If you are thinking about getting into ecommerce and setting up a shop online, then you’ve got a plethora of options to choose from. You can sell in your own store with Shopify or sell on an already popular marketplace like Etsy.
The real problem that newbies often face is whether they should go with Shopify or Etsy. So, we are going to help you out with the whole Shopify Vs Etsy dilemma.
The real difference between both platforms is quite straightforward. Etsy is a large marketplace where you can sell handmade goods, vintage items, and artisanal products.
Shopify, on the other hand, is a hosted ecommerce platform. It allows you to set your own online store and run it on a domain of your choice.
In simpler terms, Etsy is a marketplace where you create a seller account to sell stuff and Shopify is a software that creates an online store for you.
Now, let us focus on the real question. Is either one of the platforms better than the other one? We are going to look at the significant differences so you can decide easily between Shopify and Etsy.
Shopify Vs. Etsy – Top Differences
Do take note that these are all differences between both platforms. We are not going to do pros and cons since both platforms are unique and offer something different, which can be good or bad for you depending on what you are looking for.
Custom Domain Name
The internet has evolved a lot in the past two decades, but the domain name remains at the core. No matter where you sell your products, it has a URL/domain name.
If you are using Shopify, then you get a temporary URL at first like “YourShop.myshopify.com”
However, it’s only a temporary URL, and Shopify allows you to set up and customize your own domain name. You can have anything that you want like “MyShop.com,” etc. You also have to set up your store. There are default settings for it, but you get to customize everything that you want.
With Etsy, you get a specific URL like “etsy.com/shop/YourShop”. You don’t get to have your own domain or URL; it’s just an Etsy store.
So, your customers will see the difference as “This is X’s personal website/store” vs. “This is X’s Etsy shop.”
If you didn’t already know, Etsy is a unique marketplace for handmade items, vintage products, and craft supplies. They also have a channel for wholesale too. However, they do have strict guidelines on what you can sell and what you can’t sell on their platform.
Shopify is entirely different in this regard. It’s a hosted ecommerce platform and it applies no restrictions on what kind of items you can sell, as long as it’s legal.
If you aren’t selling handmade items or vintage products, then Etsy is definitely not a good option for you. You can’t really dropship from AliExpress on Etsy. Even if you are selling handmade items, but whenever you want to expand, you are going to outgrow Etsy. So, make sure you are planning for today and tomorrow.
With Shopify, you get the opportunity to set up your own design of the overall store. Shopify offers an extensive collection of themes that are both free and paid available on the store. You can also customize the designs by modifying HTML/CSS.
On Etsy, you have a universal shop design. You can still choose the colors and layout of the products to some extent, but the real customization still lies within Etsy’s set parameters. So, you never get the full freedom to customize your shop on Etsy.
So, this means you can’t really create a brand image with Etsy. No matter how many sales you get, or how famous you become, you will still be making someone else’s website popular which in this case is Etsy.
With Shopify, you can create a brand image for yourself and solidify your brand’s authority.
Now, this is not a pro and con thing. Some people prefer the ease of use that comes with Etsy while others prefer Shopify’s freedom to customize.
With Shopify, you pay a monthly fee starting at $29 per month. This includes hosting and support. There are different plan tiers depending on what features you require and the volume of your operation. Shopify doesn’t charge you any transaction fees except for the credit card processing fee. Here’s the complete Shopify cost breakdown.
Etsy, on the other hand, offers you an account and an online storefront for free. You only have to pay $0.20 for each item you list for sale and also a 3.5% transaction fee on each sale.
If you are starting out, then the free price tag of Etsy really looks tempting, but once the number of sales increases, the transaction fees start cutting into your profit margins. In the long run, Shopify can provide better value for your money and can also be cheaper than Etsy depending on plans and profit margins.
Marketing and Traffic
If you are using Shopify, then you are responsible for all the marketing of your online store. Shopify does not do any marketing for you. You have to develop a marketing strategy and bring visitors to your store. Shopify does provide a wide range of apps and features that make it easier for you to market your online store, but you will have to do all the work yourself.
With Etsy, the company advertises and brings in visitors to their platform at large. The visitors are not specifically directed towards your shop, but if they are interested in what you are selling, then they will bu your products. Apart from that, you can also bring in visitors yourself by promoting your Etsy shop all over the web including social media platforms.
Etsy has an advantage over Shopify in terms that all the visitors are already pre-sold. They trust the platform, and they will buy your stuff as long as you are selling what they want. However, when it comes to the Shopify store, people may not trust your store until you have created some authority in the ecommerce world.
Restrictions and Rules
When it comes to rules and restrictions, Shopify doesn’t have any restrictions on what you can sell. You can sell anything that you want as long as it’s legal and adheres to Shopify’s terms of service. You can sell your manufactured goods or dropship from other manufacturers. Basically, you can run your business as you see fit.
If you are using Etsy, you are bound by their marketplace rules and terms which currently only allow handmade, artisanal, craft supplies, and vintage goods. If you want to sell other manufactured products or dropship goods, then you are pretty much out of luck.
Shopify offers a complete inventory management system that automatically syncs with your buyers and orders. They also provide a robust payment processing service and POS service which lets you sync your offline orders and sales with your Shopify inventory as well.
Etsy as a marketplace lets you list products for sale on the platform but does not provide you with inventory management service. This means you have to maintain the inventory elsewhere or use third-party tools for the purpose.
Which platform provides more exposure? Shopify or Etsy?
If you are not already popular then chances are people don’t really know you or your brand at all. This leads to trust issues among buyers. Now, if you have an individual Shopify store then people will be highly cautious about buying from an unknown store at first. So, you will have to work really hard to make them feel comfortable about buying from you.
With Etsy, the platform is already trusted and they vet their sellers which means people don’t really have any doubts regarding the platform. You can easily close a sale on Etsy since users are already in buying mode and will click “Buy” as soon as they see something they want.
Is it easier to sell on Shopify or Etsy?
Even though you lack the freedom to customize your Etsy shop, but it’s still easier to get up and running on the platform. You don’t have to worry about designing, installing themes/apps, setting up your store, etc. All you require is pictures of your products and catchy descriptions to get started.
Shopify isn’t that hard either to get started with. It’s still harder than Etsy in comparison, but overall it’s still quite newbie friendly when it comes to launching an online store.
Which is better? Shopify or Etsy?
This is a decision we can not make for you. Overall, we’ve tried to list the differences without any judgment. There are goods and bads to both platforms, but ultimately both these platforms cater to a different type of seller.
The decision is all yours. With all the information that we have provided it’s up to you to decide which platform is better for you and your business.
So, go ahead and choose your preferred platform. Don’t forget to let us know which one you chose. Feel free to comment below if you have any questions or feedback regarding either platform.