When starting any type of eCommerce business, one of the most important steps to take is to select the right platform to use for selling products. Two of the most popular platforms available today include Amazon and Shopify, both of which offer unique benefits and downsides to keep in mind.

While Shopify gives you complete control of your eCommerce store, Amazon gives you access to massive audiences. In this post, we’ll break down some of the specific advantages and disadvantages that you’ll find with both platforms for a food eCommerce store.

How Shopify Works

The Shopify platform makes it easy to start up an eCommerce store, giving store owners complete ownership. One of the main benefits of Shopify is your store’s ability to grow with your business. Regardless of the size and scope of your business, Shopify can adapt to meet your needs.

To open a Shopify store, you’ll need create an account, select a plan choose and customize a theme or have a custom theme built along with configuring payment and shipping options. While some themes come heavily stacked with prebuilt apps, you can add functionality using various apps which can be found at the shopify app store.

You can then sell food products and many others, with a wide range of features available to help you get the most from your store. For instance, you can offer gift cards and loyalty programs, integrate social media, and connect your store with fulfillment centers such as Amazon and third-party logistics providers.

At this time, Shopify offers three plans to get started. The first is their Basic plan at $29 per month, which is ideal for new eCommerce businesses that are just starting out. The second is the Shopify plan at $79 per month, which is best for growing companies. Finally, Shopify’s Advanced plan is available for $299 per month and is ideal for scaling businesses that need more advanced reporting capabilities.

How Amazon Works

Although Amazon doesn’t offer business owners the same level of control and general freedom as Shopify, it can help you maximize your reach by giving you access to millions of potential customers. This is why it might be in your best interest to use Amazon instead of or in conjunction with Shopify.

Amazon is a great place to start for smaller and newer businesses that haven’t fully established themselves and their customer base. However, larger businesses can also benefit by using this platform to help extend their reach and accessibility for consumers.

It’s fairly easy to get started with Amazon by signing up for the professional selling plan. In addition, Amazon offers a Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service that takes care of shipping and handling for non-perishable products.

For perishable products, you’ll need to partner a third-party logistics provider (3PL) to do the cold storage, pick, pack and shipping to your customers. This is totally doable if you know what to look for in a 3PL.

When to Use Amazon or Shopify for Your eCommerce Business

When getting started with food eCommerce, you might be unsure which platform is most ideal based on your business’s needs. However, you don’t necessarily need to choose one or the other. Both of these platforms are often good to use in combination with each other.

Why You May Benefit from Using Both eCommerce Platforms

eCommerce businesses of all types can actually benefit from using Amazon and Shopify together. Basic plans for both platforms are inexpensive to help you get started, and they both have their unique benefits. While Amazon can help you reach more people, Shopify can help you establish an eCommerce store that’s uniquely yours.

You can also link the two platforms together in different ways. For example, you can use Amazon Multichannel Fulfillment to fulfill Shopify and Amazon orders through Fulfillment by Amazon.

Generally, it’s a good practice to use both platforms to fully extend your brand’s reach. While Shopify can serve as your business’s main hub and assist with brand awareness and recognition, Amazon can help get your products in front of even more people. Eventually, as your Shopify store grows, you can rely more on this platform while using Amazon as a means of supplementing your main store.

On the other hand, you may want to consider starting with Amazon if you haven’t fully established your brand or determined who you specifically want to target. Using analytical data collected through Amazon, you can better determine who your audience is and then redirect people to your Shopify store after launching one.

Decide on the Best Strategy for Your Business

There isn’t a specific formula that works for every eCommerce business when getting started on either Shopify or Amazon. Select the right platforms or use both, depending on your company’s unique requirements. Both are equally good to use for different reasons, making it important to choose the platform that’s most likely to help your company establish an online presence.

We do however recommend you partner with a marketing company that can help you launch and scale on both platforms. At Gray Growth Logistics, we specialize in working with ecommerce food & beverage brands with a perishable food product fully leverage the power of both platforms. To learn more, contact us today!