Sure, Etsy comes with lots of traffic attached. But what about all of those fees? And you ultimately don’t own your actual store, do you?
And Shopify is wonderful because you can host it on your own website, making it much more yours. But are the monthly membership fees worth it? And how do you get traffic like Etsy has?
Let’s dive into the differences between the platforms a bit, and flesh out what exactly will be the best for you, both right now and in the future.
What are you selling?
This right here is going to be a major determining factor for some, but not most, sellers when it comes to where they list their products. Etsy is much more strict about what can be sold on their marketplace, and it was only recently that they began allowing wholesale sellers. Not everyone does wholesale, but if you know you can crank out the numbers to land large wholesale accounts, and that is a goal, it’s important to keep that in mind. Also, while this is a controversial topic in the artisan business community, many sell items they bulk order from China boutiques as a business. This is absolutely against Etsy TOS. So if you are in this business, Etsy will not be the place for you.
How much will it cost you to sell?
Right out of the gate, Shopify is more expensive. BUT, and this is a big but, once you start doing a higher volume, that can easily change. Shopify is a strict monthly fee as long as you are using their payment gateway. This means that if you are using their $79/month plan (their current most expensive solo user plan), and their payment gateway, you’ll pay that every month, no matter what. Once you start adding, say, Stripe, Square or PayPal to the mix, however, you’ll also have to start adding a payment processing fee on top of that. Etsy, however, has no minimum monthly fee. You pay a $0.20 listing fee, a small transaction fee, and a payment processing fee. When you are first starting in your business, this makes Etsy much cheaper. In fact, until you start doing such high volumes as $1500+ per month, Etsy will remain cheaper.
Where is it easier to sell?
Here is another place Etsy tends to, at least initially, win out over Shopify, especially for beginner businesses. Etsy makes it extremely easy to list and add descriptions to your products. It’s as simple as add photos, add a description, give some simple keywords, and go. However, you have very little control over how you can list your products. Etsy’s platform only allows pictures and text with each listing. And you are also limited in the number of pictures you can add with each listing. If you are selling a more dynamic product, such as 3D art, Shopify can give you much greater control and allow more extensive listings with videos and more in-depth photos. This comes with a downside of not being as user-friendly and taking more time to learn the platform and its nuances.
Ok, but where will I be seen the most?
Right now, Etsy. At least until you get the gist of marketing your business and getting that exposure brought to yourself. Customers often use Etsy like Pinterest, basically a craft search engine. Etsy has a name and is its own platform. That means every single day, thousands upon thousands of potential customers hop on the marketplace and just begin searching for what they could buy. This brings in built-in exposure that Shopify just doesn’t have. That being said, this also means you have a higher competition with your listings, as anyone selling something similar to you also pops up on those same searches. Once you get the hang of marketing yourself, both platforms allow you the opportunity of making yourself stand out from the competition and getting your products sold.
Choosing the right platform for you is ultimately a decision that only you can make. Considering such factors as price, ease of use and ultimate marketability are a few ways to make that decision so much easier on yourself.
Etsy is much more beginner-friendly, comes with built-in traffic and can be cheaper.
Shopify gives you greater control and customization, allows you to have complete ownership over your shop, and can give you more freedom in what, and how, you sell your goods.
You can find much more extensive training on how to properly use both platforms to your advantage here, as well as resources to get you started quickly with pre-made branding for either Shopify or Etsy.