Shopify vs Amazon – Which Powerful Ecommerce Platform is Best For Your Store in 2021
So you have decided to launch an online store.
You have your product. You have your plan. But from which platform are you selling?
Welcome to the most significant decision for new online store entrepreneurs: Shopify vs Amazon
Amazon is a well-known giant in the eCommerce world. With a recorded 195 million unique visitors every month in the United States alone, it’s no wonder why plenty of new eCommerce entrepreneurs gravitate to it when opening their stores.
On the flip side, as of the end of 2020, over one billion orders have been processed on Shopify, and they show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
With numbers like these, the debate of Shopify vs Amazon is certainly worth doing some research.
To help you in the decision making, we here at BeyondSixFigures have done some thorough research on these two eCommerce platforms and have compiled it all into this neat and tidy blog post.
So continue reading to see how these two eCommerce giants compare features, user-friendliness, online store flexibility, marketing appeal, cost, and customer support.
PLUS our final recommendation of which one we think is best for your online store in 2021!
The Big Difference
So let’s first talk about the BIG difference between these two platforms.
In short, Shopify is a thoroughly developed ecommerce store platform, while Amazon is a gigantic online marketplace.
In simpler terms, think of selling on Amazon as hosting a booth at a well established, worldwide known craft fair. Because of that craft fair’s reputation and global standing, your booth is undoubtedly going to benefit from a large amount of traffic. Although you are going to have some stiff competition being in that same room as hundreds of other booths, and in the end, after the craft fair’s visitors leave, your brand will blend back into the noise of every other booth that was there too.
Meanwhile, selling with Shopify is kind of like renting a storefront downtown. Of course, you will get some traffic from customers visiting the area, but you will need to put a bit more effort into attracting the customers. On the plus side, you have freedom with how you choose to design your storefront, and any visitor to your store is hopefully going to leave with a strong sense of your brand.
If you’re still searching for answers, keep reading through this article to gain some further clarity.
Shopify Pros vs. Cons
Online Store Flexibility: Shopify gives you the tools, but ultimately, it is left up to you to decide how you’re going to design your online storefront, display your products, handle customers, and so on.
Designed to help you scale and grow: With greater store design flexibility, you can genuinely enforce your brand, thus giving you room to scale your business.
Higher Build and Maintenance Costs: With greater store flexibility comes a higher price tag through modifications and other add-ons.
Requires Higher Marketing Involvement: While Shopify is a widely known name, they leave it up to you to draw in your customers.
Amazon Pros vs. Cons
High Traffic: With over 300 million active customers in more than 180 countries, there is no shortage of potential customers when selling on Amazon.
Ideal for Small Brands: For sellers with small product inventories and new stores, Amazon offers a quick and easy pathway to start selling.
Highly Competitive: All that traffic is there for a reason. The vast number of sellers with stores on Amazon make this ecommerce platform highly competitive.
Fewer Branding Opportunities: The lack of design flexibility and modifications means few opportunities to push your online store’s brand.
In the match of Shopify vs Amazon, both these ecommerce platforms are relatively easy to figure out and quickly get started selling your products.
Shopify offers powerful sales tools and simple navigation to help users easily create engaging ecommerce websites. They offer plenty of resources and guides to help you along the way too!
Though if you think that’s easy, Amazon takes it one step simpler.
If you choose to sell on Amazon, all you have to do to get started is create an account. The platform walks you through the setup process, and then once your account is registered, all you have to do is list your products, sell, and ship!
If you’re not a fan of the shipping and fulfillment side either, the Fulfillment by Amazon feature can even take care of you there. That way, all you have to do is focus on running your store, and they will handle the rest.
(Interested in other tools that handle the shipping and fulfillment side of an online business? Check out our blog post “Printify Review: The Top Free Print-On-Demand Platform (January 2021)”)
Who said it has to be hard to become an Ecommerce Expert?
Shopify vs Amazon Category Winner: Amazon!
Online Store Flexibility
So let’s go back to how we talked about design flexibility.
Following their easy-to-use factor, Amazon will be the most simple and least unique in the matchup of Shopify vs Amazon. All online stores on Amazon are constructed in a similar design and layout, which tends to blend them. While you, of course, can upload your unique images and create intriguing product descriptions, that’s where the customizability ends.
Meanwhile, with Shopify, the platform is your oyster. Shopify gives you complete freedom and control regarding the visual aspects of your online store. They offer over 60 themes to get you started, and from there, you can take off with whatever design and branding you choose.
This feature allows you to create a brand for your online store to grow as you scale your business.
Shopify vs Amazon Category Winner: Shopify!
In this day and age, digital marketing is everything.
With Amazon, you are the booth at their gigantic craft fair. The platform will display your products right alongside their other sellers featuring self-driving vacuums or protective phone cases. Furthermore, the Amazon name and branding cover every page of their site, so your brand tends to get a little lost in the sea of sellers.
So even with those insane numbers of daily platform visitors, it can be a bit hard for your brand to stand out among the rest.
On the other hand, Shopify gives you the tools to create your brand truly. Your online store visitors will have your brand in their face every step away with your custom website.
Though with this greater flexibility, Shopify makes you put a bit more effort into promoting your business. Since your products aren’t automatically featured on an online marketplace of 190+ million visitors, you will need to promote your brand and draw in customers actively.
Shopify vs Amazon Category Winner: Amazon
When choosing an ecommerce platform, there are many factors that you need to take note of besides just the monthly subscription cost.
It’s essential when you compare Shopify vs Amazon that you take a hard look at the details of your business.
How many products do you have to offer?
Do you have a storefront along with your intended website?
How big are you looking to scale your store?
Are you ready to handle fulfillment and shipping? Or looking to source this job out?
Once you take the time to answer these kinds of questions, you should have a stronger sense of what features you need to include and add into your total cost estimate.
Basic Shopify ($29/month + transaction fees)
Features: An ecommerce website and blog, two staff accounts, unlimited products, 24/7 customer support, multichannel selling, manual order creation, discount codes, a free SSL certificate, abandoned cart recovery, fraud analysis, the Shopify POS App.
Transaction Fees: $0 for all Shopify Payment users, and then fees increase to 0.5% to 2% depending on the payment gateway. Online credit card fees for Basic Shopify users are 2.9%+.30¢.
Shopify ($79/month + transaction fees)
Features: All that is included with the Basic Shopify plan, five staff accounts, gift cards, professional reports, and Point of Sale extras.
Transaction Fees: Still 1% fee for transactions using something else other than Shopify Payments. Online credit card fees are 2.6%+.30¢
Advanced Shopify ($299/month)
Features: All that’s included with Shopify plan, 15 staff accounts, an advanced report builder, and third-party calculated shipping rates.
Transaction Fees: A .5% fee for transaction fee with any order using something other than Shopify Payments. Credit card rates drop to 2.4%+.30¢.
Individual Sellers ($.99/transaction)
This level is designed for those planning to sell less than 40 items a month. This plan features the ability to add new items to Amazon and the ability to opt-in for Fulfillment by Amazon.
Professional Sellers ($39.99/month + transaction fees)
Features: The abilities offered at the individual sellers level plus advanced listing and reporting tools, custom shipping rates, eligibility for premier product placement, and custom promotions.
Shopify vs Amazon Category Winner: It’s a toss-up! While Amazon features fewer options and an easier path to get started selling quickly with minimal collateral needed in the first few sales, Shopify’s plans offer a greater value for what you pay. In the end, it all depends on your individual store’s needs.
Shopify boasts many options for its sellers to reach out for support. These options include a 24/7 customer support phone line, an 24/7 live chat tool, forums, email support, and advanced specialist support.
On the other hand, Amazon sorely lacks in the customer support department. For Amazon sellers, the best they offer is a phone line to dial to request a call back from the support team. There are support request forms and community forums, but there aren’t clear or quick pathways to get the help you need.
Shopify vs Amazon Category Winner: Shopify!
Our Final Shopify vs Amazon Verdict
If you are new to the online store or drop shipping industry, Amazon makes it easy to quickly get your products out on the market and in front of MILLIONS of potential customers.
Although if you are looking on to the big picture, envisioning making a six-figure revenue, and even needing to add on a few more eCommerce job descriptions to develop your team, Shopify is your answer.
We love the flexibility and branding opportunities that this ecommerce platform has to offer. While your products may not be automatically displayed in front of millions of eyes, Shopify gives you the tools to develop a strong brand and sustainable eCommerce business.
If you are new to the online store industry, an experienced eCommerce coach or dropshipping mentor will help answer these crucial questions, such as which ecommerce platform to use or how to develop a mobile app for your store quickly.
The BeyondSixFigures Ecommerce University offers the answers to all of these questions and more through strategic teachings and hands-on mentorship from eCommerce expert Justin Woll himself.