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Choosing An Commerce Platform To Launch Your Business

This week, we wanted to go over the differences between two major platforms--Amazon and Shopify--so that you can make the best decision for where to launch your e-commerce business.

Casey Carroll
6 Feb

It can be challenging to decide what e-commerce platform or marketplace is best suited to sell your products.

That’s why this week, we wanted to go over the differences between two major platforms--Amazon and Shopify--so that you can make the best decision for where to launch your e-commerce business.

To begin, we’re going to go over the similarities and differences between Amazon and Shopify. Each platform requires a monthly subscription that includes a wide range of tools and resources but offers unique experiences for sellers and consumers.

Amazon is an online marketplace that allows you to sell through its channels alongside other online sellers. You and your business can count on heavy consumer traffic, but it can be difficult to attract customers in the beginning while competing against established sellers. Some pros of using Amazon include a free 30 day trial with a Pro account, instant access to a global audience, easy refunds and returns services, sales reports data, and setting up and selling your products immediately.

Because Amazon is a marketplace, the real winners tend to be those that have a unique competitive advantage. This may be an ability to source/manufacture your product at a cost that’s below the competition. Or perhaps you have unique packaging that enables your product to fall into a smaller size category than the competition and fulfilled at a lower cost. In the wildly competitive market that is Amazon, any bit to create an edge can be the difference between a home run and squeaking by.

Shopify is a specialized e-commerce platform that gives you the tools to build and brand your own online store. On Shopify, you will have the freedom to personalize the branding and layout of your store according to how you want your business to be represented. This is a good place to build your brand recognition, which will help in building a regular customer base. Like Amazon, Shopify offers the opportunity for lots of traffic, though with more work attracting customers. Some pros of using Shopify include offering a free 90-day trial, being user-friendly, being very customizable, giving you more control over your store, and providing access to some of the most powerful and trusted e-commerce tools.

For businesses with a strong brand identity and customer base, creating a website on Shopify has significant advantages. Here, you can truly own the customer experience and tailor the website to suit your brand identity.  Additionally, having a company controlled website, instead of selling on a platform like Amazon, allows you to access detailed data points to better understand your customer.

One of the main ways to decide whether to use Amazon or Shopify is to evaluate your products and your brand to figure out where your competitive advantage is.  If you have a low-cost product that can stand out alongside competition, your product may be a strong contender on Amazon. If you offer products that have an established brand that customers may be searching for, or have a low-cost customer acquisition engine or a brand and unique customer experience, a website on a platform like Shopify could be the better option.

Additionally, how you want to market your company will play a big role in deciding which platform to use. If you don’t have the time to run a robust and content-driven marketing campaign, Amazon may be your best bet. With Amazon, there is already traffic potentially searching for your product, and ads can be as simple as sponsoring a listing to appear higher in the results. When it comes to Shopify, you would have to take time and learn how to properly market online. You would then have to apply these marketing practices on your own or outsource to a professional advertising agency. Using Shopify would take more time and potentially more money to drive traffic, but creating a brand that attracts organic searches or repeat customers is an investment that could pay dividends over time.

Finally, deciding the kind of shopping experience you want your customers to have can help you decide where to put your e-commerce business. When using Amazon, you give up control over the user experience and design to Amazon. As previously stated, Shopify allows you to give customers a more interesting, personal experience when shopping online. Shopify offers many design options that are easy to use, so you don’t need significant website building experience to accomplish the tone you want.

Either platform is a viable option but which you use has to do with how you want the world to see your business and products. We hope this article was helpful in deciding where to launch your e-commerce business!

Until next time, let us know if you have any questions or comments below!

Casey Carroll
6 Feb

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