Platform Comparison: Shopify vs Etsy

Which is better Shopify or Etsy? CMS

Shopify and Etsy are two of the most popular platforms for building an online store. Each of them has its own features and advantages. In this article, we will look at the main advantages and disadvantages of these two giants of the e-commerce world and help you decide which platform is better, Shopify or Etsy.

Shopify vs. Etsy

Which is better for an online store: Shopify vs Etsy

Choosing the right platform for online trading in modern retail is a critical factor in the success of your business. Below, we’ll look at usage pricing, features, and built-in features, as well as what’s best for eCommerce, Etsy, or Shopify.

Usability and Design

Shopify is loved for its simple and intuitive interface. The CMS comes with a lot of ready-made templates to customize the appearance of your store, so you can create a unique and professional design without the need for knowledge of HTML and CSS.

The registration and setup process is very simple, so sellers can quickly add products and receive their first orders. Integration with third-party applications is also available, which facilitate resource management and automate many processes.

For Etsy, it doesn’t take long to sign up for an account and upload your first items. However, here it will not be possible to create a customized design, but you will have to be content with the standard design, which somewhat limits the possibilities for the seller.

That being said, the platform is great for small businesses and independent sellers who are into needlework and other creative activities.

eCommerce Functions

Etsy focuses on promoting handmade and vintage items. The basic functions of eCommerce are worked out here, giving the necessary minimum for trading on the Internet:

  • Simple process for adding products;
  • Mobile application for managing orders and communicating with customers;
  • Integration with payment and delivery services;
  • Reviews and ratings to increase trust in the company.

At the same time, the possibilities for integration with third-party services are very limited. There are also certain restrictions on product categories that can be added to the site.

But Shopify is a full-fledged e-commerce CMS that provides all the necessary tools to run an online store in any subject. Here you can find:

  • Wide selection of design templates and themes;
  • Mobile application for store management;
  • Own online payment system, as well as ample opportunities for customizing delivery conditions;
  • Built-in marketing tools;
  • Analytics and reporting to track orders and visitor behavior;
  • A large selection of third-party applications to extend the functionality;
  • The ability to create an unlimited number of products and their variations (color, sizes, etc.).

Payment gateways

Built-in payment system Shopify Payments is already integrated with the online store. With it, you can accept payments with minimal commissions.

In addition, you can use more than 100 payment gateways, including PayPal, Stripe, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay and many more. Thus, customers can pay in any way convenient for them.

Etsy Payments also allows you to accept payments from buyers with support for multiple currencies. You can pay by credit card, PayPal, Apple or Google Pay. At the same time, integration of third-party payment gateways is not possible.


With this business model, the seller does not need to store the goods in a warehouse and ship them himself. This function is assumed by the supplier. There are many extensions available in Shopify that allow you to connect dropshipping. Among them are Oberlo, Printful, Spocket and many others.

Enable dropshipping on Shopify

You can also work on Etsy according to the dropshipping scheme, but the seller is obliged to provide the platform administration with all the information about their suppliers and partners and obtain approval from it for such a cooperation option.

Which platform is better for promotion, Etsy or Shopify?

Without effective marketing and attracting visitors, there will be no sales, even if you have the best price and conditions on the market. This is why the platform’s marketing capabilities are so important to consider when choosing the right CMS. Next, we will figure out which is better, Shopify or Etsy, in terms of promoting your online store.


Search engine optimization directly affects visibility in search engines, the number of visitors and potential buyers. Shopify takes into account all the requirements of Google and provides excellent functionality for internal optimization. There is:

  • Built-in tools for managing meta tags (title and description);
  • CNC URL support and proper structure for better indexing;
  • Option to add alternative text (alt) to product photos;
  • Google Analytics and Search Console integration for traffic analysis and indexing management;
  • Many third-party extensions for more advanced optimization if the basic functionality is not enough for you.

Because Etsy is more of a marketplace than a standalone CMS, the search engine optimization options are somewhat limited. But the basic functions are still present. You will be able to:

  • Set up product meta tags, which helps increase their visibility in search engines;
  • Automatically generate URLs for product pages based on their titles (however, you won’t be able to edit the resulting URL);
  • Add alt tags for images.

But you won’t be able to customize the structure of the site to suit your needs. Also, it will not work to connect Google Search Console and Analytics.

Contextual advertising

In Shopify, the choice of tools for running advertising campaigns is much wider – you can use Google Ads and Bing advertising capabilities, as well as extensions and plugins to send statistical data from the site to advertising and analytical systems (Google Analytics and others).

In Etsy, the user will have access to another internal tool – Etsy Ads, which allows you to promote products to the audience of the platform itself. You can still run contextual advertising on Google or target on Facebook, but there may be difficulties with analyzing the results and optimizing campaigns due to the impossibility of fully connecting analytics systems.

Content Marketing

In terms of adding informative articles about your products and blogging, Shopify wins by a wide margin. Here are provided:

  • Integrated blog where you can post articles and news;
  • The ability to link the site to third-party email marketing platforms (Mailchimp and others);
  • Creation of information and navigation pages (“About us”, “Contacts”, “FAQ”, etc.);
  • Unique template for each type of page listed above in order to present the content to the user in the most attractive way.

On Etsy, content marketing options are severely curtailed. In fact, this functionality is not provided. The platform allows you to add information about the store and links to social networks, in which further interaction with the audience is expected. It is impossible to blog or connect an email newsletter on this site.

Etsy vs Shopify cost comparison

One of the main factors that entrepreneurs consider when comparing Shopify and Etsy is cost. After all, the cost of maintaining the site and the commission can significantly affect the profits of the business.

Shopify Rates

Shopify Fees

The use of the CMS is paid, but there is a 14-day trial. During this time, you can familiarize yourself with the main features and decide whether to switch to a paid tariff plan. There are three in total:

  1. Basic ($29/month). Suitable for start-up entrepreneurs and small businesses. It includes all the basic features for creating and running an online store. You can add an unlimited number of product items, you get two accounts for employees, this amount also includes 24/7 support, an SSL certificate.
  2. Shopify ($105/month). Suitable for those who need additional functionality. In addition to Basic features, professional reporting, lower payment processing fees, gift voucher support, and flexible shipping rate adjustments are included. Up to 5 accounts can be created for employees.
  3. Advanced ($399/month). Designed for large and fast growing businesses. Here you can connect separate accounts for 15 managers, advanced analytics. The transaction fee is even lower here. You can also set up integration with delivery services to calculate the cost of their services in real time.

Etsy fees

Etsy fees and commissions

Etsy is more attractive to small businesses and individuals selling their hand-made products due to the fact that there are no monthly usage fees. At the same time, the site charges fees for placing commodity items in the catalog and for each transaction:

  1. Fee for adding a product. For $0.20, you can add a new product to the site for 4 months or until it is sold.
  2. Commission per sale. Provided in the amount of 5% of the cost of each item sold (including the cost of shipping and packaging).
  3. Transaction fee. When paying through Etsy Payments, there is also a fee. Its size depends on the country where the bank account is registered. It can vary from 3% to 4.4% plus a fixed amount for each transaction.

Shopify or Etsy?

Each of the systems has its own advantages and disadvantages and may be the best choice in any case. Let’s take a look at the features of each platform to understand whether you should choose Etsy or Shopify.

Etsy pros and cons

Etsy is interesting, first of all, for its thematic community. If a person enters this site, then he is mainly looking for products of a certain type, which increases the conversion to order for these categories. Consider other advantages of this marketplace:

  1. Target audience. If your hobby is to create things with your own hands, then your abilities can be appreciated by the audience of this site. And it will be much more effective than promoting hand-made items on general-themed marketplaces.
  2. Easy to use. The interface is simple and intuitive, which means that even a beginner in the field of e-commerce will cope with it.
  3. No subscription fee. The service does not charge a monthly fee for use, which can be attractive for small sellers and those who are just starting their business.
  4. Active community. This allows not only selling handmade goods, but also sharing experience with the community, getting advice and support from colleagues.

But this site also has certain inconveniences:

  • No customization options. Your store will be similar to all the others, so it will not be possible to implement a completely unique brand identity on the site.
  • Commissions. You need to pay separately for listing the goods, each closed order and additionally for processing payments.
  • Competition. Due to the large number of competitors, your products may get lost in the crowd and not collect free traffic. In addition, opportunities for organic search promotion are limited. This means that you can’t do without paid advertising.
  • Restrictions on individual product categories. On the platform, you can only sell products of a certain thematic focus, which means that you can’t count on a serious expansion of the range.

Pros and cons of Shopify

Shopify is a more versatile CMS that is suitable for opening an online store in most existing commercial niches. It has the following advantages:

  1. Unique. You can develop your own unique theme or display template that will be significantly different from competitors. It is much easier to develop and implement your corporate identity here.
  2. Lots of plugins and extensions. They allow you to connect your store with third-party delivery services, marketing tools, analytics systems, manage inventory balances, and much more.
  3. Dropshipping support. Integration with popular dropshipping platforms is available, allowing merchants to easily add products and process orders without having to store products in their own warehouse.

At the same time, Shopify is not without some disadvantages:

  • Monthly subscription. Tariffs start at $39 – a little expensive for a small company or individual entrepreneur. In addition, you will have to pay for each transaction in the system.
  • Paid apps. Most extensions are paid (sometimes one-time, sometimes monthly). This can significantly increase the price tag for using the system.
  • Setting complexity. Due to the large number of functions, it will be difficult for a novice seller to understand the configuration of the store. However, there are many free tutorial videos online, as well as an active growing community.

Can I use Shopify for eCommerce with Etsy?

By using both platforms at the same time, you can expand your reach, greatly simplify store management, and sell a wider range of product items.

To set up the integration, you can use special applications that help you synchronize data. For example, install “Etsy Marketplace Integration” or “Connectr for Etsy” in the Shopify app store. They will help to synchronize orders, information about customers and products.

Connecting a Shopify online store with the Etsy platform

Сергей Шевченко
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