Shopify and Etsy are two of the biggest e-commerce sites, catering to millions of buyers and sellers worldwide.
However, each platform offers distinct features, advantages, and challenges.
If you’re looking to sell your handmade crafts, or you’re a budding entrepreneur – which platform is the best for you?
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
In this post, I’ll compare the key features of Shopify vs. Etsy. Let’s explore their strengths and limitations, allowing you to determine which online marketplace aligns better with your goals, vision, and product offerings.
Etsy vs. Shopify: The Summary
Shopify is far more superior than Etsy because you have complete control over your store, products, branding and customers. You are not limited to selling handmade and vintage products.
If you sell handmade items or printables, you don’t need to choose between Etsy and Shopify.
You can simply create your Shopify store and from there integrate it with Etsy or any other marketplaces. That way, you have your own store and brand, but at the same time you leverage Etsy users to make more sales.
Here are their features at a glance:
Which is easier to use?
The Shopify app store is user-friendly. You don’t need technical expertise to build a website.
A non-techie can use Etsy.
Which is better for beginners?
Unless you have an existing website, you must start from scratch and create your website, list of products, and layout.
You can start selling after signing up. Adding images and product descriptions are easy.
Which requires less maintenance?
If your brand is doing well, you may need to improve functionality to keep up with your growing consumer base.
Once you’ve set up shop, you don’t need to update the website or worry about bugs and plug-ins.
Which has better support?
Shopify offers phone and live chat support 24/7. Social media, email, and a help center are also available.
Etsy’s support center answers typical questions. You can email them for more help.
Which is more customizable?
Shopify lets you create your ideal website from the ground up. You have total control over your brand.
The Etsy website is already live, and only a few customization options exist.
Which attracts more customers?
Shopify is good if you have a following or niche. It may not be the best option for startups.
Etsy’s large online marketplace attracts customers quickly, which is helpful when you have no followers.
Shopify and Etsy are two popular ecommerce entities.
Shopify is a complete online business solution. The platform started as an online store builder, but now it does a lot more than that.
Over 2.6 million ecommerce sites in the US use Shopify. The platform now has 10% of the global market share.
It gives online store owners everything they need to start, like a customizable platform, easy-to-use eCommerce tools, and other features.
Here’s how you can use Shopify.
- Launch and customize your own online store.
- Keep track of your inventory, orders, and shipping
- Market your business with built-in marketing and advertising tools
- Review your analytics to learn how to improve your business.
- Use Shopify POS to sell your products in person.
- Scalable for any business, regardless of size.
- Feature-rich, which is a must for ecommerce.
- Customizable in terms of layouts and functions.
- The ideal platform to market your brand.
- You can sell anything as long as it doesn’t involve finances.
- Better suited for SEO.
- It doesn’t offer a built-in audience. Unlike Etsy, you’d have to actively promote your brand if you want them to visit your own website.
- Upgrades and plugins can be costly. You’ll want to change the design and add more functions as your business expands.
- The user interface is intuitive but has a learning curve. Building and testing a website takes time.
Etsy is a legit online marketplace catering to specific niches, specifically handmade, vintage, and craft products. The platform started in 2005 and had over 7.5 million active sellers and 96 million buyers in 2021.
The Etsy platform promotes a community for creatives and independent sellers, who can promote their crafts and unique items to highly interested customers.
Its emphasis on handcrafted goods and vintage items make it distinct among other online marketplaces. With millions of product listings, Etsy buyers can browse niche and unique clothing, jewelry, artwork, home decor, and such.
Here’s what you can do with Etsy.
- Set up an online selling storefront.
- Manage your product listings.
- Process payments and shipping.
- Message customers and interact with the community.
- Affordable. Even with transaction fees, Etsy is low-cost.
- Beginner-friendly. Setting up shop is a breeze and only takes a few minutes.
- Low maintenance. You don’t need to patch your website, install plugins, or overhaul the interface, even for established stores.
- Curated customer base. The website’s high traffic makes it easier to reach and attract customers.
- Limited customization. Unfortunately, what you see is what you get with the website. It means you can’t make customized designs and create specialized product pages.
- Strict product guidelines. To maintain a specialized marketplace, Etsy has specific rules about what you can and can’t list.
- Limited branding opportunities. Aside from uploading a custom Etsy banner and logo, you have less chances to establish a distinct brand identity.
You can easily customize your shop and arrange elements using the platform’s drag-and-drop editor. You don’t have to code, thanks to the numerous plugins and extensions.
However, the extensive features can make for a more complex setup. This can be a downside if you’re looking more for a website that can help you set up an online boutique quickly.
The tools can take some getting used to, especially if you’re just entering the ecommerce world. The learning curve can discourage new sellers.
On the contrary, setting up an Etsy shop is easier and faster. Simply click the Open your Etsy shop button and fill in the mandatory fields like your name, email address, and shop name.
Etsy’s product listing tool is pretty intuitive. You can simply follow the prompts and read any additional information to help you create an effective product listing.
The site is generally easy to navigate, catering to both new and experienced sellers.
If you’re starting and don’t have a team to help you, I recommend Etsy over Shopify. It’s easier to set up, doesn’t require technical knowledge or expertise, and has a great community of sellers.
Shopify has a clean interface, which lets you access various features and settings using clearly labeled tabs. The straightforward design is pleasing even though the extensive options can sometimes feel overwhelming.
The dashboard is also organized logically, showing helpful information like:
- Total sales
- Total visits
- Total orders
- Average order value
- Rate of conversion
- Rate of repeat customers
Etsy’s interface leans toward a minimalist design, focusing on simplicity and ease of use. The navigation is intuitive, and the design is consistent across the whole platform.
The dashboard can look different depending on which version of Etsy you use. The following information is usually on the Etsy dashboard.
- Shop advisor for alerts, reminders, and tasks that are due soon
- Recent orders, reviews, and favorite activities
- Open and unpaid orders
- Orders, sales, views, and Etsy listings stats overview.
The consistency of Etsy’s platform provides a cohesive experience for both sellers and buyers.
Shopify is a generic ecommerce platform, while Etsy offers a specialized marketplace.
Shopify lets you sell online just about anything. You can sell physical products like clothing or services like photography and design.
It caters to various industries without imposing too many restrictions on the product type you can sell.
On the other hand, Etsy focuses on handcrafted goods, vintage items, and craft supplies. It has further restrictions on each category.
The handmade classification only applies to products that the Etsy seller designed or made. Vintage items must be at least 20 years, while craft supplies refer to tools and materials used for artistic projects.
Shopify allows for more versatility and scalability. Even if you sell handmade items, you have the option to expand your product offerings down the line.
If you want to focus on handmade products, Etsy can give you better tools and support.
When you set up a Shopify store, you can freely build a brand and customize your online store’s look and feel. Apart from being an ecommerce platform, it’s also a website builder.
Shopify lets you design your website from the ground up, even if you don’t know how to code – more on that later.
With Shopify, you can create custom discounts or promos for returning customers—such as a buy-one-take-one promo or free shipping.
Shopify lets you make your website as interactive as possible. On the other hand, Etsy doesn’t have many options.
Etsy has a standard design and layout but offers some customization options. You can add a custom banner, add featured products, and organize the listings by section.
These options don’t offer much for branding. Etsy’s storefronts can look very similar to each other as opposed to Shopify stores, which can easily differentiate themselves from each other.
Shopify’s no-code website builder is a game changer for those who don’t have the technical skills to make a branded website by themselves. This platform is the clear winner here, allowing you to build your brand and customize the user experience.
However, Etsy’s minimalist and streamlined look can appeal to some sellers.
Shopify is among the most trusted website builders, accounting for 25% of U.S. websites using ecommerce technologies.
This tool has an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, which lets you design your website without any technical know-how. You can customize the layout, add images, create a blog, and upload product listings without coding.
You can choose from many templates and themes to create your website how you want. Shopify also offers app extensions to add more functionalities, such as payment processors, e-commerce carts, and a blog section.
On the other hand, Etsy is relatively a newcomer. Not many people know, but the platform has a website builder called Etsy Pattern.
Etsy Pattern integrates with your existing Etsy shop, syncing product listings to ensure your website has updated information. However, any changes made to your website won’t affect your shop.
Like in Shopify, you can build a website in minutes. You can select a template and then customize it to fit your brand.
The platform’s reputation in the industry is invaluable for new and established sellers. You can benefit from the numerous plugins and extensions that can help you build your website.
You can buy a custom domain name directly through Shopify to further establish your brand. You can also create a subdomain, a separate URL used for your store’s email address, or other purposes like analytics.
With Etsy Pattern, you can register a domain name up to three times directly through the dashboard. You can also purchase from a third-party service, then connect it afterward on the same page.
As for your Etsy shop URL, you can only set up a domain URL that redirects to it. You can’t change your shop’s domain.
This is only available for Etsy Plus subscribers, as well. The upside is you can save on custom domains from its partner, Hover.
Your own domain name is crucial to establishing customer trust and credibility. If you want to grow your brand, Etsy’s not the ideal place because you’re sharing a space with other sellers.
Both Shopify and Etsy offer payment options but differ in how they accept and process payments.
Shopify has Shopify Payments. It’s their proprietary payment system and doesn’t charge transaction fees.
You do have to pay the card transaction fee, which begins at 2.4% plus 30 cents. Shopify supports the following payment methods via its built-in functions or third-party apps.
- Credit cards via Shopify Payments
- Amazon Pay
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
Those without a credit card or PayPal account can use Shopify’s free Shopify Pay app to transfer customers’ funds via Venmo or Stripe.
Shopify is also PCI-compliant and supports 3D-secure checkout.
Etsy sellers must set up Etsy Payments, which lets buyers pay them using credit cards, debit cards, and bank transfers. Here are some other supported methods:
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
- Etsy Credits
- Etsy gift cards
You can choose which payment methods to add to your shop, but consider your customers’ convenience. Some will look at other online stores that offer their preferred option.
Both platforms allow you to offer several payment options to your customers.
Shopify features 24/7 chat, email, and social media customer assistance. You could drop them a line, and they’ll respond.
Depending on your Shopify plan, you may also have dedicated support advisors. They can provide personalized guidance to your specific needs and issues.
Etsy shines with its comprehensive support center. It hosts various articles, guides, and FAQs related to selling online on their platform.
The platform will encourage you to browse their help center first. If you can’t find your answer here, you’d have to contact Etsy Support through a button on their website.
They respond primarily by email, which means you might wait a few days to receive one.
Still, Etsy offers an active community forum where you may ask about store settings or features like uploading products. Experienced users will help you.
Even if Etsy has a tight-knit community of like-minded entrepreneurs, nothing beats getting real-time, accessible customer service support.
The Shopify website is secure as it is PCI DSS Level 1 compliant, meaning the platform meets the highest standards set by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. This allows you to offer your customers a secure payment process.
Shopify also uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption. It establishes a secure link from the website to browsers and ensures your data is safe from malicious third-party apps.
Shopify’s SSL certificate is valid for three years, while Etsy has an average SSL certificate lifespan of one year.
Shopify also offers a free SSL certificate for all plans, including the free version. You can enjoy its security benefits without any additional cost.
On the other hand, Etsy doesn’t provide a free SSL certificate. You can only get one if you subscribe to their Pro or Enterprise plans.
You can’t trump the platform’s strict data privacy and security standards.
Shopify accommodates various business sizes and industries. If we’re simply going by the user base size, this marketplace far surpasses Etsy.
However, generating web traffic on a Shopify website can be challenging because you don’t have an existing customer base. You don’t automatically tap into its audience when you set up a store here.
The customer base varies significantly depending on your niche and marketing strategy. You’re starting from scratch, so you must put more work into marketing techniques like,
- Email marketing
- Market research and competitor analysis
- Paid advertisements on Google and social media
- Search engine optimization
On the other hand, Etsy already has a lot of online traffic. The Etsy market consists of customers actively looking for unique or vintage items or those supporting local and independent sellers.
These buyers visit the site ready to spend money on your products.
It’s just a matter of making your online store easy to find, especially among thousands of competitors. You must still put effort into your:
- Product listing optimization
- Product categorization
- Pricing and shipping strategy
- Customer engagement
Etsy’s existing customer base is a major advantage if your niche aligns with the platform.
The marketplace provides a curated customer base with a specific buying intent, so reaching your target audience is easier.
You’ll need to attract customers regardless of which platform you choose. Whether you’ve settled on Etsy or Shopify, your problem now is directing people to your storefront.
How you promote your store depends on where you’ve decided to sell.
If you’re selling on Shopify, you must be more hands-on with your marketing strategy. This can require more work.
However, you have complete control over your online marketing campaign and social media. You can use its several built-in and third-party tools for marketing.
Here are their offerings at a glance:
It also has some marketing options, although it’s less comprehensive than Shopify. They aren’t as broad because Etsy focuses on internal promotions.
Shopify has more features that help you run broader marketing campaigns. Shopify is your best bet if you’re looking to target diverse demographics. Its extensive marketing tools can help you take your business further.
If you want to promote your Etsy shop beyond the platform, you must develop a marketing strategy without its help.
Both Etsy and Shopify have integrated shipping solutions that let sellers use major carriers, such as UPS, FedEx, DHL, and USPS. They can print shipping labels and track packages right on the platforms.
You can also set shipping profiles on either platform. You can define the shipping costs based on the buyer’s location and item weight.
Both platforms allow you to customize your shipping, refund, and return policies. You can easily communicate with the buyer and issue refunds through the equally easy-to-use seller dashboards.
However, Shopify have more fulfillment options through third-party app integrations. These extensions can further improve the shipping experience and add advanced functions.
Shopify offers more options for streamlining the shipping and returns processes. By utilizing its features, you can enhance the customer experience, too.
Etsy’s shipping features are tailored to its specific marketplace and user base, but it doesn’t offer more beyond that.
If you want to start a dropshipping business, Shopify has you covered. It has over 500 suppliers and offers international and local shipping alternatives.
Shopify has its own fulfillment network to handle shipping and storage in North America. You can also connect to AliExpress and Amazon to streamline your order fulfillment process.
On the other hand, Etsy’s requirements and policies may make it challenging to run this business model.
The marketplace emphasizes the uniqueness of handmade and vintage products. It has strict listing requirements, especially against mass-produced and wholesale items.
For this reason, Etsy doesn’t support integration tools for dropshipping suppliers like AliExpress and Amazon. It also doesn’t have a wholesale program for its sellers.
However, you can integrate print-on-demand services, as long as you create the designs yourself.
The platform doesn’t explicitly prohibit dropshipping. You can run an Etsy dropshipping business if you follow its guidelines about product eligibility and seller conduct.
Sellers have more shipping and dropshipping options with a Shopify store.
Etsy’s more personalized approach makes it challenging to successfully run a dropshipping business.
3-Day Free Trial
Free Standard Plan
starts at $19 monthly
starts at $49 monthly
starts at $299 monthly
0.5% to 2.0%
Payment processing fees
Third-party plugins and apps
$11 yearly, Optional
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|Advertising fees||Varies, Optional|
Shopify has three pricing plans to cater to businesses of all sizes.
- Shopify Advanced ($399/mo or $299/mo if billed yearly)
The most expensive plan is the advanced Shopify plan, which has all the features of the other plans except for app analytics for mobile apps. It’s also useful for high traffic or snowballing.
- Shopify ($65/mo or $49/mo if billed yearly)
The standard plan from Shopify is great for small businesses that want to focus on customer orders instead of managing inventory or making unique storefronts.
This Shopify plan has no setup fee. If your business is so tiny that getting traffic from Google Ads is enough for you, then this plan may be all you need.
- Basic Shopify ($25/mo or $19/mo if billed yearly)
This Shopify plan is suitable for beginners and small-scale businesses. It includes basic online sales report and up to 1,000 inventory locations.
Shopify has a free trial plan, which only lasts for three days. It can be enough to explore the platform to see if it suits your needs.
Other than these subscription plans, you must also pay Shopify fees, such as:
- Domain name for $11/year
- Transaction fees for external payment providers, from 0.5% to 2.0%
- Payment processing fees
- Shopify themes and apps
Etsy is the best venue for solopreneurs to sell their goods. It lets you sell antique or handmade goods online without worrying about shipping or inventory.
Etsy has two plans: Etsy Standard and Etsy Plus.
- Etsy Standard (Free)
The standard plan is Etsy’s most basic. It’s free and is the default account for all sellers.
- Etsy Plus ($10 monthly)
The Etsy Plus plan may be a good choice if you want additional features. It includes 15 listing credits and $5 in Etsy ads.
Etsy has a lot of fees, including:
- Listing fee of $0.20 for every new product or renewal
- Transaction fee of 6.5% of every sale
- Payment processing fee
- Advertising fees (optional)
Here’s a rundown of everything I’ve discussed so far.
- Shopify and Etsy are excellent ecommerce platforms for small business owners.
- Shopify sells anything ranging from physical products like consumer goods to services like appointments or consultations.
- Etsy is more straightforward and generally caters to handmade goods, specialty crafts, hobbyists, and unique, one-of-a-kind items.
- Both are easy to operate, but Shopify has the edge in terms of scalability, customization, logistics, and payment.
While the overall review makes it seem like Shopify has the advantage over Etsy, it also depends on your needs.
If buyers need handmade items like planner inserts, sticker templates, and journaling supplies, they’ll go to Etsy.
People will shop on a Shopify website if they need commercial goods like a skincare product, a grocery item, or clothing.
Shopify is best If you:
- Lean more toward commercial consumer goods and services.
- Want to grow your brand and attract more website traffic
- Want a dedicated space to put up your online storefront
- Want to send exclusive marketing and promotional emails
- Or want a flexible online platform you can customize according to your business needs
Shopify is suitable for people who want more control over their brand, storefront, and how their websites work. It seamlessly integrates with third-party payment providers and even websites if you already have one.
However, some sellers don’t have the patience or know-how to start on Shopify.
Etsy is best if you:
- Are a hobbyist or crafts enthusiast
- Need a platform to sell handcrafted creations
- Need a platform to interact with other people and see what they’re selling
- Are not particular about branding and website traffic.
Etsy empowers users to sell their crafts right away as long as they meet the platform’s policies. They can easily reach a curated customer base and grow their business without much marketing effort.
However, the marketplace can be extremely competitive, especially for new sellers. The fees can quickly add up and eat into your profit margins.
Yes. Many online sellers use Shopify and Etsy to enjoy their unique advantages simultaneously. You can use Shopify to set up your online store to establish your brand further. You can then use Etsy as a distribution channel to reach a wider audience and maximize your sales potential.
Choosing the right platform for your ecommerce business depends on several factors. Before we explore their features, consider the following:
- Business goals
- Product offerings
- Marketing strategy
- Business model
After carefully determining your needs, you can start to assess which platform can help you achieve your goals.
Etsy is the go-to platform for anything handmade and vintage, creating a distinct user base. On the other hand, Shopify can cater to all types of niches with support for a branded online store.
Ultimately, none is better than the other because it depends on your goals, product offerings, and business model.
Shopify has a different pricing structure, offering monthly subscription plans with varying prices and features. Etsy charges listing fees, transaction fees, payment processing fees, and other optional fees.
When creating a budget, consider your sales volume and revenue to see which platform is the more cost-effective solution.
Yes, you can sell the same products as long as they meet the criteria of both platforms. Inventory management can be challenging, but Shopify has tools for integrating product data and helping you keep track of your stocks and orders more easily.
Yes, but Etsy doesn’t have built-in tools to make the process easier. You must use a third-party app to migrate your shop and product data from Shopify to Etsy.
An alternative is manually uploading your product listings. It can be extra time-consuming, considering Etsy also doesn’t have bulk listing functions.
Yes, and Shopify has integration tools for a smooth and seamless transfer experience. The platform has tools for importing product listings, customer data, and other shop information from Etsy.
Yes. If you already have an existing online store, you can migrate your data using several options, including:
- CVS File Import
- Import Apps
- Professional Services
Selling on Etsy can be a fulfilling and profitable venture, but it depends on your products and target market. The Etsy marketplace focuses on handmade, vintage, and unique items, which attracts creative sellers and a curated user base. If you can offer items that align with these considerations, you can successfully maximize the platform.
Thanks to its flexibility and scalability features, Shopify can be a worthwhile investment. It offers the chance to build your own branded e-commerce site, which is invaluable in maintaining a professional image, gaining customer loyalty, and building brand recognition.
The platform also has robust features for managing several business aspects. It has services and tools to help you with inventory, order fulfillment, payment processing, and customer service.
Yes, but Shopify is the better platform for dropshipping because of its numerous tools and integrations specifically for this business model. Etsy has strict rules and guidelines that can make starting a traditional dropshipping store more challenging, but it doesn’t have specific policies against this type of business.
Yes, you can download the Shopify app and Etsy app to your mobile phone for managing your online store on the go.
Shopify and Etsy offer unique advantages, and one not necessarily better than the other. The right platform for you depends on your goals, budget, and specific needs.
After considering their differences, you may find that you can maximize both platforms simultaneously. You can own an online store in Shopify while using Etsy as a distribution channel.
Your own Shopify store can help you build your brand outside of marketplaces like Etsy and Amazon. You also retain full control over your business and customer email list.
With these options, you can establish a direct relationship with customers, fostering brand loyalty and shaping your own brand more freely.
To start and grow your online business beyond Shopify and Etsy, you should also learn about the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses.