Do you want to sell t-shirts online?
Shopee and Shopify are two of the most popular e-commerce platforms for selling products.
Which one is right for your print-on-demand business? Let’s compare them side by side so you can decide which platform will work best for you.
- If you’re looking for a low-budget solution where you can start selling t-shirts to a vast plethora of customers, then Shopee is for you.
- If you’re more focused on developing your own brand and starting with some budget to invest in it, then Shopify is for you.
This article will provide an in-depth view of both Shopee and Shopify, based on their background and pros and cons.
By the end of it, it will be easier for you to make a reasonable decision wheater the two platforms choose for your e-commerce store.
So let’s get started!
What is Shopee
Shopee is a Malaysian e-commerce company headquartered in Kuala Lumpur.
The service distinguishes itself from other e-commerce companies by allowing sellers to control their online store to use Shopee merchandise, rewarded ads, and paid search advertisements.
Shopee was founded in December 2012 as a mobile platform with smartphone applications for iOS and Android operating systems. The company relaunched the service as an e-commerce website in June 2015. Before its rebranding, it operated as Zalora Malaysia.
Shopee was ranked at 1st position in the E-Commerce Indicator by the Malaysian Book of Records two times consecutively based on GMV sold for 2016 and 2017.
Pros of Shopee
- No Set Up Costs. Instead of spending thousands of dollars to set up an ecommerce storefront, you can get started by paying zero when you start on Shopee. On top of that, you don’t even have to set up your own payment gateway. You can use the one that is already set up in site shopping. A payment gateway can easily cost you a few thousand dollars in setup fees and a few hundred to a few thousand dollars in yearly fees. So with both of these fees can be absorbed by Shopee, which is really helpful, especially if you don’t have a large budget to start with.
- Popularity. With over 40 million visitors per month, Shopee is already the largest marketplace in Asia. Arguably it’s even the largest, most popular e-commerce site in Malaysia. So imagine the potential customers you could reach with your online store!
Cons of Shopee
The platform facilitates online shopping for consumers from Malaysia and several other countries from the Southeast Asian region. It offers a wide range of products, including apparel and fashion clothing, fashion accessories, consumer electronics, household appliances, and personal care items.
- Customization. Shopee doesn’t let you customize your store properly and make it unique according to your tastes and brand image. It means that your store will likely end up being as many others on the platform.
- Fees. When Shopee first launched in Malaysia, it offered sellers zero-fee rates to onboard as many sellers as possible. Once the platform has matured and gained a dominance in the market, fees have started to raise up consequently and most likely won’t drop until a new competitor will enter the market.
- Competition. In Shopee, you’re likely to run into other sellers selling the same products as you, but at a lower price or with better promotions. Developing an aggressive pricing strategy would be the best way to stand out, even if it leads to a race to the bottom price and lower earnings.
What is Shopify
Shopify is the world’s leading cloud-based, multi-channel commerce platform. With their integrated e-commerce platform, you can easily set up a website or online store in minutes.
You can choose from different plans and packages, all depending on the size of your shop and your needs. They provide high-quality solutions for both new and established businesses looking to sell their products across multiple channels.
Shopify was launched in 2006 and is headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario.
The company has served over 1.7 million businesses across 175 countries throughout the years, allowing them to launch and establish their branded store.
After struggling to open Snowdevil, a website for snowboarding equipment, founders Tobias Lütke, Scott Lake, and Daniel Weinand decided to create Shopify. Lutke and his team developed their own e-commerce platform following their dissatisfaction with the existing market offerings.
Fifteen years later, their choice could not have been more far-sighted!
Pros of Shopify
- Branding. Unlike Shopee, where you have no control over your store looks, Shopify provides unlimited customization solutions. You can set up a store any way you want, following your creativity and design skills.
- Control. We have seen on Shopee how they tend to control your customer experience. But on Shopify, you have full control over the process since the customers visit your store and demand your products. Basically, you manage the entire customer experience, including communication and fulfillment.
Cons of Shopify
- Cost. Shopify is more expensive than Shopee, where creating and maintaining your store is free. The basic version of Shopify starts at $29 a month, while Shopify Plus arrives at up to $2.000 a month. Additionally, every time a customer buys a product from your store, you must pay a fee of at least 2.0% for each transaction. As you set up your store, you’ll also need to pay for miscellaneous costs, such as buying a premium theme if you don’t like the free ones (consider paying around $170 one time for this). Or, you may take into account hiring a Shopify freelancer if you’re a newcomer in setting up your own store. Or, if you’re an expert, you may want to use additional Shopify apps to expand your store features. Each feature will necessarily turn out into extra monthly fees. Lastly, the most important is the payment gateway: there is no way to avoid that fee on Shopify. So for people who don’t have a large budget to start, Shopify isn’t the ideal platform for your e-commerce business.
- Marketing. Unlike Shopee, Shopify is a platform that does not pay for marketing, so you need to get traffic if you are selling on it. Therefore, you have to pay a considerable amount of money for Facebook ads, Instagram ads, and influencer ads. Otherwise, nobody will ever visit your store.
Shopify or Shopee – What to Choose?
So now that we’ve seen the pros and cons of selling t-shirts on Shopee and Shopify, we have come to the main question:
Which one should you choose to get started?
Well, the answer is: depends on your goal.
If your goal is just to create a side income, don’t care about creating a brand, and have a tight budget to invest, then Shopee would be the better to get started!
On the other hand, if your goal is to build and establish a brand throughout the years, and you have money to invest, then Shopify is for you! It provides unlimited customization options and allows you to enhance your store’s shopping experience.
Although, if you have a Shopify store, you could also create a shopping store as part of a multi-channel sales strategy.
How to Sync Your Shopify Store to Shopee
If you’re still undecided on which platform to use, we get you covered!
Shopify developed an app called “Easy Shopee”, which integrates with Shopee and lets you sell products through their marketplace.
The process is straightforward and runs by itself when synchronized with the Shopify store.
First, you have to install the “Easy Shopee” app and open a Shopee seller account.
Then connect it to the app, and you can start publishing your custom t-shirts to your Shopify store, as you would normally do.
These will be synchronized to the Shopee store that will be updated with the new merch.
Once a customer purchases on your Shopee store, the order will be sent to your Shopify site for processing and fulfillment.
The cost of the “Easy Shopee” app starts from $1/month, with a 7-day free trial.
Please note that both stores must sell items in the same currency.
In this article, we’ve compared the differences between selling t-shirts on Shopee versus Shopify. We hope it will come in handy to decide on which platform to sell first or if you should sell on both.
Whether you're looking for an easy-to-use solution or a more complex service, both offer various features that can help you scale your t-shirt business through new markets.
You should define first your needs and priorities before making your final choice. But don’t waste other time.
Let your t-shirt business begin!