Shopify vs Etsy: Which Is Better in 2021?
The discussion between Shopify vs Etsy has been raging for many years. You may have heard that Etsy is a popular place for selling many handmade and craft design products and that Shopify can help merchants build online stores easily.
You sell incredible products and want to bring them online, but don't know whether to invest in Etsy or Shopify. Or, you already are an active seller on Etsy and are considering expanding your business with Shopify. Then, perhaps this article can help solve your problem.
By taking a closer look at these two eCommerce solutions, you can make a more informed decision about your online business in the future.
- Shopify vs Etsy: A General Look
- What Key Problems do Shopify and Etsy Solve?
- Is Shopify Better Than Etsy
- Shopify vs Etsy Features
- Comparing the Price
- Can You Use Shopify with Etsy
- Migrating from Etsy to Shopify
I. Shopify vs Etsy: A General Look
So, what exactly are Shopify and Etsy?
Shopify is a third-party platform that helps merchants build an online storefront. Sellers can easily create their stores with templates, themes, other tools, and apps to customize the online presence without having any knowledge of coding or finding hosting providers.
If you need to run the store with multiple software, Shopify provides many integrations to help expand the functionality and grow your business. There are also tons of great tools to look for in Shopify with branding and marketing solutions.
Learn more about Shopify through our comprehensive review.
Etsy, on the other hand, is a marketplace (like Amazon or eBay). You will be one of millions of online vendors that are selling on Etsy’s ‘storefront’ itself. Through a couple of easy steps, you can quickly open a store on Etsy and start your eCommerce business.
Mainly, customers will find a lot of handmade, vintage, and craft items on Etsy. Most of the stores sell very unique, one-of-a-kind products from talented and creative artists, designers, or craftsmen, which makes Etsy more of a place for a handcrafted niche market.
Etsy has also developed a platform called Pattern, which helps create an online store, in conjunction with your Etsy store, for a fee of $15 per month.
There is an interesting result when it comes to doing keyword research on Google Trends with Etsy and Shopify.
In the past 12 months, the number of ‘Etsy’ searches has been nearly 3 times higher than the number of ‘Shopify’ searches. Is there a reason for that enormous disparity? Well, since Etsy is a marketplace, buyers will look for it to find the products they need (like people often do with Amazon).
In the case of Shopify, the main type of merchants are those who search for web-building software to buy on its site. If shoppers want to purchase a product from Shopify vendors, they will search for the product or business name instead of ‘Shopify’.
To see the picture clearer, we need to look at the key difference between these two platforms.
II. Which Key Problems Do Shopify and Etsy Solve?
We’ll look at the factors of a seller's business objectives first.
- Shopify is a solution for merchants who want to manage a stand-alone online store and upscale it in the long run. What they want is to hold full control over their business and create a brand name that people can remember. Shopify helps facilitate that journey with technology-enhanced eCommerce.
- Etsy, on the other hand, is a suitable place for sellers who want to quickly have a store to sell their items. They need a great available source of traffic, prefer not to manage a whole website, and spend a significant amount of money on advertising and marketing campaigns.
What about the product types that are sold on both platforms?
With Shopify, you can sell anything. At the end of the day, it's your choice whether to bring your products online, right? Shopify is simply one of the best tools for moving your business into the digital world. So, even if you own a restaurant, considering running a Shopify website to promote it may be a good idea to reach more customers.
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Etsy operates very differently. As mentioned before, the marketplace focuses more on the handmade and craft industry. Right after landing on the main site, you can see the menu bar, which shows types of products across many categories related to art, crafts, and many other personalized and unique merchandise.
This is why comparing Shopify and Etsy is not easy; your choice really depends on your product type and business goals.
But, if you are selling on Etsy and plan to grow your business further with Shopify, you should pay attention to the pros and cons of the two eCommerce solutions.
III. Is Shopify Better Than Etsy?
There is no definitive answer to this question. Shopify is a web builder, while Etsy is a marketplace. You need to look at your business objectives, what product you want to sell, and consider finance and human resources before choosing the right platform to run.
You can choose both, or none of them. But first, let's take a closer look at Shopify vs Etsy's pros and cons.
- Customization: You build a store from scratch with Shopify. They give merchants toolkits, themes, templates, and apps so that you can make the store however you want to. Everything is at hand; what you have to do is sketch a detailed business plan and create a website that brings that plan to fruition.
- Easier for branding: Why? Because you focus on building your brand with a stand-alone store. It is easier to ingrain your brand image in people's minds if you have a separate storefront instead of just selling products in a huge market.
- Support Apps: If you need to optimize the homepage, product page, or any other page on your store, you can install page builder apps. If you need solutions for email marketing, pop-ups, or gift cards, you can get one in the Shopify App Store. It is hard to set up an online presence, but Shopify and its third-party apps have got your back.
- Business upscale capability: There is no limit when you expand your business with Shopify. Vendors can have as many products as they want. Shopify can integrate with Amazon and Facebook, so you can easily sell on multiple channels. Also, you can combine managing both physical and online stores using Shopify POS.
- Get traffic by yourself: Since you build a store by yourself, you need to understand your buyer persona and do the outreach on your own. You need strategies and marketing campaigns to get the right people to become aware of you, which can cost quite a lot in advertising and branding.
- You’ll have to learn a lot about technology and eCommerce: It is hard for merchants who don’t have much knowledge about websites and online business. There are a lot of things to learn such as digital marketing (SEO, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc.), eCommerce regulations or laws (pay attention to international laws if you are selling globally), or how to have an attractive web design.
- Extra costs and fees: Since there are a variety of plug-ins that sellers can buy on the Shopify Store, they need to consider which apps are worth running because most of the programs will charge monthly. Make wise decisions if you don’t want to add unnecessary costs to your business.
- Have great available traffic: Etsy is a marketplace, so as a seller on the channel, you can benefit from a great built-in source of audience. Millions of people come to Etsy to find cool products and, potentially, they can reach your shop. This may sound like making sales on Etsy is easy, but there are many other factors related to its search algorithm to which you need to pay attention, such as how much engagement you have on your listings or your click-through rate.
- Easy to set up: It is simple to open your shop on Etsy. They even give you a step-by-step guide to create your store and what to do with orders, shipping, listings, payments, etc. All you have to prepare is the products for your listings.
- Simple store design: This is a perk of selling on Etsy for those who don't want to spend time and money on web design and display optimization. Every store on Etsy follows its clean and clear layout and pattern. However, this synchronization in every shop look can make it harder to stand out from the crowd.
- Competitive marketplace: On Etsy, your customers are also other shop owners’ customers; the traffic you get could be from competitors and vice versa. Simply think of it as if you are running a fruit stall in a local market with many other food and vegetable stalls. People come and go to the market every day; you just have to be competitive and proactive in getting them to buy your fruit over your competitors.
- Harder for branding: As we mentioned before, following the Etsy store design will make it hard to be outstanding. There are so many shops on the platform selling the same type of products. People can buy a cool bracelet from your store, for example, but when someone asks where they bought it, the answer is often: “Etsy!". Do they actually remember your store’s name? There is a big chance that’s a no.
- Low capability to scale up: You have a lack of control on Etsy and must follow their regulations, making it hard to scale your business. What you need to do for a successful business is to build a community, nurture the right audience, and engage and create strong relationships with loyal customers. So, perhaps having a separate website where you have full control to do these things is the right choice.
Shopify and Etsy Pattern
Basically, these two platforms are the same. They are both web builders.
The cool thing about Etsy Pattern is that you can sync Etsy listings to your online store (with the condition that you have an Etsy shop) and manage both stores in the Shop Manager feature. Also, you can sell other items out of Etsy's permission list. Yet, remember that once you build a store with Pattern, you have to get traffic by yourself, just like using Shopify.
Pattern is easier to use than Shopify since there is a limit on configuration settings made by Etsy. However, Shopify can provide many incredible and advanced tools to support your store construction that Pattern doesn’t offer.
IV. Shopify vs Etsy Features
4.1. Domain and URLs
With Shopify, you can get a domain with yourstorename.myshopify.com or buy a custom domain like yourstorename.com. This way can help a lot with branding because when people search for your store or directly type the URL in the address bar, they will remember your brand easily.
For Etsy, your domain must include ‘etsy’ with a store name, which is not very useful for building brand awareness.
4.2. Store Design and Customization
Shopify does give sellers more freedom when it comes to creating their stores. There are tons of themes out there both in the marketplace and in the Shopify Theme Store.
For product listings with Shopify, merchants can customize anything to match their store's ‘personality’ and improve user experience.
In contrast, you will have less control over your listings in Etsy as there are a standard layout and design assigned to all shops in the market.
4.3. Ecommerce tools
In this case, Shopify comes out on top.
Vendors can make use of Shopify’s store management features, such as processing order fulfillment with one click, saving customers' orders and data, integrating with Amazon, Facebook, and many other social media, providing access to detailed analytics, and much more.
Another great thing is the third-party Shopify Apps, which feature multiple eCommerce solutions that can help with marketing activities to achieve your business goals.
Regarding Etsy, sellers can use the Etsy app to sell on mobile. Etsy has marketing and advertising tools to get more followers. You can get immediate tracking updates and shares on social channels like Twitter or Instagram to get found by more visitors and buyers.
They also have an Etsy Plus plan where merchants can get advanced customization, access to discounts and perks, and have a custom domain through Hover.
V. Is it cheaper to sell on Etsy or Shopify?
Etsy is a cheaper choice - however, if you aim to scale up and get $2000 sales or over per month, Shopify is the preferable choice in the long run.
Let's delve into the costs of both Shopify and Etsy to get a deeper understanding of these two platforms.
Shopify has a 14-day free trial and 3 main plans:
- Basic Shopify: $29 per month with 2.9% + 30¢ USD online credit card rate & 2% additional fees using payment providers other than Shopify Payment.
- Shopify: $79 per month with 2.6% + 30¢ USD online credit card rate & 1% additional fees using payment providers other than Shopify Payment.
- Advanced Shopify: $299 per month with 2.4% + 30¢ USD online credit card rate & 0.5% additional fees using payment providers other than Shopify Payment.
For more personalized detail about your projected Shopify cost, you can use our interactive Shopify pricing calculator.
Learn more: Shopify Cost and Pricing Guide for Beginners.
With Etsy, their pricing plan looks quite simple:
- Listing fee: $0.20 per item to be listed for 4 months.
- Transaction fee: 5% of each transaction.
- Payment Processing: 3% + $0.25 for each purchase.
Now, I'm sure you've been sitting back and calculating a little bit.
Which one is better in the long run? The answer is Shopify.
If you use Shopify Payment, you pay no transaction fee.
While if you sell more and more on Etsy, those little transaction fees can add up to a considerable cost. For example, if you sell a total of $1580 in goods per month, you have to pay a $79 transaction fee alone, not to mention the $0.20 per listed product and payment processing fee for each purchase.
Hence, if you aim to get $2000 sales or over per month, Shopify is the preferable choice.
VI. Can You Use Shopify With Etsy?
Yes, you can. There are many examples of merchants who combine opening their shop in Etsy and managing their own store on Shopify.
Here’s what we’re talking about.
VII. Migrating from Etsy to Shopify
Can you migrate from Etsy to Shopify?
Yes, you can.
Shopify fully and freely supports migrating your shop from Etsy. You can securely import your product, customer, and order data from Etsy to your Shopify store.
If you built a Shopify store and want to integrate into the Etsy market, Shopify provides an app to make that happen as well. You can track your order and sync product details and information in real-time.
Alternatively, you can hire professional experts from Litextension Shopify partner to migrate your storefront from Etsy to Shopify.
It is a never-ending question in the case of Shopify vs Etsy. Both of them have pros and cons, yet it depends on the merchant's target market, their products, and long-term business goals to make the choice that’s right for them.
Sometimes, investing in both platforms can be the optimal solution, which could drive your business into new realms that you didn’t know were possible before. You can easily start a small shop on Etsy first, then expand it with Shopify, or the other way around.
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