Etsy vs Shopify Pros & Cons

Etsy vs Shopify Pros & Cons

When you’re considering selling on Etsy vs Shopify, there are a few factors to consider. In this blog post, we’ll go through the benefits of both Etsy and Shopify, what sets them apart from each other, and when to use Etsy vs Shopify at different points in your business.

The Big Tradeoff

The main difference between Shopify and Etsy comes down to the tradeoff of branding versus impressions. On Shopify, you can reinforce your brand imagery and messaging on every part of the site, from the homepage through checkout. On Etsy, anyone around the world is one search away from finding your custom or unique products and they’re one click closer to purchasing. Shopify provides shoppers with a branded experience and allows you to build something much bigger, whereas Etsy has built-in recognition driving traffic and shoppers to your products.

Etsy Pros & Cons

Etsy is the first thing that comes to mind for many when thinking of custom gifts. Etsy aggregates sellers into one directory, allowing shoppers to find unique products from around the world and purchase directly through the directory.

  • Accepts credit cards, PayPal, and Klarna (payment installments)
  • Built-in traffic driving to your products
  • Low-cost
  • Underneath Etsy brand, with little individual brand recognition
  • No ability to customize listing layout
  • High fees (listing fee, transaction fee & offsite advertisement fee)
  • Listing text must be written for Etsy directory searches as opposed to branded SEO
When to Use

If you’re just starting an e-commerce business and learning the ropes of what supply and demand look like for you, Etsy is a great option. By having an Etsy store, your products are automatically eligible to show up in search results in their directory. Depending on how much money you have to spend on a monthly basis, Etsy can be a great way to start since they only charge a small listing fee per product, as opposed to Shopify’s flat monthly fee. Get started on Etsy here.

Shopify Pros & Cons

Shopify is the gold standard for e-commerce websites, and for a good reason. Shopify accounts come with a selection of free themes, drag & drop page builders, credit card processing, and built-in inventory management. While there are other options for e-commerce content management systems, Shopify’s built-in features make the “do-it-yourself” approach much easier.


Because people around the world trust Shopify to manage their e-commerce websites, it also integrates with other tech like email marketing and product customization apps. There are easy code modifications and tutorials for pretty much anything you want to do in Shopify. If you’re not comfortable editing code, you can refer to Shopify’s network of liquid developers.

  • Free themes
  • Drag & drop page builders
  • Accepts credit cards & PayPal
  • Inventory management
  • Support network
  • Ownership & collection of customer reviews
  • Higher margins (less fees than Etsy!)

Just as the main benefit of an Etsy store is the amount of traffic already using the website to find gifts, Shopify’s main downside is that you have to build traffic from scratch. This isn’t always a bad thing, because you have more control over what keywords you want to rank for, but it does mean you’re competing against other e-commerce websites with similar products. Your website is yours (pro!) but that also means you need to maintain it, which can be a con if you’re tech averse.

  • Drive your own traffic & compete in search results
  • Higher monthly cost
  • Full website to maintain
When to Use

The easiest calculation is financial. If you have a large amount of products on Etsy and you’re being charged fees per product then it’s probably time to switch to Shopify. The other reason to choose Shopify over Etsy comes down to branding. If you want your business to be independent of third-party branding and directory changes, Shopify is the best solution. Learn more about Shopify pricing here.

Etsy vs Shopify Final Recommendations

When you’re debating Etsy vs Shopify, the factors you want to consider are budget, brand, and sales (or estimated sales). If you have a larger budget, expect high sales, and you want to grow your brand, choose Shopify. If you have a smaller budget and want more eyes on your products, choose Etsy.

All of this being said, if you have the budget for both Shopify and Etsy, there are Shopify apps that can synch your products and inventory between platforms to get the traffic benefits of Etsy and the branding benefits of Shopify.

Want our advice? Schedule a free consultation below.