What's Better for Selling Online, Etsy vs. Shopify?
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Ahh, the age old question... Shopify or Etsy?
If you're thinking about selling a product online you're probably asking yourself, should I sell on Etsy or Shopify (or another ecommerce platform).
You're a savvy business owner and you don't want to choose the wrong platform. Setting up all your products and store info is a crap ton of work. You want to do it once and never again. Because once you're busy building your brand, you won't have time to mess around trying to decide where you should sell your products.
And you don’t want to worry about whether the platform you choose offers X, Y, Z after you’ve already set up shop.
So let's get down to the nitty gritty and break this question down once and for all.
Should you sell on Shopify or Etsy?
This sounds like a simple question. But there's a major problem baked into the idea of comparing Shopify and Etsy. Here’s why: Etsy and Shopify are very different platforms. So much so, it's almost like comparing apples to oranges.
So, the REAL question isn't "should I choose Shopify or Etsy?"
The real question is "What kind of business do I want?"
Let's break down the difference in businesses to find out which one feels right to you.
Shopify is a lot like opening up your own retail store and Etsy is a lot like renting a booth at a craft fair. Sure, you're selling your products in both instances, but you can see the difference, right?
At its very core these platforms are different. Etsy is an eCommerce marketplace. Shopify is an eCommerce platform - a place to build your own eCommerce website.
And the biggest difference between a marketplace and a platform is ownership (or lack of ownership). Etsy owns your customer. You do not.
Etsy also owns the brand recognition.
What do I mean by that? When someone buys on Etsy they say they bought it on Etsy (same with Amazon). When someone buys from you on Shopify they say they bought it from your store name(they don't say Shopify).
That's a big difference right there.
Do you want to run this on the side? Maybe, make an extra $1,000 a month.
Or do you want to build a brand? Where you own the customer experience. Where you can grow an email list, build a community of raving fans, and one day have a business that you can sell?
And, let me be clear, there's no wrong answer here. But you need to know your end goal in order to choose the right platform.
Are there Etsy sellers making more than side cash? Of course.
Most of the top sellers on Etsy sell craft supplies. Which makes complete sense. Crafters sell on Etsy, so it's likely they will buy their supplies on Etsy. It's the perfect place to sell if you're selling craft supplies.
Other stores doing well on Etsy sell custom items (custom engraved jewelry or embroidered gifts). Baby items and digital downloads are also among the top selling products on Etsy.
I've sold on both Etsy and Shopify (and Amazon and Wix - please don't even consider Wix for ecom). Etsy was great for sending traffic. I paid for sponsored listings to boost sales. It was all very easy. I didn't need use any other tools, like email, Facebook, or Google to get sales. It was all done within Etsy. So that was very user friendly.
But I hated that I didn't own my customers. I wanted to email them. I wanted to grow my list so every time I ran a promotion or launched a new product, I could reach out to them.
Because I wanted to build a brand I needed to get off Etsy.
(I now get over 50% of my sales directly from email marketing. That's something I couldn't do with Etsy).
On Shopify you’re building brand recognition and loyalty.
Etsy also holds a certain connotation of a “hobby business.” For better or worse, that's the impression it gives. It's the real deal for side-hustles, but NOT if you're looking to grow a brand.
If your end goal is to build long-term brand Shopify's your jam.
Ready to try Shopify? Get your 14-day free trial here.
So, that's the question you need to answer for yourself. What kind of business do you want? Depending on your heartfelt answer, you'll know which one is right for you.
Now, if you're ready to jump in and commit to building your brand on Shopify, you’re in the right place reading a post by the right person -- so keep reading!
But wait a minute, haven't you heard some bad gossip about Shopify?
I'm sure you have. There's plenty of rumors, misconceptions and myths about Shopify, so let's break down a few misconceptions you may have heard about Shopify. I don't want myths holding you back.
1. You will never outgrow. Shopify. Like. Ever.
This seems to be the BIGGEST misconception about Shopify. I hear it all the time "Shopify is so limited!" "It's fine for now, but we'll outgrow it soon."
How? How is it limited? Massive brands are using Shopify as their eCommerce platform. Massive, like Kylie Cosmetics massive... Girl can't keep her lipgloss in stock. She's doing millions (maybe billions) in sales, and she hasn't outgrown Shopify.
The truth? It's not limited and it will grow with you as you need it to.
Here’s where that myth comes from…
Limitations exist within themes (a theme is the template you use to create the look and feel of your store), so if you're feeling stuck it may be time to upgrade to a new theme (I highly recommend Out of the Sandbox themes as they're designed to help you sell more. I use Turbo, Retina and this website is the Artisan theme).
There are also tons of apps to help you grow your store. SO many it can be overwhelming, so I made a list of my top 8 app recommendations to make this easier. <---Click to get your free download. :)
Overall, Shopify is designed to help you sell more, and grow with you as you grow. Because that’s what this is all about, right!? Worldwide online retail domination.
2. Shopify is not expensive.
The starting plan is just $29 a month. $29. To run your entire business. Have you tried renting a brick and mortar store front for $29 a month? No. Because you can’t.
Yes, you have fees - credit card fees (which you'll have no matter which platform you choose) and every eCommerce platform charges fees. This is your cost of doing business. Average banks fees are typically 3% of each sale, no matter which platform you use.
And here’s the thing. It costs money to make money. So if the thought of paying $29 per month feels like a lot, it’s important to recognize that this is a money mindset issue. You may feel like $29 a month is a lot but at some point you’ll need to move past that if you intend on building a major brand. It's a necessary investment in your business.
It's going to run your entire business. $29 is a steal.
If you still think $29 a month is too much, ask yourself, "how can I make an extra $29 a month to cover that cost?" Boom. You've paid your monthly rent with this one mindset shift.
3. Shopify has tons of features to get you more traffic.
Shopify alone will not bring you traffic. You need to bring the traffic to your store. But, Shopify gives you the well designed platform to easily sell to your customers once you bring them in.
There are simple ways to improve your traffic on Shopify. It has easy to understand SEO tactics to boost your organic reach. Shopify also has a free app called Kit which helps you run your Facebook ads, to bring in fresh traffic on the daily.
They also offer the best retail analytics to show you where your best traffic is coming from so you can double down on the right efforts. No guessing needed.
4. Shopify is totally pro, but you don't need to be a designer or developer to use it.
It’s soooo easy to use - you can set up your store in a weekend and be selling by Monday. No HTML skills required.
But, if you want to make bigger changes and happen to possess some coding skills, you can delve into the HTML editor and make all the changes your heart desires. (HeyCarson is a Shopify partner that can help you with small tasks that require coding. Check them out if you're stuck and need to make a change to your Shopify store).
Shopify is also super easy for customers to use.
The checkout process is seamless and your customers have multiple options for payments (including one-click checkout. It couldn't be simpler). A super simple buying process means you'll enjoy higher conversion rates and more sales. Cha-Ching!
And they have connections with other selling platforms - meaning you can sell in-person, on Houzz, Messenger, Pinterest, and even BuzzFeed all through your Shopify store. The sales keep coming!
5. Shopify support has your back.
Even though Shopify is super easy to use, you may run into problems or questions you can't solve on your own. That’s when you can call on The Shopify Customer Support Team.
Their customer service is friendly (we're talking Canadian friendly) and easy to contact (I use their chat feature all the time with minimal wait time). The support team will answer your questions thoughtfully, and sometimes they even send a personalized video tutorial so you can quickly fix the problem.
So, when you do need a little support, Shopify is there for you with a smile :)
Wow, it feels good to put those rumors to rest. Now that you know the truth about Shopify, dive right in and build your store.
Ready to try Shopify? Get your 14-day free trial here.
Looking to add sales boosting apps to your Shopify store?
Download our free toolkit: 8 Must-Have Apps for Selling More on Shopify