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Etsy versus Shopify

Which is better, Etsy or Shopify? Here’s my answer: Neither. Both. But Shopify.

Let’s get into it.

First, we are not comparing apples to apples with Etsy and Shopify. 

Etsy: a marketplace. On Etsy you can sign up as a seller and create your own shop. It lives on Etsy. 

Shopify: a platform to build your own website. With Shopify, your site is standalone. 

What’s the difference?

Etsy:

  • Marketplaces provide their own traffic
  • Easy to set up and low barrier to entry
  • Lots of competition and knock-offs
  • Etsy wants to make a sale, it doesn’t matter if it’s your shop or someone else’s 
  • Etsy is in charge of fees and features
  • Customers say “I bought it on Etsy” rather than recognizing individual shops 

Shopify:

  • You’ll need to bring your own traffic
  • Takes longer to set up
  • Only the products you want to sell are on the site
  • You’re in control of all of the features on your site
  • No transaction fees, you pay a monthly plan fee
  • Ability to build your own unique and distinct brand
  • Can sell on multiple sales channels: in person, POS, Facebook, Instagram, Google and more

They cost different amounts too:

Etsy:

  • Listing fee: 20¢ USD
  • Transaction fee: 6.5%
  • Credit card processing fee: 3% + 25¢ USD (varies by country)
  • Offiste Ad Fee: 12 – 15% (some shops can opt out)
  • Subscription Fee for Etsy Plus: $10 USD / month (optional)
  • Etsy Pattern: $15 USD / month (optional)

Shopify:

  • Subscription fee: $39 USD / month or $29 USD / month for yearly plan
  • Transaction fee: NONE
  • Credit card processing fee: 2.9% + 30¢ USD
  • Domain: ≈ $15 USD / year (optional, but recommended)

Which should you start with, Etsy or Shopify?

Here’s a question I got via email a couple weeks ago:

“I’m just starting my business and haven’t signed up for Etsy or Shopify yet. It was recommended to me to start with Etsy. Is that still a good idea?”

My answer:

It’s still a good idea to start with Etsy. Etsy is easier to get up and running quickly, and you can start selling your products faster. Etsy is a great testing ground to see what will sell and validate your product ideas. 

I’m a fan of making money with your business as quickly as possible, and Etsy is great way to do that. 

Since it’s a marketplace, Etsy gets a lot of traffic. Listing your products on Etsy is an easy way to utilize that built in traffic and get your products in front of a lot of people. 

When you’re using Etsy to sell products, your job isn’t getting people to Etsy. It’s getting people to notice your products while they’re on Etsy. That’s the benefit of Etsy, it already has traffic and Etsy does loads of marketing to get people to Etsy. 

When you’re ready to start working on your brand and marketing, that’s when you want your own Shopify store too.

Because you don’t want to spend your marketing efforts sending people to Etsy. Send them to your own store!

It takes more time to build a Shopify store than create an Etsy shop, that’s for sure. It also requires more thought and expertise, because you’re responsible for the whole website. But the payoff is bigger than an Etsy shop too.

With Shopify, you’re no longer competing against all of the other Etsy sellers when someone lands on your site. It’s just your products and your business. You have control over much more and are better able to continue marketing to browsers of your store to turn them into customers. And after someone purchases from your Shopify store, they’re more likely to remember the name of the business they bought it from, instead of “I got it from Etsy.”

So, does that mean after you launch your Shopify store you should ditch Etsy?

Definitely not. Keep using what Etsy’s good at: it’s built in marketplace traffic. Etsy plus Shopify is the best of both worlds.