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There are various forms of businesses that a person can start to earn money. Among them, starting an online store has been one of the most popular options to date due to the rise of the computer, smartphone, and internet accessibility across the globe.
I will write about what are the differences between the two e-commerce companies based on seven things: expertise, experience, scalability, SEO-friendliness, mobile-friendliness, security, and support.
Now, before that, if you are interested in starting an ecommerce business, watch the video below on strategies that you can use to start your own:
How to Choose an Online Shopping Platform
Before comparing which e-commerce website you should sign up for your future online business, I will give you tips on how to choose one.
Do take note that you have to choose between all the available platforms wisely as it can be your most common tool when it comes to your business as it can help you execute your business strategy and plans for it to become successful.
The first thing your e-commerce website should have support for is how it will cope with the pace of how your business will grow. The service should be able to keep your site loading as fast as possible while the number of your visitors increase.
Aside from that, you should also take note of the plan you choose in the e-commerce website for you to build and maintain it. This event means that over time, while you keep updating the contents of your store, the cost-per-benefit ratio is constant.
When you want to update your website, the platform you choose should also have a feature for you to create and manage ways for you to inform your past, present, and future visitors. Doing this will help you sort out shipping problems to customer inquiries.
Finally, you need to choose the right platform that is flexible enough for you to sell what your business wants to provide. Whether you are selling a service or you are selling a product, you can create pages such as customer feedback, order list, and delivery forms.
What is Shopify
Shopify first started through Tobie Lütke in 2004. He created software to launch Snowdevil, an online snowboard store. Two years later, he and his founding team made the same software public in 2006.
Since then, more than one million who signed up for this service in around 175 countries have earned a total of $155 billion. You can depend on more than 5,000 of their employees and at least 780 experts in their network when you sign up for their service too.
What is Amazon
Known as one of the biggest online markets worldwide, Amazon contains at least 119 million live products as of April 2019, with more than 150 million users browsing every minute.
With this massive inventory, they are known as the largest retailer with a $232.9 billion in revenue in 2018.
Aside from that, they made sure to stay alive due to their ‘customer obsession’ principle with the support of their added products and services such as Amazon Echo and Alexa.
If you were to pick Amazon as your e-commerce partner, you could be a part of the other 1.7 million sellers that earned at least $118 billion in sales in 2018 in total.
Shopify vs. Amazon
After learning the numbers between these e-commerce platforms, let’s dive right into what makes each one different from each other in terms of the following:
Expertise and experience
As an e-commerce partner, Shopify wants to be the one-stop service for anyone who wants to start their online business from scratch. From creating your business website and blog to making forms for filling out orders, they have modules to start and update your online presence.
Meanwhile, Amazon’s strength is its ability to add more products to its already massive marketplace. Since they are one of the most popular online retailers, they aim for lower prices and product purchases.
Whether you want to make your clothing brand or publish digital books, Shopify can give you accounts for your staff, an online store, a blog, manual order creation, print shipping labels, their point-of-sale (POS) application, and third-party POS.
Aside from that, you can also provide discount codes, gift cards, and mailing options depending on which plan you opt from Shopify too.
Meanwhile, you can add different types of media, including images, videos, and even a 3D model of your product, to help entice customers to buy from your listings.
This freedom to produce your business’ content also lets you have complete control of your business as you can dictate which products to take down to how often your items will appear on your Shopify website.
You can also opt for Shopify Plus, a custom-design solution for companies who are looking for a specific design based on their business strategy. Shopify Lite, on the other hand, can let you sell your items on Facebook or a blog for a subscription fee.
If you are planning to sell to international customers through Shopify, you can also adjust your product pages to display the cost of your products and services in the customer’s local currency.
Meanwhile, signing with Amazon for your business can help you access a third-party seller community. You can get deals and options for shipping and fulfillment as well.
Signing up for Amazon can also give you access to their sizable day-to-day traffic and repeat business while saving effort in marketing at the same time. With that, you can get profit from selling and advertising.
However, you cannot sell a service on Amazon as they allow only physical items on sale, with restrictions depending on the category your future product will fall under it.
Amazon also offers you the option for customers to display your product prices in the local currency of your customers automatically. Aside from that, you have the freedom to post product pictures to help the customer learn more about it.
There are a lot of hurdles in maintaining your seller visibility on this platform. Some of these include competition with other sellers and keeping track of sale fees.
They also allow you to reprice your products and clear out old inventory automatically.
As Shopify gives you full control of your future business website, you are responsible for applying an SEO strategy onto it from the start. You gain access to a range of applications from their application store that can assist you with this.
Aside from that, you can update the website however you want with their in-built editor during your subscription. This feature also includes making your pages in different languages too.
Meanwhile, you can rank high in future search engine results if you were to set-up with Amazon as your e-commerce partner. However, you are only given fewer options when it comes to layout and design options.
At the bare minimum, you can edit what you want to write for your store’s product description and features. Your reply to customer questions can be applied with an SEO strategy too.
This feature is at the expense that you would have to reply to customer inquiries within 24 hours. They added this measure to remind you that you have to continually engage with your future customers to increase your seller rank while increasing your visibility within Amazon.
Due to Shopify’s policy of letting you take control of the website you got under their subscription, they let you host your site on a cloud network. This setup gives you a decreased risk against your website crashing during peak hours.
Also, if you choose one of the millions of themes available on their Theme Store for your business, you can be assured that it can be viewed on mobile as well. This advantage means that customers on mobile devices can access your website, store, and blog with ease.
Even if you are only limited to Amazon’s designs and layouts, this disadvantage is replaced by the fact that you can still be searched on mobile devices.
As they established their cloud products, you can be reassured that all your customer and product data is available to you twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
According to Merchant Maverick, Shopify is compliant with Level 1 Payment Card Industry Data Security (PCI DSS). Your website, shop, and blog under your subscription with them also comes with a free 128-bit shared SSL certificate.
You can also avail of their site-wide encryption feature if you are interested. With the help of Hackerone, they can keep your site protected from attacks from all angles.
Meanwhile, TechBoomers claim that shopping on Amazon is safe for customers. They said that any customer that sends their sensitive information during checkout is transmitted securely within their network.
The company also made it a rule that they and existing users on the website are not allowed to access any financial information outside of the online retailer’s marketplace.
Once you sign up with Shopify, you can learn how its features work through its E-Commerce University. It is a complete suite filled with articles, how-to guides, and training resources to equip you with the knowledge to make use of the platform to your advantage.
Aside from that, you can contact their in-house support team any time of the day or any day throughout the week if you have problems from paying your next monthly subscription to customer complaints.
When you become a seller on Amazon, on the other hand, you can gain knowledge by browsing their tutorials and coaching. Aside from that, they also have the Seller’s FAQ and Seller’s Forums, where you can interact with fellow subscription holders and learn from fellow businessmen.
If you are planning to partner with them to sell in European countries, you can get support for this through one of their many account specialists to set up a viable channel to expand your customer network.
Plans and Pricing
Shopify has six different subscription plans available:
- Shopify Plus
- Shopify Lite
Aside from these subscription plans, you can try out their system for 90 days for free before opting for any of their plans.
As of the moment, this plan is priced at $29 per month.
You can create an e-commerce website, online store, and blog with this plan.
This plan allows you to post as many products for sale as you wish and access to sell any of them on other online marketplaces and social media.
You can also get access to manual order creation, manage discount codes, and recover any abandoned carts.
Aside from your account, you can add two staff accounts when getting this feature.
For shipping, you can get up to a 64% discount and create shipping labels for every customer order.
They will charge you a rate of 2.9% with 30 cents more for every online credit card purchase. For in-person, the rate is only 2.7%, while Shopify gets 2% of every purchase done by any other payment provider.
You are also given access to the Shopify POS application, where you can use it to manage the number of purchases done in your physical store. It also includes support for you to use any other third-party POS applications if those fit your business strategy better.
With this plan, you can get all the features of the Basic Shopify plan.
Aside from that, you can get access to professional reports to learn how many visitors you have to how many items were purchased per day.
They also increased the number of staff accounts that you can make from 2 to 5 under this plan.
The shipping discount rate is increased to 72% from 64% in the first plan while you can get USPS Priority Mail Cubic pricing at the same time.
Online purchases through Shopify have a cost of 2.6%, while in-person purchases using this method is now at 2.5%. Other payment providers will now cost you 1% for this plan too.
Aside from the POS application, you can also manage shifts, have multiple POS pins, up to five store locations, and hardware support.
You can get all these options for $79 per month.
Aside from the features from the previous plan, you gain access to learning how much shipping is from third-party applications or your account.
You can also create up to fifteen staff accounts to manage your Shopify website, store, and blog too.
Shipping costs are the highest in this plan. It has a cap of up to 74%.
Also, any purchase made by credit card will be charged with a rate of 2.4%. Meanwhile, all other payment methods will only get a rate of 0.5%.
Finally, you can add up to eight store locations for this subscription account.
4. Shopify Plus
This plan is suggested for companies who are dealing with a lot of transactions daily. It will be priced depending on your annual revenue volume, country, and other information regarding your business.
It comes with the following features:
- Specialized Shopify applications designed for businesses with high-growth merchants.
- Enables you to create a customized checkout for your own business needs.
- Better API integration due to added API calls.
- Becoming a member of their Merchant Success Program.
- Your launch engineer, a dedicated employee of Shopify who can assist you in setting your online business on this platform from third-party integrations to collaborations with designers and developers.
- You can create as many staff accounts to gain access to your Shopify platform.
- Allowance of nine expansion stores.
- Make use of beta programs that aim to glance at customers’ picks and influence your products’ roadmap.
- Becoming a member of the Shopify Plus Partner Program.
- Learn through the Shopify Plus Academy to boost your company’s growth.
- Becoming a member of Shopify Plus Community on Facebook to talk to fellow merchants.
- Be able to try as much as up to 100 themes, keep seasonal versions of your selected theme, or test changes to a copy of your current published theme.
- Be able to limit which of your staff can export reports or make use of applications you have integrated into your Shopify website.
- Create your password-protected wholesale store with its channel.
5. Shopify Lite
For just $9, you can take advantage of the following features using this plan:
- Link your business’ Facebook page for Shopify to sell items right from the website or application
- Gain access to Messenger chat support where customers can buy items from them and keep track of their orders
- Create a customized “Buy Button” where you can add to any website to increase conversion rates
- Accept credit card payments even from your phone using the Shopify POS application
- Create, edit, delete, and send invoices to your customers while accepting their payments at the same time
These features come with resources for you to learn how to keep your business running while using Shopify Lite, talk to a Shopify representative through email or live chat for any problems, and sync orders, products, and inventory through all internal channels.
Meanwhile, Amazon provides two different programs
Depending on what type fits within your budget, these plans start at $39.99 per month.
If you intend to sell items by yourself, Amazon will get 99 cents for each product purchase through its platform. Any referral fee is charged depending on the category each product falls under it.
Opting for this platform will help you put your products up on Amazon for sale. You can opt-in for their Fulfillment by Amazon program too.
Entering the optional program, however, would mean that you would have to package your inventory and hand them over to the nearest fulfillment center near your business operations.
You would also have to pay a per-unit shipping and warehousing fee on every order that would require them to deliver the order to your customer.
Instead of getting a portion for each successful purchase, you would have to pay $39.99 per month for this plan. You would still have to pay referral percentages as well.
You can also get the benefits that come with the Individual plan. Aside from that, you get these extended privileges:
- Sell products across North America.
- Let customers buy from you in bulk.
- Make use of their in-house reporting tools.
- Learn about shipping rates that fit your business strategy to selling your products.
- Manage special promotions.
- Be able to get placed on top in various product pages.
In this article, I showed you how to choose an e-commerce platform to be your partner in your business. Then, I used those concepts to compare Shopify and Amazon against one another.
While Shopify’s strength is its flexibility towards you and your business needs when it comes to owning your brand and identity, Amazon is known for its shipping support and online visibility.
Do take note that even if they both serve a purpose to increase your company’s growth, there are limitations that are present in this platform that may hinder its growth instead.
Make sure to establish yourself as a brand and have a concrete business plan first before thinking about investing in either of these options.
Thinking about how to expand your online business? Read the following articles for you to learn more:
- Top marketing books to read in 2020
- Review of screaming frog and how to use it
- Top growth hacking stories you should know
Did you like this article comparing Shopify and Amazon next to each other? Comment down below on what topic I should write about next.