Looking for ecommerce software? Here's how WooCommerce and Etsy stack up.
Daniel Adams and Mark Hammersley
Last updated 10o July 2020
3.8 Stackupp rating
Best forIf you want to run your store on WordPress, then WooCommerce is hands-down the best choice. It’s ideal for small and medium-sized retailers, but larger enterprises might struggle.
3.8 Stackupp rating
$ 10.00 / month
Best forsmall retailers that sell vintage items, handmade products, or craft supplies.
Can't decide between WooCommerce and Etsy?
Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of WooCommerce 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.
WooCommerce is an open-source ecommerce platform for WordPress users. It’s one of the world’s most popular ecommerce platforms, and retailers can add unlimited products.
WooCommerce has a lot of great features, including an intuitive management dashboard, an extensive integration and theme library, and an active community. What’s more, WooCommerce is completely customizable and completely free.
While WordPress users won’t find a better solution than WooCommerce, there are downsides.
Because WooCommerce isn’t a hosted solution like Shopify or BigCommerce, you are responsible for taking care of backend tasks like hosting, security and maintenance. Some features that larger retailers require are also missing.
Use Woocommerce if you like WordPress and want an easy-to-use ecommerce solution. It’s ideal for smaller retailers that are familiar with WordPress and are looking for a cost-effective platform.
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 WooCommerce and Etsy platforms are to run.
WooCommerce is very easy to use. A set-up wizard walks you through the initial process of setting up your store.
Carrying out typical ecommerce tasks, like adding product inventory, processing orders, and launching promotions and discounts, is straightforward. WooCommerce offers a simple and intuitive dashboard that WordPress users will find familiar.
Choosing a theme and integrating with third-party services (like shipping providers, payment gateways, and email marketing apps) is also relatively straightforward. WooCommerce utilizes “extensions” to offer an array of features, although some of these extensions are quite pricey.
If you have any problems, you can pay for dedicated support or consult the large community of WooCommerce users.
“The best eCommerce platform available!”
“Such a good product running perfect for 6 months now. Thanks and keep up the good work.”
“This is incredible shopping cart. So professional solution with huge amount of add-ons. Thank you for your work!”
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 WooCommerce and Etsy templates actually look any good? See for yourself. We outline each platforms design options, plus showcase a few real life examples.
WooCommerce is one of the most customizable ecommerce platforms on the market. The WordPress editor makes it easy for users with no coding experience to tweak their storefront.
Deeper backend changes are also possible because WooCommerce is built on open-source software. Plugins allow for a host of minor changes, while more experienced developers can alter virtually any aspect of the core files.
If you don’t have any coding experience but want to make more complex changes, you can always enlist the help of a WooCommerce developer.
Along with a handful of free themes, WooCommerce offers a number of paid themes, most of which cost $39.
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 WooCommerce or Etsy offers better value for money.
WooCommerce operates a unique revenue model. The basic plugin is free. Assuming that you have a WordPress site already, you can get up and running without having to pay anything.
WooCommerce makes money by selling plugins, themes, and support. So it’s important to account for these costs. Certain features that many retailers would consider essential, such as customer reviews, geo-targeting, customer services, and discount codes, can only be added through extensions that often cost several hundred dollars.
What’s more, customer support is only offered for WooCommerce products and via support tickets. For customization support, you’ll need to hire a WooCommerce developer, which can be costly.
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 WooCommerce's and Etsy's support measure up?
WooCommerce support is a mixed bag. Because it’s a free WordPress plugin, customer service is not included as part of the core package.
If you need dedicated technical support, you’ll have to hire a “WooExpert”. WooCommerce provides basic general support and dedicated support for paid products like themes and extensions through help tickets.
That said, WooCommerce has an active community of users that are happy to help solve minor problems, along with extensive documentation.
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.
WooCommerce has many positives and only a handful of negatives.
If you’re thinking about WooCommerce, first make sure you wouldn’t prefer a fully-hosted solution like Shopify or Big Commerce. Out-of-the-box solutions come with dedicated customer service, an array of features, and all backend tasks are taken care of.
If, however, you’re looking for a cost-effective solution that integrates seamlessly with WordPress, and don’t mind looking after hosting yourself, then WooCommerce is ideal. A large library of extensions means that you won’t miss any features, and an active community of users is on hand to help you troubleshoot any issues.
What’s more, as an open-source platform, WooCommerce allows for almost unlimited customization.
Evaluate the cost of extensions and hosting before you decide to go all-in. And don’t be afraid to give WooCommerce a test-drive. It’s free, after all.
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 couldn't pick a clear winner as WooCommerce and Etsyscored similarly.
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