Share This Post, Help Others, and Earn Credits!

The internet is buzzing with talk about the best ecommerce platforms, and if you’re a new seller, you’ve probably heard endless debates about Etsy versus, well, just about everything else. You might have even stumbled across claims that “Etsy is dead.” These conversations can create a lot of anxiety when you’re just starting and trying to choose the best platform to build your online business.

Don’t worry! I’ve been in your shoes. I’ve personally built a seven-figure-a-year Etsy brand selling handmade products, and I’ve also grown multiple six-figure Shopify stores. What I’ve learned from this experience is that there’s no single right answer. The key is understanding how each platform’s business engine works and choosing the one that best aligns with YOUR goals and current stage in your journey.

Decoding the Shopify Engine: Your Ecommerce Website

Shopify is a powerful platform that allows you to create your own independent ecommerce website. Think of it like building a house: Shopify provides the tools and materials, and you get to design and customize it exactly the way you want.

What is Shopify?

In simple terms, Shopify is an ecommerce website builder. If you’re familiar with iPhones, think of Shopify as the iPhone of ecommerce, complete with its own “App Store.” This App Store is filled with thousands of apps and plugins that provide additional features and functionality to customize your store. Whether you want to sell physical products, digital goods, or even services, Shopify makes the process streamlined and accessible.

Pros of Owning Your Shopify Website

One of the biggest advantages of using Shopify is that you have complete ownership of your customer data. This means that when someone makes a purchase from your Shopify store, you collect their email address, shipping information, and other valuable data that you can use to build stronger relationships and encourage repeat business.

This is in stark contrast to selling on a marketplace platform like Etsy, where you’re essentially “renting” customers. Etsy controls the customer data and doesn’t readily share it with sellers, making it more challenging to foster long-term customer loyalty.

In addition to data ownership, Shopify gives you the power to build a strong, recognizable brand. You have complete control over your website’s design, branding, and messaging. You can choose from a wide range of professional-looking themes and customize them to match your brand aesthetic. You can also integrate your own logo, color schemes, and fonts to create a unique and cohesive brand experience for your customers.

The Traffic Challenge: Driving Customers to Your Shopify Store

Unlike Etsy, which has millions of shoppers actively browsing its marketplace, owning your own Shopify website means you need to generate traffic externally. You need to get people to actually find your website and discover your products.

Two Primary Strategies for Driving Traffic to Shopify:

  • 1. Organic Content (The Long Game):

This strategy involves creating compelling and engaging content on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, with the goal of attracting potential customers to your website.

Think of it like creating YouTube videos: You put a lot of time and effort into producing high-quality content, but only a few videos might actually go viral and attract a significant audience. The same applies to organic content for your Shopify store. It takes consistent effort, experimentation, and a bit of luck to find content that resonates with your target market and drives traffic.

One of the best ways to find inspiration for organic content is by analyzing what’s working for your competitors. See which of their videos are going viral and pay attention to the types of content, sounds, angles, and lighting they’re using. You can also use these insights to identify potential trends and niches within your industry.

  • 2. Paid Advertising (Media Buying):

This strategy involves paying platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube to display your ads to a targeted audience. While media buying can be a very effective way to drive traffic, it also typically comes with a higher cost-per-acquisition (CPA) than platforms like Etsy or Amazon. This is because the traffic you get from paid ads is often “colder,” meaning that people haven’t specifically chosen to shop for your products yet.

While video ads are currently performing very well, some product niches might still benefit from static image ads. The key is to experiment with different ad formats and targeting options to find what works best for your specific products and audience.

Financial Considerations: The Cost of Running a Shopify Store

Running a Shopify store requires consistent financial investment. You’ll need to pay a monthly subscription fee, ranging from $29 to $39 per month, for a basic ecommerce plan, even if you’re not making any sales yet. On top of the subscription fee, you’ll also be charged payment processing fees, typically around 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.

This can make Shopify a bit more challenging for beginners with limited budgets, unless you’re able to achieve early viral success with your organic content. However, if you’re already making consistent sales and have a steady revenue stream, the monthly subscription fee can become more manageable.

Navigating the Etsy Engine: Ecommerce for Beginners

Etsy is known for its low barrier to entry, making it a popular choice for new ecommerce entrepreneurs. Setting up an Etsy shop is relatively straightforward and much cheaper to start than building your own Shopify website.

Etsy: Ecommerce for Beginners

If Shopify is like building a house from scratch, then Etsy is like moving into a fully furnished apartment. It provides a ready-made platform with built-in traffic and a customer base already interested in handmade and unique products. This makes Etsy a great “training ground” for new sellers to learn the fundamentals of ecommerce without having to invest heavily upfront.

Benefits of Starting with Etsy:

  • Lower Costs: You can create a basic Etsy account for free. You only pay listing fees ($0.20 per listing) when you upload new products and transaction fees (6.5% of the sale price + payment processing fees) when you actually make a sale. This is significantly cheaper than Shopify’s monthly subscription model, especially when you’re starting out and have low sales volume.
  • Learning Curve: Etsy’s simpler interface and straightforward selling process make it easier for beginners to get comfortable with handling transactions, managing orders, fulfilling products, and providing customer service. This valuable experience helps you learn the ropes of ecommerce without the added pressure of managing a website and driving your own traffic.
  • Transferable Skills: Many of the skills you develop while selling on Etsy, such as product photography, writing compelling descriptions, and understanding your target audience, directly apply to running a successful Shopify store later on. You’ll gain valuable insights into product development, marketing strategies, and customer preferences that you can leverage when you’re ready to expand to your own platform.

Understanding Etsy Fees: Pricing Your Products for Profitability

While Etsy’s fees are often a point of contention for sellers, it’s important to understand that they are relatively low compared to other platforms, especially when you factor in wholesale marketplaces.

One of the most common pitfalls for new Etsy sellers is failing to price their products properly to account for all costs and fees. This can lead to extremely low profit margins, making it difficult to sustain your business in the long run.

Pricing Strategy is Crucial:

Here’s a simple breakdown of how to calculate your prices for profitability:

Handmade Products:

  1. Calculate Total Costs: Add up all your costs, including materials, labor (your time!), packaging, and any other expenses.
  2. Determine Wholesale Price: Multiply your total costs by 2.2. This is the price you would charge wholesalers if you were selling in bulk.
  3. Set Retail Price: Multiply your wholesale price by 2. This is the price you will charge individual customers on Etsy.

Print-on-Demand Products:

Pricing print-on-demand products is a bit different since you’re paying for the convenience of having someone else handle production, inventory, and fulfillment. However, the basic principle of factoring in all your costs still applies.

  1. Calculate Base Cost: Add up the production cost of the product (from your print-on-demand provider) plus your Etsy listing fee ($0.20).
  2. Factor in Profit Margin: Determine the profit margin you want to achieve, taking into account Etsy transaction fees (6.5% + payment processing) and your desired take-home profit.
  3. Set Retail Price: Add your desired profit margin to the base cost.

Remember that not all print-on-demand products will yield the same profit margin. Products like stickers and mugs typically have lower profit margins due to lower base prices, while items like canvas prints, apparel, and home decor often have higher margins. Consider this when choosing your product offerings to maximize your profitability.

Addressing the Concerns About Selling on Etsy:

  • 1. Lack of Control: One of the biggest anxieties for Etsy sellers is the lack of control over their shop. Etsy has the power to suspend or even permanently close shops that violate their policies or terms of service. They also have the right to change their algorithms, which can significantly impact a shop’s visibility and sales.
    • While this is a valid concern, it’s important to understand that this is the reality of selling on ANY marketplace platform. Amazon, eBay, and other marketplaces have similar policies and procedures in place. If you follow Etsy’s guidelines, create original products, and provide excellent customer service, you can significantly reduce the risk of facing these issues.
  • 2. Scalability Limits: Another concern for some sellers is Etsy’s limited scalability. There’s a cap on how much you can spend on Etsy Ads ($1,000 per day). This can become a limiting factor for high-volume sellers who want to significantly scale their businesses.
    • One strategy to overcome this limitation on Etsy is to diversify your product offerings. Instead of focusing on a single product line, create several distinct collections, each targeting different customer segments and keywords. This allows you to tap into new markets within Etsy’s marketplace and potentially reach a wider audience.

Who Should Choose Etsy?

If you’re a brand new seller with no existing audience or experience, Etsy is an excellent place to start. It provides a low-risk, low-cost platform to test your product ideas, learn the fundamentals of ecommerce, and validate your business model before investing heavily in your own website.

My Approach: From Etsy Validation to Shopify Empire

My personal approach to building ecommerce brands involves starting on Etsy to gain initial traction and validate my product ideas. Once my Etsy shop is running efficiently and generating consistent sales, I transition to Shopify, leveraging the data and insights I’ve gained from my Etsy experience.

Why Not Start with Both Etsy and Shopify at the Same Time?

While it’s tempting to dive into both platforms simultaneously, I don’t recommend this approach for new sellers. Managing both an Etsy shop and your own Shopify website requires juggling two very distinct business models, each with its own set of strategies, requirements, and challenges. It’s like trying to learn two different languages at the same time—it can be overwhelming and hinder your progress in both.

It’s much more effective to focus on mastering one platform first and then expand to the other once you’ve established a solid foundation. Think of it as building a bridge: Etsy serves as the initial bridge to help you cross the river into the world of ecommerce, and then Shopify becomes the platform to build your own, more sustainable empire on the other side.

Building Long-Term Success with Etsy and Shopify

Here’s a breakdown of how to leverage both platforms to achieve long-term ecommerce success:

  • The Etsy-to-Shopify Bridge: Etsy’s low-cost platform allows you to experiment with different products and designs, identify your bestsellers, and gain valuable insights into your target audience. This data becomes incredibly valuable when you transition to Shopify. You can use it to inform your product selection, create targeted marketing campaigns, and develop a brand that resonates with your ideal customers.
  • Creating a Content Engine for Shopify: Once you’re generating consistent revenue on Etsy, you can start reinvesting those earnings into building a content engine for your Shopify store. Focus on producing high-quality video content around your best-selling Etsy products, showcasing their features, benefits, and uses. Share this content on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube to attract new customers to your Shopify website.
  • From Etsy Shop to Household Brand: Shopify gives you the tools to build a truly recognizable brand. You’ll have complete control over your website’s design, messaging, and customer experience. You can build your email list, foster stronger customer relationships, and develop a brand identity that extends beyond the confines of a marketplace platform.

Which Platform Will Ignite Your Ecommerce Success?

The ultimate decision of whether to start with Etsy or Shopify comes down to your individual needs, goals, and current resources. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, and both platforms can be incredibly powerful tools for building successful ecommerce businesses.

Etsy: The Ideal Launching Pad for…

  • Brand New Sellers: If you’re completely new to ecommerce and have no existing audience or sales history, Etsy provides a low-risk, low-cost way to test the waters.
  • Sellers with Limited Budgets: Etsy’s transaction-based fee structure makes it more budget-friendly for beginners, as you only pay fees when you make a sale.
  • Product Idea Validation: Etsy is a great platform to experiment with different product ideas, refine your designs, and see what resonates with your target market.

Shopify: The Foundation for Building Your Ecommerce Empire…

  • Established Sellers: If you’re already generating consistent sales and have a loyal customer base, you might be ready to level up your business with Shopify.
  • Brand Builders: Shopify gives you complete control over your brand, allowing you to create a unique and recognizable identity.
  • Long-Term Visionaries: If you’re thinking long-term and want to build a sustainable business that you fully own and control, Shopify is the better choice.

Dispelling Etsy Myths and Negativity:

It’s essential to approach the Etsy vs. Shopify decision with a clear and informed perspective. While there’s a lot of negativity surrounding Etsy online, much of it stems from misunderstandings or experiences unique to specific individuals.

Remember These Key Points:

  • Fees are Relative: Etsy fees are competitive compared to other platforms. Focus on pricing your products strategically to ensure profitability.
  • Suspensions Happen Everywhere: Shop suspensions are a reality on ALL marketplaces, including Amazon and eBay. Following Etsy’s policies minimizes your risk.
  • Success on Etsy is Possible: Thousands of legitimate sellers are thriving on Etsy. Don’t let negativity overshadow the potential for success.

FAQs About Etsy and Shopify

Q: Can I start selling on both Etsy and Shopify simultaneously?

A: Yes, it’s definitely possible to run both an Etsy shop and a Shopify store. However, be prepared to manage two separate business models, which can be challenging for beginners. It’s usually recommended to focus on mastering one platform first and then expand to the other once you have a solid foundation.

Q: Are Etsy fees really that high?

A: Etsy fees are actually quite competitive compared to other platforms, especially when you factor in the cost of running your own website or selling on wholesale marketplaces. The fees themselves are not usually the biggest factor determining profitability. Your pricing strategy and product selection play a much bigger role.

Q: Why do some Etsy shops get suspended?

A: Etsy, like all marketplaces, has policies and guidelines that sellers must adhere to. Shops can be suspended for various reasons, such as copyright infringement, trademark violations, selling prohibited items, or engaging in unethical business practices. Following Etsy’s rules and maintaining good communication with their support team can help you avoid these issues.

Q: Is it really that hard to drive traffic to my own Shopify website?

A: Building an audience and driving traffic to your own website takes consistent effort and a strategic approach. It’s not as simple as setting up a shop and waiting for customers to find you. However, Shopify provides various tools and integrations to support your marketing efforts, including SEO optimization, email marketing, social media marketing, and paid advertising.

Conclusion:

The beauty of running your own business is that YOU get to choose the path that best aligns with your vision and goals. Whether you start with Etsy, Shopify, or even a combination of both, success ultimately comes down to your dedication, effort, and willingness to learn and adapt.

Don’t be afraid to experiment, learn from your mistakes, and build a business that you’re truly passionate about.

Try these free tools by Topbubbleindex

If you're looking to get started with print-on-demand, Topbubbleindex is the perfect place to begin. We offer all the digital marketing tools you need to be successful, and we're committed to keeping them free forever. Below, you'll find a few of the free tools we offer to help you get ahead of the competition and make sales easily.

And still counting! If you're still not impressed, try the Topbubbleindex tools for free. Don't hesitate to contact us for suggestions, complaints, or just feedback. We are always working on to keep the Topbubbleindex better.

Related Articles

What is Instagram Shopping? Instagram Shopping is a powerful feature allowing businesses to create a seamless shopping experience within the app. You can tag products directly in your posts, Stories, Reels, and even livestreams. Customers can tap on the tags to view product details and prices, and then click through to purchase on your Etsy shop. Adding Etsy Products to Facebook & Instagram Shop: Connect your Etsy shop to Facebook: ...


Understanding Redbubble What is Redbubble? Redbubble is an online marketplace that empowers independent artists to sell their work on a vast range of print-on-demand products. The beauty of this model lies in its simplicity: you, the artist, upload your designs, and Redbubble takes care of the rest—production, fulfillment, shipping, customer service, and even payment processing. Redbubble boasts a global community of over 800,000 artists, connecting them with millions of customers worldwide. This offers immense potential for exposure and reaching a wide audience, but...


What is a Visa gift card? A Visa gift card is a prepaid card that can be used to make purchases anywhere that accepts Visa. It's a great option for gifting, budgeting or if you simply don't want to use your credit or debit card. ...


Understanding Redbubble: How It Works Before we delve into the specifics, let’s take a look at the foundation of Redbubble’s success: the print-on-demand business model. Essentially, POD allows you to sell products without holding any physical stock. When a customer places an order on Redbubble, the company prints your design on the chosen product, packages it, and ships it directly to the buyer. You, as the artist, only need to focus on creating amazing designs and uploading them to the platform. Redbubble...


Etsy's Shipping Prices ExplainedEtsy has been known to be one of the most expensive places to shop for handmade goods. A lot of people are wondering why shipping is so expensive on Etsy. Shipping costs on Etsy are calculated based on the weight of the item, the shipping destination, and the shipping method. Etsy also offers insurance for items that are lost or damaged in transit. Shipping costs are automatically calculated by Etsy when a listing is created. Some sellers...


I. Understanding Your Product and Sourcing Method Before diving into the intricacies of Instagram vs. Etsy, it’s crucial to take stock of your business fundamentals. A clear understanding of your target audience, product type, and sourcing method will pave the way for making a strategic platform choice. Define your target audience Who are you trying to reach? What are their demographics (age, gender, location)? What are their interests, passions, and needs? Understanding your ideal customer is the cornerstone of effective marketing and product...


What is Redbubble? Redbubble is an online marketplace that allows independent artists to showcase and sell their artwork on a variety of print-on-demand products. It operates on a simple yet powerful premise: artists upload their designs, and Redbubble handles the rest, from printing and production to order fulfillment, shipping, customer service, and payment processing. This allows artists to focus on their creative work, leaving the logistical headaches to Redbubble. Founded in 2006, Redbubble has experienced remarkable growth, evolving from a small startup...


How trends tool can help you sell more on Redbubble The Topbubbleindex Redbuble Trends tool can help you sell more on Redbubble by showing you what designs are popular and in demand. You can use this information to create new designs or adapt existing ones to ...


I. Understanding the Key Differences: Depop vs. Etsy While both Depop and Etsy operate as online marketplaces, they differ significantly in terms of their target audience, product focus, fee structure, and overall selling experience. Understanding these nuances is essential for choosing the platform that best aligns with your business goals. Target Audience Depop: Picture a bustling online community where fashion-forward Gen Z and millennials reign supreme. Depop thrives on its youthful and trendy vibe, attracting a digitally savvy demographic that embraces secondhand fashion...


1. Understanding the Landscape of Etsy Scams Etsy’s success has, unfortunately, made it an appealing target for scammers. The platform boasts a massive user base of both buyers and sellers, many of whom are drawn to the allure of handmade, unique goods. This inherent trust in handcrafted items, combined with the potential for less tech-savvy users on a creative platform, creates an environment that scammers can exploit. Moreover, scammers prey on human emotions. They know that buyers are excited to find deals...


Top and best 20 Etsy jewelry shops 1. EVREN It is a British Columbia brand that has been on the Esty since 2016. ith this shop, you will get impressive, minimalistic, and...


Understanding the Business License Landscape Before diving into the specifics of Etsy, let’s first define what a business license is and why it matters for entrepreneurs. What is a Business License? In essence, a business license is an official document issued by a government authority that grants you permission to operate your business legally. It’s like a stamp of approval, confirming that you’re following the rules and regulations set forth for businesses in your area. Depending on the type of business you’re running...


Best Redbubble Tools Redbubble Trends Finder Discover the hottest trends, hottest selling items, and best-selling items on Redbubble! Search by keyword, by...


What are the requirements FOR Etsy payout? IN ORDER TO receive payment FROM Etsy, you must FIRST meet the requirements FOR Etsy payout. TO be eligible FOR Etsy payout, you must: ...


As a buyer, will you receive a refund? If you are a buyer on Etsy, there is a chance that you may be scammed. This can happen if you buy an item that is not as described, or if the seller does not send the item. If you are scammed on Etsy, you may be ...


Why sell food on Etsy? Etsy is a great marketplace for food producers for a few reasons. First, Etsy has a large audience of potential buyers - over 35 million active buyers worldwide. This means ...


The two most popular ecommerce platforms for artists and makersThere are a ton of ecommerce platforms out there, but when it comes to selling handmade goods, there are really only two that stand out: Big Cartel and Etsy. Both platforms have their pros and cons, so it's important to choose the one that's right for your business. In this article, we'll compare Big Cartel vs Etsy, and help you decide which platform is right for you.The similarities and differences between...


When you're first starting out selling online, it can be tough to decide which platform is right for you. Etsy and Amazon are both popular options, but they have very different features and benefits. In this article, we'll compare Etsy and Amazon,...


Views vs Visits: Which is More Important for Etsy Sellers?When you're running an Etsy shop, it's important to track your analytics so you can see what's working and what's not. Two key metrics you'll want to pay attention to are views and visits. But what's the difference between the two, and which one is more important for Etsy sellers? Read on to find out.Introduction: What are views and visits, and how are they measured on Etsy?Views and visits are both...


Step By Step Guide On How To Leave A Review On Etsy A review, also known as feedback, lets Etsy sellers know what some of their customers think of their products. If you have received something fabulous from an Etsy seller and want to...


How much does Etsy charge for shipping? Etsy has a few different shipping options available, and the price you pay will depend on the shipping method that you choose. The first option is First Class Mail, which is the cheapest option available. First Class Mail...


Understanding Etsy vs. Pinterest Etsy and Pinterest are distinct platforms, each with its strengths and limitations. Understanding their unique characteristics will help you leverage their combined potential for Etsy marketing success. Etsy: Definition: Etsy is an online marketplace where buyers and sellers connect to trade handcrafted, vintage, and unique items. It’s a community-driven platform, with a strong emphasis on creativity and craftsmanship. Strengths: Community Focus: Etsy fosters a sense of community, with buyers and sellers sharing their passion for unique items. Unique Products: Etsy offers a...


Top 30 digital products to sell on Etsy 1. eBooks Selling eBooks is a great way to make money on Etsy. You can sell eBooks on any topic, from how-to guides to ...


What is Etsy? Etsy is an ecommerce platform that's focused on selling handmade, vintage, or supplies for creative businesses. Etsy is similar to other ecommerce platforms like Shopify or Amazon, but it has a few key differences. ...


Best Etsy Tools For Sellers Etsy Trends Finder Searching for keywords that people are searching for that match your product or service can be an effective way to get your product or service on the...


How To Cancel Etsy Order As A Buyer If you need to cancel an Etsy order, you can do so through the Etsy website or app. The process is simple and takes just a few minutes to complete. There are a few reasons why you might need to cancel an Etsy ...


Ebay: the good, the bad, and the ugly eBay is the world's largest online marketplace, where you can buy and sell just about anything. The good news is that there are millions of potential buyers on eBay. The bad news is that there are also millions ...


Etsy Alternatives for Crafty EntrepreneursEtsy isn't the only place to sell handmade and vintage items online. If you're looking for other sites like Etsy to sell your products on, here are 6 great alternatives.ArtFireAbout ArtFire: ArtFire is a marketplace where you can sell handmade goods, vintage items, and craft supplies. ArtFire has been around since 2008 and has a community of over 1 million members.ArtFire Pros:No listing feesYou can offer coupons and discountsA variety of membership plans to choose fromDetailed...


Why you might want to have more than one Etsy shop There are a few reasons why you might want to have more than one Etsy shop. Perhaps you want to specialize ...


What Is Etsy? Etsy is an online marketplace that's more on the customer-to-customer (C2C) or peer-to-peer (P2P) e-commerce side, according to Statista. Etsy started in 2005 and had an exciting...


Which one is right for you? Etsy is a great platform for businesses that sell handmade, vintage, or unique items. If your products fit into one of these categories, then Etsy is likely a good fit for you. Squarespace is a good option...


Why you might want to close your Etsy shop There are a number of reasons why you might want to close your Etsy shop. Maybe you're not selling as much as you'd like, or you need to take a break for personal reasons....


Exporting Your Etsy Listings Before embarking on your Shopify journey, you need to retrieve your existing product listings from Etsy. Fortunately, Etsy provides a straightforward method for exporting your listings as a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file, a format compatible with Shopify’s import function. Follow these steps to export your Etsy listings: Log in to your Etsy account. Go to Shop Manager > Settings > Options. This takes you to your Etsy shop’s settings page. Click on the “Download Data” tab. This tab contains various...


amazon handmade vs Etsy When it comes to handmade products, there are two e-commerce giants that come to mind: Amazon Handmade and Etsy. Both platforms offer a unique marketplace for artists and artisans to sell their wares, and both ...


What is print on demand?Print on demand is a printing technology and business process in which new copies of a book (or other document) are not printed until an order has been received. Print on demand is unlike traditional offset printing models, where copies of a book are printed long before they are bound and shipped.What are the benefits of print on demand?There are many benefits of print on demand. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that it eliminates the...