understand.

Squarespace Help
Squarespace’s Knowledge Base is an excellent resource, full of guides and video tutorials

If you prefer to find answers for yourself, Squarespace also has a Knowledge Base, and this is where it really shines. It’s an excellent source of information, and makes use of both written instructions and video tutorials. In our opinion, it’s more comprehensive than Big Cartel’s own knowledge base, and should be your first port of call if you get a bit stuck.

Big Cartel vs Squarespace: Summary

Big Cartel and Squarespace both wear an ecommerce hat, but that doesn’t mean that they’re each suited to building and supporting the same kinds of stores. The one that’s best for you will depend entirely on the store you’re trying to build. Here’s a quick summary of everything we’ve covered:

Big Cartel Squarespace
Pricing and Value for Money
Winner:Squarespace
One of the only ecommerce builders to offer a free plan. Its paid plans are fairly cheap too, but their limited features let them down. A higher monthly cost and no free plan, but a much wider list of included features. Overall better value for money because of the more generous offerings.
Ease of Use
Winner:Squarespace
Excellent onboarding process with helpful hints and tips throughout. However, when it comes to customization, coding knowledge is vital, and overall the editing functionality is limited. Its modern editor means there’s a steep initial learning curve, but once you get used to how it works, editing is a dream, with excellent creative control and no coding knowledge required.
Website Design
Winner:Squarespace
All templates feature a clean and attractive design, although there are only 19 to choose from, and they aren’t industry-specific. Plus, customization is limited. Squarespace offers over 100 visually stunning templates, split by industry, to choose from. You have near-complete creative control, and can take advantage of extra features like product zoom and videos.
Ecommerce Features
Winner:Squarespace
Has a basic set of features that do what you need them to, but won’t satisfy larger businesses. It also relies heavily on app integrations to elevate performance. Comes with a comprehensive list of sales features, including an impressive inventory, robust analytics, and the ability to sell digital products and subscriptions.
Payment Options and Transaction Fees
Winner:Squarespace
Offers three different payment options, as well as Instant Checkout, and offline selling through its app. Offers five different payment options and checkout on your domain. You can also sell offline using a Square card reader.
Website and Marketing Features
Winner:Squarespace
Offers great SEO tools, but doesn’t come with any blogging functionality or built-in email marketing. Also has excellent SEO features, as well as email marketing (for an extra cost), and the option to add a blog.
Performance and Security
Winner:Squarespace
Built to cope with a high level of traffic, and comes with a free SSL certificate. Not PSI-DSS compliant, so you’ll have to do this yourself. Has robust security measures and is built to withstand high traffic surges. Also comes with a free SSL certificate, as well as DDoS protection. Fully PSI-DSS compliant.
Switching Process
Winner: It’s a tie!
Can’t move a fully-fledged website across, but you can import products using a .csv file. Also unable to support a full website move, but products, blog posts, and pages can all be imported.
Help and Support
Winner:Squarespace
Only offers email support, available Mon-Fri between 9am and 6pm EST. Has a good Help Center too. Comes with a wide range of support options, including email, live chat, social media support, forums, and an extensive Knowledge Base.

We recommend Squarespace for small to medium businesses that are looking to grow and scale beyond casual selling. It’s ideal for anyone who wants a visually rich website, capable of hosting hi-res images that put their products front and center.

On the other hand, Big Cartel is better-suited to artists and other independent sellers who need a platform for individual items. Its basic ecommerce features and limited inventory won’t feel too restrictive, and the cheaper monthly cost will appeal to users who plan to sell as a hobby or side hustle.

Our overall winner is Squarespace. Despite being a website builder with additional ecommerce functionality, it holds its own against top competitors thanks to its surprisingly in-depth selling features and beautiful designs. It might be a bit pricier than Big Cartel, but it delivers top-notch quality, and you definitely get what you pay for.

squarespace logoAre you convinced that Squarespace is the builder for you? You can get 10% off any full-price plans with our exclusive offer code!

Further Reading

Best Ecommerce Website Builders – Not sure if either Big Cartel or Squarespace are your best options? Don’t sweat it! Check out our full comparison of the best ecommerce builders.

Best Free Ecommerce Website Builders – Want to keep your costs down? There are plenty of platforms that allow you to build a store without spending a single cent!

FAQs

Squarespace has a wider range of ecommerce tools, and offers more creative control over your store and its appearance. Out of the two, this is the most well-rounded option, and has tools that will help to grow your business.

If you want to keep your store small and casual, or you’re only planning to keep a limited inventory, Big Cartel is perfect. It’s basic, but it’ll get the job done. Just be aware that you’ll need a little coding know-how to get the most out of it!

Yes, you can build a Big Cartel store without paying a single cent if you opt for its free Gold plan. As expected, though, you will be limited in how much you can do. For example, you’ll only be able to sell up to five products, and won’t be able to upload more than one image per item.

If you want to improve the ecommerce functionalities of your store without upgrading your plan, you’ll most likely have to take advantage of additional apps to do so. Some of these are free, but you’ll need to pay to use the vast majority. This will increase the running cost of your store, so it technically won’t be free for long.

You’ll receive a free domain name on all Squarespace annual billing plans. You can choose this when you set up your store, but it’s worth noting that this will only be free for the first year. After that, you’ll need to renew it and pay the top-level domain (TLD) price.

Alternatively, you can transfer an existing domain if you already have one. As long as you select an annual billing plan, you’ll still be able to take advantage of the free domain offer, meaning you won’t have to pay until your renewal period comes around. It’s worth noting that only certain TLDs can be transferred, so we recommend checking yours qualifies before you go ahead with the transfer.

Big Cartel doesn’t offer a free domain name on any of its plans, but you can register an existing one, or purchase a new one when you set up your website. To do this, you’ll be redirected to Google Domains to complete the process, rather than through the Big Cartel dashboard. Similar to Squarespace, you’ll need to renew this each year.

About Jordan Glover

Jordan Glover

Once upon a time, my digital knowledge was virtually nonexistent – I couldn’t even hook a printer up to my laptop without a good helping of blush-inducing curses. Since then, I’ve worked hard to change that and, thanks to the team here at Website Builder Expert, I’ve learned a lot (who knew that hosting doesn’t just refer to handing out drinks at a summer BBQ?). Using my passion for words and my own experiences with website-building and digital marketing, I’m determined to help others like me get comfortable and take the internet by storm– without any stress or the need for profanities!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *