Everyone wants to quit their boring full-time jobs, start their startup and become their boss, but a lot should be studied and practiced during that journey. Many entrepreneurs are looking for an eCommerce platform to help them build their businesses and increase revenues, but 80-90% of them fail their startup eCommerce businesses. This may happen for many reasons, starting with insufficient skills and ending with the wrong platform. Unfortunately, the eCommerce success rate is approximately 20%, which is very low.

This article's priority goal is to discuss two eCommerce giants and help future merchants walk towards their goals. Shopify and Etsy can help you to enrich your audience and, along with that, obtain a popular name for the store. Those who decide to move on with Shopify should note that with the Best Shopify Developers, they can avoid extra hassle and smoothly start walking toward their goals.

Shopify and Etsy provide their sellers with all the rights to sell their products and services. The popularity of these two eCommerce platforms  show in the numbers below:

This Shopify vs Etsy guide will give a detailed comparison of each platform, and those who have a serious intention to begin an online business may discover useful and necessary content. Whether the platforms are working only with handmade accessories or vintage stuff, this manual will assist in choosing between the most suitable platforms. 

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Shopify at a glance

Shopify homepage

The company was established in 2006 and supported the business-to-business concept. It gives merchants from any location the privilege to start, manage, and develop a business. 

Tobias Lütke and Scott Lake in Canada, Ottawa were the first developers of the Shopify platform. Now it is not the same as Shopify, a snowboard-selling online store. Dissatisfaction with results pushed a new concept for people with the same problem, and now Shopify is a successful and large eCommerce company. Within Shopify, merchants have no restrictions on selling items, on condition it's legal.  

Shopify pros:

  • Shopify acquired the best-selling eCommerce status with great tools and features and a tracking system to be aware of the order's movement.
  • All businesses, from small to big brands, can rely on working with Shopify. 
  • Selling products without any limits is another bold plus.  

Shopify cons:

  • Compared to bigger marketplaces with high search volumes, Shopify buyers may not know if a store was built through Shopify. Eventually, everything will depend on promotional activity, marketing, and brand popularity.
  • Shopify can be expensive. 

Etsy at a glance

Etsy homepage

Etsy is the next huge eCommerce company in this guide, established 17 years ago in the US, New York by Robert Kalin, Chris Maguire, and Haim Schoppik. This American e-commerce company is adapted more towards small and medium businesses that have smaller-scale sales. 

Etsy specializes in unique handcrafted and vintage items with at least 20 years of history. These items may include jewelry, home decor and furniture, toys, art pieces, bags, etc. 

Etsy Pros:

  • Etsy is a marketplace such as Amazon and eBay, which means all items are subject to sales and are listed. If looking for specific items on the Etsy search engine, potential buyers can find them easily. 
  • Ease of use is another crucial advantage of Etsy. The process consists of creating an account, uploading images, and filling in the product details.
  • With Etsy, there is no need to work on marketing, brand image or activate advertisements, as the popularity of Etsy will do the whole thing.

Cons of Etsy:

  • Etsy has fixed its rules concerning the item types that can be sold.
  • Unfortunately, Etsy's format does not give the freedom to manage the store, except for choosing a logo. The rest is under the platform's responsibility.  

Shopify vs Etsy: The key differences

Either Shopify or Etsy are major marketplaces with the same goal - allowing merchants to present their sellable products and services to a broad audience. Even if the platforms have similar goals in terms of use, payments and provided tools, these are fully diverse platforms in terms of use, features and fees. 

The most important difference in this Shopify vs Etsy guide consists of two significant questions:

  • What is allowed to be sold?
  • How should the items be sold?

To clarify, Shopify is an online store website builder with powerful tools and Shopify marketplace apps that can only contribute to the process. Ultimately, the seller can launch his shopify website design and enclose the products and their descriptions.

In reverse, Etsy itself is a marketplace with thousands of stores. Etsy can even be compared to a mall with many shops, and the function is almost the same, with only one difference – everything is digital. It just gives free space to merchants so they can sell their items.

Shopify vs Etsy: Shipping 

If not the most, then one of the critical areas to understand before starting to work with these platforms is understanding the shipping process. Shopify vs Etsy shipping comparison will come like an aid kit to help orientate in what they want and which platform will best work for them.

Shipping with Etsy

Considering the big accent on handmade items, Etsy merchants usually deliver orders independently. It is allowed to send packages with a maximum of 150 pounds to customers from different locations. As a good marketplace, Etsy allows both the seller and the buyer to track the package movement. 

Etsy gives its sellers postal labels so they will be free from the time-consuming process of going to the post office daily to buy stamps. Moreover, the sellers will get great discounts on the postage labels, like when the parcels have FedEx, Canada Post or USPS labels. This will give an extra 30% discount on shipping costs. 

Suppose the store has plenty of orders, which justifies that a fulfillment service can be available. In that case, a company such as ShipStation cooperates with Etsy and can handle the shipments. 

Shipping with Shopify

With the Shopify platform, you can give sellers a broad and adaptable range of shipping features. First, suppose the seller wants to make the delivery with Shopify. In that case, he can set all the shipping rates, product price and quantity, and any rules and regulations based on the item weight, so everything will be under the merchant's control. 

Shopify also gives generous discounts to the sellers; sometimes discounts can exceed even 80%, which is impressive. But this feature works depending on the country of operations. 

If the seller has fewer sales and can ship his orders on his own, he will be able to connect his store with a fulfillment service. Drop shipping may be a great solution if none of these options work. 

What is dropshipping?

Dropshipping is a special retail eCommerce model based on the idea of selling without holding any physical inventory. So, what is happening? When the buyer places the order, the seller accepts it and passes the order to a third party, who then will handle the shipping on behalf of the retailer. 

Dropshipping with Shopify and Etsy

Considering the limitations on what can be sold through Etsy, it should be evident that Etsy is not the best platform for contribution dropshipping. The goods can be manufactured and sold by the dropshipping company only if they are handmade or are based on the seller's given design. These companies include Printful, CJDropshipping, Yoycol, Printify, etc.

While making the Shopify vs Etsy comparison, it can be unsurprising that there is no more suitable platform than Shopify for those who plan to use dropshipping. Dropshipping suppliers can be the popular AliExpress, Alibaba, Megagoods, Spocket, Oberlo, etc.

Shopify vs Etsy: Ease of use 

Opening an online store and selling may seem challenging, especially for beginners. Fortunately, it turns out that everything is pretty easy with Shopify and Etsy. The registering merchants will never have difficulties thanks to comprehensive navigation and easy registration. 

Shopify is designed with the central concept to ease the online store-building process as much as possible. This leading e-commerce platform shines with its great tools, which make everything super easy. It gives its users everything they need while keeping its interface accurate and delivering a good user experience (UX). Shopify guides its sellers through the long setup process, supporting all the necessary features and tools and an understandable menu. 

What concerns Etsy, it is very light in use. The registering seller should set up an account, pick up a good name for his store, and upload the item pictures. Once the installation is completed, the store can start functioning. While studying Shopify vs Etsy differences, Etsy's comfort in use and ease is predictable, which is excellent for beginners. There is no need to build an entire website like with Shopify; what is required is to upload the item and add the descriptions. 

Indeed, both eCommerce companies have a clear and accessible interface, but Shopify is more technical than Etsy. While looking at the amount of robust and helpful e-commerce tools, platforms are equally beginner-friendly and registering an online store will be a step of a few minutes.  

Shopify vs Etsy: Payment and fees

If other platforms' amounts that should be paid may appear at the most unexpected time, Shopify and Etsy always make their clients aware of the monthly fees and commissions. It is always required to have general information about the subscription cost before purchasing it in order to avoid extra expenses. 

Shopify price-list

The eCommerce company offers five plans for different budgets and needs:

  • Shopify Lite is the beginning plan which starts the sales process on the shop website. The monthly payment is $9, adding that Shopify charges 2.9%+$0.30 on every order.
  • Basic Shopify plan has the same features as Shopify Lite plus a website and discount codes. It will cost $29 a month and 2.9%+$0.30 on every order.
  • Shopify plan provides all the above-listed features and, as a new feature, gives five employee accounts and gift cards. The monthly payment is $79, and the fee on each transaction goes down to 2.6% + $0.30.
  • Advanced Shopify is more expensive than others and costs $299 monthly, with 2.4%+$0.30 on each order, but worth it for medium and big businesses. Here the shop gets 15 employee accounts and, in addition, advanced reporting options.
  • Shopify Plus is a special plan for huge retail businesses that may have up to a thousand online transactions in one minute. The plan payment and fees per order depending on several factors.

Etsy price-list 

Along with monthly payments, Etsy also requests the following fees for every transaction. The seller should pay 5% + $0.25 for each order and an additional 3% fee. However, a commission fee of 12% - 15% per transaction for sales generated from external advertising on Etsy may arise. A regular $0.20 on product listing will be charged quarterly, but it has a mission to remind the seller to update the product lifecycle.

Etsy has only three plans:

  • Etsy Standard plan allows having a store on the marketplace and selling.
  • Etsy Plus plan costs $10 a month. It has more useful features than the Standard plan. A monthly credit budget for Etsy listings and ads developed store customization options and access to discounts on custom packaging, and promotional materials are included in this plan.
  • Etsy Pattern will be available for a monthly payment of $15. The specialty of this plan is that the store can use its domain name and get many advanced tools and features.

SEO for Shopify vs Etsy

It may sound banal, but every business owner strives to reach success in the eCommerce world. So, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a must!

Shopify's leading search engine is Google, and this is because the sellers have their online store website created with Shopify, and consequently, customers will use the world's most popular search engine.

In Etsy's case, things are pretty different, and here is another reason why Shopify vs Etsy comparative guide should be studied. Etsy can be compared to a megamarket with its search engine. Etsy presents the results to those who are already ready to place an order, not those who are just looking for it. 

The most significant point to consider about Shopify vs Etsy SEO comparison is that Etsy offers the sellers two SEO options. When surfing the Etsy catalog through other search engines, it will index them on Google, and technically Etsy has ample opportunities for product popularity growth and, in fact, audience enrichment. 

Shopify vs Etsy: Help and customer support 

While stepping into the world of new opportunities called Shopify or Etsy, customer support will be necessary. If you have any questions or problems at night, customer support will immediately fly to help. So, before choosing the platform, in the Shopify vs Etsy guide, customer support has its unique place in the list. 

Shopify is guided by the goal that none of its sellers should stop selling goods even for a while. That is why it offers 24/7 via phone, email and live chat. The platform also keeps its activity on social media, organizes forums, shares video tutorials and gives advanced expert advisory.

Etsy does not lack strong customer support via phone and email. The Etsy Success newsletter regularly shares valuable tips and new and fresh advice. The platform has a forum where sellers are welcome to read and join community discussions, ask questions, and receive Etsy announcements.

There is no doubt that both platforms have high-level customer service. Still, looking at things directly, it may be evident that in the Shopify vs Etsy "competition," Shopify's day and night live-to-chat feature gives it a bonus in this area.

Shopify vs Etsy: Conclusion 

In terms of goals and provided opportunities, Shopify and Etsy may appear the same, but this guide showed the opposite side. It was dedicated to showing the considerable diversity of the platforms, which will clarify a part of frequently asked questions and help to understand which platform is the most corresponding and which will further help reach the set goals. As discussed above in the article, Etsy and Shopify eCommerce companies have unique rules and regulations, price lists and working methods that will assist differently during the eCommerce journey.

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David Malan
Account Manager
A specialist in the field of market analysis in such areas as software development, web applications, mobile applications and the selection of potential vendors. Creator of analytical articles that have been praised by their readers. Highly qualified author and compiler of companies ratings.

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Shopify vs Etsy: Quick Guide to Help You Decide