If you’re looking to start an online handmade business, you need a good eCommerce platform. And while there are many options out there, each has its quirks, benefits, and fees that you need to consider.
So, if you are looking for the best marketplace for your goods, here is a look at some selections: Etsy vs. Shopify vs. Big Cartel vs. Storenvy vs. Tictail.
Everything hip is happening at Etsy — arguably the world’s biggest host for small handmade business owners.
Known to be simple, transparent, and secure, it boasts of automatic deposits, seller protection, and safe transactions.
- Listing fee: 20 cents, lasts for four months or until they sell
- Transaction fee: 5% of the total amount
- Etsy Payments processing fee for products: 3% + 25 cents
- Etsy fees for offsite ads: 15%, but only when you make a sale from any of these web adverts
With Etsy being one of the most popular platforms for selling handcrafted goods, you don’t have to worry about it closing up shop anytime soon.
It also gives consumers a sense of security, meaning that they feel more safe shopping in your Etsy store. As buyers get to provide sellers a star rating or review, fellow consumers will know that they’re embarking on a legit transaction.
Etsy provides an unlimited number of listings as well. You can post 100+ products, as long as you pay the listing amount of 20 cents for each.
Customers will find it easy to take a look at all of your products, many thanks to Etsy’s comprehensive search feature.
Marketing is not much of a problem with the Etsy platform, too. Since it is renowned worldwide, you don’t have to attract customers through social media — they will readily come to you.
Although Etsy can help you make good sales, it comes with some cons, too.
You cannot customize the shop, which is its waterloo in the Etsy vs. Shopify comparison. Etsy payments are quite expensive, too, which is a drawback to sellers searching for a cheaper site.
In addition, Etsy is limited to small handmade business owners only. Unless you are selling supplies, vintage products, or handmade goodies, you will need to look for another eCommerce platform.
Although Etsy markets itself rather well, there’s no chance for sellers to link their stores on blogs or social media sites.
Shopify is an eCommerce platform that mostly caters to medium to large businesses. Despite this, it proves to be one of the best alternatives for those looking to start a small online store.
- $29 per month
- Online credit card rate of 2.9% + 30 cents
- In-person credit card rate of 2.7%
- $79 per month
- Online credit card rate of 2.6% + 30 cents
- In-person credit card rate of 2.5%
- $299 per month
- Online credit card rate of 2.4% + 30 cents
- In-person credit card rate of 2.4%
If you want to customize your store, Shopify is the best site for you. With this, you can create a store that reflects your brand.
Unlike Etsy, you’re free to peddle almost anything through Shopify. So, while it’s a good host for small handmade goods, you can use it for selling commercial goods, too.
With its bulk listing feature, you can upload all your products in just a few clicks.
Shopify allows for link sharing,too. That way, you can share your listing on your blog site or social media page and give it a chance to go viral.
With Shopify, you can accept most payment types, including credit cards, PayPal, and Apple Pay.
Shopify stores don’t come with a review option, which may be a boon to most buyers.
While Shopify has all the features you can look for in a marketplace, the cost can prove too much for sellers, just like Etsy.
So, if you want to look at some cheaper alternatives, you should consider its other offer: Shopify Lite.
Shopify Lite is a cheaper service when put head-to-head vs. Shopify. As such, it comes with basic amenities — affordable alternatives for those looking to start selling.
Shopify Lite Fees
- $9 per month
- Online credit card rate of 2.9% + 30 cents
- In-person credit card rate of 2.7%
If you pit Shopify vs. Shopify Lite, the clear distinction between the latter is that it’s cheaper.
With Shopify Lite’s buy buttons, you can transform your blog site or social media page into an instant store.
Like Shopify, this platform allows you to receive multiple payment options. You can even use this Shopify Lite for in-person events, such as trade shows or bazaars.
Unless you have a standalone shop, you won’t be able to use Shopify Lite. Also, you would have to pay hefty payment processing fees.
Founded in 2005, Big Cartel helps artists and makers start an online handmade business. It comes with a hip, artistic vibe that will indeed reflect your customized goods.
Big Cartel Fees
- Gold Account: Free of charge for five products
- Platinum Account: $9.99 monthly for 50 items
- Diamond Account: $19.99 every month for 250 items
- Titanium Account: $29.99 monthly for 500 listings
Although Shopify vs. Big Cartel is often a big point of contention, these platforms have several similarities.
For one, they both offer store customization features. Big Cartel also doesn’t restrict listings. It allows link sharing, too, especially if you want to promote your shop through social media.
A good thing about the Big Cartel vs. Shopify debate is that the former offers a simpler, uniform fee schedule. You don’t have to worry about credit card processing fees and whatnot — all you need to do is pay the monthly subscription.
Versus Big Cartel, Shopify offers more listing options. Depending on your account, you may only list five items.
Because of the fixed monthly fee, you need to pay the amount whether or not you make sales. Unfortunately, this can take a toll on your finances if sales are particularly slow.
As for Big Cartel vs. Etsy, the latter wins because of its review feature. So, even if you have already catered to many buyers, your new customers won’t know because of the lack of a rating system.
Storenvy is a marketplace for buyers who wish to buy directly from indie brand owners like you. To open a free store, all you need to do is sign up.
- No listing or monthly fees for the default Hobbyist plan, though there’s a 15% commission for the total sale apart from the credit card processing fee of 2.9% + 30 cents
- Subscription plan costs $14.99 monthly
There are always people pitting Storenvy vs. Tictail, but the truth is that these platforms are eCommerce cousins. As such, they follow the same model of enabling business owners to set up shop for free.
In terms of the Big Cartel vs. Storenvy debate, the latter shows that it can hold a candle against the former. That’s because Storenvy also allows its users to customize their stores and share their shop links. It also doesn’t restrict the number of listings,just as Big Cartel would.
While Storenvy doesn’t come with listings or membership fees, it does levy a high commission cost of 15%. This is outside of the credit card processing fee, which eventually strips off about 20% of your total earnings.
Tictail has recently been made part of Shopify. So, to start a store on this platform, you need to use Shopify.
Its fees, advantages, and disadvantages are the same as Shopify.
Etsy vs. Shopify vs. Big Cartel vs. Storenvy vs. Tictail: Which is the Best?
Your decision should depend on several things. The first is how many products you wish to list, as this will dictate the cost you need to pay.
If you only have a small array of items – say, less than five – get the Big Cartel Gold account.
However, if you want to list more, here’s a computation of the fees you could incur for 25 items costing $5 each, granted they all sell within the month:
- Etsy – $21.25 ($5 of this is good for four months – listing cost)
- Shopify – $40.12 for a Basic Shopify Account
- Shopify Lite – $20.12
- Big Cartel – $9.99 (Platinum account)
- Storenvy – $26.25
- Tictail – $40.12 (same with Basic Shopify)
A Big Cartel Platinum account is the cheapest marketplace, though this plan is only limited to 50 items. Should you wish to list more (about 250 products), you need to upgrade to the Diamond Account at $19.99 monthly.
The next option to consider is Shopify Lite. However, you should already have a store to use this.
Although Etsy seems to be the third cheapest option, the amount of $21.25 is only for the first month. For the next three months, you only need to pay $16.25 as the listing fee is good for four months.
The rest may be more expensive options, but they come with advantages you will not find on other platforms.
So there you have it — a head-to-head of Etsy vs. Shopify vs. Big Cartel vs. Storenvy vs. Tictail.
Now that you know the fees and their features, you can decide which is the best marketplace for your store.