Shopify vs Etsy: Choose the Best eCommerce Platform for Your Business

Shopify vs Etsy: Choose the Best eCommerce Platform for Your Business

Congratulations on entering the world of eCommerce. With people spending more money online than ever, this trend shouldn’t lose momentum anytime soon. Global eCommerce sales are forecasted to explode, reaching a staggering $8.1 billion by 2026. 

Choosing the right platform is one of the most crucial steps when starting in eCommerce. With numerous options available, finding the perfect fit for your online store can be a bit tricky.

This article will cover two widely popular choices and compare Shopify vs Etsy. Both platforms are great for starting out, so let’s dive in and see which choice will be the best for you.

Shopify vs Etsy: Overview

Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms, with over four million active websites in 2023. This includes some of the world’s biggest brands like Allbirds, Gymshark, Rebecca Minkoff, Asphalte, and Hiut Denim Co.

Quick Tip

Check out our Shopify store examples to get a better feel of the sales channel.

Shopify offers powerful eCommerce tools and apps to help you grow, along with scalable plans and no limits on what you can sell. You can create your own eCommerce website, upload products, collect sales payments, and track the delivery of customer orders.

There are automations for many tasks, making marketing and store maintenance easier, even for beginners.  

Besides over 172 mobile-responsive themes (160 paid, 12 free), there are over 8,000 apps in the Shopify app store to help you run your online store and make more sales.

Note: If you’re interested in other options for website builders, read the comparison of Wix vs. Shopify.

Etsy is one of the most popular marketplaces for creating a store, with over 92 million active buyers in 2023. Initially a place for individuals or small business owners willing to sell handmade goods, vintage products, or craft supplies, the creative marketplace has grown to a place where you can start selling almost anything, from digital products to apparel.  

Online marketplaces are fantastic platforms to start your shop, as they let customers search for products listed by multiple sellers in a single place.

Etsy offers a very low start-up cost with no monthly fees with subscriptions. Listing items is affordable ($0.20), and Etsy then collects sales percentages based on the price and a series of fees.

Quick Tip

Learn in depth how to sell on Etsy in our detailed guide.

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Which Is Better for You? Shopify vs Etsy 2024

Both sales channels are great choices for new sellers. 

To help you understand which is better for you, we’ve broken down the fundamental features of both Shopify and Etsy. From store setup, pricing, and transaction fees to SEO features, marketing and advertising tools, scalability, and analytics.

Etsy vs Shopify Etsy Shopify
Product Focus Handcrafted goods, vintage items, and craft supplies. Anything within the limits of the law.
Ease of Store Setup Simple and straightforward. Lengthy but guided process.
Design and Layout Options Consistent store design with few customization options. Range of customization options, including over 12 free and 160 paid themes.
eCommerce Tools Basic tool set and about 20 integrations, depending on the country. Very limited point of sale (POS) with a Square integration. Over 8,000 available apps. Built-in Shopify POS requires an upgrade to higher-tier plans to be effective.
SEO Specific Etsy SEO requirements. Basic built-in SEO tools plus apps to optimize content.
Pricing No monthly subscription fees. $0.20 for listing an item. Up to 20-25% in transaction fees. Higher flat-rate monthly subscription fee but lower or non-existent transaction fees when using Shopify Payments.
Analytics Simple analytics tools for tracking essential KPIs. Basic analytics in lower-tier plans, with advanced tools in the higher-cost plans.
Marketing Tools Etsy ads (on-site and off-site), social media marketing integrations, and more than a dozen integrations (including email marketing tools). Over 1,500 specific marketing tools in the app store.
Analytics Help Center, Etsy Seller Handbook, forums, and newsletters. Slow email support, no 24/7. 24/7 customer support, live chat, eCommerce experts, written documentation, and help center.
Analytics Basic eCommerce functions, no limit to the number of Etsy listings. Products must comply with Etsy policies. Standalone website with a Pattern subscription ($15 monthly). Over 8,000 apps to scale; custom enterprise-level plans.
Product Focus
Etsy Handcrafted goods, vintage items, and craft supplies.
Shopify Anything within the limits of the law.
Ease of Store Setup
Etsy Simple and straightforward.
Shopify Lengthy but guided process.
Design and Layout Options
Etsy Consistent store design with few customization options.
Shopify Range of customization options, including over 12 free and 160 paid themes.
eCommerce Tools
Etsy Basic tool set and about 20 integrations, depending on the country. Very limited point of sale (POS) with a Square integration.
Shopify Over 8,000 available apps. Built-in Shopify POS requires an upgrade to higher-tier plans to be effective.
SEO
Etsy Specific Etsy SEO requirements.
Shopify Basic built-in SEO tools plus apps to optimize content.
Pricing
Etsy No monthly subscription fees. $0.20 for listing an item. Up to 20-25% in transaction fees.
Shopify Higher flat-rate monthly subscription fee but lower or non-existent transaction fees when using Shopify Payments.
Analytics
Etsy Simple analytics tools for tracking essential KPIs.
Shopify Basic analytics in lower-tier plans, with advanced tools in the higher-cost plans.
Marketing Tools
Etsy Etsy ads (on-site and off-site), social media marketing integrations, and more than a dozen integrations (including email marketing tools).
Shopify Over 1,500 specific marketing tools in the app store.
Customer Support
Etsy Help Center, Etsy Seller Handbook, forums, and newsletters. Slow email support, no 24/7.
Shopify 24/7 customer support, live chat, eCommerce experts, written documentation, and help center.
Scalability
Etsy Basic eCommerce functions, no limit to the number of Etsy listings. Products must comply with Etsy policies. Standalone website with a Pattern subscription ($15 monthly).
Shopify Over 8,000 apps to scale; custom enterprise-level plans.

Armed with all the relevant knowledge, you’ll be able to make an informed choice when starting an online store without inventory.

1. Shopify vs Etsy: Product Focus

Selling on Shopify vs Etsy largely reflects the differences between trading on an online marketplace and a standalone website with your own domain name. 

Etsy is a popular marketplace that initially focused on selling handcrafted goods, vintage items, and craft supplies but has significantly expanded over the years.

Etsy’s marketplace has specific internal rules, from regulating the products that can be offered to its own internal Etsy SEO. That may pose limitations to some merchants, as failing to follow some guidelines may result in blocked accounts and banishment from the eCommerce platform.  

Shopify, on the other hand, is a website builder focused on eCommerce. You create your own website with a custom domain name and don’t have to abide by third-party regulations. 

That means that, as long as the products on offer are within the limits of the law, feel free to offer whatever you think will sell with no limits.

Overall, Shopify has an edge.
You can explore a wider range of products in comparison to Etsy.

2. Etsy or Shopify? Ease of Store Setup

Two people looking at the charts on pages on the table.

In the debate about Shopify vs Etsy, both are famous as beginner-friendly eCommerce platforms.

Shopify creates a website through a guided process that includes the setup of essential features like inventory syncing, order tracking, and inserting action buttons.  

Still, depending on the merchant’s experience, it may take some time to get used to how to insert or change resources.

Quick Tip

If you wish to compare Shopify to another beginner-friendly marketplace, check out the article on Shopify vs eBay.

Etsy is significantly more straightforward. There are still a lot of details to consider when adding new product listings to ensure they’re visible, but in general, once you create a store, that’s it.

A draw. All in all, it’s up to each shop owner – you decide if it’s better to have a personalized website, with all the perks but extra work, or make good use of an established environment without that much customization.

3. Shopify or Etsy? Design and Layout Options

Both eCommerce platforms allow you to create your own online store without any technical expertise. But how do Shopify and Etsy compare in terms of design?  

An attractive but effective online storefront is almost as important as the product itself when converting traffic into paying customers. 42% of consumers will leave a webpage due to poor design or functionality. 

This should factor into a merchant’s decision to start on Shopify or Etsy. 

The Etsy marketplace doesn’t have much customization when displaying products – that keeps everything fairly consistent, beyond a merchant choosing their own logo or organizing listings into collections.

The best way to stand out from other Etsy stores is to use appealing product images, mockups, and videos. That approach is popular among those unfamiliar with web design and helps put everyone on the same playing field.

A screenshot of an Etsy shop with 4 products shown.

Unlike Etsy, Shopify merchants tend to be far more focused on developing their respective brands, which means putting in the work to optimize their online stores to increase conversions and make sales.

For that, Shopify offers around 12 free and 160 paid themes to assist owners in making their stores more personalized. Shopify users can rearrange sections, edit, and personalize just about any part of their digital shop.

A laptop and a monitor on the table with some statistics turned on.

Compared to selling on Shopify, Etsy offers a one-size-fits-all storefront that has been tried and trusted by approximately 6.7 million Etsy sellers in Q3 2023. Shopify has a wider range of customization options to optimize your online store for conversions. 

Overall, Etsy offers an effective storefront from the start, while Shopify lets entrepreneurs visually optimize their stores to increase sales.

Quick Tip

If creating a top-notch design for your online store is one of your main priorities, check out our article on Shopify vs Squarespace. The latter provides some outstanding customization options.

4. Shopify and Etsy: eCommerce Tools

There is a significant overlap when looking at the basic tools offered by Shopify and Etsy. Both have tools for their merchants regarding shop analytics, rating systems, paid advertising avenues, discounts (or coupons), and fixed-price sales. While there are differences within these categories, the basics offered are the same. 

Each platform has a proprietary payment gateway: 

  • Shopify Payments, Shop Pay, Shop Pay Installments, and Paypal Express don’t charge third-party transaction fees, while card feeds in the US vary from 2.4%-2.9%. Paying through another payment processor will incur fees, depending on the Shopify plan. 
  • Etsy Payments accepts credit and debit cards and works with popular payment gateways like Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and Sofort. 

A key difference is that Shopify apps are a crucial part of the platform. Without these third-party solutions, Shopify stores will lack functions to run their eCommerce Business, with the built-in features (like Shopify POS and abandoned cart recovery) requiring upgrading to a more advanced Shopify plan. 

These powerful tools can offer significant benefits to store owners, and there are over 8,000 of them available. With so many options, it can be even challenging to discover the best free apps.

In contrast, the Etsy platform only has about 20 integrations as of Q4 2023, depending on the country your shop is located in. 

Etsy organizes these official integrations erratically, grouping them in Marketing (with a focus on social media management), Listings Improvement (including from SEO to design and mockup tools), Bookkeeping and Taxes, and a section for Inventory and Analytics – which, nevertheless, includes Square, as the option for in-person payments.

A screenshot showing most Etsy integrations.
Etsy integrations. Source: Etsy

Moreover, some of these integrations appear repeated in more than one section, options advertised as free aren’t free at all, and most options are not precisely integrations with Etsy but simply compatible platforms – not always the best options, depending on the resource. 

In many cases, it’s more advantageous to stick with a platform you trust and that offers integrations with other website builders and simply add Etsy as one of its channels instead of adding an official Etsy integration.

In short, Shopify’s app store offers endless added functionality, including tracking, management, and analytical capabilities. If you’re looking for eCommerce tools to help you grow your business online, Shopify has the edge.

5. Etsy vs Shopify: SEO

A person sitting at the laptop and checking analytics.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the technical process of increasing traffic and attracting the most visitors to your Shopify or Etsy store. 

Since Shopify and Etsy are, respectively, an eCommerce website builder and a marketplace, their SEO requirements differ. While in Shopify, you need to drive traffic from the whole internet, on Etsy, you’ll need to get traffic mostly from the internal marketplace search engine. 

Shopify SEO requires not only researching the right keywords and applying them in the right place – you must also observe product page URLs and duplication, optimize your store structure, navigation, and links, and be attentive to website velocity and user experience

Many of these steps may require paid third-party apps to make your store more discoverable.

Meanwhile, Etsy SEO focuses heavily on optimizing your keywords and applying them to product titles, descriptions, tags, and attributes. There’s no need to worry about technical SEO, as Etsy takes care of site speed, URLs, and everything else in between.

Creating blogs is a vital part of content marketing, which works together with SEO. You can build a blog within your Shopify store – with Etsy, that can be done with a Pattern subscription or an external website.

Etsy has the lead. Etsy SEO is less demanding than Shopify’s, but you still need to know the right strategies to optimize it. 

Shopify SEO is more challenging, as it requires not only keyword research and application but also knowledge of technical SEO and may require paid apps for proper optimization and visibility on search engines. 

6. Shopify vs Etsy: Fees and Pricing

This, more than any other aspect, becomes the make-it or break-it point for many POD merchants. 

Shopify offers a flat-rate monthly subscription fee plus a transaction fee. Start with a free three-day trial (and one month for $1), then choose one of these three options (paid monthly):

  • Basic Shopify: $39 per month,  2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.  Website for listing products and online selling, two staff accounts, 24/7 support, and blogging capacities.
  • Shopify: $105 per month, 2.7% + $0.30 per transaction. Lower credit card rates, five potential staff accounts, professional reports, plus bonuses for POS and gift cards.
  • Advanced: $399 per month, 2.5% + $0.30 per transaction. Further lower credit card rates, fifteen staff accounts, report builder upgrade, plus reduced logistical costs with third-party calculated shipping.

While  Shopify has a vast app store and is great for growing your business and customizing your store, adding paid apps can increase your monthly costs with subscription fees.

Unlike Shopify, Etsy doesn’t charge a monthly fee to create online stores on their marketplace. However, there are costs for listing an item, and all the transaction fees may add up to 20-25% of a sale:

  • Subscription fee: Free or $10/month for Etsy Plus. $15/month for an Etsy Pattern subscription – the marketplace’s option for hosting external eCommerce websites in a custom domain.
  • Listing fee: $0.20 per listing plus $0.20 per sale (renewal fee).
  • Transaction fee: 6.5% of the total cost of each transaction.
  • Payment processing fee: 3% + $0.25 (in the US; varies per country).

Additional fees, depending on country and operation (advertising, currency conversion, delivery, regulatory, and in-person sales fees).

Etsy has the lead. Shopify’s subscription format does have a significant upfront cost compared to Etsy’s, especially with the recent increase in prices. However, Shopify can be cost-effective in the mid-run if a store starts to scale due to significantly lower transaction fees.

7. Shopify vs Etsy: Analytics

A hand pointing to the screen of the laptop.

Both Shopify and Etsy offer analytics tools providing all the basic information needed to grow a store, including sales over time. 

Shopify Analytics’ capabilities vary greatly depending on the plan. 

  • Shopify Lite offers a few options, including the basic analytics page with finance reports and product analytics. 
  • Basic Shopify adds several custom reports, including Live View, Acquisition, and Behaviour reports. 
  • Shopify adds to those detailed reports on orders, sales, profits, and the customer base. 
  • Finally, Advanced Shopify and Shopify Plus add custom reports.  

Use these tools to analyze important sales KPIs such as product performance, review revenue per order, sales channels, and discounts. This data is also helpful to provide a detailed analysis to target customers with effective marketing campaigns that increase sales.

Etsy offers two analytics tools integrated with Google Analytics 4. 

  • The Etsy Stats, or Etsy Store Statistics, shows mainly traffic sources, conversions, and ad performance.
  • The Etsy search analytics displays KPIs about keywords’ performance, traffic, and conversions.

Analytics and sales keywords can easily become overly complicated with the amount of data available to analyze. Etsy keeps it simple and allows you to check important KPIs through uncluttered, easy-to-read interfaces.

Comparing Etsy vs Shopify analytics, Shopify is the winner if you want more detailed reporting. This can help you continue to generate actionable business intelligence to increase conversions and grow your online store.

8. Shopify vs Etsy: Marketing Tools

Once more, the differences between a standalone store and a marketplace impact the two platforms’ resources for getting more online sales. 

With Shopify, you alone are responsible for driving traffic to your store page with online marketing materials and methods, including SEO, social media, content marketing, or Shopify email marketing campaigns.

The platform offers more than one third-party app to take design and visuals, project management, SMS Marketing, or Analytics to the next level. With over 1,500 specific marketing apps available, finding new customers and selling online will be easier.

With over 91.6 million active buyers in Q3 2023, Etsy is an extremely popular platform. You can use Etsy ads to market your products in the search results and other pages on Etsy. The marketplace optimizes your budget to target places where your listings will perform best.

Combine that with social media integrations and SEO, and your Etsy shop will succeed. 

Overall, Etsy offers basic but potentially more effective marketing tools for growing businesses to start selling online. For experienced merchants confident with different marketing methods, Shopify offers a wide range of marketing tools to complement diverse strategies.

Tip: If you’d like to check other platforms with even more marketing tools at your disposal, check out our article on Wix vs Shopify. Wix offers a top-notch email marketing tool and other features you’ll find very useful.

9. Shopify vs Etsy: Customer Support

People sitting at the table in front of their laptops.

Access to quality customer support is essential to resolve any issues promptly and help you set up your store and conduct sales painlessly. 

Even if you have web design and sales experience – but especially if you don’t – urgent issues may appear as you go through the setup steps.

Shopify sellers can reach out and look for help in five different ways:

  1. 24/7 phone, live chat, and email support
  2. Shopify Help Center
  3. Shopify experts
  4. Forums
  5. eCommerce University online community

Etsy offers customer support in the following ways:

  1. Etsy Help Center 
  2. Etsy Seller Handbook – includes the most relevant information regarding disputes and how to deal with customers in this case. 
  3. Etsy community forum
  4. Tips from Etsy’s newsletters
  5. Email customer support – this is the last option, available only for merchants after they’ve tried the Help Center. It may take some time for merchants to get answers to email queries.

Both Etsy and Shopify give plenty of documentation and resources for supporting merchants in the case of any issues when setting up a store or during the selling process. Also, both platforms create a sense of community through active forums. 

Shopify, however, has the advantage of fast assistance, offering 24/7 customer support, live chat, and eCommerce experts.

10. Shopify vs Etsy: Scalability

As you set up your store, you want to pick a sales channel that can scale as fast as your aims for your new online business. 

Etsy is an excellent place for stores to start quickly. It gives a search engine and a consolidated audience, plus unlimited products – even though you must comply regarding which product listings to offer in the marketplace. 

However, the platform can struggle to keep up as you scale, as you have few options to customize the storefront besides a Pattern subscription, and if you don’t master Etsy SEO, no one will ever find your store and products.  

In the worst-case scenario, the marketplace can even delay rapid growth due to the following factors: 

  • Listing fees can put you off experimenting with a large range of products
  • Direct competition with many shops selling the same products
  • Limited built-in sales tools

On the other hand, Shopify is built for scaling eCommerce businesses, with no direct competition on the platform and thousands of apps to drive growth. In addition, you have more control over store design, an independent custom domain from the start, and no additional fees or taxes when adding a wide product range.

However, growing in Shopify may be hard for some merchants due to these factors: 

  • Monthly subscription fees with high-tier plans and apps may add up before you get actual sales to cover costs. 
  • You need to attract traffic from the start, as your independent store will be a domain on the vast internet instead of a closed environment.

It’s a draw. Etsy can help jump-start a new online venture with few upfront costs, but it lacks the toolset and functionality to enable rapid growth. Shopify can make your business expand significantly but with increased costs and SEO requirements.

FAQ

That depends on the eCommerce model you’re looking for. Comparing Shopify to Etsy is to contrast an eCommerce website builder with an online marketplace. For new merchants willing to create a whole website with almost complete control over design and original domain names, Shopify is the best eCommerce platform of the two.  

Note: Find out the key aspects to make your online business successful by checking out our list of successful Shopify stores.

If you are having a hard time deciding whether to use one platform or the other in the Shopify vs Etsy debate, here’s some good news: it’s possible to have both. And, within the Shopify app store, there’s even the possibility of integrating a Shopify store with the Etsy marketplace. 

Synchronization in real-time allows for products to be streamlined through both eCommerce platforms, regardless of price changes or inventory.

In Q4 2023, Etsy takes 20-25% of the sales through the following fees: 

  • A listing fee of $0.20 for each item listed for sale. Unless you opt out of automatic renewals for a listing, Etsy will automatically renew the listings after four months or after the product is sold, charging the fee once more.
  • A 6.5% transaction fee every time you sell an item, calculated over the sum of the product price and extra costs such as shipping or gift wrapping. 
  • Payment processing fees vary according to the country (4%+0.30 EUR for the EU, 3%+0.25 USD for the US, 4%+0.20 GBP for the UK). 

Depending on the country, currency, and additional options, Etsy may charge regulatory fees, currency conversion, or delivery fees.

Yes, Shopify takes a percentage of each sale, depending on the payment plan:

  • Basic Shopify: $39 per month,  2.9% + $0.30 per sale.
  • Shopify: $105 per month, 2.6% + $0.30 per sale.
  • Advanced Shopify: $399 per month, 2.4% + $0.30 per sale. 

The transaction fee reduces as you subscribe to a plan in a higher tier. While these fees can add up, they’re smaller than Etsy’s 6.5% transaction fees.

Tip: Considering a print-on-demand Shopify business? Find more information on our website.

Shopify vs Etsy: Which One Is Better?

Etsy is a great launching point for any online store. With low upfront costs, a simple setup, and millions of users, the marketplace can help any entrepreneur establish a new store and start making sales.

However, Etsy transaction fees can build while scaling, there’s little space for storefront customization, and you must comply with the platform guidelines and rules. These factors may restrict growth for some businesses.  

Shopify‘s platform, on the other hand, offers a diverse eCommerce experience and can help you build a highly customized, scalable store with a seemingly endless range of apps. However, subscription costs may pile up with the platform’s dependency on apps – which also may, in turn, slow your standalone online store.  

The two main deciding factors may be which eCommerce platform model you prefer – marketplace or standalone store – and your plans for scaling your business

Quick Tip

 If Etsy doesn't seem like the right fit, but you still want to stick with a marketplace model, there are plenty of Etsy alternatives a business can try. However, if you prefer a standalone store model but aren't convinced that Shopify's pricing plans are the best fit for your business, check out some of the available Shopify alternatives and their costs.

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