Shopify vs. Amazon | Which eCommerce Platform Is Better to Sell on?

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Even if you’re new to the business world, you’ve likely heard of both Shopify and Amazon simply due to their popularity and dominance in the eCommerce realm. But as a new business owner, you’re going to need more information if you’re interested in harnessing the power of these mega-platforms. Stay tuned to learn more about Shopify and Amazon to determine which platform is better for you.

What Is Shopify?

Shopify is an eCommerce platform that allows businesses to design and manage their own online websites, complete with an attached store. Not only that, but Shopify also comes with a ton of additional useful business tools that allow you to learn and grow along your business journey. For example, Shopify features an inventory management system, a point of sale system, and valuable data and analytics.

Pros and Cons of Selling on Shopify

Sure, Shopify sounds great, but that’s not the whole store. In order to get a comprehensive understanding of this eCommerce platform, we need to discuss the pros and cons of selling on this platform. Pros of selling on Shopify:

  • Shopify gives you a free 90-day trial when you sign up. During that time, you can focus on planning, designing, and building the perfect website for your eCommerce business. You can also try out some of the different features and tools available on Shopify to get a solid foundation of the platform without paying a penny.
  • Shopify’s design system is totally customizable and really allows you to make your site stand out from the competition and grow your brand identity. You have total control over the look and setup of your site, with full freedom to try out different features and tweak things along the way.
  • Shopify is the platform to choose if you’re really looking to grow a substantial business with a brand identity, mission, and vision.

Cons of selling on Shopify:

  • Selling on Shopify doesn’t necessarily provide you with any extra exposure or marketing. Instead, you will need to invest in these areas separately to get your name out there and start getting customers in the virtual door. As a result, you may have to spend more on marketing than you would otherwise.
  • Selling on Shopify, while affordable at the basic level, can get expensive really quickly with the addition of extra features and tools within your platform. So while these tools might be nice, they can really add to your costs.
  • When you sell on Shopify with the basic plan, you won’t have access to the valuable information presented in reports about your site. In order to access these, you will need to upgrade your account and spend more money on those insights.
  • When you use a third-party payment provider other than Shopify on your site, you will need to pay additional transaction fees that can really cut into your profits if you aren’t careful.

What Is Amazon?

Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer with billions of dollars in sales every single year. Amazon allows buyers to easily shop for just about any item imaginable and get it within two days if they’re an Amazon Prime member. On the selling side, Amazon allows sellers to create their own Amazon Store to list and sell their products. If you’re not a fan of logistics, Amazon also offers fulfillment services where they will store, stock, and ship your products in addition to dealing with customer service issues.

Pros and Cons of Selling on Amazon

While Amazon is definitely a great platform, there are cons to consider in addition to the benefits of selling there. Here are the things you need to know in order to make the best possible decision for your business: Pros of selling on Amazon:

  • Amazon gives you a free 30-day trial when you sign up with a Pro account. This is a great way to test out the waters of Amazon to see if it’s a good fit before you actually have to pay anything.
  • Setting up your Amazon profile and listing your products for sale is a super easy process that can get you in the door and selling in no time.
  • Selling on Amazon lets you utilize a huge established platform with millions of users. People trust Amazon, so they will trust you too by association.
  • Amazon doesn’t just have “users,” but they have buyers. In 2019, Amazon made $141.25 billion in retail product sales. This equals out an average of $385 million in sales every single day. And that was years ago -- Amazon is constantly growing and expanding to reach new heights -- you can be a part of this!
  • Selling on Amazon lets you avoid a lot of customer service issues that you’d otherwise be dealing with on your own. Furthermore, the refunds and returns services offered by Amazon are easy and straightforward.
  • Amazon gives you the option to have them fulfill your sales through “Fulfillment by Amazon” or FBA. All you have to do is ship your products to one of their warehouses and let them do all the work while you rake in the cash.

Cons of selling on Amazon:

  • Amazon knows that they can charge a huge premium for using their platform, and they do by charging between 15% to 40% in fees for every sale in addition to monthly account subscription costs that start at $39.99 a month for the Professional plan.
  • Amazon’s size can also be a drawback because that means you’re dealing with a lot of competition. Amazon has 9.7 million sellers on their platform, with 1.9 being active -- and this number is constantly growing.
  • Competing on Amazon can be difficult as you’re given little to no control over your store page with no design options. As a result, it can be hard to set yourself apart and establish your brand.
  • Amazon has strict rules that you must follow, or else you risk suspension or even being banned from the platform if you become a repeat offender. Always make sure that you understand and follow the rules if you choose to sell on this platform.

Which Platform Is Better to Sell on?

So it sounds like you have a big choice to make: which platform is better to sell on?

  • Amazon can get you tons of business from their existing users and allows you to save money on marketing.
  • Shopify can help you build your brand by establishing a unique website that you have total ownership and control over.

But what if you didn’t have to choose? In fact, using Amazon and Shopify together may actually be the best option. On the one hand, you can increase exposure by selling on Amazon. On the other hand, you can establish a brand identity and image through your Shopify website. Both of these platforms can be used in concert for an effective business strategy that will help you achieve your goals.

Alternative eCommerce Platforms to Consider

Now that you know everything about Shopify and Amazon, it’s time to discuss other alternatives in the event that you still haven’t found the right fit for your business.

  • Zappos: This platform specializes in the sale of shoes, clothing, and other accessories like jewelry. Zappos offers rewards for each purchase you make that you can use to get discounts or even free products.
  • AliExpress: This platform offers a wholesale marketplace where you can get discounted products by cutting out the middleman. AliExpress has tons of guarantees and protections for scams, damages, and other order issues.
  • This platform offers brand-name American products at discounted prices and offers quick two-day shipping. Jet also offers free shipping on orders over $35 and free returns.
  • Magento: This platform allows businesses to create their own online store with tons of customizable and scalable options so that you can grow your business while staying on this platform.
  • Wix: This platform allows businesses to plan, develop, and create professional websites based on 500 different professional templates.

Wrap Up

When it comes to choosing between Amazon and Shopify, we say why not both? You can sell your products on Amazon through an Amazon Store page while also maintaining a separate website through Shopify. However, if you’re just starting out and don’t want to overwhelm yourself with too many costs or platforms, Shopify might be the way to go. You can always branch out to other platforms like Amazon as you grow your business and gain more resources. Speaking of resources, we here at Seek Capital know that this can be a huge struggle for small businesses, and we’re here to help! Always feel free to reach out if you need any guidance on things like loans, credit cards , accounting, and more. Sources:

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