Shopify vs Etsy

Anyone looking to start selling online is likely to be torn between Shopify and Etsy. This debate has been on since long, and is more of a battle of selling methods than a battle of platforms. Both Shopify and Etsy offer two totally distinct methods of selling. While Shopify is an e-commerce platform, Etsy is a marketplace. So, a comparison cannot be direct and straightforward, and it is difficult to have an easy answer because a lot depends on which selling method aligns better with a particular person’s business goals. However, there are pros and cons of both Shopify and Etsy and it makes sense to evaluate both of them before choosing the one that will enable you to meet both, your short term and long term goals.

Selling on Marketplace vs Ecommerce website

When deciding between Shopify and Etsy the choice you have to make is between selling on your own e-commerce website or a web store like Etsy. While you may be tempted to choose Etsy for the low prices, but if you are seeking a better control over your listings and looking to provide a tailored shopping experience to your clients, you will obviously like Shopify better. Here is some side by side comparison of Shopify and Etsy on some key parameters to help make this choice simple for you.

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Pricing model

For anyone who is just beginning to sell online, the price is likely to be an important deciding factor. So, among Etsy and Shopify who has better pricing? At the first look, you will certainly find Shopify more expensive, because you have to pay  monthly subscription fees, which would depend on the plan you choose. On the other hand, there will be no setup cost involved when you choose Etsy, but it may turn out more expensive in the long run because they charge you transaction fees. This means, for every sale you make on Etsy, you share a part of the proceeds with them.

At the moment, Shopify is offering the following plans:

shopify-pricingTo decide on the plan that will best meet your requirements, you should decide on what functionality is important to you and how many items you want to sell.

For anyone who is just entering an online business, $179 or even $79 a month would seem a lot especially when you cannot predict how much revenue you are going to make. So, you can always decide to start small, and then upgrade as your business grows.

Etsy charges no subscription or membership fee, but they charge two main fees, which include $0.20 per item that is to be listed for 4 months and a 3.5 percent transaction fee on every sale.

If you choose Unlimited plan of Shopify, there are no transaction fees, but with basic or professional plan, you are charged 2 percent and 1 percent transaction fee respectively. However, if you choose to use Shopify’s own payment gateway, there are no transaction fees.

Let us take an example. Assume that you purchase Shopify’s professional plan and you choose Shopify’s own payment gateway. This means, you will pay $79 per month and no transaction fees. On the other hand, if you choose Etsy, you will have to pay both transaction fee of 3.5 percent on your purchases and another $0.20 for each item listed. If you think you will be able to make upwards of $2200 in revenue, you will end up paying $79 plus $0.20 for each item listed. This means, Shopify can prove to be a more viable option in the long run.

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Exposure and brand building

If you are planning to take your business online, then chances are that you are not merely experimenting, but you want to leverage the immense power of the web. If you want to establish yourself for the long run, then it is best to have your own store. While many people contend that Etsy receives more traffic, and chances of your product getting noticed are higher, but so are the chances of it getting lost in the crowd.

Brand building could be a long and tiring task, but it comes with huge benefits. Building traffic also takes a lot of effort, but once you achieve a steady stream of visitors and buyers, you only grow over the time

Control over listings

When you are presenting your product to thousands of customers, you sure need to have control over the listings. With Etsy, you are just limited to text and pictures. All you can do is add whatever you want about the item in the “item details” section.

On the other hand, Shopify gives you complete control over your listings. You can make your website and product pages look the way you want them to. With its user-friendly interface, you can easily give desireable look to your online store. Shopify has innumerable templates so you can simply choose the template and customize it the way you like. You can easily find a template that meets your eye and suits your store’s personality.

In short, when it comes to control over listings, Shopify is a clear winner.

Choice of payment gateway payment

With Etsy, you get option of just two payment gateways. One is their own payment gateway called Direct checkout and the other is PayPal. Shopify on the other hand offers many more options to merchant. Some of the most popular payment gateways in the United States are supported by Shopify including, Amazon Payments, Pay Junction, Plug’n Pay, PayPal Payments Pro, World Pay and many more.

So, on this parameter Shopify emerges a winner.

Customer service

For anyone who is new to the world of online selling, support would be an important parameter when choosing a selling partner. Shopify offers 24/7 customer support on email, phone and live chat to all users. The best part is that customer support is included in the monthly fee, and users are not required to pay anything extra to enjoy round-the-clock customer support.

This is a massive benefit to any e-retailer as they can get the support they need, at any time from any corner of the world. Remember, when you go online with your business, your e-store would be open all day and night long, so you may need support at any hour to ensure undisrupted user experience. Having 24X7 support gives you comfort and confidence that any potential issues would be handled in a timely and efficient manner keeping service disruptions to the minimum.

In the US, Etsy provides phone support 7 days a week from Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern US time.

If support is important to you, Shopify has an upper hand over Etsy

Ease of selling

For beginners, selling on Etsy would seem much easier, because all they need to do is set up an account, list their products and start selling. On the other hand, with Shopify you have set up a website and product pages. While this may seem tough compared to setting up an account on Etsy, but it is much simpler than you imagine. Shopify offers an extremely user friendly interface and setting up a store is a breeze.

Added functionality by way of apps

Today, customers demand much more than just a good product. They expect a seamless, efficient and enjoyable shopping experience. On Shopify, there are myriad of apps available that can truly enhance the shopping experience, and in this regard, Etsy is nowhere even close to Shopify.

Shopify has an amazing app store that has numerous third party and Shopify made apps, many of which are free. There are apps that let you sell your products on Facebook page or delight your customers by rewarding their referrals, purchases or signups, and many more

Shopify vs Etsy: Which one is better?

On nearly all the parameters that we have discussed, Shopify emerges a winner. It is a perfect platform for those who are looking to set up their own web store in a convenient and efficient manner. Although for a beginner, setting up a website may seem like a daunting task, but thanks to its user-friendly interface you can have your store up and running in a matter of minutes. The best part? The store would have a unique look and feel, and you can make it look and work the way you want.

On the other hand, Etsy could be a good place to simply start and experiment with your products online, however, if you are serious about your online venture and want to get the best from your online presence, Shopify is the way to go. Read our Shopify review for more information.

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