Is Shopify Or Etsy Better? Can You Start Shopify With No Money?

When it comes to selling products online, entrepreneurs are presented with a multitude of options. Two popular platforms that often come up in discussions are Shopify and Etsy. Both platforms offer unique features and cater to different types of sellers. In this article, we will delve into the key aspects of each platform to help you determine which one is better suited for your business.

What Does Shopify Do?

Shopify is an e-commerce platform that provides a range of tools and services to help entrepreneurs and businesses set up and manage their online stores. Here are some of the key functionalities and features of Shopify:

Store Creation: Shopify allows users to create their own customizable online stores without the need for extensive coding or technical expertise. It provides a user-friendly interface and a variety of professionally designed themes and templates that can be tailored to match the brand and desired aesthetic.

Product Management: Users can easily add and manage products within their Shopify stores. The platform offers features to organize products into categories, set prices, manage inventory levels, and define product variants (e.g., size, color).

Payment Processing: Shopify integrates with various payment gateways, enabling sellers to securely accept payments from customers using different methods, including credit cards, digital wallets, and alternative payment options. The platform handles payment processing and ensures secure transactions.

Order Management: Shopify provides tools to efficiently manage and fulfill customer orders. Sellers can track order status, print packing slips and shipping labels, and handle returns or exchanges. It also integrates with shipping carriers to streamline the shipping process.

Shopping Cart Functionality: Shopify includes a built-in shopping cart feature that allows customers to add products to their cart, review their order details, and proceed to checkout. The shopping cart seamlessly integrates with the overall website design and provides a smooth purchasing experience for customers.

Mobile Responsiveness: With the increasing use of mobile devices for online shopping, Shopify ensures that stores are mobile-friendly and responsive. The platform optimizes the store's design and layout for different screen sizes, providing a consistent and user-friendly experience across devices.

What Does Etsy Do?

Etsy is an online marketplace that focuses on providing a platform for artisans, crafters, and sellers of unique, handmade, vintage, and personalized products. It is designed to connect buyers looking for one-of-a-kind items with independent sellers who specialize in creating or curating such products. Here are some key aspects of what Etsy does:

Unique Product Marketplace: Etsy serves as a global marketplace where sellers can showcase and sell their handmade crafts, vintage items, art, jewelry, clothing, home decor, and other unique goods. It caters to buyers who appreciate the creativity, craftsmanship, and individuality of these products.

Seller Community: Etsy fosters a community of independent sellers and artisans, providing them with a platform to connect, collaborate, and share their experiences. Sellers can learn from each other, seek advice, and participate in forums and discussions on various topics related to selling and creative entrepreneurship.

Shop Creation: Etsy allows sellers to create their own online shops within the marketplace. Sellers can customize their shop's appearance, upload product photos and descriptions, set prices, and manage inventory. Each shop has a unique URL that buyers can visit to explore and purchase products.

Handmade and Vintage Focus: Etsy emphasizes the importance of handmade and vintage products. Sellers are expected to meet certain criteria to ensure that their items are genuinely handmade, vintage, or curated with a vintage aesthetic. This emphasis sets Etsy apart as a marketplace for unique and often one-of-a-kind goods.

Product Discovery: Etsy provides tools and features to help buyers discover products that match their interests. The platform offers search filters, personalized recommendations, curated collections, and trending product categories to make it easier for buyers to find what they are looking for.

Secure Transactions: Etsy facilitates secure transactions between buyers and sellers. It offers various payment options, including credit cards, PayPal, and Etsy's own payment system called "Etsy Payments." Transactions are processed through the platform, providing a layer of security and protection for both parties involved.

Is Shopify or Etsy Greater?

We'll talk about the most important parts of each platform so you can decide which one is best for your business.

Target Audience and Product Range

One of the fundamental differences between Shopify and Etsy lies in their target audience and the type of products they support. Shopify is a comprehensive e-commerce platform that caters to businesses of all sizes and industries. It empowers entrepreneurs to create and customize their online stores, offering a wide range of features and functionalities. In In contrast, Etsy is a marketplace specifically designed for artisans, craftsmen, and sellers of Handmade, vintage, or unique products. It provides a platform for creative individuals to showcase their crafts to a niche audience.

Store Customization and Branding

Shopify stands out when it comes to customization options and branding capabilities. It offers a vast selection of professionally designed themes and templates, allowing sellers to create visually appealing and fully customizable online stores. With Shopify, you have complete control over the look and feel of your website, enabling you to build a unique brand identity. On the other hand, Etsy provides a more standardized approach to store design, limiting customization options to some extent. While sellers can personalize their shop banners and product listings, the overall store layout remains consistent across the platform.

Cost and Pricing Structure

Shopify operates on a subscription-based model, offering different pricing tiers based on the seller's requirements. The plans range from basic to advanced, with varying features and transaction fees. Although the monthly fees can add up, especially for small businesses, Shopify provides a robust set of tools and resources to justify the investment. Etsy, on the other hand, follows a listing fee and transaction fee structure. Sellers pay a small fee to list each product and incur a percentage-based transaction fee on each sale. This pricing model is more suitable for individuals with a limited product range or occasional sellers.

Marketing and Promotion

When it comes to marketing and promoting your products, Shopify offers a broader range of tools and integrations. It provides built-in SEO features, social media integrations, email marketing capabilities, and the ability to run paid advertising campaigns. Shopify empowers sellers to optimize their online stores for search engines and leverage various marketing channels to reach their target audience effectively. Etsy, on the other hand, focuses on driving traffic within its marketplace. It offers limited external marketing options but provides built-in features to enhance product discoverability within the platform.

Customer Base and Reach

Both Shopify and Etsy have their own customer bases and reach. Shopify allows sellers to tap into a global audience and provides features to sell internationally. With Shopify, you have the flexibility to reach customers beyond the platform and sell through various channels like social media, marketplaces, and physical retail. Etsy, on the other hand, offers a built-in customer base that actively seeks unique, handmade, and vintage products. By joining Etsy, sellers gain access to a targeted audience passionate about supporting independent artisans.

Can You Start Shopify With No Money?

Starting a Shopify store without any upfront money may be challenging, but it is possible to get started with minimal costs.

Free Trial: Shopify offers a 14-day free trial to new users. This trial period allows you to set up your store, explore the platform's features, and start adding products without any upfront cost.

Choose a Free Theme: Shopify provides a selection of free themes that you can use to design your store. While premium themes offer additional customization options, the free themes can still provide a professional look for your store without any cost.

Use Free Apps: Shopify's App Store includes both free and paid apps to enhance your store's functionality. In the beginning, you can rely on free apps to add essential features like social media integration, email marketing, and SEO optimization.

Dropshipping: Instead of stocking and managing your own inventory, you can consider drop shipping. With drop shipping, you partner with suppliers who handle the fulfillment and shipping of products directly to customers. This eliminates the need for upfront inventory costs.

Start with Print-on-Demand: Another option is to start with print-on-demand products. Print-on-demand allows you to create custom designs and have them printed on various products (e.g., t-shirts, mugs) only when an order is placed. This way, you don't need to invest in inventory upfront.

Utilize Social Media: Leverage social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to promote your store and products. Create engaging content, share product photos, and interact with potential customers without spending money on advertising.


The choice between Shopify and Etsy depends on the nature of your business, your goals, and your target audience. If you are looking for complete control over your online store, extensive customization options, and the ability to scale your business across multiple channels, Shopify is the better choice. On the other hand, if you specialize in handmade, vintage, or unique products and prefer a platform that provides a ready-made customer base, Etsy is the ideal platform for you. Assess your specific needs and consider the pros and cons outlined in this article to make an informed decision that aligns with your business objectives.At Printerval, we believe in the power of self-expression. Our platform allows you to unleash your creativity and design custom products that reflect your individuality.Are you ready to embark on a creative journey with Printerval? Visit our website and explore our wide range of customizable products.