We follow a strict honesty policy. However, to fund our work, we use affiliate advertising links on this blog.
Hi everyone, it’s Matt here from Style Factory — the go-to site for ecommerce reviews and advice.
In this Shopify vs Amazon comparison, I’m going to highlight all the key pros and cons of starting an online store on these hugely popular platforms.
So stay tuned to the end of this video to find out which of these two options is best for your project.
Let’s kick things off with a look at the key difference between Shopify and Amazon.
Shopify and Amazon are absolute giants of the ecommerce world. But although both services let you put your products in front of a huge audience, they are very different platforms.
Shopify is a tool that lets you build your own online store.
But Amazon IS an online store — and a huge one at that, with billions of products on sale to hundreds of millions of customers worldwide.
When you sell on Shopify, it’s the online equivalent of renting a space in which to set up your own shop.
But working with Amazon is more like selling your goods in a massive supermarket.
With Shopify, you’ll have more work to do to configure things the way you want — and find customers.
However, you’ll have total control over everything — you can decide how your brand is presented; what your storefront looks like; how you advertise products; how you capture data; the way you sell your goods.
With Amazon, the customer base is already there — but so is the competition.
To continue the supermarket analogy, having a storefront on Amazon is like having some shelf space in the supermarket aisle. Lots of people will walk past it, but will they reach out for one of your products — or choose one from the shelf above?
Now, both these ways of selling have their advantages and disadvantages, and in the rest of this video, I’m going to spell the key ones out for you.
But before I do, I’d like to quickly invite you to like this video, click subscribe and hit the notifications bell.
This means you’ll get easier access to all our ecommerce advice.
Ok, so let’s take a look at the key reasons to use Shopify over Amazon.
One — Shopify is a better option for merchants who need a fully-branded, standalone store.
When you sell on Amazon, you are fairly limited in terms of how you can present your business.
Although a few basic customizations are possible, in general your storefront is going to look very ‘Amazony’ and you won’t be able to create much of a bespoke shopping experience using the platform.
Shopify, by contrast, gives you a LOT of control over your brand and user experience. A wide range of templates is available, and these can be extensively edited to match your branding.
Multi-currency and multilingual features in Shopify allow you to further customize the user experience — so, if you’re looking for a very bespoke shopping experience tailored to a particular buyer persona, market or location, Shopify offers this in a way that Amazon doesn’t.
Two — Shopify is better for dropshipping.
Dropshipping is a way of selling goods where you don’t make, store or fulfill any products. You simply take an order via your online store, send it to a supplier, and they deliver the goods to your client.
Although you can technically dropship with either Shopify or Amazon, Shopify is a much better solution for this type of online selling — and in many ways has been designed with it in mind.
With Shopify, you can connect your store easily to a huge number of dropshipping apps and suppliers.
By contrast, Amazon’s dropshipping policy places quite a lot of restrictions on how you dropship, and the process for doing so isn’t particularly straightforward.
Three — Shopify is better for point of sale applications.
Point of Sale features let you sell goods not just online, but in physical locations too — for example retail outlets, market stalls and at events.
Shopify is a market leader when it comes to Point of Sale, giving you the hardware and software to make selling in the real world easy, all while keeping your offline and online sales data in sync.
Although various workarounds and integrations are available for Amazon that let you sell at point of sale, Shopify’s POS features are considerably more extensive and much more ‘baked in’ to the platform.
That said, Amazon is working on a new POS system, currently labeled ‘Project Santos.’ This aims to take on the likes of Shopify, Square and PayPal — so the current edge Shopify has over Amazon when it comes to Point of Sale may, in time, change.
Four — Shopify comes with more marketing tools.
Shopify comes with two key marketing features that you don’t get from Amazon: a built-in blog, and an email marketing system.
A blog is indispensable for SEO and inbound marketing applications — and vital for attracting organic traffic to your store.
And Shopify’s generous email marketing feature, which lets you send up to 10,000 newsletters a month for free, lets you capture data and spread the word about your products easily.
Five — Shopify lets you do business more ethically.
Something you don’t often encounter in Shopify vs Amazon comparisons is a discussion on ethics.
But Amazon’s questionable approaches to paying its fair share of tax, facilitating unions and safeguarding workers rights have made a lot of people uncomfortable over the years.
So if you have sensitivities around this area, and want to take a more ethical approach to doing business, then setting up a Shopify store may be a good way to do so.
That’s not to say that Shopify is a perfect company — but using it will give you more control over the moral aspects of how you do business.
So, those are our key reasons to sell on Shopify rather than Amazon. Now, let’s take a look at the reasons why Amazon can be a better choice.
One — Amazon gives you access to a huge, ready-made market.
There’s no doubt about it: if you’re looking for a ready-made customer base, Amazon is the clear winner in a Shopify vs Amazon shootout.
Because of its 300+ million user accounts in over 180 countries, having a storefront on Amazon technically gives you a shop window to the world. This is the major benefit of using the platform over a store builder like Shopify.
That’s not to say that you will immediately experience a rush of customers the moment you start selling on Amazon — but your products will be immediately available on a hugely popular platform.
And, so long as you’ve identified a niche correctly and put work into creating quality product descriptions and a strong pricing strategy, you do stand a pretty good chance of generating sales.
But when you set up a Shopify store, you are basically starting entirely from scratch — you’ll need to build your own customer base.
Because of this you’ll need to put a lot of thought and effort into SEO, content marketing, online advertising and online PR in order for a Shopify store to start gaining visibility and customers. This can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor.
Two — with Amazon, you don’t have to worry about web design.
When you sell on Amazon, it’s a simple case of listing your products on an existing online marketplace.
With Shopify however, you’re basically building a website. So, you’ll have to become comfortable with web design tasks like customizing themes, writing search-friendly content,creating web pages, and registering and mapping domains.
This means that you’ll encounter a bit of a learning curve from Shopify that arguably isn’t there on Amazon.
Three — Amazon gives you more SEO opportunities.
A key thing to note about Amazon stores is that — unlike Shopify — they present merchants with two search engine optimization opportunities.
Not only can you optimize your storefront for Amazon’s search engine, but — because your Amazon store is crawled by other search engines — Google too.
This means that technically, an Amazon store presents you with more ‘search audiences’ than a Shopify one, and a larger pool of potential customers.
So, those are the main advantages that we think Amazon has over Shopify.
To sum everything up up, we’d say that the main advantage of Shopify is the high level of control you get over your brand and your business — and the main advantage of Amazon is the ready-made market it gives you.
But although this comparison has so far looked at the differences between Shopify and Amazon, it’s really important to understand that you don’t have to use these platforms in a mutually exclusive way.
There are quite a lot of apps available in the Shopify app store that let you sell on both Shopify and Amazon at the same time.
This gives you the best of both worlds, and ultimately, by having a presence on both Shopify AND Amazon, you’re giving yourself more ways to grow your ecommerce business.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our Shopify vs Amazon comparison, but there are lots more pros and cons of both platforms to discover.
To learn more about these, check out the full Shopify vs Amazon comparison on the Style Factory website.
And, if you’re interested in trying out either platform, you’ll find links to both in the video description below.
To get all our latest ecommerce advice, do make sure you subscribe to our channel and hit the notifications bell.
And finally, if you have any questions about Shopify vs Amazon, just leave them in the comments section below. We read them all and will do our best to help.
Download our free ecommerce e-kit
For a limited time, we’re offering our readers some excellent free tools. Sign up free to immediately receive:
- our online store comparison chart
- a downloadable cheatsheet on how to create an online store
- our SEO, blogging and ‘how to start a business’ cheatsheets
- extended free trials and discount codes for essential business apps
- our latest tips on ecommerce and growing a business