October 5, 2023

Amazon vs Shopify: Key Differences

Discover the key differences between Amazon and Shopify, two of the biggest e-commerce platforms. From pricing to customization, learn which platform is right for your business. Read now to make an informed decision.
Amazon vs Shopify: Key Differences
Amazon vs Shopify: Key Differences

Amazon vs Shopify: Key Differences

As a business owner looking to sell your products online, one of the most important factors to consider is what ecommerce platform will work best for your business.

You will need a good ecommerce platform that can facilitate the marketing, sales, and operations of your business.

Amazon and Shopify are some of the most dominant players in the ecommerce industry, with nearly 2 million small and medium-sized businesses selling on Amazon and over 4.2 million ecommerce sites built with Shopify.

In this article, we will look at these two ecommerce platforms - Amazon vs Shopify side by side to help you decide which is best for your ecommerce business. 

What is the Amazon marketplace? 

Amazon was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos and started as an online bookstore. 

Today, Amazon offers various services including ecommerce, cloud computing, and digital streaming. 

The Amazon marketplace is an ecommerce platform that allows business owners and third-party sellers to list and sell their products (both new and used products) directly to customers. 

To sell on the platform, you will need to set up your account providing information like your business name, type of business, and contact information. Once your application is approved, you can create product listings and start selling your products on Amazon. 

Amazon offers diverse features and tools including reporting tools, Amazon Advertising, Amazon A+ content, Amazon FBA, etc. 

With the fulfillment by Amazon or Amazon FBA program, sellers can send their products to fulfillment centers and have them stored, packed, and shipped by Amazon to customers. 

What is Shopify? 

Shopify is an ecommerce platform founded in 2006 by Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake. 

The platform allows businesses to create an online store and establish their digital presence. 

To sell on the Shopify platform, you will need to choose a plan, select sales channels, add products to sell, and set up your online store. 

Shopify offers various features and tools including store management, analytics, third-party apps, integrations, etc to help businesses build their brand and boost sales. 

Shopify is used by major brands like Nestle, Tesla, General Electric, Nescafé, Red Bull, etc. 

Amazon vs Shopify: Pros & Cons

Let's dive into some of the major pros and cons of selling on Amazon vs Shopify: 

Pros and cons of selling on Amazon


  • Amazon offers a free 30-day trial on the Professional Seller account. 
  • Sellers can easily set up their accounts and start selling instantly. 
  • Sellers have access to a global customer base
  • Amazon is a leading ecommerce platform and an online marketplace with a ready-made brand reputation.
  • Amazon offers the FBA program which allows sellers to transfer the responsibility of fulfilling orders and customer service to Amazon.
  • Amazon offers detailed sales report data.


  • Amazon has strict rules and policies that sellers must adhere to.
  • The Amazon marketplace has high competition which can make it difficult for newbies to break through.
  • If you're selling on Amazon, building your brand, and creating a strong connection with your customers can be difficult. 
  • Apart from monthly subscription fees, sellers also need to pay other fees including referral fees for every sale made, closing fees, etc. Also, if you subscribe to Amazon FBA, you will need to pay FBA fees. 

Pros and cons of selling on Shopify 


  • Shopify comes with a free 3-day trial
  • Shopify is affordable, easy to use, and comes with a flexible design. 
  • Unlike Amazon, Shopify allows you to have more control over your store and branding. 
  • Shopify offers powerful tools and apps to help with the marketing, sales, and operations of your store. 
  • Shopify has 24/7 customer support via Live chat, email, and phone. 
  • Shopify offers multiple pricing options 


  • The Basic plan on Shopify offers limited features.
  • Adding customizations to your store on Shopify may be difficult and costly
  • Third-party payments will incur transaction fees.

What are the differences between Amazon and Shopify? 

Amazon can be viewed as a large and competitive marketplace with millions of sellers and buyers on the platform. 

On the other hand, Shopify is a platform that allows sellers to create their own stores, build their brands and attract customers.

Let's examine a few key differences between the Amazon marketplace and Shopify. 


As an ecommerce business owner, customizing your store is essential to attracting visitors. A poorly designed store could lead to customers leaving your store and going straight for your competitors. So how do Amazon and Shopify differ in customization? 

Shopify offers dozens of themes and designs (both free and premium themes) which sellers can use to build their stores and brands. 

On the other hand, Amazon has fewer customization features. Amazon sellers have to work with a standard layout. If you're selling on Amazon, you will need to pay more attention to the product titles, product images, bullet points, and descriptions following Amazon's requirements and policies. 

Amazon offers the A+ content feature which allows sellers to upload more images and improve their brand. 

However, Shopify is more flexible with design and customization. 

Visibility & Marketing 

With over 2 billion monthly visitors, Amazon far outperforms its competitors. Amazon has a solid brand reputation with millions of buyers waiting to make a purchase. So what does this mean? 

It means that as an Amazon seller, you can make your business visible to millions of customers all over the world relying on Amazon’s existing reputation and customer base, alongside features like Amazon Advertising, an intuitive Amazon Seller Central dashboard, etc.


On the other hand, Shopify offers SEO tools, apps, and integration that helps sellers drive traffic to their store. But, it can get a bit complicated as you are responsible for marketing and SEO. 

In practice, you will need to build a strong social media presence and engage in multichannel selling amongst other marketing strategies to build visibility and attract customers to your store. 

Order fulfillment 

For managing inventory and fulfilling orders, sellers can opt for the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program. Amazon FBA allows sellers to send their products to Amazon fulfillment centers and have Amazon handle everything from the storage, packing, and shipping of products, to customer service. The FBA program is also open to sellers who do not sell products on Amazon. 

However, sellers have storage limits and are charged fees based on the product's size, type, and weight. 

On the other hand, Shopify has a fulfillment network called the Shopify Fulfillment Network (SFN) which allows sellers to store inventory and fulfill orders. However, the Shopify fulfillment network is not as efficient as Amazon FBA. 

Payment options

Both Shopify and Amazon offer payment options for sellers. 

Shopify has its payment gateway - Shopify Payments. With Shopify Payments, sellers have access to more than a hundred payment gateways including Amazon Pay, PayPal, and Stripe. Sellers can also receive credit card payments from their stores without any transaction fees. 

On the other hand, Amazon has more limited payment options with Amazon Pay being the major payment gateway. Amazon Pay is also available on other websites. With Amazon Pay, customers can securely complete purchases with their payment information already stored on the platform. 


Shopify offers four major pricing plans with different sets of features. These pricing plans include:

  • Basic Shopify: $32 per month
  • Shopify: $92 per month
  • Advanced Shopify: $399 per month
  • Starter: $5 per month 
  • Shopify Plus: $2000 per month
  • Shopify also offers a free trial 

On the other hand, Amazon only offers two major plans: 

  • Individual Selling plan at $0.99 per item sold plus extra selling fees for each category.
  • Professional Selling plan at $39.99 per month plus extra selling fees varying by category.

Can you use both Amazon and Shopify? 

If you are wondering if you can take advantage of both platforms, the answer is yes. With Shopify, you can integrate your store with Amazon and sell your products on two of the largest ecommerce platforms in the world. By selling on both platforms, you can expand your customer base, increase sales and reduce the risk of failure. 

To use both platforms, you will need to create your store on Shopify and also sign up on Amazon. Once done, you will be able to create product listings on Amazon through your Shopify store. 

Keep in mind that while this strategy can increase your visibility and potential for growth and sales, it also means that you have to bear the cost of using and maintaining both platforms. 

Final thoughts: Which ecommerce platform is best for your business? 

We've looked at the pros and cons of selling on Amazon and Shopify as well as the major differences between both platforms. 

Now the question is: which of these platforms is best for your business? Well, there isn't a clear-cut answer to this question, as it all depends on your needs and preferences. 

If you don't have an existing customer base and don't mind giving up some control over your branding, we suggest you go for Amazon. 

On the other hand, if you want control over your branding and already have a good customer base, you may want to go for Shopify. 

In summary, you want to consider how much time, effort, and control you want to have over your business. 

We hope this article helps you make the right decision and gets you started on the right foot. 

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