Are you a new small business owner and wondering which platform you should use to start selling your products? I am here to show you what it looks like to sell on both Etsy and Shopify! When I first started my small business, I began selling on Etsy. Eventually, as time went on and orders started picking up, I transferred everything over to Shopify. Also keep in mind, just because you sell on Etsy doesn’t mean you can’t also sell on Shopify! And visa versa. I will get into the logistics of that later, but for now, let’s check out the difference between selling on Etsy vs Shopify.
Selling on Etsy:
Etsy is a very common platform to start selling on, and it’s popular for a good reason! If you are just starting out your small business and don’t have any social media or ways to gain an audience I HIGHLY recommend starting out on Etsy.
Why should I start out on Etsy when I am beginning?
There are many reasons that it is beneficial to start selling on Etsy vs Shopify. It is less expensive (in the beginning!), easier to use and you don’t have to necessarily drive ALL of your own traffic.
Let's unpack all of that and talk about it more in depth.
- The main reason for starting on Etsy is the fact that you don’t have to drive all of your own traffic. Basically Etsy is a marketplace where people go to shop. This is your chance to be seen. Everyone knows what Etsy is and the people that are browsing are there to buy something. You already have an audience, the semi-difficult part is getting your product to be seen! TIP: If you are selling a product that is popular and a lot of other people sell as well, it may benefit you to spend a few dollars a day on advertising. Let me explain… Etsy is a marketplace where people go to shop. For example, if I want to shop for a sunflower shirt, and I search “sunflower shirt” in the Etsy search bar, I get 49,826 listings that pop up. If you just uploaded your listing, you may be on the VERY last page of all of these options. No one is going to scroll through almost 50,000 listings. By paying for advertising, Etsy will boost your listing up to the first couple pages. This gives you a major advantage of being seen!
- Creating an Etsy shop is SO simple. You can create your storefront in a matter of minutes! The simplicity of creating a shop is great at first, but it is very uniform and lacks customizability. Due to the fact that it is beginner friendly, I definitely recommend starting out with building your Etsy shop!
- In the beginning, selling on Etsy may look cheaper, but in the long run (if you are getting consistent orders, Shopify will be cheaper). Etsy takes a percentage of your profits and charges 20 cents per listing, vs Shopify who charges a flat fee of $29.99 per month. If you are wanting to get your feet wet and see if you like selling things online, you can list a product for 20 cents on Etsy rather than spending the $29.99 for a Shopify account.
To wrap that up, starting on Etsy is a great choice and I think it would benefit you way more than creating a Shopify account from the get-go. Also, if you decide the e-commerce life isn’t for you, you can suspend your Etsy account and you’d only be out a couple of cents and a few minutes of time! Now let’s talk about Shopify…
Selling on Shopify:
You have now created social media accounts for your business, you are gaining followers and a customer base. Now it’s time to take your shop to the next level! My suggestion is once you have created a customer base and attracted an audience, it's time to start thinking about opening that Shopify site.
Personally, I like Shopify better than Etsy because of the total freedom you have to build your brand. It also comes with cool features and detailed analytics to help make your shop even better!
The reason I don’t believe that starting out in Shopify is that great is because it is a HUGE learning curve. I spent months researching YouTube videos on how to build my shop. Once you get over this curve, Shopify will be the best thing that’s ever happened to you. There are so many templates and ways to customize your store. It also looks a lot more professional than an Etsy page. If you are making multiple orders a month, it actually works out to be cheaper to pay the $29.99 a month vs giving up a percentage of your profits like on Etsy.
One thing to remember about building a Shopify site is that you are driving ALL your own traffic, whether that is through social media or off-site ads, it is now all on you to get customers to your site. You are no longer part of a marketplace, you are solo! This is where social media becomes very beneficial… Did you know that all of my sales are from social media? I have never paid for an off-site ad!
In conclusion, Shopify is AMAZING once you are a little bit more experienced. It is more difficult to set up and takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to gain a customer base. As I said, once you gain that audience, you are golden!
Using Both Etsy and Shopify!?
Now a lot of the time people talk about either selling on Etsy OR Shopify, but why not both? Doesn’t it make sense to have your products listed on two different platforms to get double exposure? ABSOLUTELY! Just because you transfer to Shopify doesn’t mean you have to ditch Etsy! The biggest issue with this is tracking inventory. If you have a Shopify and Etsy and someone for example orders from Shopify, your Etsy inventory would not be adjusted. This could lead to a discrepancy in your stock and lead to overselling. Before you get discouraged, we can thank Shopify for creating an app to integrate both your Shopify store AND your Etsy shop!
How to Integrate your Etsy and Shopify:
To do this, you will need a Shopify store and an Etsy shop. Go to the apps on Shopify and download the application called “Shuttle”. You will need to purchase a subscription. The plans are anywhere between $5 and $15 depending on your needs. Once you select the plan that is right for you, the app will walk you through how to connect your Etsy with your Shopify. Once integrated, stock quantities are adjusted on BOTH Etsy and Shopify when an order is placed! How cool is this? I have tried multiple integration apps with no luck, but Shuttle has been nothing but amazing! Very user friendly, budget-friendly, and more importantly extremely useful!
What are the takeaways? Etsy Etsy Etsy for beginners! Once you are feeling more confident and ready to create a Shopify store, DO IT! Now once you have created that Shopify account, you don’t need to neglect or shut down your Etsy shop too! The app Shuttle can help with integration so that you can have two platforms showing off those beautiful products! As always, this is just based on my personal experience. If you want to start out with a Shopify store first, go for it! You got this!