Looking for ecommerce software? Here's how Magento and Etsy stack up.
Daniel Adams and Mark Hammersley
Last updated 10o July 2020
3.8 Stackupp rating
$ 2200.00 / month
Best forMagento “Open Source” requires development knowledge and is suitable for large enterprises. “Magento Commerce”, a fully-hosted version of Magento Open Source, available on a range of plans, catering retailers from mom-and-pop stores to global enterprises.
3.8 Stackupp rating
$ 10.00 / month
Best forsmall retailers that sell vintage items, handmade products, or craft supplies.
Can't decide between Magento and Etsy?
Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of Magento 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.
Magento is an open-source ecommerce platform owned by Adobe which is offered in a range of formats. The best-known option is a completely free, open-source version called “Magento Open Source”. Retailers that want to use the platform while taking advantage of cloud hosting, customer support, and additional functionality, can opt for one of the paid options under the “Magento Commerce” banner.
Because of its extensive feature-set, scalability, high customizability, and popularity among developers, Magento is particularly suitable for retailers running larger stores. Medium-sized retailers that need a comprehensive and feature-rich solution will also be drawn to Magento.
For smaller retailers without any development experience, however, a more user-friendly and streamlined solution will probably be preferable.
If you’re a large retailer that needs a customizable, powerful solution through which you can manage multiple sites in different countries. Remember to take care of hosting, security, and troubleshooting yourself if you opt for the open source version.
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 Magento and Etsy platforms are to run.
While advanced development knowledge is required to run the open-source and paid enterprise version of Magento, the management dashboard itself is pretty intuitive. That said, Magento does have a very large feature-set, so there’s a learning curve for new users.
The small business version has a page-builder for ease-of-use and assistance is available for getting set up. Smaller retailers interested in Magento should try the free trial to see if it fits with their needs.
"Powerful e-commerce platform - if you are willing to get your hands dirty.”
“It's a great and versatile eCommerce platform, which gives plenty of flexibility and has support for a vast amount of features and products.”
“I like the security features that Magento offers. It is one of the more secure options out there. The support community is very large so if you need help or have questions, you can usually find an answer quick.”
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.”
Etsy is our winner for ease of use
Powerful features are great, but we all know first impressions count. So, do Magento and Etsy templates actually look any good? See for yourself. We outline each platforms design options, plus showcase a few real life examples.
Magento is arguably the most customizable ecommerce platform on the market. But there’s a big caveat. To make design changes to the open-source and enterprise solutions, development skills are a must.
Magento only comes with one built-in storefront theme but a range of third-party templates are available. The downside is that these can be very expensive.
Small and medium retailers that want access to a user-friendly site-builder and library of free templates will likely prefer solutions like Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly and Wix.
If, as a small retailer, you’re drawn to Magento because of its wide array of features, “implementation plans” are available.
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.
Magento is our winner for design
Everyone’s favourite topic - pricing. Let's dive in to see if Magento or Etsy offers better value for money.
It’s always difficult to fault a free solution. What’s more, Magento comes with an extensive feature-set that would cost a significant amount of money on a similar plan from another provider. Open-source features include support for multiple languages, promotional tools, content management, order and shipping processing, customer service, and more.
But there are a few important points to keep in mind. For larger enterprises, the cost of maintaining secure servers and the need for an in-house development team will be high. And extensions often cost hundreds of dollars. Pricing for fully-hosted Magento plans is not published. The enterprise-level options, however, are reported to cost tens of thousands of dollars every month. Small business plans are advertised as “affordable”.
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.
It's a draw!
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 Magento's and Etsy's support measure up?
Technical support is limited on all plans on Magento. Users that have subscribed to a paid plan can submit support tickets. Additional support options - such as the “implementation package” for small businesses and “Magento Services” for enterprises - can be purchased for an additional cost.
If you decide to run Magento Open Source, you will need in-house IT support or an outsourced solution with an agency.
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.
Etsy is our winner for support
The final say. Let's wrap up our thoughts on each platform.
Magento has an exhaustive of features. Enterprise-level stores should definitely consider it as a solution. Medium-sized retailers will also find Magento to be an excellent choice that scales as their store grows. The virtually unlimited scope for customization is another big plus.
Retail companies that don’t want to take care of hosting in-house can also opt for one of Magento’s paid plans. Just keep in mind that development knowledge is a must and that the cost of extensions and additional support packages can quickly add up.
For smaller retailers, there is a plan that provides full access to Magento’s features at a lower price. A free trial is available and well worth checking out. Just remember that simpler entry-level solutions - which are easier to use for people without any coding skills or access to developers - may be more viable.
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 Magento and Etsyscored similarly.
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