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Setting Up Shipping on Shopify vs Etsy

Setting Up Shipping on Shopify vs Etsy

So, you've probably heard of Etsy and Shopify, right? They're two of the biggest players in the e-commerce game. I get asked a lot about shipping settings on Shopify, especially from people who are moving over from Etsy. And honestly, it's a great question because there are some differences in how the two platforms handle shipping. In a nutshell,

Etsy lets you (or requires you, depending on how you look at it) set individual shipping charges for each product in your shop, whether it's calculated based on size, weight, location, or even a flat rate or free shipping option. On Shopify, you'll have to choose one of four shipping options, and you can apply those settings to a bulk of your products.

So, let's compare the two in-depth and see what's what!

Setting Up Shipping: Shopify vs Etsy

Shipping Settings & Options


  • Flexible shipping options per product: Choose between free shipping, flat rate, or calculated shipping.
  • Shipping timelines per product: Specify a shipping timeline for each product, such as 1 day or 5 days.
  • Input package weight and size: When creating product listings, input the weight and size of the package for each item to calculate shipping costs.


Shopify provides four principal shipping options for your store, giving you the flexibility to select the method that best suits your business needs. You only get to choose one, and that method applies to your entire store.

Shopify Shipping Method

How It's Calculated

Weight-Based Rate

Fixed shipping fee per total weight of items

Calculated Shipping

Total weight of items + size of the package + shipping destination

Price Based Rate

Fixed shipping fee per cost of the order

Real Time Rates

Package weight and size + the shipping destination + chosen carrier

1. Weight-Based Rate Table

Calculates the cost based solely on the total weight of the items in an order. You set up a table with different weight ranges and corresponding shipping fees.


$6.00 for orders between 0-5 lbs

10.00 for 6-10 lbs

$15.00 for 10-15 lbs

$25.00 for orders over 16 lbs

You can only offer a single flat rate with this option. You also do not get to pick different shipping options such as USPS First Class, USPS Priority Mail, etc.

2. Calculated Shipping

Bases shipping costs on the dimensions, weight, and destination of the package. To calculate the costs, you will need to specify the weight of each item in your store and set default values for package size and weight.

When a customer places an order, their shipping cost will be calculated based on the total weight of the items + their location. With Calculated Shipping, you also have the ability to offer different shipping services, like USPS First Class Mail or USPS Priority Mail.

3. Price-Based Rate

The cost of shipping depends on the total amount of your order, regardless of how heavy or big the package is, or where it's going.


Orders that cost $0-$15 = $2.00 shipping.

Orders that cost $10.00-$20 = $8.00 shipping.

With this type of shipping, you can't choose a specific shipping method, just like you can't with Weight Based Shipping.

4. Real-Time Rates

Calculated based on the package weight and size, the shipping destination, and the carrier you work with.

For instance, if you have a preferential rate with UPS, you can configure the carrier to reflect these rates when a customer selects UPS during checkout.

NOTE: Real-Time Rates feature is available with either the $79/month Shopify plan or through prepaid annual subscription to the Shopify Basic plan.

Shipping Zones

Shipping zones on Shopify are geographical areas that you can use to determine where you'll ship your products and what shipping rates you'll charge.

Example 1: "Contiguous US". This shipping zone would include all states in the mainland United States, excluding Alaska and Hawaii. You could then set shipping rates for this zone, such as a flat rate for standard shipping, or a calculated rate based on weight for expedited shipping.

Example 2: For shipping within the USA and to all 241 countries globally, you can use multiple carriers like UPS, USPS, and DHL Express with all of their available services. To determine the shipping costs, you can set up calculated shipping for both the USA and international zones for all the carriers you offer.

How To Set Up Shipping Zones On Shopify

  1. Select "Add Shipping Zone" on your Shopify store's settings.
  2. Give your shipping zone a name, for example, "USA" or "Europe".
  3. Select the states or countries that you want to include in the shipping zone.
  4. Save the shipping zone by clicking on the "Save" button.

Need more help? Check out the "Shipping Zones" section on Shopify's manual!

Shipping Commissions


Etsy charges a 5% commission on shipping charges. Their commission is calculated based on the shipping charge. For example, if the shipping charge is $20, Etsy takes $1. Or, if you pay $3,000 a year, say, to UPS, Etsy would still take 5% ($150) of that total commission.


Shopify does not charge a percentage of the shipping fee.

Buying Shipping 

Both Etsy and Shopify offer the option to purchase and print shipping labels directly from the platform, as well as the ability to use a third-party service. However, there are some little differences in how they handle shipping label purchases.

With Etsy, you can purchase shipping labels directly from the platform or buy them at a physical location, but you'll need to use a different carrier or shipping method if you don't want to use Etsy's shipping labels. 

On Shopify, you can purchase and print shipping labels either through the platform or by using a third-party app or service, which gives you more flexibility in terms of carrier options and shipping rates. 

Overall, the process of purchasing and printing shipping labels is straightforward on both platforms, and once you have the label, you can attach it to your package and send it on its way.

Now, What’s The BETTER option?

When it comes to choosing between Shopify and Etsy, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. The best platform for you will depend on your unique needs and priorities.

That being said, there are some differences between the two platforms that may be worth considering. Shopify offers more flexibility when it comes to customization and setting up, so if you have specific shipping needs or want more control over it,, it may be a good option for you. On the other hand, Etsy is a great option for those who are just starting out. 

It's worth taking the time to research both platforms and consider your goals and resources before making a decision.

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