Shopify vs Etsy: Which Is The Right Platform For Print-on-demand?

Shopify vs Etsy: Which Is The Right Platform For Print-on-demand?

shopify vs etsy for print-on-demand

When it comes to brand building, to find the best place to sell print-on-demand, it’s always the battle between Shopify vs Etsy. The biggest question when trying to decide which platform can suit the business aim. To answering this question, let’s dive in with us the pros and cons of Etsy vs Shopify Print-on-demand.

Round 1: Etsy vs Shopify Print-on-demand - Workflow

Shopify: How does It Work?

To build a store on Shopify, it is similar to building an actual physic store, just that your location is online. But building a store on Shopify means that you’re building a brand for yourself. Shopify merchants are allowed to host all activities related to their store site.

Basically, you’re building a whole new website for your business. This means that you will have to put more work on building the site, raising traffic to your store, and also customize your customer’s shopping experience on your own. 

The good thing is, there’s not much limit on building a whole webstore, since Shopify has their app store. If a web theme cannot fulfill your requirement, you can always install an application to help you on with it.

For example, your theme can’t support personalization features for your products. But you can always install and use Teeinblue Product Personalizer app to set up personalization, which also adds up experience to your customers with live preview. And in terms of selling product with customized details, would it be best to allow customers to see real-time changes?

shopify vs etsy demostore example

Teeinblue POD - A demo personalized print-on-demand store created from Shopify

Etsy: What’s the Difference?

Does Etsy do print-on-demand well? Etsy isn’t a website builder, it is a marketplace. This means that you can build your print-on-demand business on Etsy. And it would be much similar to opening a kiosk in a market. Market is the most ancient trading place that was created thousand of years ago. In the era of e-commerce development, market goes online.

On Etsy, you need to sign up for an account as signing up to rent a shop. After this process is completed, you can start uploading your products to Etsy. You can upload images of products to deliver a physical feeling to customers. Your products will be listed in categories within Etsy, and customer can filter to check the product that is most resonated with them.

However, that is just it. On Etsy, you can customize your storefront, since you’re a shop in their marketplace system. So Etsy would be perfect for those who are selling normal on-demand printing products, which means no personalization.

To sell personalized print-on-demand products, you won’t be able to allow customers to customize product online efficiently. You will need to note down what they want in a product and you will need to create a print file according to their description on your own. It is very time-consuming if you’re able to sell more than 50 orders a day.



shopify vs etsy store example
A print-on-demand store on Etsy

Nevertheless, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying Etsy isn’t good as much as Shopify. Both have the pros and cons comparing to each other, and both will require you to put a lot of effort in it. However, both platforms have been generating billions of sales and help lots of merchants to succeed with their business.

You just need to figure out which of the two platforms will suit your brand value and what you want to deliver the most.

"The workflow of Shopify vs Etsy print-on-demand, I would say it’s a tie."

Etsy vs Shopify Print-on-demand comparision
Etsy vs Shopify Print-on-demand comparision (Source: BloggingEclipse)

Round 2: Shopify vs Etsy for Print-on-demand Branding

No matter where you’re running your print-on-demand business on, all of your products will require a domain. This domain is important because this is the destination that you need to draw your customers to visit to. It’s also a way to do branding for your store, since most the domain will take after the store name.

For Shopify

Once you signed up, your store domain will take after the first store name you create, something looks like this: “”. Since Shopify is a webstore builder, it will allow you to change store name later and also to connect a domain without the suffix of “”. Your finished domain and store name might be something like this: “”.

For Etsy

Well, I must confirm that you won’t be allowed to have your own domain with Etsy. Your store domain will take after Etsy domain, e.g. It represent the fact that your store is a part of Etsy marketplace, so it’s an idea that every merchant who are selling on Etsy need to pick up along the way.

"With the customizable feature for print-on-demand stores, Shopify is the winner in building print-on-demand brand."

Round 3: Shopify vs Etsy - Features Supporting POD

Both Shopify and Etsy have similar features related to analytics, marketing and inventory since they are built for business. Although there is a few differences in the way how these features work, the purposes of those remain are the same.

Shopify's Features

Shopify offers Extras function and API to support application integration and product personalization tools, while Etsy doesn’t.

Shopify's Features for print on demand merchantsShopify offers a lot of benefits for print-on-demand merchants (Source: Shopify)

Some outstanding features includes

  • Sell products on multi-channel: Shopify currently supports merchant to integrate and sell their products on Amazon and Instagram account. This function can help you more on delivering easy shopping experience, and also to increase sales via multiple channels at the same time.
  • Recover abandoned checkout: Sometimes, customer will leave before completing their checkout. Shopify will store the data of customer based on cookies, and will send them an automated email to remind them to finish checkout for their cart. According to a statistics, this feature has been helping merchant to convert 12-15% of these abandoned cart.
  • SEO function: Shopify has a feature to optimize keyword for your product page, and it can be custom for each product as well. The feature includes basics such as optimizing product title and description showing on search engine, optimizing the URL of product.
  • Blog: Shopify includes blog function within your store. If you haven’t noticed, blogging is an organic print-on-demand marketing activity that can boost your store’s result and image in the long term. Understanding how important the role of blog can play, Shopify allows merchant to create a blog page right within their own store.
  • Fraud analysis: This function helps merchant in noticing which order contains fraud risk based on the payment or the customer information.
  • Coupon/Discount code generating: Merchant is able to create coupon or automated discount for entire store or for specific products.
  • SSL certificate: SSL is shorted for secure sockets layer, which is a protocol for web browsers and servers that allows for the authentication, encryption and decryption of data sent over the internet. This function allows consumers to input and secure their payment information to finish checkout.

Etsy's Features

Once a merchant signs up their account on Etsy, he or she will be granted to access all features that is included in Etsy Standard subscription. This subscription plan includes all the basic features to help merchant on having a secured space to promote, sell and attract consumers.

  • Etsy Pattern: This function allows merchant to create their own store site. In this webstore, you can sell anything with supported function that is beyond the basic settings on Etsy marketplace. This webstore, however won’t be connected with Etsy marketplace, which will limit your store from showing up on Etsy search engine.
  • Etsy Ads: Etsy marketplace supports advertisement within its own system. You can adopt this function to advertise your products on search results or on other pages of Etsy marketplace. Etsy Ads will optimize your budget to show ads on most effective pages of Etsy.

etsy features vs shopify features for print on demand

Etsy's dashboard for print-on-demand sellers

For this round, we would say that both Shopify and Etsy creates a corresponding collection of features and values that is suitable to their system.

"If you’re looking for a way to open your webstore and develop it to the max ability, Shopify seems better to try out."

💡 You may concern: Essentials Before Starting Print-on-demand Business

Round 4: Shopify vs Etsy Fees for POD merchants

Shopify Plans

In 2023 Shopify pricing, once you sign up, you will have 3 days of free trial and 3 months for only $1/month on select plans. Then, you will need to pay monthly with 4 subscription plans of Shopify. Each plan will attach a corresponding limit, supported features and function, as following:

  • Basic Shopify: $19/month - suitable for new SMEs. Basic features supported include one store domain, 2 staff account, blog, basic online store features, support 24/7. 
  • Shopify: $49/month - suitable for growing enterprises. Features include all basics in Basic Shopify and some added-up value: 5 staff account, specialized statistics, professional reports, etc.
  • Advanced Shopify: $299/month - suitable for on-scaling business. Limited number of staff accounts will increase to 15. Statistics report will be customized with more information. Furthermore, logistics cost (including shipping cost) is able to be reduced.
  • Shopify Plus: $2000/month - suitable for large enterprise with high volume of sales. Since this the highest subscription plan of Shopify, it is said that there is no limit for business that is subscribed to this plan. 

Etsy Pricing

Less than Shopify, lastest Etsy pricing offer print-on-demand sellers only 2 subscription plans. Details include as following: 

  • Etsy Standard: With this plan, you don’t need to pay monthly price to Etsy. However, you will need to pay Etsy $0.2 per month in 4 months continuously or until your products is started selling.
  • Etsy Plus: Pay $10/month for webstore domain control, automated warning email for consumers, banners and discounted marketing documents.

For this final round, you can obviously see that Etsy charges a much lower subscription price. However, as mentioned all above, Etsy will have limits in developing an independent online store.

"If you’re fresh and don’t have much money to invest in print-on-demand business, begin with Etsy and move to Shopify later once your store is grown."

After 4 rounds, which platform that you think is the best for on-demand printing? To us, Shopify is slightly better. But remember, you need to select platform based on your goals, budget and requirements of platform’s functionality.

We hope the comparison of Shopify vs Etsy print-on-demand can help you on choosing the most suitable platform for your enterprise. If you have any blog question or request, feel free to leave comments below.


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