With the rise of eCommerce, entrepreneurs, small-scale business owners, and artisans dip their toes and even dabble their feet into online selling.
On Shopify alone, merchants sold $175.4 billion on this eCommerce platform—up 47% from 2020. It’s the era of side hustles. Or, the side hustles become the main hustle without the hassle. And that’s because eCommerce platforms have become a sort of plug-and-play software-as-a-service solution, making the lives of many wide-eyed, no-tech-savvy sellers easier and less complicated. Y
ou’re reading this article precisely because you are narrowing down your choices for your budding business or your business growth. Shopify vs Etsy? Which one is better for your business? Which one is worth every penny? We are breaking them down for you.
Shopify vs Etsy: Key Differences
Etsy and Shopify are two popular eCommerce platforms. One defining difference is that Shopify is like running your own boutique store while Etsy is like having a spot in a flea market. Shopify allows you to control your store completely, while Etsy has certain branding and messaging that you must follow.
Shopify is the go-to eCommerce platform for those who want to have complete control of their stores. With this freedom, you can sell anything from digital services like online workshops to dog treats. And you can design the look of your online store that truly reflects the brand: down to the font and colors. So yes, on top of its flexibility in what products can be sold, what is Shopify’s primary advantage over Etsy?
The ability to create your own branded space helps set them apart and unforgettable from competitors like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. If you intend to grow your business, Shopify is the right place for you.
On the other hand, Etsy is a marketplace for handmade, vintage, and craft items. Having an Etsy store is like having a spot in a flea market, as we said. The whole flea market has a certain vibe. And Etsy is like that—it has a certain branding that appeals to certain niches: handmade, vintage, and crafts, and if you are a one-person shop, then Etsy is for you.
Our Pick: We weighed all the factors, and in the end, we picked Shopify since it has all the features that can help grow and scale your business in no time.
What can you sell on Etsy and Shopify?
Both Etsy and Shopify have pros and cons, and which one you should use depends on your needs.
Shopify is a good choice for businesses of all sizes, as it offers a customizable platform with a wide range of features. You can sell anything on Shopify, from digital products and services such as consultations, event tickets, online courses, and workshops to physical products from dog toys and treats to motor vehicle products. The whole shebang.
While Etsy is fantastic for people selling unique items, as it has a built-in audience of shoppers looking for those kinds of products. Etsy appeals to vendors selling handcrafted and vintage goods. So the product range sold in this eCommerce platform is quite limited.
What Shopify Has Done Better Than Etsy
If you’re considering starting an online business, consider using Shopify. After all, it’s one of the most popular eCommerce platforms out there. But what are the benefits of using Shopify?
Flexible and Customizable Designs
Shopify has loads of templates that you can choose from. If you have your brand kit ready already, you can easily customize your online store to fully mirror your business’ branding and messaging. Down to the tiniest details that make the visuals scream your brand. Etsy has minimal customization since your store will be alongside other online stores that sell similar products. As we said earlier, you use Shopify if you want your business to stand out like a boutique store, and you use Etsy if you want
2. Better Customer Support
Shopify pays attention to their customer needs, so its customer support is available 24/7 via phone, email, and live chat. On top of that, it has an extensive library of helpful articles. Sadly, Etsy has ill-reputed customer service, if not non-existent at all.
3. Non-Tech Vendors-Friendly
Starting a new business is already stressful, and creating an online store for that business should be more relaxed. And Shopify does that exactly. It has a lot of resources and tools for business owners who haven’t fleshed out the tiny details of their business yet from logo making to profit margin calculator. Etsy is easy for non-tech-savvy too, but since it limits customization, its non-tech-savvy friendliness does not really count.
To fully optimize the potential of your business, integrations such as email automation, recurring orders system, and Stripe or Quickbooks are necessary. These can be tricky to implement, but Weblime offers support so you can run and scale your business in no time. Etsy has some easy integrations, but one major roadblock is that only very few integrations are meant for businesses that have plans to scale up.
5. Better Payment Options and Fees
Shopify has zero transaction fees if you use Shopify payments, which is very easy to integrate. On top of that, two-step authentication is needed to secure your account. One caveat is that Shopify payments are only available in certain countries (read: rich countries). Thankfully, Shopify supports hundreds of different online payment gateways. Wherever your business is located, payment provider integration is generally smooth and painless with Shopify.
On the other hand, Etsy has a fee for almost everything, and we are not kidding. If you want to list a product to sell, there is a $.20 fee; if you make a sale, there is a transaction fee, and there is another fee for online payment processing. And the list goes on. These amounts quickly add up, and if your business is new, it might be harder to break even with all these fees.
6. More Extensive eCommerce Tools
Designed for business scaling, Shopify comes with tons of tools and plug-ins useful to create and grow your business. More than 3000 apps and plug-ins are available on Shopify. There are plug-ins to make delivery and inventory easy for you, plug-ins to attract and retain customers, and other thousands of tools you can use to scale your business. So Shopify is really designed with your business growth in mind.
7. More Unique URLs and Domain
Shopify wants you to make your business stand out, and it starts with the store name. Shopify allows you to customize the store name and the URL and domain reflect this.
Word of caution: do not go crazy with the name. Think of the big brands. What do they have in common? Their names are short. Nike. Adidas. Apple. Think of a name and brand under 6 characters. Something easy to remember and type. Something that sticks with your customer that’s if you have to build your business from the ground up.
On the other side of the fence, Etsy itself manages the marketplace, so personalizing your store is not allowed. The only way you can win on Etsy is for your product to be exceptionally good and you rake in all the positive reviews, which always boosts the product’s credibility.
It’s a Draw: Shopify and Etsy’ Price Comparison
Shopify has a three-tier pricing plan, and the basic plan is $29 a month, and the premium is $299. You can have a 50% discount if you avail of their annual, instead of monthly, plan. Getting the yearly plan makes sense if you are dead serious about your online business and you’re not planning on giving up in the second month or if your business already has a strong foundation.
Before committing to any plans, you can take advantage of the 14-day free trial. While vendors who sign up with Etsy instantly get the standard plan for free, bear in mind all the fees, we mentioned before. So yeah, while you can use Etsy on the get-go, the subsequent fees will eventually add up. If you intend to have customization and personalization in your store—well, to some extent since Etsy does not really allow a complete makeover—it has the Etsy Plus plan for $10 a month.
What Etsy has done better than Shopify
Attracting customers is something Etsy has done better for one reason alone. Etsy has become a household name as a marketplace for something creative, quaint, handcrafted, and vintage. So it has a solid customer base for this niche. So if your product is within the Etsy niche, half of the marketing job is done already.
Caveat though: In case you missed it, your store will be one of the many that sell similar products. It will be hard to stand out since the platform does not allow your business to do so.
Should You Use Shopify or Etsy?
b use Shopify if you intend to grow your business in the foreseeable future, use Etsy if your business is small and within its creative niche and has yet to find its footing.
Who should use Shopify, and who should avoid it
Shopify is an excellent platform for anyone who wants to build an online store. It’s easy to use and has many features that make it a great choice for small businesses.
However, some people should avoid Shopify:
- If you’re not interested in building an online store, then Shopify is probably not for you.
- If you’re not willing to put in the time and effort to learn how to use Shopify, you’ll likely be frustrated with the platform.
- If you’re looking for a platform that offers more customization than Shopify, you should look elsewhere.
Overall, Shopify is an excellent platform for anyone who wants to build an online store, but there are better choices for everyone.
Shopify vs Etsy: Vendors Reviews
For sure, you have done some research on actual Shopify vs Etsy customer reviews. We have curated verified customer reviews that you can double-check yourself.
Shopify Customer Reviews for some inspiration
We moved to Shopify from Squarespace as we felt we were hitting limitations with Squarespace’s capabilities. Shopify allows us to scale to much higher levels and is built for eCommerce from the ground up.—Common Room Roasters
“Shopify helped us to make money online quickly and in a short time. We find Shopify very user-friendly. It is very easy to prepare the entire website without any external help. They offer us a great customer service team, vigilant to resolve issues. It provides us the ability, to begin with, a free theme. Its free themes are also very decent. We think it’s a pocket-friendly, convenient and fast e-commerce solution.
Shopify allows us to choose the display method that suits us. We can create a very user-friendly store with a beautiful user interface. Shopify is also very secure and reliable. We also think its customer support is also very supportive since there has a 24/7 customer support service. Shopify also offers a mobile app that makes the experience so user-friendly from listing and inventory management to fulfilling orders. We can also create as many stores as we want.” Company Size: 50M – 250M
“Not easy to get access to customer support help, quite a few clicks required. options per product are limited and multi currency features could be better.”
Etsy Vendor Reviews
“My items are not expensive – but if someone orders a lot, it definitely adds up quickly. I think the key is to start small. I see a lot of shop owners get over-excited and spend too much on overhead to start with. Creating items is hit and miss. A full time shop is a commitment for sure. Some weeks I probably work a lot more than 40 hours, but I really love what I do and so it doesn’t feel like work to me. I have the freedom of working from my own office, but I also face the stress of fluctuating market.” An Etsy Seller Review on Reddit
“When the site boots people without warning or appeal, it can hold buyer payments for six months – which is particularly painful if you have orders outstanding while your pay gets held up! This legitimate issue does seem to hamper only a small fraction of sellers but since this service isn’t available in case any problems arise (and trust me–there will always be at least one), then these financially struggling artists end up suffering more than necessary because no other options exist except selling cheap knock-offs outside of etsy.”
“If you email with a question or concern, Etsy will send you an obviously canned and entirely unrelated response. Write again and they’ll repeat themselves and tell you that they won’t be responding again. Complain in the community forum and they will “muzzle” your account so your not allowed post messages. Express any further concern they will invent a reason to close your shop entirely.” Sidehusl
What to Expect with Using Shopify
Shopify is often lauded as the easiest way to set up shop online. And while that may be true, there’s much more to Shopify than just pushing a few buttons and viola, you’re in business. Shopify is a powerful eCommerce platform that gives you everything you need to run a successful online store. Shopify is easy to use doesn’t mean you won’t have to put in some elbow grease to get your store up and running.
If you’re thinking about setting up shop on Shopify, here are a few things you should keep in mind:
1. First, Shopify is not Etsy. While both platforms are great for selling handmade goods and vintage items, Shopify is geared more toward businesses that want to build a brand and scale their operations. On the other hand, Etsy is better suited for individual sellers who don’t necessarily have scaling mind.
2. Second, even though Shopify is easy to use, you can still put in some work to get your store off the ground. You’ll still need to design your store, add products, write compelling product descriptions, set up shipping and payment methods, and market your store to potential customers. In other words, don’t expect to set up shop on Shopify and start making sales overnight. It takes time and effort to build a successful online business.
3. Third, Shopify isn’t free. While there is a 14-day free trial available, you will eventually have to pay Shopify’s monthly fees if you want to keep using the platform. The good news is that Shopify’s fees are very reasonable, starting at $29/month, and you can have it at 50% off with its annual plan. An awesome deal, considering all the features and benefits you get access to.
So there you have it! A necessarily lengthy overview of what you should know about Shopify vs Etsy, before committing yourself into an eCommerce platform. Whether you’re looking for an easy way to start selling online or serious about building a brand, Shopify could be the perfect platform. Remember that running a successful online store takes time and effort, even though it’s easy to use. With a little hard work, most likely several sleepless nights, and a bit of luck, you can be well on your way to achieving your eCommerce dreams that surely comes in rising graphs of profit margin.
What’s better than shopify?
There are many great eCommerce platforms besides Shopify, but “better” depends on your specific needs.
For ease of setup and a built-in audience, consider Etsy. BigCommerce offers more built-in features, and WooCommerce provides extensive customization.
However, many find Shopify’s balance of usability, scalability, and customization to be ideal. To learn why we believe Shopify excels, read our post Why Shopify is the Best Ecommerce Platform.
Can you connect shopify to etsy?
It’s possible to connect Shopify to Etsy using various third-party applications. These applications can help you sync your product listings across both platforms, manage inventory, and even consolidate orders.