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Etsy vs Shopify comparison: Best choice for online business [2024]

Etsy vs Shopify comparison: Best choice for online business [2023 review] - The4™ Free & Premium Shopify Theme

Entering the world of eCommerce can feel like stepping into a battlefield. With a myriad of platforms to choose from, it's natural to feel a bit overwhelmed. If you find yourself caught between Etsy and Shopify - two giants in the industry, this blog is here to help. 

We delve into an in-depth comparison of Etsy and Shopify, assessing their features, benefits, and challenges. Whether you're a creative artisan or an entrepreneur with a wide range of products, this comparative study will shed light on which platform is the ideal match for your business. Join us as we embark on this eCommerce journey to help you make an informed decision.

Platforms Overview: Etsy & Shopify


Etsy vs Shopify comparison: similarities & differences

Established in 2005, Etsy is a popular online marketplace tailored towards unique and creative goods. It's a platform where artists, crafters, and vintage sellers can set up their shops to sell their handmade creations or rare finds directly to buyers. Etsy is like a virtual craft fair where you can find an eclectic mix of items - anything from handmade soap, and custom-designed clothing, to vintage furniture. 

The platform is known for its community-centric approach, providing a direct connection between the seller and the buyer. Etsy is user-friendly, requiring little technical know-how, making it perfect for smaller, creative businesses. However, while Etsy’s focus on unique and handmade items is its strength, it may limit larger sellers seeking scalability. In summary, if you're looking for a platform to sell creative goods or one-of-a-kind items, Etsy is a great place to start.


Etsy vs Shopify: which is better?

Launched in 2006, Shopify is a versatile, comprehensive eCommerce platform engineered for businesses of all magnitudes, be they small, medium, or large, to establish their online stores. Catering to a wide range of industries, Shopify facilitates the sale of everything from physical goods, and digital products, to services. 

It's armed with a suite of robust tools that empower sellers in every phase of operating an eCommerce business, encompassing product listing, inventory management, payment gateway integration, SEO, and marketing. In addition, Shopify provides an array of themes and a user-friendly store builder for crafting visually captivating online storefronts. 

What sets Shopify apart is that it enables you to build a fully branded, independent online store with your domain, giving you complete control over your brand image and customer experience. Its all-inclusive features and scalability make Shopify an ideal choice for businesses aspiring to grow and scale, albeit it requires a higher investment in terms of time for setting up and operation.

Similarities between Etsy and Shopify

similarities between Etsy & Shopify

Shopify and Etsy, despite their differences, share some common characteristics that make them attractive choices for online entrepreneurs.

Online Marketplaces

Both Shopify and Etsy are popular platforms for selling goods online. Whether you're a craftsman looking to sell handmade items or a business with a broader product line, both platforms offer you the means to connect with customers across the globe.

Ease of Use

Shopify and Etsy are known for their user-friendly interfaces. Both platforms are designed to be intuitive and easy to navigate, even for individuals who are not particularly tech-savvy. They offer straightforward processes for setting up an online store and listing products.

Support and Education

Both platforms offer extensive support and educational resources to their users. Shopify provides 24/7 support and has an extensive library of tutorials, webinars, and blog posts. Similarly, Etsy offers comprehensive support and a Seller Handbook to guide users through various aspects of running an online shop.

Mobile Functionality

Both Shopify and Etsy have robust mobile apps that allow merchants to manage their online stores on the go. This includes features such as inventory management, order processing, and customer communication.

Subdomain Inclusion

Shopify and Etsy both provide users with a subdomain, which can be used as the URL for your online shop. This can be a useful feature for newer businesses that don't yet have their own domain name.

Unlimited Products

Both platforms allow you to list an unlimited number of products. This means your online store can grow with your business, and there's no need to worry about hitting a product limit.

Designed for Creatives

Etsy is specifically designed for makers, and Shopify also acknowledges this need. Both platforms have features and functions to facilitate creatives in selling their unique goods.

These similarities make both Shopify and Etsy excellent options for a variety of businesses. However, the best choice between the two often comes down to the specific needs and goals of your business, which we'll discuss next.

Differences between Etsy and Shopify 

differences between Etsy & Shopify

Let's break down the differences between Etsy and Shopify across these specific points:

Payment and Fees


Etsy charges a listing fee of $0.20 per item, a 6.5% transaction fee on the sale price (including the cost of shipping), and a payment processing fee of 3% + $0.25. There are no subscription fees on Etsy's basic plan, which means you can open a shop for free, only paying as you list items and make sales. However, if you wish to upgrade to Etsy Plus, it would cost you $10 per month, providing you with additional tools for shop customization, restocking alerts, and other marketing features.


Shopify operates on a subscription-based model. It offers three tiers, Basic Shopify ($25/month), Shopify ($65/month), and Advanced ($399/month), each with an increasing number of features and lower credit card fees. In terms of transaction fees, if you use Shopify Payments, you can avoid these entirely. If you choose to use third-party payment providers, you'd be looking at additional fees varying from 2.0% to 0.5% depending on your plan.



Etsy offers all the necessary tools for you to run an online shop, including listing products, managing inventory, and creating simple sales reports. The interface is designed to be simple and user-friendly, catering particularly to people new to online selling. While the features might not be as robust as other platforms, they are quite sufficient for small businesses and hobbyists.


Shopify, on the other hand, is a full-featured eCommerce platform. Besides the basic online store functionalities, it also provides advanced features like SEO tools, customer reviews, discounts and gift cards, abandoned cart recovery, and various shipping options. The range of features is more extensive and customizable, supporting businesses from the startup phase to large-scale operations.

Marketing Tools

 Etsy vs Shopify: which is better?


Etsy offers a basic set of marketing tools. You can run sales and issue coupon codes. Etsy Ads is a paid option that allows you to set a daily budget for promoting your listings in Etsy search results and other pages on Etsy. However, Etsy's marketing features do not go in-depth, and you might find limitations if you're looking to run complex marketing campaigns.


Shopify outshines with a comprehensive set of marketing tools. It offers built-in SEO features, a blogging platform, and customizable meta tags, and it allows for full integration with a host of social media platforms. With email marketing tools, Google Smart Shopping, and Facebook Ads integration, Shopify provides the capabilities to execute sophisticated marketing strategies, helping businesses scale their reach.


Etsy vs Shopify: differences


With Etsy, you're limited in terms of shop personalization. Your store URL follows the pattern of "" Direct custom domain usage isn't supported, but you can purchase a domain from a third-party provider and forward it to your Etsy shop URL.


Shopify offers you the chance to fully brand your store with a custom domain. Unlike Etsy, your URL would not contain any Shopify branding. You can either purchase a domain directly from Shopify or connect one from any third-party domain registrar.

Help and Support

Etsy vs Shopify comparision


Etsy offers email support and live chat for their sellers, but no phone support. However, they compensate with a robust self-service portal that includes a comprehensive Seller Handbook, community forums, and a wealth of articles and resources to help sellers navigate their Etsy journey.


Shopify offers 24/7 customer assistance, which can be accessed via phone, email, or instant messaging. This means that you can reach out to them with your queries at any time and get instant help, which is particularly useful for businesses operating across multiple time zones. Besides direct support, Shopify also has an extensive Help Center, discussion forums, free online webinars, and tutorials.

Integration and Resources


While Etsy does offer some integrations with social media platforms and third-party applications for shipping, inventory, and other business services, the options are relatively limited compared to dedicated eCommerce platforms. The integrations are made possible primarily through Etsy's API for developers.


Shopify stands out with a rich ecosystem of over 3,200 apps available on its marketplace. These apps cover a myriad of functions from SEO, social media marketing, inventory management, and customer service, to accounting. This wide range of integrations enables Shopify stores to extend their functionality significantly, catering to the unique needs of different businesses.



Etsy offers limited customization options. You can add a banner and logo to your shop, craft your shop's story, and organize your listings, but you can't alter the overall layout or design of your Etsy shop to make it uniquely yours.


Shopify shines in customization capabilities. With its theme-based model, there are numerous free and paid themes available that can be further customized as per your business needs. Coupled with its rich app ecosystem, you can personalize your storefront to your heart's content.

Business Growth Potential


Etsy can be a great place to start, especially for hobbyists and small businesses. The platform's built-in customer base can provide a nice initial boost. However, as your business grows, you might find Etsy’s features and customization options limiting.


Shopify, on the other hand, is designed to support businesses of all sizes. It is a more viable choice if you have long-term plans to expand your online store. The wide range of tools and integrations available can handle higher volumes of sales and traffic, allowing you to scale your business effectively.

Which platform should you choose? Etsy or Shopify 

Let's take a comprehensive look at the advantages and drawbacks of both Etsy and Shopify. This will equip you, as an online merchant, with valuable insights to choose the platform that best aligns with your unique business needs.




- Immediate built-in audience & traffic: Etsy boasts a significant platform with over 350 million monthly visitors, giving your store the potential to be noticed by a vast audience.

- Less financial risk: With Etsy's well-positioned brand and established traffic, sellers can leverage the platform's resources without incurring any additional costs.

- Ease of setup: Etsy's user-friendly interface makes setting up a store incredibly simple, even for the less tech-savvy.

- Brand trust and recognition: Being a part of Etsy means associating your products with a trusted and recognized brand.

- Broad market access: The large visitor count on Etsy gives you the chance to market your products to a wide range of potential customers.

- Full Brand and Store Ownership: Shopify offers full ownership over your brand and store. This extends to customer data, allowing you to cultivate and manage customer relationships directly.

- Scalability: Shopify's robust tools and extensive range of plugins allow for seamless scalability. As your business grows, Shopify grows with it.

- Design Flexibility: Shopify allows you to fully customize your storefront. With thousands of apps and design options available, you can create a unique brand and shopping experience.

- Cost-Effective: Shopify offers a range of pricing plans that provide excellent value for money. The feature-rich plans offer everything you need to run an efficient online store.

- Unlimited Products: Shopify allows for the selling of an unlimited number of products across a broad spectrum of categories.


- High competition: With nearly 6 million sellers, Etsy's marketplace is highly competitive, which could make standing out more difficult.

- Limited brand and design control: Etsy provides standard storefront layouts and doesn't offer much freedom for custom branding and design.

- No store ownership and customer data control: Since it's a marketplace, Etsy owns the customer data, limiting your control over your customer relationships.

- Listing and transaction fees: Despite being reasonable, Etsy's fees could add up, especially for high-volume sellers.

- Limited to handmade and vintage items: Etsy's niche is craft-oriented, limiting the type of products you can sell on the platform.

- Driving Traffic: Unlike Etsy, Shopify doesn't come with a built-in audience. This means you're entirely responsible for driving traffic to your store, which may require significant marketing efforts.

- Learning Curve: Although Shopify's interface is user-friendly, mastering all its features, as well as learning about SEO, marketing, and social media strategy, can be daunting for beginners.

- Customer Acquisition: With Shopify, you're starting from scratch. Building a customer base can be a slow and challenging process.

- Long-Term Strategy: Success on Shopify may not be immediate. You may need to invest time and patience into developing a successful long-term strategy.

Understanding the pros and cons of both Etsy and Shopify can help you decide which platform best suits your unique business needs. Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, and the best choice will depend on the specifics of your business, including the nature of the products, branding, customization needs, budget, and marketing capabilities.

You may want to consider the following:

If you have a unique product line that fits within Etsy's product guidelines and prefers a ready-made audience, Etsy could be a good fit. The platform's ease of use and established reputation could help you get off to a smooth start, particularly if you're new to online selling.

If you prefer to have full control over their branding and customer data, or if they plan to sell a broader range of products, you may want to consider Shopify. Although this will likely involve a greater investment in terms of both time and money, the payoff could be a fully customized, scalable online store that grows with your business. Shopify is also a user-friendly platform with a lot of functions which support users from scratch. Moreover, with a large number of Shopify apps, you can go through all steps with ease.

FAQs: Etsy & Shopify 

FAQs Etsy vs Shopify

1. Can I use both Etsy and Shopify for my business?

Answer: Yes, many business owners choose to leverage both platforms to maximize their exposure and reach a wider audience. Etsy can serve as a great starting point due to its existing customer base, while Shopify can provide more scalability and customization as your business grows.

2. Which platform is better for a beginner?

Answer: If you're new to eCommerce and want to start small with less financial investment, Etsy could be a great starting point. It's user-friendly and doesn't require much technical knowledge. However, as your business expands, you might want to consider a more robust and customizable platform like Shopify.

3. Is Shopify only for big businesses?

Answer: Not at all. Shopify caters to businesses of all sizes. While it's true that many large businesses use Shopify because of its extensive features and scalability, it's also an excellent choice for small and medium-sized businesses.

4. Can I sell handmade products on Shopify?

Answer: Absolutely. While Etsy is well-known for handmade and vintage items, Shopify doesn't restrict what you can sell (as long as it's legal and adheres to its policies). You can sell handmade products, digital products, services, and more.

5. How much does it cost to sell on Etsy and Shopify?

Answer: Etsy charges $0.20 for each listing, a 6.5% transaction fee on the sale price, and a 3-4% payment processing fee. There is no monthly fee on their standard plan. Shopify, on the other hand, has monthly plans starting from $25. There are transaction fees only if you use a payment gateway other than Shopify Payments. Keep in mind, both platforms may involve additional costs for advanced features, apps or plugins.

Shopify is running an exclusive deal for new entrepreneurs which is only $1/month in 3 months. You can experience all Shopify features with this deal. Don’t miss out on this chance. Sign up for a Shopify account to try it now!

6. Can I use my own domain name on Etsy and Shopify?

Answer: Yes, both Etsy and Shopify allow you to use your own domain name. On Shopify, you can purchase a domain or connect an existing one. Etsy allows you to connect a custom domain to your Etsy shop with Etsy Pattern, but it comes with an additional monthly cost.

7. Which is more suitable for large or rapidly scaling businesses?

Answer: Shopify is typically a better fit for large or rapidly scaling businesses. Shopify's scalable infrastructure, extensive customization options, and a vast array of integrations and add-ons make it better suited to handle the demands of a growing business. While Etsy can be a great starting point for small sellers, its customization and growth potential are somewhat limited in comparison, which can be restrictive for larger enterprises or those with fast growth ambitions.

8. Can I transition from Etsy to Shopify later on?

Answer: Yes, if you start on Etsy and later decide you want to move to Shopify, you can do so. Shopify offers a Store Importer app that can assist with transferring product information from Etsy to Shopify. However, keep in mind this process may require some time and effort.

Bottom line

In conclusion, the choice between Etsy and Shopify boils down to your business's unique needs, goals, and level of expertise. Consider the key features, pros, and cons we've discussed, and reflect on which aligns best with your vision for your business. Remember, your choice of platform can significantly impact your brand, customer experience, and long-term growth.

Ready to start your online business journey? Whether you choose to set up your store on Etsy, start from scratch with Shopify, or leverage the strengths of both, the most important step is to take action. Start today, and set your business on the path to success. Let's embark on this exciting eCommerce journey together!

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