Shopify vs Amazon — Are you an online seller struggling to decide between the two leading eCommerce platforms? In this comprehensive comparison, we dive into all of their key features, pros and cons, and pricing details. Follow our guide to determine which platform is best suited for your business goals!
If you want to get a thorough understanding of the contrast between Shopify and Amazon, then we highly suggestreading the full article.
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To launch us off, let's discuss the primary distinction between these two platforms.
Amazon & Shopify: The biggest difference
Shopify and Amazon are two titans of the eCommerce industry. While both enable you to reach a wide demographic, they distinctly differ from one another.
Shopify provides you with an opportunity to construct your own virtual store while Amazon is already a thriving online market containing 3.8 billion products just in the US last year – that’s 7,400 sales each minute! With either service, there will be ample exposure for whatever product or merchandise you offer; however which platform best suits your objective?
When you sell on Shopify, it’s just like renting your own shop to curate and display the products of your choice. And lots of merchants love this option, Built with estimates that more than 4 million sites are currently powered by Shopify!
On the other hand, selling with Amazon is a lot like stocking up shelves in an enormous supermarket. With Shopify, there will be extra effort required for configuration and reaching out to customers – but then again, all decisions would be yours to make- from product selection to pricing strategies!
- How you create your brand’s image.
- what your online shop looks like
- how you are marketing your products
- How are you able to gather data?
- The manner in which you promote your products.
By selling products on Amazon, you are granted access to a colossal customer base…but so is your competition. To use the supermarket analogy, having an online presence on Amazon can be seen as receiving shelf space in the grocery aisle; many people will look at it but which product will they choose?
Yours or one of your competitors’? In this comparison, I discuss both methods and their benefits and drawbacks in-depth.
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But before we go any further, how user-friendly are both platforms?
Simple of Use
For those starting out in ecommerce, Amazon and Shopify are the ideal platforms to kick off your venture.
Both of these websites have been designed with simplicity at their core, making it easy for beginners to get started quickly. When you become a member of either platform, an onboarding setup process will give you a step-by-step guide to kickstart your journey as a seller. Additionally, there is plenty of online material and video tutorials available for extra support when needed.
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Despite the fact that neither learning curves are too steep, they do differ in some ways with regard to each platform.
When selling through Amazon, you must become an expert in using the database system “Amazon Seller Central” to maximize your success. View Amazon Seller Central
As a new Amazon merchant, the key challenge is to guarantee that your product name, details, and catalog numbers meet all requirements. This can involve many forms of documentation when setting up a listing on Amazon – making it quite difficult to get started!
Even if you have all the tools and resources needed to be a successful Amazon seller, there’s still the tedious process of obtaining an account. To get your journey started on becoming an Amazon seller, here is what you’ll need:
- A corporate email address or Amazon consumer account
- A credit card that accrues interest and requires payment.
- Government-issued Identification
- Tax information
- A working phone number
- An account with a bank
When you choose Shopify, creating a new website is effortless. Adding products to your store only takes moments and allows you the flexibility to add as much or as little information about each item as desired.
All that is required to get you on your way with Shopify is a valid email address and essential contact information.
Nevertheless, when it comes to Shopify, you’ll need to get familiar with web design duties such as:
- Crafting one-of-a-kind themes to suit your individual needs is simple with our customizing options.
- Web pages are easy to create
- Easy domain mappings.
Even though Shopify platform was created to make the process of web design as easy as we can, there is still a lot for beginners to learn. Shopify’s new guide regarding how to construct a Shopify store might be helpful in this regard. Now, let’s explore branding and user experience further!
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User experience and branding are easy to control
When selling on Amazon, you will be slightly restricted in terms of the look and feel of your business. You can add a logo or two to make it slightly more customized, but overall your Amazon store will have an ‘Amazon’ vibe that doesn’t allow for much unique personalization compared to other platforms.
Thus, if creating a bespoke shopping experience is what you’re looking for, then Amazon may not be the right platform for you.
Despite offering limited control over the user experience, Amazon still delivers its customers a satisfactory journey. In contrast, Shopify provides merchants with much more customization choices in terms of brand identity and consumer interaction.
At present, it offers 111 templates so you can adjust your store’s design to match your branding requirements exactly. If you possess technical abilities then further improvements are possible; editing HTML and CSS code allows for added personalization that amplifies the customer experience!
With multi-currency and multilingual features, Shopify gives you the power to tailor your user experience more precisely than Amazon.
No matter what particular buyer persona, market or location you are targeting, Shopify provides a highly customized shopping experience that Amazon simply cannot match.
Using shipping and dropshipping
When evaluating the Amazon vs Shopify rivalry, a particularly significant factor to consider is shipping.
Amazon product shipping
With Amazon, you have two distinct methods of shipping products. These include:
- Ship them yourself!
- Send your products to Amazon for fulfillment using its “Fulfilment by Amazon” (FBA) service – a brilliant option for any business. With FBA, you enjoy product storage and offer Prime delivery that customers cherish!
However, it should be noted that there are some additional fees associated with this.
Shopify product shipping
With Shopify, you can ship your own goods and customize a range of shipping rates based on product weight, quantity, price — or whatever other criteria is relevant to your business. Get the flexibility you need when deciding how much to charge customers for shipping!
If you’re looking for a way to avoid fulfilling orders on your own, then consider connecting your Shopify store to a third-party fulfillment service (for example, FBA).
An alternate choice is dropshipping, which can be an effective strategy. And speaking of…
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Dropshipping with Amazon and Shopify
Dropshipping is a way of selling goods where you don’t make, store or fulfil any products. You simply take an order via your online store, send it to a supplier, and they deliver the goods to your client. Your ecommerce site becomes, in effect, a middle man of sorts.
Without a doubt, Shopify is the superior platform for dropshipping – it was specifically designed with this type of e-commerce in mind. While you can technically utilize either Amazon or Shopify to dropship, one stands out as more suitable and efficient than the other.
Shopify grants you access to an abundance of dropshipping apps and suppliers, currently totaling 503 – all without inviting a huge financial commitment.
It is indeed possible to use Amazon’s FBA service in order to fulfill items sold through Shopify; you’ll need a third-party integration that comes with a fee, however.
Dropshipping using Shopify is a simple process, however with Amazon that’s not necessarily the case. While dropshipping on Amazon is possible to an extent, there are some key restrictions and extra costs associated that make it a bit more complicated:
- If you want retailers to ship products directly to your customers, they must recognize you as the seller of record – meaning that all packing slips, invoices and other documents associated with orders should include your name or contact information only. Any box sent out by a retailer cannot display any details of another party involved in the sale.
- Profit margins can be significantly lower on Amazon compared to Shopify, because they take a percentage of income from dropshipped sales that range between 10% and 15%.
Ultimately, Shopify is the superior choice for dropshipping over Amazon – especially if you’re looking to sell a great number of products.
Starter kit for shopify & Amazon dropshipping
If the idea of dropshipping appeals to you, I strongly suggest that you check out Shopify’s Dropshipping Starter Kit. With this kit, you get a few days of complimentary access to Shopify and it includes plenty of tools and resources to help launch your successful drop shipping store on Shopify!
Is Prime really a threat to Shopify?
Amazon has recently unveiled an exciting and innovative feature, ‘Buy with Prime’, that allows FBA merchants to add a snippet of code to their own websites in order for customers to have access to Amazon’s fast and familiar checkout process, next day delivery, as well as free returns. As reported by Amazon themselves:
“Buy with Prime will allow millions of U.S.-based Prime members to shop directly from merchants’ online stores with the trusted experience they expect from Amazon…Prime members will see the Prime logo and delivery promise on eligible products in merchants’ online stores, which signals the item is available for free delivery, as fast as next day, with free returns.” Amazon Press Team
This exclusive service is still in its infancy, and unfortunately only available for customers located within the United States. Although this feature has yet to reach full potential, it could potentially move Amazon into a Shopify-like direction—with merchants running their own digital stores but utilizing Amazon as a payment gateway and fulfillment services provider. Sadly though, Shopify users won’t have access to this new element of the platform, as indicated by their policy against doing so. Breaching their terms of service will result in serious repercussions.
How to attract customers to your online store
Without any hesitation, it’s clear that Amazon reigns supreme in the Shopify vs. Amazon matchup when you’re seeking an already-established customer base.
With an astounding 300+ million user accounts in over 180 countries, 2.4 billion monthly visits, and $127.1bn net sales just for the third quarter of 2022 alone – Amazon’s storefront provides a shop window to the world like no other eCommerce platform can offer! Selling through Amazon is far more beneficial than opting for platforms such as Shopify due to its extensive reach and global recognition.
Joining Amazon as a seller won’t instantly bring in loads of customers, yet your items will be immediately accessible via an extremely successful platform that generates huge amounts of income. As long as you have accurately discovered a market and given time to create high-quality product descriptions and determined price points — then the odds are likely that it can result in sales.
Amazon’s algorithmically generated “customers also viewed” and “customers also bought” recommendations can help to increase your product visibility and, if you generate several sales from its influence, it has the potential to expand your business significantly. Additionally, participating in marketing events such as Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday promotions will draw even more existing customers towards you.
Starting a Shopify store can be an intimidating task, not only do you have to build and design the store from scratch, but you need to put considerable effort into SEO, content marketing, and online advertising for your business to gain attention. This is both expensive as well as demanding on your time.
Despite the potential risks associated with running a Shopify store, such as changes to Google core updates which can affect its performance in search results, you hold ultimate control and power over your online asset. In contrast, Amazon may choose to alter its terms of business or recommendation algorithms at any point without warning- potentially causing havoc for successful businesses.
Therefore it is clear that owning your own eCommerce platform provides huge benefits like independence, stability and confidence, knowing that you have full authority.
Undeniably, Amazon is the clear victor in terms of its pre-existing set of customers that can be easily accessed. When it comes to attracting customers with ease, you simply cannot beat Amazon!
Shopify and Amazon e-commerce marketing
In this digital age, many e-commerce stores are flourishing due to content marketing – by crafting captivating blog posts that lure people into their websites with the goal of converting them into customers!
Shopify offers an easy-to-use blogging tool which allows you to craft comprehensive blog posts that are perfectly suited for inbound marketing campaigns. When looking to market your Amazon product list, however, you should create a distinct blog (WordPress and Squarespace are both viable options) and then link back to the items listed on your store.
Local selling and point of sale
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, countless ‘in-person’ businesses were abruptly shuttered and suddenly needed to transition into ecommerce. Shopify provided a perfect solution for many looking to make that shift – allowing them to easily sell online, set up Covid-safe pickup options, or even offer local delivery services.
Moreover, its customizability meant these companies could create unique websites that captured their physical stores’ essence. All in all, Shopify was there when they needed it most!
With Shopify, you can construct a website that is perfectly in line with your branding while also utilizing local SEO strategies to increase the visibility of your business locally. In contrast, Amazon’s model doesn’t often provide an avenue for catering to a region-specific audience; it focuses on delivering goods quickly and efficiently to as many people as possible.
Thus, if you have a company rooted in one location or region, then Shopify is usually the optimal choice for creating an online presence.
Not only does Shopify provide a comprehensive suite of features for online stores, but it also functions as an effective payment processor for physical locations. With its versatile system, retailers are able to manage their offline and digital sales from one spot and ensure inventory remains in sync no matter the point-of-sale (POS) hardware used.
Shopify currently dominates the point-of-sale (POS) market with its extensive and fully integrated features. However, Amazon is actively developing a new POS system called ‘Project Santos’ to compete with rivals like Shopify, Square and PayPal, which may soon alter their current advantage in this space. If you’d like to find out more about Shopify’s POS capabilities then check out.
As Project Santos continues to evolve, it seems that an online store builder is in the works – a real competitor for Shopify. It appears this could spark even more heated debates surrounding the Shopify vs Amazon debate. At present though, when discussing POS (Point of Sale) systems, Shopify clearly still has an edge over other options out there. So as far as development goes with Project Santos, we will just have to wait and see!
Could SEO be the cause of a two-sided search engine story?
Achieving success on either Shopify or Amazon is largely contingent upon your SEO endeavors. Consequently, it’s important to become educated on the ways in which search engines operate when you set up a store on one of these platforms.
For a Shopify store, Google reigns supreme as the search engine of choice – with 92% of all searches being powered by it. Although Bing and DuckDuckGo can also present your products to potential customers, they are no match for the sheer power of Google when it comes to online marketing. Make sure that you have optimized your store on this platform so more people will be exposed to what you offer!
If you’re selling products on Amazon, your primary focus must be their very own search engine (the “A9” or “A10” algorithm, as some blogs refer to it). It’s actually the second largest in the world with 74% of all product searches relying upon it.
As stated by Moz, a leading supplier of SEO services and data, the distinctions between search engines can be summarized in this way:
“On Amazon, people aren’t asking questions; they’re searching for products — and what’s more, they’re ready to buy. So, while Google is busy honing an algorithm that aims to understand the nuances of human language, Amazon’s search engine serves one purpose — to understand searches just enough to rank products based on their propensity to sell.”
Lorna Franklin, Amazon vs. Google: Decoding the World’s Largest Ecommerce Search Engine, Moz blog.
To successfully optimize your Shopify or Amazon store and maximize its potential, high-caliber research into SEO strategies for each must be conducted. For a good place to start on Shopify you can check out the Style Factory Shopify SEO guide and Moz’s guide to Amazon versus Google SEO for Amazon as well.
Additionally, keyword research tools such as Ahrefs and Semrush when using Google or Sellzone for Amazon will help you determine which search terms are realistically rankable in order to achieve optimal results.
When it comes to Amazon stores, you are presented with a unique SEO opportunity that cannot be found elsewhere — the ability to optimize on both Amazon’s search engine and Google.
This means that an Amazon store offers double the chances of getting your products seen by customers searching for them compared to Shopify! It is important not to forget this crucial advantage when deciding which platform best suits your business needs.
Customer relation support
Despite not being a “shouted about” feature, Amazon offers customer support for its merchants. Support does not play an upfront role on the company’s official website for sellers, and contact info to connect with the customer service team is hardly visible in any of their online resources.
Amazon strongly encourages you to take advantage of the resources available – from help pages, community forums and video tutorials – in order to find solutions for yourself. However, if all else fails, you can request a callback by logging into your account and locating the ‘contact us’ section.
In comparison, Shopify plans are built with customer support as an essential element. You can quickly locate contact info for the help team and find live chat, email and phone assistance in addition to web pages of support provided in 21 languages.
How about company Ethics
Oftentimes, Shopify vs Amazon comparisons leave out an important factor: ethics. While it could be argued that Amazon’s approach to taxation and worker treatment is questionable; this moral dilemma might greatly affect your view of the two companies depending on your political beliefs. So consider these ethical considerations when making a decision between Shopify or Amazon!
When you own an online business, it’s almost impossible to disregard Amazon as a sales platform—it is now the primary way of purchasing items for millions of customers. If you choose not to offer your goods on this platform, you will be preventing yourself from reaching out to potential buyers and shutting off access one of world’s biggest search engines.
Alternatively, by listing your products on Amazon, you are joining forces with the company’s ideals and contributing to its profits. It is essential that weigh up whether or not morally if comfortable doing so before making any decisions.
If you take a more ethical approach to doing business but struggle with sensitivities, starting up your own Shopify store may be the perfect solution. Interestingly, in recent years, Shopify has been actively presented as an “ethical shop” compared to Amazon’s “unethical” practices – although this can depend on how customers use their platform.
Nevertheless, it is undeniable that when using Shopify you have the opportunity to conduct your ecommerce activity according to your values and morals!
Now that we have examined the functions and features of Shopify and Amazon, let’s move on to exploring the respective costs associated with selling through each platform.
Shopify offers a range of five pricing plans to suit your monthly needs:
- Shopify Starter — $5 per month
- Basic Shopify — $29 per month
- Shopify — $79 per month
- Advanced Shopify — $299 per month
- Shopify Plus —Offers tailored pricing based on your individual needs.
If you’re interested in seeing what Shopify can do for your business, you can sign up now to take advantage of free 3-day trial. Simply click on the special link and have a look around! If after three days you decide that this is something worth investing in.
No matter which Shopify plan you choose, you will benefit from a suite of core eCommerce features such as unlimited digital and physical product catalogs, credit cart processing options, gift cards, abandoned cart recovery tools, discount codes and an SSL certificate. However, there are key distinctions between each plan that it is wise to keep in mind when choosing the one for your business needs.
These are as follows:
- Shopify’s Starter plan is perfect for those looking to take their business online with minimal effort. It offers users the ability to easily sell products through social media channels and messaging apps, or by embedding a ‘buy button’ into an existing website – meaning no need to build a standalone store of your own! Furthermore, you won’t be able to use point of sale features; however this could work in your favour if that isn’t something you’re keen on.
- The number of people that can access your account depends on which plan you choose. For instance, ‘Basic Shopify’ allows only two staff accounts while the more advanced version grants fifteen users. If you are looking for something tailored to enterprise users, then ‘Shopify Plus’ is perfect for you; it includes features such as additional security measures and API integration along with dedicated account management support – all at a price point suited to meet any businesses needs!
- For comprehensive, professional reports, upgrade to the Shopify plan of $79 or more.
- The cost of credit card fees decreases as the plan rate increases.
- When you employ Shopify Payments (Shopify’s resident payment gateway), there are no additional transaction fees. However, if other third-party payment processors are used, these fees do apply and they differ depending on the pricing plan chosen — naturally lower rates come with higher priced plans.
If you are seeking to sell items online with Amazon, then you must establish a ‘seller account.’ This is available in two varieties.
- Individual — Pay 0.99 cents for every item sold!
- Professional — Monthly plan of $39.99!
(Although the costs vary by country, the plan types remain constant regardless of location. In particular, these prices are applicable to customers in America.).
When deciding between these payment options, it’s important to understand the major distinctions.
- Rather than a monthly subscription, our ‘Individual’ plan is pay-as-you-go. Though you won’t be charged any extra fees for referrals per item, it does limit your sales to less than 40 items each month and denies access to Amazon advertising services as well as detailed reports.
- The ‘Professional’ plan provides you with an unbeatable, recurring service that unlocks the full functionality of Amazon. It allows unlimited selling capabilities and access to a slew of advanced features ranging from setting personalized shipping fees to advertising opportunities on the platform. Multiple categories may be explored while multiple users can be linked to your account!
Not to be forgotten are the costs associated with Amazon’s referral fee on each sale. Depending on the type of product you’re selling, these fees can range from 8-15%, so it pays to do your research before listing any items for sale.
Since Shopify and Amazon have different structures, it is difficult to decide which pricing plan offers the best value. Generally speaking, for those considering using Shopify, I advise getting the ‘Shopify’ plan since this is usually a great option; conversely if you are looking at Amazon then only power users or professional merchants should go with their ‘Professional’ plan. Ultimately though, when trying to avoid referral fees entirely then undoubtedly your safest bet would be with Shopify.
The verdict Shopify vs Amazon
When comparing Shopify and Amazon, it’s not necessarily possible to declare a clear victor. However, here at Style Factory we can instead provide you with the information you need to determine which platform might be better suited for your specific needs.
By shedding light on the various contexts where one solution may work better than another, we hope that this will make your decision-making process easier!
Here, we’ve outlined the key reasons for using Shopify or Amazon. Please leave a comment below with feedback on this post and your personal thoughts about choosing between Shopify and Amazon. All comments are read by us, and we will do our best to address any questions you may have.
Shopify vs Amazon Pros and cons
- Shopify offers the perfect solution for merchants who require a stand-alone site with their own domain name.It’s considerably more customizable, and lets you create a much more ‘on-brand’ presence than Amazon.
- It’s a much better option than dropshipping.
- It’s a more suitble option for small businesses in need of a more locally owned business.
- Because of its built-in blogging features, Shopify lets you engage in content marketing more easily.
By utilizing Shopify, you can merchandise your products ethically as opposed to Amazon. Doubts still remain regarding the corporation’s respect for workers’ rights and taxation; making use of Amazon suggests investing in their values and giving money to them.
- With the Shopify app, you can have your cake and eat it too! You get to list products on Amazon without having to leave behind all of the benefits that come with using Shopify. Plus, there’s no need for any additional applications – just plug in and start selling!
- Unlock a vast array of captivating ecommerce capabilities with the Shopify app store, which offers many advantages that you won’t find on Amazon.
If you use Shopify’s integrated payment processor, you can completely get rid of Amazon’s referral fees (which generally range from 8%-15% per sale).
Amazon over Shopify Advantages
- By using Amazon, you have instant access to millions of potential customers. On the other hand, Shopify will require more effort from you in order to build up a customer base.
- When you list your products on an existing online store, web design fuss is a thing of the past. Conversely, opting for Shopify calls for registering a domain and constructing an entirely new website from scratch!
- Amazon sellers can reach out to two types of search audiences – users on Amazon’s own popular search engine, and those seeking help from external sources like Google and Bing. On the contrary, Shopify is only suitable for targeting one kind of audience which are reliant on conventional search engines.
Want to learn more about selling on Amazon? Get the answers you’re looking for by clicking here!
What are the alternatives to Shopify and Amazon
If you’re searching for alternatives to Shopify, the vast selection of ecommerce platforms available will seemingly guarantee to provide similar capabilities.
From the available alternatives, we counsel BigCommerce as the most sensible hosted store builder; its price is similar, and it provides a wide collection of features in comparison.
It really depends on your needs and goals. Both Amazon and Shopify are popular e-commerce platforms that can help you sell products online, but they have some key differences that you should consider when deciding which one is right for you.
Amazon is a marketplace where you can sell products to a huge audience of shoppers. It’s very easy to get started and the platform handles many of the details for you, such as processing payments and handling returns. However, Amazon also takes a percentage of each sale you make, and you may have to compete with other sellers for visibility.
Shopify is a platform that allows you to create your own online store. It provides a range of tools and features to help you design, set up, and manage your store, including payment processing, inventory management, and shipping. One of the main advantages of Shopify is that you have complete control over your store and brand, and you don’t have to share your profits with anyone. However, it does require a bit more work to set up and manage your own store compared to using a marketplace like Amazon.
Ultimately, the best platform for you will depend on your specific needs and goals. If you’re just starting out and want an easy way to get your products in front of a large audience, Amazon might be the better choice. If you’re more interested in building your own brand and have more control over the customer experience, Shopify could be a better fit.
Shopify offers a range of pricing plans, starting at $29 per month for the Basic plan. This plan includes features such as unlimited products, a customizable online store, and support for multiple sales channels. Amazon, on the other hand, charges a per-item fee as well as a referral fee, which is a percentage of the sale price.
The exact fees vary depending on the product category and the seller’s location.
Yes, it is possible to sell on both Shopify and Amazon. Many merchants choose to do this in order to reach a wider audience and increase their sales.
Shopify provides a range of marketing tools and features to help merchants promote their products, such as email marketing, social media integration, and the ability to create discount codes. Amazon also offers a range of marketing and advertising options, including sponsored product ads, product display ads, and the option to run promotions and discounts.
Shopify is a platform that allows merchants to sell a wide range of products, including physical goods, digital products, and services. Amazon, on the other hand, is primarily a marketplace for physical goods, although it does also offer some digital products and services.