Shopify vs Amazon: Which is Better for Your Ecommerce Business?
Do you need help deciding between Shopify and Amazon? We’ll compare Shopify and Amazon to help you determine which ecommerce platform best fits your specific needs.
Shopify vs Amazon: Key Takeaways
- Shopify is a highly versatile ecommerce platform that empowers entrepreneurs to create and manage fully customizable online stores, which makes it a top choice for those who want to establish a powerful online presence and cultivate a distinct brand identity.
- On the other hand, Amazon is an online marketplace that provides access to a massive, built-in customer base, making it an excellent option for those who want to reach a wider audience quickly.
Shopify vs Amazon: Pros and Cons
Here is a table that highlights the pros and cons of Shopify and Amazon based on key criteria:
|Pricing & Fees|
|Pros||Lower monthly fees for seller accounts||Transparent pricing plans and no transaction fees if using Shopify Payments|
|Cons||High referral fees on certain product categories.
Extra fees apply to more services
|Additional transaction fees if not using Shopify Payments|
|Ease of Use|
|Pros||Easy to navigate with a simple interface||User-friendly and easy to set up. Intuitive interface|
|Cons||Users need to provide certain information and documentation when signing up for a seller account||Some may find the platform overwhelming due to the abundance of features|
|Pros||Limited but clean and professional design options||Wide range of customizable templates and themes. Ability to edit HTML and CSS for advanced customization|
|Cons||Limited options for design customization. Limited branding opportunities||Some templates can be costly. Customization requires coding skills.
Require some time to learn and navigate, especially for those who are new to ecommerce
|Pros||Provides a built-in fulfillment network and shipping tools||Integrates with a wide range of shipping carriers.
Includes the ability to offer free shipping and carrier-calculated rates
|Cons||Limited shipping carrier integrations. Higher fees for using Amazon's fulfillment network||Additional fees for advanced shipping features. Requires integration with third-party apps for some shipping features|
|Pros||Offers Amazon Pay as a payment option||Integrates with over 100 payment gateways. Offers its own payment gateway, Shopify Payments, with no additional fees|
|Cons||Limited payment options. Higher fees for using non-Amazon payment gateways||Additional fees for using third-party payment gateways. Shopify Payments not available in all countries|
|Pros||Provides access to Amazon's massive customer base. Built-in advertising tools||Offers a range of built-in marketing tools|
|Cons||Limited branding opportunities. High competition on Amazon's marketplace||Additional fees for advanced marketing features. Some marketing apps are costly|
|Pros||Offers its own search engine, A9
Product listings are indexable on Google’s search engine
|Built-in SEO features including metadata and sitemap generation.
Integrates with Google Analytics & Google Search Console
|Cons||Limited control over product page optimization||Some advanced SEO features require additional payment through apps|
|Pros||Offers support through seller forums, email, and phone, 24/7 chat||24/7 customer support via phone, email, and live chat. Knowledgeable support team|
|Cons||Limited support options for free seller accounts. Long wait times for support||Some support features require higher-tier plans|
Shopify vs Amazon: In-Depth Comparison
Pricing & Fees
Shopify Pricing Plans
Shopify offers up to five subscription plans to choose from:
- Shopify Starter: $5 per month
- Basic Shopify $39 per month
- Shopify Plan: $105 per month
- Advanced Shopify: $399 per month
- Shopify Plus: Custom pricing, depending on your requirements
You can save money by committing to an annual plan. By paying for a full year of service upfront, you can receive a 25% discount on your monthly subscription fee.
A Shopify free trial is also available, giving you access to full features at no cost. If you choose to pay for a Shopify subscription when the free trial ends, you will only be charged $1 for the next three months.
It’s important to note that the pricing and deals offered by Shopify may vary based on your location. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to check Shopify’s pricing page for your region to get the most up-to-date and accurate information about the pricing and deals available.
In addition to the monthly subscription fees, selling on Shopify can involve extra fees. These are as follows:
- If you use Shopify Payments, Shopify’s built-in payment gateway, you can avoid transaction fees on all plans except for the Starter plan.
- If you use a third-party payment option to process transactions on your Shopify store, a transaction fee does apply and ranges from 2.4% to 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction, depending on your current plan.
Credit card fees: There are two ways to accept credit card payments with Shopify:
- If you use Shopify Payments to accept payments through credit cards, the processing fee is between 2.4% and 2.9% of each sale.
- If you use a third-party payment gateway to accept payments, the processing fee is between 0.5% and 2% depending on your plan. The fee is 5% of each sale if you are on the Starter plan.
It’s worth mentioning that if you use a third-party payment gateway other than Shopify Payments to accept payments on your Shopify store, you’ll need to pay both Shopify’s transaction fees and credit card processing fees charged by your payment gateway provider.
Shopify POS (point of sale): Additional fees apply if you sign up for Shopify POS Pro, an upgraded version of the standard Shopify POS that provides Shopify users with additional features beyond the basic point-of-sale capabilities and starts at $89 per month.
Third-party apps. Third-party apps for Shopify are available at a monthly cost, which varies between $4 to $350 per month.
Amazon Pricing Plans
To sell on Amazon, you need to create an Amazon seller account, allowing you to list your products for sale on the Amazon marketplace. Amazon offers two main pricing plans for sellers to choose from:
- Individual plan - $0.99 for each item you sell + additional selling fees
- Professional plan - $39.99 per month + additional selling fees.
The “Individual” plan limits you to selling fewer than 40 units per month and does not offer access to certain features that can be valuable for sellers, such as Amazon’s advertising tools and reporting features.
The “Professional” plan lets you create Amazon listings for an unlimited number of products and offers access to all of Amazon’s selling features, including advertising tools, the ability to sell across multiple categories, and the ability to add multiple users to your Amazon seller account.
In addition to the monthly subscription fees, several other expenses are associated with selling on Amazon. These fees include:
- Referral fees: Amazon charges a referral fee for each item sold on its marketplace. The cost varies depending on the product category you are selling in. Most referral fees generally fall between 8% and 15% of the item’s sale price.
- Fulfillment fees: The amount depends on whether you ship your products on your own or use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), Amazon’s built-in fulfillment service.
- Inventory fees: Amazon charges a fee if you choose to store your products in an Amazon fulfillment center.
- Rental book service fees: Amazon charges a rental book service fee for textbook rentals on your Amazon store. The fee is $5 for each rental.
- High-volume listing fees: For every extra listing above the first 100,000 listings without sales in the last 12 months, a monthly cost of $0.05 applies.
- Refund administration fee: When you issue a refund for an order on Amazon, a refund administration fee is charged, which is 20% of the referral fee paid for the sale, up to a maximum of $5.
Shopify comes out on top when it comes to pricing and fees. Shopify’s pricing and fee structure is more affordable than Amazon’s, with fixed subscription fees and the ability to remove transaction fees through Shopify Payments. This makes Shopify a cost-effective ecommerce solution compared to Amazon.
Ease of Use
Both Amazon and Shopify are designed to be user-friendly and easy to use, with intuitive interfaces and a wide range of helpful resources and video tutorials to guide you through the process of setting up and selling products.
However, the two platforms take different approaches regarding the level of effort required to get started and maintain your online store.
To sign up for an Amazon seller account, new merchants need to provide certain information, such as their business name, contact information, tax identification number, bank account details for payments, and a chargeable credit card.
Amazon also may require documentation for specific products to ensure they meet safety, authenticity, and compliance standards.
With Shopify, setting up an online store is more straightforward than on Amazon. All you need to do is provide your email address and follow a few simple steps to create your own store, where you can add products, create collections, and begin selling.
To learn more about how to start a Shopify store, check out our comprehensive guide here.
Regarding ease of use, Shopify is a clear winner with its simple process of setting up an online store.
Amazon has a limited range of design options and customizations available to its users, likely due to its focus as an online marketplace rather than a platform solely dedicated to helping its sellers build their own online stores.
In reality, while a few customizations are still possible such as adding a brand logo and adjusting product images, you are required to follow Amazon’s default layouts for listing products and creating A+ content.
On the other hand, Shopify offers more design flexibility and customization options. You can choose from over 100 themes to customize the look and feel of your online store.
If you have technical skills, you can take advantage of Shopify’s ability to adjust your store’s HTML and CSS code to further customize and create a unique branding experience for your online store.
Additionally, Shopify provides a drag-and-drop builder that enables you to easily add various blocks and sections to your page layouts and move them around.
Regarding storefront design, Shopify wins over Amazon due to its variety of theme options, the online store builder, and the flexibility to adjust your store’s HTML and CSS code.
Merchants can take advantage of the shipping tools offered by both Amazon and Shopify to ensure their products are delivered to customers.
Shipping with Amazon
When selling products on Amazon, you can either fulfill orders yourself or use Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service.
- If you choose to ship your orders, you are responsible for storing, packaging, shipping your products, and handling customer service. This method gives you more control over your inventory and the entire fulfillment process.
- If you use Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), you send products to Amazon’s fulfillment centers. Once the products arrive at the centers, Amazon takes over and handles all aspects of the fulfillment process, including product storage, order picking and packing, shipping to customers, and managing customer service inquiries.
It’s worth noting that there are fees involved in using Amazon’s Fulfillment by :Amazon (FBA) service. They are as follows
- Fulfillment fees cover the costs of handling, picking, packing, and shipping orders. They vary depending on the size and weight of your items.
- Inventory storage fees are charged monthly and based on the size and age of your products.
- Long-term storage fees are charged for products that have been in Amazon’s fulfillment centers for more than 365 days.
- Removal order fees are charged for any products you have Amazon return or dispose of your inventory.
- Returns processing fees are charged for processing returns and handling customer service inquiries related to returns.
- Unplanned services fees are charged when inventory arrives at a fulfillment center without proper preparation or labeling, which requires additional handling by Amazon’s staff.
Shipping with Shopify
Like Amazon, Shopify offers various shipping methods, including shipping, local delivery, and local pickup, with each designed to serve different types of businesses and customer needs. Here is a brief overview of each shipping method:
This method lets you ship your items to customers using shipping carriers like FedEx, USPS, Canada Post, or UPS. You can set your own shipping rates based on factors such as the weight and dimensions of the package and the shipping destination.
This shipping method allows you or your staff to deliver orders to customers within a specific geographic radius of your physical location.
The local pickup shipping method allows you to offer a convenient pickup option for customers who are in the area and prefer to pick up their orders in person.
What sets Shopify apart from Amazon when it comes to shipping is the availability of third-party carrier-calculated shipping rates.
In fact, you can also provide your customers with real-time calculated shipping rates at checkout. These shipping rates are determined by a third-party shipping carrier based on the details of your orders.
You need to be on the Advanced Shopify or Shopify Plus plans to enable the Carrier Calculated Shipping feature. If you are on a lower-tier plan, you can add it to your store for a monthly fee of $20 on top of your usual monthly subscription or switch to annual billing.
If you are based in a region that supports Shopify Shipping, Shopify’s in-house shipping service, you can display carrier-calculated shipping rates using Shopify’s own carrier accounts.
Both Shopify and Amazon offer the ability to sell goods without keeping them in stock. However, Shopify is a much better solution for this type of online selling.
With Shopify, you can integrate your online store with a wide range of dropshipping apps and suppliers, including popular services like AliExpress, Printful, Teelaunch, or Spocket. This way, you can source your products from a dropshipping supplier and have them delivered to your customers.
Amazon, on the other hand, does not offer a direct way to dropship your products. Instead, you can use Amazon’s FBA service, similar to a dropshipping service, to have your orders fulfilled by Amazon.
Shopify wins if you want to add third-party carrier-calculated shipping rates to checkout and make use of various dropshipping apps available through the Shopify App Store.
Amazon wins if you want to take advantage of its Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program for order fulfillment and shipping.
Both Shopify and Amazon provide multiple payment options to customers during checkout, allowing them to pay using their preferred methods. Shopify offers over 100 payment gateways, including PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, Meta Pay, and more. Additionally, Shopify has its own payment gateway, Shopify Payments, which is available in select countries and provides users with a seamless checkout experience while removing transaction fees.
On the other hand, Amazon offers fewer payment options compared to Shopify. Amazon primarily relies on its payment system, Amazon Pay, which accepts credit and debit cards and payments through customers’ Amazon account balance.
Shopify wins this round thanks to its extensive list of payment gateways and its own payment service that can help save money for Shopify store owners.
Marketing Your Online Store
Both Shopify and Amazon offer various marketing tools to help merchants promote their products and increase sales.
Sponsored Products are a type of Amazon Ad that enables sellers to promote their product listings on Amazon’s marketplace through cost-per-click (CPC) ads. These ads appear in search results and on product pages when online shoppers search for relevant keywords or products.
Sponsored Products are available for professional sellers, book vendors, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) authors, and agencies.
Sponsored Brands are a type of Amazon Ad that allows you to promote your brand or products through clickable logos, custom headlines, and engaging videos or images. These ads appear at the top of Amazon search results and on product detail pages.
Sponsored Brands are available to professional sellers who have registered their brand with Amazon through the Brand Registry program. They are also available to vendors, book vendors, and agencies.
Sponsored Display is an Amazon advertising solution that allows Amazon sellers to reach potential customers on and off Amazon, including third-party websites and mobile apps.
Sponsored Display ads can help sellers increase their brand awareness, promote new products, and drive sales on the Amazon marketplace.
Sponsored Display ads are available to sellers enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry and vendors with an active Amazon seller account.
Amazon Stores are a free self-service advertising feature allowing Amazon sellers to create their customizable brand store on Amazon. Stores serve as one of the most effective marketing tools for showcasing their brand and products in a visually appealing way.
Amazon Stores are available for sellers who have registered their brand through the Amazon Brand Registry program, as well as vendors and agencies.
Amazon SES (Simple Email Service) is a cloud-based email service that enables sellers to send marketing emails to their customers.
Some of the key features of Amazon SES include:
- Automate transactional messages, such as order confirmations, shipping notifications, and policy change notices
- Deliver marketing emails to subscribers or customers worldwide, including newsletters, special offers, and engaging content
- Send timely notifications to customers, such as daily reminders, weekly usage reports, or newsletters.
- Send bulk email communication, including notifications and announcements to large groups.
It’s worth mentioning that Amazon SES charges based on the number of emails you send. You can send up to 62,000 emails per month for free, with a fee of $0.10 applying to every additional 1,000 emails sent after that.
Shopify Store Marketing
As with Amazon, Shopify offers a built-in email marketing feature. However, Shopify’s email marketing feature is more advanced than Amazon’s. If you use Shopify Email, Shopify’s in-house mailing service, you can send 10,000 emails per month for free, and there is a fee of $1 for every additional 1,000 emails sent after that.
One of the advantages of using Shopify’s email marketing feature is its integration with Shopify’s ecommerce platform, enabling merchants to manage their email campaigns directly from their admin dashboard.
Another benefit of Shopify’s email marketing is its wide range of customizable email templates, which are designed to be visually appealing and highly mobile optimized.
Social media marketing
Shopify lets you promote your brands or products across popular social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can connect your Shopify store to your social media accounts, which allows you easily create and publish posts, track engagement, and manage ad campaigns directly from your Shopify admin.
Shopify has a built-in blogging functionality as part of its marketing tools, which allows you to create and manage blog content directly from your admin dashboard.
You can create and schedule content that is tailored to your target audience and provides them with valuable information about your products and services. This is not the case with Amazon, which supports blogging through third-party integrations or plugins.
Shopify comes out on top when it comes to marketing tools. The platform offers a wide range of comprehensive marketing tools, making it a popular choice for businesses looking to increase their online presence and convert visitors to consumers.
While both Shopify and Amazon offer SEO tools to help businesses improve their rankings on search engines, they take different approaches when it comes to search engine optimization.
When you sell on Amazon, it’s important to optimize product listings and search results within Amazon’s own search engine, A9. This involves optimizing product titles, bullet points, descriptions, and A+ Content.
Amazon’s A9 algorithm takes into account various factors when ranking your product listings, such as the product’s relevance to customer search queries, the quality of the listing and images, customer reviews and ratings, and other factors like availability, pricing, and sales volume.
Shopify, on the other hand, relies solely on Google’s search engine for SEO. This involves optimizing web pages, URLs, descriptions, product stages, and blog content to improve your own online store’s ranking
One advantage of Amazon over Shopify in terms of SEO is that you have two different opportunities to optimize your SEO: one for Amazon’s A9 search engine, where you can optimize your product listings to improve their visibility within Amazon’s marketplace, and another for Google, where you can optimize your bullet points and titles to drive traffic to your Amazon store.
Amazon wins in terms of SEO tools. The online marketplace offers more opportunities for SEO optimization, which can help enhance the visibility of your online store and attract more potential customers.
Both Shopify and Amazon offer customer support to their merchants. However, the level of support varies depending on your current plan or account type.
Shopify offers 24/7 customer support through various channels, including phone, email, and live chat. In addition, it provides support in multiple languages (a total of 21 languages). However, if you are on the Starter plan, 24/7 help is limited to live chat and email only.
With Amazon, you will get support via phone, email, and chat 24/7. Amazon also provides resources such as help pages, community forums, and video tutorials to help sellers solve their problems.
It’s worth mentioning that Amazon’s support is primarily focused on helping Amazon sellers navigate and troubleshoot issues within the Amazon marketplace only.
Amazon wins over Shopify when it comes to customer support. The online marketplace provides a more consistent level of support regardless of your account type.
Shopify vs Amazon: Comparison Table
Below is a summary table comparing the key features between Shopify and Amazon.
|Pricing & Fees||Monthly plans start from $39. No per-sale fees||Per-sale fees and monthly professional selling plan available|
|Ease of Use||User-friendly platform with a drag-and-drop interface||Some documentation required to sign up for an Amazon seller account|
|Design Options||Wide range of customizable templates available||Limited design options with pre-built templates and layouts|
|Shipping||Integrates with major carriers and offers discounted rates||Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) or seller-fulfilled shipping|
|Payment||Supports major payment gateways and has its own solution||Supports major payment gateways and Amazon Pay|
|Marketing||Built-in marketing tools and integrations with social media||Built-in advertising platform and email marketing solutions|
|SEO Tools||Uses Google as its main search engine||Two separate SEO opportunities for A9 and Google|
|Customer Support||24/7 support via phone, email, and live chat, with 21 different languages available||24/7 support via phone, email, and chat, with resources, provided such as help pages, community forums, and video tutorials|
Shopify or Amazon: Which E-Commerce Platform is Right for Your Business?
Whether Shopify or Amazon is right for your business depends on your business goals, budget, and specific ecommerce needs. Shopify is right for your business if
- You are a small or medium-sized business seeking a cost-effective e-commerce platform to establish and expand your online store
- You manage your ecommerce business independently and desire complete control over your brand or website.
- You aim to market your products on your existing website or want to take advantage of powerful marketing tools to reach and engage with customers.
Amazon is right for your business if
- You want to take advantage of Amazon’s massive customer base and marketplace to reach your audience and increase your sales.
- You are primarily focused on selling products rather than building a brand or website.
- You are seeking a platform with robust shipping and fulfillment options, including Amazon’s FBA service.
Shopify vs Amazon: FAQs
What is the main difference between Shopify and Amazon?
The main difference between Shopify and Amazon is that Shopify lets you create your own branded online store. At the same time, Amazon is a pre-existing marketplace where you can list your products alongside those of other sellers.
Can I Sell on Both Shopify and Amazon At the Same Time?
Yes, you can sell on both Shopify and Amazon at the same time. You can use Shopify to create your own online store and also list your products on Amazon to take advantage of its massive customer base.
Alternatively, you can use a third-party app called Amazon by Codisto, which is available for download on the Shopify App Store, to connect your Shopify store to your Amazon listings and keep track of your inventory across both platforms.
Between Shopify and Amazon, which Platform is Cheaper to Sell With?
Overall, Shopify tends to have lower fees than Amazon for selling products online. Its cheapest pricing plan, Starter, offers the ability to sell on social media platforms for only $5 per month.
Which Platform is Better for Selling Internationally, Shopify or Amazon?
Shopify offers more tools for selling internationally. Shopify Markets, the company’s built-in tool for cross-border selling, allows you to create markets that target specific countries or regions.
That concludes our Shopify vs Amazon comparison. Both platforms are powerful ecommerce tools that offer everything you need to start selling online.