LET'S TALK GROWTH
LET'S TALK GROWTH

Should I Sell on Amazon or Shopify?

Olaf-Sebastian Krysik
Olaf-Sebastian Krysik
HK Digital Co-Founder
6th December 2022

There are a lot of great ecommerce platforms out there, each with its own unique set of features and advantages. Which one should you choose for your business, you may ask yourself should I sell on Amazon or Shopify?

Shopify, enjoys nearly 800,000 businesses on its platform and is super reliable, while Amazon has over 200M users and reaches 2.5B visitors each month...

So, at first glance both seem great options, worry not in this article, we'll take a look at the two platforms - Amazon and Shopify - and see which one is better suited for your business.

The Differences Between Shopify and Amazon

Amazon is an excellent platform for small businesses and entrepreneurs who are looking to start their online store. It’s easy to set up, has a wide range of features, and is affordable.

On the other hand, Shopify is a more sophisticated platform that can handle larger businesses and offers more features and options. If you’re unsure which platform to choose, it’s worth it to continue reading our comparison guide to help you decide.

For starters, Amazon is a marketplace. If you want to learn more about what a marketplace is you can read our article Ecommerce 101: 6 Fundamentals of Ecommerce.

The unique nature of a marketplace is the fact that it is what we would call a demand platform, people come to the place because they are ready to buy. This makes it different from Shopify, where it is your job to drive traffic and convince it to buy your products. 

With what wouldn't be an obvious answer to the question: "Should I sell on Amazon or Shopify?" be Amazon

But if Amazon has such a great reputation and large customer following, why would you not pick it?

That comes down to the fact that you have to give back for all that additional value. Amazon will charge a hefty commission fee for every sale you will make. In some cases, it can be as extreme as them almost buying your product at cost price. 

Shopify, on the other hand, gives you a lot more control, because of this control you do not have to relinquish as much of your profit to the platform. 

Clearly, this is still not the answer: should I sell on Amazon or Shopify? 

For that, let us take a deeper dive into the actual Benefits of both. 

The Benefits of Selling on Amazon

Amazon is a leading ecommerce platform, and a great way to get your product in front of a large audience. It is usually quite easy and quick to setup, even if you have 0 technical skills. It comes with a logistical solution in the form of Amazon FBA.

Clearly, with all of these pieces already at your disposal, it should be a piece of cake to get your business up and running. Unfortunately, it is not that easy, you will still have to find a way to market your product to your customers. 

Here's a breakdown of all the Pros and Cons.

✅ Easy to set up and start selling.

✅ Access to a global audience of shoppers.

✅ Ability to reach motivated buyers in an instant.

✅ Shopping convenience and a highly Conversion Rate Optimized store.

But... 

❌ Commission per sale ranges from 15-40%. 

❌ No store customization options.

❌ Lots of competitors.

❌ Strict policies. 

There was a time and place in the past when you could set up your store and book success on Amazon. These days you will have to invest in marketing, using Amazon's advertising platform to book success.

If you're looking for a versatile platform to sell your product, selling on Amazon may be the right choice for you.

The Benefits of Selling on Shopify

With Shopify's simplicity, user-friendliness, and design features, it's a great place to start for those who want to launch an online store with minimal skills.

What sets Shopify apart from other ecommerce platforms is that it offers users of all skill levels a premium quality web store with minimal effort. 

The harder work starts once they start getting visitors and converting those visitors into sales, and this is a lot harder on Shopify than it will be on Amazon, the only advantage that you have is that you are not directly competing on the same platform for the same users.

There are a lot of good reasons to start selling on Shopify:

✅ Easy to set up and start selling.

✅ Store ownership, your customers, and your data.

✅ Access to a ton of powerful apps to help you sell more.

✅ The ability to create a unique branded store. 

✅ No commission fees with Shopify payments.

But...

❌ Commissions when you are using different payment processors

❌ Monthly fees that can drastically increase with apps.

❌ Harder and more expensive to get buyers to your store.

❌ You have to build your reputation from scratch.

Ultimately, marketing your Shopify business effectively once it is built will require time, effort and money. You cannot turn to Amazon for help if you want to reach a large audience,  and you cannot rely on their reputation to grow your business.

So, Should I sell on Amazon or Shopify? 

When it comes down to making a decision here and now, you want an answer that is the most rational. I would say, purely from a perspective of fees, I would consider Shopify over Amazon.

Imagine that you are selling a $34,99 product. If you are working with Amazon you will likely pay about $12 in fees to Amazon for each sale you make (especially if you are an FBA merchant), which can eat up your profit margins quickly, possibly forcing you to increase your prices.

On the other hand, on Shopify, if you just stick with a basic plan you can cover your costs with just a $29 monthly subscription. Meaning that you could theoretically cover all costs with just a single sale. 

That's the simple answer. If you want a better answer, you can find it below:

Why Omnichannel is the Right Answer

To the question "Should I sell on Amazon or Shopify?". Look, omnichannel retailing is the process of providing an integrated customer experience in any place, with a focus on any device, that stretches across multiple channels.

73% of consumers will use multiple channels during their purchase process, this means that if you limit yourself to just Shopify or Amazon you are losing out on opportunities to convert customers. 

Some of your customers will simply not want to buy from your Shopify store as they prefer Amazon, they trust it and it is convenient.

Or maybe they have Amazon Prime and it guarantees them a better delivery experience. At the end of the day, the more opportunities you have to convert potential customers into actual customers, the better for your business. 

In fact, I would be so bold as to state that you should at minimum operate on both Amazon and Shopify (or another ecommerce platform). I would add a Facebook and Instagram shop to this mix (you can learn here how to do that), and possibly look for other avenues to sell to my consumers. 

Your consumers are not limited to buying from just you, so why would you limit yourself to selling to them on just a single platform? 

Closing thoughts

When it comes to choosing a platform to sell your products, there are pros and cons to each. Ultimately, the decision comes down to what you feel most comfortable with and what you believe will give you the best results.

If you’re selling products online, whether through Amazon or Shopify, be sure to consider your audience and what they’re likely to want.

On Amazon, for example, you have more options for merchandising and marketing your product. But if you’re selling something that doesn’t lend itself well to digital sales (like apparel or books), Shopify may be a better option.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you. And there is no one right answer to "should I sell on Amazon or Shopify?". But whatever route you choose, make sure you research each platform thoroughly so you can maximize your profits.

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