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Shopify vs Etsy: Which eCommerce Platform Should You Choose?

Shopify vs Etsy: Which eCommerce Platform Should You Choose? 

Whether you want to sell your own crafts or enter the retail market, with 150+ ecommerce platforms/websites selling the goods online is no longer an issue. 

Both Shopify and Etsy are among the most popular marketplaces to set up an online store, which ultimately makes it quite confusing to choose between the two. 

Yet no worries! We will compare both options head-to-head, saving you hours of research and possible regrets while deep in the process of selling.  

How can we be so sure of the effectiveness of this Shopify vs. Etsy review? 

418 seller reviews (and case studies) – that’s the exact number of reviews we have analyzed to make it easier for you to decide which of the platforms is best for your business. More, we’ve taken into account 

Unlike the other reviews giving you just the pros and cons of each of the platforms, the post breaks down the basic aspects of starting an eCommerce business as setting up the stores on both Etsy and Shopify, choosing the best selling products based on buyers demographics, fees and pricing, and the ease of handling a store. Finally, there’s the verdict. 

So what, Shopify or Etsy?

Keep along to find which might be the best fit for your online business in 2020.

Shopify vs Etsy: How Do They Compare?

Shopify vs Etsy infograhic by WebVervus

Canada based multinational e-commerce company, Shopify offers online sellers a suite of services “including payments, marketing, shipping and customer engagement tools to simplify the process of running an online store for small merchants”.

Etsy, on the other hand, is an e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items and craft supplies, with headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. 

Shopify vs. Etsy: major differences

And before we dived into the whole lot of data explaining how vastly different both selling options are, let’s see the similarities they share.

  1. Unlimited products to sell (though with $0.20 USD/item for listing on Etsy)
  2. Physical and/or digital products are permitted for selling 
  3. Free SSL certificate – the backbone of internet security and data protection (on Etsy – with Etsy Pattern)
  4. A website plus a blog (with Etsy Pattern on Etsy)
  5. Social media sharing is enabled (with add-ons and integrations)
  6. Automatic shipping and tax calculations 
  7. Shipping and other discounts and coupons can be created
  8. Inventory and order management
  9. Abandoned cart recovery and customer analytics and reports 
  10. From basic to advanced SEO tools (slightly geared towards Shopify)
  11. Mobile apps for managing and advertising a store

The top five industries using the platforms to sell various products according to Enlift data are:

 (97 176 companies used Shopify)
 (719 companies used Etsy)
Retail (14%) Retail (8%)
Apparel and Fashion (6%) Arts and Crafts (2.6%)
Wholesale (4%) Performing Arts (2.5%)
Performing Arts (2.5%) Design (2%)
Consumer goods (2.6%) Furniture (2%)

At a glance, it becomes clear that more companies in retail business preferred setting up a shop on Shopify rather than Etsy. The difference in the industries other than retail also comes into play with Apparel and Fashion being the second largest segment for Shopify and Arts and Crafts for Etsy.

The next thing that really interests us is companies’ profit margins. Not necessarily dependent on a platform type itself, it is still an indicator of the scalability of a business. How far can you go with Shopify vs Etsy, say in retail? 

PlatformAnnual Revenue (USD)
Shopify 21.3% 38.5%3.4%0.60.3%

Of course, various factors like marketing strategy, shipping and delivery cost, and the very nature of the selling industry you are in have an impact on the seller’s earnings. Yet, the results show Etsy’s relative deficiency when it comes to scaling a business. 

 Another piece of data worth aspiring merchants’ consideration illustrates a company size in terms of employees.

PlatformNumber of employees (%)
1-10 employees10-50 employees50-200 employees200-500 employees

Isn’t it time to look at some of the companies using Etsy and Shopify? What are their experiences like? 

A few words about Etsy.

What is Etsy?
  1. Nearwear, Canada 

 “Collaboration and friendship

Janick Gravel, the Nearwear shop’s owner, says that setting up an Etsy store not only let her business connect to new and loyal customers, but also let her make friends with other sellers, including a tight-knit group of fellow Montreal Etsy sellers. “I’ve made these friendships that are so precious,” says Janick. “And it all started on Etsy. I don’t know what my life would be like without them.”

  1. Vice and Velvet, Australia

A part of someone’s special event

An Etsy shopper since 2007, Mei opened her shop, Vice & Velvet in April 2012. One of Mei’s signature products, jewel-shaped soaps that are popular as wedding favors and gifts, originated as a custom order. “It’s so fulfilling to be part of someone’s special event,” Mei says. In a little less than a year since opening a shop, she was mentioned in two articles — on the Etsy Blog and in “O, The Oprah Magazine” — which marked a turning point in her business.

  1. BigStaffed, France

It’s a seller-buyer community

For Diana Muscat, who opened her Paris, France-based Etsy shop in April 2014, Etsy is more than just a selling platform. “I never imagined myself running a business,” she says proudly. Every day her customers motivate her to keep going. “They’re so generous with their feedback. It’s insane how people will trust you enough to buy something from a picture. I adore the trust the client gives. That’s Etsy.”

  1. Demestik, USA

Easy to connect – easy to sell

In Reuben Reuel’s own words, deciding to set up Demestik on Etsy was all about easy connection. “Etsy has this really cute thing where, if you have your volume on your phone, when you get a sale, it makes a cha-ching noise. I had my ringer on and all of a sudden I heard ‘Cha-ching!’ and I was like, ‘What is that?’ It was my first sale,” he said. “I felt validated, like, OK, what I’ve created means something to someone. There is a woman who actually wants to wear this specific dress.”

A couple of mentions on Shopify.

What is Shopify?
  1. The Hundreds, USA

Having Shopify backing

Here’s how Bobbly Kim, the co-founder of The Hundreds, a streetwear brand which put their major campaigns and sales on autopilot, says about using Shopify “It’s nice to have someone on the backend that handles the infrastructure and how the sales are moving while we can concentrate on what’s really important for us, telling the story of The Hundreds.”  

  1. Good American, USA

The Shopify Flow Effect

Originally started as a denim brand, Good American quickly grow to become a multi-million fashion brand in major part thanks to Shopify Flow (automation system) since it allows them “to spend more time on strategic initiatives that grow the business, and to better utilize our team and their skill sets”  as Mehmet Dokumcu, Good American’s Head of Ecommerce says.

  1. Leesa Mattresses, USA

Affordable Start For A New Business

Leesa Mattresses, simple, yet effective, mattresses at a great price that consumers would know just worked have become possible to Shopify.“Without Shopify, we would’ve run out of money before launching… Instead of selling mattresses we would have been fixing bugs but Shopify fixed the bugs for us.” 

Now as you read the overview and probably have general info about what Shopify and Etsy are, let’s dive into the strengths and weaknesses of both selling opportunities for aspiring merchants.

Shopify vs Etsy: Setting Up a Store 

Rather than giving you a pack of plus and minus sides of Shopify and Etsy here (which we will include in the verdict section below), we have brought the “Getting Started” process on both platforms head-to-head. It’s broken down step by step so that deciding which ultimately is easier for you is a no-brainer.

How to Start an Etsy shop?
Total time to create an online shop using Etsy: ~0.5-1 hours
Skill level: Beginner
How to set up a Shopify store
Total time to create an online shop using Shopify: ~1-2 hours
Skill level: Beginner
>Getting Started
Click Sell on Etsy on Then, click Open your Etsy shop.
Set your Shop preferences
Select your shop language (you won’t be able to change it later), the country your shop is located, the currency you will use to price your listings, and time commitment (part/full time. No worries – that won’t affect your shop performance in any way). Click Save and continue.
Choose your shop name (4-20 characters), then click Save and continue.
Getting Started
Sign up with Shopify by providing email, password, choosing the store name, and clicking Create Your Store.
Add the Store details
Enter a legal business name, address, and billing information.
Set a default currency and weight unit. Then, set up your domain. Note: If needed, you may also staff the store.
Stocking Your Shop
List Items in Your Shop by going to Your Account, tapping Shop Manager. New sellers click on Your Shop and Add a Listing.
Add photos
Choose your thumbnail image
Add listing details
Describe your listing
Add your inventory and pricing. For digital items: Add files
Set up shipping
To get started with marketing:
Optimize your shop for Etsy search by adding your location for local search appearances.
Link your shop and social media accounts to post messages about your business.
Consider paid ads.
Add discounts and coupons to stimulate sales.
Find local craft markets for your goods. 
Join the Etsy community to network with both sellers and buyers.
Publish or save your listing
Organizing Your Store
Choose a theme for your Shop
Add your products by clicking on the Products tab first, and then Add Product on Shopify dashboard. Enter a title and a product description. Click Save.
If necessary, group the products into collections: items on sale, items of certain size or color, etc.
Choosing How You Will Get Paid
Multiple options include:
Etsy Payments (for sellers from eligible countries)
PayPal, check or money order
Setting Up Your Shipping Settings
Add a package type
Set up locations: retail stores, warehouses, pop-up shops, dropshipping suppliers, etc. (optional)
Set up a payment method (more here)
Set up your taxes
Add your store policies
Setting Up Billing
Residents from several countries are required to have their credit card on file, which is secure with Etsy. Acceptable cards include:
American Express
Carte Bleue (France)
Setting Up Your Payment Gateways
Much like Etsy, Shopify offers a variety of ways to accept payments:
Shopify Payments (no third-party payment provider or merchant account is needed).
Accelerated checkout buttons: Shop Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Amazon Pay
Direct/External providers
Alternative Payments
5. Opening Your Shop
Finishing up all the sections, click Open Your Shop. 
Congratulations! You’ve just set up your first shop with Etsy.
As a side note: Changes to the shop settings can be made at any time. 
Testing your store
1. Test successful and failed transactions.
Test refunding and canceling orders.
Test fulfilling and partially fulfilling orders
Test archiving successful orders
Read more on testing your Shopify store here.
Launching Your Online Store
When the testing stage is over, it’s time to let your customers find you. For this you need:
Remove your store’s password. For this from Shopify admin go to Online Store and click the Preferences tab. Uncheck Enable password page in the Password page section and click Save. Add Chat Support to your store
Adding the chat would allow you to read and respond to messages in Shopify Ping (a free messaging app that lets you spend more time with customers and attract new shoppers), or any other chat app.

Aside from setting up a store, a seller also needs to consider who the buyer is. To the extent that you know what age and gender they are as well as what they are looking for and how much money they are ready to pay for a product in order to maximize the chances of success. Sounds logical, right?

According to Statista, the number of active Etsy buyers increased five times since its launch in 2012, reaching nearly 50 million in 2019, proving to be one of the most popular markets to shop primarily for handmade jewelry, organic cosmetics, graphic design, and home decor items. 

As for Etsy demographics, here are some cold facts.

  • Two-thirds of the registered members on Etsy are women.
  • 69% of Etsy members have no children in their household.
  • 17% have an annual household income under $25,000.
  • 48% of Etsy members make less than $60,000 per year.
  • Half of all Etsy members aged 18-34.

Despite Etsy’s rapid growth, Shopify has the number of sellers and buyers skyrocketing year-after-year. As was announced by the platform’s 2019 statistics, 218 million customers have bought something from a Shopify store in the last 12 months. An estimated 820,000 merchants who use Shopify for their online stores made whooping $41 billion in sales in 2018 alone.    

Because of Shopify’s wide use not only as a Shopify storefront but also as a global ecommerce software tool for various business models and markets, it’s not all easy to clearly define what Shopify store’s clients want to buy, or what sort of products sells best. But obviously, some niches do better than others with less competition.

Different niches on Shopify and their shares

In fact, it would have been quite silly to simply rely on one piece of data, instead of taking a whole bunch of factors as ecommerce buyers purchasing habits, their age and gender distribution, purchasing triggers, and the industries that use Shopify as their ecommerce solution into account. 

Let’s see online shopperspurchasing habits by age first, and then consider the reasons that push them to buy from ecommerce stores like the one you want to open.

So, is it boomers, Millenials, or Gen X who shops online most?

Online shoppers' purchasing habits by age

As the 2019 data shows, the major reason, and the most compelling one, to spend money is a low price of a product. Improving delivery speed, providing refund warranty (on certain products), and accepting multiple payments are among the reasons that fuel consumers’ desire to buy.

To maximize your chances of selling a product a seller needs to clearly label the products in stock, making all the necessary information (number of items left in stock, product description, its benefits, etc.) available. Social media presence and new customer incentives, on the other hand, have somewhat less impact on purchase decisions.

The reasons consumers buy

As said above, the three most popular industries that use Shopify are retail (14%), apparel and fashion  (6%), and wholesale (4%), most of whom use Shopify for dropshipping. “Many businesses on Shopify use dropshipping, partly because it can be easy to set up” states Shopify without letting out any direct statistics of how many of them do.

Shopify vs Etsy: Plans and Pricing

🎯 Next on this review are pricing and fees for both Shopify and Etsy. Vastly different in a way they serve aspiring merchants, both platforms also vary in pricing and plans. 

So, how do they compare?

A Word About Etsy Fees and Plans

Joining and starting a shop on Etsy is free. Merchants on the Standard plan pay only the three basic selling fees: a listing fee, a transaction fee, and a payment processing fee, not to mention 15% Offsite Ads Fee.

You pay a 15% Offsite Ads Fee only when making a sale from one of the ads that Etsy places across the web (Offsite Ads) on all the items on the marketplace (including yours). Opening your Etsy shop, you are asked to decide if you want to participate in Etsy’s advertising services. 

A listing fee ($0.20 USD/listing) is paid when a listing is published to the marketplace. A listing lasts for four months or until the item is sold. Listing fees may differ from country to country due to changes in the exchange rate. 

A transaction fee (5% of the sale price, including shipping) is a commission fee paid once the item is sold. Accepting the payments with PayPal be ready to pay a PayPal payment processing fee based upon their fee system.

Generally, there are two Etsy plans to choose from when setting up a store. 

Etsy Standard involves all the basic online marketplace features like managing orders, updating the items, responding to customers, detailed performance statistics and traffic sources, managing payment transactions, etc free of any charges.

Although good enough, Etsy Standard is no match to Etsy Plus, a more lucrative option for merchants considering a full spectrum of marketing, selling, and managing tools that Etsy has to offer. For just $10 USD per month, Etsy Plus allows you to enjoy substantial benefits, some of which are listed below.

  • A monthly budget of credits for listings and Etsy Ads
  • Access to a discount on a custom web address for your Etsy shop
  • Restock requests for shoppers interested in your items that have sold out
  • Advanced shop customization options
  • Access to discounts on custom packaging and promotional material like boxes, business cards, etc.

Except for Etsy Standard and Etsy Plus, there is a premium feature called Etsy Pattern (that requires $15/month as a subscription fee after a 30-day trial ends) that helps sellers to build a custom website. Etsy Pattern sometimes is mistaken for being the third Etsy Plan, which in fact is just a premium feature separately available regardless of plan. 

Speaking of Etsy Pattern again, it’s exactly the case when Etsy comes closest to its rival that we are reviewing side-by-side in this blog post-  Shopify. 

Having fewer restrictions than the standard Etsy marketplace, Etsy Pattern is an attempt to become an e-commerce platform that allows you to have a customizable website. Yet before you set up an Etsy Pattern, you must be a seller on Etsy.    

A Word About Shopify Fees and Plans

There are also Shopify Lite and Shopify Plus at both ends of a spectrum in terms of payment and features they offer.

Shopify Lite is not a fully developed online store provided by Shopify, but rather a great addition(plugin) to your existing website on WordPress for Buy buttons, or elsewhere on social media, on Facebook for example. Coming without a storefront, it allows all your products, settings (including payment providers), customer information, etc.remain the same as long as they are not on Shopify itself but on an external website. 

Shopify Plus, on the other hand, comes with a whole lot of benefits for aspiring businesses and is priced accordingly (customers should contact sales directly). Some of the multiple benefits of Shopify Plus are:

  • advanced Shopify apps designed for high-growth merchants
  • a customizable checkout for the most control over the store’s branding 
  • additional API calls that let you integrate with custom apps
  • a Launch Engineer assistance 
  • unlimited staff accounts
  • Up to 100 themes per single Shopify account 
  • a wholesale channel that lets you create a separate, password-protected wholesale store

Read more on Shopify Plus features.

Below are Etsy and Shopify’s pricing plans and fees so that you may take actions that not only meet your taste but also budget.

Fees and ChargesBasic Shopify Shopify Advanced Shopify Etsy StandardEtsy Plus
Monthly (Subscription/

$29 USD$79 USD$299 USD$0 USD$10 USD
Listing Fee (a fee for listing a product, or a group of
No feeNo feeNo fee$0.20/item for 4 months or earlier when the item is soldSame as
Etsy Standard + 15 listings credits (visible as $3 in listings credit in payment account)
Transaction Fee
(% of the commission

per sale)
No fee with Shopify Payments.
2% with an external gateway
No fee with Shopify Payments.
1% with an external gateway
No fee with Shopify Payments.
0.5% with an external gateway
5% of the sale price, including shipping Same as
Etsy Standard.
Payment Processing Fee
(a fee per sale charged by a payment gateway)
With Shopify Payments 2.9% + $0.30;
With external gateway vary
With Shopify Payments 2.9% + $0.30;
With external gateway vary
With Shopify Payments 2.9% + $0.30;
With external gateway vary
For PayPal online transaction fee in the U.S. – 2.9% of the transaction + a fixed fee for US dollar 0.30 USD;
Outside the U.S. 4.4% +0.30 USD

With Etsy Payments – 3% + $0.25
Same as
Etsy Standard.
Website Ownership Fee
(a fee for hosting an
on-platform website and using custom templates)
Included in the subscription fee.
$0 – 180 USD per template
Included in the subscription fee.
$0 – 180 USD per template
Included in the subscription fee.
$0 – 180 USD per template
No fee except for $15 USD/month with Etsy Pattern (website customization feature) Same as
Etsy Standard

A quick glance at the fees table explains why initially preferred Etsy, is switched to Shopify later on as the store builds a stable flow of orders and transactions. Etsy with its no subscription fee policy, which may seem a much cheaper option in the beginning compared to Shopify, proves to be much costlier claiming a hefty 5% transaction fee along with listing fees per single item upon each time a seller decides to restock a store’s products.  

Finally, there’s the ease of use of both platforms under scrutiny as far as online shop setup and further store management is concerned.  

Shopify vs Etsy: Ease of Use and Sellers Protection

We’ve covered the very steps of setting up an online store on both platforms just above and won’t repeat how relatively easy it is to open a store on Etsy rather than Shopify. Not surprisingly, a well-established marketplace, Etsy has its market share among not so technically skilled aspiring merchants. 

While Etsy ranked first on the seller choice marketplace, according to EcommerceBytes 2019 rankings, leaving giants like Amazon and eBay behind, Shopify still claims to be its biggest rival once a store achieves stable transaction and cash-flow, and sets an eye on expanding its customer base and brand’s net worth. 

Somewhat limited (and thus easy to set up) store customization along with customer demographics and certain types of products being sold prevents further expansion in terms of product offerings and wider reach. 

Before announcing a winner in the best ecommerce platforms battle let’s have a brief summary on which is best in what respect.  

Here are the criteria which play a significant role in deciding which platform is best for your business:

A full store ecommerce store setup 


From creating an account, adding the products and the necessary information about those products to choosing the currency, customizing a seller’s account with Etsy Shop Manager and Shopify Dashboard, to website design, and order processing flows, both platforms manage to perform well.

Yet taking the ease of creating a basic online store into account, Etsy takes its cake.

The winner in this respect is Etsy, which is a low-key choice for emerging brands who want a quick and easy start.

Orders, transactions, payment gateways


In both Shopify and Etsy systems, each order is being tracked through the use of cookies. 

Orders eligible for Seller Protection policy on Etsy must meet certain criteria.

The promised shipping deadlines must be met and the item ship to the address provided on Etsy, correctly mark the shipped items with Etsy Shipping Labels, use Etsy Payments for receiving the payment from a customer. 

Pretty much the same as with Etsy order handling, in the case of Shopify, a typical processing flow of online orders is executed in 3 steps: capturing the payment, fulfilling the order, and archiving it. In turn, order fulfillment requires choosing the right packaging and shipping. Both Etsy and Shopify offer automation for most of those store management steps with smart integrations like Zapier, Mailchimp, etc. 

Several ways to get paid with Etsy include Etsy Payments (for eligible countries), PayPal, payments by mail, and others (set directly with a buyer). While these are several ways to receive a payment, we feel that in terms of payment processors Shopify with its 100+ payment processors easily outperforms Etsy, being one of the best ecommerce solutions for online store owners.   

Ease, transparency, and simplicity of pricing


Based on the details of the pricing for both Etsy and Shopify given above, Shopify comes as a winner.

Despite both options being quite affordable (if not the most affordable among other e-commerce opportunities on the market), it appears that Etsy’s fees are a bit less direct than those for Shopify. 

Another reason to choose Shopify over Etsy is Etsy’s little to no information on what features are included in Etsy Standard plan. The general “Everything you need to start, manage, and grow a creative business” apparently is not enough for a seller who is considering the shop features he is entitled to. 

Shopify, in comparison, keeps all the features sellers are entitled to a certain Shopify plan open for them to decide. 

Given the credit to Shopify’s features/pricing transparency and ease of fees calculation (with no listing fees at all), it seems logical to grant Shopify a winner status

Scalability of new businesses


Fair enough Etsy, a well-regarded marketplace, takes a back seat here, letting Shopify, a major role in the customer acquisition game.

Thanks to its SEO-focused approach, various add-ons to expand your store features, fast loading speed, user-friendly interface, and other cool features, Shopify easily serves both small and large businesses. 

This is not that Etsy has no integrations, but compared to Shopify those are not as cost-effective and flexible as the latter.


Customer data protection and security 


The Fraud Protection system allows Shopify sellers to get the orders fulfilled safely and securely with no fraudulent chargebacks.

On orders that aren’t eligible for fraud protection, there is a Fraud analysis card that indicates whether an order is high, medium, or low risk.

At Etsy, eligible sellers are automatically enrolled in the Seller Protection program with no prior application for it.  Yet to be eligible though several conditions must be met:

  • No Etsy Policy violation is acceptable
  • Etsy Payments enrollment is needed
  • Shop Policies fully set up in compliance with Etsy Policies
  • Accurate product descriptions and images are musts
  • Reasonable and accurate order processing and shipping times
  • Etsy-cooperative investigations of invalid transactions

With all being said, who’s the winner then?

Shopify takes over Etsy with an average score of 10 out of 10 against Etsy’s 8 points as an average score.  
Shopify, scoring maximum here in this review, owes its ranking its customer-centric approach, which allows a shop owner to build a fully-functional e-commerce store and further maintain it at ease. Here’s what would have scored an additional 10 points for Shopify: the top 25 free Shopify apps for your store that help greatly improve a shop’s functionality, and ultimately revenue, had there been another scoring system.

  1. Oberlo
  2. Kit
  3. Order Printer
  4. Product Reviews
  5. Free Shipping Bar
  6. SEO Site Audit, Benchmark Hero
  7. Printful
  8. Improved Contact Form
  9. Klaviyo
  10. Digital Downloads
  11. PushOwl
  12. Form Builder
  13. Rewards and Referrals by Swell
  14. Shopcodes
  15. Compass
  16. Bulk Image Edit ‑ Image SEO
  17. Upsell and Cross-sell Products
  18. Infinite Options
  19. UserGems
  20. Sales Notification by MPS
  21. Tidio Live Chat
  22. Trust Badge
  23. Ultimate Sales Boost
  24. Give and Grow
  25. Privy

In Sum

There’s no denying choosing the best ecommerce platform for your business is a daunting task on its own. Strictly speaking, there’s no such thing as the best ecommerce platform. Sounds a bit confusing, right? Especially taking into account the detailed review of both Shopify and Etsy we have provided in this post.

The point is to let you make an informed decision maximizing your chances of growing a successful online business, rather than simply jumping all-ins into the unknown. Yet, as a reminder, what worked well for lots of other companies may not quite fit your business model or budget.

Despite Shopify coming out as a complete solution for business owners rearing to take it seriously and scale up fast, Etsy still a viable choice for vintage and handmade crafts market and it is quickly evolving to become Shopify’s biggest rival as a fully operational and scalable ecommerce platform, and not just a marketplace. 

With that being said, there’s always an option to leverage both Shopify and Etsy to your advantage by using Etsy Marketplace Integration app. Install it in your Shopify store, you can easily import all or desired products in the app, list those, and start receiving the orders from Etsy buyers.    

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