Etsy vs Shopify: Which eCommerce Platform is Right for You?

Etsy vs Shopify: Which eCommerce Platform is Right for You?

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. What is Etsy?
  3. How to Start Selling on Etsy
  4. What is Shopify?
  5. How to Start Selling on Shopify
  6. Pros of Shopify
    1. Customizability
    2. Drop Shipping
    3. Payment Options
    4. Marketing Tools
  7. Cons of Shopify
    1. Cost
    2. Technical Knowledge Required
    3. Less Control Over Website
    4. Need to Drive Traffic
  8. Pros of Etsy
    1. Free Traffic
    2. Easy to Use
    3. Low Cost to Start
  9. Cons of Etsy
    1. Lack of Customization
    2. High Competition
    3. Transaction and Shipping Fees
    4. No Drop Shipping Allowed
  10. Conclusion

Etsy vs Shopify: Choosing the Best eCommerce Platform to Start Selling Online


When it comes to starting an online business, choosing the right eCommerce platform is crucial. Two popular options are Etsy and Shopify. Both platforms have their own advantages and disadvantages, so understanding the difference between them is essential to avoid any potential business failures. In this article, we will compare Etsy and Shopify in terms of their features, pros, and cons to help you make an informed decision on which platform is better suited to your specific needs.

What is Etsy?

Etsy is an online marketplace similar to Amazon that connects buyers to sellers. It is primarily used for selling handmade goods, vintage items, and various forms of art. Starting to sell on Etsy is a straightforward process that involves creating an Etsy account, setting up your shop location and currency, choosing a shop name, listing your products, setting a payment method, and finally, starting to sell. Unlike Shopify, Etsy does not require extensive customization of your shop.

How to Start Selling on Etsy

To start selling on Etsy, you first need to create an Etsy account and set up your shop location and currency. Choose a unique shop name that represents your brand. List your first product with clear and enticing product descriptions. Set up a secure and convenient payment method for your buyers. Finally, you can start selling your products on the Etsy marketplace.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is a popular website building platform that helps small business owners build their own online stores. While Shopify is user-friendly for beginners, it requires more work to run your store compared to Etsy. When starting an online store with Shopify, you have more control over your branding, store customization, and selling strategies. You can choose a store theme, add products, customize your store's appearance, set up shipping or grant digital downloads, connect a custom domain, drive traffic, and start selling. Shopify provides greater flexibility and control over every aspect of your online store.

Pros of Shopify

  1. Customizability: Shopify offers extensive customization options for building a unique online store. With a wide range of templates and features, you can make your store stand out and improve the customer experience.
  2. Drop Shipping: Shopify supports various drop shipping apps, allowing you to automate sales and fulfill orders without having to hold inventory. This makes it easier to start a drop shipping business.
  3. Payment Options: Shopify supports multiple payment options, including credit cards, PayPal, and Stripe. It also includes Shopify Payments, which can help reduce transaction fees and streamline the checkout process.
  4. Marketing Tools: Shopify provides a wide range of marketing apps to help promote your online store and increase sales. These apps offer premium functionalities that Etsy's basic marketing tools often lack.

Cons of Shopify

  1. Cost: Shopify can be expensive for beginners, as the basic plan starts at $39 per month. Transaction fees may also apply if you use a payment gateway other than Shopify Payments.
  2. Technical Knowledge Required: While Shopify does not require coding skills, it does require some technical knowledge to set up and customize your online store. You need to understand inventory management, product listing, and basic customization procedures.
  3. Less Control Over Website: Using Shopify is comparable to renting a space for your online store. You have limitations on certain aspects, such as controversial product sales, and Shopify can terminate your store if you violate their policies.
  4. Need to Drive Traffic: Unlike Etsy, Shopify does not provide free traffic. You need to actively promote your products through content marketing, organic SEO, or paid advertisements to drive traffic and make sales.

Pros of Etsy

  1. Free Traffic: One of the biggest advantages of selling on Etsy is the built-in traffic from the marketplace itself. With millions of shoppers already browsing Etsy, you can benefit from organic visibility and increase the chances of making sales without significant marketing efforts.
  2. Easy to Use: Etsy is beginner-friendly with a simple interface, making it easy for sellers to list their products and start generating passive income. There is no need to worry about customizing your store.
  3. Low Cost to Start: Starting a shop on Etsy is relatively inexpensive. Instead of monthly costs, Etsy charges a nominal fee of 20 cents every four months per listing, making it an affordable option for small businesses and individuals starting out.

Cons of Etsy

  1. Lack of Customization: Unlike Shopify, Etsy lacks extensive customization options. All Etsy stores have a similar look and feel, making it difficult to create a unique branded store.
  2. High Competition: Etsy's marketplace is highly competitive, with over 4 million sellers vying for attention. New sellers may find it challenging to gain visibility and stand out from established competitors. Paid ads are often necessary to gain initial traction.
  3. Transaction and Shipping Fees: Etsy charges a 6% transaction fee on each sale, which can eat into a seller's profit margins, especially for low-priced items. Additionally, Etsy also charges fees on shipping costs, including the shipping label cost and a 5% fee on the shipping fee charged to the buyer.
  4. No Drop Shipping Allowed: Unlike Shopify, Etsy does not allow drop shipping. Sellers on Etsy must adhere to the platform's policies, ensuring that all listed items are handmade, vintage, or craft supplies. Selling mass-produced or manufactured items through drop shipping is prohibited.


Choosing between Etsy and Shopify depends on your specific needs as an online seller. Shopify offers advanced customization options, drop shipping capabilities, various payment options, and extensive marketing tools, making it suitable for those looking for a comprehensive eCommerce platform. On the other hand, Etsy provides free traffic, ease of use, low starting costs, and a targeted marketplace for unique and handmade products. Consider your business requirements and evaluate the pros and cons of each platform before making a decision.


  • Etsy and Shopify are popular eCommerce platforms with different advantages and disadvantages.
  • Etsy is an online marketplace for handmade goods, vintage items, and art, while Shopify is a website building platform for creating online stores.
  • Shopify offers advanced customization, drop shipping capabilities, payment options, and marketing tools.
  • Etsy provides free traffic, simplicity, low starting costs, but lacks extensive customization and has high competition.
  • Both platforms have their unique strengths depending on the seller's specific needs and product offerings.


Q: Can I sell handmade products on Shopify? A: Yes, you can sell handmade products on Shopify. However, Etsy has a more focused marketplace for such products.

Q: Can I use drop shipping on Etsy? A: No, drop shipping is not allowed on Etsy. The platform strictly prohibits the sale of mass-produced or manufactured items.

Q: Can I use my own domain on Etsy? A: Etsy does not provide the option to connect a custom domain. In contrast, Shopify allows you to set up your own custom domain for branding purposes.

Q: Which platform is better for beginners? A: Etsy is generally considered more beginner-friendly due to its simplicity and built-in traffic. However, Shopify provides more flexibility and control over your online store.

Q: Can I use both Etsy and Shopify concurrently? A: Yes, it is possible to use both platforms concurrently. Some sellers choose to list their products on both Etsy and their Shopify store to reach different audiences.

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