Shopify and Amazon are two of the biggest names in the eCommerce world. Even though both platforms are popular for being excellent eCommerce solutions, they greatly differ. Which is the winner in the Shopify vs Amazon head-to-head comparison? It is crucial to understand the differences between Shopify and Amazon in order to choose the platform that works best for your needs. Let’s continue reading to find out!
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What’s the difference between Shopify and Amazon?
First of all, you need to understand that Shopify is an eCommerce platform and Amazon is a marketplace. In other words, Shopify provides you with the tools to build your own online store, while Amazon lets you sell on its marketplace alongside other sellers.
Shopify lets you build websites for your brand where you get to choose your own domain and customize the design of the front-end. This way, you can create the uniqueness that helps you stand out from other competitors and promote your brand.
On the other hand, selling through Amazon is like having a booth in a market. Customers will go to Amazon website and search for the products that they need. Products that you provide will appear alongside other suppliers’. This way, it is more difficult to differentiate between your store and others’. It all comes to your price and customers’ reviews that determines if customers will choose to buy your products.
We should note that Amazon also has its complete eCommerce platform called Amazon Webstore. It works just like any cloud-based eCommerce platform, plus the ability to integrate with the Amazon Services portfolio including solutions like Fulfillment by Amazon, Amazon Prime shipping and Amazon Product Ads. Despite all those technologies, Shopify is trusted by way more store owners with a total of 1,495,880 live websites, while only 690 sites are live on Amazon Webstore. In case you would like to migrate from Amazon Webstore to Shopify, LitExtension provides the solution to do it seamlessly and effortlessly!
Now, let’s explore the detailed comparison of Shopify vs Amazon marketplace features!
Shopify vs Amazon – Features comparison
Amazon has 2 pricing plans:
- Individual sellers: 99 cents per item sold. This plan only lets you add new products to Amazon catalogue and use Fulfillment by Amazon if you want to. According to Amazon, this plan is suitable for sellers that are testing what they sell.
- 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.
Beside paying for Amazon plans, you also need to pay for additional selling fees such as referral fees and fulfillment fees.
- Referral fees: Amazon charges a referral fee starting from 8% per item sold. It is your product category that determines the referral fee rate.
- Fulfillment fees: The cost to ship your orders depends on whether you fulfil your own orders or use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). If you fulfil your own orders, Amazon only charges if you ship books, music, video, and DVD products. For 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.
- Other fees: In certain cases, additional costs may incur. For example, one type of fee that you might have to pay is high-volume listing fees. 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 cataloguing costs.
- Basic Shopify plan: $29/month
- Shopify plan: $79/month
- Advanced Shopify plan: $299/month
The more expensive your Shopify plan is, the more features it has. The Basic plan is suitable for beginners and the rest suits medium to large businesses. It is also notable that you can upgrade or downgrade your plan anytime. Shopify also offers a 10% discount for annual payment and a 20% discount for biennial payment if you pay upfront.
Shopify 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.
3. Ease of use
You would definitely want to have a smooth and pleasant selling experience with your eCommerce platform instead of dealing with technical hassles. Fortunately, 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. At first, you need to register a Shopify account. After that, you can manage and modify layout, colour, 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 displaying 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 products 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.
4. Design flexibility
As a store owner, you surely wouldn’t want to lose customers because of bad design. Luckily, Shopify and Amazon both provide you with nice design. However, when it comes to design flexibility, Shopify gives you more freedom than Amazon.
With Shopify, you can choose the design of your store from 73 different themes. These themes range from free to $180.
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.
In addition, 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. Regarding SEO, Shopify offers a basic set of SEO features for users to optimize the 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 apps, 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. Notably, Shopify integrations with Google and Facebook also helps you create ads for these platforms seamlessly. If these tools have not met your needs, you can always install more marketing app on Shopify marketplace to empower your marketing campaigns.
On the other hand, if you sell on Amazon, your potential customers will go to 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 that you can. In order to do that, you need to optimize your product information content and search terms. Besides, Amazon also has many marketing tools. For example, Amazon provides you with Amazon DSP, which is a demand-side platform that allows you to buy display, video, and audio ads both on and off Amazon. Another example is Amazon Live, which allows you to stream live videos that are interactive, shoppable across Amazon.
We can see that both platforms provide powerful marketing tools. However, Amazon will not be as ideal as Shopify if you want to build up your personal brand.
6. eCommerce features
The most important thing to consider when comparing two platforms has to be their default eCommerce features. Shopify offers many powerful built-in features. With Shopify, product management is easier than ever. You can add new products on your back-end interface or by importing CSV files. Filling in the product information is intuitive, and you can also assign categories to your products. Shopify also has an inventory tracking system to help you manage your inventory more efficiently and avoid selling out-of-stock products. However, you cannot create sub-categories on your Shopify store without installing apps. Shopify default system also does not allow more than 3 product variants and more than 100 combinations.
Notably, Shopify provides Abandoned Cart Recovery feature by default for all pricing plans. This feature allows you to find out the reasons why customers didn’t check out their carts and send emails to them. Besides, some other tools that Shopify offers are automatic tax calculation, logo maker and QR code generator.
Amazon also allows you to manage your products conveniently. You can add new products individually using Amazon interactive listing tool. If you are trying to add many products at a time, Amazon has Inventory File Templates which is editable in Excel ready for you. You can also easily add variants to your products while adding them to your seller account. However, you can only sell physical products that can be shipped and services, since only Amazon is allowed to sell downloadable content.
Like Shopify, Amazon also has many tools in place to support your online selling. For example, you can use FBA to let Amazon handle storage, packaging and shipping of your products completely. With FBA, you just need to send your products to Amazon’s storage. Whenever there’s a customer buying your products, Amazon will pack and ship them for you.
Furthermore, Amazon makes global selling seamlessly. This platform provides Seller Central Language Switcher that supports French, German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese. If you already use Fulfillment by Amazon, you can manage online sales from other channels using the same inventory pool with a feature called Multi-Channel Fulfillment.
All in all, both platforms have some robust eCommerce tools and services to help with your business.
Shopify and Amazon: Pros and Cons
So now we have gone through the detailed comparison of Shopify vs Amazon. At this point, you must have an idea of which platform you prefer to use. Let me sum it up by giving you a few advantages and drawbacks of both platforms.
- Easy to build your own website: Shopify is among the most user-friendly eCommerce platforms. You just need to choose a template and use its drag-and-drop design feature to build your website. You can still build a website to start selling online even when you have zero coding skills.
- A diverse range of eCommerce tools: With Shopify, you get access to numerous tools to help you build the best site for your business. Abandon cart recovery, inventory system, logo maker, slogan maker, etc are available for all pricing plans.
- Various payment options: Amazon cannot compete with Shopify in terms of the number of payment gateways. Shopify offers over 100 options to choose from such as PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, and also the in-house Shopify Payments. If you use Shopify Payments, you don’t pay any transaction fees.
- Building your reputation is a must: Selling with Shopify means you have your own website for your brand. Therefore, if you do not promote your store, there will be no traffic to your website.
- Limited customizability: Comparing with open-source eCommerce platforms, Shopify – as a hosted platform – is a little limited regarding customizability. Therefore, even when you alter the template they offer, you’ll still be restricted with what you can do with your site’s design and functionality. This can leads to your website looking similar to other sites that use the same template.
- More traffic: Amazon marketplace has hundreds of millions of visits each month. As you sell your products on Amazon, you have access to a huge number of potential customers browsing through this website for the products that they’re looking for.
- Having Amazon handle your product: Even though it is an optional program, I need to mention FBA as a big pro of Amazon. It is much easier for sellers to not have to worry about fulfilment, packaging and shipping products. Additionally, Amazon provides customer service if people have an issue with your products in FBA. And the point is, you’ll find that this program is only unique to Amazon. Shopify does not do orders for you.
- Lots of competitors: One of the most significant drawbacks of trying to sell on Amazon is that there are many other sellers providing the same products as you. Moreover, Amazon gives you very limited space for personalization. Therefore, it’s harder to stand out in the competition.
- Limited payment options: Amazon Pay only accepts credit and debit cards and transfers from your available Amazon Pay account balance. There is no option for third-party payments like PayPal.
In conclusion, both Shopify and Amazon are heavyweights in their own sectors. In the end, it’s each person’s preference that matters. However, you don’t necessarily need to choose between the two. You can get a combination of these two top-notch platforms by using Shopify Amazon integration. Our Guide for Shopify Amazon integration will let you know how to sell on Amazon via your Shopify store.
Hopefully, this article has the information that you are seeking and has somehow contributed to your decision.
If you are planning on migrating from a platform Shopify or any other platforms, LitExtension team is willing to help! As the world-leading shopping cart migration tool with 150,000+ successful migrations for 50,000+ worldwide customers, LitExtension can transfer all your data including products, customers orders automatically, quickly, and accurately, especially, with no technical skills required.
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