Shopify Vs Etsy: Which One Wins For Your eCommerce Business?

September 7, 2022
Authored by:
Aakash Shewakaramani
Featuring:

New entrepreneurs on the lookout for an eCommerce site often end up debating between Shopify Vs Etsy. Both of these companies provide two very different services.

However, the same questions often pop up when deliberating either decision:

  • Which platform will give your products better exposure?
  • Which of the two is more user-friendly?
  • What are the fees involved with using either service?

These inquiries are essential to deciding between Etsy Vs Shopify. With enough insight into the answers, you get the information you need to make the right decision for your business. And that’s precisely what this article aims to do.

Shopify Vs Etsy: The basics

Before we get into the Shopify Vs Etsy debate, we need to tackle the basics. What are the primary services that Shopify and Etsy provide? Also, how many people use both these services?

The answers to both these questions will help you make a more informed choice when deciding between Etsy Vs Shopify for your eCommerce needs.

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Shopify: The shop builder

Source

Shopify helps you build an effective online store. In offline terms, think of Shopify as the construction company that builds your storefront. Like with an offline setup, you customize the store to your liking.

From managing transactions to featuring meaningful content, Shopify helps businesses flourish. So, along with being a great construction company, Shopify is also an all-around great commerce buddy, too!

Etsy: The marketplace

Source

Etsy is an online marketplace. However, unlike Amazon, it doesn’t focus on mass-produced goods or memberships.

Etsy is a community-focused marketplace. It supports independent creators and businesses, and it’s home to a great collection of handmade items. If you’re a solopreneur who self-produces your own goods, then Etsy is the perfect home for you.

Etsy has an additional service that is similar to what Shopify does, as well. Pattern by Etsy is a tool that helps you launch and manage a website built with your existing Etsy shop content and tools. If more versatility is what you’re looking for, Etsy might be an attractive option to keep things unique and simple.

Here’s a short tutorial on Pattern by Etsy and how to make it work for your shop:

Target audience and market size

Numbers and stats will play an important role when you deliberate between Shopify Vs Etsy. Since both the services are different, their stats and numbers will also speak of different things.

What are the numbers behind Shopify?

Shopify’s customers aren’t your products’ end consumers. The service attracts entrepreneurs and businesses of varying sizes. In fact, there are 1.75 million vendors who use Shopify. This gives Shopify the third-highest eCommerce market share, behind WooCommerce and Squarespace.

These same vendors got over 457 million buyers in a year’s time. However, this number is not indicative of how many users will visit your website. Since Shopify's aim is to help you create your own independent shop, you’ll have to generate your own customers and leads.  

There’s also a pro to this. In Shopify’s case, the total number of vendors doesn’t saturate the marketplace. Your website is independent, so you won’t have to compete with any established vendors. But is Shopify better than Etsy?

What are the numbers behind Etsy?

Shopify Vs Etsy is not a direct comparison. The important data for Etsy is how many regular vendors and customers are on it. There are 4.36 million active vendors on Etsy and 81.9 million buyers.

The advantage with Etsy is that it’ll give you a ready-made market to tap into. If you’ve got something handmade, there’s a market for it on Etsy. However, this also means that you’ll have to compete for their attention.

If your goods are similar to those of other vendors, you’ll have to attract consumer attention in some way. This can be with prices, perks, or other add-ons. The other option is to create a unique product that stands out.

Shopify Vs Etsy: Which wins?

You might end up deciding on the Shopify Vs Etsy debate based on the features of one of the services. But truth be told, both platforms are great avenues to sell your products.

Here are some direct feature comparisons that can help you settle your mind.

1. How easy are they to use?

Both Shopify and Etsy have made signing and setting up accessible. However, their setup processes require different steps.

Shopify

Source: ecommerceceo

Shopify guides you throughout each step and helps you set up your store. This includes everything from the category of goods, how your store looks, and essential information like your business name and address.

Etsy

Source: Shopify

By virtue of being a pre-designed marketplace, Etsy is a lot easier to set up on. All you need to do is upload your product information to get started, which makes selling on Etsy highly simple. Unlike with a separate website, there’s no design, no searching for domains, no customization.

In this sense, while both are very easy to use, Etsy gets the job done faster.

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2. What is the pricing like?

Now, we get into the real stuff: Shopify Vs Etsy pricing. Both Shopify and Etsy charge consumers some amount. However, they do it differently.

Shopify

Shopify charges you in two ways. The store builder has various plans that consumers can choose from. Each plan has a fixed recurring cost and a transaction fee attached to it.

Higher tier plans, like the Advanced plan, have lower transaction costs. This makes sure that you don’t have to pay a significant sum if your sales volume increases.

Etsy

Etsy charges a direct transaction fee of 6.5% of the prices for each listing, plus the amount you charge for shipping and gift wrapping. The advantage of this is that you don’t pay anything unless you make money. So, when you’re starting out and have low visibility, this can work in your favor.

This decision completely boils down to your financial preferences. Both Shopify and Etsy are decent options for when you’re starting out, but Shopify has the slight edge when it comes to scaling.

3. How do these platforms help with scaling?

Every entrepreneur cares about, and plans for, scaling their business. So, it makes complete sense that you’d want to know how these platforms support that.

Shopify

Shopify makes scaling very easy with its varying plans. Higher tier plans support businesses with better sales. Additionally, Shopify also offers a Plus feature for enterprises like Heinz, Staples, etc. The tool allows you to manage all your stores, analytics, staff accounts, and automation in one place.

Source: Dynamic Yield

With a minimum cost of $2,000 (or variable costs based on sales), the plan isn’t cheap. However, that’s pocket change for companies that want a more personal touch to their eCommerce needs.

Etsy

Etsy is pretty straightforward. You upload your products and make sales on their website. However, Pattern by Etsy offers some sort of scalability to sellers.

Source

If you’ve established yourself on Etsy, you can redirect your clients to your personal website. While you can do this with any website builder, it being an Etsy product makes the process that much simpler.

While both services aid with scaling, Shopify is better suited to nationwide enterprises.

4. How easy is it to do SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can vastly affect your sales and visibility. Good SEO can place your website and products at the top of the list on search engine results.

Etsy

SEO with Etsy is very straightforward. You can work on the keywords for your store, your listing, and your product description. The advantage is that you have plenty of examples to look at.

But this can also be a disadvantage. With limited aspects to work on, it gets more and more difficult to differentiate yourself. After all, there are only so many ways you can describe a particular product.

Shopify

Shopify’s SEO is a little more open-ended. When you design a website, the control is completely in your hands. However, this also makes doing SEO difficult. You can always check out other websites for inspiration, but unless you’re an SEO expert, it can be a gargantuan task to spot the right keywords from a collection of webpages.

If SEO is your thing, you can completely drive traffic to your website. In this case, you won't have to worry about your products sounding the same as the others.

A good SEO tool or expert can greatly help in both cases, but it becomes closer to a necessity with Shopify, given that you’re doing SEO for an entire website.

5. Which has the best customer support?

Trust is essential for a seller who depends on a third-party platform to sell their wares. You expect a customer experience that is unparalleled, empathetic, and available. When issues such as crediting errors, broken links, or images that do not load occur, you turn to customer support channels for a quick solution. Because every minute lost to downtime can cost you a customer.

Shopify and Etsy have proven to be reliable partners for sellers. Let’s explore who has the edge in the contest of Shopify vs Etsy when it comes to delivering a perfect customer experience to its sellers.

Etsy

Searching for anything on Etsy is easy, whether it is a product you want as a buyer or a solution you seek as a seller. The search feature in the Help Center takes you to your topic of interest quickly.

Source

If you have a problem or need clarity about something, you can use Etsy’s discussion forum to post your questions or find threads and responses that solve your problem.

Shopify

Shopify has a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week support center.

Source: Shopify

It is helpful for an online business that can expect challenges round the clock and on any given day. Shopify offers users the following support services:

  • 24/7 phone support
  • 24/7 live chat
  • Email support
  • Advanced specialist consultation with Plus plans

In addition to these direct outreach channels, Shopify also provides valuable information hubs for sellers looking for a solution, such as:

  • Social media channels
  • Discussion Forum
  • Online tutorials

If you are a business that needs continuous support with human intervention, then Shopify wins the duel of Shopify vs Etsy.

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6. Which has better design flexibility?

One must keep in mind that while Shopify and Etsy offer design flexibility, they are primarily sales channels. You cannot expect to enjoy the same kind of flexibility you’d normally find by creating your website from scratch.

Etsy

Etsy standardizes how your product website looks.

Taken from Etsy

Your product appears the same as every other product on Etsy. This way, your product will sell on its price point, features, and merit alone. The con is that you do not have the opportunity to stand out.

Etsy offers you support to set up your online shop with Etsy Pattern, which then links to your Etsy storefront.

Shopify

Unlike Etsy, Shopify has morphed into a makeshift online platform design tool. You will find dozens of templates for your Shopify page. The templates are suitable for a variety of industries.

Source: Shopify Themes

Shopify puts out a mix of free and paid templates or themes. They also display well on mobile phones. If, at any point in time, you decide that you want to change your template, it is easy to do so.

When it comes to design flexibility in Shopify vs Etsy, it has to be Shopify that walks away as a clear winner.

7. Which is better at attracting customers?

If you’re setting up a physical shop, you’d naturally set it up in an area where you can attract the maximum number of customers. The same goes for online shopfronts. Since they have been around for so long, both platforms have loyal buyers who drop in to browse and buy. So who wins this round of Shopify vs Etsy?

Etsy

Etsy is a low-effort, low-impact platform for sellers. What we mean by this is that you can easily set up your store on Etsy and keep your fingers crossed because your store will rank as well on searches as the keywords you set.

For example, if someone searches for your product on a search engine like Google using keywords that describe your product, they will be redirected to Etsy.

Source: Forbes

Etsy displays your product together with similar products, and they all have similar-looking landing pages. Buyers can get distracted and may pick another product simply because they discovered it on Etsy.

Shopify

Shopify gives you complete control over how you want to position your product. Firstly, it allows you to customize your storefront and also gives you the ability to amp up the keywords that you want to target.

Source: Shopify

If you do not have technical knowledge of SEO or marketing, turn to Shopify’s incredible learning tools. The tools include SEO guides, email marketing, and social media support. You can play an active part in creating your own SEO-optimized, well-marketed storefront on Shopify.

This round of Shopify vs Etsy is a draw because it depends on what your needs are. If you want a relaxed experience with little to no effort, then Etsy is a great choice. If you love getting your hands soiled in creating your website and do not mind learning something new, then Shopify is a great place to start.

8. Which one has stronger eCommerce capabilities?

As a seller, you want to create only the best experiences for your customers. Likewise, you expect your seller platform to give you only the best experience. In this round of Shopify vs Etsy, we will see the eCommerce prowess of both online marketplaces.

Etsy

Like all things Etsy, the eCommerce aspect is simple and convenient to use. It’s great if you are approaching the platform with a no-frills mindset. Etsy allows users to save on shipping costs by offering discounted postage options.

You can upgrade to Etsy Plus if you want more control over your online store. You can access web addresses at the best prices, get discounts on marketing collateral, and automate your customer email experience with minimum hassle.

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Etsy’s marketing and advertising tools help sellers get noticed by potential customers. As long as you create and sell handmade products, Etsy will not raise any challenges.

Shopify

Shopify is a powerhouse of eCommerce features that any seller would love to explore. There is no limit to how much and what you can sell on Shopify, as long as you meet the company’s ethics criteria. This flexibility is possible because of Shopify’s app store.

Source: Shopify

From discount codes to gift cards, from fraud protection to social media selling, Shopify’s vast application portfolio can support your store’s business and help you reach the goal you set for it.

One of the best features of Shopify is retargeting customers who have shown interest by adding your products to their cart but have not made the purchase. The platform reaches out to them and nudges them to do so.

Source: Shopify

Shopify is comparatively safer to shop from because of the free SSL certificate that secures your product pages from online threats.

Shopify takes the cake in this round of Shopify vs Etsy because of the flexibility it gives different sellers, whether they have a small inventory or are selling bulk items.

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9. Which is better structured for domains and URLs?

A domain is the website address that identifies your online store. It is always better to own a domain that bears your online store’s name so that people can identify and remember you better.

Etsy

Unfortunately, Etsy doesn’t allow you to sell using your domain. All your products are hosted and sold on Etsy’s marketplace. Every seller sells from Etsy’s marketplace.

Shopify

Sellers who want their domains prefer to sell on Shopify because of the customization and personalization options available on the platform. The platform automates the setup of your domain name and encourages you to create your own distinct brand identity.

Source: Shopify

It’s hardly a contest in this round of Shopify vs Etsy, where the former wins.

Frequently asked questions: 4 popular FAQs about Shopify vs Etsy

What are some commonly asked questions about Shopify vs Etsy? Get your questions answered with these four FAQs.

1. Is Etsy better than Shopify?

The answer will depend on what you value most. When it comes to selling goods online, Shopify is your best option. In terms of scalability, adaptability, and eCommerce functionality, it outshines Etsy. In contrast, Etsy's 1.7 million sellers reach over 33 million buyers, suggesting a potentially larger customer base.

2. Does Shopify or Etsy have more fees?

Transaction costs on Etsy are 6.5% of the purchase price or 3-4% when paying with Etsy Payments. When merchants utilize Shopify Payments, Shopify only charges 0.5 to 2% of the purchase amount as a fee. Shopify doesn't bother you with standard transaction costs and levies lower fees than Etsy.

3. How are Etsy and Shopify different?

Shopify's ability to let users construct their own branded environment sets it apart from Etsy, which is primarily a marketplace. Although many sellers on Etsy also sell vintage clothing, art supplies, and other unusual items, the site is known mostly for its handmade goods.

4. Can you sell on both Etsy and Shopify?

Yes! If you're looking to go from a small to a medium-sized business, selling on both Etsy and Shopify is an excellent strategy. Shopify allows you to develop your own unique brand while taking advantage of Etsy's already established customer base.

Which one should you go with?

Why not both? Okay, that may not be sustainable (or even possible, for that matter). The truth is, there isn’t a ‘right platform.’ Shopify and Etsy have the same goals: maximize sales. But they approach it with different specialties.

Etsy’s biggest pro is that it is easier to start out with, especially if you’re a solopreneur. However, Shopify is a great choice if you have an established business with scaling plans.

With that being said, you don’t have to partake in the Shopify Vs Etsy debate. You can choose either and make it work for your business.

Happy selling!

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