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Is Shopify Better Than Etsy?

by Arianne Foulks

September 15, 2020

If you’re wondering if Shopify is better than Etsy, just know that having your own shop that you control is quite different than renting space in an online marketplace. As the pandemic lockdown went on, I got so many emails from business owners who realized they’d been relying for too long on Etsy (or Amazon) to keep their businesses profitable. For example:

“We sell primarily on Etsy. Our Shopify site has long been neglected, and with Etsy planning to take more commission/fees, the time to act is now. Therefore, our most immediate/urgent challenge is to improve the sales venue we DO have control over, ie Shopify.”


“My business is ranked among the top 1% of Etsy sellers worldwide, and has only ever offered my product line via Etsy. I have had a Shopify site since 2015 and had a number of false starts with it and it is time to change the narrative here.”

And of course, everyone who has been relying on wholesale orders and in-person sales has started to realize how important their ecommerce website is. We are having conversations every day with brick-and-mortar owners who want to get online, and wholesale businesses that want to sell direct to consumer.

Lisa Congdon Custom Shopify Website for illustrator and artist
We set up a Shopify site for Lisa Congdon, who had previously only sold online on Etsy. Within the first month post-launch, her new site made a solid five figures in revenue. Click the image above to see what we created for her.

How to Keep Your Etsy Shop But Start Getting More Sales on Shopify

I’d love to help you get set up on Shopify! You can absolutely keep your Etsy shop, but I’d urge you to consider Etsy as a sales channel. Etsy should bring traffic to you, you shouldn’t be sending traffic to Etsy. All the customers you’ve earned through your own marketing efforts should be sent to your website (this means anyone on your newsletter or social media shouldn’t be sent to your Etsy shop).

I asked our Facebook group members to help out with a question from a new Shipshape Collective member: “I have an Etsy shop and my own website shop but I sell much much more on Etsy than on my own site. What is the best way to try to get customers to migrate onto my own website to shop?”

Here are some bits of advice from our group:

Via an insert card or sticker that I include when I ship (depends on what they order) — I invite people to subscribe to our newsletter to get 15% off their first purchase from our web site. – Gina

Strategic, effective keyword research and creating keyword-rich related content, using an email newsletter with multiple CTAs on the site to sign up for it. – Lesley

Purchasing paid search advertising on Google and social media sites depending on your niche. – Lesley

I don’t even tell people I have an Etsy shop. I use it to grab attention/customers, then redirect them to my website on all marketing materials. – Amanda

The best Etsy optin I ever saw was from Mock-up Brothers. They have a link to a free download in their thank you email. Then you give your email to get the freebie and they ask if you want to opt-in to their newsletter. Then they send discount emails to keep you coming back. Very effective! – Sara

Molly Hatch custom Shopify website for housewares designer
Artist and designer Molly Hatch saw a 400% increase in sales after moving from Etsy and setting up her own shop with Aeolidia’s help. Read about her results by clicking the image above.

I send out bi-monthly email newsletters that are very informational. I put a lot of focus on my newsletter and blog and it has paid off. Anything to make my website more resourceful will eventually divert Etsy traffic. – Alison

Last I checked, we’re allowed to send physical mail, so one year I sent a Black Friday sale postcard to my 500 top spending customers (so I wasn’t wasting effort on those that were making a one time purchase of a loss-leader). Return was low, but I imagine this strategy could work really well for businesses that attract older customers (who like traditional media) or are stationery based businesses. – Amanda

I’m still selling on Etsy, but getting ready to switch to my own e-commerce solution soon…in the meantime, I’ve been making sure that every time I direct people to shop, I send them to the “Shop” page on my own website that currently lists Etsy products but will eventually be not Etsy…that way in the future those links will go to the right place, and I’m making sure people have been to my website and are familiar with my brand more than if they went straight to Etsy. I also talk about signing up for my newsletter a lot and count on that as a primary means of communication. – Abigail

I use my Etsy as a promotional tool. My entire shop announcement section just says “Visit my website for info on new items and more!” – it’s short enough that everyone sees it when they go to my shop page, and that doesn’t violate Etsy’s policies. – Lynae

Please know that Etsy’s terms and conditions may prevent you from doing some marketing activities with what they see as their customers, so please be sure that your plan doesn’t break any of their rules. There is more discussion of what those rules may be in our full Facebook group comment thread about this. You can read the whole conversation here (request to join if you sell independently-designed products and aren’t yet a member).

June & January website redesign
June & January owner Amy told us, “the first month I paid $3400 in Etsy fees was the real moment I was like ‘WTF.’ I was driving 86% of my own traffic, and knew that we absolutely needed our own web presence. Read the story by clicking the image above.

More Resources For Growing an Etsy Business

Here are some other resources if you’re currently selling on Etsy, without having a strong shop of your own:

Shopify Fee Calculator For Etsy Sellers

We also have this great tool to help you calculate what your Shopify fees would look like, compared to what you pay on Etsy:

Etsy vs. Shopify fee calculator

Getting Set Up on Shopify

If you’re doing well on Etsy, but want to strengthen your business by having your own independent shop, we’re your team to help you make that happen! We create powerful and versatile Shopify sites for Etsy shop owners all the time. Grab our rate sheet here, so we can move towards creating a proposal for designing and developing your new Shopify site, and helping you make a plan to drive traffic to it.

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