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?
We’ll cover why you might start with one instead of the other but more importantly, we dive deep into why successful businesses use them both.
Are you ready to save time and bring a personalized shopping experience to your customers? Install MESA and connect Etsy to your business.
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.
Is selling on Etsy worth it?
As a result, many merchants decide to start with an Etsy vs Shopify store. Etsy.com sellers list their products within the platform’s established marketplace as a product discovery tool. This helps buffer some of the risks by making it easier for customers to discover their Etsy shop, 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.
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.
Be sure to read our guide on Shopify Plus benefits if you’re looking to upgrade.
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 an e-commerce 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 shop 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 sellers have basic ecommerce features that they 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
Your Etsy business is 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 shop 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 an Etsy shop, 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.
Search Engine Optimization
Etsy is a marketplace, and as such, it’s designed to be discovery-oriented. That means that if you want your products to be visible on Etsy, you have to put in the work and optimize your shop for the platform’s algorithm. On Shopify, you own your SEO (search engine optimization). You can control how your products appear on search engines and use powerful marketing tools to reach a wider audience.
Another challenge that you have to consider is the fact that Etsy doesn’t support blog posts. If you want to write content and attract organic traffic, you have to do it on your own website or other channels. Your only other strategy would be to have a guest blog post link back to your Etsy product pages.
On the other hand, Shopify comes with a built-in blogging platform that makes it easy for you to create and publish content. You can use blog posts to attract organic traffic, build brand awareness, and boost your search engine optimization.
Does Etsy integrate with Shopify?
Unfortunately, no. There is no native integration between the Etsy shop and Shopify. However, there are third-party apps that help sync data between the Etsy business and Shopify store.
Can you connect Shopify to Etsy?
Yes! There are two ways to connect your Shopify store with your Etsy shop. The first is using a third-party app, like MESA. The second is to list your products manually on Etsy. The best way to connect Etsy to Shopify is the use an app on Shopify that listens to events occurring on Etsy and sync the data that way.
Can you have multiple Etsy Shops?
Technically, yes. You simply create a new account using a different email address than your existing Etsy shop. This means you can certainly have a second Etsy shop without breaking their terms of service.
However, just because you can create multiple Etsy stores doesn’t mean you should. There’s a lot of work to set up and configure your seller account across multiple Etsy shops. If you still require multiple shops, the best way to manage multiple Etsy shops is to use automation that integrates products and orders from a single source like Shopify or Google Sheets.
Can you resell items on Etsy?
No. Products must be made or designed by you, the Etsy store seller in order to comply with the Etsy listing policy. They take this very seriously since it’s core to their brand and marketplace. Breaking this cardinal rule will get you booted.
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 have a Shopify Etsy integration 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.
So, what's next?
- Add MESA app. From the Shopify App Store, install MESA on your store. Start for free or enjoy a 7-day trial on any plan.
- Request Complimentary Setup. If you want help personalizing this workflow, all you have to do is ask. We're happy to help!
- Browse more workflow tutorials like this one.
- Discover pre-made, customizeable automation templates.
We watch for new apps then package them into an email sent every Tuesday.