May 31, 2021 | Written by Steve Whittington

Amazon vs. Shopify: What platform should my small or medium-sized business use?

Here is a comparison between Amazon and Shopify, and our recommendations for use.  

Amazon vs. Shopify is not a new debate. Both platforms are considered dominant players in the e-commerce world, with Shopify now making up 40% of the size of the Amazon Marketplace, and Amazon has since reached the benchmark of 2.5 billion visitors to their website each month.  

The main difference between these two platforms is that Amazon is a “ready to go marketplace” like having a booth at a fair. Many customers may visit the marketplace and walk by your offering, but they may not be looking for your product specifically. In comparison, Shopify allows store owners to build something custom like renting a location at the mall to start your business. While the traffic may be less, the people coming into your storefront are looking specifically for your offering. It is these differences that make Shopify and Amazon tailored to different online sellers.    

So, what does this mean for your business? Here is a comparison between two platforms used for ecommerce for business and our recommendations overall.    

Shopify benefits   

  • Shopify provides small and medium-sized businesses with a broad range of e-commerce tools to help build and promote their online store.   
  • The design of the e-commerce website can be tailored to the business owner in alignment with their unique brand and positioning. Rather than starting from scratch, there are ten free themes and 60 paid themes that store owners can choose from.   
  • Users will have full access to the data on their storefront. The Shopify Dashboard provides business owners with an easy view of their total sales, top products and a breakdown of sales and customer information.    

Shopify drawbacks   

  • The platform comes with a monthly fee that can increase depending on third-party apps from their app store such as solutions for mobile apps, product reviews or currency convertors.   
  • You, the business owner, are responsible for promoting your business and building brand awareness.   

Amazon benefits   

  • Billions of visitors already use the Amazon platform each month.   
  • Amazon can help manage inventory storage, packing and shipping through the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program.   

Amazon drawbacks   

  • Amazon controls the page design, giving business owners limited flexibility.   
  • Amazon products are promoted on the homepage without branding, making it difficult for your product to stand out against competitors.   
  • SMB’s do not get access to user data. Instead, the ongoing customer relationship is with Amazon on the SMB. 

Our recommendation   

Comparing these two offerings, SMB’s must decide if a customized experience outweighs the potential audience of Amazon. Business owners should not overlook good branding. When done correctly, good branding increases the value and presence of your organization and makes acquiring new customers easier. For these reasons, Shopify offers many advantages over an Amazon storefront.  

That said, the solution isn’t black and white. Amazon recently acquired Selz, an e-commerce platform based in Australia. Marin Rushe, the CEO and founder of Selz shares,  

“We have signed an agreement to be acquired by Amazon and are looking forward to working with them as we continue to build easy-to-use tools for entrepreneurs.”  

Providing more tools for small and medium-sized businesses may offer a Shopify-like experience to Amazon users. Depending on how the solution unfolds, SMB’s may do well to keep this new offering top of mind.  

Lastly, Amazon and Shopify can be used together depending on your product mix. Amazon is a sales channel much like your website, meaning the question may not be Amazon or Shopify at all but how to use the two together.


To help determine the best strategic decision for your business, the Roadmap team is happy to help. Reach out, and let’s start the conversation! 

Let's Talk!

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