Shopify vs Etsy: Which Platform is Right for Your Business?

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Deciding where to set up your online store can feel like standing at a crossroads. Two major options – Shopify and Etsy – each offer unique benefits.

Navigating the e-commerce terrain can often seem like deciphering an intricate puzzle. With platforms like Shopify and Etsy leading the way, making a choice can be a daunting task.

The Shopify vs Etsy debate often boils down to your business model, individual needs, and long-term goals, and the key lies in understanding your unique business needs and aligning them with the right platform.

So, let’s dissect the intricacies of Shopify vs Etsy and aid you in choosing the platform that’s the perfect fit for your entrepreneurial journey.

Quick Takeaways:

  1. Platform Overview:
    • Shopify: Full-fledged e-commerce platform with robust customization, ideal for those seeking autonomy and control.
    • Etsy: Online marketplace, perfect for handmade, vintage, and unique items, offering a ready-made platform for sellers.
  2. Customization and Control:
    • Shopify: Provides extensive customization options, allowing for a unique store design aligned with your brand.
    • Etsy: Limited customization, offering a standardized storefront for a quick and easy setup.
  3. Fees and Pricing:
    • Shopify: Monthly subscription model with varying plans, transaction fees apply if not using Shopify Payments.
    • Etsy: Charges per listing and a transaction fee, making it approachable for small businesses but fees increase with sales.
  4. Audience and Discovery:
    • Shopify: Requires active effort to drive traffic to your own site, giving more control over marketing strategies.
    • Etsy: Built-in audience with shoppers discovering products within the Etsy marketplace, advantageous for new sellers.
  5. Scalability:
    • Shopify: Highly scalable, suitable for businesses of all sizes, offering advanced features for growth.
    • Etsy: Great starting point for small businesses but may have limitations on scalability as the business expands.
  6. Ease of Use:
    • Shopify: Slightly more complex setup, but provides flexibility and a range of themes for customization.
    • Etsy: User-friendly interface, easy setup, making it an excellent choice for beginners.
  7. Customer Support:
    • Shopify: 24/7 customer support via various channels, extensive help center, and active community forums.
    • Etsy: Help center available, but phone support only for Etsy Plus subscribers.
  8. Payment Options:
    • Shopify: Diverse payment options including credit cards, PayPal, and Shopify Payments.
    • Etsy: Accepts payments through Etsy Payments, availability varies by country.
  9. Sales Features:
    • Shopify: Versatile sales features, supporting physical and digital products, discounts, and multi-channel selling.
    • Etsy: Niche-focused, excelling in handmade and unique items, limited in selling a wide range of products.
  10. Inventory Management:
    • Shopify: Robust inventory management with features like tracking, product variations, and SKU management.
    • Etsy: Offers inventory tracking but may be less suitable for larger businesses with diverse product lines.

About Shopify

best ecommerce platforms - shopify

Shopify is a full-fledged e-commerce platform that allows you to start, grow, and manage a business. Its main appeal lies in its robustness and customization capabilities. Imagine a blank canvas where you can paint your dream online store – that’s Shopify for you.

The platform’s features are vast and varied. You can create a website, organize your products, accept payments, track orders, and much more. The main benefit of Shopify is that it gives you full control over your store’s design and operation.

However, this freedom comes with its challenges. Setting up your store on Shopify can be a tad more complex than on Etsy, especially if you’re new to e-commerce. Plus, Shopify operates on a subscription model, meaning you’ll need to pay a monthly fee to use its features.

Shopify Pros and Cons

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With Print-on-Demand, you have the opportunity to print your own brand and designs on products like t-shirts, phone cases, pillows, hats and even shower curtains. You don’t have to hold any inventory, you simply need to focus on marketing and design, and choose a fulfillment company that will send your customer their product when you receive an order.

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  • Variety of Products: Since Shopify powers individual online stores across all kinds of industries, consumers can buy almost anything from a Shopify store, from clothing to electronics, home goods, and more.
  • Smooth Shopping Experience: Shopify provides a seamless shopping experience, with straightforward navigation, fast load times, and easy checkouts.
  • Customer Support: Many Shopify stores offer robust customer support options, including live chat, email support, and extensive FAQs.


  • Discovery: Unlike marketplaces like Etsy, there’s no central site for browsing all Shopify stores. Consumers usually need to know the specific website of the Shopify store they want to shop from.
  • Varied User Experiences: As each Shopify store is individually designed, the shopping experience can vary widely from store to store in terms of design, navigation, and ease of use.
  • Return Policies: Return policies can vary greatly between different Shopify stores, depending on the individual store’s rules.

About Etsy

screenshot of etsy landing page

On the other hand, Etsy is more like a bustling online marketplace. Here, you’ll find small businesses selling unique, often handcrafted, items. If you’re an artisan, vintage, or handmade goods seller, Etsy is a place where your products can shine.

With Etsy, you don’t need to build a store from scratch. Just set up an account, list your products, and you’re good to go. This ease of use is one of Etsy’s main advantages.

However, while you’ll be part of a vibrant community, you’ll have less control over your store’s appearance and operation. Plus, Etsy charges fees per listing and takes a cut from your sales.

Etsy Pros and Cons

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  • Unique Products: Etsy is known for unique, handmade, and vintage items. If consumers are looking for one-of-a-kind products or personalized items, Etsy is a great place to shop.
  • Easy to Use: Etsy’s interface is user-friendly, making it easy for customers to browse and search for items.
  • Community Feel: Etsy has a community vibe, with buyers able to communicate directly with sellers, leave reviews, and favorite shops and items.


  • Product Consistency: Since many products are handmade, there might be variations in quality or consistency between different items or sellers.
  • Shipping Times: Shipping times can be long, especially for customized items or products shipped from overseas.
  • Limited Range: While Etsy excels in certain categories (like handmade and vintage items), it has a more limited range compared to general online retailers.

Etsy vs Shopify: What Are The Main Differences?

Shopify and Etsy are two leading platforms for e-commerce, but they serve different types of businesses and offer distinct features.

Here are the key differences between the two:

Platform TypeEtsy is a marketplace, meaning it’s a platform where many sellers list their products, similar to eBay or Amazon. When you create a shop on Etsy, your shop and your products exist within the larger Etsy ecosystem.Shopify is a complete ecommerce platform that allows you to start, grow, and manage a business. It enables you to create your own standalone website, with your own branding and domain.
Product TypeEtsy is known for handmade goods, vintage items, and craft supplies. If your products fall into these categories, Etsy can be a good choice.Shopify is more versatile in terms of what you can sell. From physical products to digital products, services, and more, if you can price it, you can sell it on Shopify.
Control and CustomizationOn Etsy, you have less control over your shop’s appearance. There are fewer customization options, and your shop will generally look like other shops on Etsy.With Shopify, you have much greater control over your site’s design. You can choose from many different themes (both free and paid), and you can customize them extensively to match your brand.
FeesOn Etsy, there are listing fees, transaction fees, and payment processing fees. However, there’s no monthly charge unless you upgrade to Etsy Plus or Etsy Pattern.Shopify operates on a subscription model. You pay a monthly fee, which varies depending on your plan. There are also transaction fees, but these are waived if you use Shopify Payments.
Traffic and DiscoveryEtsy has a built-in audience. Shoppers can discover your products by browsing the Etsy marketplace, which can be a major advantage if you’re just starting out and don’t have a large audience of your own yet.On Shopify, you’re responsible for driving traffic to your own site. This requires more effort, but it also gives you more control over your marketing and customer relationships.
ScalabilityEtsy can be a great starting point for a small business, but it may not be as scalable if your business grows significantly.Shopify is highly scalable. It can support everything from small businesses to large enterprises, and it has more advanced features and integrations to support business growth.

As a lifestyle entrepreneur, it’s important to consider the differences between Shopify and Etsy when deciding which platform to use.

The best choice depends on your specific needs, goals, and the nature of the products you’re selling. You might even decide to use both platforms in different ways to maximize your online presence.

Shopify vs Etsy: Pricing

screenshot of shopify pricing plans

In the Shopify vs Etsy duel, pricing plays a significant role.

Shopify operates on a monthly subscription basis, with plans ranging from $29 to $299 per month. Each plan offers different features, so the best one for you depends on your business size and needs. However, remember that there are also transaction fees if you don’t use Shopify Payments.

Etsy, conversely, charges $0.20 per listing and takes a 5% transaction fee on each sale. This fee structure can be more approachable for small businesses or hobbyists. But as your sales grow, so do your fees.

Shopify vs Etsy: Ease of Use

When it comes to setting up your online store, Etsy takes the cake. You simply sign up, list your products with images and descriptions, and start selling. Etsy’s user-friendly interface makes this process a breeze, even for beginners.

Shopify, while a bit more complex, offers more flexibility. It provides a range of themes and apps to customize your store. But this can require some learning, especially if you want to delve into more advanced features.

Shopify vs Etsy: Customization and Design

Shopify shines in customization. You can tweak almost every aspect of your store, from its layout to its functions. This flexibility allows you to create a unique shopping experience that aligns with your brand. On the downside, excessive customization options can feel overwhelming to some.

Etsy, in contrast, provides a standardized storefront. This means all Etsy shops have a similar look and feel. While it’s easier to set up, it gives you less room to differentiate your brand visually.

Shopify vs Etsy: SEO and Marketing Tools

Both Shopify and Etsy understand the importance of reaching a wider audience.

Shopify offers built-in SEO features and various marketing tools, such as email marketing and social media integration. It also allows you to use Google Analytics to monitor your store’s performance.

Etsy has its SEO features too, and the platform’s popularity can help boost your visibility. However, your products are displayed alongside others, meaning you’re competing directly with other Etsy sellers.

Shopify vs Etsy: Customer Support

screenshot of etsy customer support

Shopify offers 24/7 customer support via phone, email, and live chat. Additionally, Shopify has a comprehensive help center and active community forums.

screenshot of shopify customer service page

Etsy also has a help center; you can contact the support team via email. However, phone support is only available for sellers who use Etsy’s paid subscription service, Etsy Plus.

Shopify vs Etsy: Payment Options

Shopify provides a plethora of payment options, including credit and debit cards, PayPal, and more. It also offers Shopify Payments – its own payment gateway.

Etsy accepts payments through Etsy Payments, which supports various payment methods, including credit cards, debit cards, Etsy Gift Cards, and more. However, the availability of Etsy Payments varies by country.

Shopify vs Etsy: Sales Features

In the Shopify vs Etsy comparison, sales features are another crucial factor.

On Shopify, the world is your oyster when it comes to sales features. You can sell physical and digital products, offer discounts, and even sell through multiple channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon.

Etsy, though, is more limited. Etsy’s strength lies in its niche – it’s perfect for handmade, vintage, or unique items. It’s not designed to sell a wide range of products, especially not anything mass-produced. As an Etsy seller, you can offer discounts, but multi-channel selling is not a native feature of the platform.

Shopify vs Etsy: Inventory Management

Both platforms offer inventory management features.

Then aagain, Shopify comes out on top regarding robustness. Shopify allows you to track inventory, set up product variations, and even manage SKU numbers.

Etsy allows for inventory tracking as well, but its capabilities might not be sufficient for larger businesses with diverse product lines.

Shopify vs Etsy: Community and Education

When you’re starting a lifestyle business, a supportive community and educational resources can be invaluable.

Both Shopify and Etsy have strong communities and provide a wealth of educational materials.

Shopify offers a comprehensive knowledge base, online forums, webinars, and even local meetups. Etsy has an extensive help center, community forums, and its Seller Handbook, which is filled with useful tips for running an Etsy shop.

Shopify vs Etsy: Which Platform is Right for You? – Summary

Choosing between Shopify and Etsy largely depends on your business needs. If you value customization and want full control over your online store, Shopify may be the right choice. However, if you prefer a ready-made marketplace with less technical involvement, Etsy might suit you better.

Plus while Shopify empowers you with more autonomy and scalability, it requires a considerable effort in audience building, whereas Etsy offers you a ready-made, vast and diverse customer base to potentially grow your business faster.

Remember, the Shopify vs Etsy debate doesn’t have to be an either-or decision. Some businesses use both platforms, leveraging the strengths of each. It all comes down to what works best for your specific needs and goals.

In the world of e-commerce, there’s room for many strategies. So, dive in, explore the Shopify vs Etsy landscape, and discover the path that feels right for your e-commerce business journey.

FREE Build a Print on Demand Empire Course


  • How to discover your niche and validate your product idea
  • How to choose the right Print-on-Demand fulfillment app for your business
  • How to build your Shopify store from scratch
  • How to generate traffic and sales with Facebook marketing and email marketing


Print-on-Demand is one of the fastest growing business models for ecommerce entrepreneurs.

With Print-on-Demand, you have the opportunity to print your own brand and designs on products like t-shirts, phone cases, pillows, hats and even shower curtains. You don’t have to hold any inventory, you simply need to focus on marketing and design, and choose a fulfillment company that will send your customer their product when you receive an order.

In this FREE course you’re learn from serial ecommerce entrepreneur Adrian Morrison, who will teach you the step-by-step process to create your print on demand store from start to scale (the level of success is up to you).

Shopify vs Etsy: Which Platform is Right for You? – FAQs

Can I sell on both Shopify and Etsy?

Yes, you can absolutely sell on both platforms. Some business owners choose this path to leverage the benefits of both Shopify and Etsy. For example, you might use Shopify for its customization capabilities and Etsy for its existing customer base.

Yes, you can integrate your Shopify store with your Etsy shop using various apps available in the Shopify App Store. These apps allow you to sync your products, inventory, and more between the two platforms.

What sells better on Etsy compared to Shopify?

Etsy is known for handmade, vintage, and unique items. Therefore, if you sell these types of products, you might find a more targeted customer base on Etsy. Shopify, being a standalone e-commerce platform, can cater to a broader range of products and industries.

Is it easier to make money on Shopify or Etsy?

The answer to this question largely depends on your business model, the nature of your products, and your marketing efforts.

Etsy has a built-in customer base, which can be beneficial for new sellers. However, Shopify offers more control over your store and marketing, which could lead to higher potential profits in the long run.

Is Etsy a good starting point for beginners?

Yes, Etsy is often considered a great starting point for beginners because of its ease of use. With Etsy, you can set up your shop quickly without needing much technical knowledge.

However, as your business grows, you might want to consider a platform like Shopify that offers more scalability and customization options.

Does Shopify handle shipping, or do I have to do it myself?

Shopify provides various shipping options and supports integration with major shipping carriers. However, as a seller, you are responsible for packaging and sending out your products. Shopify helps you calculate accurate shipping rates for your customers and create shipping labels.

How long does it take to set up a store on Shopify vs Etsy?

The time it takes to set up a store can vary widely depending on your technical skills and how much customization you want.

Generally, setting up a basic Etsy shop can be done in a few hours, while setting up a Shopify store could take a few days to ensure everything is configured correctly.

What types of businesses are best suited for Shopify?

Shopify is great for businesses of all sizes, from small startups to larger enterprises.

Its customization capabilities make it suitable for any product type. If you have a vision for a unique online store or plan to scale up your business, Shopify might be the ideal choice.

How quickly can I start selling on Shopify or Etsy?

On Etsy, you can start selling as soon as you’ve set up your shop and listed your products, which can be done within a few hours.

With Shopify, the setup process is more involved, especially if you want to customize your store extensively. However, with a basic setup, you can start selling on Shopify within a few days.

Can I move my Etsy shop to Shopify?

Yes, there are several apps available that allow you to migrate your listings from Etsy to Shopify. These tools can help you transition smoothly and ensure your product information is transferred accurately.

Can I import my products from Etsy to Shopify?

Yes, you can import your products from Etsy to Shopify. There are several apps available in the Shopify App Store that can facilitate this process, making it easier to switch or operate on both platforms.

Does Shopify have a marketplace like Etsy?

No, Shopify doesn’t have a marketplace like Etsy. Shopify is a platform that lets you build your own standalone online store, while Etsy is an online marketplace where various sellers list their products.

Does Shopify offer multi-channel selling?

Yes, Shopify does offer multi-channel selling. With Shopify, you can sell your products not only on your Shopify store but also on various other platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon.

Does Etsy have better SEO than Shopify?

Etsy’s SEO is powerful because of the platform’s popularity and the fact that products listed on Etsy can appear in Google search results. However, Shopify also offers robust SEO features that allow you to optimize your store and product pages for search engines.

The SEO performance of a Shopify or Etsy store will depend largely on how effectively the store owner implements SEO best practices.

Can I use my own domain name with Shopify and Etsy?

With Shopify, you can use your own domain name, which helps to create a unique and professional web presence.

On the other hand, Etsy shops are hosted on the Etsy platform (e.g.,, but you can purchase a custom domain through Etsy to redirect to your Etsy shop.

How do returns work on Shopify vs Etsy?

On Shopify, you have control over your store’s return policy. You can set the terms that suit your business model and manage returns as you see fit. On Etsy, you can also set your own return policy, but you’ll have to adhere to Etsy’s policies if a dispute arises.

Is it better to use Etsy or Shopify?

The choice between Etsy and Shopify depends on your business needs. If you value autonomy, customization, and a wide range of products, Shopify may be the better choice. However, if you prefer a ready-made marketplace with a focus on handmade and unique items, Etsy could be the right platform for your e-commerce business.

Is it cheaper to sell with Shopify?

The cost of selling on Shopify involves a monthly subscription fee, varying based on your chosen plan. While this fee structure offers scalability and advanced features, Etsy may be more cost-effective for small businesses or hobbyists with its per-listing and transaction fees. Assessing your budget and business size will help determine the more economical option for you.

How much does Shopify take per sale?

Shopify’s pricing includes a monthly subscription fee, but transaction fees are waived if you use Shopify Payments. It’s essential to consider your sales volume and payment preferences when evaluating the overall cost. This difference in fee structure sets Shopify apart from Etsy, where fees are incurred per listing and per sale.

Is Shopify good for beginners?

Yes, Shopify is suitable for beginners, offering a user-friendly interface and extensive resources for starting an e-commerce store. While the setup process may be slightly more involved compared to Etsy, Shopify’s scalability and customization options make it an excellent choice for those looking to grow their business over time. Beginners can benefit from the comprehensive knowledge base and support available within the Shopify platform.

About the author

Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links, from which, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Also as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products and services I’ve used or would use myself. If you choose to purchase from any of my links, thanks so much for your support! 😊

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