When you’re starting to sell online, you might be wondering if it’s better to sell on a marketplace (like Etsy) or to launch your own online store via a platform like Shopify. If you search for “Etsy vs Shopify”, you’ll get more than 10,000,000 results with different reasons tipping the balance in favor of Shopify or Etsy.
The real question is: Does it have to be Shopify vs Etsy? Can it be Etsy and Shopify?
Testing the entrepreneurial waters with Etsy
There’s no way around it—starting your own business can feel intimidating and scary. Going down the entrepreneurial road means entering uncharted territory, and it can bring several challenges.
As a result, many merchants decide to start with an Etsy vs Shopify store. Sellers list their products within the platform’s established marketplace as a product discovery tool. This helps buffer some of the risk by making it easier for customers to discover their brand and products.
Founded in 2005, Etsy is an ecommerce platform focused on sellers offering handmade or vintage items and craft supplies (although today, you can find almost anything there.)
In 2019, Etsy’s annual merchandise sales volume (GMV) amounted to $4.97 billion, up from $314 million in 2010. It’s still growing rapidly, too: According to DigitalCommerce360, in the first six months of 2020, Etsy’s sales grew 71% year-over-year.
Solidifying your business with Shopify
As sales grow, merchants start thinking about launching their own standalone online store.
Aside from the product restrictions, Etsy also has basic features that are enough at the beginning. As you scale your online business though, opening your online store is the next logical step. There’s more flexibility and more advanced features on Shopify that can help expand your operation and boost customer satisfaction.
Automate your between Etsy and Shopify →
Shopify is built for all store types, from small businesses to enterprises. The advanced platform insights allow merchants to make data-driven decisions based on metrics that report the performance of their online store.
Shopify and Etsy: Reach your customers wherever they are
Even though merchants might feel pressure to choose between Shopify and Etsy, the truth is they are not substitutes. Shopify is a webstore platform, Etsy is an online marketplace, and they offer different benefits. Let’s look at a few in more detail.
Etsy vs Shopify gives you access to more buyers
As of Q2 2020, there are 60.27 million buyers on Etsy. What’s more, their buyers are often repeat customers. More than 40% of Etsy buyers purchased more than one item in 2018. Opening an account on this marketplace means getting more eyeballs and exposure to millions of loyal Etsy buyers.
No technical skills are required to start selling on Etsy
Setting up an Etsy account is simple and straightforward. You have to go through a five-step process, and then you’re ready to start selling.
Shopify vs Etsy offers more business features
Etsy has basic ecommerce features that sellers can upgrade if they choose Etsy Plus. However, suppose you’re looking for more advanced tools to fuel your business growth. In that case, Shopify is packed with abandoned cart recovery, detailed reporting, third-party integrations, as well as Shopify POS for those that want to open a brick and mortar location.
Shopify allows more customization
On Etsy, you are one of the 2.5 million active sellers. Your pages have the same design as your competitors. On the other hand, Shopify gives merchants unlimited possibilities to customize their store design, and include rich merchandising features.
With a Shopify store, you build your brand image
If you’re trying to create a recognizable brand, having an Etsy account is not enough. Despite the fact that Etsy has many buyers, they are loyal to the marketplace, not specific brands. With Shopify, you get a custom domain that helps you establish a strong brand image.
These are just some of the distinctive benefits that make it clear that considering Shopify and Etsy as alternatives is like comparing apples and oranges. Shopify and Etsy give you access to different target personas and many successful companies that started their journey with Etsy, scaled with Shopify while keeping the Etsy store.
In today’s omnichannel world, the key to success is being present wherever your customers are. Instead of trying to cut down channels, make sure to understand their unique advantages, and find a way to incorporate the ones that will boost your growth.
Omnichannel retail challenges with Etsy and Shopify working together
If you decide to embrace omnichannel retail, you have to be aware that it comes with a specific set of challenges, such as:
One of the biggest hurdles when it comes to omnichannel retailing is keeping track of inventory. By selling across different channels, merchants may come across issues such as product visibility, order accuracy, constrained inventory, and other things that can jeopardize business continuity. To streamline inventory management, you have to keep SKU codes consistent across channels and make sure to have real-time data on stock levels.
The essence of omnichannel retail is creating a single customer experience across channels. That’s why sellers should ensure that product information is consistent everywhere their brand is. However, as the business grows, it gets increasingly complex to unify product details.
Overstocking / Overselling
Failing to manage inventory effectively can jeopardize your working capital. Overstocking happens when merchants stock products that they can’t sell. Products that are stuck in your shelves collecting dust can hurt profitability. On the other hand, not having real-time information about orders can lead to overselling and frustrated customers. Either one is bad for your business.
Today’s path-to-purchase is anything but linear. Customers have the information they need to make data-driven decisions, and they often switch between channels before clicking the add-to-cart button. Being able to capture orders and process fulfillment across different channels is one of the biggest challenges for online merchants. Having an omnichannel ecosystem plays a critical role in improving customer experience and increasing customers’ lifetime value.
Shopify and Etsy is better together
The first step towards omnichannel retail is the realization that customers don’t think in terms of channels — they expect the best possible shopping experience across channels and platforms.
It’s up to you to overcome the challenges and streamline processes.
The good news is you can integrate Shopify and Etsy and make the most out of both channels by automating workflows such as:
- Sync Etsy online store listings and inventory with your Shopify store
- Notify various departments whenever a new order has been created on your Etsy online store
- Delete a listing after the products go out of stock to avoid overselling
- Catalog all receipts at the end of the month or update a listing if a product on your Shopify store has been created.
Now that is a better way to work.
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