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Shopify vs Etsy – What You Need to Know

Today we’ll talk about Shopify vs Etsy and what you need to know to make your decision when starting your ecommerce business.

Starting your online business may seem daunting in the beginning. There are after all so many platforms to choose from – Shopify, Etsy, you name it.

And it is always important to make the right choice as the tool (Shopify, Etsy, etc) you decide to use can ultimately make or break your online retail business.

But how exactly do you know which tool will perfectly serve your business and deliver the best return on your investment?

Well, you’re in luck because you are about to see a complete, detail-by-detail comparison between two of the most popular eCommerce tools — Shopify vs Etsy.

In this review, you’ll get to learn:

  • What each of these eCommerce engines has to offer.
  • How they compare in terms of features, pricing, design flexibility, usability, and more.

Shopify vs Etsy

Since you’re on this page, we assume you already have an idea of what Shopify and Etsy are about. But to stay on the safe side, here’s a quick introduction of each of the platforms.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is a cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) eCommerce platform that helps online retailers create a store and domain name, build and run the store.

Each user (or merchant) pays a monthly fee starting at $29 to access an admin panel where they can redesign the look of their store, enter their store information, and add products.

Once the store is set up, Shopify serves as a hub for managing inventory, processing orders, making sales, handling shipping, and implementing marketing strategies.

Sellers can also sell their products on multiple channels, including their own websites, social media, mobile, and even in a physical location (the last one is made possible by Shopify’s nifty POS system).

This popular online store engine is used by businesses of all kinds; from the smallest shops right up to massive brands. What’s more, your favorite celebrities like Kanye West and Cristiano Ronaldo use Shopify to sell their products online.

What is Etsy?

At the very basic, Etsy is an eCommerce marketplace focused on unique and creative handmade goods, vintage items, and craft supplies.

Think of products like jewelry, clothing, shoes, bags, arts, collectibles, crafts, paper goods, housewares, wedding items, home decor, furniture, toys, craft supplies of all kinds, and vintage items that are at least 20 years old.

So, how does Etsy work? Independent sellers — artists, crafters, designers — are allowed to open up accounts on Etsy and sell their handcrafted products directly to customers.

Buyers find the items by browsing the Etsy online marketplace and purchasing directly on the platform.

Shopify vs Etsy: The Differences

From the above introductions, you can immediately see that there’s a clear difference between Shopify vs Etsy.

Shopify is a web store platform for merchants to build their own independent, standalone digital stores.

Etsy, on the other hand, is an online marketplace where sellers can set up an artsy shop alongside other vendors, and buyers can buy directly from the website (Etsy.com).

Is it then fair to compare Shopify and Etsy head to head? In a sense, the answer is no.

Although Shopify vs Etsy are both eCommerce platforms, they actually represent two different ways to sell and are not operating in the exact same way.

While Etsy is at the front line of the seller/buyer relationship, Shopify operates almost in complete obscurity from the buyers’ point of view.

As a matter of fact, in some cases the buyer may not even know that your store is built with and powered by Shopify.

So when comparing these two platforms, it’s less about which platform to use and more about which selling approach suits your business best.

Ease of use

With Shopify, you set up your own standalone store or sell on any of Shopify’s multi-channels — Amazon, Facebook, eBay, Instagram, physical store, etc.

With Etsy, you sell on a popular marketplace.

Shopify’s ease of use is almost second to none in the eCommerce space. It combines user-friendly interface with easy-to-use features that even an absolute beginner will find simple.

Since Etsy is a done-for-you platform, sellers basically don’t need to perform any technical tasks other than setting up an account and logging in to sell.

Learn more about: How To Boost Sales On eBay

Design

Shopify comes with a carefully maintained themes store where users can get both free and paid modern templates. There are also a bunch of customization tools available for editing your site’s look and feel to match your brand.

Etsy is a done-for-you platform which applies basically the same design and look across board. This gives you zero customization flexibility and absolutely no unique design options.

Branding, Domain name, and Hosting

With Shopify, you get a professional domain name and hosting with which you can build an amazing unique brand. Both domain name and web hosting come in the plan you choose without the need to pay extra fees.

Your Etsy store is built off the Etsy.com domain name. This means you don’t get a unique website for your store. The exception is if you purchase Pattern, which offers a unique domain name for additional fees.

Features

Shopify has a ton of features, add-ons and apps. In particular, there are about 3795+ apps, with which you can add different functionalities to your web store.

Etsy has fewer features than Shopify, but those features should be enough to run a simple marketplace-based shop.

Online Traffic

After creating your store on Shopify, you set out to drive your own traffic. Shopify does not provide you with any direct traffic but gives you the tools to create and promote your business.

This means you are responsible for driving traffic to your website through marketing, SEO, social media, and advertising campaigns.

Etsy is a super-popular marketplace with millions of buyers, which means as an Etsy seller, you get ready-made traffic although you’ll be sharing that with other vendors.

This is great for exposure and means you won’t have to put in the sweat in getting buyers to come to your shop.

Security

Shopify’s 256-bit SSL certification — a high-standard encryption technology for securing data and files — offers maximum protection. Also, with Shopify being a level-1 PCI compliant company, your customers’ credit card data are well secured.

Just as Shopify, all credit card information processed on Etsy is encrypted using secure socket layer technology (SSL) and stored in a PCI compliant environment.

Support

Shopify’s support comes in the form of 24/7 phone assistance, live chat, social media, and email. Plus, the Shopify Help Center is packed with a large number of videos and written tutorials.

Not to mention the truckloads of helpful Shopify-related information scattered across the Internet. Shopify Plus customers also get a specialist account manager.

While Etsy does not have a live chat feature, it offers great support via email and phone. There’s also a well-developed help center, a community forum, and a ton of content by third-parties all over the web.

Shipping

Shopify offers shipping rates from USPS, UPS, or DHL Express. Users can print shipping labels and track shipments from the admin panel.

Etsy has tools like postage labels, calculated postage, and shipment tracking. Etsy Postage Labels allows sellers to ship orders with USPS, FedEx, or Canada Post from the Etsy shop.

Abandoned Cart

In Shopify, abandoned carts order recovery is available with email and web push notifications. But this is available only for the Online Store sales channel and the Buy Button sales channel.

Abandoned checkouts on Shopify POS or third-party sales channels do not receive a checkout recovery email.

On Etsy, offers are sent to people who have left your products in their cart. These shoppers basically get an email offering them a coupon for that product 24 hours after they abandoned it in their cart.

Fees

Shopify has no set up fees. As for transaction fees, there are no fees if the seller uses Shopify Payments.

But if external payment gateways are used, the seller will pay additional fees of 2%, 1% or 0.5% depending on the plan they are on.

Generally, Shopify has lower transaction fees than Etsy and supports 100+ payment gateways.

While new sellers can sign up for an Etsy account for free, they’ll have to pay $0.20 to list a product.

In short, there are three basic Etsy seller fees: a listing fee, a transaction fee (5% of your product price), and a payment processing fee.

A listing ($0.20) lasts for four months or until the item is sold. (Note that Pattern listings do not expire).

Shopify vs Etsy – Conclusion

I hope this breakdown of Shopify vs Etsy will help you make an informed decision on which platform to choose. Both are great but it really comes down to what fits you best.

Let me know your thoughts and if you’ve found this post helpful please leave a comment.

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