Shopify Vs Etsy: Where To Start Your Online Business In 2020?

A brief introduction

Considering an eCommerce solution for your first time selling online? The two solutions Shopify vs Etsy are distinctive in their own ways and are both worth spending time and money.

Shopify, regarded as the best eCommerce platform, this tech giant allows you to create powerful web stores. Meanwhile, Etsy operates as a marketplace where e-merchants register for online kios, sharing space for selling with others.

According to Builtwith, Shopify is currently powering 3,280,925 websites with half the number are live websites. Whereas Etsy is facilitating online business of over 1.8 million sellers, detecting approximately 45.000 live websites.

Facts and figures never tell lies, so in this case when looking at them, we may say that Shopify is better than Etsy. However, this is not true in all circumstances, it should always be bound to how users plan for their business, setting goals and budget, etc. Admitting that Shopify is the best eCommerce solution overall, doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you.

So now, let’s analyze the differences between Shopify vs Etsy to find your best fit solution.

Shopify vs Etsy overview

Founded in Canada in 2006, Shopify has since grown and developed to become one of the best eCommerce platforms. Shopify is a fully-hosted solution, making it simple for you to get up and running with your own online store. It provides all the necessary features to manage your store, build your brand. Along with that, it provides integrations with analytical report tools to help you effectively manage your business performance.

On the other hand, Etsy has been a very popular marketplace site since its introduction in 2005. Like Amazon and eBay, you will register an account to create spaces for displaying your products.

For those who want to start small, Etsy would sound very good. The marketplace will make you give most concentration on developing your products, customer retention and promotions. However, it comes along with lack of the ability to manage your store, grow your brand and scale up, about which we will discuss later in the article.

Etsy Pattern — the webstore platform edition of Etsy was launched late until 2016, allowing people to sell custom goods on their own standalone websites. With Etsy Pattern, you have less restrictions on products than the Etsy marketplace. You can try Pattern 30 days for free and then subject to a monthly fee of $15.

Shopify vs Etsy: Pros and Cons

An infographic recap

shopify vs etsy

What are those Shopify Pros in detail?

  • Powerful eCommerce tools: Shopify provides you with a complete set of powerful eCommerce tools, covering any aspect of an online business growth. Some of the essentials include complete inventory management system, abandoned cart recovery, flexible payment options and more.
  • Great scalability: Shopify varies its plans for all types of business size, from small, medium to large. You can control how your brand grows, choose upper grade for more features and add apps.
  • No restrictions on types and number of products: With Shopify, you can sell any type of products (physical goods, digital products, subscriptions, etc.) and without the existence of quantity limits.

What about Shopify Cons?

  • Customer exposure: Selling with a standalone website, you will be the one who is totally in charge of SEO, ads, email marketing so as to display your products to your customers as much as possible.
  • Stacking up cost for Apps: For the need of growing your business, you might have to purchase lots of apps to add functionalities.

What are those Etsy pros specifically?

  • Customer exposure: As a marketplace possessing very high popularity, Etsy helps its merchants immediately approach a large number of customers
  • Easy to use: You simply register for an account, upload product images, set prices and promotions then roll out!
  • Low cost: With the Standard plan, you will pay for listing products and transaction fees. Aside from that, you don’t have to pay any extra monthly charges.

What about Etsy cons?

  • Product limit: There are regulations on what types of products you are allowed to sell on Etsy. This is mainly to guarantee that Etsy is a marketplace of distinctivity, including handcrafted, vintage, and unique products.
  • Lack of control: You will be sliding products along with other sellers in the same place and won’t be able to modify the look of your storefront. This makes it hard for you to approach customers via visual attraction and must rely mostly on ratings.


New to Shopify? Don’t worry, you can first experience Shopify with a 14-day free trial. There shall be a very friendly onboarding instruction so you can quickly learn what you can do with Shopify. After that, you need to pay for Shopify in a 3-tier pricing plan corresponding to the 3 levels of scalability. Shopify’s three main plans are:

  • Basic Shopify — $29/month
  • Shopify — $79/month
  • Advanced Shopify — $299/month

The higher plan you choose, the more features you can unlock.

Other than the monthly pricing, Shopify also charges transaction fees for each plan. If you go for Shopify Basic, the platform charges $2.9 + 30 cents per transaction. The fee is reduced to $2.6 + 30 cents with the Shopify plan, and $2.4 + 30 cents with Advanced Shopify.

Registering for an annual plan could save a lot of money in the long-term for your business. You can save 10% by signing up for an annual subscription, and 20% by selecting a two-year contract.

Registering for an annual plan could save a lot of money in the long-term for your business. You can save 10% by signing up for an annual subscription, and 20% by selecting a two-year contract.

With Etsy’s standard plan, you don’t have to pay for monthly operating expenses. However, you must spare part of your earnings on listing and transaction fees. The specific number for listing charges should be $0.2 per product listed. This number will cover the cost of publishing and displaying your product for months or until it’s sold.

On every item you sell, you will be charged 5% transaction fee and an additional 3% plus $0.25 for payment processing. Along with that, Etsy offers offsite ads to promote your products and you only have to pay when you make a sale from those ads.

Finally, you can choose to pay for the upgrade version of Esty- Etsy plus. It’s where you’ll get an expanded set of tools to help jump-start growth and express your brand.

Ease of use

Either you’ve had experienced selling on other eCommerce platforms or an online business beginner, Shopify makes it super simple for you to get up and running. It’s easy to understand because hosted solutions like Shopify are so much easier than self-hosted solutions. Furthermore, Shopify is even considered the most intuitive and straightforward among all hosted platforms.

After registering an account on Shopify, you can follow its intuitive instructions to set up your store. Basically, there are 3 primary steps you will have to go through including: add products, design your store and configure settings. We’ve created a tutorial to set up Shopify fast for beginners, you can have a look here:

Things are even a lot more easy with Etsy. All you need to do is to sign up and upload your products and information, then ready to go! The most time consuming process probably is when you upload products, it requires a lot of information. Etsy’s overall setup costs you less effort compared to Shopify. Therefore, it would be ideal if you are looking for speed and simplicity selling online.

Domain and URL structure

Registering to sell on Shopify, you will be asked to create a domain name for your website. During the trial period, there’s an additional “myshopify” in your website’s address. The address may look uncomfy for you but once you pick a plan, you’ll immediately get your custom domain name without the “myshopify” standing in between. It also means that you are the owner of that domain, it’s unique to your website, making it a powerful part of your brand. A custom domain name on Shopify costs from $11 per year.

It should look like this:

Shopify encourages you to create custom domains for your websites. It’s a crucial part of identifying that your brand is trustworthy, recognizable and professional. It also helps customers find your websites a lot easier in comparison to stores in a space-sharing environment. Having a standalone website with a custom domain creates chances for you to put effort in SEO, which is very important for steady growth in the long term.

Selling on a marketplace like Etsy, you can’t have a custom domain like what Shopify has on offer. Instead, your store’s address should look like this: This may lead to situations where your customers must browse through pages before coming to your store. Plus, it is not convenient if you are planning to build a brand.

eCommerce features

When choosing between Shopify vs Etsy for selling online, the availability of eCommerce features is a must. It decides whether or not you will get covered with the ability to manage your business and pull sales.

At this point, Etsy does it well by gearing you up with toolkits to help you manage your store with ease.

You can use the “Sell on Etsy app” to manage orders, update items, and respond to your customers on the go. Etsy also provides promotional tools that drive traffic, enlarge customer base or draw more followers for brand building.

Analyzing performance is crucial for any business and Etsy knows that at its best. Etsy provides you the analytics report feature by default on every plan, showing detailed statistics on performance trends and traffic sources.

By upgrading to Etsy Plus, you will get access to more features:

  • Create your own domain
  • Advanced shop customization such as multiple banner and layout options
  • Access to discounts and perks
  • Item availability email alert to customers

With Shopify, it’s amazing how abundance in features this all-in-one solution provides sellers even in its standard plan. Here we have a list of some of the features coming along with every plan on Shopify:

  • Gift cards
  • Discount codes
  • Shopify point of sale
  • Multi channels selling
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • SSL certificate
  • Dropshipping
  • Overview dashboard
  • Finance report
  • Fraud analysis
  • Blogging
  • Inventory and order management
  • Unlimited bandwidth and online storage

Among these above features, multi channel selling is pretty important to help you expand exposure to potential customers.

Abandoned cart recovery reminds customers if they almost finished a purchase but decided to leave the checkout page (unknown reasons). This helps you make sure there’s no sales slipping away from your pocket.

SSL certificate is crucial for secure transactions on your website. This thus contributes to trust building and credibility with prospects. You will have default authentication of SSL certificate on every plan you choose.

Looking at eCommerce features alone between Shopify vs Etsy, Shopify certainly wins over Etsy. The greater availability of features in Shopify may come along with higher fees compared to Etsy. If you want to keep it simple and small then Etsy’s basic features are good enough.

Design flexibility

There should be no denying that design flexibility is not a strength for both Shopify and Etsy. However, there are significant differences between the two to look at. And that Shopify still has more in stock to make your web design more attractive.

With Shopify, you will get access to 73 themes including both free and paid. All of these themes can be found on Shopify themes store with continuous update of new themes available.

Once you have selected a theme, you can customize content section on the home page. All of Shopify themes are made SEO and mobile friendly, which is very important to improve user experience. You can swiftly switch between themes anytime you like, however, some themes require content reformatting.

Shopify themes serve many business types so you can choose the most suitable for your website, ranging price for paid themes from $100 to $180.

shopify vs etsy

In contrast, Your store will follow Etsy’s layout and design. The lack of design interference is sometimes a good way to get rid of worriness. You can rest assured that Esty will always apply the best it can give to make your store clean, responsive and attractive.

You don’t have any room for customization on Etsy. All you can do is fill in your store name, uploading logo and product images, adding description.

Very clear that, with these few options on Etsy, it’s hard to make your store the centre of attention in terms of design.

Help and support

People at Shopify are enthusiastic in helping sellers to have their problems solved quickly. For upper plans, you can even access support from your own support team. Shopify offers help on different channels to select the best option for you. Specifically, it offers:

  • 24/7 phone support
  • Social media support
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Community forum
  • Email support
  • Help center
  • Video tutorials
  • Advanced specialist support

With Etsy, the options are less diverse. You can find answers to your problems on the Help Center, where information is displayed very clean and clear. Etsy has an active forum where you can join discussions and receive great advice from other users. Email or direct phone contact is also in the list you can rely on for support.

Combining the use of Shopify and Etsy

Using both Shopify and Etsy for your business is literally the definition of synergy. This is super effective when you want to diversify your presence on the internet. Combining use of Shopify and Etsy helps you reach more audiences and make the most of the famous marketplace.

By using the Etsy Marketplace Integration app, you can integrate the Etsy marketplace with your current Shopify store. This integration is free for the 1st 7 days, after that you have to pay $60 per month.

Final words

Finally we have delivered everything you need to know about Shopify and Etsy. We bet that, by this moment, you have figured out choosing a winner for Shopify vs Etsy is not the fixed goal by looking at how they function. One as a dedicated eCommerce platform provides you the ability to flourish business with your own brand. While the other as a marketplace allows you to keep it simple selling online, focusing on products distinctivity.

It’s not by chance they have earned such eridacting reputations after all these years. Shopify and Etsy shine in their own ways, but definitely not one-fit-all-size solutions. Therefore, you might face times when you want to switch to the other platform for a better sake of your business. And that’s when you can rely on LitExtension, the world leader in providing data migration service.

Up to now, we have successfully migrated 140,000+ stores with over 40,000 customers worldwide. At LitExtension, we offer an advanced automated tool that transfers all your data securely and flawlessly from Etsy to Shopify.

For more information about how we can support your migration, feel free to contact our dynamic support team anytime you like, on a 24/7 basis. Or email us at



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