How To Shopify Your Etsy Store

eCommerce alternatives to Etsy

On April 5, Etsy launched “Pattern by Etsy”, their eCommerce solution for sellers interested in having a stand-alone, website for their Etsy store.  Etsy Pattern was easy to use and I was able to create a Pattern website that was a copy of my Etsy store, within minutes.   But over-all I did not feel that the features offered in this new service justified the extra $15/month fee.  (You can read my full review of Etsy Pattern here.)

Though I don’t have a great interest in expanding my online store beyond Etsy, I am interested in understanding the available eCommerce options.  This lead me to spend the last 2 weeks, conducting my own research.  I reviewed a few service providers including: WebsiteBuilder.com (has a free plan), Shopify (has a 14-day free trial) and WooCommerce (free open-source solution for websites powered by WordPress).  I had also signed up with Squarespace (has 14-day free trial), but I never had the chance to conduct my review prior to my trial period ending. WebsiteBuilder is more of a website building platform instead of an eCommerce platform. It has some eCommerce features but they seem limited and do incur added fees.   In the end, I focused my efforts reviewing Shopify and WooComerce.  At the end of this 2 week learning adventure, my leanings are towards WooCommerce for two reasons. First WooCommerce has a large following with mostly positive reviews.  Second, as open-source, it’s free and has an active developer community enhancing the product.  Because it is open, you can customize the code to meet your specific needs, something I appreciate as a software engineer. For a more detailed review of WooCommerce, see this post.  However, this article is about setting up Shopify and how to migrate your Etsy inventory into Shopify.   Let’s begin.

Steps to setup your Shopify Online Store

To setup your Shopify online store, perform the following steps.  There is a nice video on this site  which will guide you through the steps.

Sign-up:

Head on over to Shopify and sign-up for the 14-day trial membership and select the Get Started button.

 1. Create your online store:

Follow the prompts, filling in your personal details including store name.  Make sure to select “Online Store” to create an online store.  At this point you can choose to add products, but since we will be migrating your Etsy inventory later, you can skip this step.  Or you can add a single product to familiarize yourself with the process, which is similar to creating products in Etsy with a few exceptions that I will highlight later. Also having at least one product will help you visualize the look of your store during theme selection.

2. Customize the look of your store:

Now it’s time to customize your store by selecting a theme as well as other customization options.  This article provides guidance on how to customize your Shopify shop.  Shopify has many customization options (unlike Etsy Pattern), allowing you to really manage the look and feel of your website.  Selecting “Live Theme Preview” allows you to preview your changes prior to publishing.  You can also select a theme (both free and paid) under “Try a new theme” if you want to avoid creating your own theme.  There are many theme options that can further be customized using basic, built-in options.  If you are willing to get more technical, you can customize your theme by modifying the Shopify .liqud files under ‘Edit HTML/CSS’.  Once you are satisfied with your updates, you can publish your changes.

Here is a preview of a free theme I used to create my Shopify online store front.  As you can see, it has both a desktop as well as mobile preview; very handy.

admin-console

3. Updating your Shopify store url to a custom domain:

After setting up your Shopify online store, your store url will be something like: https://{storename}.myshopify.com.  If you want it to be something like: https://myshopify.com, you will need a custom domain.  You can buy a domain from Shopify or from a hosting provider, such as  GoDaddy.  I purchased a domain from GoDaddy for .99 cents for the first year.  If you have purchased a domain from GoDaddy, you can set it up from the Shopify Admin dashboard.  Select “Online Store” and add an existing domain, where you will follow the prompts to add your existing custom domain.  You will need to configure your domain in GoDaddy to link it to your Shopify store.  Log in to your GoDaddy account and select the domain (the custom domain name you selected) to manage.  Then select “Manage DNS”

gd-domain1

You will add DNS entries similar to the following, replacing ‘bellasjardin’ with your shop name of course.

gd-domain

Once your domain has successfully been linked to your Shopify store, you will have a screen similar to the following.

domain

5. Setting up payments:

Here you will setup payment options.  I’m not going to go into the details of how to set up payments but you can view this article for more information.  You have many options including Shopify’s internal payment system “Shopify Payments” as well as PayPal and other 3rd party payment gateways.  The advantage of using “Shopify Payments” is that it is easier to set up and and is integrated with Shopify.  Another advantage is that you can avoid transaction fees that would otherwise be incurred if you decide to use a 3rd party payment gateway.  You still pay the credit card processing fee associated with your Shopify plan level but transaction fees are waived.

6. Importing your Etsy listings into Shopify:

To import your Etsy listings into Shopify you will need a csv file containing your Etsy listings.  First you will need to export your Etsy listings following these instructions.  If you want to only import selected listings into Shopify, open your downloaded csv file in a spreadsheet app such as excel or Goole Sheets and remove the entries you do not want to import.

EtsyExportedListing

Once you have your exported Etsy listings csv file, you can import it into Shopify using these steps.

product-import

From your Shopify admin, click Products then Import.  Choose the option to import an existing csv file and select your downloaded csv file generated earlier.  After the import you should see your imported Etsy listings on the Products page.  It is a good idea to review the imported listings for correctness before publishing them.  From this same page, you can hide your products until you review them.  Select all products and under “Bulk actions”, select “Hide selected products”.  Then review each product for accuracy and once satisfied, select the products you want to publish and under the “Bulk actions”, select “Publish selected products”.

Overall, the import was pretty good at importing my Etsy listings, but with some challenges as listed below.

  1. Variants: If you use Etsy pricing variations for some of your listings, these will not import with separate prices.  This is because Etsy does not include the pricing variations in the csv file. Shopify imports these as separate products, each with the same price.  Therefore you will need to manually update those product entries to correct the prices.  Here is a link with steps for product variant management.
  2.  Shipping Costs: Shopify does not have a per listing shipping option like Etsy.  Shopify supports 2  generalized shipping rates based on: A)  Weight range and B) Price range.  Shopify automates the shipping cost based on either of these 2 rates, if you indicate shipping should be applied to the product.  If you are selling one of a kind products which vary in size and weight, and you only want to charge the customer the actual cost of shipping for that specific product, this will be a challenge.  You can view this video for more details on setting Shopify shipping rates.  For purposes of setting up my Shopify store, I chose option A; set shipping price based on weight.

shippingRates

7. Viewing Product Details

And here is an example of the product details for one of my listings.

productdetails

A nice feature of Shopify relates to tax collection.  If you are selling online, you generally don’t need to collect taxes from your out-of-state customers.  However, if you are selling to customers within the same state where you run your business, you will need to collect tax.  Shopify will automatically calculates taxes based on the county of the shipping address.  This is in contrast to Etsy where you must setup your tax rates yourself and assign it individually to your listings. This approach is not thorough since there is no way to base the rate by county, as you don’t know in advance which county the shipping will be in.  Taxes are setup from the Shopify dashboard at  Settings | Taxes.

shopifytaxes

8. Product Collections and Featured Products

Product Collections

Product collections are like your Etsy sections and managed from Products | Collections from the Shopify dashboard.  Unlike Etsy where you assign a product to a specific Etsy section, in Shopyify, products are automatically assigned to a collection,  given “Production conditions” ( predefined rules or filter conditions).  See this article for steps on how to create and manage Shopify collections.

In the screen shot below I have defined collections along with the filter conditions used to categorize my products by collection. Notice you can have more than one condition, each of which will be applied as a filter for the collection.

productcollections

Here is a screenshot of my Shopify storefront with several product collections.

shopifyCollections

Featured Products

Shopify Featured Products is similar to Etsty Featured listings. To display a set of products prominently on the front page,  you can follow these instructions.  The Following screenshot is my Shopify store front with featured products.

shopifyFeatured

9. Enabling Google Analytics

Use Google Analytics to track your site’s visitors and their habits.  This information is critical to analyzing the performance of your website, enabling you to understand its weaknesses and strengths, so you can improve your site.  To set up Google Analytics on your Shopify store, see these steps .

googleanalytics_censored

Conclusion

If you are thinking about moving off of Etsy or just expanding your online presence beyond Etsy, then using an eCommerce platform may be a good consideration.  There are many platforms, some more popluar than others.  My investigation is limited to Shopify and WooCommerce, but this link  lists many others ranked by SEO.

Over-all, my impressions of Shopify were good.  The main draw-back is pricing.   If you are a successful shop with many sales, then the price may be worth it, but if you just starting out, the cost is a little steep.  In comparison, WooCommerce is a free platform.  There are costs for self-hosting, but this is generally less than the cost of using commercial eCommerce providers.  For a look at my review of WooCommerce see this post.

Shopify: The Pros

  1. Easy setup and configuration:  It was very easy to sign up and configure.  The basic process (without too much customization), took less than 30 minutes.
  2. Easy to use:  The interface is fairly intuitive and easy to navigate the dashboard.
  3. Customization:  Many customization options from basic to advance.  Lots of theme choice, both free and paid.
  4.  Shopping cart integration:  If using “Shopify Payments” there is no configuration needed and 0 transaction fees.  I have not attempted to configure 3rd party payment gateways so I can’t speak to the ease of that process.
  5. No maintenance:  Shopify is both a hosting and e-commerce platform.  Uptime and performance is all managed by Shopify so you don’t need to know the nitty gritty details of web server management.

The Cons

  1.  Pricing:  Pricing is high for a small shop starting out.
  2.  Shipping Rates:  Lack of flexibility in defining shipping rates on a per product basis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.