Shopify vs Etsy: which one is better for your online store?
In the previous articles, we explained how to step by step create Etsy and Shopify accounts, but how can you know which one is better for your business if you have never dealt with these platforms? In this article, we will compare Shopify and Etsy so that you can answer this question.
How is Shopify different from Etsy?
Simply put, Etsy is an online marketplace (intended for creative, handmade goods, vintage products (for example, tote bags), one-of-a-kind items, etc.) similar to eBay or Amazon, where you can sell your products alongside other sellers, but Shopify, on the other hand, is a platform that allows you to create your ecommerce store with its own domain name. This signifies that Shopify allows more freedom and personalization options, but Etsy provides great traffic, and you can easily test your product demand there.
What can you expect from Shopify?
Anyone, no matter the experience, can create a fully functional and visually pleasing personal website with Shopify. That’s why Shopify is a top-choice ecommerce platform for business owners worldwide.
Advantages of Shopify
Shopify has plenty of neat tools and apps which contribute to delivering a pleasant customer shopping experience. There are a lot of great templates for your store to choose from, and it’s possible to customize your store however you want.
You can track orders, access performance analytics and integrate with dropshipping apps - Shopify allows it all and more!
Unlike with Etsy, you don’t have to pay for each product listing. Add as much products to your store as you want.
Cons of Shopify
However, you will have several payments you will have to take care of - for the monthly plan, a theme (some themes are free, though), a domain, and other optional things, for example, apps, plugins, etc.
Another thing you have to be ready for is that Shopify will charge a transaction fee for each sale you make from your website.
What can you expect from Etsy?
Etsy features multiple seller items on its page, for example, handcrafted items, vintage things, one-of-a-kind products, etc. All of them are conveniently displayed for customers to browse and explore. Etsy is approved by many shoppers thanks to its practicality and simplicity.
Advantages of Etsy
Etsy has a good traffic flow so there is a high chance that your store will be noticed by potential customers.
Etsy is easy to use - you can create an online store in a matter of minutes. If you want to learn how to do that, check out our “How to start an Etsy shop - 2022 guide” blog.
Etsy provides marketing tools so that you can boost your listings.
There are no monthly payments.
Cons of Etsy
Since there are so many sellers in one place, the Etsy market can get quite competitive - your products have to stand out among the others, or you have to come up with a successful marketing strategy.
Limited customizability options. To make your store stand out, you will have to rely on your product's uniqueness because store looks can be customized only partly.
You have to pay for each product listing as well as transaction fees and payment processing fees.
Which one is better for your business?
- Customization options are definitely better for Shopify. You can create your logo, choose a theme for your website from more than 100 themes, and create your website exactly how you want it to be. But Etsy does not have such an option since it's an online marketplace. And if you want customers to see your logo, you have to upload it; there are no options to create one like in Shopify.
- The listing amount is not limited to Shopify; you can upload as many of those as you want. And don’t stop with photos! You can also add videos and 3D videos! Etsy allows only to upload basic images and videos and for each listing, you will have to pay 20 cents. So let’s say that Shopify wins here.
- Expenses are almost equal for both if you plan to sell large quantities of products. But if you have a small business, Etsy might be a better choice.
- Traffic in Etsy is pretty good since Etsy already has a customer base, but if you choose Shopify, you have to already have customers that are aware of your business or you have to invest in a marketing plan.
- Difficulty. Etsy definitely wins here - it is really simple to create an account and open an online store with Etsy because of the step-by-step instructions. And if someone is still confused, Etsy has a blog for beginners and experienced sellers with different useful tips. Shopify is not hard to manage, but it will take time to create the perfect website you desire.
- Long-term-benefit. If you need to choose one of the two for long-term selling, Shopify would be the better option. Firstly, because with time and more sales the Etsy fees would reach the same amount of expenses that you would have with Shopify, and secondly because Shopify has many tools and features that will help your business with marketing and looks. Overall, if you plan to create a serious business, a neat, good-looking website is definitely a must-have. You can start with Etsy to see how the sales go and later on move your stuff to Shopify.
Is Etsy cheaper than Shopify?
Etsy is generally cheaper than Shopify since there are no monthly costs and most of the features for creating a store are free. But in the long term, when your business grows and you get more orders, managing an Etsy store might cost you the same amount of money that Shopify does monthly.
So in order to know for sure which of the two is cheaper for you, you have to be certain about your business purpose and future goals.
How to figure out which one to choose for your business - Etsy or Shopify?
Situations when to choose Etsy.
1. Your business is brand-new
Etsy can be your first step towards growing your business big. Etsy has a wonderful traffic flow and there is a high chance that your desired target audience will stumble upon your online store. Great news if your store hasn’t gained much recognition and awareness yet! Note which products have higher demand on Etsy and adjust your product assortment to grow your business.
2. You appreciate simplicity and practicality
Etsy is really simple and easy to manage. Even if you haven’t got the slightest experience in creating or managing an online store, you will be able to grasp how Etsy works in no time. Also, the marketplace will guide you by offering helpful tips.
3. You don’t want to risk your budget
Perhaps owning an online store is just a crazy idea of yours that you would like to try out - Etsy can help you learn if this is the thing for you without too many expenses. If you come to the conclusion that owning an online store is not your thing, you can eliminate it at any time without much loss!
Situations when to choose Shopify.
1. You have a decent customer base and are in need of your own website
Many small business owners start their ecommerce journey by selling products through social media platforms, but once more orders start coming in and your brand starts growing, a decent online store can make your life much easier and your customer shopping experience more pleasant.
This case also applies to brick-and-mortar shops - with your own online store you will be able to reach your customers no matter where they are!
2. You want to build your customer base
Shopify, unlike Etsy, allows interaction with your customers in the form of marketing emails (consensual). Newsletters, store updates, coupons, and other things you can offer your customers through email are of great importance if you wish to build your customer base (by the way, newsletters are one of the most effective marketing tools).
3. Your business relies on online sales
If you already have an online business going on, Shopify is meant for you! You will be able to create a neat-looking online store, track your inventory with ease, integrate useful apps, and more. Shopify store insight option as well as marketing tools will definitely come in handy.
Should I do both Etsy and Shopify stores?
It is better to focus on one thing, either Etsy or Shopify, but if you are only starting out in the ecommerce field, you can try both! First, try out Etsy, and if the sales go well and you wish to expand your business and build your own brand, move on to Shopify!
Etsy is perfect if you are new to ecommerce - it’s safe to experiment with since it allows to create a store for free and is very easy to manage no matter how experienced you are in this field. Etsy will help you build a customer base and gain more recognition.
Shopify is the next step in ecommerce - perfect if you already have a customer base. The various tools and features offered by Shopify will help your ecommerce business grow.