Etsy vs Shopify: Which is the better platform?

Etsy vs Shopify: Which is the better platform?

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Factors to Consider
    1. Audience
    2. Pricing and Fees
    3. Technological Aptitude
    4. Feature Requirements
  3. Pros and Cons of Etsy
  4. Pros and Cons of Shopify
  5. Conclusion

Should You Use Etsy or Shopify to Sell Your Handmade Products Online?

If you're an aspiring online entrepreneur looking to sell your handmade products, you may be faced with the decision of choosing between two popular platforms: Etsy and Shopify. Making this decision can be overwhelming, but fear not! This article will guide you through the process of selecting the right platform for your business based on key factors such as audience, pricing, technological aptitude, and feature requirements.

Factors to Consider

1. Audience

The first factor you should consider is whether you have an existing audience or not. Etsy is a vibrant marketplace specifically designed for handmade products, vintage items, and craft supplies. It already has a built-in audience actively searching the platform for unique products. If you don't have a pre-established audience, tapping into Etsy's existing customer base can jump-start your sales.

On the other hand, Shopify does not offer a ready-made audience. It acts as a website builder, giving you the freedom to customize your online store exactly how you want. However, it also means that you'll need to put in the effort to direct traffic to your shop through social media, email marketing, or other means.

Pros of Etsy: Access to an existing audience, greater potential for quick sales.

Cons of Etsy: Less freedom in product creation, strict rules and regulations to adhere to.

Pros of Shopify: Complete freedom in designing and selling products, scalability options as your business grows.

Cons of Shopify: No built-in audience, starting from scratch in building brand trust and loyalty.

2. Pricing and Fees

The second factor to consider is your budget and the pricing models of each platform. Shopify requires an upfront investment as you need to pay a monthly fee to build and maintain your online store. The pricing starts at around $30 per month and may include additional fees based on your sales volume. This could be a challenge if you're just starting out and haven't generated any sales yet.

On the other hand, Etsy offers a more budget-friendly option. Opening a shop on Etsy is completely free, and you only incur fees when you list or sell products. The fees are relatively low and depend on the type of product and your location. This makes Etsy a great choice if you're operating with limited funds or want to test the waters before committing to a full-fledged online store.

Pros of Etsy: Free to get started, low fees before making sales, ideal for new business owners.

Cons of Etsy: Limited customization options, potential fees based on product and location.

Pros of Shopify: Scalable and suitable for long-term growth, customizable online store.

Cons of Shopify: Upfront and ongoing monthly fees, additional transaction fees.

3. Technological Aptitude

Your level of technological aptitude also plays a role in choosing the right platform. Shopify, being a website builder, requires some basic knowledge of how to design and optimize a website. If you're familiar with website building and Google SEO, Shopify will be relatively easy for you to set up. They provide step-by-step processes and tutorials to guide you along the way.

In contrast, Etsy is more beginner-friendly and user-centric. It offers a simpler interface, making it easy for creative individuals with limited technical skills to get their shop up and running quickly. While there still may be a slight learning curve, managing an Etsy shop is relatively straightforward.

Pros of Etsy: User-friendly interface, easy to navigate and set up.

Cons of Etsy: Limited customization options.

Pros of Shopify: Complete customization and flexibility, suitable for those with website-building knowledge.

Cons of Shopify: Steeper learning curve for beginners, more time-consuming to set up and optimize.

4. Feature Requirements

Finally, consider what features you need or want for your online store. Shopify provides a comprehensive set of features and plugins to meet all your business needs. These plugins range from advanced marketing tools to inventory tracking, blogging capabilities, loyalty programs, and even referral programs. If you have long-term plans for your business and want the ability to scale, Shopify is the ideal choice.

On the other hand, Etsy offers a range of basic features to get you started. You can list a variety of products, including physical and digital items. Etsy also provides features like discount sales, analytics, and abandoned cart triggers. However, if you have complex shipping requirements or want to integrate advanced marketing automation, Shopify's more extensive feature set may be necessary.

Pros of Etsy: Basic but essential features for starting a small business, easy setup.

Cons of Etsy: Limited customization options, lack of advanced marketing capabilities.

Pros of Shopify: Extensive features and plugins, scalable for long-term growth.

Cons of Shopify: Requires more advanced knowledge for implementation, potentially overwhelming for beginners.


Choosing between Etsy and Shopify ultimately depends on your unique circumstances and business goals. If you have an existing audience or want to tap into an existing marketplace, Etsy provides a ready-made platform with a built-in audience. However, if you're looking for complete customization and scalability options, Shopify is an excellent choice.

Remember, your decision isn't final, and you can always switch platforms if necessary. Both Etsy and Shopify have their advantages, and it's crucial to evaluate your specific needs and preferences before making a decision. With the right platform, you'll be on your way to successfully selling your handmade products online!

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