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Etsy vs Shopify

The market abounds in various eCommerce solutions to meet any taste and requirements. There are versatile options for newbies and pros, which are expensive and cheap, effective or not. We keep comparing them as there are no two completely similar systems. There are always specific distinctions, which make one of the platforms stand out from the crowd. Cost is only one of the factors that may affect your choice.

Overview Comparison Chart

Ease of Use:4/55/5
Overall Score:3.2/54.6/5

We have decided to make a bit strange, but quite interesting comparison this time. Etsy vs Shopify. You can contradict this decision, stating that these products belong to contrasting categories, oriented on diverse audiences and differing in cost. And you will certainly be right. The contrast is obvious here. This is an unfair comparison, the winner of which is known right from the start.

But who is that winner? Maybe, this is Etsy. Anyway, this system makes it possible for an ordinary housewife, who is fond of knitting of biggins, socks and mittens, to add her handmade items to the website created with Etsy with no hassle at all and at minimal cost. This may eventually become the start of a family business or a trademark. Who knows? Etsy will be of great help for her as this is the online fair of any handmade items.

Or, maybe, Shopify is actually the leader? The best website builder in its niche, the powerful platform with a user-friendly interface and a long list of renowned clients, it will allow that very housewife to launch a personalized brand online store with a bit higher financial investments. The web store will come with its own logo, design, structure, email, a broad range of product assortment, enhanced functionality and other likewise elements. This sounds really great, doesn’t it?

As far as Etsy has narrow specialization like handmade products, we’ll compare it with Shopify from this point of view. We’ll forget about hypermarkets of brand clothes, electronics, construction materials and other products that are usually created with it. Let’s imagine that a person, who is fond of certain handmade activity, wants to sell his/her products on the web. What platform will work better for this person? Let’s look for the answers together now!

1. Ease Of Use

  • Etsy. To launch your online store with Etsy, you’ll need to submit a rich amount of personal data. Generally, the use of the platform will hardly be a problem for an ordinary user. All Etsy stores are created on the basis of one principle. They don’t have any preferences regarding each other from the point of view of functionality. That’s why, the major usability criteria are correct filling out out information fields, photo uploads, the choice of regional and language parameters, right specialization and keyword detection. In other words, Etsy requires increased attention to details.

    Etsy Main Screen

    Each nuance has notable effect upon sales results. The complexity of using the platform is that a web store owner pays much for the smallest fault, inaccuracy or shortcoming. Users, who have ignored at least one field that has to be filled out or didn’t have the desire to add a few product photos, just won’t be able to find their positions in the search engine platform results.

    Etsy Stock Shop

    The structure of the system itself resembles that of professional website builders, except for several other sections (coding, design, plugins etc.).

  • Shopify. This is the simplest and the most convenient to use eCommerce website builder of the top niche segment. Regardless of the rich number of useful functions, its dashboard creates light and intuitively understandable impression.

    Shopify DashBoard

    You just need to carefully read everything you see on a screen to be able to launch your online store with no experience at all. This is the major Shopify feature, which implies the ability to present complex things in a simple way and to convert confusing things into understandable ones. The service works well for everyone, who has the desire to sell something, irrespective of the business specialization and expertise level.

Etsy vs Shopify. Dashboards of both systems are visually similar. This may be strange, but Etsy upper level section menu is longer. However, if you start exploring the situation, Shopify proves to be much wider and deeper. Etsy, though, cannot be considered simpler. Shopify has a logically-structured control panel, while the amount of settings almost has no influence upon the complexity of mastering the system. It’s still easy to use it. So, there is no great difference between the systems, when it comes to this parameter.

2. Feature Set and Flexibility

  • Etsy. The interface of the system is subdivided into 2 parts, namely the user account and online store backend. Web store connection becomes possible after the submission of personal information and payment details. The service allows adding products to be sold within a single trading platform. This scheme can be compared to a huge trading center, which encompasses a large number of stores at a time. All of them are united by the only etsy-dot-com domain.

    Etsy Name Your Shop

    In other words, you get an online store on shopname.etsy-dot-com subdomain. The dashboard contains settings for listings (this is the way trading positions are called here), conversations, orders, statistics preview and marketing.

    Etsy Apps

    You can also fill out information about the online store and let external services synchronize information about your products to be available for view in commonly accessible sources (Google Shopping, Bing, Shopstyle, Polyvore, Facebook). It’s also possible to connect Google Analytics to your online store, upload lots of listings from CSV or add order data to the file. You can also set up privacy policy, two-factor authentication, choose language and region, set up notification delivery etc.

  • Shopify. This is a sustainable eCommerce system, which makes it possible to launch an online store of any size on the chosen 2nd level domain. It comes with a full range of options typical for this product niche, including a wide choice and detailed online store design settings, blog connection, navigation and static pages formation, connection of sales channels and installation of various applications for extra functionality.

    Shopify Site Editor

    It goes without saying that essential things like CSV product import, e-mail marketing, decent CRM, detailed reports, stock apps, powerful SEO, taxes, delivery, synchronization with external services and other suchlike nuances are fully provided here. The quality of functionality realization is on the top notch level. It’s hard to enlist all the Shopify features. The system seems to have everything you could see in any other eCommerce website builder or CMS.

Etsy vs Shopify. Etsy functionality constitutes around 20% of that provided by Shopify. Handmade fair has narrow specialization and allows building online stores on the system subdomains. The amount of its features is as much as this is needed for proper functioning of the system on its own domain. Shopify is a much more serious platform, which does not have any distinct specialization. Its functionality is enough to realize the potential of web stores of different niches and sizes. By working with it, you will be the master of your project.

As to Etsy, you’ll have to follow the system rules. For example, you won’t be able to delete user comments in your online store. Even if someone just decides to write something unpleasant about your store, you won’t have enough rights to change that. You’ll have to write to the tech support team, ask them to fix the problem etc. This is the general essence of everything happening at Etsy. You will be a guest here and you shouldn’t forget about that. When it comes to feature set and flexibility, Shopify is definitely the leader.

3. Designs

Number of Themes:050+
Free Themesn/a YES
Paid Themes Cost:n/a$140-$180
Responsive Design NO YES
Sort by Industry: YES YES
CSS Code Editing: NO YES
  • Etsy. All online stores created with the system have similar designs. There is no opportunity to choose a template, edit CSS code or upload your own layout here.

    You build a typical project, which will be distinguished from other projects by the unique text part (About Your Shop), title, online store icon and banner in your web page header. You will also get an opportunity to publish links on Twitter and Facebook accounts so that your customers could see them in your profile.

    It’s also possible to set up shop policies, namely shipping information, payment options, return and exchange, privacy policy etc.

    Etsy - Shop Example

    These are the things that will give your web page a bit of individuality. We recommend getting the most out of them by adding maximum high quality product photos, a detailed “About” page with the description of the production process, your emotions and photos, review of the online store history and things like that. This will not only give your website individuality, but will have notable effect upon the Etsy search engine results for your own benefit.

  • Shopify. 10 free and 51 paid templates (the cost ranges from $100 and up to $180) will offer enough freedom of choice. Designs are of high quality here. Paid samples are more versatile not only because of their quality. Any template can be adjusted to meet your needs in details. You can edit header, footer and any other blocks, set up slideshows, fonts, color schemes and other elements. What’s more, there is a opportunity to edit template codes. Thus, Shopify seems to be a very powerful system in terms of quality and design settings.
  • Shopify Templates

Etsy vs Shopify. There is almost nothing to compare here. Those minor elements that are offered in terms of Etsy design, fade away in the background of Shopify design customization options. Etsy seriously lags behind Shopify in this respect. Shopify is, undoubtedly, the leader.

4. Customer Support

  • Shopify. Shopify can offer its users live chat with tech support, e-mail feedback option, a rich number of tutorials and live forum. There is also the YouTube channel belonging to the service, which offers lots of educative videos covering all the functionality aspects. Generally, Shopify tech support is on a decent level.

  • Etsy. Etsy grants access to the “Community and Help” section found in the online store dashboard. This is where you connect with tech support team, read the instructions, find out website rules or get forum access. The quality of tech support is nice.

Etsy vs Shopify. Both services offer decent tech support level. Shopify provides a larger amount of educative materials (text and video) as well as a live chat. As to the rest of features, there is no big difference in terms of customer support organization.

5. Pricing Policy

Both services have different price formation approaches. Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, after which a user has to choose one of the 4 paid plans. As to Etsy, the system requires the addition of at least one product and specification of your payment details. The cost of publication of 1 listing constitutes $0.20, the payment is valid for 4 months. This is the fixed cost you can consider when adding any number of products. Thus, the show window displaying 100 products created with Etsy will cost you $20 per 4 months.

Etsy Tariffs:
$0.20 per listing;
You pay regardless of resulting sales;
A listing expires every 4 months.

What’s more, both services charge commission fees for all the completed sales. Shopify commission rate constitutes from 0.5% and up to 2% depending upon the chosen plan (the more advanced the plan is, the lower the commission fee proves to be). Etsy charges fixed 3.5% commission from the cost of the sold product. The commission, however, does not cover the cost of delivery. Commission fees for sold products have to be manually paid on the first day of each month.

Commision Fees:

You will get the notification and the bill (this will be found in “Your Bill” section). If the bill won’t be paid until the 15th day of the month, your online store may be closed. In other words, the money won’t be automatically deducted from your accounts. All the transactions required to prolong the listings and pay the commissions will have to be completed manually. The potential risk you may face is your account and online store lock-out. Etsy doesn’t offer any other paid plans or billing terms.

Shopify Plans:
Shopify Lite$9/mo;
Basic Shopify$29/mo;
Advanced Shopify$299/mo.

Shopify offers 4 paid plans, the cost of which constitutes $9 (Buy Button), $29, $79 and $299 per month correspondingly. The difference between them is in the set of marketing tools, advanced sales reports and transaction fee amount. The service offers an opportunity to get money refund during 14 days after the bill is paid.

Thus, the cost of an online store for, let’s say, 100 knitted items will constitute $108 per year (Lite Plan) at Shopify with 2% of commission sales fee, while that on Etsy will be around $60 (product listings should be renewed every four months) with 3.5% commission sales fee. If you plan to sell 200 products, then the cost will remain the same at Shopify, while at Etsy, it will increase up to $120.

Overlooking the functionality aspect, it’s more affordable to create an online store with Shopify. Commission fees also matter a lot here. Let’s say, the turnover of your online store constitutes $1000 per month. Thus, Etsy commission will be $420 per year, while that at Shopify will constitute $240. As a result, we get the difference in $180 on $12000 of the yearly turnover. Is it much or not? It’s up to you to decide that.


  • Etsy is a great platform to get inspiration. You can spend long hours enjoying author masterpieces and getting the ideas for new products and directions. And you can also purchase what you need there – the assortment is really impressive. But is it reasonable to sell something at Etsy? Yes, but only for a small percentage of online stores created with the system. As you understand, there are specific rules of product ranking available here. Competition rate is very high.

    To reach notable results with Etsy, you should own a specialized store (it makes sense to create various web stores for different directions) with the number of products exceeding 50 items, which will come with good descriptions and photos. What you will see in the search engine results is the most popular products that have many comments and sales. The essence is that it’s very hard to get into the top here. Additionally, you will depend upon the Etsy rules. There is a rich choice of sales tutorials on this handmade fair. All of them go down to the only recommendation: take your time to carefully fill out each field of settings and your online store descriptions. Start hoping that customers will eventually find you to visit your product catalogue.

  • Shopify offers you an opportunity to create your own online store – the one, which will come with your domain name, design and terms. It is you, who will be the master of your trading platform. This is a more correct and perspective approach from our point of view. No one will be able to ban your account or impose website design. Do everything as you wish. Develop your online store and generate profit in any available ways. Rich marketing tools make it possible to reach success granted that your approach will be smart and responsible, of course. Absence of restrictions will contribute to your success.

    The cost aspect is also more reasonable at Shopify, from our point of view. Yes, the basic version of the website builder is more expensive, but this is until you reach a certain stage, which is quite accessible, by the way. What you get is full-fledged website functionality and an opportunity to sell the unlimited number of products of any type (not limited to handmade items only). A small store of biggins and mittens may grow into a large online shop of kids clothes with thousands of products and serious turnover. You may eventually have the desire to sell manufactured things, but not only handmade items.

  • Shopify Webstore Builder Review – Read the detailed review of Shopify to get more information about this platform.

Generally, Etsy cannot offer sellers serious perspectives, even irrespective of its semblable democracy and visual attractiveness for a customer. This variant may work well for newbies or for those users, who have already distinguished themselves in terms of the platform. Obviously, it is more reasonable to promote an online store created with Shopify, whatever it is. This is a serious business and the right approach. Etsy is a pleasant platform for amateurs. Our choice is Shopify.

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