Should Your Shop Be On Etsy or Shopify?

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

An abstract picture sits next to a glass vase of orange flowers while the creator tries to decide if she should list her art on Etsy or Shopify.

Have you created a product that you now want to sell online?  One of the first decisions you will have to make is where to sell it.  

Assuming it is a handmade product, the the most obvious choices are Etsy and Shopify.  But which one is best?

After working with many clients with online shops, I find that they most often start out with Etsy, because it’s the easiest point of entry to online selling.  Once they start to grow, shops usually move to their own Shopify website.

Let’s take a quick look at Etsy.  

Etsy is popular for an easy way to start a side business. It works as a marketplace in which you list your product and wait for it to get sold.  Creating your shop and your product listings doesn’t take very long, and can easily be done yourself. You have the benefit of Etsy’s existing traffic and the opportunity to be discovered by users on the site. There is a built in audience and search capabilities.   But you pay for it. 

Listing an item costs $ .20.  This listing fee only lasts for four months.  When your item sells, you are charged 5% transaction fee as well as a 5% shipping fee. 

If you list a $20 item, with $5 shipping, and it sells within the 4 month timeframe, you would be charged $1.45 in Etsy fees. 

Next, you have your payment processing fees. This is typically 3% + $.25.  In our example, that’s another $.85.

So your $20 item costs a total of $2.30 in Etsy fees.  The fees from Etsy are a common complaint, and one of the reasons that many shops move off the platform as they grow. However, it remains the best option for someone that just wants a little side hustle, without big plans to scale the business. 

Now that we have a feel for Etsy, let’s take a look at Shopify. 

Shopify is your own website. This means you are independent from the marketplace (and competitors) of Etsy.  But you are also responsible for creating your own audience and driving your own traffic. 

Setting up a Shopify site is fairly easy, but more complicated than creating an Etsy shop.  While you can definitely do it yourself, many people choose to hire it out to maximize the capability of the platform.  Shopify site building and customizing is one of the services that we offer at Just Ask For Sam. 

Shopify offers endless options for customizations to develop the branding and shopping experience that you want to create for your ideal customers.  Some of this is free, some of it is not.  

But how much does it cost?

Shopify’s Basic plan is $29/ month.  This cost is regardless of how many listings you have. They offer a 10% discount if you prepay for one year, 20% discount when you prepay for 2 years, and 25% off when you prepay for 3.  

You will also have to pay for your domain name, which averages about $15/ yr. 

Credit Card fees are 2.9% + $.30. Transaction fees are 2%.  However, if you use Shopify Payments, transaction fees are waived. 

One of the most significant reasons I recommend Shopify is the ability to collect your customer’s email address.  This is invaluable, and not an option on Etsy.  Having a customer’s email allows you to build and nurture a relationship with them.  An effective email marketing strategy can grow your business exponentially. 

Shopify does not have an integrated email service provider, so that is an additional cost, but many ESPs offer free versions. 

Among the additional features that Shopify offers over Etsy is the capability to create a blog on your site.  A blog is a great tool to add value to your site, build authority, SEO, and engage your customers. 

With its opportunity for customization and growth, Shopify is a better choice for the business owner or entrepreneur in the long run. 

If you can swing it, I actually recommend both.  Take advantage of the traffic and new audience you might gain from Etsy.  When someone makes a purchase on Etsy, include a thank you card in their package.  Add a coupon code that is valid on your Shopify site, and voila! You can convert them into a customer on your Shopify site, and continue to retarget them through email!

Need help setting up your Etsy, Shopify or email marketing?  Book a free discovery call here. 


Leave a Reply