Over the last three years, I have become very familiar with both online marketplaces as well as online stores. There are some very notable differences and I have seen two very different experiences for my clients.
Here is what you need to know:
What is Etsy:
According to Etsy’s website Etsy is an:
“Online marketplace that connects sellers with buyers. It is primarily used for selling vintage items, handmade goods, art, and crafts.”
Here is what you can sell on Etsy:
Handmade Goods fall under a wide range of categories, including jewelry, bags, clothing, home decor and furniture, toys, art.
You can also sell:
Physical Metaphysical items (Tarot cards, crystals, etc) but you cannot make metaphysical claims
Vintage Items (must be over 20 years old)
On Etsy you sell your items alongside thousands of other vendors.
So what are the Pro’s of Etsy:
- Easy of use: you don’t need any design knowledge in order to get your shop up and running
- It’s perfect for people who want to turn their hobby into a profit
- Etsy has a built-in customer base and Etsy helps newbies even more through its search algorithm. As it prioritizes new listings, so you have an automatic boost the first time you populate your online store listings.
What about the Cons:
- Etsy is not for everyone, you must fit into their selling guidelines. If you plan on reselling items, Etsy most likely isn’t for you (ie: books)
- Listing Charges & fees: Etsy charges $0.20 to list an item and takes five percent of your sale (including shipping and gift-wrapping fees) as a transaction fee. In addition, if you choose to use Etsy payments, which allows customers to pay by credit card, you’ll be charged an additional fee of 3% plus $0.25.
- Market Saturation – Unless you sell extremely unique items, you’ll be competing with thousands of other selling who are offering similar products.
Now Let’s talk about Shopify:
What is Shopify:
Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that allows you to set up your very own eCommerce store. Shopify is now the leading commerce platform designed for businesses of all sizes. Whether you sell online, on social media, in-store, or out of the trunk of your car, Shopify has you covered.
Shopify is completely cloud-based and hosted, which means you don’t have to worry about upgrading or maintaining software or web servers.
Aside from just listing your products, Shopify is a complete website which means you can have as many pages as you want and even a blog.
Pro’s of Shopify:
- You have full access to the HTML and CSS of your store which means you can customize your store to your brand
- There are over 100 payment gateways available
- Shopify is so robust with over 4200 apps available to make your store function exactly how you need it to be
- You can set up dropshipping & connect to Shopify’s fulfillment centers
- Think gift cards, subscriptions, email integration, digital goods. You name it and you can probably do it with Shopify
- It has partnered with Walmart so now you can have your items listed on Walmarts marketplace
- Partner with Thinkific, you can now sell your online courses right on Shopify
Con’s of Shopify:
- Some of the Shopify apps can be pricey *make sure to do your research first!
- There are transaction fees if you use a third-party payment processor such a Stripe (but if you are in one of the countries that offer Shopify Payments – you don’t have to worry about additional processing fees)
- Free Shopify templates come with limited design features and if you don’t know how to code you may not be able to customize them as much as you’d like
- Shopify can range from $29 USD a month to $299 USD a month depending on your plan
My analysis: Shopify is better for the small business owner!
A few key reasons:
- You can build your BRAND on Shopify. It is your own store, your piece of online real estate. This is so important when growing your brand and business.
- Shopify is way more robust and has the ability to grow and expand with your business.
- You still have the ability to connect to online market places such as:
- Walmart marketplace
- Facebook and Instagram
So when making the decision of where to list your items & where to build your store… take into consideration these pros and cons!
How to set up your Shopify Store:
- Start a free trial of Shopify
- Add the products you want to sell
- Create key pages for your store
- Pick a theme and customize your online store
- Customize your shipping settings
- Configure your tax settings
- Set up your payment gateway and payouts
- Prepare your store for launch
- Launch your store