Shopify vs Amazon

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:

  1. What’s the key difference between Shopify vs Amazon?
    1. Your doorway to millions of customers
    2. Your tool to create a unique stand-alone online store
  2. Choosing Between Amazon vs Shopify
    1. The cost of operating
    2. Customer inflow
    3. Promoting your brand
    4. Client care
  3. What about the customizability of Shopify and Amazon?
  4. Shopify vs Amazon: The appropriate solution for your business

Shopify vs Amazon: Pros & Cons

Both e-commerce providers have their own advantages and disadvantages. The best choice for you depends on your store's specific needs, but we can provide you with a balanced overview of each option.

  Shopify Pros Shopify Cons Amazon Pros Amazon Cons
Plans & Pricing Various plans for different needs Subscription costs and potential extra costs Flexible individual and professional plans Referral fees and other charges
Features Comprehensive features for e-commerce May require additional apps for more features Large audience reach and visibility Limited customization and branding options
Customization Highly customizable storefronts Advanced customization may require development Standardized listings simplify sales Less control over design and branding
Scalability Suitable for businesses of all sizes Requires ongoing maintenance and management Handles high sales volumes well May not be suitable for very small sellers
Audience Access Requires individual marketing efforts Marketing efforts needed to attract customers Large, established customer base High competition with other sellers
Integration Integrates well with various third-party apps May encounter compatibility issues with apps Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) streamlines operations FBA fees can add up quickly
Control & Management Full control over store operations and design Requires management of all operations Convenient, ready-made platform Limited control over store operations and sales data

When comparing Shopify and Amazon, keep in mind that Shopify offers greater customization and control over your e-commerce store, making it an excellent choice for building a unique brand. On the other hand, Amazon provides access to a vast customer base and simplified sales operations, though you have less control over branding and sales data. 

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.

  Shopify Amazon
Platform Type E-commerce platform for creating and managing your own online store Online marketplace for selling products
Pricing Subscription-based pricing with multiple plans Individual plan (pay-per-item) or professional plan (monthly subscription)
Templates and Design Offers a wide range of customizable templates and themes Standardized product listings, limited customization
Marketing Options Built-in SEO tools, email marketing, social media integration Promoted listings and sponsored ads available for increased visibility
Transaction Fee Transaction fees vary depending on plan and payment gateway used Referral fees based on product category and FBA fees (if using FBA)
Mobile-Friendly Responsive themes and mobile app for managing your store Amazon's platform is optimized for mobile shopping
Customer Support 24/7 support available via chat, phone, or email Customer support available for professional sellers, with varying levels of access based on plan

Choosing Between Shopify vs Amazon

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.

Customer inflow

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.

Customer inflow amazon

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.

Promoting your brand shopify

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.

Client care

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.

customizability of Shopify vs Amazon

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.

What do small-business owners and marketing experts say about Shopify vs. Amazon?

Small-business owners and marketing experts often have diverse perspectives on the comparison between Shopify and Amazon. Their insights can help guide your decision when choosing the right platform for your e-commerce needs.

What Small-Business Owners Say:


  • Small-business owners appreciate Shopify's user-friendly interface and ease of setup, which allows them to create and manage their own online stores quickly.
  • Many praise the extensive customization options available in Shopify, enabling them to create a unique brand identity and personalized customer experience.
  • Owners value the integrated marketing tools, such as SEO and email marketing, which help them promote their businesses effectively.
  • Some note that the subscription fees and potential additional costs for third-party apps can add up, making it important to choose the right plan and features.


  • Small-business owners often see Amazon as a way to access a large and established customer base, which can lead to increased sales and visibility.
  • Selling on Amazon provides an opportunity to reach international customers and take advantage of Amazon's fulfillment services (FBA).
  • Owners acknowledge the high competition on Amazon's marketplace, which can make it challenging to stand out among numerous sellers.
  • Some express concerns about the limited control over branding and the dependency on Amazon's policies and fees.

What Marketing Experts Say:


  • Marketing experts appreciate Shopify's comprehensive suite of tools that help businesses manage their online presence, including SEO, social media integration, and analytics.
  • They highlight the importance of Shopify's ability to create a tailored customer journey and experience, which can enhance brand loyalty.
  • Experts emphasize the value of Shopify's flexibility, allowing for targeted marketing strategies and personalization.


  • Marketing experts recognize Amazon's massive audience reach, which can be a major advantage for businesses seeking to expand their market share quickly.
  • They note the effectiveness of Amazon's advertising options, such as sponsored products and Amazon Ads, in boosting visibility and driving sales.
  • However, experts caution that brands may need to invest significantly in advertising to compete effectively on Amazon due to the high level of competition.

In summary, small-business owners and marketing experts have differing opinions on Shopify and Amazon. Shopify is favored for its customization, branding, and marketing tools, while Amazon is known for its extensive audience reach and established marketplace.

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

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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.

What can we do for you?

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.