Etsy vs Shopify: Which is Best for Your Business?

Marketplaces 101
Etsy vs Shopify: Which is Best for Your Business?

Thinking of trying a new reselling platform? Here is a comparison of Etsy vs. Shopify and the pros and cons of selling on each marketplace.


Etsy and Shopify are great marketplaces to consider, especially if you make your own products or have your own brand.


Etsy and Shopify might seem more complicated than some of the other reselling marketplaces, but their many features provide sellers with superior tools to make more money selling online.


Want to learn more? For a full Etsy overview, click here. For a full guide to selling on Shopify, click here.


Etsy & Shopify Audiences 


Etsy is a popular selling marketplace with approximately 96.3 million active buyers around the world. Etsy yields billions of dollars annually with a constantly increasing number of sellers and shoppers. The platform has a global audience and is a great place to buy and sell handmade goods, vintage, and craft supplies. Etsy’s mission is “To keep human connection at the heart of commerce.”


Shopify is a leading e-commerce platform with over 500 million annual buyers, holding a 23% market share of e-commerce in the United States. Shopify allows users to create and design their own e-commerce website and storefront to feature and market their products. 


Note: Shopify is a unique selling experience that is unlike all of the other marketplaces. Shopify is essentially a tool that allows you to make your own ecommerce website. Buyers don’t “shop on Shopify,” they shop on websites powered by Shopify. 


You might also like: 10 Great Marketplaces Every Reseller Should Consider


What can you sell on Etsy?


On Etsy, you can sell handmade items, vintage fashion, and craft supplies on Etsy. 


Handmade items are the top-selling category on Etsy. Handmade goods are those made by the seller and range from clothing to décor and everything in between (including digital downloads). 


Vintage items are those which are at least twenty years old, for which you can provide authentication of age. 


Craft supplies include tools, ingredients, and materials whose primary purpose is for use in the creation of an item or special occasion (including party supplies).


Etsy is fairly limited in what you can sell, but provides the perfect market for these niched categories. 


What can you sell on Shopify?


You can sell everything on Shopify, on your own custom website.


Users can sell nearly anything on Shopify; inventory of any type in addition to intangible products and services such as downloadables, lessons, courses, and more! Shopify also allows users to create a catalog of inventory that can be used to fuel a Facebook Business Store or Instagram Store. Learn more here

Remember, you can quickly cross-list your items to both Etsy and Shopify with Vendoo! Sign up for the free trial.


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Etsy v. Shopify Listing Process 


How to List an Item on Etsy


You can create an Etsy account in just seconds. Then, listing items on Etsy is very straight forward: You can upload 10 photos (and a listing video), type a description, and select a few drop-down boxes based upon the category of your item (which may or may not include specifics such as size, material, colors, occasion, personalization details, etc.)


On each Etsy form, you will enter the handling time and shipping information for the item, and also select whether to have it auto-renew or to manually do so yourself. You can also enter tags (basically hashtags) for the item based on style for exposure and search-ability. 

How to Get Started Selling on Shopify 


Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, so you can explore the platform and get started selling without commitment to a monthly plan. Some administrative work is required to set up your account settings, but Shopify walks the user through each step with clear instructions, video resources, and live support. Learn more about creating a Shopify account and selecting a plan here. You must have a Shopify Store subscription to sell with Shopify.


How to List Items for Sale with Shopify


Once your shop is open, you are ready to list items for sale on your new website powered by Shopify!


Vendoo has integrated Shopify for a simple and easy listing process. When listing on Shopify directly, the listing form is similar to what you can expect on most reselling marketplaces, allowing for photographs and video media, a description, and several drop-downs about your item. Because you are in control of your own website, most fields are not required, and you can make what you want of the listing fields.


How to Ship on Etsy vs. How to Ship on Shopify


Both Etsy and Shopify offer many shipping options for sellers, including global shipping to broaden your audience across the world.


How Does Shipping Work on Shopify?


You are in control of how you would like to ship with Shopify. You can establish your preferences. You can choose to ship on your own (by creating your own label yourself or with a third-party company); you can also take advantage of the shipping discounts available. “Shopify works directly with multiple carriers, each offering multiple mail classes to make the process as streamlined as possible.” The platform also allows for third-party shipping services and drop-shipping! 


How to Ship on Etsy


Similarly, Etsy puts the seller in control of all things shipping, including handling time, cost, geographical limitations, taxes, and shipping carriers including FedEx, USPS, and UPS. For users in the United States, you can pay for and print automatically generated USPS labels right from Etsy if you opt to ship with Etsy. 


On Etsy, you can create shipping profiles with your shipping preferences. In these, you can determine whether you will charge shipping (at a flat rate or calculated based upon size and destination), or offer free shipping (and pay for it yourself). You will also determine whether to use labels provided by Etsy, or ship on your own with a service such as Pirate Ship. 


Etsy Fees vs. Shopify Fees 


Both Etsy and Shopify require that sellers pay to play. While some platforms do not charge fees until sale, Etsy and Shopify both charge small fees up front to sell with them.


Etsy Fees: How Much Does Etsy Take?


As a super rough estimate, Etsy fees will amount to approximately 12% (or just under, in most instances). 


However, Etsy has a bit of a complicated fee structure:

  1. Etsy’s Listing Cost is $0.20 per listing (which automatically renews and charges every four months by default, but you can disable that).

  2. Etsy’s Transaction Fee is the basic seller’s fee in the amount of 6.5% of the sale price.

  3. Etsy’s Payment Processing Fee is subject to the fees assigned by Square, which range based upon many variable, but do not currently exceed 4%. 


Remember, that there might be other fees incurred for optional advertising including Etsy ad campaigns and offsite ad campaigns. 


What Are Shopify Seller Fees? 


Currently, Shopify Basic costs $29 per month, with a fee of 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction.


However, Shopify seller fees vary and depend entirely upon what you are selling, how you sell it, and which Shopify plan you have. Of course, you pay for your subscription plan and pay upon transactions. 

The fees are different with the higher-tier plans. Click here to learn about Shopify plans and pricing. Overall, Shopify has very low seller fees compared to other reselling marketplaces. 


Managing Your Etsy Store vs. Managing Your Shopify Store


Both Etsy and Shopify have many tools and features to provide sellers with opportunities to grow and scale their business. Learn more about the tools and opportunities to make more money selling on Etsy and Shopify: 


Etsy Ads & Seller Tools


Etsy similarly provides many seller tools including: Etsy Ads campaigns, offsite ads, and coupons and sales. Etsy Ads promote your listings in Etsy search results. In your Etsy Shop Manager, you can set your ad budget and select the listings to advertise. 


For a wider reach, you might consider offsite ads, which promote Etsy listings throughout the web including major search engines and social media platforms. Etsy offers off-site ad services with no upfront cost: you only pay the advertising fee when you make a sale. 


Etsy also offers the ability for you to offer coupons and sales to encourage purchases! Learn more about Etsy coupons and sales here.


Etsy sellers love all of the ads and opportunities to increase your reach and attract more buyers! 


How to Be Successful on Shopify & Seller Tools


Remember, Shopify does not have a built-in audience. There is not a newsfeed or search field to find listings. Selling on Shopify is similar to selling on your own website, and you will be required to do your own marketing and bring customers to your store


However, Shopify provides many tools and resources to help drive traffic and sales. It has tools to help you improve your content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) and the ability to create and run advertisement campaigns. The tools available depend upon your subscription, inventory, and volume. Learn more here


Etsy Return Policy vs. Shopify Return Policy


On both Etsy and Shopify, the seller determines their return policy. However, Etsy customer service and support oversees all transactions on Etsy. On Shopify, you are essentially the owner of your own website, and you are responsible for handling customer service on your own behalf (and in conformance with ethical, logistical, and legal requirements). 


Etsy Return Policy


On Etsy, you establish your own shop policies regarding returns and refunds, including if you accept them, the return time period, and who is responsible for the return shipping cost. 


An Etsy buyer is unable to open a case on Etsy until they have first reached out to the seller directly and allowed 48 hours for the seller to respond. Thus, you must stay on top of your inbox. If you are unable to resolve the issue favorably with the buyer, the case will be escalated to Etsy support. 


Etsy support generally does not allow for returns unless there is non-delivery or the item is not as described. Be sure to retain proof of shipment and photographs of the item to protect yourself as a seller in these instances. 


Also remember that when buyers pay with Paypal, they also receive Paypal protection which often extends beyond what is offered by the marketplaces. 


How Do Returns Work on Shopify?


On Shopify you establish your own store policies regarding returns and refunds. If a buyer is not happy with their purchase, they do not have an official customer service to file a claim with; instead, they must contact you, and you are responsible for the transaction as the merchant. Of course, Shopify provides sellers with all of the tools to handle disputes, returns, and exchanges. 


In the event of an irreconcilable dispute between a buyer and seller, the buyer might pursue recourse with their payment processor, bank, or even legally.


Remember that returns are a part of business. That said, they are fairly uncommon- most buyers want the item they are purchasing. 


Etsy vs. Shopify: Which is Better to Sell Online?


Etsy and Shopify are great marketplaces to grow and scale your reselling business. Neither is better than the other, but in consideration of the above- one might perhaps work better for your business. 


Why choose just one? Sign up for Vendoo and cross-list all of your items to both to maximize your audience and make more sales! 


Have you sold on Etsy and/or Shopify? If so, which one do you like the most? Tell us below!

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