Shopify vs. Amazon: An e-commerce replatforming guide

Dan Morrison
Dan Morrison
A design shows several images within circles: an airplane, a man smiling, a woman's hand on a purse, a woman holding shopping bags, a person holding a phone, and a person relaxing on the beach

When you started your business, you likely first thought about what you were going to sell—be it a new product or service, or an improvement upon something already on the market. From there, you likely moved into product development and started thinking about how you wanted to market and sell your offering. But how did you decide on where you’d be selling your product or service? 

All too often, new businesses choose an e-commerce platform based on what they’ve heard about in the news. For many first-time founders, the first platforms that come to mind are Shopify and Amazon, and for good reason—they’re everywhere. But just because Amazon and Shopify are ubiquitous in e-commerce doesn’t mean they’re the right choice for every business. 

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each and compare them against some of the other e-commerce platforms out there.

Shopify vs. Amazon

The main difference between Shopfy and Amazon is that Shopify is a specialized e-commerce platform while Amazon is an online marketplace. Shopify provides tools to build and brand your own online store, which can live on your website. Amazon, on the other hand, allows you to sell through its marketplace alongside other online sellers, including itself.

You can think of Amazon as a trade show or farmers’ market where you rent a stall to sell your goods. Although customers might not be looking for your business in particular, they may notice your product and take interest. And with 300M active users, Amazon offers you the potential to make lots of sales. 

While Amazon is like a trade show, Shopify is more like a downtown shopping district with a number of individual storefronts. Sure, some people may not be looking for your specific store, but you have more power to pull them in with the look and feel of your store. You control the advertising, window displays, and overall experience that you can offer your customers. If branding is your top priority, this may be the platform you’re looking for...

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