Shopify vs Etsy: Which is better for your business?

Shopify vs Etsy… To be blunt, they are incomparable. I’ve used both and have years of experience between the two, and I’ve learned they both have their benefits. While I am pro-Shopify, I do believe that they each have their own perfect fit depending what type of business you are wanting to grow, which is why it’s important to view the pro’s and con’s of Shopify vs Etsy.

Before diving into each platform, it’s important that you have a plan of what you’re envisioning your business to look like in a couple years. This is to prevent any headache and annoyance of having to switch to a different platform later as your business progresses.

Things to consider

  • How you plan to sell (online vs in-person, or a combination)
  • Will you have multiple locations
  • Do you have your own audience and customers
  • Is this a side-gig or will it become full-time
  • Do you want your own website
  • Do you plan on offering coupon codes

Really dive into a rough idea of what you want your business to look like. Having more details and specifics will help narrow down which platform is best for you.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is perfect for those who want full control of every detail when it comes to your online presence. With their Basic plan, you are equipped with your very own website from the start.

Benefits of having your own website:

  • Unlimited options to customize and showcase your business’s branding
  • Your audience only sees your products (learn how this is different on Etsy below)
  • Ability to offer a variety of shipping options, as well as local pickup

Note: having your own website means that you do need to drive your own traffic. Use social media to bring people to your shop.

In addition to having your own website, Shopify also offers the functionality to support having multiple locations for your business. You can track each locations inventory separately and fulfill orders where and when needed.

Shopify also allows you to add multiple team members to access your shop’s dashboard. This is useful if you have multiple people who need to process and fulfill orders, manage inventory, and update product listings.

If you plan to have your business be a vendor at any markets or pop-ups, sticking with Shopify is also ideal. They offer a range of payment processing devices that not only can aid in accepting credit cards when dealing with in-person events, but can also help with managing your inventory automatically.

And you know that we at Inventora love some automatic inventory management!

Bonus features that Shopify has is discounted postage rates for shipping orders, coupon codes, pre-order functionality, and password protection for when you need to make edits to your shop but don’t want anyone to slide through during that time.

What is Etsy?

Etsy is the ideal platform if your business is more on the hobby side of the spectrum. Meaning that you don’t need all the bells and whistles, and you probably don’t plan on working on your business full-time. This is because Etsy works as a marketplace to be discovered.

Benefits of being listed in Etsy’s marketplace:

  • You can list products to potentially be found by anyone.
  • Minimal setup time required.

Different from Shopify, Etsy allows your products to be introduced to their audience. While this sounds great, there is a bit of work that needs to happen in order to be successful.

You must be knowledgeable of SEO.

SEO is the use of keywords and phrases that ultimately will lead people to your product listings. Without proper SEO knowledge and utilization, your listings may never be discovered. At least, not frequently.

However, you can always use social media to drive people to your Etsy page much like you would with Shopify.

Etsy also allows the use of coupon codes and provides postage purchasing within the platform.


Final thoughts

So, which is better, Shopify vs Etsy? I believe that you can run a product business on either Etsy or Shopify. However, Shopify wins me over every time with it’s extensive features and easy-to-use interface. Etsy is great to start and test the waters if you’re running your business as a side hobby, but for growing businesses I’d highly recommend starting with Shopify.

1 Comment

  • Diane

    Found this information very interesting and helpful. Although already up and running it’s still good to have information like this as I started with Shopify and love it but I can always improve it.

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