Shopify vs Etsy: Which is Best for online product sales? If you are willing to take the first step and open your online store, you need to know the most robust e-commerce platforms that exist today, including Shopify and Etsy. This comparison will bring you closer to their key points. And help you understand their strengths and weaknesses.
So, while Shopify has long been one of the most popular CMS on the web for many years. Etsy has been carving a path of its own for independent sellers, artisans, and small businesses with a creative bent.
Both e-commerce platforms fulfill their purpose perfectly: online sales and everything related to it. While it is true that Shopify works as a “whole” within e-commerce, whether, for entrepreneurs, SMEs, or large companies, Etsy focuses on independent and more personal sales.
Shopify vs Etsy: Which is Best for online product sales?
Therefore, the main difference lies in the target audience it is aimed at, but not only that. Shopify hosts a customer’s entire shopping experience within an online store, while Etsy is best defined as a proper marketplace, where hundreds of artisans and sellers make a living from their creations.
Without further delay, we are going to tell you what we have seen.
Introduction to Shopify
Shopify is a CMS ( content management system, for its acronym in English) that came to light in 2004. It is a robust system that is growing year after year, offering its users the possibility of establishing an online store, developing their brand, and increasing their sales, all without the need for code or design knowledge.
The cost of Shopify is mainly summarized in the use that we want to give to the additional functionalities or add-ons. The market for these accessories is really extensive and provides the store with small value additions to it. We will talk about this a bit later.
Unlike other e-commerce platforms, Shopify does not require the installation of any type of software, manual server management, or keeping an eye on updates, as is the case with other self-hosted services, which is precisely its definition.
The biggest difference with Etsy is that Shopify can work perfectly for large companies, and Etsy does not reach the level of functionality that a service like Shopify Plus (its enterprise version) can offer.
Introduction to Etsy
Etsy is an online marketplace where different sellers sell their products online. We could call it a showcase for retailers, small businesses, entrepreneurs, or creatives who want to launch their products and their creations to the world.
As soon as we enter its website, we notice that its interface reminds us of other online markets that are so famous in our times, such as AliExpress or Wish, maybe even eBay (what it was and what it was). The products have an artistic character and it is a very competitive market.
It is a good platform for those who are thinking of launching their product to the market for the first time, or even those who already have a small established brand but are looking for a place to showcase unique products.
Although Etsy itself is an online marketplace, it also has a plugin for those who already sell through the web, which allows the establishment of their website. It’s called Pattern. Of course, it has a cost, but the advantage is that it will allow the seller to configure their point of sale.
Pros and Cons of Shopify and Etsy
We’ve outlined the key takeaways for each platform below, with the promise that you’ll keep reading as there’s much more to delve into and this is just the first look. You might find something that matches your perception of Shopify or Etsy. Go for it.
The pros of Shopify
- High scalability – Shopify is designed for the smallest store and the largest store. Their servers are prepared to deal with all kinds of traffic situations at key times of the year, and also as your business grows.
- No technical knowledge required: To use Shopify, you don’t need to know web programming or design. Just create an account and the process is really easy to follow.
- Powerful e-commerce tools: Its functionalities are among the most robust and varied that we have seen in a CMS. Shopify Plus takes them even to another level.
- an Unlimited number of products: Whether you sell one product or sell 5,000, Shopify is ready for it.
- No additional hosting costs: Shopify works with the hosting included in the plans.
- Simple to use: The learning curve is not high. Its menus are highly interactive and its functions are easy to identify and understand.
The cons of Shopify
- High cost with some plugins: Some plugins are a significant monthly outlay, especially for those who have a very limited budget and are just starting.
- Somewhat limited customization: Although its themes and customization are varied, its code is not open. For this reason, it is difficult to customize some specific details of the store.
- Inaccessible B2B: Business-to-business selling becomes more apparent with Shopify Plus, but it’s less accessible for tighter plans.
The pros of Etsy
- Exposure – The great thing about Etsy is that it has a large number of active customers in its marketplace, and some small businesses find it easier to access than starting from scratch.
- Quick and easy setup: Creating an account with Etsy and listing your product is done in no time.
- Easy to use: Its simplicity is everything. It requires much less knowledge than other platforms.
- Low cost: Its price is low compared to other platforms and it works very well to try your luck for the first time (fees are charged for listing the product and at the time of the transaction).
The Cons of Etsy
- Static: By not being able to modify the appearance of the shop window, your brand does not have all the potential to develop and differentiate itself from the rest.
- Transaction fees: Although transaction costs may not be too noticeable at first, they are a strong drawback when the business grows.
- Product Limitation: As a marketplace with rules for selling products related to crafts, design, one-of-a-kind, etc., some products simply cannot be sold on Etsy.
We will develop these points in the following sections and we will see their characteristics compared in more detail.
Shopify vs Etsy: Getting started and ease of use
Both Shopify and Etsy are very easy to use. Let’s go with the first.
Shopify doesn’t require any software installation, being a fully cloud-hosted (SaaS) e-commerce platform. This is the first facility that it presents. The establishment of the store is the second. As soon as you create the account and specify the nature of your business, you will be ready to start selling.
You will need to make your adjustments, and this will take a while, but the menus are very intuitive and provide both the merchant and the buyer with everything they need for an easy-to-understand trading process.
The truth is that its interface is clean and elegant, and allows you to locate where everything is at a glance. In turn, the main panel contains a summary of how your store is doing. You will also be able to obtain information on KPIs (performance indicators) and generate professional reports.
Etsy is simpler than Shopify, so it’s a bit easier to use. As it is an online market, rather than an independent platform, everything is “preconfigured” so that you only have to add your products and the most basic configuration of your store. It’s almost as simple as uploading a photo to a social network.
Your control panel contains a large amount of information about your sales, such as traffic, the performance of your products, your customers, visits, and much more. In this sense, we cannot complain.
The fundamental difference here is that Etsy is faster because it has fewer features to offer, or the ones it does have are impossible to modify. Again, the advantage may be a quicker start with a larger customer base but severe constraints on future expansion.
Shopify vs Etsy: The design of your online store
Few things are more critical than the showcase of your products, right? The customer can make the ultimate decision based on very visual factors in the catalog such as the chosen theme or mobile responsiveness (no one likes having to click a tiny button on mobile). Let’s see how the two platforms work in terms of store design and customization.
Shopify offers a very high repertoire of themes to install in the store, some are paid and others are free. As you can imagine, the real potential is in those that are paid (we will talk about the costs later).
Once you enter the catalog of themes, you will see that they are divided by trending ones and also according to the use you want to give to the store. For example, there are specialized themes for cosmetic products, restaurants, or the industry. There are more than 60 themes, they are designed by experts and their mobile adaptability is complete.
Some of the themes include zoom features. If you have products that need to be seen to the millimeter, these are a very viable option. Do you want to edit the themes? No problem, you can modify and rearrange them to your liking (up to a certain limit). In short, you will be able to differentiate yourself from your competition professionally and elegantly.
Comparing Shopify’s customization options to Etsy doesn’t do the latter justice, as we’re talking about completely different platforms. Be that as it may, we can say that Etsy allows you to upload your logo to your shop. In the rest, it is very limited, since the design is not your decision. This is an important point in the comparison.
Shopify vs Etsy: The purchase process and commissions
How will your clients pay and how much commission will each service charge you?
First of all, it must be said that purchases on Shopify are protected by an SSL certificate for free. This means that all transactions are protected to the same level as bank transactions. Second, Shopify Payments is the default payment gateway, with which you do not pay transaction fees. Your sales commissions will depend on the contracted plan:
- Shopify Lite and Shopify Basic: 2.4% + €0.25 per sale
- Shopify (medium plan): 2.1% + €0.25 cents per sale
- Advanced Shopify: 1.8% + €0.25 cents per sale.
The payment methods accepted by Shopify are Visa, Mastercard, Discover, Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, and Bitcoin among others. In the add-on store, you will find integrations for additional payment methods.
The payment screen is available in more than 50 languages and taxes are calculated automatically depending on the destination location. If you want to set shipping costs, you can do it for a fixed price, depending on the weight, and even set them free (if you’re feeling generous today).
On the other hand, Etsy has already said that it charges a fee for the product listing, which is $0.20 for each one. With this payment alone, your product will be available and on sale for months, until the maximum time is reached or stocks run out.
Etsy’s true spend comes with a 5% transaction fee, adding 4% + €0.30 for each item sold. It is not an abysmal amount in the beginning. But it will cost a lot if the business grows. However, since you don’t pay to sign up for a monthly plan, these costs may be lower on average than if you sign up for a basic plan with Shopify for the first few weeks and months.
The payment methods accepted by Etsy are what we expect from such a relevant market: debit cards, credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Ideal, Sofort, etc.
Shopify Pricing Table
In this table, we have summarized the main costs that Shopify has. Remember that Shopify Plus is intended for large companies and its cost depends on the volume of business.
The plan that is comparatively closest to Etsy is Basic Shopify. As you can see, from the first moment the commissions are lower. But you also have to pay the subscription fee. The biggest inconvenience comes when your sales grow on Etsy and commissions become more expensive than a Shopify plan (including purchasing themes and add-ons ).
Shopify vs Etsy: Marketing and tools for e-commerce
Shopify has a wide range of tools for marketing and attracting customers. Being one of the points where it is best known. This is just the basics, the aforementioned plugins in their store will provide you with additional features if that is what you are looking for.
Among the functions of Shopify, it is worth highlighting the use of discount codes to use in the store, the use of gift cards, the possibility of establishing physical points of sale with Shopify POS, integration with third-party shipments, abandoned cart recovery, built-in blog management, SEO setup, inventory setup (which can be automated on higher plans), and multi-channel selling tools.
Multi-channel sales today are of great importance. As the name suggests, it consists of selling the same product or service on different channels at the same time, including stores like Amazon. But also the possibility of selling directly on social networks, platforms where the potential customer base is a great advantage.
When we start selling on Etsy, we have a fairly easy-to-use set of marketing and advertising tools. It works great when sharing your products on social networks. Its dynamic character makes it suitable for more personal sales, where platforms such as Instagram and Facebook can play an important role. You can also use discount coupons and mailing labels to save shipping costs.
The lack of store customization is still a marketing pain point. As it doesn’t allow you to play as much with promotions and branding. But instead allows you to have an Etsy customer base. And you will be able to find your items. search from day one.
These tools can be extended with the use of Etsy Plus and Etsy Pattern. The first is an expanded version of the store and the second is an eCommerce solution that wants to get closer to CMS like Shopify. They deserve a brief mention in the following sections.
Etsy Plus is a subscription plan within your Etsy shop. It focuses on growing your customer base and includes credits to create listings with Etsy Ads, discounts for custom domains, stock requests, and some more advanced store customization.
Every month, you will get 15 ad credits. Each credit has a value of 5 dollars to be used in an advertising campaign within the market. They are not cumulative and must be used every month before they expire.
As for advanced customization (we are more interested in this because the basic version is certainly limited for this). It offers the possibility of customizing banners with different photographs distributed in the way you want. The creation of a featured area, and advanced management of the images.
Its price is $10 per month.
Etsy Pattern may be of more interest for a comparison of a CMS like Shopify. A pattern is a tool for creating a unique website where you can establish your brand by selling your products and services. It has a 30-day free trial.
More than a standalone e-commerce platform, Pattern is an extension of your Etsy shop. When you create a website, any listings you already have within Etsy will be automatically synced. You will be able to choose different templates. Also, you will be able to give a unique touch to your online store. And you will not need advanced technical knowledge.
It is not necessary to use both services for store management. Once you have a site on Pattern, you’ll be able to set up your business in one place with your store manager.
Among Pattern’s features, we highlight the included SSL certificate, unlimited ads, domain purchase, email marketing with MailChimp, SEO settings, and the ability to sell other items that you couldn’t on the standard Etsy version (items not considered vintage or handmade). hand).
Its cost is $15 per month.
Shopify VS Etsy: Conclusion
The gold medal goes to Shopify. This is not to say that Etsy is a weak or inefficient e-commerce platform, quite the contrary. It works very well for those first users who want to try their luck in the world of e-commerce, selling their handmade products and taking the first steps with their brand. By not requiring a significant outlay of money, it serves this purpose very well.
The only initial downside to starting a business on a budget on Shopify is that it might take a bit longer to find as large a customer base as Etsy has to begin with. However, when your business grows (every seller’s goal), you will find serious limitations in marketing and brand differentiation with Esty, even hiring Etsy Plus or Etsy Pattern.
If your business grows on Etsy, the total amount of commissions is going to be a pretty high expense (remember that 5%). Although at first, it seems that the expense is higher in Shopify. It also gives you peace of mind when you scale the business. The commissions are going to be somewhat lower and you will not have a cap. Even if you are a large company. In the end, if you sell a significant amount of products, your average spend and commissions are going to be higher with Etsy.
Without a doubt, Shopify’s e-commerce features and customization of your store are on another level. It is more advanced and allows you to develop your business more efficiently. I hope, now you are clear about “Shopify vs Etsy: Which is Best for online product sales?”