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Ecommerce platform guide

Etsy vs. Amazon: Which One’s Right for Your Business?

Etsy vs. Amazon: Which One’s Right for Your Business?
Karlina Rozkalne

By Karlina Rozkalne

10 min read

For many ecommerce newcomers, picking the right marketplace is a challenging decision. It’s no wonder—there are many aspects to weigh out.

In this article, we’ll compare Etsy vs. Amazon, covering crucial topics like fees, audiences, store customization options, available support, and more.

Let’s get into it!

Etsy vs. Amazon at a glance

Both marketplaces offer sellers a huge, trusted platform to sell custom products and grow their ecommerce business. But what are the key differences between the two? 

In short, Etsy vs. Amazon presents a choice between a niche, community-focused marketplace, and a vast, efficiency-driven marketplace. Shoppers come to each marketplace with different intentions, so sellers must market the products accordingly. Plus, the fee structure varies significantly across the two marketplaces.

Print-on-demand sellers must weigh these differences against their business goals, brand identity, and target audience to choose the most suitable platform.

Now, let’s get into a more detailed comparison.

Etsy: What is it, and who is it best for?

Etsy is known for handmade and vintage goods and artisanal products that can’t be bought elsewhere. Etsy shoppers value originality and craftsmanship. This marketplace is ideal for small businesses and artists. 

a screenshot of a computerSource: Printful

When selling on Etsy, you’re catering to a specific demographic, so you must create designs and products that are out of the ordinary to get loyal customers.

Selling on Etsy suits print-on-demand dropshipping businesses focusing on distinctive, unusual, or niche-specific designs.

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Amazon: What is it, and who is it best for?

Last year, Amazon was the most popular online marketplace worldwide. The vast online marketplace is renowned for its scale and accessibility and connects Amazon sellers with a global audience. 

a graph of a number of blue barsSource: Statista

Selling on Amazon lets you benefit from the platform’s massive reach and potential for high-volume sales, making it ideal for those looking to quickly scale up and expand their customer base. 

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Etsy vs. Amazon: An in-depth comparison

Now, let’s dive into the details of the differences, so you know which marketplace is the best for your online store. Below, you can see a side-by-side comparison of both marketplaces.

a screenshot of a computerSource: Printful

Seller fees

Understanding the selling fees of Etsy and Amazon dropshipping is crucial for setting the right product prices, ensuring profitability, and effectively managing budgets. It guides strategic decisions like platform selection, alignment with business models, and competitive pricing. 

Etsy fees

Etsy is known for its relatively straightforward fee structure. Here’s what it consists of:

  • Listing fees: For each product you post, Etsy charges a flat rate of $0.20

  • Transaction fees: Set at 6.5% of the total order amount, which includes both the cost of the items and the shipping costs 

  • Payment processing fees: A set rate + a % of the total transaction value, depending on the country (in the US, this fee is 3% plus $0.25)

  • Optional fees for advertising tools: You can buy Offsite Ads or promote your products on Etsy through ad campaigns

Benefits: Etsy’s fees are lower than Amazon’s, making it more accessible for small businesses, startups, and artists.

Cons: The cumulative fees can add up, especially if you use additional services like advertising.

Amazon fees

Amazon’s fee structure is more complex, involving:

  • A monthly subscription fee: If you’re selling more than 40 items per month, you can get a professional Amazon seller account subscription for $39.99/month

  • A per-item fee for individual sellers: If you’re selling less than 40 items per month, you’re charged $0.99 per item

  • A referral fee: All sellers pay a percentage of each sale, varying by category

  • Additional fees for Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)

Benefits: Amazon’s vast customer base can potentially lead to higher sales volumes, offsetting the costs.

Cons: The fee structure can be more expensive, especially for small businesses, and the competition is much stiffer.

Audience size

Both marketplaces rank among the top 5 most visited online retail websites worldwide, but Amazon’s reach is considerably higher. That means two things: more visitors and higher competition.

a graph of a number of visitorsSource: Statista

Etsy is celebrated for its niche market, primarily attracting customers interested in highly distinctive designs and handmade items. While its audience is smaller than Amazon’s, it’s highly targeted and loyal. Customers on Etsy often seek out bespoke items and value the stories behind them.

Amazon boasts a vast, global customer base. Amazon shoppers value variety, convenience, and competitive pricing. The diverse audience ranges from everyday item shoppers to people looking for unique finds.

Etsy’s audience might be more suitable if your products cater to a more discerning market that values uniqueness. But if you aim to reach a larger, more varied customer base and can handle higher competition, Amazon customers offer greater exposure and potential sales volume. 

For a small print-on-demand business owner, the choice depends on the nature of your products and business goals. Consider where your products will stand out more and align with the customer’s preferences and shopping behavior.

The key difference between Etsy and Amazon lies in the types of products their potential customers seek. 

On Etsy, shoppers primarily look for handmade goods, original art, personalized items, and craft supplies.

a group of icons on a white backgroundSource: CedCommerce

In contrast, Amazon’s customer base searches for vastly different items, ranging from clothing and home goods to electronics and appliances.

a screenshot of a product categoriesSource: SellerAssistant

Valuable read: How to Find Products to Sell on Amazon: Complete Step-by-Step Guide

Both marketplaces are well-suited for the best-selling print-on-demand products, but you should evaluate which platform better fits your brand before you start selling. 

Valuable read: 11 High Profit Margin Dropshipping Products

Fulfillment methods

On Etsy, you typically handle fulfillment yourself or use print-on-demand fulfillment services. This setup offers personalized control over shipping and customer interactions, vital for maintaining your brand’s personal touch.

On Amazon marketplace, you have the same options as on Etsy (fulfilling yourself or through a third-party supplier like Printful), plus you can use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). With FBA, you send your products to Amazon’s fulfillment centers, and Amazon will pack and ship your products and handle customer service and returns for you.

The FBA costs depend on what kind and how many products you’ll delegate to Amazon. Here are the FBA fees:

  • FBA fulfillment costs

  • FBA storage costs

  • Returns processing

  • Removal, disposal, and liquidation orders

  • Charges for aged inventory

For small business owners, the choice depends on the business’s scale and how hands-on the owner wants to be.

Store customization and branding options

Etsy and Amazon offer distinct options for store customization and branding. There are 3 main differences between the marketplaces:

Personal touch: Etsy allows for a more personal touch in your store’s design, fostering a closer connection with customers, but Amazon focuses on streamlined, efficient product presentation.

Brand storytelling: Etsy offers better customization options for storytelling and creating a unique brand identity to build customer loyalty, while Amazon’s approach is more practical and suitable for straightforward product showcasing.

Audience expectations: Etsy’s audience expects and appreciates creative presentation and branding, but Amazon shoppers are typically more focused on product specifics, pricing, and reviews.

Etsy customization

Etsy stands out for its focus on individuality and personalization. Sellers can:

  • Customize their Etsy store layout and banner 

  • Craft a unique store biography to tell their story

  • Feature their items in a way that highlights their brand’s aesthetic

This customization level helps build a brand identity that resonates with Etsy’s audience, who often seek a personal connection with sellers.

Amazon customization

Amazon, while a larger platform, offers less flexibility in personalization. Marketplace sellers can:

  • Create a basic storefront

  • Utilize limited customization options for their store’s look and feel

  • Focus more on product listings rather than the overall brand story 

Amazon’s model is more product-centric, emphasizing the items over the seller’s brand story. The platform is designed for efficiency and volume, prioritizing functionality over ecommerce business individuality.

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Product restrictions

Each marketplace has different guidelines and limitations. Let’s break down the differences.

Etsy product restrictions

Etsy has specific guidelines that emphasize the uniqueness and handcrafted nature of products. For print-on-demand sellers, this means:

  • Products or designs must be original

  • Reselling mass-produced goods is not allowed unless they are vintage items

This platform is ideal for sellers specializing in original designs and custom-made items.

Valuable read: How to Sell Printful Products on Etsy

Amazon product restrictions

Amazon, with its broader scope, has a different set of restrictions:

The Amazon marketplace is more accommodating for a diverse range of products, but it’s important to navigate its regulations carefully when you sell products.

Valuable read: How to Sell on Amazon with Printful’s Integration

Payment processing

While both Etsy and Amazon provide comprehensive payment processing with multiple payment methods and integrated credit card fees, Etsy stands out for its seller-friendly fee structure and flexible payouts. Amazon, on the other hand, offers a more robust system designed for higher volumes but with less flexibility in payout schedules.

Fees: Etsy’s payment processing fee is a mix of a flat fee and a percentage, while Amazon incorporates these costs in its seller fees, including credit card fees.

Payout schedule: Etsy allows more flexibility in choosing your payout schedule, while Amazon has a fixed payout system.

Ease of use: Etsy’s payment system is generally simpler and more straightforward, ideal for smaller businesses, and Amazon’s system, while more complex, offers additional support for handling customer disputes.

Etsy

Etsy Payments simplifies seller payment and billing information with a fee structure that combines a flat charge of $0.2 and a percentage of the sale. It offers more flexibility in payout schedules, allowing sellers to manage their finances more effectively.

Etsy’s system is user-friendly and suited for smaller sellers handling various credit card fees.

Amazon

Amazon Payments includes payment processing fees in its overall seller fees, which can be higher but cover a broader range of services.

It implements a fixed payout schedule, typically depositing sales into your bank account within 14 days.

While handling a range of payment methods, it’s designed for larger volumes and offers robust support in managing payment and billing information.

Support

The support systems on Etsy and Amazon differ, impacting how ecommerce business owners navigate challenges and queries.

Etsy support

Etsy offers a more personalized support experience. Sellers can access a comprehensive Etsy Help Center, community forums, and direct email support. Etsy’s community-driven approach fosters a sense of connection, with seller forums often providing valuable peer advice and insights.

Amazon support

Amazon provides a more structured support system, with extensive resources like Seller Central, detailed guides, and customer service through email and phone. Its support is geared towards handling a high volume of sellers, focusing on efficiency and standardized solutions.

Ready to choose your marketplace?

Picking the marketplace for your print-on-demand business depends on many important factors covered in this article. Use this information to help you decide which platform fits your business needs and goals the best.

Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or suggestions. Happy selling!

Read next: Etsy vs. eBay: Which One is Best for Your Online Business?

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By Karlina Rozkalne on Jan 30, 2024

Karlina Rozkalne

SEO Content Writer

Karlina is an SEO Content Writer specialist at Printful. As a firm believer in attitude over aptitude, Karlina gives her 100% whenever she works on something new. Karlina spends her free time reading, traveling, and doing yoga.

Karlina is an SEO Content Writer specialist at Printful. As a firm believer in attitude over aptitude, Karlina gives her 100% whenever she works on something new. Karlina spends her free time reading, traveling, and doing yoga.