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Etsy vs Shopify: Which is Better for Ecommerce?


Etsy and Shopify have proved to be full-featured eCommerce solutions, especially when it comes to functionality and usability. The services make it possible to create online stores, but they utilize quite different approaches to the realization of this task. What’s more, the systems deliver various sets of features that distinguish them from each other.

Etsy is the global marketplace, which was created with the needs and requirements of crafters in mind. It allows selling unique handmade items and makes it possible to build online stores to grow customer base. Shopify is the eCommerce software, which has gained worldwide popularity due to the rich feature set, abundance of web design options, quality eCommerce templates and niche-specific tools. The company lets you build small-to-large online stores to showcase and sell different types of digital and physical products.

Website Builders Comparison Chart

Our score:          
Best for:eCommerce websites
to sell handmade products
Powerful and large-scale eCommerce websites
Templates:No template collection at all – only one theme suitable for customizationMultiple free and paid responsive designs
Technical Support:Community and Help Section, extensive community forumHelp Center, Live Chat, Forum, eCommerce University
Blogging Options:No integrated blogging engineQuality blogging platform
SEO Options:Standard SEO settingsPowerful SEO settings
Pricing:$0.20 per one productFrom $9/mo
More info:Etsy Review →Shopify Review →

Both services are worth the attention of users willing to bring their businesses online, increase the amount of customers and generate profit. But which of them will be the leader in this comparison? Which eCommerce solution may ensure the utmost functionality to cater to various web building needs? Let’s analyze the services and their features right away to help you make the unbiased decision.

Etsy vs Shopify: General Overview

Etsy vs Shopify: General Overview

Etsy is a well-known global marketplace, which has won immense popularity with users willing to offer their handmade items for sale. This is the top destination for creatives, who are engaged in the production of DIY goods and have an intention to sell them online to reach more customers. Whether you are fond of crafting, knitting or creating unique products out of various materials, you will avail a perfect opportunity to run a web store to popularize your local business on the web and get in touch with the audience you target.

The system was launched in 2005 and it has grown into one of the most popular eCommerce marketplaces in the world by now. Statistics shows that it is possible to get access to 62,050 live web stores powered by Etsy now, while the overall number of the system subscribers has reached 82,421 users.

Shopify is now considered the best eCommerce software in the world and that’s really so. The platform is used for a variety of web store development purposes. The system lets you start and manage eCommerce projects of diverse complexity levels – from small and medium online stores and up to large-scale hypermarkets with hundreds (if not even thousands) of products offered for sale.

Founded in 2004, Shopify has quickly gained worldwide popularity due to its impressive integrated eCommerce functionality and advanced web store customizability. As of today, the number of live web stores the software powers, encounters 1,631,096, while the amount of the system subscribers has reached 3,518,389 users. Lets’ face it: this statistics really looks impressive.

To sum it up, Shopify is a far more popular, feature-laden and flexible eCommerce solution as compared to Etsy. The system boasts worldwide recognition and is rightfully considered the eCommerce giant of the contemporary web design market. Its high end integrated feature set, advanced design customization tools, powerful customer support options and reasonable pricing make the platform stand out from the crowd.

Etsy vs Shopify: Which One Is Easier to Use?

Etsy vs Shopify: Which One Is Easier to Use?

Etsy is quite a simple eCommerce marketplace, which works well for all user categories. Whether you are a newbie making the first try to set up a web store or a proficient user aware of web design nuances, building an eCommerce website with the system won’t trigger any problems. What you need is to provide your personal data, fill out the fields containing your web store info, specify language and location parameters, adjust SEO characteristics, payment and shipping info and start customizing it.

All Etsy stores are structured according to the same principle, which simplifies the task for all user categories. You are allowed to create the unlimited number of listings, but each of them will be live for 4 months only. If you wish, you can update it afterwards.

Etsy Product Management

Make sure to check all the details you submit as each of them has serious impact upon the eventual sales result. If you fail to fill out all the required fields or underestimate the importance of following all the steps the web store creation procedure implies, the final search engine results may not come up to your initial expectations.

As to the customer support options, Etsy grants access to the “Community and Help” section found in the online store dashboard. This is where you can get in touch with the tech support team, read lots of articles and come across general and seller help topics.This is enough to find answers to the most frequent questions users might have.

If there are still any questions or doubts left, you can reach the community forum section to have your problems solved here. The search filter option will cut down the overall search time.

Shopify is the simplest and the most convenient to use eCommerce software. Regardless of the rich number of useful functions, tools and features, the platform creates pleasant impression from the very first moment you start using it.

The dashboard of the system creates light and intuitively understandable impression. It’s so user-friendly that you just can’t get lost here. Just follow the steps the wizard offers to create and customize a decent web store with the system. The service works well for everyone, who has the desire to sell digital and physical products, irrespective of the business specialization and expertise level.

Shopify Dashboard

It’s possible to manage and update your Shopify web store on the go by using the devices you have at hand. Due to the availability of free Shopify apps for Android and iOS, this is easy and quick.

Speaking about customer support, Shopify offers several solutions that are definitely worth the subscription cost. Users can browse a huge forum containing thousands of topics to handle all their issues and read the feedbacks of other users. There are also lots of how-to-guides, helpful articles, recommendations and tips here.

Shopify is also proud of its Live Chat feature with a Shopify Guru. Email support is available here as well. What’s more, the platform has its own YouTube channel, where one can come across multiple educative videos.

When it comes to the ease of use, it’s possible to launch a web store with both systems, even if you are a non-techie. Shopify, however, excels at the ease of use, providing greater flexibility and deeper customization options. Shopify has a logically-structured control panel, while the amount of settings almost has no influence upon the complexity of mastering the system. Etsy offers less intuitive web design approach, although, mastering the system is not quite difficult as well.

Etsy vs Shopify: Design and Flexibility

Etsy vs Shopify: Design and Flexibility

Etsy and Shopify both make it possible to launch and effectively run professional online stores to target any audience. The systems are both geared towards eCommerce website development and, thus, their integrated functionality perfectly comes up to this objective. To define the leader of the comparison in terms of functionality, though, it makes sense to review the parameters they share. This will help figure out the system, which prevails over its competitor. Let’s get started now.


Etsy is not similar to its main competitors. It comes with specific marketplace parameters and trading rules that are centered around the major specification of the platform – selling handmade products. You won’t be able to sell any other physical or digital products here – keep that in mind. Thus, the functionality of the system goes down to this very objective.

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 Add a Product

The dashboard contains settings for listings (this is the way trading positions are called here), conversations, orders, statistics preview and marketing. With Etsy, it is possible to create and manage product lists, upload lots of listings from CSV files 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 excels at functionality, offering a broad range of features to cover versatile marketing and shopping needs of users. It provides comes with extensive product/web store management options (product reviews and images, specification of their parameters, online store settings), live view feature to keep track of your web store performance in the real-time mode, shopcode integration, the advanced Augmented Reality feature, CSV file import/export, abandoned checkout recovery, multilingual and multichannel support (Shopify has partnership relations with Facebook, eBay, Instagram etc.). You can connect the SSL Certificate and make use of the Fraud Protect feature to ensure the safety of website transactions and customers’ info.

Shopify Add a Product

Shopify also boasts extended marketing options. Thus, it offers the POS (Point-of-Sale) software, Shopify Ping mobile application, Buy One, Get One (BOGO) discounts, UPS Shopify Shipping feature, one-step dynamic checkout procedure, Shopify App Store with multiple niche-focused widgets and extensions, extensive retail options, advanced Tap and Chip Reader to let customers make quick “tap” payments via Google Play and Apple Pay apps etc.

Speaking about eCommerce, Shopify is the undeniable leader of the comparison. Being focused exclusively on web store development, the software delivers a truly impressive set of eCommerce features that make it possible to start and manage all types of web stores to further promote them on the web. Etsy also allows for web store creation yet its integrated eCommerce functionality definitely lags behind Shopify. To be precise, Etsy feature set encomasses around 20% of options provided by Shopify, which is explained by the narrow specialization of the platform. This fact speaks for itself.


Etsy doesn’t have an integrated blogging engine as the system reveals itself mostly as a marketplace for selling DIY items. Thus, it does not imply the need to connect and manage blogs just because it has narrow niche specialization. It goes without saying that blog availability may notably enhance your web store popularity and customer interest. This is a great means of user generation and increase of sales growth. Etsy, however, does not provide the feature by default.

Shopify comes with a powerful integrated blogging platform. It allows starting a blog and connecting it to your web store, irrespective of its specialization. Having launched the one, you will be able to add, edit and manage posts, create impressive lookbooks, integrated media files, set up Future Publishing feature, divide posts into thematic categories etc. Likewise, it is possible to adjust SEO settings for more effective promotion of your project on the web.

Shopify Blog Post

As to the blog availability, there is no need to compare anything at all here. Shopify boasts quite a powerful blogging engine that allows for blog creation and management. Etsy, in its turn, does not offer any blogging options and, thus, it is simply impossible to start a blog with the platform.

Integration Options

Etsy does not deliver extensive integration options. However, it is still possible to get access to some synchronization features, while working with the system. Thus, Etsy lets you synchronize your web store-related info with third-party platforms to make your product data accessible for viewing in commonly accessible sources. These include Google Shopping, Bing, Shopstyle, Polyvore, Facebook and more. It’s also possible to connect Google Analytics to your online store to track your web store statistics and major parameters.

Shopify boasts powerful synchronization options. It is possible to synchronize your Shopify account with third-party apps like Xero or Quickbooks. Amazon marketplace integration is also available here to those web store owners, who intend to sell their products via popular third-party sources. What’s more, the system grants access to multiple widgets and extensions available in its integrated App Market. This is where you can pick from free and paid apps with regard to your web store parameters and specifications.

Shopify app store

When it tackles the issue of integrations, Shopify also goes first here. The software has its own App Market with lots of free and paid widget available for integration. The system also provides extensive synchronization options to ensure great flexibility of the eCommerce project you work on. Etsy currently cannot boast such an extensive selection of integration options.

Template Editing

Etsy cannot boast impressive design options. All websites created with it have almost the same look and don’t differ from each other a lot. The system also lacks design customization options – the only things you can change here are backgrounds, business logo, color palette, layout etc.

Etsy doesn’t offer any template choice or CSS code editing options. Design customization parameters are quite restricted and mostly go down to changing the major characteristics only. You won’t be able to upload your own layout, change the design or adjust any other parameters here.

What you can do is sticking to the available design customization options that do not leave much space for creativity. As a result, you can launch a standard project, which will differ from other web stores by the About the Shop info, tite, header banner, product photos and descriptions as well as icon.

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. That’s it.

Shopify currently provides multiple paid templates (there are 64 of them here by now), but it’s also possible to use 9 free themes the system offers to its subscribers. The cost of the paid themes ranges from $140 and up to $180 based on the major design characteristics. All the templates feature high quality and offer extensive design customization options. Paid samples are more versatile, creative and visually-appealing and you can give any of them the required look (take a look at the best Shopify store examples).

Shopify templates

It’s possible to edit header, footer and any other blocks your website consists of, set up slideshows, fonts, color schemes and other elements. Template code editing option is available here as well. The system allows changing the theme you’ve selected on any stage of the web design process without losing the submitted content. Thus, Shopify seems to be a very powerful system in terms of quality and design settings.

Speaking about the design aspect, Shopify is a distinct leader of the comparison. While Etsy doesn’t offer any template selection and rich design customization options, Shopify provides an impressive range of them. There is nothing to compare here – so powerful Shopify design editing options are. Etsy seriously lags behind it in this respect.

Etsy vs Shopify: General Pricing Comparison

Etsy vs Shopify: General Pricing Comparison

Etsy doesn’t have any fixed subscriptions. The price formation approach the system offers is based on different factors as compared to Shopify. The system charges fees for each item you upload to a web store. Thus, the cost of publishing 1 listing currently constitutes $0.20, the payment is valid for 4 months. The number of products (listings) you can add is unlimited. What’s more, Etsy charges fixed 3.5% commission from the cost of each 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. You will get the notification and the bill you should pay until the 15th day of the month. Otherwise, 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.

Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, after which a user has to choose one of the 4 paid plans. The cost of the paid subscriptions you will have to choose from upon the end of the trial period mainly depends upon the set of marketing tools, advanced sales reports and transaction fee amount. Here is the list of plans you can browse and sign up for today:

Shopify Pricing

  • Shopify Lite ($9/mo) – unlimited product amount, sales tracking and “Buy” Button, global tax and currency support settings, 70+ payment gateways etc.;
  • Basic Shopify ($29/mo) – free SSL Certificate connection, powerful integrated CRM, website and blog integration, complete web store customization etc.;
  • Shopify ($79/mo) – professional reporting option, gift cards etc.;
  • Advanced Shopify ($299/mo) – advanced report builder, real-time carrier shipping etc.

The software offers an opportunity to get money refund during 14 days after the bill is paid. Shopify charges commission fees that constitute 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, down to 0).

Overlooking the functionality aspect, we can conclude that it’s more affordable to create an online store with Shopify. Apart from the free trial, the system offers four plans that come at fixed cost and it also charges commission fees you can calculate in advance. The cost of using Etsy will depend upon the number of listings you will upload. The larger your web store is, the higher the price will be. There is the commission fee charged for each product sold, which also contributes to the eventual price.

Etsy vs Shopify: Which One Is the Best for SEO?

Etsy vs Shopify: Which One Is the Best for SEO?

Etsy pays attention to proper web store optimization to make your product listings accessible in the search engine results. What you can do here to improve your project visibility is picking keywords and adjusting the main parameters of your project. These include your shop title, the names of its major sections, titles and descriptions for each listing etc. Additionally, it is recommended to creating in-bound links to your web store pages and listings to improve their visibility in the search engine results.

Shopify is a SEO-friendly platform, which pays special attention to proper web store optimization and its further promotion on the web. The system allows for independent adjustment of SEO parameters to make your eCommerce project rank high in the search engine results. Thus, you can add product/web page titles and descriptions, Alt tags for images as well as keywords to increase the chances for correct web store promotion. What’s important, Shopify automatically generates the sitemap of your online store as soon as you create the one. It is possible to integrate with powerful analytics/statistics tracking tools here to have control over your project status.

Shopify SEO Preferences

As to the web store SEO, Shopify also ranks high. The platform allows setting up the main parameters for proper web store promotion. It also creates the sitemap of your project in the automated mode as soon as you start working on its development. Etsy comes with standard SEO settings and, thus, it cannot ensure the same SEO results as its competitor.

Key Differences Between Etsy and Shopify

Ease of Use:Etsy is a global marketplace, which enjoys worldwide recognition due to the opportunity to sell unique handmade items. The platform mainly targets creatives willing to offer their DIY items for sale.Shopify is an advanced modern eCommerce software, which deserves the title of the best system in its niche. It comes with an understandable dashboard and integrated drag-and-drop editor, which helps get worthy result with minimum time/effort investment.
Functionality:The platform is quite functional, encompassing a set of features required for effective web store creation, management and promotion. It abounds in high end eCommerce features and tools and it also grants access to multiple design customization options.Shopify business focus mainly goes down to web store creation/promotion and this is where the system doesn’t have any rivals at all. The platform grants access to multiple eCommerce-specific features and tools. They are required for effective product and web store management, sales/clients tracking and proper design customization.
Design:As an eCommerce system, Etsy doesn’t include any templates at all. This is the main reason of why most web stores created with it look pretty much the same. The system comes with responsive design yet there is no CSS editing option here.Shopify template collection is not quite rich, but all the themes are of high quality here. You can get access to 9 free templates and around 64 paid designs, all of which are free and customizable.
eCommerce:Etsy is great at eCommerce, providing distinctive web store-focused functionality. It is possible to set up web store/product parameters here as well as major marketing/promotion settings.Shopify is a powerful eCommerce software and, thus, it abounds in features and tools that help run all types of web stores, including large hypermarkets.
Blogging:Etsy doesn’t have an integrated blogging engine. It’s impossible to set up a blog here.The system comes with quite a worthy blogging platform. It lets you connect and manage a feature-laden blog to boost user engagement rate and keep customers aware of your niche news and updates.
Small Business:The platform is not meant for small business website development unless the project has distinctive eCommerce focus.Shopify can be a nice solution for small business website creation, if these projects are meant for eCommerce application.
Pricing:Etsy doesn’t have any trials or plans. Instead, it charges a fixed $0.20 fee for each listing added to the web store. The listing is viable for 4 months. Additionally, the system takes a 3.5% fee from the overall cost of each item sold.The software has a 14-day free trial and four paid plans to choose from. Their cost starts from $9/mo.
SEO:The platform allows adjusting basic SEO settings to increase the chances for proper web store promotion.Shopify is a SEO-friendly platform. It lets you optimize web stores launched with it for the search engines. This can be done by filling out special parameters, applying analytic and statistics tracking tools.
Customer Support:Community and Help Section available in the dashboard, extensive community forum, search filter option to find required articlesShopify Help Center, Informative Forum, eCommerce University

Which One Is Better for Online Store: Etsy or Shopify?

Etsy and Shopify are two popular eCommerce website builders, each of which differs in its web design approaches, target audience, functionality and price formation factors. While Etsy is mainly focused on the development of web stores of handmade products, Shopify provides more extensive web design options, making it possible to design small web stores and even hypermarkets. Having compared both services, we can recommend Shopify as the best eCommerce web building solution.

Generally, Etsy cannot ensure serious perspectives, 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.

Etsy vs Shopify: Which is Better for Ecommerce?
  • Global eCommerce marketplaces
  • Good for creatives and crafters
  • No template collection
  • Charges $0.20 per each product listing
  • World-popular eCommerce software
  • Advanced eCommerce features and tools
  • Powerful blogging, integration and marketing options
  • Best pricing offer

About the Author

I'm Howard Steele, the founder and editor-in-chief of this website. With over 10 years of web building I know how complicated and tiresome this task can be for a non-IT person. Can’t decide which service to choose? Feel free to ask me for advice. Just describe your website needs, and I’ll gladly help you.

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