Comparing Shopify vs Etsy in 2023: Which One Is Right for Your Handmade Business?

Are you looking to start or grow your online business? The ecommerce platform you choose can make all the difference. Two popular options are Shopify and Etsy, each with unique advantages and challenges. In this post, we’ll dive deep into the “Shopify vs Etsy” debate, discussing the differences and similarities between these platforms to help you make the best decision for your handmade business.

Key Takeaways

  • Shopify and Etsy provide distinct advantages for entrepreneurs to create and manage their online stores.
  • Shopify offers no listing fees, lower transaction fees, customizable design & branding options, powerful marketing tools & reliable customer support.
  • Etsy is perfect for launching small businesses with convenient payment options and unique marketplace opportunities.
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Etsy and Shopify: Key Differences

A thoughtful comparison of Etsy and Shopify must take into account their distinctive differences in platform structure, target audience, and product focus.

Etsy caters to independent creators of digital products, handmade goods and craft supplies. It provides an online marketplace specifically for vintage items over 20 years old. On the other hand, Shopify provides a customizable online store, convenient “Buy Now” buttons, a variety of integrations, a POS system for in-store purchases, and multichannel capabilities.

Platform Structure

Shopify offers a customizable ecommerce platform for creating ecommerce business online stores, while Etsy provides an online marketplace for creative professionals. Shopify allows the sale of a wide range of goods from retail items like jewelry and apparel to handmade and vintage items.

Etsy, on the other hand, focuses on handmade goods, vintage items, and craft supplies. If you want to unlock additional features for your Etsy shop, Etsy Plus is available for just $10 a month.

Both platforms cater to beginners, with Shopify providing useful guides for novices and access to an app store for expanded functionality.

Target Audience

Etsy primarily supports small-scale sellers of handmade and craft items, featuring a streamlined payment system through Etsy Payments. Shopify, in contrast, is perfect for businesses and entrepreneurs of all sizes, offering a seamless payment experience with Shopify Payments.

Understanding the differences in target audiences between Etsy and Shopify can assist you in leveraging the unique benefits of each platform, such as their respective payment processing fees. Experienced online sellers may prefer Shopify, benefiting from its lower transaction fees compared to Etsy.

Product Focus

Etsy product focus highlighting unique, handmade, and vintage products.

Etsy is an excellent platform for highlighting unique, handmade, and vintage products, whereas Shopify provides a broader spectrum of products and services suitable for a standalone online store. Shopify enables you to offer a wider array of products and services, while Etsy’s marketplace format is perfect for launching small-scale side gig businesses.

If you’re looking to create a website and start selling your products, Etsy offers Pattern by Etsy, which allows you to have your own domain.

Pricing and Fees: Shopify vs Etsy

In terms of pricing and fees, both Shopify and Etsy offer distinct structures. Shopify provides convenient monthly subscription plans, while Etsy offers a free plan and a paid Etsy Plus plan.

Additionally, Shopify has lower transaction fees compared to Etsy, which has higher per-sale fees. Lastly, Etsy charges listing fees, which Shopify does not.

Subscription Costs

Shopify’s subscription plans commence at a modest $29 per month, with advanced features available in the higher-tier plans. On the other hand, Etsy offers a free plan, and the convenient Etsy Plus plan can be unlocked for only $10 per month.

For those interested in Etsy Pattern, you can take advantage of a free 30-day trial, after which it is $15 per month.

Transaction Fees

Shopify’s transaction fees are dependent on the chosen plan, varying from as low as 0.5% up to a cap of 2% per transaction.

In contrast, Etsy charges around 9.5% plus 45 cents per sale, allowing you to monetize your products and earn money with their Etsy fees, which include transaction fees.

Listing Fees

One of the advantages of Shopify is that it does not charge listing fees, allowing you to save money while still getting the same great service.

Etsy, on the other hand, offers the following benefits:

  • A 20 cent listing fee per product, allowing you to maximize your profits
  • Etsy Plus, which includes 15 listing credits and $5 credits for Etsy Ads per month
  • A 30% discount from the printer MOO
  • Discounts on shipping boxes depending on the seller’s country of operation

These features make Etsy a great platform for sellers looking to boost their profits.

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Customization and Branding: How Shopify and Etsy Compare

Shopify presents an array of store design customization options, whereas Etsy’s design choices are somewhat more restricted.

When it comes to branding, Shopify provides more opportunities compared to Etsy, which has a more restricted marketplace format.

Store Design

Shopify offers extensive store design customization, allowing you to create a unique and personalized online store on your own website. You can easily edit title tags, meta descriptions, and URLs for blog posts, webpages, products, and collections.

On the other hand, Etsy has more limited design choices, with your Etsy store featuring Etsy’s design and layout – neat, modern, and visually appealing.

Branding Opportunities

Shopify provides more branding opportunities, allowing you to create a unique and recognizable brand identity. You can easily download brand resources from Shopify Partners or check out their brand guidelines for:

  • Logos
  • Color swatches
  • Fonts
  • Examples

Plus, you can hire logo and branding experts to create visual assets that are tailored to your brand identity. Our Brand Strategy Workbook for Makers will also come in handy!

On the other hand, the Etsy marketplace format presents unique branding opportunities within the constraints of their platform.

Marketing and SEO: Shopify vs Etsy

Shopify provides a range of built-in marketing tools and integrations to help you maximize your reach on one of the leading ecommerce platforms while Etsy has limited marketing features.

When it comes to SEO, Shopify offers more capabilities, while Etsy relies on its marketplace search engine and Google indexing.

Built-in Marketing Tools

Shopify offers built-in marketing tools and integrations to help you grow your business. These tools include email marketing, chat services via websites, and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Additionally, Shopify integrates with various sales channels such as Amazon, eBay, and the Shop app, so you can get your products in front of more potential customers.

In contrast, Etsy has more limited marketing features, focusing mainly on its marketplace format.

SEO Capabilities

Shopify provides a wealth of resources and guides to help you make the most of your marketing and SEO efforts. Their help documentation includes a section dedicated to SEO, and their blog post on Shopify SEO is an invaluable resource. Plus, you can ask SEO questions and discuss marketing topics in their forum. All in all, Shopify is renowned for its clean coding and features, making it an excellent choice for SEO.

Etsy, however, relies on its marketplace search engine and Google indexing for SEO optimization.

Comparing Shopify vs Etsy in 2023: Which One Is Right for Your Handmade Business?

Customer Support: Comparing Shopify and Etsy

Shopify guarantees round-the-clock support, while Etsy’s support availability tends to fluctuate.

Both Shopify and Etsy provide support through various communication channels, such as chat, email, and phone.

Support Availability

Shopify offers 24/7 support through live chat, email, or callback, ensuring you can always talk to a real person when you need assistance. On the other hand, Etsy provides 24/7 live chat with the helpful support of a human advisor.

This makes Shopify the clear choice for businesses that require constant support availability.

Response Time

Shopify offers quicker response times, while Etsy may take a bit longer. The response time for Shopify can vary depending on the context, but you can expect a response within 24-48 hours if you reach out to the Shopify Support team via email.

In comparison, Etsy’s response time may vary depending on the issue and the number of support requests at a given time. Some sellers have reported wait times to be long depending on the time or year and what the issue is.

Communication Channels

Both Shopify and Etsy offer a variety of communication channels to help users learn more about their products and services. Some of these channels include:

  • Email
  • Chat services via websites
  • Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram
  • Integration with various sales channels such as Amazon, eBay, and the Shop app

Etsy, on the other hand, provides (generally) friendly customer support through email, phone, and live chat, along with a helpful help center with a variety of resources to assist you with any of your questions.

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Integration and Multichannel Selling: Shopify and Etsy

When comparing Shopify vs Etsy, Shopify provides various third-party apps to enhance your business potential, in contrast to Etsy’s more limited integration options.

Shopify is the ideal platform for inventory management and multichannel selling, while Etsy has more limited capabilities.

Third-Party Apps

Shopify offers a wide range of third-party apps in the Shopify App Store to help you make the most of your business. These apps can help you with everything from marketing and sales to inventory management and customer support.

In contrast, Etsy has fewer integration options, focusing mainly on its marketplace format and the creative businesses that use the platform.

Inventory Management

Shopify offers incredible inventory management features that allow you to set up inventory tracking, view and adjust inventory levels, and track inventory across multiple locations and warehouses.

In comparison, Etsy offers basic inventory management features, such as tracking inventory levels and setting up low stock alerts. This makes Shopify the better choice for businesses that require more advanced inventory management capabilities.

Pros and Cons: Comparing Shopify vs Etsy in 2023

Both Shopify and Etsy have unique advantages and disadvantages for varying types of businesses. Shopify provides an easy-to-use user interface, an extensive selection of themes and plugins, and powerful marketing tools. However, it may be costly and there are certain restrictions on customization.

Etsy, on the other hand, is an excellent platform for creative businesses, with a vast selection of unique products and a huge customer base. However, it can be challenging to differentiate yourself from the competition and the fees can be substantial.


In conclusion, both Shopify and Etsy offer unique advantages and challenges for different types of businesses. By considering factors such as platform structure, target audience, product focus, pricing, customization, marketing, SEO, customer support, integration, and inventory management, you can make an informed decision on which platform is the best fit for your online business. Ultimately, the choice between Shopify and Etsy will depend on your specific needs, goals, and preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Shopify or Etsy better for selling?

Shopify is the better choice for selling manufactured goods at a higher volume, since its transaction fees are cheaper than Etsy’s. Additionally, Etsy is tailored to handmade items and handicrafts.

Is Shopify cheaper then Etsy?

Given its lack of monthly costs and comparatively low transaction fees, Etsy is generally cheaper than Shopify. However, when merchants utilize Shopify Payments, the cost of doing business on Shopify is much lower than that of Etsy. Ultimately, as your business grows and more orders come in, managing an Etsy store might end up costing you the same amount of money as Shopify does monthly.

Why switch from Etsy to Shopify?

Shopify gives you more control over building your customer base, marketing to them, and partnering with other brands. Plus, it allows you to own your traffic and email list. Switching from Etsy to Shopify will give you the freedom to establish your brand, curate products, and build a solid customer base.

Which platform is better for small-scale sellers of handmade and craft items?

Etsy is the ideal platform for small-scale sellers of handmade and craft items, as it offers a tailored experience with features to make the seller’s life easier.

Can I sell my products on both Shopify and Etsy?

Yes, you can sell your products on both Shopify and Etsy by integrating the two platforms. This can help maximize the reach of your business and increase your potential.