Shopify vs Amazon: Which Ecommerce Giant is Best for You?

Shopify and Amazon are probably the first two names that come to mind when you think about successful online retail and eCommerce. This is why the battle of Shopify vs. Amazon when you are choosing where to sell your products is among the fiercest in the eCommerce industry.

Amazon is the biggest online retailer, which has more than 2.44 billion visits by users for January 2021. During the pandemic, Amazon has reported an increase of 32.8% sales of its own products and services, and a boost of sales from third-party sellers on Amazon Marketplace by 54.7% just for the third quarter of 2020. This has made the owner and founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, and the first one worth $200 billion.

Shopify is an eCommerce platform that accommodates and powers more than 800,000 online stores and businesses and accounts for more than 82 billion dollars in sales.

So, given these impressive numbers, it is clear that picking the better of the two eCommerce solutions Amazon vs. Shopify, is quite difficult.

We have worked hard on performing an in-depth comparison of Shopify vs. Amazon in this article, including all of the features, similarities, differences, pros and cons of these eCommerce solutions.

Hopefully, we will help you decide which one is a better solution for your internet-based sales and for scaling your online eCommerce business.

Our top choice is Shopify, which is an easy-to-use eCommerce platform, customizable, with excellent design options, superb eCommerce tools, and excellent customer service.

But, keep in mind that choosing the better option between Amazon and Shopify depends on your type of business, your online store’s size, and other factors.

Shopify Updates: June 2020

Last summer, there were some new features and updates announced by Shopify, including:

  • A new feature allowing merchants to enable tipping or charity donation options by clients at checkout
  • An Express design theme for restaurants and other non-traditional businesses
  • The Shop App for users who use various Shopify stores and want a mobile app to track all orders and get product recommendations
  • Local delivery and curbside pickup – very useful options for safer deliveries during the pandemic
  • The Shopify balance account and Shopify card for merchants to track and pay their bills
  • Shopify vs Amazon: Pros & Cons
  • What’s the Difference Between Shopify and Amazon?
  • Ease of Use
  • Design Flexibility
  • eCommerce Tools and Features
  • Payment Options and Fees
  • Attracting Customers
  • Help and Support
  • Pricing
  • Using Amazon with Shopify
  • Shopify vs Amazon: Conclusion
  • Shopify vs Amazon: FAQs

Shopify vs Amazon: Pros & Cons

Shopify Pros

  • It is equipped with some of the best and most powerful eCommerce tools which are focused on boosting sales and growth of your online store
  • It allows for creating a strong, unique brand identity because you can build your own online store with your own custom domain name

You can try Shopify for free here.

Shopify Cons

  • There can be additional costs added to your subscription fee if you choose to use third-party apps
  • You will be responsible for marketing your brand and business yourself

Amazon Pros

  • As mentioned earlier, Amazon has the biggest traffic of all eCommerce platforms, so your products will be available and can be seen by millions of users with minimal marketing on your side
  • Amazon offers additional eCommerce services, such as packing, storage, inventory management, and shipping for your online sales

You can start selling on Amazon today.

Amazon Cons

  • Since there are millions of products listed on Amazon, your own products will be faced with huge competition, including with Amazon in-house products
  • Building your brand image on Amazon is much harder than having your own online store

What’s the Difference Between Shopify and Amazon?

While both Shopify and Amazon are among the best platforms to make money while selling goods or services online, and both provide access to the eCommerce tools and services which you will need to sell and grow your business, they are very different.

In fact, Amazon and Shopify work as eCommerce tools but in very different ways.

The Major Difference Between Shopify and Amazon

The biggest difference between these two internet eCommerce giants is that Amazon is an internet-based marketplace where Amazon and third-party sellers list and sell their products, while Shopify is an eCommerce platform that provides merchants with the tools and means to set up and run their own online store.

Selling on Amazon is similar to selling on eBay, and you can list your products among the other products in the same category as yours, and rely on the fact that millions of people visit Amazon each day and perform online searches for products on Amazon.

With Shopify, you will set up your own store on a separate website. This means that you will need to draw the audience to come to visit your online store via marketing, promotions, SEO, and multi-channel sales, rather than rely on them to pass through your store anyway. On the other hand, you will have the opportunity to customize and build your brand image as you want.

Due to these differences, Amazon and Shopify are suitable options for different types of online sellers.

While Amazon is more suitable for small and medium-sized eCommerce businesses, Shopify is well-suited for online businesses of all sizes and types.

Ease of Use

Ease of use is one of the most essential features which online merchants look for when choosing the best online sale method and eCommerce tool.

Shopify is an eCommerce solution that provides users with an easy and quick way to set up and start their own online store, even without any coding skills.

Shopify has an easy-to-use editor, ready-made themes and features for the website design and functionality, and built-in tools for sales, marketing, accounting, shipping, and more.

It also offers 24/7 customer help, useful guides, tools, stock photos, and everything you will need to run your online shop seamlessly.

Amazon is an even easier option to choose because all a merchant needs to do is to sign up at the Amazon Seller Central and go through the step-by-step process for registering and listing your products.

As soon as they are up, your products will become visible and searchable. Amazon offers all of the tools to help you sell, pack, ship them too. With Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), merchants can rest assured that Amazon will take care of the shipping of their goods.

So, both eCommerce solutions are designed and focused on making the eCommerce experience as easy as possible even for people with zero experience in online sales.

Ease of Use: Verdict

The result of the Shopify vs. Amazon ease of use comparison is a tie. Both eCommerce solutions are incredibly easy to use – one for listing and selling your products on a huge existing marketplace, and the other to allow users to build and run their own eCommerce stores.

Design Flexibility

With millions of websites and online stores on the Internet, the chances are that your potential customers will immediately bounce off your site if it has a bad design and is frustrating to use.

This is why design and customization are essential when choosing a website builder or other eCommerce solution, and when deciding which eCommerce solution is better for you in the Amazon vs. Shopify competition.

Shopify offers its users a choice of 60+ professionally designed themes covering all types of industries. You can choose from 10 free themes or one of the remaining 50+ paid ones, which cost from $140 to $180 each.

The editor provided by Shopify is very easy to use, so you can control and arrange the features, text, images, and elements on your eCommerce store quickly and without any previous tech experience.

You can browse through the Shopify themes here.

Amazon, on the other hand, is quite limited when it comes to design because merchants have to use the interface and layout of the Amazon marketplace. Yes, you can add images, information, and videos regarding your products and brand, but the overlay of the page will be that of Amazon rather than your own brand’s webpage.

Plus, the items listed on Amazon are promoted without the branding on the homepage and alongside the other products of your competitors. While there are many pros of this approach, when it comes to design and flexibility, Amazon offers limited options.

Design Flexibility: Verdict

Shopify is the winner in the Shopify vs. Amazon design and flexibility competition. With Shopify, you can customize your online shop as you wish and create a unique brand image, while Amazon will take over the design instead of you.

eCommerce Tools and Features

The eCommerce tools and features are what make an online shop work, including marketing your products, displaying them, selling them, accepting payments, packaging, labeling, shipping, calculating shipments and taxes, and more.

Amazon offers third-party sellers with a wide array of tools and features to make selling as easy and seamless as possible. These include global selling options, Amazon Handmade, Fulfillment by Amazon (Amazon FBA), and more.

With FBA you can display your items to Amazon Prime customers and then leave it to Amazon to handle the storage, packing, and shipping once a sale is completed. This is a lot of effort and time taken off of your load. Naturally, you will need to pay fees for these services, but it is an excellent feature if you don’t want to deal with the shipping and customer support.

Shopify offers an even wider choice of eCommerce tools and features for every Shopify store, including:

  • A powerful inventory management system
  • Logo making
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Multi-channel sales
  • Automatic tax rate calculation
  • Mobile app integration

Shopify offers its users all tools they need to set up and run a successful online retail business. It has recently started offering dropshipping as well via one of the leading drop-shippers Oberlo.

Even if the tools and features included in the subscription plans provided by Shopify don’t seem enough for your eCommerce needs, you can find hundreds of apps to add to your Shopify store at the Shopify App Store.

eCommerce Tools and Features: Verdict

Shopify is the winner in this category of our Shopify vs. Amazon comparison. It has all the tools you need to sell anything online, built-in its plans as well as at its App Store.

Amazon does have features like Amazon FBA that will make selling easier for merchants, but when compared to those provided by Shopify, they are quite limited.

You can find out more about Shopify’s eCommerce features and tools here.

Payment Options and Fees

When you are planning your online sales business, it is not only the upfront costs that you need to keep in mind. There are also other fees which can build up as you start to sell your goods. These include credit card rates, transaction fees, listing fees, app prices, and more.

Amazon supports its in-house Amazon Pay payment gateway, which allows for accepting bank cards but not PayPal when selling on Amazon.

Amazon has monthly subscription fees as well as selling fees, which can differ from one category to another, and include shipping and referral fees.

Professional sellers who use the FBA service can expect to pay from $2.40 to $137.32 per sale. The inventory fees range from $0.69 to $2.40 per cubic foot of storage.

As for individuals selling on Amazon, they are not charged a monthly fee but will be charged a fee of $0.99 per every product sold.

Shopify too has its own Shopify Payments gateway, and merchants won’t be charged additional fees when it is used. Shopify also supports 100+ other different payment gateways, including PayPal, Amazon Pay, and others, but you will be charged transaction fees for each sale, depending on your subscription plan. The fees for payments different from Shopify Payments range from 0.5 to 2 percent of the payment.

The credit card fees can also range from 2.4%+30 cents to 2.9% + 30 cents, depending on your plan.

Payment Options and Fees: Verdict

Shopify takes the win in the Shopify vs. Amazon payment and fees contest. It won’t charge users when Shopify Payments is used. Amazon has more fees, which are harder to predict for individuals and especially for professional sellers using the platform.

You can try Shopify for free here.

Attracting Customers

Even the best-designed website and online shop will not make you money if you fail to attract and keep potential buyers on your site.

This is the feature in which Amazon has a serious lead. It is the most popular marketplace in the world, and millions of people search for products on Amazon every day. This means that if you list your product items on Amazon, the chances are that those customers interested in items like yours will stumble upon your listings. This is one of the biggest benefits of Amazon, and why so many companies choose to sell on Amazon.

So, you don’t need to engage in SEO or marketing to get thousands and more views and make sales on Amazon. Amazon ranks in the highest position when it comes to Google and other internet searches.

But alongside the Amazon pros traffic and high ranking, keep in mind that your goods will be listed alongside all competitors when customers perform searches, so your products will have to stand out from those offered by Amazon or by other third-party sellers.

Shopify, on the other hand, doesn’t have such a search volume coming naturally as with Amazon. The reason is that business owners who use Shopify create their own online stores with their own unique domain names and will need to take care of the search engine optimization and promotion of their product list, brand, and store separately.

Thankfully, Shopify has built-in and additional tools to improve your SEO and market your items to increase your customer base and improve your brand image via abandoned cart delivery, multi-channel sales and social media integration, personalized shopping, and more.

Attracting Customers: Verdict

The winner in the attracting customers’ category of our head-to-head Amazon vs. Shopify comparison is Amazon.

With Amazon, you just need to register, add your product list, and wait for the customers to come and buy from you. Being one of the biggest online marketplaces, Amazon has a gigantic customer base, of prime and regular clients.

Business owners who use Shopify, you will need to work on attracting customers yourself.

Sign up for Amazon here.

Help and Support

It may be surprising for such a huge online market to lack sufficient help and support, but the fact is Amazon offers a phone call ticketing system, where you request a call and will be called back. There is also a community forum and online support form you can fill out and wait for a response.

Shopify, on the other hand, has a live chat and phone support available 24/7, also offers email and social media support and access to hundreds of video tutorials and an extensive Help Center, and a handy forum. Premium subscribers will receive advanced expert support.

This means that you can find quick and immediate assistance if something goes wrong with your eCommerce business store – night or day, every day of the year.

Help and Support: Verdict

Shopify wins this Amazon vs. Shopify round with its multiple help and support options and useful Help Center. Amazon, though, is much less flexible and available when it comes to help and support for its sellers.

Pricing

The pricing is essential for any eCommerce business, and you want to make sure that you are selling and making more money than you are spending on eCommerce support.

Both Shopify and Amazon are reasonably priced and offer different plans for different business sizes, types, and budgets.

Amazon pricing includes two main types of selling plans – Individual and Professional.

The Individual selling plan is suitable for users who are selling up to 40 items per month and who do not need access to advanced eCommerce tools. It costs $0.99 per item sold + additional selling fees.

The Professional plan costs $39.99 per month plus added selling fees, and is suitable for merchants who sell more than 40 items per month, who want access to advanced selling tools, sell in restricted categories, and are interested in advertising their products.

Amazon can also charge additional fees to the monthly selling plan, including referral fees of 8 to 15% per sold item, fulfillment fees, and additional fees like advertising, storage, and others.

Shopify offers three price plans, including Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify.

Save Up to 20% on Your Shopify Plan

Shopify offers significant discounts for users who choose to subscribe for annual or biannual plans instead of paying a month for a month. You will get a 10% discount from the monthly price for a 1-year contract and a 20% discount for signing up for two years. This can save you $60 per month for the Advanced plan and $16 per month for the Shopify plan if you subscribe for two years.

Basic Shopify ($29 per month)

  • An online e-commerce store
  • No limit on the product numbers listed and sold
  • 2 staff admin and POS accounts
  • Multi-channel sales
  • Up to 4 locations
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Manual orders
  • Abandoned cart delivery
  • Discount codes and gift cards
  • Shipping labels printing
  • Up to 64% shipping discounts
  • Shopify POS Lite
  • Sales in 133+ currencies

Shopify ($79 per month)

  • Everything included in Basic Shopify
  • 5 staff admin and POS accounts
  • Setting up to 5 locations
  • Professional reports
  • Up to 72% shipping discounts
  • USPS priority mail cubic pricing
  • Manual foreign language rate setting
  • Sales in up to 2 different languages
  • Support of international domain names

Advanced Shopify ($299 per month)

  • Everything included in the Shopify plan
  • Up to 15 staff accounts
  • Up to 8 locations
  • An advanced report builder
  • Auto calculated third party shipping rates
  • Discounts for shipping up to 74%
  • Up to 5 languages are supported
  • Lowest transaction fees (0.5%) and credit card rates of all

Shopify also has a $9 Shopify Lite plan and a Premium Plus plan, starting from $2,000 a month. The company offers a 14-day free trial.

Pricing: Verdict

Shopify wins in the pricing category of this Shopify versus Amazon competition. The reason is that the paid plans are cheaper than the Professional Seller plan on Amazon, which makes it more predictable and scalable in the long run. There are plans available for businesses of all sizes and types suitable for big and small business owners.

You can choose the best Shopify plan for your needs here.

Using Amazon with Shopify

Integrating Amazon into your Shopify-based online shop is possible, so you can market your goods listed on your site at the biggest online marketplace as well.

This will increase the exposure of your items and help build up your customer base and boost your sales.

You can sync your product inventory on your web-based store and Amazon to prevent overselling and keep track of your stock and sales.

To do this, you should set up Amazon’s Sales Channel on your Shopify online store after registering for Amazon. You can do this easily and try it out for free. But keep in mind that you will need to subscribe and pay for the Amazon Professional account, as well as pay your Shopify subscription fees, in case you decide to integrate Amazon into your Shopify store.

Still, if you are serious about growing your business and becoming successful, combining the power of these two e-commerce platforms is an investment that is definitely worth making.

Shopify vs Amazon: Conclusion

Both Amazon and Shopify are leading eCommerce platforms, which though have some major differences as well.

After our in-depth review, here are the conclusions which we reached when comparing Shopify vs. Amazon:

Ease of Use

Winner – draw

  • Shopify is one of the easiest ways to set up an online retail business from scratch and start selling
  • Amazon requires a quick registration, uploading of a product list, and you are ready to start selling

Design and Flexibility

Winner – Shopify

  • Shopify offers access to excellent customizable templates which you can use to build a unique eCommerce store
  • Amazon relies on its own overlay and design, so you have limited design and customization options

eCommerce Tools and Features

Winner – Shopify

  • Shopify offers a wide choice of some of the best integrated eCommerce tools and features, as well as access to hundreds of other nifty eCommerce apps
  • Amazon has some very useful tools, including FBA, which will take care of inventory, packing, and shipping for you, but still has more limited tools as compared to Shopify

Payment Options and Fees

Winner – Shopify

  • Shopify is an eCommerce platform that does charge transaction fees if Shopify Payment is not used, but it supports 100+ payment gateways
  • Amazon supports Amazon Pay, which works with debit and credit cards, and there are many added fees, which can be incurred for sales, which are not as clear and transparent

Attracting Customers

Winner – Amazon

  • Shopify requires that merchants handle the promotion, marketing, and SEO of their online business store and brand themselves, but does provide the tools which you will need
  • Amazon has millions of visitors per day, so you won’t need to handle any SEO or marketing yourself. Still, you will have to compete with direct competitors, so you should optimize your rank in the Amazon search

Help and Support

Winner – Shopify

  • Shopify offers 24/7 phone and live chat support and a wide range of other help resources
  • Amazon has less accessible help and customer support than Shopify

Pricing

Winner – Shopify

  • Shopify has three main price plans starting from $29 to $299 per month, and a 14-day free trial
  • Amazon has two main plans, but both can come with added fees that are not as predictable

As a whole, our top recommendation is for Shopify, which is a suitable solution for any type and size business. It allows for full control, has scalable and predictable pricing, and helps create a strong brand identity.

Amazon is an excellent choice for small sellers who sign up for the Individual Seller plan, but it does have some extra fees, which are not always clear-cut and predictable. Still, Amazon offers one of the largest audiences in the world.

The best choice is to integrate Amazon into your Shopify online store, so you can get the best of both of these excellent eCommerce solutions.

You can try Shopify for free for 14 days here.

Shopify vs Amazon: FAQs

Will I make more money using Shopify or Amazon?

There is no one right answer to this question. Your online store’s sales and success depend on multiple factors, including the types of goods you are selling, the prices and discounts which are offered, and many others that can help you stand out from the rest of the online merchants selling the same or similar items.

The recommended way to ensure that you get the best of both platforms is to sign up and create an online shop on Shopify and then integrate it with Amazon via the existing add-ons.

Is Shopify the best eCommerce builder?

Yes, Shopify is the best option of the two for building an online shop because it is a dedicated eCommerce website building platform. In fact, it is one of the leading eCommerce website builders globally and is used by millions of online merchants for building and running their online businesses.

Keep in mind that Shopify may not be the best option for you if you are running a small-sized business or if you are on a limited budget.

Which is cheaper, Shopify, or Amazon?

Shopify offers better value for money. Its lowest-priced plan costs $29 a month, while Amazon’s Professional Selling Plan will cost you $39.99 plus all of the sales fees.

If you prefer to sign up for the Individual Seller Plan by Amazon, you won’t need to pay a monthly subscription fee, but you will still be charged $0.99 for every sale you make.

The Amazon Individual Plan is the best choice for online merchants looking to sell a few items per month.

Related content: The Best Free Ecommerce Website Builders for 2021

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