The first thing I have to say is that comparing Shopify and Etsy is like comparing a shovel to a rake. I mean, both of them are tools, you need them for different purposes, and they both are reliable and convenient. In theory, you can use the shovel to gather the leaves and the rake can somehow be used for digging, but would you really use them like that? And could you decide which one is more useful for your garden? It will be really hard to define the winner of a competition because every concrete case has different priorities.
Etsy or Shopify?
So, we have to start by going through what Shopify and Etsy were created for, how you can you use them, and for what purposes. Just as the shovel and the rake – both Shopify and Etsy could be useful to you for a specific goal.
Etsy: a handcrafts treasures crate
The Etsy was created in 2005 as a marketplace to sell different hand-made and antiquary products. Self-made sweets, knotted sweaters, old jewelry, or vintage clocks – you can find lots of quaint objects and interesting ideas for a present there. As I said, Etsy is a marketplace. It means every seller gets a little space within Etsy’s territory and offers his goods there. Just like small shops in a huge shopping center. Crafters make contact with clients via the messaging functionality within the marketplace. All the products are sorted into categories, so it is easier for customers to navigate through the site.
- Vast community. When you come to Etsy, you don’t have to spend a lot of time and effort to find customers. A huge number of people come to Etsy searching for unique goodies every day and will see your product.
- Ready-made shop. All the design and coding work is already made on Etsy. The seller just comes and downloads his products to the store. All the functionality not only works smoothly but also was tested by numerous users before you.
- Free registration. Signing in and creating a sellers account doesn’t cost you anything at all; the registration is free. You start spending money only when people start to buy your products. You will give Etsy a little fee for every item sold.
- Limited design features. Despite the convenience of the ready-made online store, you can’t design it completely according to your taste. Etsy gives you the opportunity to change colors and pictures, but the general design will match the rest of the Etsy’s sellers.
- Strict requirements. You can’t sell anything you want on Etsy. It is created for selling hand-crafted or vintage items, so you won’t be able to offer modern electronic devices or fancy cars there. You have to comply with the seller policy.
- No personal URL. If you sell your stuff on Etsy, customers will automatically connect them to Etsy. They won’t say: “Hey, look what I bought from Lily.” They will say: “Hey, look what I bought on Etsy.” It could harm your brand’s visibility a little.
Who is recommended to sell on Etsy?
If you have a small business and craft some pretty stuff with your own hands then Etsy is ideal for you. People who work alone and want to start selling quickly without website creation and audience-seeking issues are welcome here. An audience to sell to, simple functionality, fast start selling, and little problems with management – if you need all of this as a merchant, Etsy will fit.
Shopify: seller’s toolset
It is an e-commerce platform that gives you all the necessary tools to launch, grow and maintain your business. Not only can you build yourself a website, but you can also sell on social media, support a brick-and-mortar store, and create pop-up shops. It has special modules to monitor inventory, payments through more than 20 gateways, and shipping details. Besides that, you don’t need to install anything on your computer. Shopify is completely cloud-based and cloud-hosted. You just open it in your browser and work with it anywhere you want.
- Huge variety of designs. As you create a whole website you can choose any design you consider fitting for your store. You can build the design from the ground up or choose one of the existing templates. TemplateMonster has a huge bunch of professionally created themes for Shopify. It doesn’t matter what you want to sell – we have a template to do it in the most efficient way.
- Sell what you want. There are no limitations; you can sell products of any type and any quantity. Alcohol, hunting weapons, electronic devices, or active sports gear – there are no limits for your business.
- You own it. The online store created on Shopify is completely yours. You can change it as you like and when you need it, you can scale it, and you can try different strategies. Besides all that you have a unique URL that matches your original web store. Customers can share your shop’s name in their social media and in private dialogues, expanding your reach.
- A handful of useful functionalities. There are dozens of plugins and modules for Shopify. For example, you can start a drop shipping business, add a new payment gateway, or synchronize offline sales with the website inventory.
- Advertising issues. Your newly created online store needs an audience to start selling to. All the efforts of gaining a good reputation and authority lay on you. You will need to create an advertising strategy and make your brand visible to become profitable.
- Monthly fee. To use Shopify, you will have to pay at least $29 per month. This payment covers the hosting and support. On the other hand, you don’t have to pay transaction fees for every sold product.
- Maintenance complications. Shopify is a big toolbox and to feel confident about using it you will need to spend some time going through the guides and tutorials. Despite the fact that it is very user-friendly, some options may not be so obvious.
Will Shopify fit you?
Let’s assume you have a prospective business that will grow over some time. You want to define the look and functionalities of your online store according to your taste. You are ready to launch an advertising campaign or have a plan for how to bring clients to the shop. If those assumptions are true, the Shopify store will be a great next step in the development of your business.
Etsy and Shopify: working hand in hand
While working in the garden you don’t use only one tool for all the actions, do you? You dig with a shovel and gather leaves with a rake. You can use the same approach in your business and use different types of selling for your brand. Lots of people start selling their brand at Etsy and then when some time has passed and the product becomes somewhat popular, they move to the personal Shopify web store. Or vice versa, you can create a big and beautiful online shop and then register a page on Etsy to bring clients from there to your website. Combining instruments to achieve greater results is a wise strategy.
The greatest mastery of a businessman is to use the proper tools for every specific action. Wisdom comes with experience, so if you have a little startup business you should try both approaches to understand which one is better for you. On the other hand, if you have a big and flourishing brand it may be profitable to use them both.
Have you ever sold something on Etsy? Or maybe you created an online store on Shopify? What do you think–would a combination of Etsy and Shopify be profitable? I would be really pleased to hear some opinions in the comment section below.