Shopify Vs Etsy: The Ultimate Comparison

Starting your online business may seem daunting in the beginning. There are after all so many platforms to choose from – Shopify, Etsy, you name it.

And it is always important to make the right choice as the tool (Shopify, Etsy, etc) you decide to use can ultimately make or break your online retail business.

But how exactly do you know which tool will perfectly serve your business and deliver the best return on your investment?

Well, you’re in luck because you are about to see a complete, detail-by-detail comparison between two of the most popular eCommerce tools — Shopify and Etsy.

In this guide, you’ll get to learn:

  • What each of these eCommerce engines has to offer.
  • How they compare in terms of features, pricing, design flexibility, usability, and more.
  • The appropriate circumstances in which to use either Shopify, Etsy, or both.
  • How to sell on Etsy and Shopify.

Ready? Let’s jump right in!

Shopify Vs Etsy – Introducing the Contenders

Since you’re on this page, we assume you already have an idea of what Shopify and Etsy are about. But to stay on the safe side, here’s a quick introduction of each of the platforms.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is a cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) eCommerce platform that helps online retailers create a store and domain name, build and run the store.

Shopify Homepage

Each user (or merchant) pays a monthly fee starting at $29 to access an admin panel where they can redesign the look of their store, enter their store information, and add products.

Once the store is set up, Shopify serves as a hub for managing inventory, processing orders, making sales, handling shipping, and implementing marketing strategies.

Sellers can also sell their products on multiple channels, including their own websites, social media, mobile, and even in a physical location (the last one is made possible by Shopify’s nifty POS system).

This popular online store engine is used by businesses of all kinds; from the smallest shops right up to massive brands. What’s more, your favorite celebrities like Kanye West and Cristiano Ronaldo use Shopify to sell their products online.

What is Etsy?

At the very basic, Etsy is an eCommerce marketplace focused on unique and creative handmade goods, vintage items, and craft supplies.

Etsy Homepage

Think of products like jewelry, clothing, shoes, bags, arts, collectibles, crafts, paper goods, housewares, wedding items, home decor, furniture, toys, craft supplies of all kinds, and vintage items that are at least 20 years old.

So, how does Etsy work? Independent sellers — artists, crafters, designers — are allowed to open up accounts on Etsy and sell their handcrafted products directly to customers. Buyers find the items by browsing the Etsy online marketplace and purchasing directly on the platform.

Shopify and Etsy: Comparing Apples and Oranges

From the above introductions, you can immediately see that there’s a clear difference between Shopify and Etsy.

Shopify Vs Etsy

Shopify is a web store platform for merchants to build their own independent, standalone digital stores. Etsy, on the other hand, is an online marketplace where sellers can set up an artsy shop alongside other vendors, and buyers can buy directly from the website (

Is it then fair to compare Shopify and Etsy head to head? In a sense, the answer is no.

Although Shopify and Etsy are both eCommerce platforms, they actually represent two different ways to sell and are not operating in the exact same way.

While Etsy is at the front line of the seller/buyer relationship, Shopify operates almost in complete obscurity from the buyers’ point of view. As a matter of fact, in some cases the buyer may not even know that your store is built with and powered by Shopify.

So when comparing these two platforms, it’s less about which platform to use and more about which selling approach suits your business best.

But here’s a breaker:

Etsy recently introduced what it calls “Pattern by Etsy.”

Pattern by Etsy

Pattern is a service that allows Etsy sellers to build unique websites and expand their online sales beyond the Etsy marketplace. It lets you choose unique customizable templates, sync your Etsy store, and add items or services that otherwise aren’t allowed on the traditional Etsy.

And you know what that means, don’t you?

Well, it means that Etsy can now hopefully compete with Shopify on the general merchandise front. And by extension, it means that a Shopify Vs Etsy comparison can be done fairly and a lot more equitably with Pattern being dragged into the mix.

With that settled, we can now go over some dimensions to see how these two tools compare and then give you our verdict on which platform is best for you.

Key Differences Between Shopify and Etsy

First, a look at some key differences will help put things in perspective as to how they stack up against each other.

Selling method With Shopify, you set up your own standalone store or sell on any of Shopify’s multi-channels — Amazon, Facebook, eBay, Instagram, physical store, etc. With Etsy, you sell on a popular marketplace. Shopify
Ease of use Shopify’s ease of use is almost second to none in the eCommerce space. It combines user-friendly interface with easy-to-use features that even an absolute beginner will find simple. Since Etsy is a done-for-you platform, sellers basically don’t need to perform any technical tasks other than setting up an account and logging in to sell. Tie
Design flexibility Shopify comes with a carefully maintained themes store where users can get both free and paid modern templates. There are also a bunch of customization tools available for editing your site’s look and feel to match your brand. Etsy is a done-for-you platform which applies basically the same design and look across board. This gives you zero customization flexibility and absolutely no unique design options. Shopify
Branding, domain name, and hosting With Shopify, you get a professional domain name and hosting with which you can build an amazing unique brand. Both domain name and web hosting come in the plan you choose without the need to pay extra fees. Your Etsy store is built off the domain name. This means you don’t get a unique website for your store. The exception is if you purchase Pattern, which offers a unique domain name for additional fees. Shopify
Feature set, integrations, and add-ons Shopify has a ton of features, add-ons and apps. In particular, there are about 3795+ apps, with which you can add different functionalities to your web store. Etsy has fewer features than Shopify, but those features should be enough to run a simple marketplace-based shop. Shopify
Online traffic After creating your store on Shopify, you set out to drive your own traffic. Shopify does not provide you with any direct traffic but gives you the tools to create and promote your business. This means you are responsible for driving traffic to your website through marketing, SEO, social media, and advertising campaigns. Etsy is a super-popular marketplace with millions of buyers, which means as an Etsy seller, you get ready-made traffic although you’ll be sharing that with other vendors. This is great for exposure and means you won’t have to put in the sweat in getting buyers to come to your shop. Etsy
Security Shopify’s 256-bit SSL certification — a high-standard encryption technology for securing data and files — offers maximum protection. Also, with Shopify being a level-1 PCI compliant company, your customers’ credit card data are well secured. Just as Shopify, all credit card information processed on Etsy is encrypted using secure socket layer technology (SSL) and stored in a PCI compliant environment. Tie
Support Shopify’s support comes in the form of 24/7 phone assistance, live chat, social media, and email. Plus, the Shopify Help Center is packed with a large number  of videos and written tutorials; not to mention the truckloads of helpful Shopify-related information scattered across the Internet. Shopify Plus customers also get a specialist account manager. While Etsy does not have a live chat feature, it offers great support via email and phone. There’s also a well-developed help center, a community forum, and a ton of content by third-parties all over the web. Tie
Shipping Shopify offers shipping rates from USPS, UPS, or DHL Express. Users can print shipping labels and track shipments from the admin panel. Etsy has tools like postage labels, calculated postage, and shipment tracking. Etsy Postage Labels allows sellers to ship orders with USPS, FedEx, or Canada Post from the Etsy shop. Tie
Abandoned cart recovery In Shopify, abandoned carts order recovery is available with email and web push notifications. But this is available only for the Online Store sales channel and the Buy Button sales channel. Abandoned checkouts on Shopify POS or third-party sales channels do not receive a checkout recovery email. On Etsy, offers are sent to people who have left your products in their cart. These shoppers basically get an email offering them a coupon for that product 24 hours after they abandoned it in their cart. Tie
Fees Shopify has no set up fees. As for transaction fees, there are no fees if the seller uses Shopify Payments. But if external payment gateways are used, the seller will pay additional fees of 2%, 1% or 0.5% depending on the plan they are on. Generally, Shopify has lower transaction fees than Etsy and supports 100+ payment gateways. While new sellers can sign up for an Etsy account for free, they’ll have to pay $0.20 to list a product. In short, there are three basic Etsy seller fees: a listing fee, a transaction fee (5% of your product price), and a payment processing fee. A listing ($0.20) lasts for four months or until the item is sold. (Note that Pattern listings do not expire). Tie


Etsy Transaction Fees

Similarities Between Etsy and Shopify

Despite their core differences, Shopify and Etsy (especially Etsy Pattern) still have a lot of great things in common.

Shopify and Etsy Similarities

  • Sell unlimited products: This is not available on traditional Etsy but on Pattern. With Pattern, you can sell any legitimate item, not just arts/crafts/vintage goods, etc. Likewise, Shopify allows its users to sell an unlimited number of products.
  • Sell physical or digital products: You can sell both physical and digital products on Shopify and Etsy as long as those products meet their requirements.
  • SSL certificate: Just as with Shopify, Etsy Pattern comes with an SSL certificate.
  • Built-in blog: Pattern comes with a built-in blogging solution just as Shopify does.
  • Social media sharing: Sellers on both Shopify and Etsy are presented with the tools to share their listings to the appropriate social media networks.
  • Auto taxes: Although this works only at selected locations, Shopify’s automated taxes feature is a great time-saver. But Shopify is not the only platform which offers this; Etsy also does the same.
  • Shipping labels: You can purchase and print shipping labels on orders on both platforms.
  • Shipping discounts: Not only do both platforms let you offer shipping discounts, you can also automate shipping rates.
  • Inventory and order management: You manage your inventory and orders right from the admin area of both shops.
  • Discounts and coupons: On both Shopify and Etsy, you can offer your customers a fixed value, percentage, or shipping discount on products, collections, or variants in your digital shop.
  • Abandoned cart recovery: Drive traffic back to your store and increase conversion with abandoned cart recovery feature on both platforms.
  • Analytics and reports: Whether you’re using Etsy or Shopify, you can access store reports and data.
  • Mobile store management app: Etsy and Shopify have mobile apps with which you can manage your store on the go. You can manage inventory, process orders, access reports, and so on.

Key Statistics

The following tables show the key data for each platform.

Shopify vs Etsy Key Statistics

Shopify’s Statistics

# of active users 1,000,000+ online stores
# of merchants 500,000+ businesses
Sales generated $135+ billion USD (October 2019)
Years in operation Since 2004
Estimated revenue 1.07 billion USD
# of countries 175+

Etsy’s Statistics

# of buyers 39.4+ million
# of sellers 2.1+ million
Annual gross merchandise sales $3.9+ billion USD (2018)
# of items listed 60+ million
Years in operation Since 2005
Estimated revenue $604+ million USD (2018)
# of countries 83+

You can see more Etsy statistics here.

Shopify Vs Etsy – Features Comparison

As mentioned earlier, comparing Etsy’s and Shopify features isn’t quite equitable as the platforms operate differently. The equation only becomes somewhat even-handed when Pattern is brought in.

Nonetheless, we think the feature sets of each platform work pretty well for each user base given their specific needs. So let’s go over some of the most notable features you’ll find on these platforms.

Most Notable Shopify Features

If you ever used Shopify, here’s a list of some of the most notable features you’ll find:

  • A full-blown standalone website: All of Shopify’s plans come with a custom domain name and reliable web hosting, developed specially for eCommerce websites. Plus, you get add-ons and tools for building your site from scratch.
  • A full-on eCommerce engine: Shopify is an eCommerce engine with all the tools and functionality you need to create and run a fully-functional digital store. You even have access to the HTML and CSS of your store, which means full control.
  • A full-fledged blogging platform: Alongside your online store, you can start a blog on Shopify to reach your audience and market your products.
  • Unique themes: Shopify has a specialized theme store with hundreds of beautiful, professional templates built for eCommerce websites. You can customize your chosen theme as much as you want.
  • A robust app store: Equivalent to plugins on WordPress, the 3795+ apps on the Shopify app store means you can add any relevant functionality to your site.

Shopify App Store

  • Hundreds of payment gateways: From Bitcoin, PayPal, and iDEAL to over 100 other external payment gateways, there’s a payment option for every customer no matter where they are in the world.
  • Marketing and sales options: Think product reviews, discounts, gift cards, social media integration, and more.
  • 50+ languages: This makes it possible to sell to customers internationally. You can actually set up your store to automatically translate the language based on where the customer is visiting from.
  • Multi-channel selling: Outside of your website, you can also sell on social media, mobile, pop-up shops, physical stores, etc.
  • Search engine optimization tools: Shopify has a set of built-in SEO features with which you can rank on Google.
  • Shopify POS System: Shopify’s point of sale software and hardware make it easy to unify in-store and online sales, accept payments, and monitor inventory.
  • Shopify POS SystemMobile commerce: These days, most buyers browse online stores with their smartphones or tablets. Shopify recognizes this trend and makes your store mobile-responsive.
  • Professional email: A custom email address like is not only great for maintaining professionalism, but it builds trust with your target audience.
  • Store analytics and reports: Although this feature is available for the $79 plan, it provides sellers with sales & orders reports, product reports, experts reports, referral/traffic reports, and Google Analytics reports.

Most Notable Etsy Features

Here’s a list of some of the features you get on Etsy (and Pattern):

Etsy features

  • Strong focus on handcrafted products: Given that Etsy only lists unique products in the art, craft, and vintage categories, online retailers who specialize in these kinds of products have a ready-made, well-filtered niche that’s focused on just the arts and craft industry.
  • Pattern by Etsy: Sellers who have signed up as Etsy store owners can expand their business with Pattern. This allows them to sell other items that are restricted on the traditional Etsy platform.

Pattern by Etsy

  • Multiple payment methods: Etsy lets sellers process credit or debit card, Etsy gift card, integrated PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, iDEAL (Netherlands), and Sofort (Austria and Germany).
  • Global shipping: Although Etsy’s product selection is limited, your reach is limitless. You can reach a global audience and ship your products to buyers anywhere in the world using the systems Etsy has set in place.
  • Automated logistics: Etsy is able to customize a shipping rate for each of your buyers based on their items’ weight and dimensions. The buyers can choose a shipping method and delivery timeline and you can choose to print a shipping label and product invoice.
  • Community connection: Since Etsy has all the vendors and buyers on the same site, it becomes easy to connect with a community of like-minded artisans and buyers through dedicated forums, both in-app and on the web.
  • Analytics and reports: Etsy provides each seller with analytical reports that keep track of all of your orders, revenue, number of views your shop/listings get, and number of favorites your items get. This gives you an enormous marketing insight and data to work with.
  • Listing feedback: With Etsy’s listing feedback feature, you get to see the page views on your listings. This shows you which products buyers are viewing the most so you can create similar listings.
  • Etsy SEO: Etsy is highly optimizable. By adding targeted keywords in the titles of your listings as well as in the product description, it becomes easy for buyers to find your products when they search Etsy. Plus, Etsy itself ranks well on Google for high-traffic keywords, like “handmade slippers.”

Google Search results for "handmade slippers"

  • Promoted listing: If you are interested in boosting a certain listing, Etsy offers a promoted listing feature.
  • Etsy mobile: Etsy has an iOS and Android app, specifically designed for vendors. This is particularly useful for checking shop analytics, tweaking listings, monitoring orders, interacting with consumers, and updating your shop settings.

Shopify and Etsy Pricing Comparison

How do Shopify and Etsy compare in pricing? Is Shopify free? How much does Etsy charge? We’ll answer these questions in this section.

Shopify Pricing

Shopify operates a 3-tier pricing plan as follows:

  1. Shopify Basic — $29 per month
  2. Shopify — $79 per month
  3. Advanced Shopify — $299 per month

Shopify Pricing Plans

Additionally, there are separate packages for $9 per month (Shopify Lite) for absolute beginners and the custom-priced Shopify Plus for large enterprises.

They also have a 14-day free trial that does not require entering your credit card details.

Etsy Pricing

Etsy has two plans as follows:

  1. Standard — $0
  2. Etsy Plus — $10 per month

Etsy Pricing

The Standard plan has everything you need to start, manage, and grow your business. It’s free to sign up for, but when listing your product, there are some Etsy fees to pay (as discussed in the “Key Differences” table).

The Plus plan comes with an expanded set of tools to help grow your brand.

Etsy Plus Benefits

Also, Etsy’s Pattern goes for $15 per month. There are no extra listing fees but you will need to pay Etsy’s domain name registration partners (Tucows) a separate domain name fee + a $3 WHOIS domain privacy fee.

Just like items in your Etsy shop, items sold on your Pattern site will attract the same payment processing fees.

Etsy offers a 30-day free trial for Pattern users.

Shopify Vs Etsy: Pros and Cons

So, what are the advantages and disadvantages associated with each of these platforms? This is the section where we’ll highlight the pros and cons of both Shopify and Etsy.

Shopify Pros and Cons

Merchants can sell unlimited types of products Requires upgrade or use of paid-for apps to be able to access certain features like reports
Multi-channel retailing allows merchants to sell on the web, social media, mobile, offline, and on popular marketplaces like Amazon and eBay Does not have a free plan, but a 14-day free trial
Supports multiple payment gateways and languages Additional transaction fees are charged for using external gateways other than Shopify Payments
Tons of apps for adding different functionalities to your online store A lot more expensive than Etsy, although not more expensive than other online store builders like BigCommerce
A fully hosted service and domain name tailored to eCommerce sites is included Does not have built-in traffic
Comes with Facebook Shop, Google Shopping, Buyable Pins, and Facebook Messenger integration for enhanced social commerce
Global shipping with USPS, UPS, and DHL Express
Allows full control, branding, and myriads of design flexibility
Extremely easy to use with its beginner-friendly user interface (UI)

Etsy Pros and Cons

It has a readily available massive traffic you can sell to The main Etsy platform is restricted to selling only arts, crafts, handmade products, and vintage goods. This limits some buyers’ potential
It is extremely easy to use and does not require any special tech skills to set up and start selling Domain name registration on Pattern attracts additional charges as you’re required to register with Etsy’s domain name partners, Tucows. You also get to pay a $3 WHOIS domain privacy yearly
It has a free plan and requires a very low listing fee ($0.20) Vintage items must be up to 20 years old before they are allowed to be sold on Etsy; although this restriction is not effective on Pattern
For just $15 per month, a premium service (Pattern by Etsy) allows sellers to sell more than just handcrafted products As a done-for-you platform, you don’t have any creative powers in terms of customizing your store and implementing unique designs
Etsy’s restrictions on products is an advantage for sellers who specialize in the arts niche With all the vendors selling on the same platform to the same set of buyers, the competition on Etsy could be stiff
A set of helpful feedback and analytical tools provide key data for sellers Limited integrations and apps for adding functionalities
You can sell and ship internationally

Which tool should you use — Shopify or Etsy?

Having seen all the differences, similarities, features as well as pros and cons, which tool should you use? How do you even make the decision to sell either on Shopify or Etsy?

This section will help answer those questions.

Shopify or Etsy - Which to Use

Ultimately, the point is that with Shopify, you own and run your own standalone store. With Etsy, you sell on a well-patronized marketplace. 

So the decision you make will depend on:

  • What business you want to run
  • How you intend to sell
  • Your vision for expansion

Nevertheless, here are some important questions to answer that’ll help you make the best decision as per the above three objectives:

What do you want to sell?

If you want to sell a wide variety of products, Shopify is your best bet.

Etsy-type sellers are mainly those in the categories of arts, crafts, vintage, and any handmade item. Of course, that’s what sells best on Etsy but you can use Pattern to widen your product line.

What you can sell on Etsy

Which is easier to use — Shopify or Etsy?

Etsy and Shopify are both user-friendly, as they have simple user interfaces.

By comparison, Shopify is decked with more features than Etsy and thus requires a little more of simple set up here and there, although there’s no coding involved.

For instance, you’ll need to know how to install themes and apps, tweak those to meet your preferences, and so on.

Which gives you more design flexibility — Shopify or Etsy?

Shopify provides more design and branding options. You get a unique domain name, themes, and your own personal design screen where you can edit your store’s look, add logo, change colors, etc.

Etsy stores adopt the primary design used for the parent site, making all the stores look and feel the same.

Which payment options, fees and pricing are more business-friendly — Etsy or Shopify?

It would depend on where you are in your business.

Here’s what that means:

If you’re just getting started or bootstrapping, or simply don’t yet have a substantial cash flow, then you might find Etsy’s pricing structure useful for your business. It’s cost-effective, making it great for beginners or small businesses.

Once you’ve started growing with some moderate revenue and a steady stream of transactions, Shopify pricing starts to make sense.

When does URL structure and branding become important?

When starting out, anything goes in the branding department. Your entire focus is on getting those few initial sales. And that’s exactly what Etsy offers.

But as you begin to gain traction, professionalism and branding become increasingly important.

Here are some branding tools Shopify brings to the table:

  1. A unique URL structure
  2. A standalone website
  3. Unique templates
  4. Editing capabilities for adding your logo, changing colors, etc.

How much control do you want over your product listings?

On Etsy, your listings are limited to product image and description text. Simply upload your product photo and add appropriate details in the “Item Details” section. For some, that’s just enough.

If you want full control, Shopify does the job. You can create product pages, add whatever product you want, and customize the listings to look however you want.

Is Etsy or Shopify going to get you more exposure?

Etsy wins over Shopify for having an existing traffic and customer-base which you can sell to from the outset. The platform is already extremely popular and ranks well on Google for high-traffic keywords. In fact, there are over 33 million monthly visitors to the site.

Etsy has more than 33 million buyers

The drawback is that you get to share that traffic with millions of other sellers. There’s no guarantee that visitors will end up buying your stuff.

On Etsy, people don’t look for your store specifically. They simply search for a product on and if your product shows up, they might buy it.

On the other hand, Shopify does not directly provide any built-in traffic. But it does provide you with the tools to use in driving traffic and conversions, and ultimately expanding your business without limitations.

Once your Shopify store is ready, you’ll have to put in the work to drive traffic to your website. You need to handle your own SEO, social media promotions, and other marketing campaigns.

Yes, it’s more work but you get to be the boss of your own destiny. And overtime, when that traffic builds up, you won’t have to share it with anyone.

But wait, who says you can’t use both?

As stated, Shopify and Etsy represent two different selling methods — marketplace-style selling versus owning your own independent digital store.

In some cases, you can use both at the same time.

A marketplace (Etsy) will give you access to a large audience that has already been grown and nurtured. The downside is that marketplaces can be overcrowded, thereby upping the competition and bringing down prices.

It’s okay to start off on Etsy, grow your brand, and then create a standalone web store on Shopify. You can still maintain your Etsy shop, but expand with your Shopify store.

There are several apps on the Shopify app store for importing your Etsy listing to Shopify, syncing the two platforms, and generally integrating several aspects of the eCommerce powerhouses.

Etsy integrations on Shopify app store

Etsy Vs. Shopify — Ideal Seller

Who’s best suited to sell on either Shopify or Etsy? Let’s see!

Etsy Vs. Shopify - Ideal Seller

As a popular marketplace that’s focused on arts, crafts, and vintage goods, Etsy’s ideal users are small businesses who make or sell homemade, vintage, and handcrafted supplies.

The platform is also a great place for those who are new to eCommerce or those with limited resources who want to quickly set up an account and sell to a ready-made audience.

Shopify is ideal for online retailers who’ve been selling their products for a while but now want to grow more in terms of expanding their product lines and customer base.

If you want full control over your brand, website, product listings, marketing, and other aspects of your eCommerce business, Shopify offers such control.

When to choose which tool?

As a way to help you refine your decision, here are some situations that might warrant you use either Etsy or Shopify:

Use Etsy if:

  1. You are an artist or a craftsman
  2. You’re a side-hustler or small business who just want some passive income
  3. You aren’t ready to put in the sweat equity required to build, manage, and grow a full-blown online store
  4. You have a small budget and want to bootstrap your eCommerce career
  5. You aren’t concerned with customizations and control over your shop
  6. You want to benefit from Etsy’s popularity and ready-to-buy audience
  7. You’re comfortable with selling just handmade and vintage products

Use Shopify if:

  1. You want to sell a wide variety of products or have lots of inventory
  2. You care about branding, design, customization, and control over your online presence
  3. You want to build direct relationships with your customers on the long term
  4. You have some marketing budgets and marketing time
  5. You’ll be in eCommerce for a long time and want to put in the work now to enjoy later
  6. You’re ready to pay a monthly fee of $29 (although there’s a lite plan for $9/mo)
  7. You want lots of features and apps for adding different functionalities


Shopify is an eCommerce heavyweight for creating and managing your online store, while Etsy is a smaller company (marketplace type) tailored towards artists and creators. Both have their unique advantages and disadvantages. 

If you’re selling on Etsy, you’ll get more exposure than you would on your own online store (at least in the beginning) but you won’t have your own unique web store. On Shopify, you are in total control although you’ll have to work to build your own customer base. Interestingly, it’s not uncommon for sellers to use both platforms.

Ultimately, the right fit is up to you. And with the information we’ve provided in this Shopify Vs Etsy guide, you should be able to make the right decision for your business.

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