#WednesdayOneThing is a weekly opportunity for Clearbanc employees to share their knowledge of exciting trends in the retail and e-commerce space. Stay tuned to our Facebook page every Wednesday morning at 8:30AM EST for the newest edition.
Choosing the right tools can seem daunting for any entrepreneur, especially with today’s abundance of options and information. From accounting to social media, there are a variety of tools available that can streamline your processes so that you’re able to focus on growing your business. In particular, online selling platforms have made it a more straightforward experience for creators, designers and even resellers to reach their target audience. The most popular e-commerce platforms usually funnel down to Amazon vs. Shopify.
Amazon and Shopify are both great platforms to launch an e-commerce business, but there are big differences between the two. Each platform offers unique selling features at different price points. Hence, it’s crucial to pick the one that best suits your product, budget, selling strategy and overall business needs. To make the product comparison process easier for you, we’ve highlighted three key areas that you should consider when evaluating your options.
What’s the Difference Between Amazon vs. Shopify?
Both platforms can be very powerful in helping you sell your products online. Both require a monthly subscription to be paid and you get access to a wide range of tools and resources. However, there are some major differences between the two. They may seem similar, but they work in different ways.
At a very basic level, Shopify is a specialized e-commerce platform while Amazon is an online marketplace. With Shopify, you get the tools to build and brand your very own online store. Amazon, on the other hand, allows you to sell through its marketplace alongside other online sellers, including itself.
Think of selling through Amazon as like having a single stall at a farmer’s market, but on an incredibly massive scale. Thousands of people are constantly coming and going, browsing and buying. In this scenario, most folks aren’t looking for your business in particular but will potentially walk by and see your stall.
Selling through Shopify is more like renting space in a building where you have your own unique storefront and have the freedom to change the branding and layout of your store according to your business needs. We can still get a lot of walk by traffic, but you have more control over how you get people to visit your store. The ability to build your brand recognition is much more in your hands, although it will be harder work building up that regular customer base.
Given these differences, Shopify and Amazon cater to different types of online sellers. Below are three questions you can ask yourself to determine which platform is the better option for your business.
Amazon vs. Shopify: How to Choose the Right Seller Model for You
When it comes down to selling online and building an e-commerce business, the most crucial difference to consider between Amazon vs. Shopify is the selling models they offer. Choosing the correct selling model is imperative as it decides the structure of your online business and lays down your path for operational and logistical processes. Consider the following questions to find out which selling model suits your business the most.
What kind of product are you offering?
If you are offering a physical product, you may choose to build up the necessary inventory or you could consider dropshipping, where you buy from a third party and have the product shipped directly to the customer (i.e. You don’t have to directly handle the product).
With either fulfillment method, you need to explore the most feasible option based on your product, target customers, budget and logistics. For instance, if you are offering a one-of-a-kind type of product that has a higher risk of getting damaged during shipping, you may want to manage the shipping and handling on your end.
How proficient are you when it comes to digital marketing?
When it comes to Amazon, you need not worry about traffic or visibility. The marketplace giant is slowly morphing into a search engine in itself where consumers have been conditioned to search for what they want by keyword or natural language as opposed to brands. That kind of organic search traffic creates an opportunity for new products to appear on the first page. On the other hand, with Shopify, you have to learn the ropes of digital marketing and apply best practices on your own.
What kind of shopping experience do you want to offer your customers?
Another deciding factor that sets apart the two selling channels is the user interface. When you set up your online store with Shopify, you have a plethora of design options to choose from for your store’s user interface. The platform is easy to use with drag and drop capabilities, so entrepreneurs with any website skill level are able to be successful.
With Amazon, you only have control over the quality of image and quantity of copy you choose to display. The overall interface remains the same across all products. The user experience is comparable to setting up a display on a store shelf.
Amazon vs. Shopify: The Verdict
In the end, it all boils down to your expertise, skill set and time when it comes to procuring, selling, and marketing your products. If you are just starting out, a good idea might be to test out a few products at the beginning through Amazon. This way, you’ll be able to gauge consumer demand, identify your target market and get a better idea of pricing strategy. You’ll also need to consider inventory management. If you don’t have any experience in this area, you can use Amazon’s fulfillment program to take care of those fundamental elements. Once you have all the necessary information, you might then graduate to a full fledged Shopify store dedicated to only your merchandise. Overall, the best selling model for your business might involve both e-commerce platforms so be sure not to discount either platform.
Watch Nick discuss Amazon vs Shopify: