Connect With Us

Here’s why we think Shopify is far better than “the-platform-who-must-not-be-named.” 

*glares in Java*

So you took the plunge! You’ve decided to start selling those bath bomb kits you make for your friends, or your great-grandfather’s secret hot sauce recipe that everyone says is a goldmine. 

For most small business owners, one of the biggest decisions in opening up an e-commerce store is choosing which platform to sell your products on, and two of the biggest contenders out there are Shopify and Etsy. 

Okay, we know what you’re thinking - aren’t you guys a Shopify agency? Aren’t your opinions going to be a little - um - biased? 

Touché

But we’re not the only ones who are turning to Shopify for all of our online merchant needs. That’s because if you are truly serious about building out your own e-commerce brand, Shopify is the clear winner over Etsy. 

Here are 5 key reasons why Shopify is the better choice for your online store than Etsy:

It Can Actually Be More Affordable In the Long Run

Many entrepreneurs just getting started in e-commerce are tempted to use Etsy because its basic plan allows you to list products without paying a monthly fee. All of Shopify’s plans charge a monthly rate of $29 - $229, depending on the plan. 

HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean that Etsy doesn’t charge any fees. No matter what plan you opt for with Etsy, you will be required to pay the following fees:

    • $0.20 listing fee per product, which recurs every 4 months whether the product sells or not

    • 5% transaction fee on every purchase

If you elect to use Etsy Payments (which is difficult not to use), you’ll also be charged 3% + $0.25 payment processing fee per transaction. That fee varies depending on the location of your bank account; for our purposes, we’re using U.S.-based figures.

A quick note on those “listing fees”: if you’re planning to sell in volume, you’ll likely create a single listing for Pompa’s Hot Sauce and offer multiple quantities of that same listing. In this case, Etsy will charge that $0.20 listing fee at the initial listing, and again every time one of the quantities sells. If you sell 100 bottles of hot sauce, that’s $20 in listing fees.

Saving Money

Image Source 

Those fees can add up over time, and if you’re planning on scaling your e-commerce website beyond a few hundred dollars a month (and we assume you are, since you’re reading this), then Etsy may actually end up costing you more overall. 

Conversely, Shopify doesn’t charge any listing fees and if you opt to use Shopify Payments, there are zero transaction fees. The processing fee is also a bit lower: 2.4% -2.9% + $0.30. This can make a big difference in long-term costs when you’re selling at a higher volume. 

Let’s do a side-by-side comparison of Etsy vs. Shopify for a “basic” plan store, over a full year, processing a total of 300 sales per year and listing 10 different products for sale, each of them priced at $10. For the purposes of calculating the listing fee, we’ll assume that you sell 30 of each product per year.

 

Etsy Fees, Basic Plan

Shopify Fees, Basic Plan

Annual fee

$0

$348

Listing fee*

$60

$0

Transaction fee**

$150

$0

Payment processing fee***

$165

$177

TOTAL ANNUAL COST

$375

$525

*$0.20 per item x 10 items = $2 x a quantity of 30 of each item = $60
**5% transaction fee charged on a $10 product = $0.50 x 300 sales per year = $150
*** Etsy: 3% + $0.25 per transaction charged on a $10 product = $0.55 x 300 sales per year = $165; Shopify: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction charged on a $10 product = $0.59 x 300 sales per year = $177

So, on the surface, it looks like Etsy is the better choice -- at least, at a volume of 300 sales per year. What happens when that increases to 1000? 1000 sales per year of 10 products, 100 of each, each priced at $10.

 

Etsy Fees, Basic Plan

Shopify Fees, Basic Plan

Annual fee

$0

$348

Listing fee*

$200

$0

Transaction fee**

$500

$0

Payment processing fee***

$550

$590

TOTAL ANNUAL COST

$1,250

$938

*$0.20 per item x 10 items = $2 x a quantity of 100 of each item = $200
**5% transaction fee charged on a $10 product = $0.50 x 1000 sales per year = $500
*** Etsy: 3% + $0.25 per transaction charged on a $10 product = $0.55 x 1000 sales per year = $550; Shopify: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction charged on a $10 product = $0.59 x 1000 sales per year = $590

That’s where Shopify begins to pull away: volume. If you’re content to remain very small, Etsy’s the place. If you want to grow and scale your business, you’ll outgrow Etsy quickly and be hamstrung by fees (and other limitations we’ll discuss below). 

Beyond the cost savings at volume, Shopify can also hook you up with big discounts -- up to 74% -- from shippers like DHL, UPS, and USPS. Something to think about!

It’s Easier Than You Think To Get Started

Beyond the lower entry costs, beginner sellers may also lean toward Etsy because the initial setup seems simpler. All you do is make an account, upload some images, write some product descriptions and BOOM - you’re selling. The learning curve is less steep because there’s just less to learn. 

However, for a much higher functionality pay-off, Shopify makes it absurdly easy to build a fully integrated, independent e-commerce website for only a little more effort. 

Although there are considerably more features to navigate, Shopify makes it easy to sail through the setup process with:

    • An intuitive onboarding with clear action buttons that you guide you 

    • A live preview option that allows you to conveniently rearrange and design different elements on your site (and 9 free themes to choose from when you’re getting started!)

    • A clean, modern dashboard that allows you to monitor and integrate inventory tracking, orders, sales data, marketing functionality and any additional apps with ease

Shopify Dashboard

Image Source 

It may seem like there’s a lot to master initially, but putting in the time to learn Shopify’s different functions pays off in the end because you come away with a comprehensive e-commerce site that is entirely yours. Which brings us to our next point...

Your Domain Is Yours and Yours Only

Branding is so important when you’re first starting out as a business, and your domain name is a big part of your brand identity. 

Your domain name is what people type in the search or browser bar when they look for your website. Having a recognizable, memorable URL makes a huge difference in how easily customers can find your business. 

When you sign up for Shopify, you’re prompted to create your custom domain through an automated process that gives you access to:

    • Domain hosting

    • Multiple subdomains (including international)

    • Email-forwarding addresses for each domain 

    • A domain name generator that helps you find the perfect website name

When you sign up for a standard Etsy account, you’re essentially renting a “storefront” in their marketplace. You do not have full ownership of your store - Etsy does. That means you don’t get your own domain name. 

What looks better:

PompasBombHotSauce.com 

or

www.etsy.com/shop/pompasbombhotsauce

?

Yeah, that's what we thought.

To connect your own domain name with Etsy, you must pay for the Etsy Pattern add-on at $15/month. However, Etsy Pattern still requires you to list your products on Etsy’s marketplace for them to show up on your Pattern site, so your products are beholden to the same Etsy requirements and listing fees.

Say It With Me…Customization

Another big part of branding is the look and feel of your site. Everything from the color of your buttons to the size of your images to the font in your product descriptions contributes to your overall brand.

When you sign up with Etsy marketplace, you lose control of your branding. Your store is limited to whatever Etsy chooses for your design and layout and, spoiler alert, it’s exactly the same as all the other storefronts.

Some sellers opt for Etsy thanks to its name recognition, but if your storefront looks just like the others, it can be difficult to stand out as your own brand. At the end of the day, people don’t remember your store--they remember Etsy. 

If one of the 9 free themes that Shopify offers doesn’t suit your taste, there are dozens of paid options (we recommend Out of the Sandbox above all others) to choose from. Each theme offers various levels of customization, from basics like fonts and colors to more in-depth rearrangement of sections and content blocks on a page. 

Shopify Store Themes

Image Source  

If you’re feelin’ fancy, you can  take it to the next level and spring for custom design

Tools on Tools on Tools

Shopify Tools Home Improvement Gif

We can’t talk about Shopify without mentioning the seemingly endless features and add-on tools you can integrate with your shop. Etsy simply can’t hold a candle to Shopify’s robust library of partner apps, as well as the built-in sales features that Shopify sellers receive, right out of the gate.

Here are just a few of the features Shopify offers that you can’t get with Etsy:

    • Multichannel selling that allows you to sync with other platforms like Instagram, Amazon, Facebook, and more

    • Abandoned cart recovery 

    • Free SSL certificate

    • A full blogging platform

    • Built-in mobile responsiveness

    • Discount codes and gift cards

    • Tipping feature at checkout

And if you need something beyond what your Shopify plan offers, Shopify has an extensive app store where you can find virtually anything you’re looking for:

And many, many more! If you’re feeling overwhelmed and want some guidance on which app is the right one for you, we're happy to help!

Verdict?

Shopify provides you with everything your business needs to fully grow and thrive. Although Etsy may seem simpler and cheaper upfront, its ability to scale is drastically limited compared to Shopify’s capabilities. 

If you truly want to feel empowered to own the success of your business, look no further than Shopify.

Ready to get started?




Topics: featured, Business, Migration, Shopify, Tech