You may have heard of Shopify and Etsy if you’ve been doing research into the world of electronic commerce.
Despite their widespread similarities, the two digital platforms are quite different.
They all contribute in different ways to the success of your business, and each has its own special features.
In case you’re having trouble deciding between Shopify and Etsy, we’re here to help.
We’ll compare the two options head-to-head so you can pick the one that’s best for you on your sales journey.
Okay, so let’s begin!
Overview of Shopify
Shopify, founded in 2004, is a platform for making e-commerce websites from scratch.
It’s highly customizable and can be equipped with any number of features thanks to its extensive library of tools, plugins, and themes.
If you want to expand the reach of your online store even further, you can connect it to additional systems.
Because of its adaptability, Shopify is the platform of choice for enterprises of all sizes.
The Pros of Selling on Shopify
Shopify’s drag-and-drop page builder makes it simple to create a fully functional website. All you need is a general idea of what your brand should look like.
High Scalability – Shopify has 3 premium plans to accommodate all types of businesses. If you ever want to scale your business, you can simply upgrade your package.
More than two hundred and fifty themes and nearly four thousand plugins give you unlimited control over the look and functionality of your Shopify store.
Shopify makes it easy to sell online by including SSL certificates, dependable hosting, and multiple payment gateways in all of its packages.
As long as your actions don’t fall foul of Shopify’s Acceptable Use Policy, you’re free to sell as many or as few items as you like on their platform.
The Cons of Selling on Shopify
Three of Shopify’s premium plans are available for a monthly fee. It’s also important to note that most plugins cost money. For startups on a tight budget, all of this means higher costs down the road.
Due to Shopify’s nature as a website builder rather than a marketplace, your business will not be exposed to as many people. Your entire flow of visitors is dependent on your marketing and exposure online.
Overview of Etsy
Founded in 2005, Etsy is one of the world’s largest marketplace for vintage, handcrafted, custom, and unique items.
Simply put, anything handmade that has value to its buyers can be sold on Etsy. Anything labeled “vintage” must be at least 20 years old.
Etsy has over 80 million buyers, and you can reach them all by opening a shop there.
Competition is fierce, however, as the site has over 5 million registered sellers. Moreover, you’ll need a healthy dose of imagination to make it big on Etsy.
Nonetheless, Etsy is a great platform for entry-level businesses selling unique and handcrafted products.
The Pros of Selling on Etsy
Existing Customers: With more than 80 million buyers, Etsy is a great place to sell your wares even if you don’t do any advertising.
Etsy is great for beginning merchants because there are no ongoing fees associated with using the site (at least not on the Basic or Standard plans).
Easy Setup – Opening a shop on Etsy is a breeze. To get started, simply upload your product images and other relevant information.
Showcase Your Skills Etsy is a platform where artisans can advertise their wares to the world and establish a name for themselves in the process.
Make Money From Your Interests By Selling Them On Etsy You Can Turn Your Hobbies Into a Profitable Business. The time and care you put into making items is directly proportional to your earnings.
The Cons of Selling on Shopify
Etsy’s rules restrict you to selling only vintage, handcrafted, unique, or custom items, so you’ll need to put in a little extra thought and effort into coming up with creative solutions.
Vendors will be charged a 6.5% fee of the listed price for each transaction. The cost of listing is twenty cents. This might not seem like much now, but it can make a difference as your sales increase.
Lacks The only graphical element of your Etsy shop that you can alter is the logo. It’s hard to establish a consistent visual identity for your brand when you have no say in the design. That’s why you need to get more imaginative with your product photography.
The Main Differences Between Shopify and Etsy
Etsy is an online marketplace for handmade, unique, and vintage goods, whereas Shopify is an online store builder.
You can use the many included plugins and themes with your Shopify installation, or use it to create a completely unique online store.
Although the platform does provide tools to help with search engine optimization, this alone will not result in an increase in site visitors. In order to bring in customers, you would need to dedicate time to advertising.
Etsy, on the other hand, has a preexisting customer base and provides basic features, but it limits the types of goods you can sell.
Detailed Comparison of Shopify and Etsy
We’ll compare these platforms side by side now that you have a sense of how they operate in general.
Features (eCommerce Tools)
Managing an online shop without the proper software can be a nightmare.
Therefore, let’s begin with Etsy, which provides some fundamental yet fairly useful eCommerce tools for running your shop.
Download the “Sell on Etsy” app from the App Store or Google Play if you’re constantly on the move. The app has many useful functions, such as:
Instantly edit, renew, or add fresh listings to an existing publication.
Real-time alerts whenever a customer makes a purchase or contacts you.
Gives you access to view counts, order status, and sales data from the palm of your hand.
Allows you to keep track of orders, edit shipping info, and add individualized notes.
Marketing your Etsy shop on Google Shopping and other platforms can help bring in more customers, but you can also spread the word about your shop on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to gain exposure.
As an added bonus, when you upgrade to the Etsy Plus Plan, you gain access to additional tools, such as:
Superior shopper control and personalization options.
Customer email notification service.
Gain eligibility for savings on unique domain names.
Overall, these tools might not be too fancy, but they’re more than enough for small-scale entrepreneurs selling handmade products.
After that, know that Shopify has everything you need to run an online store. You can make your site look exactly how you want it to with its 70+ professional themes.
As long as you abide by Shopify’s Acceptable Use policies, there are no limits on the quantity or variety of items you can sell through the platform.
In addition, a large number of apps and plugins are available to help you customize your online shop. However, you should be aware that most of these extras do not come free of charge.
All Shopify plans have a monthly fee, but they also have many useful extras like:
Systematic means of handling stock and orders
Rates for shipping services provided by third parties
An SSL Certificate at no cost
Devices for retrieving abandoned shopping carts and boosting search engine rankings
The use of multiple sales channels to attract more buyers.
This is merely scratching the surface of the features offered by Shopify. If we were to list them all, we’d have to make a new post, but you get the idea.
Shopify comes out on top because of how flexible it is in terms of design, thanks to the many add-ons and tools it provides.
Still, we aren’t going to bash Etsy’s resources, either, because they’re great for entrepreneurs of all sizes. However, it’s no match for Shopify.
When we’re trying to make the most of our limited resources, price becomes a critical factor in our decision.
With its low entry barrier to entry, Etsy is a great option for those looking to launch a business with minimal capital outlay.
One reason is that there is no recurring cost associated with using Etsy’s Basic Plan. You won’t have to worry about fees if you don’t have time to run your shop.
On the other hand, Etsy also offers a Plus Plan for $10/month, which is also affordable. Above, we touched on a few of the benefits it provides, so we won’t repeat ourselves here.
But even if you’re just starting out with a small budget, you shouldn’t have any trouble paying for the Plus Plan.
Shopify’s paid plans start at $29 per month, but the company offers a free 14-day trial. The advantages far outweigh the cost of the service.
There are three tiers of paid service on Shopify.
Hosting, unlimited product listings, an SSL certificate, and the ability to sell across multiple channels are all part of the Basic plan’s $29 monthly price tag.
Shopify Plus ($79/month) – All of the features of the Basic Plan, plus access to advanced analytics and custom reports There are 5 warehouses and 5 employee logins for the stock.
The Shopify Plan ($199/month) and the more expensive Advanced Plan ($299/month) provide the same services as the Basic Plan and the Shopify Plan, respectively.
In terms of value for money, Shopify Plans are hard to beat thanks to all the useful tools at your disposal. It’s a safe bet for companies of any size.
When it comes to starting a business on a shoestring budget, however, there’s no denying that Etsy is your best bet.
Payment Methods and Transaction Fees
The hidden transaction fees often catch business owners off guard. Thankfully, both Shopify and Etsy are open and honest about pricing and other policies.
Etsy is the first platform we’ll examine; as we’ve already established, listing fees on this site are $0.20 per product. This listing will run for 4 months, or until the item is sold, whichever comes first.
In addition, there is a 6.5% fee added to the final sale price.
However, there is still the matter of the 3% plus $0.25/transaction payment processing fee.
This enables you to take payments via Etsy’s most popular payment methods, including PayPal, Etsy Credit, Gift Cards, and Debit and Credit Cards.
There are a lot of figures here; we get it; but if you’re only selling locally, it shouldn’t have much of an impact.
Shopify’s pricing is much simpler to grasp, and the platform supports a wider range of payment options. To begin, you’ll need to pay a one-time fee that is based on the package you select.
After that point, there will be no charge for processing payments made through Shopify Payments.
Shopify accepts PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Debit Cards, Credit Cards, and over a hundred other payment methods.
However, depending on your financial strategy, these payment options may incur a transaction fee of 0.5% to 2%.
If you use Shopify’s built-in payment gateway, you won’t have to pay any additional fees for processing payments, despite the fact that Shopify has higher start-up costs.
Etsy, on the other hand, takes a cut of your sales once the listing goes live and again once the item sells.
In addition, Shopify offers more than a hundred payment gateways, while Etsy offers only a handful.
Domain and URL Structure
You can’t have a successful brand without a domain name. It’s the location where customers can find your shop.
A custom domain is highly recommended for e-commerce sites, but it comes at an additional cost and can’t be duplicated.
Now, one major difference between Shopify and Etsy is that the former makes it simple to acquire a custom domain while the latter does not.
To open a shop on Etsy, you would enter something like this: etsy.com/shop/the-name-of-your-shop.
As an online marketplace, Etsy will always be a part of your store’s identity.
But if you really want to use your own domain name for your Etsy shop, Hover, an official Etsy partner and domain provider, can help you with that.
You don’t need to include “Shopify” or any variation of that in your URL since Shopify is only a website builder and not a marketplace. Shopify makes it easy to buy a custom domain by navigating to the “Settings” menu, followed by the “Domain” option.
Shopify comes out on top because it makes buying a custom domain simple and even encourages it. Since your shop will be hosted on Etsy, I’m afraid I can’t say the same.
Most people believe that having technical expertise is necessary before opening an online store. What if, though, we were to tell you that this is not the case?
You won’t believe how simple and straightforward today’s eCommerce systems are to use. It’s fair to say that you don’t need much in the way of technical know-how to launch an Etsy shop.
Simple on-screen prompts will guide you through the process of signing up for an account, naming your shop, publishing your listings, and setting up a payment method.
As if that weren’t convenient enough, Etsy has an automated tool that suggests names for shops. The entire procedure would take less than 30 minutes.
Even though Shopify requires a higher level of technical savvy, it is not difficult to master. Even so, it’s worth praising the fact that Shopify does a great job of making the process seamless with its uncluttered UI.
Improving your site’s visual appeal is more difficult, but still doable with the help of one of the many online guides.
After you have set up your website, the rest of the procedure will be very similar to that of Etsy.
Etsy wins this round, but only because it’s an online marketplace for selling goods that doesn’t necessitate having your own website.
Don’t worry, though; you don’t need any special knowledge of technology to use Shopify. Considering all of its capabilities, Shopify’s remarkably simple setup process is another bonus.
The aesthetics of your website are crucial to its overall performance. Seventy-five percent of customers, in fact, form an opinion about an online store solely based on its design.
And usually you need to make an impression within the first 10 seconds if you want to convert your traffic.
Indeed, many will form an impression of a book simply by looking at its cover; fortunately, Shopify can take on any form you like.
More than 70 premium themes ranging in price from $140 to $180 are at your disposal for making your site look exactly how you want it to. Your imagination is the only thing holding you back from fully realizing Shopify’s potential.
Free themes are also available for those on a tight budget; they may not be the best, but they often look nice and have plenty of options for personalization.
But you probably already knew this about Etsy: it’s impossible to make significant aesthetic changes to the site’s layout. The brand identity, images, and descriptions of your products are all that fall under your purview.
The good news is that there will be no favoritism. What really matters is the quality and originality of the product you are selling, not the design.
Etsy’s limited personalization options can make it tough to differentiate your products from those of the competition. With Shopify, you can make extensive changes to your site and establish a strong online presence. In a nutshell, it’s the superior design.
There is no cap on the number of items you can list on either Shopify or Etsy. The main distinction is that adding a new product to your Etsy shop will cost you $0.20.
This may not seem like much, but if you’re listing a thousand products, you’ll end up paying a grand total of $200, which is ridiculous.
Because of this, large corporations should avoid using Etsy. To be fair, though, the platform’s main selling point is the ability to showcase and sell handmade goods.
No one is going to list a thousand items all at once unless they have an army of assistants. Finally, while Etsy’s product limitations may deter some shoppers, it’s important to remember that these constraints are part of the site’s charm.
There is no limit to the number of products you can sell on Shopify, and there are no hidden fees for doing so either.
You can have up to one hundred thousand items in your catalog without worrying about exorbitant fees, even on the Basic Plan.
Etsy is available to the general public, but it was developed especially for independent sellers and boutiques. Shopify is the clear winner here, and it’s also the best choice if you intend to add many products to your store.
Marketing and Branding
Maintaining a successful online store is all about getting your name out there and connecting with customers. To achieve this, one must first develop a distinct brand identity and then plan an effective advertising campaign.
Both Etsy and Shopify excel in this regard. We’ve already established that Etsy is a thriving market that attracts millions of buyers every month.
If your products are truly original and of high quality, however, you can still achieve phenomenal success with mediocre advertising. The biggest problem with Etsy is that it limits your freedom of expression when it comes to product layout.
However, Shopify is an exception to this rule. If design freedom is what you’re after, you’ve got it. Unfortunately, you can’t rely on a large number of repeat customers. Investment in marketing is essential to business success.
Since both Etsy and Shopify offer advantages of their own, this matchup has to end in a tie. Etsy simplifies things if you’d rather not devote a lot of time to advertising. Additionally, Shopify is the superior option if you value editorial independence.
Traffic and Exposure
Increasing the number of people who visit your online store is crucial if you want to succeed. Shopify store owners, alas, will need to toil more than average to make ends meet.
Shopify, like the other platforms we’ve discussed, necessitates starting with a blank slate in terms of branding and marketing. You can’t count on a preexisting clientele.
However, Shopify has SEO tools and apps like Yoast content analyzer and automatically generated product tags to help you rise in the search engine rankings.
According to Statista, in 2020, Etsy had an incredible 81.9 million active buyers.
Plus, there is no monthly fee to use the platform, so you can reach their clientele at no cost (if we ignore the transaction and listing fees).
Comparing Shopify and Etsy in terms of visibility is like comparing apples and oranges. Since Etsy is an online marketplace, it will naturally provide more exposure, so the decision here leans in favor of Etsy.
Shipping and Dropshipping
What is the process like for fulfilling orders on these sites, and can you dropship from them? Let’s explain this in more detail.
Etsy store owners usually sell a limited number of products. So most of the time, they keep their inventory in their homes. So then, how does transportation occur?
Etsy, fortunately, has established alliances with reputable shipping companies like FedEx, USPS, and Canada Post. They’ll go to your Etsy store, get the order, and then deliver it right to the buyer.
Customers foot the bill for shipping, which some vendors include in the price of the product and others do not.
Shopify merchants have the option of using the Shopify Fulfillment Network or a third-party logistics service to ship their customers’ orders.
In dropshipping, the supplier takes care of all the order fulfillment instead of you.
However, Etsy does not make dropshipping a breeze. For starters, the platform isn’t optimal for businesses like dropshipping. It’s a platform for artists to market their unique wares directly to consumers.
And even if you do find a supplier who is willing to ship products on your behalf, doing so is too risky, as finding a replacement for a handcrafted product would be a nightmare if they changed their minds.
As a result of this increased reliance on outside vendors, dropshipping is not recommended on Etsy. Shopify is the clear winner here because it not only has an order fulfillment network, but is also the best platform for dropshippers.
If running your online shop is your full-time job, you should think about how easily it can be expanded.
Shopify really comes into its own in this respect because it is made to adapt to the requirements of a developing enterprise.
You can list as many items as you like, and there is no cap on the total number of items you can sell.
Unfortunately, Etsy isn’t the ideal platform for medium to large-scale businesses. The primary cause of this is the limitations of its products.
You’d have a hard time establishing a name for your business on Etsy alone due to the limited store customization options.
If you want to grow your business, Shopify is your best bet. The product restrictions and the fee structure of Etsy are the main reasons why the site isn’t suitable for large-scale businesses.
Both Etsy and Shopify have handled billions of dollars in sales since their inception. You can use these services with complete peace of mind.
The Shopify plans already include an SSL certificate, so you don’t have to do anything extra to make your site secure.
Etsy is a well-known marketplace, so it goes without saying that they prioritize safety.
As a business owner in today’s world, you understandably worry about cyber security due to the increasing number of online threats.
Both of these systems have provided superb protection for their users, so we’ll have to declare a tie.
The quality of a platform’s customer service can make or break your overall experience.
Shopify has fortunately hit the mark when it comes to providing customer service. They understand that a business has no off-hours, so they offer their customers and sellers round-the-clock assistance.
If you need assistance with Shopify, you can do so in a number of ways.
Online forums, instant messaging, and email are all available.
Cyberspace-based media systems
However, if time is of the essence, live chat or a phone call are your best options. If you don’t mind reading, you can also solve most of your issues by consulting the Shopify Help Center.
Etsy is similar in that it provides live chat and customer service around the clock. However, they aren’t as quick to respond, and you may have trouble getting in touch with a representative.
However, even if you do manage to get in touch with a representative, it could be several days before they resolve your issue.
The good news is that there is a very warm and friendly atmosphere within the Etsy Community. There, you can ask questions and get answers rapidly.
Shopify’s dispute resolution team is responsive and simple to reach. The same cannot be said for Etsy’s customer service, however. Shopify wins the tiebreaker.
Shopify vs. Etsy: Side by Side Comparison
|Features||Comes packed with eCommerce tools and features to make store management easier.||Offers some basic yet powerful tools for store management, but nothing too fancy.|
|Pricing||Has three pricing plans: Basic, Shopify and Advanced ranging from $29 – $299||Regular plan doesn’t charge a fee, while Plus Plan costs $10/month.|
|Payment Options||More than 100 payment gateways including Shopify Payments which does not charge an additional transaction fee.||Supports most of the mainstream payment gateways including PayPal, Gift Cards and Debit/Credit Cards.|
|Domain & URL||It’s easy to buy a custom domain name for your Shopify store.||Your store comes under the umbrella of Etsy marketplace, so you can’t buy a custom domain name.|
|User-Friendliness||Simple and intuitive UI, but slight technical knowledge can come in handy.||Also has a clean UI and doesn’t require any technical knowledge.|
|Design Flexibility||You can fully customize the appearance and functionality of your site.||You can only customize your site logo, product images and descriptions.|
|Product Limit||There’s no limit or additional charges to the number or type of products you sell.||Only allows handmade, vintage and unique products. You also need to pay $0.20 to add a new product.|
|Marketing and Branding||Requires more effort in marketing, but it’s easier to create a brand.||Difficult to create a brand, but you do not require too much marketing.|
|Traffic and Exposure||You need to build a store from scratch and create an online presence.||You get access to an already established customer base.|
|Shipping and Dropshipping||Shopify Fulfilment Network for shipping and plenty of tools and apps to support dropshipping.||Shipping is fulfilled by 3PL services and is not the ideal platform for dropshipping.|
|Scalability||Perfect for all businesses regardless of size.||Not recommended for medium to large-scale businesses.|
|Security||A free SSL certificate is included in every plan.||Website management provides security to both buyers and sellers.|
|Customer Support||24/7 customer support through live chat and phone.||24/7 live chat is available but sometimes customer support isn’t responsive.|
Who Is Shopify Best For?
Shopify is the best e-commerce platform for businesses of any size, especially those run by creative types who relish the freedom to express themselves freely and aren’t daunted by the prospect of starting from scratch with their own unique brand.
Who Is Etsy Best For?
Etsy is the ideal platform for independent sellers and boutiques to sell their one-of-a-kind, vintage, handmade, or antique wares to a global audience.
Can You Use Both Etsy and Shopify?
To either move your store over to Shopify or keep both online at the same time, you can integrate the two platforms. By connecting Shopify and Etsy, your inventory on both sites will be updated in real time, streamlining the process of running your business.
What are the Best Shopify and Etsy Alternatives?
Some alternatives to Shopify and Etsy that have gained popularity include:
WooCommerce (WordPress eCommerce plugin) (WordPress eCommerce plugin)
Squarespace (Website building and hosting company) (Website building and hosting company)
eBay (Online marketplace) (Online marketplace)
Unique, handcrafted, and sold on Amazon.com (An online marketplace like Etsy)
Big Drug Ring (Fully hosted eCommerce software for artists)
For a free website builder, Wix
FAQs about Shopify and Etsy
How Much Profit Can I Make as an Etsy Seller?
Etsy isn’t likely to turn you into a wealthy person unless you have a genuine talent for making things. If you’re just selling on the platform for fun, joining the 65% who make less than $100 per year isn’t a problem.
If you need to bring in money to pay the bills, however, you’ll need to work hard and adopt an entrepreneurial frame of mind.
However, there are sellers who make an average of $45,000 annually, which is great but requires a lot of work.
How Much Profit Can I Make as a Shopify Seller?
On average, Shopify store owners earn $3,897 per month, which can easily support a family in many parts of the world.
However, just like starting any other kind of business, getting your Shopify store up and running successfully takes a lot of hard work and commitment.
Which Platform Is More Scalable, Shopify or Etsy?
Shopify is the superior platform because it gives you the freedom to sell whatever you like. In addition, unlike Etsy, there are no fees associated with adding new items to your shop.
Should I Sell on Etsy?
Selling on Etsy can be a great option if you have a talent for creating handmade goods and would like to make some extra money.
How Do I Integrate Shopify with Etsy?
Multichannel apps such as LitCommerce and Etsy Marketplace Integration allow you to connect your Shopify store with Etsy.
Is It Easy to Start a Business on Etsy?
Opening an Etsy shopfront by itself is a simple process. It takes less than 30 minutes to complete, but the real challenge is coming up with a product that fits their strict criteria of being handmade, vintage, or otherwise one-of-a-kind.
Shopify vs. Etsy – The Final Verdict
Since Shopify and Etsy are designed for different things, comparing the two isn’t really fair. The former is a platform for creating e-commerce websites, while the latter is a market for handmade and unique goods.
However, due to the restricted selection of goods, Etsy caters to a relatively small but dedicated customer base. In contrast, Shopify makes it possible to sell practically anything online.
Etsy is suitable if your goal is to launch a small enterprise or to convert a hobby into a side hustle. Due to its limitations, it is not a good fit for businesses of a moderate or substantial size.
You should prioritize your needs when deciding on a platform. Etsy is a fantastic option if you have an artistic flair and are looking to build a clientele.
Shopify is a great option if you don’t mind starting from scratch and want more say in how your site looks and functions.