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SHOPIFY VS. ETSY: Where should you sell?


Which is better for e-commerce: Shopify or Etsy? With these two platforms, it's less about which platform you should use and more about whose selling approach makes the most sense for you.

Shopify is a platform for running an online store while Etsy is a marketplace where people may sell their handmade goods. Despite the fact that they are both online sales platforms, both platforms offer two fundamentally distinct approaches to sell or reach out to potential consumers.

In that case, which one is the better fit for your business? There may be no right or incorrect answer. What matters here is to select the platform that suits your company’s objectives the best. At times, having both may even work for you.

Etsy may be a better option for startups or enterprises that sell a small number of products and don't need to create a separate store just yet. Etsy, is basically a product listing site just like Amazon or eBay. It doesn’t require the same technical expertise or creative flexibility as you would with Shopify.

While Shopify lets you create an online store with your own domain name, and modify it accordingly.

Knowing these distinctions, it may be difficult still to decide on what platform best suits your company. 

Read on as we compare the two distinct platforms that might help you make the best decision. We’ll go through an overview of each, how they perform against each other, and give you our recommendation.


Shopify: The world’s 2nd largest eCommerce platform

There are several reasons why Shopify is one of the most widely used eCommerce systems in the world. It allows anybody, regardless of technical skill level, to create a unique online store with no need for coding skills. Most especially for small businesses, Shopify's e-commerce system provides a ton of features that make setting up, managing, and marketing your online store a breeze. Plus, Shopify lets you sell almost any physical item as well as digital items (video courses, music samples, pdfs, etc). Here are a few reasons why it remains to be a popular choice:

Easy set-up and customization: Shopify lets you easily construct and customize a website using one of over 70 professionally designed templates available on its Shopify store and create a domain name that you can either buy directly from Shopify or quickly transfer to your Shopify shop.

Secure and multiple payment options: Shopify Payments, the platform's integrated payment processor powered by Stripe, allows you to securely take all major credit and debit card payments without incurring any additional transaction fees. You may also connect one of over 100 third-party payment processors.

In-house capabilities: Store management features are at your disposal as soon as your store is up and running, including the ability to save customer personal and billing information, integrate with dropshipping apps, fulfill orders with a single click, connect to fulfillment centers such as Amazon, and access powerful performance analytics.

SEO-friendly: Shopify also has powerful CRM and marketing features built in, such as SEO advice, social media integration, blogging, and the option to provide discounts and gift cards to your consumers. Everything you do on Shopify's dashboard will immediately sync with the Shopify App because it's cloud-based.

Shopify App store offers added functionalities: Customers love the Shopify App Shop because it allows them to discover and download hundreds of applications that can be integrated with their store to help them enhance their operations, such as upselling, inventory management, search engine optimization (SEO), and customer reviews. Small- and medium-sized businesses may take payments in person using Shopify POS, the platform's proprietary software and hardware.

Etsy: The Marketplace for Creatives

Unlike Shopify, which lets you create your own separate website, Etsy acts as a platform where merchants come together. When it was launched, the website was designed to serve as a marketplace for the sale of handmade and vintage goods by artists, designers, and merchants. In 2016, Etsy launched Pattern, its own eCommerce platform that allows merchants to build a website and sell in it, in conjunction with their Etsy store.

Here are a few reasons one might choose Etsy:

Great for side businesses: Etsy isn't a great fit for resellers or dropshippers because it focuses on unique products. It's still a great option for side hustlers, small businesses, or companies that can't yet build and maintain a full-fledged web presence. And because you're already creating what you're selling, you may as well make money. Most Etsy business owners use it as a secondary stream of revenue to their main income stream. And the great thing about Etsy is that it can be utilized to supplement an existing online store.

Easy and simple to set up: If Shopify makes creating a website simple, Etsy makes running an online business much simpler. There are tools to assist you create your store, add photographs, sell, and dispatch orders. Etsy also allows sellers to buy and print shipping labels directly from their website. Creating a store is free, however transactions are charged by Etsy. On the other hand, Pattern, is free for 30 days.

Reports and analytics: Built-in statistics in Etsy storefronts track consumer satisfaction. They'll show you your sales and the most popular products. You may also monitor daily and peak viewing hours for your shop. You'll also see their search terms and how they found you. This data may be used to personalize your online campaigns.

Exposure to millions of Etsy customers: Getting people to Etsy is easy since people already know it. Marketing a new brand or website will be easier. You won't need to establish an internet store or a campaign to gain awareness.

SEO-friendly: Etsy utilizes Google rankings to boost SEO (SEO). If you create an online store, it is much more likely to appear as an Etsy store than a standalone website. For a small price, Etsy is able to promote your business and increase your exposure.

Now how do the two platforms stack up against each other?

ON PRICING: Which costs less?


The basic Etsy plan has no monthly fee but it does charge a $0.20 listing fee for each product. This covers the expense of publishing your months-long listing (or until the item is sold). Plus, every item sold on Etsy carries a 5% transaction fee plus a 3% processing fee + $0.25.

If your products are on the pricier end, this might drastically reduce your earnings.  Payment processing costs are normal in e-commerce, although Etsy's are slightly higher. Etsy's transaction fees should not significantly impact your revenues if you are selling on a small scale and are paying a monthly membership.

Last but not least, you only pay on Etsy when you make a sale, so there's no financial risk involved if your products don't sell.

Again, here are the fees to pay in Etsy (no matter what plan):

  • Listing fee: Listing items on Etsy will cost you 20 cents per item. Listings will only stay up for four months or until the item sells.
  • Transaction fee: You’ll need to pay Etsy 5% per transaction.
  • Payment processing fee: Etsy Payment’s processing fees are 3% + 25 cents.


If you use Shopify, you will be required to pay a monthly membership fee in addition to the standard credit card processing fees for each transaction. Unline Etsy though, you won't have to pay a per-listing charge, so you may sell an infinite number of items for an endless period of time.

  • Basic Shopify: $29 per month, plus 2.9% + 30 cents for online credit card sales, 2.7% for in-person sales or 2% if you use a payment processor other than Shopify Payments.
  • Shopify: $79 per month, plus 2.6% + 30 cents for online credit card sales, 2.5% for in-person sales or 1% for other payment processors.
  • Advanced Shopify: $299 per month, plus 2.4% + 30 cents for online credit card sales, 2.4% for in-person sales or 0.5% for other payment processors.

Shopify gives you a 14-day grace period following store launch before requiring you to join up for a subscription.


Although Etsy's listing costs are less than Shopify's, depending on your sales volume, you may end up paying more for your Etsy page than a Shopify store's monthly subscription fees. Meanwhile, Shopify’s monthly fee is more than Etsy’s, but it's worth it if you require the extra features. Shopify's Basic plans include everything you need to establish a modest to a medium-sized online store. Shopify features greater initial expenses but considerably more customization and flexibility. This is useful for business growth.

On eCommerce features and capabilities: Which gives more?

Etsy provides you with a simple toolkit that allows you to easily manage your Etsy business. It has a ‘Sell on Etsy app' feature that allows you to manage your business and sales even while on the road. It also offers marketing and advertising options to help you get new customers, followers, and internet visibility.

Not to mention, you may promote your Etsy business using social media like Instagram and Twitter, as well as third-party tools like Google Shopping. 

If you go for Etsy’s premium plan it does make up for some of the shortcomings, but the tools are still basic and not as comprehensive as Shopify’s. For example, Etsy doesn't include an inventory management solution, so you must track and handle all merchandise.

Shopify, on the other hand, is famous for its sophisticated digital commerce capabilities. This makes it the perfect choice for businesses wanting to expand and advertise their brand. Shopify also offers a wonderful app store where you can add new features (for a fee) to an already flexible toolkit.

Here are just a few of Shopify’s very useful features:

  • Discount codes
  • Gift cards
  • Shopify POS (point of sale) app
  • Fraud analysis
  • Third-party calculated shipping rates
  • An abandoned cart recovery tool
  • A free SSL certificate
  • Multichannel selling tools across ten different social platforms
  • Guest checkouts
  • SEO tools
  • Inventory and order management tools
  • A built-in blog

Features like the free SSL certificate are significant as it shows users that your site is secure to buy from, which builds confidence and credibility with potential customers.

While the abandoned cart recovery feature entices clients who were about to buy but left the checkout page (for whatever reason). But the real feature that takes the cake is Shopify's inventory system. You can track and manage your stock, as well as evaluate your sales.


If we have to choose a winner, Shopify wins the prize based on features alone. Of course, these extras aren't free. So, if you're evaluating both platforms, evaluate your usage patterns. After all, paying for more features you won't use is a waste of money!

On design and branding: How much flexibility do you need?

Shopify offers 73 themes, both free and premium. All of these themes are accessible on Shopify's theme store, which is constantly updated. There are also many Shopify experts and developers who can customize and build a brand new theme for you, just like here on Webinopoly.

After choosing a theme, you may edit the content on the main page. Also, all Shopify themes are SEO and mobile-friendly, which improves user experience. Shopify themes range in price from $100 to $180 for premium themes.

On Etsy, your store page will look like Etsy's homepage. All seller pages are the same, including your business name, logo, goods, and descriptions which can be an advantage and disadvantage depending on how you look at it.

Because all merchants follow the same standards, you don't have to bother about design, which is convenient. Your items will always look good on Etsy's clean, clear, and straightforward design.

But it does makes it tougher to stand out. Because Etsy does not allow for customization, your items are what set your business apart from the others on Etsy. 


While Etsy's standard settings relieve you of the burden of building your own page, Shopify provides great customization and beautiful designs to help you construct your website. As a result, you'll be able to build a powerful brand that will help you expand and promote your business.

Can you use Shopify with Etsy?

You certainly can, and we encourage you to do so! There are several merchants that launched their shop on Etsy while also maintaining their own business on Shopify.

If you have a Shopify store and wish to link it with the Etsy market, Shopify has an app for that and it lets you can track your order and sync product information and data in real-time.

Plus the great thing about Shopify is that it supports the migration of your Etsy shop if you want to move on there soon after. You can safely import your Etsy product, customer, and order data into your Shopify store.

Alternatively, you may engage Webinopoly's experienced professionals to transfer your storefront from Etsy to Shopify.

So, what’s the verdict?

Etsy, in contrast to Shopify, concentrates on a very specific market. If you have potential customers for handmade goods, diy solutions, and vintage items, Etsy listings may be the best way to get the exposure you need.

If you just want to sell a range of items from an online web store, Shopify provides you a lot more opportunities to experiment with different choices. When it comes to Shopify, you don't have to limit yourself to a particular type of product or genre.

These two platforms may appear similar at first glance, but we hope that after reading this, you have a clear understanding of where they differ and where each platform excels.

For us, there is no contest when it comes to which platform is best for online selling: Shopify. It's more scalable, more adaptable, and has superior e-commerce capabilities than Etsy. But we do encourage giving Etsy a try because it is free. You have nothing to lose by gaining a feel for the platform and determining whether it meets your needs. Shopify's 14-day trial is also worth trying for the same reasons.

Our recommendation is to use Etsy as a proving ground to see if your items have a following and to build your brand's identity. Then, while retaining an Etsy site as an extra revenue source, use Shopify to sell and expand your best-selling goods and develop yourself as a fully-fledged brand.

Give them each a go and let us know what you think! Whichever option you select, you're taking an important first step toward selling online, and we wish you the best of success on your adventure. Let us know how you get on in the comments section below!


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