Shopify vs Etsy: Which Is Better for Small Online Business?

Shopify vs Etsy: Which Is Better for Small Online Business?

You may have the idea of starting your online store since the pandemic and quarantine have restricted people’s life, and it’s safer and more convenient for people to shop online getting daily stuff. Therefore, it’s quite a profitable business opportunity for online businesses now.

To be a small business owner in e-commerce sales, you should know from where to sell your products first. Online sure, but do you want to have your own domain name and website with Shopify or just need to sell in a marketplace like Etsy? Here you see, Shopify is an e-commerce platform where you start your business alone with your own store, while Etsy is a marketplace where you will compete with a large number of sellers.

Now you might get confused about the two, wondering: “OMG, I don’t know which one to choose, I barely know the two.” The Shopify and Etsy solutions have their own features and are worth the time and money.

Keep reading and get your answer!

Shopify vs Etsy: Know the Basics

Before we jump into the comparison of Shopify and Etsy, let’s have an overview and get to know their basics.


Founded in Canada in 2006, Shopify has grown and developed into one of the most popular e-commerce platforms. Shopify is a fully hosted solution that lets you open your own online store to get up and running smoothly.

Shopify Main Page - DSers
Source: Shopify

It provides all the functions necessary to manage the store and build your brand. In addition, it offers integration with analytical reporting tools to help you effectively manage your business performance and dropshipping apps to help you with your order fulfillment. You control your website, but you need a solid marketing strategy to attract customers.


Etsy is an American e-commerce company specializing in handmade or vintage items and craft supplies. Unlike Shopify, it’s an online marketplace that connects sellers and buyers. Etsy, has been a hugely popular marketplace since its launch in 2005. Just like Amazon and eBay, you'll sign up for an account to create boxes to display products. It has a built-in customer base, and you have to operate within Etsy's platform and its rules.

Etsy Main Page - DSers
Source: Etsy

Etsy is the undisputed leader in the craft market. Handmade items are inherently unique, so you can bet there will be a market for your craft. One thing must be clear: Etsy is specifically designed for artisans and craft creators, as well as those who sell vintages. So if you're not one of them, then Etsy probably isn't for you. In that case, you should check out some Etsy alternatives worth exploring.

Shopify vs Etsy: Online Store Platform or Marketplace

Now that you're familiar with the basics of each platform, let's learn more about their unique features.

Shopify Features Introduction

As one of the most powerful e-commerce platforms available to small business owners, Shopify is loaded with features that help you build, manage, and market digital storefronts from the ground up.

You can choose from over 70 professionally designed templates to build and customize your site using the domain name.

When your store is up and running, you can take advantage of Shopify's extensive store management capabilities: saving customers' personal and billing information, integrating with dropshipping apps like DSers, completing orders with one click, connecting to AliExpress or other platforms, accessing powerful performance analytic tools, and more.

Shopify also comes with powerful CRM and marketing tools such as built-in SEO skills, integration with all of your social media profiles, blogging, and the ability to offer discounts and gift cards to your customers.

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Get Started Now to Grow Your Online Business with the Best AliExpress Dropshipping Tool - DSers!


Etsy Features Introduction

While Shopify allows you to build your own standalone store, Etsy is its own platform, aggregating sellers to its site. Originally, the platform was established as a marketplace for artists, creators, and sellers to sell their handmade and vintage items.

💡 Note: Etsy is not the right choice for re-sellers, as the platform is a hub for unique, original merchandise.

However, Etsy is a great choice for very small businesses or businesses that aren't ready now to put in the sweat to set up, manage, and accept payments through a mature online store, because it's so easy to open an Etsy store and start selling through Etsy's built-in metrics.

You can manage Etsy lists and orders, communicate with buyers, and buy and print postage through an online dashboard. Etsy users can only accept payments through Etsy Payments. This internal payment processor accepts all major payment methods, including credit and debit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.

One of Etsy's main attractions for business owners is the ability to tap into the platform's large existing customer base (there were nearly 39.45 million buyers in 2018), so you'll have less work to do in attracting customers.

Shopify vs Etsy: Pros & Cons

Now that you know the major features and differences between Shopify and Etsy, let's take a quick overview of the pros and cons.



Ideal for large stores: Shopify's powerful back-end editor and impressive inventory system make it an ideal choice for managing and expanding large stores.

Multi-platform sales: It sells across multiple channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and eBay.

Excellent design: Choose from many free and paid templates, or if you can't find a match, make your own from scratch.

More than 3,000 apps: Shopify has an incredible library of applications and third-party extensions that can help you take your store to the next level.

A wide range of payment options: Shopify supports more than 100 payment methods and offers its own gateway, Shopify Payments.


More expensive than it looks: Transaction fees, combined with the need for additional apps, can increase your store's monthly operating costs.



Collaborative communities: From the start, Etsy wanted to focus on the community of sellers. Sellers freely share their tips and experiences with each other so that everyone can find their way to success.

Easy to use: You just need to set up an account, upload your products, pictures, and product information, and start selling.

Large audience: As of 2021, Etsy has more than 81.9 million buyers, making it a great place for entrepreneurs to sell their wares.


Limited Product: Etsy has rules about what can and can't be sold. Obviously, they tend to favor niche merchandise and handmade, retro, and unique products. So if you want to expand and sell beyond this range, you may not be able to do so.

Uncontrollable of your store: It's often the platform, not the seller, that has the final say on what happens in the store. The platform can shut down stores immediately if they wish, without warning if a violation is deemed to have occurred.

Pro Tips: DSers for Better Shopify Store

If you would like to sell online, having the ability to create or handcrafting attractive things will make Etsy good for you. But with Etsy, inventory and stock are needed in case of increasing orders or “emergency”.

You notice now that if you want to start your own business from scratch, then dropshipping with a store on Shopify could really help to reduce risks and avoid losses. No inventory, no stock, not even getting handling the products, and you will still be able to fulfill an order.

We mentioned before that one of Shopify’s advantages is that there are over 3,000 apps on it for users to manage their store and orders. Amongst them, DSers is one of the best dropshipping apps for sellers. With its Supplier Optimizer and Bulk Order and a lot more valued features, the process of order fulfillment will be way easier than you could think for an online seller novice like you.

DSers dropshipping

Get Started Now to Grow Your Online Business with the Best AliExpress Dropshipping Tool - DSers!


It goes without saying that when we compare Shopify to Etsy, the former is definitely a better choice for those who want to start from real zero.

In addition, if you want to expand your Shopify dropshipping business, then just choose DSers. It is Shopify top ranking app and the official AliExpress dropshipping tool that has been used by thousands of businesses and will certainly help you stay ahead of the game with its automation options.

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