Shopify vs. Etsy is a debatable topic. To get to your best solution, we need to compare Shopify vs. Etsy, head to head.
If you’re looking to sell handmade or vintage goods, Etsy was probably top of mind.
But is it really better to sell on this marketplace than on your own Shopify website?
The answer is surprising, but it’s not completely straightforward.
In this post, I’ll cover:
- Shopify vs. Etsy Overview and Key Differences
- Cost to sell on Shopify vs. Etsy
- Marketing on Shopify vs. Etsy
- Limitations of Both Platforms
- How to Choose Both Shopify and Etsy
Shopify vs. Etsy Overview and Key Differences
Overall rating for ecommerce
Shopify: 9.4 Etsy: 8.5
You may or may not know this, but Shopify and Etsy are completely different platforms.
With Shopify, you can build your own ecommerce website on your very own domain of choosing (e.g., mywebsite.com)
Etsy, on the other hand, is a well-established marketplace where you can sell your goods. In that way, it’s somewhat like Amazon. Although, Amazon is much larger scale and less niche-oriented than Etsy.
Back to Etsy vs. Shopify….
If you’re serious about ecommerce and building a brand, Shopify is definitely the way to go.
If you only want to get started with a few handmade products and don’t want to come up with a major marketing strategy, Etsy is the way to go.
But not so fast…
In order to figure out whether you want to choose one or both selling platforms, you’ll need to understand a few things about how each site is run.
First, let’s address the question on everyone’s minds…
What will it cost me?
Cost to sell on Shopify vs. Etsy
Shopify 9.5/10 Etsy 8/10
Shopify’s pricing structure is based on the plan you choose. This ecommerce store-building platform offers five plans in total, but most of their business falls into one of three plans.
With the $29 Basic plan, you can create your own online store with an unlimited number of products. And as long as you use Shopify Payments (their proprietary payment gateway), there are no transaction fees.
But you will have to pay a payment processing fee on all transactions. It’s 2.9% plus $0.30.
So, if you sold 10 orders for a total of $500 monthly of your handmade goods through a Shopify store, you’d pay
$29 monthly fee + $17.50 payment processing fees = $46.50 in fees for $500 goods sold
If you want to take a more in-depth look at Shopify’s five pricing plans, check out this post.
Now, let’s take a look at Etsy’s pricing.
It’s easy and inexpensive to list items on Etsy – with only a $0.20 listing fee per item. This will keep your listing active for up to four months – or until you take it down.
But with that, you’ll also pay a transaction fee of 5% on every sale. And then, there are credit card processing fees.
So, if you sold 10 orders for a total of $500 monthly of your handmade goods through Etsy, you’d pay
$0.20* + $42.50 payment processing fees = $42.70 in fees for $500 goods sold
*assuming 4 products sold over 4 months
As you can see, Etsy is a little bit cheaper based on the $500 example.
But you may be wondering…
Is Shopify is the cheaper option when you’re selling more?
The answer is yes.
If we increase the dollar amount in the above example to $1,000, you’d pay $61 in Shopify fees versus $81.70 in Etsy fees.
But it’s important to remember that price isn’t the only thing that matters. You get what you’re paying for, and what you’re paying for with Etsy is space on another company’s website.
But when you compare Etsy’s pricing to Shopify Lite the scales tip further in Shopify’s favor.
Shopify Lite is an entry-level plan that’s only $9/mo. and allows you to sell your products on social media and other websites.
This plan comes with the same processing fees as Shopify Basic.
So if we look at that same example again, here’s how it pans out:
$9 monthly fee + $17.50 payment processing fees = $26.50 in fees for $500 goods sold
It’s important to note that you don’t get your own website with Shopify Lite. You must sell your products via social media or on another website (e.g. WordPress or Weebly). To learn more about Shopify Lite click here
Marketing on Shopify vs. Etsy
Shopify: 9.8 Etsy: 8
Shopify is a full-service hosted ecommerce platform.
What does that mean?
It means you get to create your very own branded website on its easy-to-use interface, and you don’t have to worry about finding the best hosting company or anything of the sort.
Customizing your store
With the Basic plan or above, you could setup your website in as little as one hour – and accept sales immediately.
This gives you complete control over your branding and communication.
You can start with one of Shopify’s 70 themes…
And customize it with your logo, brand colors and fonts.
Essentially, you can create a storefront that exudes your brand attributes – so your customers feel at home when they visit.
And more importantly…
They associate YOUR products and company with the buying experience.
On the other hand, you don’t really get any of that with Etsy.
Since Etsy is a marketplace, you’re competing with other people in your same niche… and often on the same page.
That’s not to say that Etsy is bad. Actually, there are some benefits to selling on a marketplace like this.
With Shopify, you’re responsible for delivering visitors to your website.
Etsy already has a massive and engaged audience of people who may already be searching for your product.
And there’s the biggest benefit to selling on Etsy (or any other major marketplace).
Etsy spends a lot of money in marketing its website, and you benefit from all that. Yes, you also have to compete with other people selling on Etsy, but there’s always competition.
And if you want the truth…
Etsy offers an amazing value for what you’re getting.
Although there are some best practices for getting more views on Etsy, your work is limited. You pay a small fee to be listed in search results for your product’s keywords.
When you compare the cost of advertising on Google Shopping, Etsy’s standard plan often works out to be cheaper.
One study found merchants pay an average of $11.30 for every $100 sold through Google Shopping. That’s more than 10% of the sales. You’d better have a great profit margin to account for that kind of fee.
The fact remains that email marketing still delivers the highest ROI of all online marketing channels.
And with Etsy, your hands are a bit tied.
When a customer buys from Etsy, they give their email address to Etsy. And you communicate with them through the Esty platform.
And yes – you do have access to those email addresses. Which seems like a gold mine.
But there’s a catch.
Etsy strictly prohibits sellers from emailing their list outside of “Etsy-related communications or for Etsy-facilitated transactions.”
So – you can use email marketing to get previous customers to buy again.
But the catch is that you have to direct them to buy on Etsy.
There are no such limitations on Shopify.
Actually, Shopify helps with the process of emailing customers throughout the sales process. And that includes the ever-important abandoned shopping cart email.
But once you have your Shopify email list, you can use it to sell more products and/or keep your audience interested in your offering.
There’s a reason why companies sell email addresses (though I would recommend against buying them). Good contacts are worth a lot of money.
Shopify and Etsy Pros and Cons
So to recap…
If you have to choose one platform over the other, you’ll want to take a look at your current business and goals.
Ecommerce targeted platform – Shopify is an ecommerce platform with a very strong ecommerce focus and some of the best tools available on any platform.
Built for growth – Shopify was made to suit al business types, from small to large. The design is easy to use, so it’s perfect for the store owner without development experience or resources. But it also has built-in features that can help larger businesses grow and manage their audience.
Virtually no restrictions – You can sell whatever you want on Shopify. It doesn’t have to be handmade, but it certainly can be. You can even sell services. Start 14 Days Free Shopify trial by clicking here
No built-in audience – You actually have to do the legwork and drive traffic to your site. This can be challenging for new ecommerce businesses.
Addons get expensive – When you get to the point where you want to customize your store, you may have to pay a monthly rate for addons. When added to the monthly fee, this can get expensive.
Built-in audience – Etsy does a lot of marketing to drive traffic to its website, and you get the benefit without doing any of the work.
Low cost – When you compare Etsy to Shopify, other ecommerce platforms or even product advertising, Etsy is the lowest-cost option.
Ease-of-use—You don’t have to maintain your own website or homepage. You really just have to worry about a store description and product pages.
Transaction fees – Etsy charges a relatively high transaction fee of 5% per order. But hey, they have to pay the bills somehow, right?
Ready to try Etsy? Click here
How to Choose Both Shopify and Etsy
Although you can’t technically cross-promote between Etsy and Shopify, there may be some benefit to having both.
For example, if you’re selling a lot on Etsy, customers may get to know your brand and search for you online. If you have your own website (as you would with Shopify), they can easily find you.
And if you’re doing it right…
You’ll offer exclusive products and offers on your own website that they won’t be able to get through Etsy.
You can continue selling on Etsy indefinitely – or until you build a strong enough business on your own website.
Etsy can be a great way to build a business without any prior marketing knowledge, and it can give small business owners a leg-up on their prospecting.
So when all is said and done, if you like both platforms, you don’t really need to choose.
Instead, get your business stared on Etsy. And once you’ve built a loyal fanbase, start building your brand. There are tricks you can use to get customers to your website without having to rely on them to search Google.
Example: List your website and social channels on marketing materials or product instructions that you put inside each shipment.
If your products are good, it won’t be long before you’ve built a cult following that will follow you to your website (or wherever else you go). And in the meantime, you can bring in revenue from your Etsy shop.
You can read about other available choices here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it cheaper to sell on Etsy or Shopify?
Etsy is the cheaper way, if you are selling a few items. Shopify is going to be the cheaper option when you are selling more.
Can you use Shopify with Etsy?
You can utilize both, but you can’t cross promote. If you use Etsy in the right way, customers will get to know your brand and search for you online. This is when having your own website on Shopify will work to your benefit.
Is it worth it to sell on Etsy?
Etsy is a great way to build a business; so yes.
Is Amazon handmade better than Etsy?
Amazon handmade doesn’t charge listing fees and the listings never expire. These are two advantages over Etsy. Amazon handmade is selective about who they allow to sell as well as a 15% referral fee on the total sales price. This includes shipping.
When you’re making the decision between Shopify vs. Etsy, it’s not as easy as you might think.
We’re not comparing apples to apples here, so there’s a lot to consider.
It may come down to how much time and effort you want to put towards your brand and marketing. If you’re ready to go full-steam-ahead, get started with the Shopify 14-day trial.
And if you want to start slower with a few products to gauge interest, Etsy is really great place to start.
You can always transition to Shopify later.
What are your thoughts about Shopify vs. Etsy?
Do you have a preference of one over the other? And if so, what are your favorite features?