Shopify vs. Etsy: Which Ecommerce Platform Should You Choose For Your Business?
So, you’re selling excellent products and want to bring them online. You may have heard about Shopify and Etsy before, but don’t know which one to choose to start your online business. Or, you are already an Etsy seller, but want to move your business to Shopify (or vice-versa).
Should you sell on Shopify or Etsy? Don’t worry if you still can’t decide which e-commerce platform is best to start and grow your business. This article will give you a detailed comparison to help you decide. Who knows, you might even want to sell on both platforms! 😉
The key difference between Etsy and Shopify
We’ll start with the core difference between these two e-commerce solutions, which is pretty straightforward. While Etsy is a marketplace for handmade products, Shopify is a hosted web solution that allows you to create and manage a standalone store.
Many people think of Etsy as a sort of eBay or Amazon for arts and crafts — and here’s why: People use Etsy to sell (and buy) handmade items, vintage, and crafts from other individuals. If you sell on Etsy, you will be one of millions of online merchants selling on Etsy’s “storefront” itself. Thus, it can be difficult to stand out in the crowd and create a brand — a valuable asset for your business.
The Etsy marketplace:
With Shopify, you can sell anything because you build your own store. Shopify allows sellers to have full control of their online shop. Sellers can easily set up and customize their stores with templates, themes, other tools, and apps. They can do it even without having any knowledge of coding. Check out this complete guide on how to set up a Shopify store.
With Etsy, you can easily create an account and start selling on this marketplace. With Shopify, you build your own online shop website. Thus, many people also describe Shopify as a web builder.
An example online store using Shopify:
Pros & cons of both Etsy vs. Shopify
Both Etsy and Shopify are great e-commerce platforms. Each has its own pros and cons, and we’ll take a look at those in general. Let’s start with Shopify.
Shopify pros and cons
- Powerful. Shopify is a giant e-commerce platform that offers an impressive set of tools to manage your online shop. This includes the integration of numerous payment gateways and support in excess of 130 languages.
- There are no restrictions on what type of products you can sell. But of course, if they are legal. You can sell physical goods, digital products, event tickets, consultations (and other services), and even accept donations!
- Easy to scale. Shopify is suitable for all types of stores, from small businesses to big brands. You may start from a small shop, and when you’re ready to scale, you can easily add more features to your store by installing Shopify apps. You can also add more employee accounts to handle your growing sales.
- Customizable. Shopify offers great customization options. With Shopify themes and apps, you can customize your store appearance and more.
- In the long term, Shopify is great for branding. Why? Because you can customize your store appearance to reflect the look and feel of your brand. A strong identity creates a total customer experience and makes people remember your store.
- You have to get traffic by yourself. To get people to know you and buy your products, you need a branding and marketing strategy. And this might cost you a fortune.
- Monthly fees can be costly. If you use Shopify apps, you may need to pay a high monthly cost for these apps, and for the monthly Shopify plan.
Etsy pros and cons
- Easy to set up and use. You just need to do a couple of steps to open a store on this marketplace. They even give you a step-by-step guide to create your store, and how to handle orders, shopping, listings, payments, etc. You just need to prepare the listings for your products.
- Excellent traffic. Etsy’s most significant advantage is that it has high traffic. As it’s a marketplace, millions of people come to Etsy to find cool handmade items. And potentially, they’ll reach your shop.
- It can be challenging to stand out from the crowd because every store follows Etsy’s layout and design.
- Not great for branding. People will rarely remember your store name. They can buy a lovely vintage watch from your store, but when someone asks where they purchased it, the answer is often “on Etsy.”
Shopify vs. Etsy Pattern
As your Etsy shop grows, you may want to expand beyond the marketplace and enter Pattern. Pattern is a service launched by Etsy in 2016. Pattern enables you to set up and customize your standalone e-commerce website on a custom domain. It also allows you to highlight your brand, tell your story, and bring the human side to your online storefront.
In other words, it’s a web builder like Shopify! And it’s different from a general Etsy shop in these key ways:
- By default, your primary domain is yourstorename.patternbyetsy.com.
- You can customize your shop’s URL to use your own domain, for example, http://www.yourshopname.com.
- You can customize your shop’s look and feel, such as changing the color schemes, fonts, etc. although customization options are limited.
- You can sell more types of products, including services.
- At the time of this writing, Pattern costs $15 per month, but you can test it for free for 30 days.
- You will need to get your own traffic to your Pattern site.
To use Pattern, you need to be an existing Etsy seller and enable Etsy Payments. Your Pattern website integrates with your Etsy shop. You can then stock your Pattern site with listings from your regular Etsy shop. You can also create separate listings and manage both shops using Etsy’s Site Manager.
An example website using Etsy Pattern:
So what’s the difference between Shopify vs. Etsy Pattern?
By subscribing to Pattern, you get two shops in one: your regular Etsy shop and the Pattern shop. On Shopify, you’ll only manage one store.
Pattern is also cheaper and simpler than Shopify.
So, suppose you don’t want to learn about other e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, but want to have a customizable shop on your own domain. In this case, Etsy Pattern can be a solution for you.
Note: This article will mainly focus on Shopify vs. regular Etsy, not Etsy Pattern. That’s because Pattern is just a part of Etsy itself. However, we will also cover it a bit.
Shopify vs. Etsy: Key features
As e-commerce platforms, both Etsy and Shopify offer the same basic features that allow you to sell and manage your products online. However, there are differences in their advanced features and the ability to scale up as your sales volume increases.
Shopify and Etsy basic key features:
- List your products online
- A reliable and secure shopping cart solution
- A blogging platform
- Gift cards and discounts
- Manage orders and shipping
- Collect payments
- And more
Shopify key features
- A fully customized storefront for your online store
- Option to use your own domain name or buy one through Shopify
- Display live shipping rates to your customers
- Automatically calculate taxes; you can also import tax rates
- Offer apps with Shopify App Store, which allow you to integrate your shop with third-party platforms, and more
- And everything you need to run an online store
Etsy key features
- Allows you to have your own shop space on the Etsy website
- A massive, multifaceted search function that allows buyers to search for and find your product or shop
- A public profile page to share your personal story
- Live workshops and events
- Allows you to communicate privately with buyers and other sellers on Etsy
- Allows buyers to add your items or shop to their “Favorite” lists
- And more
Shopify vs. Etsy: Ease of use
If ease of use is one of the most important aspects you’re looking for, then don’t worry. Both Etsy and Shopify allow you to manage your online stores easily. Etsy is much easier to get started with because you only have to create an account and add your listing. However, with the powerful features that Shopify offers, you can still do everything on their platform just by clicking buttons.
Shopify vs. Etsy: Help and support
Although both Etsy and Shopify are easy to use, you’ll still need help sometimes. Both platforms offer resources to help you find the answers you need, such as video tutorials, community/forums, blog posts, testimonials, and knowledge base articles. They also provide 24/7 email and phone support.
Shopify has an additional 24/7 live chat channel that gives you a really fast response. Here’s the Shopify support channel page:
Sometimes, you won’t see the Phone or Chat option on this page. That can happen when there is a long queue for the Phone or Chat support.
Shopify vs. Etsy: Fees and prices you need to know
Now let’s take a look at the business model of Shopify vs. Etsy.
Shopify vs. Etsy: Monthly plan pricing
Shopify and Etsy offer various monthly plans. Please note, the subscription plan is not the only cost you need to pay for using their platforms. You’ll have to pay other fees, such as transaction fees and payment processing fees, which you can find in the next section. Let’s overview Shopify plans first.
Shopify’s monthly plans
- Shopify Lite ($9/month) — Best if you already have an existing website or blog (such as on WordPress, Tumblr, or anywhere else) and want to sell products by adding “Buy” buttons. This plan is the only one that doesn’t offer you a full online store website on Shopify.
- Basic Shopify ($29/month) — Best for new businesses. This plan includes e-commerce websites. Some of its features are discount codes, gift cards, and selling in 133 currencies and up to 5 multi-languages. You’ll also get two employee accounts and access to a few basic types of reports, such as inventory and marketing reports.
- Shopify ($79/month) — Best for growing businesses with one retail store. It includes all the Basic Shopify features. With this plan, you’ll also get five employee accounts and access to more Shopify reports, such as sales and customer reports.
- Advanced Shopify ($299/month) — Best for growing business with two or more retail stores. This plan includes all the Shopify plan features, allows you to have 15 employee accounts, and advanced custom reporting capabilities.
- Shopify Plus (starting at $2000/month) — Enterprise-grade solutions designed for large businesses with high sales volumes.
Shopify offers 14-day free trials for all these plans. To save money, you can also get around 10%, 20%, or 30% discount if you choose to pay every year, every 2 years, or every 3 years respectively.
Etsy’s monthly plans and listing fee
You can sell products on Etsy without paying for a monthly subscription plan. Etsy charges sellers a listing fee of $0.20 for each item you publish on the site. Listing fees are active for four months or until the item sells.
- Etsy Standard ($0/month) — The default plan, no monthly fee.
- Etsy Plus ($10/month) — The plan includes monthly credits for listings (15 listing credits) and promotional materials. With Etsy Plus, you’ll be able to make your shop fancier with banners and layout. And when an item sells out, buyers have the option to be automatically notified when you restock the item.
Additionally, there is Etsy Pattern, which operates differently than Etsy’s plans above. The subscription price is $15/month. It offers a personalized website for your brand, in addition to your Etsy shop. You can sell more types of products, and there are no listing fees for items you publish on Pattern.
Shopify vs. Etsy: Payment Options and Payment Processing Fees
Both Shopify and Etsy allow you to accept online payments easily. You don’t need to worry about security because both platforms are secure. Any credit cards and payment data are protected.
In order to accept online payments, you must pay a payment processing fee (or credit card fee). This is a standard fee applied by the payment providers (such as credit card companies) or payment gateways sending the transaction.
Now, let’s compare different payment options and payment processing fees between Shopify and Etsy.
Shopify payment options and payment processing fees
- Shopify Payments. This is Shopify’s built-in payment gateway. It allows buyers to pay using credit cards and other popular payment methods, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. Shopify Payments is based on Stripe. So, if Stripe is not available in your country, you can’t use this option. The payment processing fee varies depending on your Shopify plan: 2.4% to 2.9% of price + $0.30.
The Basic Shopify plan has a payment processing fee of 2.9% + $0.30; Shopify plan: 2.6% + $0.30; Advanced Shopify: 2.4% + $0.30.
- PayPal. You can have buyers pay you directly through PayPal if you’re based in a country where Shopify Payments isn’t available yet. The payment processing fee is around 2.9% + $0.30 (fee can be different for each country). Even if you have set up Shopify Payments, it’s usually worth setting up PayPal in case your customers prefer to pay using it.
- Other third-party payment providers. You have 100+ options to choose from, such as Authorize.net, Braintree, and many more. The payment processing fee varies for each provider.
Note: What if you use multiple providers, for example, Shopify Payments and PayPal, together as your payment gateways? Will you be double-charged? The good news is you only pay the fees for the payment gateway your customer uses upon checkout. You will not be double-charged.
Etsy payment options and payment processing fees
- Etsy Payments. This is Etsy’s default payment gateway. Etsy Payments gives buyers options to pay using most credit cards, Etsy Gift Card, Etsy Credit, PayPal, and other popular methods such as Google Pay and Apple Pay. If you’re on the list of countries that accept Etsy Payments, you can use Etsy Payments as a payment option for your shop. Etsy’s payment processing fee is 3% + $0.25.
- PayPal. Use this option if Etsy Payments isn’t available in your country yet. The payment processing fee is around 2.9% + $0.30 (can differ for each country).
Shopify vs. Etsy: Transaction fees
Every time you make a sale, you might also need to pay a transaction fee in addition to the payment processing fee. It’s a small commission that you pay to Shopify or Etsy.
Etsy transaction fees
Etsy collects a transaction fee of 5% of the item price. What if the item has a 60% discount? In this case, the transaction fee will be calculated from the sale price, not the original price before the discount.
Shopify transaction fees
If you use Shopify Payments, you don’t need to pay any transaction fee.
What if you use other payment gateways? In this case, you will need to pay a transaction fee of 2%, 1%, or 0.5% for Basic Shopify, Shopify, or Advanced Shopify plan, respectively.
See the following screenshot that shows there’s no transaction fee for Shopify Payments.
Shopify vs. Etsy: Shipping transaction fees
On Etsy, if you charge shipping for items in your shop, then the shipping transaction fee is 5% of the total cost your customers pay for shipping. Let’s say you charge your customer $10 to ship an item – that package ends up costing you $10.5 to ship.
On the other hand, Shopify does not charge a shipping transaction fee.
So, which is more expensive: Shopify or Etsy? It depends on your sales volume
Shopify will be more expensive upfront because you need to choose a monthly subscription plan. However, Etsy can be more costly in the long run because of its transaction fees.
Note: You can download a Shopify vs. Etsy fee calculator in the last section of this article to see which is less expensive based on your sales volume.
Here are examples of Etsy vs. Shopify for low and higher sales volume. Suppose that:
- Etsy Payments and Shopify Payments are used.
- The store applies a free shipping method.
- One order has one item (one quantity).
Etsy vs. Shopify for low sales volume
The calculation above shows a relatively new business selling 10 items per month for $50 per item. You can see that, for this case, Etsy has the lowest total fees, but the difference is only $2 compared to Basic Shopify! For a few more items sold, let’s say 15 items per month, Etsy will be more expensive than Shopify.
Etsy vs. Shopify for higher sales volume
In this example, the business is growing and selling 200 items per month. See that Etsy is far more expensive in this case, even compared to the Advanced Shopify plan.
Please also keep in mind that you may pay additional costs for Etsy or Shopify. For example, you may buy Etsy Ads credits or pay for some Shopify apps to enrich the functionality of your store.
Selling on Etsy vs. Shopify
In this section, we compare both platforms in some ways so that you have an overview of selling on Etsy vs. Shopify.
Shopify vs. Etsy: Domain and URL Structure
A domain is a unique address of your website where your customers go to find your store online. When you create a Shopify or Etsy store, they automatically create your domain. Shopify allows you to customize your store to use a custom domain. However, with Etsy, you can’t (unless you’re using Etsy Pattern).
- By default, your primary domain uses the following URL structure:
- You can buy a custom domain (e.g.
http://www.yourstorename.com) through Shopify or other third-party domain registrars.
- If you buy a domain through Shopify, it will be automatically configured to be your store’s primary domain.
- By default, your primary domain is
- You can’t change your shop’s domain or use a custom domain like http://www.yourshopname.com.
- If you want, you can purchase a third-party custom domain such as http://www.yourshopname.com and set it to redirect to your Etsy shop. However, it does not change your shop’s URL. Instead, every time your customers type
http://www.yourshopname.cominto their address bar, they will be redirected to your Etsy shop and see
etsy.com/shop/yourshopnamein their address bar. If you subscribe to Etsy Plus, you get a discount when purchasing custom domains through Etsy’s partner: Hover.
Shopify vs. Etsy: Design flexibility
The look and feel of your online store is often the first impression of your brand. It tells the story of who you are and what’s unique about your products. A design that matches your brand inspires buyer confidence and potentially builds long-term loyalty.
Different layouts and styles offer different experiences for your customers. For example, if you sell vintage products, you may want your online store to feel classic and bring back golden memories. Alternatively, if you sell sports shoes, you may want your online store to look fresh and energetic.
Shopify allows you to control the design of your store as you like. On the other hand, Etsy has limited options for customization. You won’t be able to create a strong brand on the Etsy marketplace, but that’s completely fine if you’re only selling a few items or just starting out.
- There are over 70 Shopify themes available. All of them are mobile responsive.
- After you pick and install a template, there will be options that allow you to customize your store. For example, sidebar, font, color, layout, header, footer, even add and remove sections.
- You can install up to 20 themes on your Shopify account.
- You can edit your theme code if you know HTML, CSS, and have a basic understanding of Liquid (Shopify’s templating language).
- You can also code your own theme, or even hire a web designer to build and customize your store’s theme.
- You can customize your shop’s banner and icon.
- Etsy Plus and Etsy Pattern offer more advanced customization options. But still, your store appearance will always follow Etsy’s design and layout.
Shopify vs. Etsy: Security
Security is critical to buyers, and this is usually the first thing they look for before making a purchase on a website. They will leave if your website is not secure, no matter how much they want to buy a product.
Both Shopify and Etsy are secure, and here’s why:
Shopify and Etsy are PCI compliant. This means they ensure the safety of customers’ card info and payment data. So, you don’t need to worry about using these platforms to sell and accept card payments online. All your shop’s buyers’ payment data is secure.
Shopify and Etsy use SSL, which encrypts your store’s content and publishing it securely via HTTPS
Additionally, for account security, both platforms offer two-step authentication. You can also see who’s currently signed in to your account, including info about their location and the device used.
The following screenshot shows the account security options in Etsy:
Shopify vs. Etsy: Payment times and when the money is deposited
Each payment provider will have its own rules. So, in this section, let’s focus on Shopify Payments and Etsy Payments.
- By default, your payout will be sent automatically to your bank account within a “pay period”, The length depends on the country where your store is based (it can range from 2 to 4 business days).
- You can also choose to set up a schedule to receive your payout daily, weekly, or monthly. Your “pay period” will be adjusted according to the schedule you set.
- You can’t receive funds if your payout is below $1, £1, or €1, depending on the currency you use for your store.
- After a payout is sent out, it can take 2 business days or longer, depending on your bank.
- By default, your payout will be sent to your bank account weekly, every Monday.
- You can also change the schedule: daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly.
- Some countries have a minimum amount of funds for daily deposits.
- If you’re a new seller, for your first 90 days, your payout will be available for deposit 7 days after a sale. After the 90-day period ends, your payout will become available for deposit the next business day.
- Once a payout is sent out, funds may take up to 3-5 business days to appear in your bank account.
Tip: If you don’t see your funds after 5 business days, reach out to your bank for assistance.
Shopify vs. Etsy: E-commerce tools and features
Shopify is a lot more than a platform to build online stores. It provides you with powerful e-commerce tools and features — everything to manage your online shop’s sales. Here are some of them:
- Shopify App Store – it has over 5,000 apps to manage your online store, including apps for Shopify dropshipping, wholesale, order, shipping, marketing, SEO, and much more
- Keep track of your inventory
- Display abandoned checkouts
- Display live shipping rates
- Collect sales taxes automatically
- Cross-channel sales on Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, and more
- Shopify Payments
- Shopping cart
- Discounts and promotions
- Gift cards
- Fraud analysis — identify orders that could be fraudulent
- Shopify POS (Point of Sale) app
- Analytics dashboard, report, and live view
- And more
Etsy offers basic e-commerce features and tools. However, they are also powerful to help you manage your shop’s sales. Here are some of them:
- “Sell on Etsy” — the mobile app for Etsy sellers
- Share to social media from your shop
- Shopping cart
- Etsy Payments
- Gift cards
- Discounts and coupon codes
- Marketing and advertising tools
- And more
Shopify vs. Etsy: SEO and marketing
The ability to drive quality traffic to your store is important for increasing sales. And by using SEO and launching SEO campaigns, you can increase the likelihood that people who search on Google, Yahoo!, or Bing will see your product or your shop in the search result — and click it.
You may have spent time and effort building a great website using Shopify, but what’s the use if no one is visiting your store?
On the other hand, Etsy is a winner when it comes to traffic because millions of people visit Etsy every day. However, there’s no guarantee that Etsy’s visitors will end up in your store!
When using either Etsy or Shopify, you need to develop an effective SEO and marketing plan for your online shop. And fortunately, both Shopify and Etsy provide features to help you market and optimize your store for SEO purposes.
Some of Shopify’s tools for SEO and marketing:
- Shopify’s Analytics helps you understand how many people visit your store and what they’re doing when they arrive at your store.
- Shopify Email helps you design and create email campaigns to promote new products, offers, special events, etc.
- Offer seamless integration with Google Smart Shopping campaign. Google will use your product feed to show various ads across different networks, including the Google Search Network, Google Display Network, YouTube, and Gmail.
- Many SEO apps can be found on the Shopify App Store.
Some of Etsy’s tools for SEO and marketing:
- Shop Stats. This tool lists the keywords people use most often to find your shop.
- Etsy’s Search. Try to type what you sell into Etsy’s search bar and see what words and phrases pop up. These reflect popular search terms, which you can incorporate into your SEO strategy.
- Etsy Ads advertises your products in Etsy search results and other pages on Etsy.
- Etsy Offsite Ads. Etsy promotes your listings on the search engine results, social media, Etsy Publishing Partner sites, and Google Display Network sites.
How can you harness the power of SEO for your online shop? One general tip is to plant relevant keywords in your shop’s title and description. People searching for those keywords will see your shop in their search results. Another way is to include those keywords in your listings’ titles, descriptions, and tags.
Shopify vs. Etsy: Integrations
No platform can do everything you require. You may need to integrate third-party apps with your store. Fortunately, both Etsy and Shopify offer a collection of free and paid apps to integrate with your shop.
For example, connect your shop to an accounting app such as QuickBooks, export your transaction data to Excel or Google Sheets, and so on. A common use case for a regular Shopify or Etsy shop owner is to share a list of orders for delivery with a delivery service. To do this, you need to simply export your Shopify or Etsy orders data to a spreadsheet and share it with the stakeholder. The best option for solving this task is to use Coupler.io.
This importing tool lets you automate export of Shopify data on a schedule to Google Sheets. For details, check out this blog post on How to Export Shopify to Google Sheets Without Coding.
With Etsy, things are slightly more complicated, but it’s still doable. Check out the available options in this blog post on how to Export Data from Etsy to CSV or Import It to Google Sheets.
At the time of writing, Shopify has more than 5,000 apps listed on the Shopify App Store. There are also apps that let you easily migrate from Etsy to Shopify. So, if you’re starting with Etsy and want to migrate to Shopify later, you don’t need to worry much. Even if you want to use both platforms, there are also apps that integrate and sync these two platforms.
Is Shopify better than Etsy?
It always depends on your business objectives. What products do you want to sell? Handmade and vintage items or other types of products and services? Also, consider your financial budget and the current state of your business. Does it have a high or low sales volume? Are you ready to grow fast and consider having more products and employees?
Overall, Shopify is a better choice if you want to go big and have total control over your website, and also if you’re going to sell products that are not in the handmade or craft category.
Etsy is generally easier to use and less expensive if you have a low sales volume. You can easily start a shop on Etsy first, expand it with Shopify, or do it the way around. And over time, you may want to use both. You will probably end up using and integrating both platforms because each can help your e-commerce efforts in different ways.
To summarize, here’s a quick summary of the differences between Shopify and Etsy:
|Key difference||A hosted platform, web builder.||A marketplace.|
|Tools and features||Shopify has powerful tools and features.||Etsy has basic but powerful tools and features.|
|Business model||Shopify has three main monthly plans, starting at $29 per month.||Etsy has two main monthly plans: free and $10 per month. Etsy charges more types of fees compared to Shopify.|
|Ease of use||Easy to set up and build your online store.||Easy to set up an account and start selling.|
|Help and Support||Fast response, award-winning support team. Shopify offers an additional 24/7 live chat support channel compared to Etsy.||Etsy offers different types of self-help resources. It also has 24/7 email and phone support channels.|
|Domain and URL structure||Allows you to have your store at your own domain.||Your shop’s URL is Etsy’s domain.|
|Design flexibility||Provides themes, even allows you to code your own theme.||Limited customization; allows you to change your shop’s icon and banner.|
|Payment options||Shopify has Shopify Payments (default gateway), PayPal, and options for integration with 100+ other third-party payment providers.||Etsy has Etsy Payments (default gateway) and PayPal.|
|SEO and marketing||You need to get your own traffic.Shopify has features and tools for SEO and marketing purposes.||Excellent traffic.Etsy also has features and tools for SEO and marketing purposes.|
|Integration||Shopify has thousands of third-party integration options.||Etsy has fewer third-party options compared to Shopify.|
Bonus: Shopify vs. Etsy fee calculator
You can compare Shopify vs. Etsy fees with this spreadsheet to see which one is less expensive and may be the better choice for you.
To use it, please make a copy (File > Make a copy). Then, update the item price and the number of orders per month (values in the yellow cells).
Good luck with your choice!Back to Blog