Looking for ecommerce software? Here's how Amazon FBA and Etsy stack up.
Last updated 6o November 2020
3.4 Stackupp rating
$ 0.99 / month
Best foronline sellers with limited product ranges. It is also a good option for retailers with established stores that want to take advantage of Amazon’s significant reach.
3.8 Stackupp rating
$ 10.00 / month
Best forsmall retailers that sell vintage items, handmade products, or craft supplies.
Can't decide between Amazon FBA and Etsy?
Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of Amazon FBA and Etsy. See how each platform stacks up across ease of use, design, support and value for money.
Let the comparison begin. Don't worry, we'll guide you.
Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) is Amazon’s in-house fulfillment service for sellers. Instead of taking care of the storage and delivery of products themselves, sellers who opt for Amazon FBA can use Amazon’s warehouses and logistics networks. This can significantly reduce financial and administrative burdens.
It’s important to recognize that Amazon FBA is an additional service for Amazon sellers. It will only meet your needs if you already intend to sell products on Amazon. It is not a self-contained ecommerce solution that will allow you to list a wide array of different items and keep all the revenue from sales. What’s more, Amazon takes a significant cut of the final purchase price. You will also have to compete with other sellers in the marketplace.
With all that in mind, it’s essential to weigh up the benefits associated with access to the world’s single largest retail market with the cons of hefty fees, limited control, and high levels of competition.
Generally speaking, small retailers that don’t want to deal with the hassle of managing an entire ecommerce store (and all the technical, marketing, and logistical tasks this involves) will find a lot to like in Amazon FBA. Equally, retailers with established stores that want to bring their best products to a broader market should consider Amazon FBA.
Finally, keep in mind that running a successful business on Amazon FBA requires a unique skill-set. It’s a different ballgame to running a “traditional” ecommerce store, and this should be accounted for. You will need to familiarize yourself with topics like competitor research, keyword analysis, product page optimization, results page optimization, and so on.
you are a small independent retailer who doesn’t want to run their own store and handle complex back-end logistical tasks. Amazon will do a lot of the hard work for you while providing access to a large retail marketplace.
Etsy is a well-known marketplace and ecommerce platform for retailers that offer vintage items, handmade products, and craft supplies.
It’s a straightforward, cost-effective option for small businesses and individuals with an inventory that meets Etsy requirements. By running your store on Etsy, you’ll avoid many of the challenges that come hand-in-hand with larger solutions like Shopify and WooCommerce, while also gaining access to one of the world’s largest third-party marketplaces. You can upgrade to Etsy’s separate solution, called Patterns, which enables you to build your own store and sell whatever you like on it while still using the Etsy engine.
Retailers with diverse inventories and high product turnover, however, will almost certainly need a more feature-rich platform.
you’re a small independent retailer specializing in handmade or vintage items (or craft supplies). Etsy has a forever-free plan, along with an inexpensive premium option, so it’s an incredibly cost-effective solution.
Our first comparison criteria, ease of use. Why? Because it’s the most important.
Think about it. You don’t want to invest a lot of your precious time setting up an online store and tweaking the design only to find out that it’s a pain in the butt to manage day to day.
We take a look at how simple the Amazon FBA and Etsy platforms are to run.
Amazon FBA is managed through “Seller Central”, an online dashboard that all Amazon merchants use to manage their inventory, product listings, storefronts, and analytics.
The interface is very user-friendly, and you can add and configure products quickly. There is a substantial amount of help documentation online through the “Seller Central” portal and Amazon also offers an “Amazon Seller App” for mobile devices. All in all, it’s a very good option for beginners, along with retailers who have limited technical expertise.
Configuring fulfillment options is also a straightforward, linear process and is completed within the “Seller Central” area once products have been added to a catalog.
Finally, you can manage your own independent store, which will show all your Amazon listings, via the “Stores” tab.
"This website is good for beginners who want to earn."
"This platform is the most solid on the web to sell products online."
"They have never failed to pay me and they have been supportive when deviant customers have tried to steal from me."
You won’t find a platform that is easier to use than Etsy. This is partly due to the fact that there aren’t lots of complex features (which some might see as a downside) and partly due to the simple, intuitive design of the seller dashboard. Etsy makes essential tasks, like creating listings and generating reports, nearly effortless.
“Discovering Etsy and opening a shop enabled me to take control of sales.”
“Etsy has allowed me to build an international customer base that already appreciates handmade products.”
“Etsy has been an incredible experience for me.”
Powerful features are great, but we all know first impressions count. So, do Amazon FBA and Etsy templates actually look any good? See for yourself. We outline each platforms design options, plus showcase a few real life examples.
Amazon doesn’t offer much in the way of design freedom. Sellers can only customize specific product page elements, such as the title and description, images, and in-depth “body copy”. The layout and overall page design cannot be altered.
Once they have registered their brand, sellers can also open their own Amazon storefront, which affords a greater (albeit still limited) level of design flexibility.
If you’re looking for complete control over your store, you will likely find that a self-managed ecommerce solution like Shopify or WooCommerce better fits your needs.
Design flexibility and freedom isn’t one of Etsy’s strongest points. Most Etsy stores look very similar, and there’s a reason for this: Etsy only offers a limited number of customization options.
As a seller, you can change the colours, fonts, and photo styles in your store. You’ll also be able to upload a unique logo and banner - which has the option of a photo “carousel” - and set a homepage description.
Users of the Etsy Plus premium plan will have access to a handful of additional features, such as the option to highlight top-performing products on the homepage.
Customizing your store is a very fast and straightforward process. While design freedom is limited, this won’t be a problem for people with little development experience who already like the standard Etsy storefront.
Everyone’s favourite topic - pricing. Let's dive in to see if Amazon FBA or Etsy offers better value for money.
“Value for money” is a slightly mixed bag when it comes to Amazon FBA. It’s important to stress that all serious Amazon FBA sellers will have to purchase a subscription to an Amazon Seller account. There are two plans available. The “Individual” plan is free, but a charge of $0.99 per item sold is collected. The “Professional” plan is $39.99 per month.
On the surface, these figures don’t seem significant. It’s when you get down to the nitty-gritty of item fees that a more precise picture starts to emerge. FBA sellers have to account for several charges: a referral fee (which can be up to 15% of the item sale price, a storage fee), storage costs, and a fulfillment fee. All of these can quickly add up, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the fine print and do all your calculations to ensure you can make a sustainable profit.
At first glance, Etsy looks like one of the most cost-effective ecommerce solutions on the market. It has a forever-free plan and even the premium option, Etsy Plus, only costs ten dollars per month. “Pattern by Etsy”, a service which allows you to run an “independent” online store on your own domain (in conjunction with your Etsy store) only costs $15 a month.
But it’s crucial to take account of fees. Retailers are charged $0.20 for every listing. When a sale is made, Etsy takes a 5% transaction fee, along with a 4% payment processing charge, which amounts to nearly 10% of the overall item price.
If you only process low sales volume, then these fees can be viable. With higher volumes, however, Etsy becomes less feasible.
If things go wrong (and they often do) you need to know someone’s there to help get you back on track. So, how does Amazon FBA's and Etsy's support measure up?
Amazon provides support to sellers through online tickets and has published extensive online documentation and training for new users. There is also an active community forum where it’s possible to get answers to questions.
While the support options are reasonable, we would like to have seen phone and email support in conjunction with the options already on offer.
Etsy has an excellent support package, even on its free plan. Along with one of the largest seller communities on the web and extensive and in-depth training materials, users can also take advantage of live-chat and phone service.
Inexperienced retailers, in particular, will find a lot to like in the comprehensive tutorials and “seller handbook”. The online forum, through which users can join “teams” to exchange ideas and collaborate, is an excellent learning tool.
All support options are accessible from a tab in the seller dashboard, so assistance is easy to find when you need it.
The final say. Let's wrap up our thoughts on each platform.
The FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) program has done a lot to open up Amazon’s sizable marketplace to new sellers and streamline the often-complex process of storing items and fulfilling purchases.
If you are starting out in the ecommerce space, and find the prospect of running an independent store daunting, then Amazon is a viable option. Equally, if you already have an established online presence and want to reach new customers, selling your top-performing products through Amazon is also worth considering.
Just keep in mind that running a profitable Amazon FBA business is different from running your own online store. It requires a unique skill-set and the ability to evaluate competition and find gaps in the market.
Retailers considering Etsy should understand that it isn’t an ecommerce platform in the traditional sense. It’s not a standalone app like Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. You should only consider it as an option if you’re planning to sell your products to the broader Etsy marketplace.
If you do fall into that category, however, then you’ll find a lot to like - it’s a streamlined, easy-to-use platform at a fantastic price.
Furthermore, Etsy “Pattern” enables retailers to have a store at their own domain that isn’t bound by typical Etsy restrictions but is still managed from the central store manager. If you think it might be for you, sign up for a free account and give it a whirl.
Overall, we found Etsy to be the better ecommerce platform.
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