Shopify vs Amazon – A Brief Guide For Retailers

All retailers using Shopify know that selling on marketplaces like Amazon as well as their own ecommerce website presents an enormous opportunity to grow sales.

But even established retail brands struggle to master their strategy when it comes to multi-channel sales. Whilst listing inventory across marketplaces like Amazon can be tantalizingly tempting, there is often a whole host of confusion about how to physcially manage sales across multiple channels.

This brief guide explains how retail brands using Shopify can integrate their business with Amazon, and explores some of the pros & cons for selling inventory on this seemingly lucrative marketplace.

Can Shopify integrate with Amazon?

Retailers using Shopify for their online store are able to integrate with Amazon, so that their inventory is available to purchase on Amazon as well as their own ecommerce site. This can be achieved natively within the Shopify platform, or by using 3rd-party marketplace listing tools.

Shopify vs Amazon – which is better?

The “better” platform will really depend on what your specific goals are as a retailer.

  • Amazon is ideal for resellers who want access to a huge audience of shoppers across the world’s most burgeoning ecommerce network. For all its limitations, the increase in sales that can be achieved by selling on Amazon is an opportunity that many entrepreneurs can’t resist.
  • Shopify is more suited for businesses wanting to build a “brand”. Selling on your own Shopify website offers complete control over how your products are presented and priced online, with retailers also able to take full responsibility for the fulfilment of any orders received via their ecommerce website.

The most successful brands, however, will use a combination of both their own website (whether it’s powered by Shopify, Magento, or something else), as well as marketplace integrations like Amazon, eBay and Etsy to drive sales across multiple channels.

How can I list my Shopify products on Amazon?

There are several ways of listing products from your Shopify store on to Amazon. The “best” method will depend on your budget, the number of SKUs, and the amount of resource you have available in your team to handle the task of listing.

3 ways of listing to Amazon:

  1. Manual listing: creating each product listing directly on Amazon, copying and pasting information from your Shopify catalogue – including barcode number, product images, variants, and price. (TIP: try using an ASIN to “piggy-back” on to existing Amazon listings).
  2. Listing via Shopify: using a Shopify plugin to link existing Amazon listings to products sold on your ecommerce store. This takes away some of the hard work required to create listings – but only works for products that already exist on Amazon.
  3. Using third-party listing tools: subscribing to software built specifically to list products from Shopify to marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. This is great for retailers with large product catalogues who want to create Amazon product listings from Shopify in bulk, but you’ll pay an additional subscription for this service.

The pros and cons of selling on Amazon

At first glance, selling on Amazon is a no-brainer for retailers who are already using Shopify. With over half of all ecommerce product searches starting on Amazon, and with a strong presence across Europe, America, Asia and Australia, it’s an amazing opportunity to connect with shoppers all over the world.

But selling on Amazon won’t be right for everyone, and there are a number of downsides to consider before creating any marketplace listings.

Pros

  • You’ll have access to a huge audience of shoppers, all with their credit card details stored within Amazon, primed and ready to purchase your products.
  • Reaching these buyers can be hugely lucrative, provided you get your Amazon marketing strategy right (TIP: watch our webinar masterclass on improving your Amazon marketing for help and advice).
  • You can use Amazon FBA shipping services to fulfil orders received on any of your Amazon marketplaces to customers anywhere in the world.

Cons

  • There’s a constant threat of getting “banned” from Amazon. Even a small breach of Amazon’s incredibly strict seller policies can result in either a temporary, or permanent ban. So if you rely on Amazon for a large majority of your sales, getting banned from selling across their marketplace can result in a major hit to your bottom-line.
  • The fees incurred for listing on Amazon mean that you’ll either pay an expensive monthly subscription, or fork out $0.99 per item sold, plus “other selling fees” – which can vary wildly category by category.
  • It’s a highly competitive marketplace to sell on, with a constant “race-to-the-bottom” mentality on pricing. This results in low margins, and a high volume of orders needed in order to generate a profit.

Keeping Shopify and Amazon inventory in sync

As soon as products are listed on more than one sales channel, a new challenge arises – keeping inventory in sync across these multiple channels.

It’s incredibly important to have an accurate count for any inventory you have available to sell. You’ll need this for accounting purposes, and to avoid scenarios where you accidentally “oversell” products to your customers purchasing from different sales channels.

Overselling is something that becomes increasingly harder to manage as your business grows – and leads to annoyed customers and negative online reviews.

Platforms like Veeqo will update your inventory levels as soon as a sale is made on either your Shopify or Amazon sales channels. So if you run out of stock for a particular SKU, Shopify and Amazon will both update to prevent customers ordering something that is no longer available in your warehouse.

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