For those who want to sell online, it can be challenging to choose between the two whales of online commerce. The Shopify vs Amazon battle has been ongoing for some time.
Amazon has established a reputation as the go-to platform for a multitude of products and services available for order from anywhere in the world. Describing it as a behemoth is no exaggeration. Just look at the figures. With a 45% share of the US eCommerce market, Amazon is practically ahead of the trading game. The company offers buyers 12 million products of its own, but that number swells to 350 million if the Marketplace sellers list is taken into account.
Shopify is not nearly as big as Amazon — but then, nobody is, except Alibaba. Shopify’s figures are nothing to sniff at, though. For instance, the brand’s total revenue for 2020 was $2,929.5 million, representing a staggering 86% increase over 2019. And the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t make a dent. In fact, it accelerated growth. Shopify’s gross profit increased by 78% to $1,541.5 million in 2020. The figure for 2019 was $865.6 million.
These are impressive facts, but where do you and your business fit in? This article will help you determine which platform will be the best fit for you. The final decision will likely depend on your purpose.
Table of Contents:
- What’s the key difference between Shopify vs Amazon?
- Choosing Between Amazon vs Shopify
- What about the customizability of Shopify and Amazon?
- Shopify vs Amazon: The appropriate solution for your business
What’s the key difference between Shopify vs Amazon?
Your doorway to millions of customers
Did you know that most shoppers go directly to Amazon when they want to buy something? According to a 2019 Feedvisor study, two-thirds of U.S. buyers go straight to Amazon when looking for a new product. And three-quarters of them go to the platform when they have decided to buy a specific product. In other words, the platform provides the proverbial feet on your digital floor.
It also takes care of a major hassle for shop owners: fulfillment. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) means Amazon stores the inventory for shop owners, and takes care of packaging and shipping.
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Thousands of sellers appear alongside each other on the Amazon platform with none of their own branding to help them stand out. This marketplace is like a street in Hong Kong where all the store signs crowd in on each other, so none of them stands out. Ah, but what a street! Millions of products and millions of buyers.
Your tool to create a unique stand-alone online store
Being an eCommerce platform, Shopify allows individuals to start, run, and grow an online business. Its storefronts are stunning. Users can choose from more than 70 free and paid beautifully designed templates to build an e-shop that shows off their brand to the best advantage.
Anyone, even those with limited technical skills, can build a Shopify web store. The tools are user-friendly, and newcomers can play around with them for free for 14 days. During the pandemic, the company provided users with a free trial option for 90 days, which has markedly increased its user base.
Shopify also gives you autonomy over your website. You are the boss — you are in charge of who you sell to, how you market your brand, which features you add to your website, and how you develop your business.
Amazon is another story. It has a reputation for coming down hard on sellers who break any of their many rules. Breaking the rules can result in your account being suspended and your listing being shut down.
Choosing Between Amazon vs Shopify
The cost of operating
Amazon. You have a choice of two selling plans: The Individual and the Professional selling plans.
The former is used by small business owners who sell fewer than 40 items per month. They don’t need to pay a monthly subscription fee, but they do have to pay a $0.99 fee for each item sold. There are other fees involved as well, like closing and shipping fees.
With the professional option, you don’t pay a fee for each item sold, but you have to pay a monthly subscription of $39.99. In addition, there are referral fees, closing fees, and shipping fees. Add the FBA fees to that if you opt to use the service for storage.
Shopify. It caters to the whole range of shop sizes, from the smallest to the largest:
- Lite Plan for small businesses lets business owners sell their products on any website, blog, or social media page and only costs $9 per month.
- Basic Plan costs $29 per month. It also includes transaction fees of 2% on all sales that are not done through the Shopify payment solution, plus credit card fees. Features include two staff accounts, 24/7 support, third-party POS, unlimited product listings, discount codes, manual order creation, SSL certificate, fraud analysis, up to a 64% discount on shipping, and more.
- Shopify costs $79 per month plus transaction fees of 1% on all sales that are not done through the Shopify payment solution, as well as credit card fees. Features include five staff accounts, everything in Basic Shopify, plus professional reports.
- Advanced Plan costs $299 per month. It comes with $0.5% transaction fees on all sales that are not done through the Shopify payment solution, reduced credit card fees, plus 15 staff accounts. It features everything in Shopify, including third-party carrier shipping rates, and up to 74% discount on shipping.
- Shopify Plus starts from $2,000 per month and is a solution designed for enterprise organizations.
One very obvious advantage of Amazon is its traffic base. If you open a store on Amazon, you potentially put your products in front of millions of shoppers worldwide. But those millions of shoppers, however, are faced with millions of stores selling millions of products. For shop owners, that means ultra-stiff competition.
On the other hand, Amazon is an established brand — thousands of people have Amazon accounts. If you put your products up for sale there, the customers are already there. If you open a Shopify store, it’s up to you to find customers.
Promoting your brand
Although you can sell products on Amazon, you can’t market them and Amazon certainly won’t market them for you. Amazon keeps all the contact details of buyers on the platform. Sellers don’t know who their buyers are and can’t build a relationship with them for repeat sales.
In your Shopify store, you are the only brand, in competition with no one. You are in control of marketing and can promote your products and services in any way that works best for your business.
Amazon is great at customer support, which means buyer support. The platform will handle customer support for you, but when you require support, you may feel unsatisfied. Some sellers say that they don’t get advanced information from Amazon’s support team. With Shopify, on the other hand, help is available 24/7 via phone and live chat.
What about the customizability of Shopify vs Amazon?
Amazon might be bigger and better in many aspects but not customizability. Sellers can have their own shopfront, but no branding is allowed. There are very few elements that a business owner can customize to stand out in the crowd. Nevertheless, for brands that feature in the Amazon Brand Registry and have a registered trademark, Amazon offers the A+ Content feature. It gives brands more freedom to market themselves with enhanced content. However, few sellers fall in this category.
On the other hand, Shopify allows business owners to build a unique shop complete with individualized branding. The templates for this purpose are fully customizable. Besides, business owners can add any number of extensions to their websites to further enhance the shopping experience for their customers.
Shopify vs Amazon - FAQs
Which is cheaper to sell with, Shopify or Amazon?
Shopify offers a better value for money than Amazon's Individual plan, although Amazon's Individual plan is more suitable for small-scale sellers. In addition to being cheaper than Amazon's Professional plan, it is more scalable and transparent with its pricing, which makes it easier to budget.
Which is easier to use, Shopify or Amazon?
The learning curves for Shopify and Amazon are pretty similar - you need to know how to build a website with Shopify, while with Amazon, you need to know how to populate a database.
Does Shopify work with Amazon?
It is possible to connect Shopify with Amazon but only through third-party apps (e.g., the 'Amazon by Codisto' app).
Shopify vs Amazon: The appropriate solution for your business
If you just want to sell, an online marketplace is probably the place for you. Also, if you have too little inventory to justify an online store, Amazon would be a great choice.
However, if you want to develop a relationship with your customers, and build a community around your products or services, Shopify is a better choice. Just keep in mind that, unlike Amazon with its established eCommerce reputation that automatically draws in buyers, your Shopify website is one of the millions on the vast Internet. You will be responsible for getting visitors to your online store, and that takes time and a lot of hard work.
Upon switching to Shopify, you can easily add Amazon as a sales channel. Here are the instructions on how to do so.
Of course, there is no reason not to sell on both platforms. If you decide to branch out and start a shop on Shopify so you don’t put all your eggs in one basket, you won’t be alone. You’ll join about 80% of Amazon sellers who use additional eCommerce platforms to sell their products and services.
If you have an online store and want to start selling on Shopify, you can use Cart2Cart’s shopping cart migration service for that purpose. In three simple steps, all your data will appear in your new Shopify store, and you can start earning money. Try free demo migration to see how fast and smooth the migration process is.