Shopify vs Etsy: Your Own Online Store or Free Marketplace?

this page contains affiliate links. see my disclaimer. thanks for reading!

this page contains affiliate links. see my disclaimer. thanks for reading!

Shopify vs Etsy, your own online store or a free marketplace, what do you prefer?

You're at a crossroad and can't decide if Shopify or Etsy is the answer to your eCommerce needs. This review is all you need to make a decision!

Both platforms are becoming increasingly popular and that makes it really hard for us to decide which is perfect. 

I've used Shopify to run my own online stores and I've also used Etsy to shop on for cool unique gifts and presents. So that gave me an idea to write an article about which platform is suitable for selling your products on.

My Shopify vs Etsy review is a brief comparison that will help you make a firm decision on which platform you need for your online store.

Let's start by getting the basics of each out of the way!

Etsy is an ecommerce marketplace that focuses on hand or home made crafts made by individuals. People like you and me that have a unique skill create items and then sell them on the Etsy marketplace.

Shopify is an eCommerce platform that allows you to create your very own self hosted online store. 

Shopify vs Etsy

How to Start a Shopify Store Free Email Course

In this free course, I show you how to create an online shopify store from the technical side (it's easy - trust me!) all the way to making your first sale and customers that buy. Join now!


My eCommerce Journey

As I've mentioned I've used Shopify to sell over $100,000 worth of products in the past. I started my eCommerce journey back in 2016 and I've learnt a heap of things since then.

One of them is to pick the right platform to start selling onPicking the right platform from the beginning will allow you to start your online store in the right direction.

I've learnt about so many different platforms that I wanted to point out the differences between Shopify vs Etsy in this article.

My experience with many platforms covers speed, reliability, consumer security and also customization.

5 Reasons That Etsy May Not Be For You

The only real pro about using Etsy is that it has a quick and easy to get started. Yeh, that's about it! However, so is Shopify and there are a tonne of tutorials online to get started.

Before you jump to signing up to Etsy let me paint a bigger picture for you about why it may not be for you.

  • Etsy Controls Your Business (You Don't) - Your online store is hosted on their marketplace. Etsy owns 100% your business and you're really just growing and promoting their marketplace.
  • They Can Shut Your Doors for no good Reason - Yes! One day you could be making a killing in sales but if they think you've breached a policy, poof out you go!
  • Not Caring about their sellers - Etsy is just there to make money and they don't really care about their customers. When you need help, you will be stuck submitting a ticket request and waiting a day or two for an answer.
  • The customers are not yours - They own the customers information which means it will be hard to re-sell to the same customer a different product in the future. 
  • Re-marketing is harder - If you're promoting products via social media there is no way to re-target customers who added to cart but did not purchase. Most people will need to see a product 7 times before they purchase.

Start a Shopify Store Today

If you're interested in being professional, running your online store like a long-term business.

Turning it into an asset which you later could sell is important and paying for your hosting, such as Shopify, it's an absolute MUST DO! 

So save yourself the time and pain and start your online store with a 14-day free trial.

Shopify vs Etsy - What is Shopify?

Shopify is a cloud-based online shopping system for retailers that allows you to start a store and start selling products.

The products can be just about anything, so if you are creative and make your own craft like items, then yes you can host your products on Shopify and sell them.

It can integrate with many different platforms and the most popular ways to sell is with an online store, Facebook pages or Pinterest Buyable Pins.

If that's not enough you can even integrate with Amazon and expand your reach through the Amazon marketplace.

Related Article: Shopify vs Weebly Review

Benefits and Advantages of Shopify

I love that Shopify is much more than just an eCommerce platform. It is a tool that gives you endless possibilities. Below are some of the advantages that comes with Shopify:

  • Easy to use and Setup - The interface is intuitive and simple which makes using the platform effective.
  • The Perfect Home for Your Business - List unlimited products at no cost, host a blog or customize your store the way you want it.
  • Promote Your Products on Various Platforms - Shopify integrates with Amazon, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Wanelo just to name a few.
  • Unbreakable Shop & Consumer Security - They offer impecable security for your online store and also 256-bit payment security. Meaning your store and customer data will always be safe.
  • Superior Customer Support - 24/7 real time customer chat support. Yes talk to a real person when you have a problem.

Shopify vs Etsy - Shopify Pricing Model

Shopify's basic plan starts at $29/month which is affordable for most people looking at starting a store.

I recommend starting on a $29 plan and as soon as you get traction with your store move to the $79 plan.

Regarding the price, it is a decent start rate as you'll most likely make it back after your first sale. The plus side is that you don't need to pay a referral fee for each sale like you do with Etsy.

Any product sold on Shopify is subject to the 2.9% transaction fee and an additional 30 cents per product.

It seems like much, but when you're making a killing and providing an amazing service for your customers, it won't matter.

Shopify Pricing

What's Etsy?

If you're a creative spirit that loves DIY craft projects and you make a living from it, then Etsy is a place you would of heard of.

The products you find on Etsy are handmade or non-handmade jewelery, clothing, furniture or custom wedding items.

Signing up to Etsy

Signing up and creating a shop on Etsy is completely free and easy. Simply create an etsy account if you don't already have one, set the location, currency and come up with a shop name.

It gets no simple than that, however you need to lookout for the costs to list items on their platform.

Hidden Costs of Etsy

There is a listing, transaction and payment processing fee that you need to look out for.

Publishing items to the marketplace costs about 20 cents and will be listed for a total of four months or until the item is purchased.

If you sell an item, hooray! Now you need to pay the 3.5% transaction fee taken from the sale price.

You can accept payments via Etsy Payments, however there is still a 3.0% transaction fee and an additional 25 cents payment processing fee.

How to Get Paid Selling Online

Learn how to make money by starting an eCommerce store with Shopify (P.s you don't need inventory)

Shopify vs Etsy - Your Own Online Store or Free Marketplace?

So where do we stand?

Truth is, Shopify and Etsy both have pros and cons! I'd be lying if I said that Shopify was 100% perfect.

In saying that I do genuinely prefer Shopify over Etsy and that's due to the following reasons:

1. You Will Control and Own Your Online Store

Your online store is hosted on a private network (similar to a your own website). 

It means that you have full control of how your online store will look. By having a custom looking online store, customers would really get a feel for your own store and most likely come back.

Think about promoting your own website and business and growing it to something that generates a significant yearly revenue.

2. Full Store Customization

There are so many themes with Shopify that suits a variety of online stores. If you are a person that owns a tshirt business and you're selling on etsy, move over to shopify now.

Themes for electronics, gadgets, tshirt stores, jewelery stores or even handmade necklaces or custom products.

The thing I love about Shopify the most is having your brand literally everywhere, from your store front to a custom shipment page.

Shopify also has very detailed reporting that allows you to really get down and dirty with your stores revenue and statistics.

3. Branding and Growth

If your brand is starting to grow then Shopify grows with you

Never worry about slow website speeds if you have 100's of thousands of visitors daily! Your online store speeds will never be interrupted meaning your customers will have a seamless shopping experience.

By having your very own online store with a personalized brand you stand out from the rest.

Customers will remember who you are and not just the website "Etsy"! This is very important for standing out from other competitors. 

4. Multiple Income Streams

If you've used Etsy for a while you know that you're limited by only their platform.

With Shopify you can extend your reach by having a Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest profile. 

This allows you to integrate your store with these social mediums and potentially reach a whole new audience.

5. The Customers Data is Yours

When a customer purchases an item from you through etsy you can only message them through the platform.

On Shopify you have the customers email address and with this you can continue to send out email promotions for other products.

Doing that opens up a door for increasing your revenue with existing customers as selling to them is less harder than acquiring a brand new customers.

Conclusion of Shopify vs Etsy

Shopify is a powerful eCommerce platform that is used by millions of individuals and thousands of companies globally.

It can literally transform your business that you have on Etsy overnight and start really bringing in the cash.

If you're not using Shopify you are missing out.

With that being said you may not be ready to shut the doors on your Etsy store (or not yet convinced that Shopify is for you)

That's why Shopify has a no obligation 14-day free trial that you can sign up to so you can evaluate it.

You don't need a credit card and signing up takes no more than 5 minutes. I even made a video tutorial on creating a Shopify store that you can check out below.

If you have any questions about Etsy or Shopify feel free to pop them in the comment box below.

I'd be more than happy to answer them.

Important eCommerce Resources

These are courses/products I have personally vetted and recommend.

Marco B @ Bottom Line Cents

About the author

Marco is the founder of Bottom Line Cents, a blog about travel and personal finance. He primarily talks about ways to make money online with side income. He has paid off over $40,000 in student debt due to his side gigs and his thriving nature to succeed.

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