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Shopify vs. Amazon: Which Platform Is Better for Sellers?

While there are several platforms to choose from, the battle for e-commerce supremacy between Shopify and Amazon has led to some controversy, especially among new sellers.

The e-commerce industry is at its peak, and newcomers find it hard to decide from a broad range of sites to kickstart their business.

With billions of dollars in products sold every year, selling online has become a primary target for most entrepreneurs nowadays; no wonder merchants are persistently on the hunt for the best platform that can help them maximize their sales and profits.

Besides the convenience that comes with selling online, it’s not surprising that most people today choose to shop online rather than visit stores. Nothing beats buying stuff from the comfort of your home.

Making decisions is easier when you know the facts. Therefore, we’ve outlined a list of specs that will help you make the right choice.


Shopify vs. Amazon

Before we jump into the whole Shopify vs. Amazon comparison, it will be very helpful to understand the main difference between the two.

The most glaring one being that Shopify allows you to create your own online store.

Shopify is more of a specialized e-commerce platform.

Amazon, on the other hand, is an online marketplace that allows you to sell products through their website.

Selling on Amazon is like renting a booth at a state fair. Selling on Shopify is like running a small corner boutique where you have complete control of everything, and you get to sell alongside your competitors on Amazon.


Customizability

customization shopify

Design is arguably a very important factor when selling online. There’s no better way to drive people away than a badly-designed storefront. The key is to get people’s attention and attract them enough to want to look at your products.

Shopify does a great job of allowing users control over their shop’s design.

You don’t even have to create the design from scratch because the platform offers several themes you can choose from. This platform allows you to stand out and be recognized as an individual brand with a unique store layout.

Until recently, Amazon had very limited options as far as design is concerned, and although all of its pages are laid out similarly, you can now customize your store with Amazon Storefronts on Seller Central.


Tools and Features

Next up on the Shopify vs. Amazon, head to head is the tools and features each has to offer. Here are the strengths that have made both of them household names.

Amazon’s biggest gift to sellers is its Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) program. With Amazon FBA, sellers are given access to Amazon Prime customers while letting Amazon take care of storing, packing, and shipping products. This is huge because the only thing you need to worry about, as a seller, is marketing and selling.

Shopify doesn’t disappoint either, with its array of sales tools you can explore to help you grow your business:

  • Logo Maker
  • Business Name Generator
  • Slogan Maker
  • Pay Stub Generator
  • QR Code Generator
  • Terms and Conditions Generator

The Shopify app store has many more tools than these that will not only help you grow your business but also make your life easier.


Payment Options

shopify vs amazon payment options

When you’re selling online, having a variety of payment methods is essential. You want to provide prospective buyers with more options or they’ll look somewhere else.

Amazon has its own payment gateway in the form of Amazon Pay. This payment method accepts credit and debit cards but unfortunately, it doesn’t accept PayPal.

Shopify also has its own payment gateway in Shopify Payments. The good news is it also supports over a hundred other payment gateways including PayPal, WorldPay, and even Amazon Pay for that matter.


Fees

Both Shopify and Amazon are quite affordable. 

Amazon offers two selling plans. There’s the Professional Selling Plan that comes at $39.99 per month and an Individual Selling plan that only requires you to pay $0.99 per item sold.

The Individual Selling Plan is suitable for sellers who plan to sell less than 40 items per month, and it has fewer features and options.

For Amazon, selling fees and monthly subscriptions apply to Professional Sellers.

These fees vary by category and are usually made up of referral and shipping fees.

For those enrolled in the FBA program, there are several fees that you’ll need to be aware of like fulfillment and monthly inventory storage fees. Price ranges for these fees vary, depending on the volume, size, and type of products, as well as the time of the year.

Shopify comes with three price plans:

  • Shopify Basic – $29 per month with 2.9% + 30¢ per online transaction
  • Main Shopify plan –$79 per month with 2.6% + 30¢ per transaction
  • Advanced Shopify –$299 per month with 2.4% + 30¢ per transaction.

The higher the plan, the more features you get.

The Basic Plan already gives you everything you need to set up an online store. You only spend extra when you add third-party apps to your store.

In addition, all payment gateways on Shopify have transaction fees that vary depending on the method you use and the plan you’re on. Credit card fees also apply to each of these payment gateways, including its very own Shopify Payments.


Reach

The best way to get people to buy is for them to notice you first.

With thousands of competitors to compete with, grabbing people’s attention can become a huge challenge.

Amazon offers great exposure since products are automatically placed in front of millions of eyes. Plus, Amazon shoppers are always ready to pull their wallets out.

This is a big advantage because you no longer have to build an audience or drive them down the sales funnel. They’re already there, and all you have to do is convince them to choose you over other sellers. You then have more time to focus on managing your inventory and fulfilling orders.

If there’s one disadvantage in all this, it’s the amount of competition you have to deal with, including Amazon itself.

With Shopify, you’ll need to work harder if you want to reach more people. A Shopify store doesn’t get the same search volume as Amazon because it is its own website. Your marketing efforts should be top-notch and you need to leverage the power of social media, email marketing, and other strategies if you want to stand out.

On Shopify, you are competing with every listing available through a Google search, including Amazon listings.


Seller Support

Support for your store is also a significant consideration.

Shopify offers a comprehensive set of help options:

  • 24/7 phone
  • 24/7 live chat
  • Forum
  • Email
  • Social media
  • Video tutorials
  • Advanced specialist support

Apart from these, Shopify also has its own Help Center that offers various articles and guides. As you can see, you’re pretty much covered with all the choices laid out on the table.

Amazon seller support is only available through email and phone.

Phone support lets you request a call so Amazon can contact you instead of them picking up when you reach out. They also offer forms you can submit to community forums where you can continue to discuss your issue with fellow members. Email support is somewhat difficult to use, and answers vary as different agents can pick up the same ticket.


Final Thoughts

Given the bevy of features and benefits they have in store, it’s not surprising why these two platforms have become the most popular for e-commerce.

While each has its own sets of pros and cons, determining which one suits you depends on the factors that are most important for your business goals.

The information provided should help you narrow down your choice.

The bottom line is, if you’re big on individuality and brand recognition, Shopify is the way to go. If you are a small seller who’s venturing into e-commerce for the first time, Amazon would fit you well because it allows you to sell products immediately without building a store from scratch.

Julia ValdezShopify vs. Amazon: Which Platform Is Better for Sellers?
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