Etsy vs Shopify for Print on Demand

Etsy vs Shopify for Print on Demand

Note: This is a guest post by PrintKK.

In the bustling world of e-commerce, the choice between Etsy and Shopify for Print on Demand (POD) businesses is more crucial than ever in 2024. As entrepreneurs and creators strive to navigate the vast digital marketplace, understanding the nuances of each platform can significantly impact your brand's trajectory. This blog delves into the heart of the Etsy vs. Shopify debate, offering a comprehensive comparison to help you make an informed decision. Whether you're a seasoned artist looking to expand your reach or a new entrepreneur ready to embark on your POD journey, join us as we explore which platform aligns best with your business goals, audience, and creative vision in the ever-evolving online retail landscape.

What Is Shopify Print on Demand?

In the vibrant world of eCommerce, where customization reigns supreme, Shopify Print on Demand (POD) emerges as a revolutionary service, transforming how entrepreneurs, designers, and brands bring their visions to life. This innovative model allows you to sell custom-designed products under your brand without the need to stock inventory, making it an attractive option for businesses of all sizes seeking to tap into the boundless potential of personalized merchandise.

At its core, Shopify Print on Demand is a seamless integration within the Shopify ecosystem, offering a streamlined process for adding and selling custom-printed products. From t-shirts and hoodies to posters and mugs, the range of items you can customize is virtually limitless. The beauty of Shopify POD lies in its simplicity: once a customer places an order, your POD partner takes care of production and shipping, allowing you to focus on what you do best—designing and marketing your brand. This model not only minimizes the risks associated with inventory management but also opens up a world of possibilities for creative expression and brand expansion.

For entrepreneurs and small business owners, Shopify Print on Demand represents a low-barrier entry into the eCommerce realm, offering a platform to showcase their creativity without the logistical headaches of traditional retail. Designers and artists find in Shopify POD a canvas for their creativity, enabling them to monetize their art without the upfront costs typically associated with product manufacturing. Brands and influencers, meanwhile, leverage this model to deepen connections with their audience, offering exclusive merchandise that resonates with their unique identity. Even corporations and organizations can harness the power of Shopify Print on Demand to offer branded swag or support fundraising efforts with customized products.

In essence, Shopify Print on Demand is not just a service—it's a gateway to endless possibilities. Whether you're looking to launch a new product line, test market demand for creative designs, or simply offer something unique to your audience, Shopify POD stands ready to turn your ideas into reality. With its flexibility, ease of use, and integration with one of the world's leading eCommerce platforms, Shopify Print on Demand is reshaping the landscape of personalized retail, making it easier than ever to bring your creative visions to the global marketplace.

Pros and Cons of Shopify Print on Demand





Seamless integration with Shopify allows for easy management of digital and physical products on a unified platform.


Inventory Management

Eliminates the need for holding inventory, reducing risk and investment required to launch and scale a business.


Product Range

Offers access to a wide array of products, enabling businesses to explore different markets and cater to a broad audience.

Some products may have limitations on customization, which can restrict creative freedom.

Global Reach

Enables businesses to sell internationally with minimal logistical challenges, thanks to a global network of suppliers.

Shipping complexities and costs can increase when fulfilling orders to various countries, especially if suppliers are located in a single region.

Supplier Dependency


Business reputation can be impacted by the performance of third-party suppliers, with potential delays, quality issues, or stock shortages affecting satisfaction.



While eliminating upfront inventory costs, the cost per item can be higher than bulk purchasing, which might reduce profit margins when pricing items competitively.

What Is Etsy Print on Demand?

Etsy Print on Demand (POD) stands as a beacon for creatives and entrepreneurs aiming to sell unique, custom-designed products without the hassle of inventory management. This platform empowers artists, designers, and small businesses to connect with a global audience, offering a marketplace that values originality and craftsmanship. With Etsy POD, once a sale is made, your design is printed on the product and shipped directly to the customer, simplifying the process of selling bespoke items online.

This model is particularly attractive for those looking to leverage Etsy's vibrant community and customer base, which appreciates the distinctiveness of personalized items. It's an ideal solution for individuals and organizations seeking to expand their reach without significant upfront investment, enabling them to focus on creating and marketing their designs while the logistics are handled efficiently behind the scenes.

Pros and Cons of Etsy Print on Demand




Market Reach

Access to Etsy's extensive, global audience interested in unique, custom, and handmade products.

High competition among sellers can make it challenging to stand out.

Ease of Use

User-friendly platform simplifies the process of listing and selling products.

Limited customization options compared to a dedicated website.

Brand Visibility

Opportunity to build a brand among a community that values craftsmanship and uniqueness.

Etsy's marketplace branding can overshadow individual shop identities.

Cost Effectiveness

No upfront costs for inventory; payment is made post-sale.

Listing fees and transaction costs can add up, affecting profit margins.

Support and Community

Strong support network and community forums for sellers.

Navigating Etsy's policies and updates requires time and effort.


Integrated shipping options streamline the process for sellers.

Sellers are responsible for managing customer service and shipping issues, which can be time-consuming.

The Benefits of Selling on Etsy and Shopify

In the dynamic world of online sales, choosing the right platform can catapult a business to success. Both Etsy and Shopify offer unique advantages for sellers, from the artisanal and niche-focused to the broad and brand-centric. Understanding the benefits of each platform can help you align your business model with the right audience and infrastructure.

  • Etsy Benefits
    • Etsy's vast, engaged audience has a strong appetite for unique, handmade, and personalized items, making it an ideal marketplace for artists and crafters.
    • A robust community of sellers and built-in support structures offer guidance and camaraderie for both new and experienced sellers.
    • Setting up a shop on Etsy is straightforward, allowing sellers to quickly start listing products and reaching potential customers.
  • Shopify Benefits
    • Shopify gives sellers complete control over their store's branding and customer experience, enabling a tailored shopping environment.
    • From small beginnings to large volumes, Shopify's infrastructure supports growth with various plans and apps designed to scale businesses.
    • Integration with multiple sales channels, including online marketplaces, social media, and physical storefronts, allows for a broad approach to sales.
    • Shopify provides advanced analytics and marketing tools to help sellers understand customer behavior and optimize their sales strategies.

This comparison highlights the distinct advantages of selling on Etsy and Shopify, catering to different needs and goals within the entrepreneurial spectrum. Whether you're a small-scale artisan or a growing business looking to expand your reach, choosing the right platform is a crucial step in your eCommerce journey.

Key Differences Between Shopify and Etsy Print on Demand




Target Audience

Broad, including a wide range of consumers looking for various products.

Niche, focused on customers seeking handmade, vintage, and unique items.

Brand Control

High level of brand customization and control over store appearance and customer experience.

Limited customization options for shop appearance, with Etsy's branding more prominent.


Monthly subscription fees, plus transaction fees depending on the plan.

Listing fees, transaction fees, and payment processing fees, with no monthly subscription cost.

Market Reach

Global reach with the ability to sell and market products across multiple channels.

Access to a large, engaged audience specifically interested in creative and unique items.


Extensive integration options with third-party apps and services for marketing, shipping, etc.

Limited to integrations within the Etsy platform, with some external tools available.


Sellers operate their own independent online store.

Sellers are part of a larger marketplace and must adhere to Etsy's policies and marketplace conditions.

Customer Base

Diverse, not limited to any specific demographic or interest group.

Targeted towards individuals looking for handmade, artisanal, and personalized products.

Inventory Management

Sellers have more responsibility for inventory management, but with greater flexibility.

Etsy handles much of the inventory management process, making it easier for sellers to focus on creation.

Support and Community

Access to Shopify's customer support and a wide range of resources for business development.

Strong community support with forums and teams, along with Etsy's direct customer service.

Shopify and Etsy for Print on Demand Branding

When diving into Print on Demand (POD), choosing between Shopify and Etsy can shape your brand's identity and reach. Shopify allows for a highly customizable storefront, giving sellers the freedom to craft a unique brand experience from homepage to checkout. This platform suits those looking to meticulously control their brand narrative and engage customers through a personalized journey.

Conversely, Etsy provides a marketplace rich with consumers eager for handmade and unique items, offering a more straightforward path to establish a brand among a community valuing creativity and personal touch. While customization options are less extensive than Shopify's, the platform's inherent audience and atmosphere can significantly bolster a brand's visibility in the niche market of custom and artisanal products.

Shopify and Etsy for POD Suppliers

For entrepreneurs venturing into the Print on Demand (POD) business, selecting the right platform is crucial. Both Shopify and Etsy offer unique advantages for POD suppliers, catering to different aspects of the market. Understanding these platforms' features can help you align your business strategy with your goals.

  • Shopify
    • Comprehensive integration capabilities with various POD services
    • Flexible storefront customization for branding consistency
    • Advanced analytics for tracking sales and customer behavior
    • Diverse marketing tools to reach a wider audience
  • Etsy
    • Access to a niche market of customers seeking unique, custom products
    • Lower initial costs without the need for a subscription fee
    • Built-in audience with a preference for handmade and artisanal items
    • Community support through forums and seller networks

Each platform serves POD suppliers differently, with Shopify focusing on brand control and market reach, while Etsy offers a more community-focused approach with a built-in customer base.

Which Is Better for Your Print on Demand Business: Shopify or Etsy?

Deciding between Shopify and Etsy for your Print on Demand (POD) business hinges on understanding each platform's unique benefits and limitations. Both avenues offer promising opportunities, but your business model and goals should guide your choice.

  • Shopify
    • Shopify is celebrated for its expansive customization options, allowing sellers to craft a unique brand identity and customer experience. An influencer on YouTube, "Ecom Wizards," suggests that Shopify's strength lies in its scalability and extensive app ecosystem, making it ideal for businesses planning to expand.
    • The platform's analytics and integration capabilities are pivotal for optimizing marketing strategies, as highlighted in "Digital Trends Today's" review. They emphasize Shopify's ability to seamlessly connect with a wide range of POD suppliers.
  • Etsy
    • Etsy's built-in audience for unique and handmade items offers a distinct advantage, especially for new entrants into the market. A Reddit user, u/CraftySellers, notes the ease of setting up shop on Etsy and tapping into its community without hefty marketing investments.
    • However, limitations in shop customization and branding are noted drawbacks. Another Reddit commentary, by u/PODInsights, mentions Etsy's competitive marketplace, advising sellers to focus on niche products to stand out.

In summary, your choice between Shopify and Etsy should be informed by your business's scale, target audience, and branding needs. While Shopify offers more control and scalability, Etsy provides a ready audience and a simpler setup process, making it a go-to for those just starting out or focusing on niche markets. Remember, the success of your POD business will also depend on how well you understand and engage your target audience, regardless of the platform you choose.

Situations When to Choose Shopify

In the dynamic world of Print on Demand (POD), selecting the right platform is pivotal for the growth and sustainability of your business. Shopify, known for its robust e-commerce capabilities, stands out as a versatile choice for entrepreneurs who envision a brand with specific needs and aspirations. Here are key situations where choosing Shopify can be particularly advantageous:

  • Custom Branding and Design
    • Shopify excels in offering extensive customization options, allowing you to tailor your online store to perfectly match your brand's aesthetic and ethos.
  • Scalability
    • Its infrastructure is designed to support businesses at any stage, from budding startups to expansive enterprises, making it ideal for those with growth ambitions.
  • Global Reach
    • Shopify facilitates international sales more seamlessly, with features supporting multiple currencies, languages, and global shipping options.
  • Advanced E-commerce Tools
    • The platform provides a suite of advanced tools, including analytics, marketing, and SEO capabilities, to enhance your online presence and sales strategy.

Choosing Shopify aligns with the goals of entrepreneurs aiming for a comprehensive, growth-oriented online presence, offering a tailored customer journey that reflects the unique identity of their brand.

Situations When to Choose Etsy

Navigating the Print on Demand (POD) landscape requires making strategic decisions about where to sell your products. Etsy, with its unique market position, offers distinct advantages for certain types of sellers. Understanding when Etsy is the optimal choice can help you align your business with the right audience and platform capabilities.

  • Niche Market Focus
    • Etsy is renowned for its dedicated audience looking for handmade, custom, and unique items, making it ideal for sellers in niche markets.
  • Community and Engagement
    • The platform boasts a strong sense of community and customer engagement, beneficial for brands looking to build a loyal customer base.
  • Lower Initial Investment
    • Starting a shop on Etsy requires minimal upfront costs, appealing to entrepreneurs and small business owners testing the POD waters.
  • Ease of Setup
    • Etsy’s user-friendly interface and straightforward setup process allow sellers to quickly launch their shop and start selling.

Opting for Etsy as your POD platform can be a strategic move if your brand aligns with the ethos of creativity, uniqueness, and community engagement.

Sell Your Print on Demand Products on Shopify or Etsy with PrintKK

Choosing the right platform for selling your Print on Demand (POD) products is a pivotal decision for any entrepreneur. With PrintKK, you have the flexibility to sell on both Shopify and Etsy, leveraging the unique advantages each platform offers. Here’s how PrintKK facilitates selling on these platforms, ensuring you reach your target audience effectively.

  • Integration Ease
    • PrintKK seamlessly integrates with both Shopify and Etsy, simplifying the process of listing your products and managing orders.
  • Market Access
    • Utilizing PrintKK, sellers can tap into Shopify’s broad audience or Etsy’s niche market, depending on product alignment and business goals.
  • Customization Capabilities
    • On Shopify, PrintKK supports extensive customization options for your store, enhancing brand identity and customer experience.
  • Community Engagement
    • For Etsy sellers, PrintKK enhances visibility among a community that values uniqueness and craftsmanship.

By partnering with PrintKK, you can efficiently manage and expand your POD business across multiple platforms, reaching a diverse customer base and growing your brand.


In conclusion, choosing between Shopify and Etsy for your Print on Demand (POD) business hinges on your specific needs, goals, and the unique value proposition of your brand. Shopify offers unparalleled customization, scalability, and control, making it ideal for entrepreneurs looking to build a comprehensive online store with a global reach. Etsy, on the other hand, provides a vibrant marketplace for unique, handmade, and custom items, perfect for sellers aiming to connect with a niche audience without the need for extensive backend development.

Each platform has its strengths, and your decision should align with where your business stands today and where you envision it tomorrow. Whether you choose Shopify's expansive ecosystem or Etsy's community-focused marketplace, success in POD requires a strategic approach to brand building, market positioning, and customer engagement.


Is it better to have an Etsy shop or Shopify?

Choosing between an Etsy shop or Shopify depends on your business goals. Etsy is ideal for niche, handmade items, while Shopify offers more customization and growth potential.

Is it cheaper to sell on Etsy or Shopify?

Costs vary: Etsy has listing fees but no monthly charge, ideal for smaller volumes. Shopify has no listing fees but requires a monthly subscription, better for larger sales.

Is Shopify print on demand profitable?

Shopify POD can be profitable with the right strategy, focusing on unique designs, targeted marketing, and efficient production to optimize margins.

Should you have both Etsy and Shopify for print on demand business?

Having both Etsy and Shopify can maximize your POD business's reach, leveraging Etsy's niche audience and Shopify's branding control.

How much does Etsy or Shopify take for print on demand?

Etsy charges a listing fee plus a transaction and payment processing fee. Shopify requires a monthly subscription, with additional fees for payment processing.