Selling on Shopify and Amazon: Maximizing revenue for DTC growth

The e-commerce landscape has been profoundly shaped by two pivotal platforms: Amazon and Shopify. These giants have revolutionized how we think about retail and consumer interactions and set new benchmarks for success in the Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) industry. As we delve into the intricacies of their influence, it's essential to understand their historical developments, strategic approaches, and the significant impact they have made on market dynamics. This blog offers valuable insights into how these platforms have become integral to the DTC e-commerce ecosystem, setting the stage for a detailed analysis of their roles and contributions. 

The rise of Amazon and Shopify in DTC e-commerce

Amazon's early innovations go back to the late 90s, Amazon, initially an online bookstore, has consistently been a step ahead in the e-commerce space. It pioneered Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) in 2006, establishing Fulfillment-as-a-Service (FaaS) and setting the standard for rapid delivery through its Prime service. This innovation was part of Amazon’s broader strategy to integrate its ecosystem and capitalize on the emergent internet retail landscape​.Shopify on the other hand has had a differentiated approach. Shopify emerged as a counterbalance to Amazon, focusing on empowering merchants with tools to create their unique online presence. Unlike Amazon, which commoditized merchants and created a highly efficient, centralized shopping experience, Shopify provided a platform for merchants to differentiate themselves, offering a more decentralized, merchant-centric model​.

Selling on Shopify and Amazon: The evolution of their market impact

  • Amazon's Dominance: Amazon's model led to an increase in third-party seller services and a growth in Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV), with third-party merchants outselling Amazon's retail business. Amazon's strategy of commoditizing merchants, coupled with integrated solutions like FBA and Prime Delivery, helped it dominate the e-commerce market​​.
  • Shopify's Rise: Shopify, in contrast, has focused on facilitating differentiation among its merchants. It supports a vast ecosystem of developers, creating a rich array of tools for merchants. This approach has seen Shopify overtake Amazon in terms of unique visitors and explode in GMV. Shopify's commitment to its developer ecosystem and its move into fulfillment services further highlights its distinct strategy in the e-commerce space​​​​​​.
  • Competitive Dynamics: The contrasting strategies of Amazon and Shopify have led to a complex competitive landscape. Amazon has continued to optimize its marketplace, focusing on efficiency and price, while Shopify has empowered merchant creativity and differentiation. This divergence in strategy underscores the different values and opportunities each platform offers to DTC brands​​.

The historical and ongoing evolution of Amazon and Shopify in the DTC e-commerce industry highlights the diverse pathways to success in this domain. Amazon's focus on efficiency, scale, and an integrated customer experience contrasts sharply with Shopify's emphasis on merchant empowerment and differentiation. As the e-commerce landscape continues to evolve, these two platforms remain pivotal, each offering distinct advantages and challenges to DTC brands navigating this dynamic market.


Key components of selling on Shopify and Amazon

Shopify: A Platform for Customization and Brand Control

  • Brand and Store Customization: Shopify stands out with its extensive customization options, allowing businesses to craft a unique online presence. Sellers have control over their brand, product listings, pricing, and customer experience, with the ability to design their storefronts to align with their brand identity​​.
  • Marketing and Traffic Generation: Unlike Amazon, Shopify requires sellers to drive their own traffic. With built-in SEO tools, sellers must implement marketing strategies to attract customers. The platform's flexibility in integrating with various sales channels, including social media, helps in reaching target audiences​​.
  • Fulfillment Flexibility: Shopify provides the option to choose fulfillment methods, giving sellers control over inventory management and shipping processes. This flexibility, however, places the onus of managing shipping operations on the seller​​.
  • Payment Processing Options: Shopify offers versatility in payment processing, allowing integration with multiple payment gateways. This gives sellers control over the checkout process and the ability to offer diverse payment options to customers​​.
  • International Selling: Shopify supports global sales with features for managing international shipping and the ability to customize online stores in multiple languages and currencies, making it conducive for international expansion​​.

Amazon: A marketplace for reach and efficiency

  • Marketplace Dynamics: Amazon's marketplace model provides a vast customer base and high traffic, offering significant exposure and sales potential for sellers. However, it also means adhering to Amazon's guidelines and policies, limiting control over brand and product listings​​.
  • Competitive Environment: Amazon's competitive landscape requires sellers to stand out among numerous others. The platform's "Buy Box" feature is a critical factor in driving sales, necessitating strategies to win this coveted position​​.
  • Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA): FBA is a significant advantage of selling on Amazon, where logistics are handled by Amazon, including storage, packing, and shipping. This can lead to higher sales but incurs additional fees​​.
  • Customer Trust and Reviews: Amazon's established trust and extensive customer review system are vital for sales and credibility. Positive reviews on Amazon can significantly boost a product's sales and credibility, though the platform has strict rules for obtaining these reviews​​.
  • Pricing and Fee Structure: Amazon has a complex fee structure, including referral fees and FBA fees. Sellers face potential price competition, which may require adjusting pricing strategies to stay competitive​.

Succeeding on Amazon and Shopify hinges on understanding and leveraging each platform's unique features. Shopify offers greater control and customization, ideal for building a distinct brand and tailored customer experience, but requires more effort in traffic generation and fulfillment management. Amazon, in contrast, provides vast customer reach and a streamlined fulfillment process but demands adherence to its competitive and structured marketplace dynamics. For DTC businesses, choosing the right platform involves balancing these factors against their specific goals and operational capacities.

Navigating the Amazon and Shopify e-commerce ecosystems: How to sell on both Amazon and Shopify

Amazon and Shopify represent distinct yet complementary facets, each catering to different merchant needs and consumer behaviors. Amazon, as a vast marketplace, offers significant reach and convenience, enabling merchants to access a large customer base actively seeking a variety of products. This platform is particularly advantageous for new brands looking to gain visibility quickly. However, this comes at the cost of higher fees, standardized product page formats, and a focus on competitive pricing, which can sometimes undermine brand relationship-building with customers​​.

Shopify, on the other hand, allows merchants to build independent e-commerce sites, offering greater control over customer data, branding, and the overall shopping experience. This platform is ideally suited for brands seeking to establish a deeper connection with their audience, particularly those heavily reliant on storytelling and social media marketing. Shopify's model empowers merchants to create in-depth content, communicate directly with customers, and leverage customer data for tailored marketing efforts​​.

For e-commerce merchants, the strategy is not necessarily an either/or choice between Amazon and Shopify but rather a both/and approach. Many successful brands, like accessory designer Rebecca Minkoff, utilize both platforms to leverage their distinct advantages. Minkoff's Shopify Plus web store offers an immersive customer experience with 3D and augmented reality product displays, while also maintaining a presence on Amazon to benefit from its vast customer reach and Prime shipping advantages​​.

In conclusion, as the e-commerce ecosystem continues to evolve with these two giants at its forefront, e-commerce sellers are advised to closely monitor developments and strategically leverage both platforms to maximize the opportunities they offer. This approach allows for a diversified e-commerce presence that capitalizes on the strengths of each platform​.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Selling on Amazon

There are various pros and cons to consider before launching and selling on Amazon. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of engaging with this platform can be the key to maximizing your e-commerce potential. Here's a balanced look at what it means to sell on Amazon, including the benefits of tapping into its vast traffic, the potential for reaching new customers, and the convenience of marketplace shopping, alongside the considerations of marketplace fees, control limitations, and inventory management challenges.


  1. Boost Your Sales Through High Traffic: The primary advantage of listing your products on marketplaces like Amazon is their massive online reach. Amazon attracts approximately 2.4 billion visits every month from both desktop and mobile users. This vast audience can significantly increase your sales volume.
  2. Gain New Customers: Your store might not be the initial search target for Amazon shoppers, but they could stumble upon and buy your products, which they might not have found or bought from a competitor. Capturing a customer through the marketplace allows you the opportunity for repeat business by providing excellent service and fulfillment, especially with products that lend themselves to regular, repeated purchases, like craft supplies or fishing equipment.
  3. The Appeal of Marketplace Shopping: The appeal of marketplaces lies in their collective strength. Similar to the concept of farmers' markets, shopping malls, and food truck gatherings, online marketplaces offer a variety of choices and the convenience of one-stop shopping. They enhance the customer experience with streamlined checkout and fulfillment processes.


  1. Marketplace Fees: While marketplaces can dramatically increase your sales, they introduce a new cost factor: marketplace fees. These fees are typically a percentage of each sale and can vary by site and category. It's crucial to be mindful of these fees, especially in categories with low margins or commoditized products. Understand your margins and the fee structures before diving in.
  2. Restricted Control: Selling on a marketplace means operating within their ecosystem, which has its limitations. Marketplaces focus on product visibility rather than the sellers, which might limit your branding opportunities, customer communication, and control over what you can sell. There's also the risk of marketplaces sourcing popular products directly, potentially bypassing third-party sellers.
  3. Inventory Management Challenges: A marketplace acts as an additional sales channel that might not integrate seamlessly with your primary sales system, leading to potential inventory discrepancies. Managing stock levels can become a manual and cumbersome process without synchronized inventory management between your marketplace presence and your primary sales platform.

Best practices to succeed with selling on Amazon and Shopify 

Best practices are pivotal for maximizing success on platforms like Amazon and Shopify. These strategies encompass various aspects, from marketing tactics to optimizing customer experience and leveraging analytics.

Shopify's Customizable Platform: Shopify's appeal lies in its highly customizable features, offering businesses a comprehensive platform to build and manage their online stores. This level of customization allows for direct sales across multiple channels, catering to a diverse consumer base​​.

Integrating Shopify and Amazon: The integration of Shopify with Amazon presents a multifaceted opportunity for retailers. It not only taps into Amazon’s vast customer base, enhancing brand visibility and exposure but also streamlines business operations. This integration enables merchants to manage inventory and orders more efficiently, reducing manual workload and mitigating errors​.

Sales and Revenue Enhancement: Leveraging Amazon's robust marketing tools and high conversion rates, this integrated approach can significantly boost sales and revenue for Shopify stores. It also opens doors to lucrative advertising opportunities on Amazon, such as sponsored product ads and targeted promotions, thereby amplifying the store's visibility and enhancing overall sales​.

Data Analytics and Insights: The integration further provides access to Amazon's advanced reporting and analytic tools, offering invaluable insights into sales performance, customer behavior patterns, and product trends. This rich data is instrumental in informing crucial business decisions, optimizing product listings, and refining marketing strategies for enhanced outcomes​​.

Streamlining Fulfillment and Performance Monitoring: Actively synchronizing order information between Shopify and Amazon, especially for penetrating Amazon’s Prime customer base, is highly beneficial. It is crucial to regularly monitor sales and performance indicators across both platforms, using tools provided by Amazon’s Seller Central dashboard. This continuous scrutiny of vital metrics like order fulfillment rate, customer feedback, and search term performance aids in measuring the effectiveness of strategies and making necessary adjustments to improve visibility, sales, and customer satisfaction​.

For e-commerce professionals, understanding and implementing these innovative strategies and best practices is essential for leveraging the strengths of platforms like Amazon and Shopify, ensuring sustainable business growth and enhanced customer engagement in the competitive online marketplace.

Track real-time data from both Amazon and Shopify 

Navigating the online marketplace, especially on a giant platform like Amazon, can be challenging for e-commerce businesses. With the vast amount of sales and opportunities available, brands need to have a clear understanding of their performance both on Amazon and other platforms such as Shopify. Admetrics offers a straightforward solution to this issue by integrating Amazon data with Shopify, providing a more cohesive overview of a brand's online presence.

With Admetrics' Amazon integration, brands can easily access a range of useful features. These include a blended ROAS/MER dashboard that consolidates data from Amazon and Shopify into one place, insights into the efficiency of Amazon ads, detailed financial reports that cover aspects like Amazon FBA Fees, and detailed product-level reports. This setup helps brands make informed decisions by providing a comprehensive view of their marketing efforts and customer engagement across channels.

Admetrics also ensures that all data is kept up to date, which saves time and effort for brands by reducing the need to manually compile reports from different sources. This approach simplifies the process of managing e-commerce data, allowing brands to focus more on strategy and less on administrative tasks.

Major German and International DTC brands like Heimplanet, SugarGang, Dagsmejan, or Paul Valentine trust Admetrics and rely on accurate insights to scale their ad operations. Admetrics offers a practical tool for e-commerce brands looking to understand and optimize their online sales channels. By providing a clearer picture of their operations on Amazon and Shopify, brands can better navigate the complexities of online retail, improve their marketing strategies, and ultimately, enhance their performance in the marketplace.