Whether you’re starting to sell online for the first time or you’re already selling on one channel but looking to expand into an omnichannel, many ecommerce sellers evaluate whether it’s better to sell on Amazon or Shopify.
First, What’s the Difference?
Shopify is a shopping cart; Amazon is a marketplace.
On Shopify, you will have an individually branded store and all the products inside are sold to benefit the owner of that store.
Amazon is a modern bazaar where you don't have the foggiest clue who is selling the product and you really don't care.
Now, Which One’s Better?
Characteristics you’ll want to evaluate are: convenience, access to customers, flexibility, payments, visibility, cost, and risks.
Earlier one spent tons on building a website, its SEO but now every online seller we know is setting up their online store in a matter of hours on Shopify. It’s quick, slick, and easy to use right out of the “box.” Also it integrates with tons of apps.
Amazon will store your products, list them on their website, and when you make a sale, they’ll pick, pack, and ship out your products (again, if using FBA).
In short, you can get up and running quickly and easily no matter which one you choose.
Access to Customer List
When you build a Shopify store, again, it is your store, so you have full access to and control over your customer list. This is a huge benefit when you go for email marketing or set up personal relations.
Amazon, on the other hand, considers your customers *their* customers, and they don’t share a detailed contact list of those customers with you.
Customization is where Shopify shines. When you set up a Shopify store, it is YOUR store, so you can do pretty much whatever you want with it.
If you’re selling on Amazon, yes, you can customize product descriptions, but you are on Amazon’s platform and adhering 100% to Amazon’s terms and conditions.
Part of Shopify’s flexibility relates to merchant processors. Shopify integrates with approximately a gazillion different payment processors such as Shopify Payments, PayPal, Authorize.net, FattMerchant, and on and on.
Amazon, on the other hand, is its own payment processor, and they decide when payments are going to be made. The vast majority of sellers receive their payments every two weeks like clockwork.
Considering everything that Shopify gives you right out of the box, it’s an amazingly cost-effective solution for many sellers. Just $39/month gets you a website to start selling on, and Shopify Plus ($1,000+/mo) gets you a more customized solution for established sellers who have grown into needing more (don’t start there).
Amazon, on the other hand, makes money all over the place. Like Shopify, they charge a monthly hosting fee of about $39/month. They also charge long-term and short-term storage fees, the sky is blue fees, and water is wet fees.
Ok, So What’s the Answer?
Sorry, but this is a trick question. The answer isn’t either/or… it’s both.
You want to protect your business. Without your business, you’re not selling anywhere. You should 100% focus on building your own brand (or brands), and by selling on Shopify, you have a low cost way of doing that without the risk of being shut down arbitrarily. However, it can be hard to get eyeballs on your site when everyone is going straight to Amazon.
You should put yourself wherever your customers might be looking for you. So yes, sell on Amazon (as long as you have the margins to support all the fees Amazon is charging you), but also stabilize your business by selling on Shopify to grow your brand independently from Amazon.