Shopify vs Amazon: Which is Best for Your Online Business?

Celia Hsu
2022/06/08 17:06

shopify vs amazon

Online stores are becoming increasingly popular, and Amazon has helped many people all over the world in selling their goods online. Shopify has recently risen to prominence as a popular eCommerce platform. While many people mistakenly believe that Shopify and Amazon are competitors, they actually offer completely different services.


This article will describe how each of these platforms operates and what features they provide, and show you a detailed comparison of Shopify vs Amazon to assist you in determining which is best for you.


Table of Contents

1. What's Amazon?

2. What's Shopify?

3. How is Shopify different from Amazon?

4. Shopify or Amazon - Pros and Cons

5. Which is Better Amazon FBA or Shopify?

Amazon: How and When Did It Start? started as an online retailer as well as a manufacturer of electronic books. Initially, it also provided web services and gradually captured the world of electronic commerce with its headquarters in Seattle, Washington. It became popular for being the only internet-based enterprise that sold multiple products from books to movies, and even housewares, toys, and almost everything that you can think of.

amazon fba

It also offers web services business that includes renting data storage and a lot more. Today, you can find anything you can imagine being sold on Amazon. Over the years, it also started offering many other services apart from retailing, such as the warehousing of the products.

Beyond Retailing and Warehousing

From the beginning, the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, claimed that his platform was not merely a retail store but a tech company. In 2002, he left everyone astonished when he started offering the best web services that people could imagine. In 2006, Amazon also introduced Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Simple Storage Service (S3), making the lives of many online sellers easier.

To this date, Amazon continues to grow fast and has expanded its operations across the globe, with no competitor coming anywhere near to where Amazon stands today with hundreds of millions of regular customers. However, another eCommerce platform has recently emerged that’s worth looking at, and that’s Shopify.

What is Shopify?

As per the official website, Shopify is “an all-in-one commerce platform that makes it easy to launch your dream business and start selling to your customers, wherever they are.”

shopify vs amazon- what's shopify

When you read it first, it appears like it’s exactly the same as Amazon, but that’s not the case, and we will discuss that later. What's important to understand right now is that Shopify is a Canadian-based multinational e-commerce company with its headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario.

How is Shopify different from Amazon?

The most important difference between the two famous platforms is that the former is essentially an online marketplace while the latter is a specialized eCommerce platform. While Amazon provides you with a platform to sell and market your products online and gets them packed and delivered, Shopify provides you with the tools required to build your own personalized online store.

To put it simply, selling on Amazon is like having a stall at an exhibition while selling on Shopify is like renting a space to set up your store. Unlike Amazon, Shopify allows you to have your own space and physical customers. While selling it on Amazon might seem simple and easy, it can't be entirely compared with setting up your own store at Shopify.

Other Differences Worth Mentioning

So far, we have looked at the main idea of each platform and the major differences between them in terms of the nature of their work. Let’s now see how they compare in terms of popularity, pricing and etc.

Amazon vs Shopify - Popularity 

When we talk about popularity, undoubtedly, Amazon is the most popular and oldest eCommerce platform in the world by far. Amazon brings a very large amount of customer volume due to its long-term accumulation. So for new sales, even if you haven’t accumulated your own regular customers, you can still enjoy Amazon’s customer volume.


Shopify is relatively new, but it is catching up, winning over more and more users every day despite being more complicated to use. Many online sellers realize the need to set up their own stores rather than just becoming part of an online marketplace like Amazon.

Amazon vs Shopify - Pricing

Shopify charges a flat rate of subscription per month and also provides users with a trial period. They do not make money by charging extra fees on every order as Amazon does. However, keep in mind that you still need to register a separate domain name and pay for its hosting services.

shopify vs amazon fba- shopify pricing

To conclude, both two platforms will charge in different ways. Amazon charges higher than other platforms in the e-commerce area but will repay you for related services.

shopify vs amazon - amazon pricing

Amazon vs Shopify - Ease of Use

Since Amazon is simply an online marketplace where you list your products, it is relatively easy to use. Shopify can be a little complicated for people new to the industry. However, they are improving the platform with every release and are also constantly adding new features.

Amazon vs Shopify - Simpler Design

While Amazon still has a dated design, Shopify gives you more control over your shop’s look and feel. When you sell at Shopify, you feel more in control of how you market your product. You have to take care of the entire theme of the website and work hard to attract customers.

Amazon vs Shopify - Supported Devices

Although you can access both Amazon and Shopify from various devices, the latter’s mobile apps for both Android and iPhone are relatively new. There are many people who started converting their Shopify stores into personalized apps that can be listed on the App store as a Play store.

amazon vs shopify-amazon interface

Amazon vs Shopify - Third-Party Integration

Shopify is integrating with more and more external services every day. It has support for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, as well as many others. However, Amazon has its own popularity and customer base and doesn't really need support from the other platforms.

Amazon FBA vs Shopify - Shipping

Amazon offers you the option of shipping your items either by Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) or by selling them at their marketplace (which means that Amazon will take care of all shipping).

amazon vs shopify - amazon fba

On the other hand, Shopify does not offer any shipping services. However, if you want to use their shipping service through courier services, you can do so for an additional fee depending on the weight of your product and its destination.


This is essentially the most important reason why many new customers still prefer Amazon. Since it's a huge hassle to take care of warehousing, packing, safely delivering the product and some other relative items, many new customers prefer Amazon to avoid the cost of logistics.

Amazon vs Shopify - Security

Shopify uses a secured HTTPS connection, while Amazon uses HTTP protocol. Although it's perfectly safe to use the HTTP protocol, you can expect a better security level at Shopify because it’s your own personalized store.

Amazon vs Shopify - Payment Gateway Integration

Shopify allows users to accept nearly all types of payment methods, including PayPal. However, if you want to accept payments via Amazon Pay, you will have to integrate with their gateway service as they don't offer direct integration with any gateways at the moment. However, they do accept nearly all cards in the US.

Amazon or Shopify - Nature of Businesses

Although both platforms are open to nearly all types of businesses, due to their different features, there's a clear difference in their customer bases. Amazon is preferred by individual sellers as well as small and medium businesses that do not want to get into the hassle of shipping and other logistics.


However, Shopify is preferred by those who wish to turn their product into a brand and set up their own business. Moreover, Amazon also allows wholesaling, which means that people can simply buy the branded goods and sell them for a higher price at Amazon and still manage to make money.


For a new business, the thought of investing time, energy, and money into setting up your own stores seems like a huge task. And even when you've successfully built your store, you still need to attract customers and invest a lot of time and money in different forms of marketing. Although the Shopify dashboard is simple and easy and helps you get started, it’s still not that easy for everyone to use it. With Amazon, all one needs is to sign up and register their product and start selling.

Shopify or Amazon - Pros and Cons  


We have discussed both platforms and detail and explained the similarities and differences between them. We have also briefly discussed what sort of sellers are attracted to each platform and why. Although we have discussed the pros and cons of both platforms briefly, let's delve into that more and explore how each of these platforms stands out from another in different aspects.

Benefits of Using Shopify

Shopify is an ideal choice when it comes to setting up your own store and online presence. If you want to turn your business into a brand, Shopify provides you with all those powerful eCommerce tools that you need to set up and market your online store.


It helps you develop your own unique brand identity. If you think you have what it takes to become a strong and powerful brand and stand out from your competitors, then Shopify is a must.

shopify vs amazon - shopify cons

Problems You May Encounter With Shopify

As we have already mentioned, Shopify doesn't offer its own logistics, and you hence will have to either take care of operations on your own or rely on warehousing and logistic companies for packing and shipping of your products.


This may incur extra costs for your business. Keep in mind that Shopify doesn't have customers walking into your online store, and you have to market your product in every possible manner to let people know about your brand on Shopify.

Benefits of Using Amazon

There are many reasons why many sellers still prefer Amazon. Firstly, it's the ease of selling that attracts many businesses and individual sellers. To become a seller on Amazon, you don't even need to have your own product because you can simply just wholesale branded products.


However, if you go for a Private Label store on Amazon to sell your own product, even then, it's easy since Amazon itself takes care of all your logistics. From packing to shipping your products, Amazon takes care of it all. So, for Shopify vs Amazon FBA, Amazon FBA is much better than Shopify.


Moreover, you don't even have to worry about marketing since millions of people are already visiting the platform on a regular basis. All you need to learn is how to list your product and make it appear in the top searches.

shopify vs amazon - amazon pros

Problems with Amazon

The most frustrating issue with Amazon is the competition. Amazon allows everyone to market their products, which means that the likelihood of a customer selecting your product is very low. Amazon is selling its own products that are always ranked higher. 


Moreover, people visiting the store aren't coming to buy your product. Your product may get exposure, but it must be unique and good enough to force customers to buy it. If you aren't already a brand, it's a huge hassle to build your brand just by selling on Amazon.

Which is Better Amazon FBA or Shopify?

Now, based on the above points, you should have a fair idea of why some sellers prefer Amazon while others prefer Shopify. Although both platforms are great, each of them has its own merits and demerits. There’s no right answer to which platform you should use.

shopify vs amazon - Which is Better Amazon FBA or Shopify?

However, if you’re still confused about which of the two to use, ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I want to create my own brand or just sell?

2. Do I have time to market my product and get enrolled as a marketplace seller?

3. Do I want to take care of the packaging and shipping of my product?

4. Do I want to create my own website and not just sell on Amazon?

5. Am I looking for a more customer-friendly platform?


If the answer to even one of these is yes, then it's best that you choose Shopify. However, if you can answer all the above questions with a no, then it’s best that you list your product and start selling on Amazon.


To conclude, Shopify vs amazon, these two platforms have their own way of helping online sellers; they have their own pros and cons. We may conclude that since small businesses don’t require lots of customization or heavy marketing efforts, Amazon is an ideal choice unless you plan to build your own brand.


However, if you want to build a good brand and stand out from competitors, and you think you are capable of affording to manage your own logistics and operations, then Shopify is a better choice.


Of course, you will have to invest time, money, and energy in building your online presence, but it's going to be worth it. Once you already have your own online presence, you can sell your product on Amazon too. Alternatively, you can start working simultaneously on both platforms.



Article by:
Celia Hsu
Customer Manager:More than 3 years of experience in product sourcing
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