For businesses just starting out or expanding from brick and mortar retail to e-commerce, it can be overwhelming to decide where and how to sell your product. Etsy and Shopify are two popular platforms for small businesses, and each comes with a variety of perks and drawbacks. If you’re interested in doing direct-to-consumer sales, it’s worth looking into the platforms, as they allow you to easily reach consumers, and it’s also worth knowing the differences between the two.
If you’re considering both Shopify and Etsy as potential platforms for your products, you don’t necessarily have to choose between the two. Shopify actually allows you to sync to Etsy for a small monthly fee, allowing you to integrate the two systems.
Many sellers also use Shopify and Etsy as two independent platforms through which to reach potential customers. The process for selling on either one of these channels is different, so it’s important to understand how much Shopify and Etsy work before making a final decision.
Differences Between Etsy and Shopify
Both Etsy and Shopify allow sellers and small businesses to engage in direct-to-consumer sales. Etsy is a marketplace that features a variety of different sellers, mostly in the niches of crafts, handmade and vintage goods, and clothing and accessories. Shopify, meanwhile, is a platform for e-commerce websites. Shopify allows small businesses to sell products directly from their sites.
Which is More Popular?
Because they are very different platforms, it’s not easy to say for sure whether Etsy or Shopify is more popular.
In practice, however, Shopify and Etsy are much closer in popularity than they might initially appear. Etsy is used by both sellers and customers to sell and search for goods. Shopify, meanwhile, is a platform that allows sellers and small businesses to sell on their own personal websites. When customers buy from sellers who use Shopify, most customers aren’t aware of what platform these sellers are using.
Selling on Etsy
Etsy is an online marketplace primarily devoted to handmade and vintage goods, crafts, clothing, and accessories. While Etsy is somewhat flexible when it comes to its categorizations, if your product doesn’t fit into one of these categories, Etsy may not be a good fit. Additional relevant notes about Etsy include that:
Selling on Shopify
Shopify is a platform that allows sellers and small businesses to sell products directly from their websites. Unlike Etsy, Shopify allows sellers to list any type of product without restrictions. Additional notes about Shopify include:
Setup and Fees
Etsy doesn’t have a setup fee, making it an affordable option for sellers who are just starting out and want to test the waters before building their own site. Instead, Etsy charges a listing fee of $.20 for each item every four months, as well as a 3.5% transaction fee and a 3% plus $.25 processing fee for each purchase. Etsy also offers a Plus plan for $10 a month that comes with additional features and options.
Shopify has a variety of different plan tiers at different prices, ranging from $29 per month to $299 per month. Shopify has no transaction fee if you use their payment gateway, but charges a small fee for the use of third party payment gateways depending on your plan tier.
If you’re a small business just starting out, Etsy can be a great low-cost way to test the waters of e-commerce. If you’re a more established business, however, Shopify may offer a better deal. Depending on the product, sellers can often use both platforms simultaneously, effectively leveraging Etsy’s larger platform while at the same time building their brand and selling on their own website through Shopify.
Shopify vs. Etsy: Control vs. Exposure
When deciding between Shopify and Etsy, other important factors to take into consideration include the control you have over your brand, and the exposure you gain to new customers. Etsy has a built-in audience and a platform that can quickly and easily drive sales to your business, but has a simple format and is less customizable.
Etsy is great for increasing your exposure, but may not give you the options you need in order to fully control the appearance of your brand and product listings. Etsy is a good choice for sellers who want the ease and convenience of a marketplace, and don’t need to customize their product listings too much.
Shopify doesn’t come with a built-in audience — the exposure of a Shopify site is the same as that of any other site. Unlike Etsy, however, Shopify allows sellers a much greater degree of control over how their product appears and the layout of the site. Shopify is a good choice for sellers who already have a customer base and are interested in selling from a site that they can customize to their own specifications.
Choosing Etsy or Shopify Based on Your Business Type
Depending on your business type, you may want to sell on Shopify, Etsy, or both. If you’re considering selling products internationally, it’s important to note that both Etsy and Shopify allow for international expansion. Both platforms also allow the opportunity for sellers to grow their business and increase their online sales.
In general, Etsy is better suited to small businesses and individual sellers who are trying to get a foothold in the world of e-commerce and may benefit from the increased exposure that the platform provides. While Etsy isn’t as customizable as other options, it offers a built-in audience and quick and easy setup.
Established small businesses looking to sell online are often better served by Shopify. It’s easy to keep track of inventory and sales on Shopify, which is especially helpful when you’re doing high volume sales and wholesale. Shopify also allows for greater customization, and helps sellers to build their own brand and customer base.
Selling on Both Etsy and Shopify
If you have multiple types of products, selling on both Shopify and Etsy is a good step toward establishing omnichannel dominance. Selling on both Shopify and Etsy is often the best of both worlds, allowing you to leverage both the increased exposure provided by Etsy and the level of customization and control provided by Shopify. Especially if you offer a diverse selection of products, only some of which may meet Etsy’s requirements, selling on Shopify and Etsy simultaneously offers few downsides.
While it might sound tough to multitask an Etsy and Shopify combo, a Shopify inventory management integration combined with Shopify’s Etsy integration makes selling on both platforms a breeze. No matter what e-commerce option you choose to pursue, these platforms can both help you reach potential customers and grow your business.