Shopify vs. Amazon: Which Platform is Best for your E-commerce Brand?
One of the most important decisions you will make when selling your products online is choosing the e-commerce platform that will work best for you. It’s likely that when you are making this decision, you’ll look at Amazon FBA vs Shopify and wonder which you should use, as they are two of the most prominent players around when it comes to e-commerce.
Amazon and Shopify have both built vast reputations, with Shopify powering over 800,000 businesses and Amazon receiving 2.5 billion visitors every month! For most entrepreneurs, these amazing stats make it a hard choice, as both platforms are reliable in the world of e-commerce.1
Shopify and Amazon: The Main Difference
Shopify and Amazon are absolute giants of the e-commerce world. But although both services let you put your products in front of a huge audience, they are very different platforms.2
Shopify is a tool that lets you build your own online store.
By contrast, Amazon IS an online store (and a HUGE one at that: last year, US-based Amazon sellers sold 3.8 billion products, which equates to 7,400 per minute!).3
When you sell on Shopify, it’s the online equivalent of renting a space in which to set up your own shop.
But working with Amazon is more like selling your goods in a massive supermarket.
With Shopify, you’ll have more work to do to configure things the way you want — and find customers. However, you’ll have total control over everything — you can decide:
- How your brand is presented
- What your storefront looks like
- How you advertise your products
- How you capture data
- The way you sell your goods
With Amazon, the customer base is already there…but so is the competition.
Other Feature Comparisons
For those who are in need of a break-into-pieces comparison between the Shopify dashboard vs Amazon marketplace features, a more complete breakdown is provided below:4
Shopify offers a 14-day free trial and 3 pricing plans:
(i) Basic Shopify plan: $29/month
(ii) Shopify plan: $79/month
(iii) Advanced Shopify plan: $299/month
The more expensive your Shopify plan is, the more features it has. It is also notable that you can upgrade or downgrade your plan anytime. Shopify also offers a 10% discount for an annual payment and a 20% discount for biennial payments if you pay upfront.
Amazon has two pricing plans:
(i) Individual sellers: 99 cents per item sold. This plan only lets you add new products to the Amazon catalog and use Fulfillment by Amazon if you want to. According to Amazon, this plan is suitable for sellers that are testing what they sell.
(ii) Professional sellers: $39.99 per month. With this plan, you have access to more advanced tools such as API integration, on-site advertising tools, or adding multiple users.
Besides paying for Amazon plans, you also need to pay for additional selling fees such as referral fees and fulfillment fees:
(i) Referral fees: Amazon charges a referral fee starting from 8% per item sold. It is your product category that determines the referral fee rate.
(ii) Fulfillment fees: The cost to ship your orders depends on whether you fulfill your own orders or use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). If you fulfill your own orders, Amazon only charges if you ship books, music, video, and DVD products. For the FBA service, Amazon calculates the fee based on the size and weight of your pack. Amazon will also charge you storage fees if you use FBA.
(iii) Other fees: In certain cases, additional costs may incur. For example, one type of fee that you might have to pay is the high-volume listing fee. When you have a high volume of active, non-media listings that have not sold in 12 months, Amazon will charge a monthly fee of $0.005 per eligible listing to cover cataloging costs.
The Shopify Support hosted solution provides excellent customer support. Like any other eCommerce platform, you can seek help from Shopify experts and other users on its forum, or find the answers for your solutions in Shopify documents and video tutorials. Shopify Changelog is another source to get the latest updates. In addition, you can get 24/7 live support via email, live chat, and phone on Shopify Help Center. The support team will respond to you within a few minutes.
Similar to Shopify, Amazon also has a forum for users to post their queries and get support from other users. This platform also has a Help Center that already has many frequently asked questions and answers. If you want to receive support directly from an Amazon customer support agent, they do provide 24/7 support via email, live chat, and phone.
- Ease of Use
Both Shopify and Amazon are straightforward and easy to use.
You don’t need to have coding skills to set up a Shopify store with its drag-and-drop design. First, you need to register a Shopify account. After that, you can manage and modify the layout, colors, text, and so on by dropping media elements anywhere on the page. It also has an intuitive interface with visual cues, so you never feel lost when designing your online store. The back-end dashboard of Shopify is also easy to navigate with everything you need displayed on the left sidebar.
With Amazon, all you need to do is follow the set-up stages to register a store. After that, you need to upload your product information which includes product category, SKU, product identifier, offer details (price, shipping option, etc), product details (name, brand, etc), and search terms, and then you are ready to sell. While you are selling, Amazon has tools that make it simple and straightforward. For example, you can use FBA to get rid of taking care of the shipping.
Shopify vs Amazon both provide you with stunning designs. However, when it comes to design flexibility, Shopify gives you more freedom than Amazon.
Unfortunately, Amazon does not allow you to make that much customization on your store-front. All Amazon pages are laid out in a similar way which is recognizably Amazon’s rather than your own. There are only three templates for the product detail page. You can upload your content and images, but cannot change the design. Additionally, on the homepage, your products appear alongside your competitors’ products. Even though this can be convenient for customers, it is very hard for you to direct customers to your stores.
When selling online, marketing is a must for you to reach your potential customers.
Shopify provides you with many marketing tools (like Helium 10). Regarding SEO, Shopify offers a basic set of SEO features for users to optimize store-level content to ensure higher SERP positions. You can edit meta tags, add alt text to images, create 301 redirects and auto XML sitemap, etc. However, users are not allowed to fully customize their URLs. In addition, Shopify also has many impressive features for blogs such as multiple authors, easy-to-set tags, and customizable SEO parameters. Moreover, you can also do email marketing easily with Shopify Email. Just like any email marketing app, this tool has ready-made email templates and a report generator. It allows you to send up to 2,500 emails to your customers for free.
On the other hand, if you sell on Amazon, your potential customers will go to the Amazon site and search for the products that they want. Therefore, instead of Google SEO, you need to focus on Amazon SEO in order to rank as high up the search result pages as you can. In order to do that, you need to optimize your product information content and search terms.
To truly answer the question of which platform to use in the battle of Amazon vs Shopify, ask yourself: “What do I want from my business and how do I want to sell my products?” If you want complete flexibility and control and are equipped and motivated to market your products and brand to ensure higher profits, then Shopify is the answer.
If you prefer to drive sales through a more ‘ready-made’ platform and are happy to relinquish some control in return for higher fees and some restrictions, then Amazon could be the better option for your business.
To truly create the successful business you deserve, consider how much time you have available, how much control you require, what effort you are prepared to put in, and ultimately how quickly you want your business to grow unrestricted.
About Exporta Technologies
Exporta Wholesale is the largest marketplace connecting suppliers in Latin America with buyers in North America. Today, we have a network of over 5,000 Latin American suppliers serving a variety of consumer goods and product categories in the United States.
Exporta’s marketplace offers buyers a full-service experience in the origination, sourcing, and managing of products. The platform was founded on the idea that curation and service are the most important elements in the buyer’s journey. Exporta’s marketplace is building technology that addresses the pains of sourcing products internationally at attractive prices.