As the e-commerce landscape continues to evolve, online sellers are often faced with the question of which platform to choose for their businesses. As of August 2022, Amazon had over 6 million active sellers, while Shopify surpassed 4.15 million merchants worldwide. Both platforms have experienced tremendous growth and have attracted sellers looking to tap into the booming e-commerce market.
But unless you’ve got the staff, time, or energy to implement a strong sales and marketing strategy yourself, there is only so much time in the day to dedicate to one platform.
This article provides an in-depth comparison of Shopify and Amazon, discussing their features, services, and selling plans. We also cover the pros and cons of each platform to help you determine which is the best fit for your online business. Whether you’re a seasoned seller or just starting out, understanding the differences between these two platforms is crucial for success in the competitive e-commerce world.
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Shopify vs Amazon: Which Platform is Better for Sellers?
Let’s review these two leading mega merchants to help you discover the best match for your online business.
Shopify Features & Services
As a powerful e-commerce platform, Shopify offers a myriad of features and services that enable you to create, manage, and scale your online store with ease. Let’s delve into the key aspects of the platform that make it a top choice for online sellers:
Abandoned Cart Recovery
Shopify’s built-in abandoned cart recovery feature (also known as abandoned checkout) sends automated emails to customers who leave items in their cart without completing a purchase. This occurs due to various reasons, such as distractions, technical issues, or price comparisons.
To address this issue, Shopify’s abandoned cart recovery feature sends strategically timed and personalized automated emails to these customers, encouraging them to return to your store and complete their purchase. These emails can include customized messaging, discount codes, or incentives to entice customers to finalize their transactions.
As an e-commerce seller, leveraging this feature can significantly improve your conversion rates and overall sales. By actively engaging with customers who abandoned their carts, you can address their concerns, provide additional information or offers, and ultimately guide them through the purchasing process.
Moreover, Shopify’s abandoned cart recovery feature offers valuable insights and analytics, allowing you to track the effectiveness of your recovery efforts and make data-driven decisions. By analyzing data such as the open rate, click-through rate, and recovery rate, you can optimize your email campaigns and refine your marketing strategies to maximize conversion and recover lost sales.
Shopify supports more than 100 payment gateways, allowing you to offer your customers multiple choices when completing their purchases. Some of the popular payment gateways supported by Shopify include PayPal, Stripe, and Shopify’s own payment solution, Shopify Payments. These gateways offer seamless integration, enabling you to accept payments from customers across the globe.
By offering a wide range of payment options, you can cater to various customer preferences and improve their shopping experience. This approach helps to increase trust and credibility, ultimately leading to higher conversion rates and customer satisfaction.
Furthermore, Shopify ensures that all transactions are secure by using industry-standard encryption and security measures. This ensures that your customers’ sensitive information, such as credit card details, is protected from potential security threats.
Shipping and Fulfillment
Shopify simplifies shipping and fulfillment by integrating popular carriers and providing real-time shipping rates, ensuring a seamless experience for both sellers and customers. Shopify Shipping is a comprehensive service that streamlines the entire shipping process. It offers discounted shipping rates from carriers such as USPS, UPS, DHL, and more, allowing you to pass on cost savings to your customers or improve your profit margins.
Additionally, Shopify Shipping enables you to print shipping labels directly from your dashboard, eliminating the need for external tools or services. This feature streamlines your order fulfillment process and helps ensure accuracy in shipping information.
Shopify offers a robust and user-friendly inventory management system that simplifies stock control and organization. With Shopify’s inventory management, you can easily keep track of stock levels across multiple locations, ensuring that you always have an accurate view of your product availability.
This system also provides low-stock notifications, alerting you when it’s time to reorder products and helping prevent stock-outs that could lead to lost sales. By utilizing Shopify’s inventory management features, you can efficiently manage your stock, optimize product availability, and maintain a seamless shopping experience for your customers.
Shopify offers dropshipping capabilities through various apps and integrations, such as Oberlo and Spocket. These tools enable you to source products directly from suppliers and have them shipped to your customers without handling inventory or shipping yourself. This business model allows you to focus on marketing and customer acquisition while suppliers take care of fulfillment.
SEO and Marketing Tools
Shopify provides built-in search engine optimization (SEO) tools that help improve your store’s visibility on search engine results pages. With features such as customizable meta tags, title tags, and URLs, you can optimize your store for search engines and attract organic traffic.
In addition to SEO, Shopify offers marketing features like email marketing, social media integration, and Google Ads management. These tools make it easier for you to create and manage marketing campaigns, driving more traffic to your store and increasing sales.
Shopify’s App Store contains thousands of third-party apps and integrations that can further enhance your store’s functionality. Apps cover various categories such as customer support, advanced analytics, and loyalty programs, allowing you to customize your store and offer a tailored shopping experience to your customers.
Pros of Selling with Shopify
- Customization: Shopify is highly customizable, allowing you to create a personalized, professional online store.
- Multi-channel selling: Shopify supports selling across multiple platforms, including social media and online marketplaces.
- Community forums: Shopify has a large community of entrepreneurs and developers who can offer support and advice.
- Discount codes: Shopify allows you to create and manage discount codes for your customers.
- Selling Features: With abandoned checkout recovery, SEO and ads tools, and dropshipping, you can approach customer acquisition from many avenues.
Cons of Selling with Shopify
- Transaction fees: Shopify charges transaction fees if you choose to use a payment gateway other than Shopify Payments.
- Limited built-in features: While Shopify offers a wide range of features, some advanced functionalities may require additional apps, which can increase costs.
- Learning curve: Although Shopify is user-friendly, it may take some time to learn and master all the platform’s features.
Shopify understands that every business has unique needs and growth aspirations. To cater to various businesses, the platform offers three main selling plans, each designed to support specific stages of business development. Let’s explore each plan in detail to help you make an informed decision about which one best suits your business.
Ideal for startups and small businesses, the Basic Shopify plan offers all the essentials to create and launch your online store. This plan includes features like unlimited product listings, 24/7 customer support, multi-channel selling, and discount codes. Additionally, it provides two staff accounts, letting you manage your store with a small team.
The Shopify plan is tailored for growing businesses that require more advanced features to scale their operations. This plan offers everything in the Basic plan, plus lower transaction fees, professional reports, gift cards, and five staff accounts. It also unlocks the abandoned cart recovery feature, helping you recover potential lost sales and boost your conversion rates.
Designed for large businesses with high sales volumes, the Advanced Shopify plan offers the most comprehensive set of features. In addition to everything included in the Shopify plan, this tier offers third-party shipping rates, real-time carrier shipping, and advanced report building. With fifteen staff accounts, this plan is perfect for businesses with larger teams and more complex operations.
Alternative solutions include the Starter Plan, Shopify Plus, and Commerce Components.
Amazon Features & Services
As the leading e-commerce platform, Amazon offers various features and services to help third-party sellers succeed in the competitive online marketplace. Let’s explore these features and services in greater detail to understand how they can benefit your online business:
The Amazon Marketplace provides a platform for sellers to showcase and sell their products alongside Amazon’s offerings. By leveraging the marketplace’s extensive customer base and diverse product categories, sellers can access a vast audience, increasing their chances of driving sales and expanding their business.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)
FBA is a comprehensive fulfillment solution that allows sellers to delegate storage, shipping, and customer service to Amazon. By utilizing FBA, you can focus your efforts on product sourcing, marketing, and other business development tasks while Amazon efficiently handles your order fulfillment needs. This service not only streamlines your operations but also helps improve customer satisfaction with faster delivery times and professional customer support. We’ll talk more about this later.
Amazon FBA Calculators can help determine what profits you can make with this service.
Amazon Prime Eligibility
When you use FBA, your products become eligible for Amazon Prime, granting customers access to fast shipping options and other Prime benefits. This eligibility can significantly increase your products’ visibility and appeal, leading to higher sales potential and customer loyalty.
To help sellers promote their products effectively, Amazon provides a suite of advertising solutions that improve product visibility in search results. Known as Amazon PPC, these solutions include sponsored product, sponsored brand, and sponsored display ads, which can be customized to target specific keywords and audience segments. By investing in Amazon advertising, you can enhance your products’ exposure and drive more sales.
Amazon Seller Central
Amazon Seller Central is a comprehensive dashboard that allows you to manage all aspects of your Amazon business. This includes inventory management, order processing, and performance analytics. By utilizing Seller Central, you can keep track of your business’s performance and make data-driven decisions to optimize and grow your operations.
Pros of Selling on Amazon
- Extensive customer reach: With its global presence, Amazon provides sellers with access to a massive audience, increasing sales potential.
- FBA benefits: By using FBA, sellers can delegate order fulfillment tasks to Amazon and streamline their operations.
- Established trust: Amazon’s solid reputation and customer review system help sellers build trust with potential buyers, leading to higher conversion rates. Sellesta.ai offers an Amazon review sentiment analysis tool so you can learn how to improve your product and listings based on customer feedback.
Cons of Selling on Amazon
- Fee structure: Selling on Amazon involves various fees, which can be costly for some businesses, impacting their profitability.
- Intense competition: With a multitude of sellers on the platform, it can be difficult to stand out and gain visibility in search results.
- Customization limitations: Amazon offers limited customization options for your storefront and product listings.
Amazon Selling Plans
Amazon offers two main selling plans to cater to different business needs:
Individual Selling Plan
The Individual Selling Plan is designed for sellers who anticipate selling fewer than 40 items per month. With no monthly subscription fee, sellers pay a per-item fee for each sale. This plan is perfect for occasional sellers or those testing the Amazon marketplace before fully committing.
The Professional Selling Plan targets sellers who plan to sell more than 40 items per month. This plan includes a monthly subscription fee and provides additional features such as bulk listing, Amazon Advertising access, and advanced reporting tools, making it ideal for high-volume sellers looking to scale their business.
As discussed earlier, Amazon FBA is a comprehensive fulfillment solution that allows sellers to delegate storage, shipping, and customer service to Amazon. By opting for FBA, you can concentrate on other crucial aspects of your business, such as product sourcing and marketing. It’s important to note that FBA fees vary based on factors like product dimensions, weight, and storage duration. Therefore, evaluating the costs and benefits of FBA for your specific products and business model is crucial to ensure you maximize profitability while maintaining efficient operations.
Amazon vs Shopify: Which is Right For You?
Choosing between Shopify and Amazon depends on your business needs and goals. Shopify offers more customization and multi-channel selling options, while Amazon provides access to a massive customer base and the option for FBA.
For Amazon sellers, using Sellesta.ai gives you access to an extensive library of e-commerce services that can help improve your sales and grow your business. With AI-powered tools for keyword research, listing optimization, review analysis, and more, Sellesta.ai helps sellers make their Amazon businesses more profitable.