Shopify is one of the most advanced and popular e-commerce solutions for merchants - and a good reason! It's undoubtedly the CMS that offers the most tools and, therefore, the most possibilities to customise your customer experience. But as complete and efficient as Shopify is, it can't fully compete with the power of marketplaces like Amazon. 

With more than 152 million monthly visits in France in 2021, Amazon is the undisputed leader in e-commerce. And the champion of customer satisfaction, 89% of its users saying they prefer to buy on Amazon. You can now enjoy both e-commerce worlds by learning how to sell on Amazon using the Shopify CMS. 

Before we see how-to, let's understand why this is the best option for your brand! 

How to distinguish the advantages and disadvantages of selling on Amazon?

It's no longer a secret: Marketplaces represent a tremendous opportunity for your brand. In 2020, the world's leading marketplaces represented a sales volume of $2.67 trillion. That's 62% of online sales that year! 😱

This begs the question for merchants: is it more relevant to start their own store or sell directly on Amazon? Spoiler: it's best to do both. But first, let's study the strengths and weaknesses of marketplaces…

Infographic by Digital Commerce 360

A platform like Amazon provides enormous visibility to your products and allows you to reach a more significant number of potential customers. Amazon alone has over 300 million active accounts worldwide. You can become a seller in a few minutes and reach a worldwide audience just as quickly. It's an excellent opportunity to reach new audiences and showcase your products at scale!

But all this comes at a price...

Turning obstacles into opportunities 

Apart from the competition that follows from its popularity, and the costs, Amazon has also been much criticised for cutting its sellers off from their most precious resource: their sales and customer data! Invaluable to understand better your sales pipeline, including customer buying behaviours and annual fluctuations.

Amazon's platform offers a plethora of choices to its users and quick and convenient options to find the product they are interested in and have it delivered in record time. The overall customer experience is far from being on par with that of an independent store, where the visitor can discover new items organically. This is also true for the post-purchase experience, a critical moment to build customer loyalty.

The lack of branding and control over the final experience delivered to the customer and the data that would allow measuring the ROI are not such bad news for you. Instead, it's a unique opportunity to take advantage of Amazon's traffic while enjoying the specific benefits of your CMS. 

By multiplying your sales channels, you reduce your dependence on a single business model. And you give your customers more options to discover your products and engage with your brand!

Shopify: a complete solution to brand your customer experience

Among the options you can offer your customers to discover your brand and buy your product, we have to mention Shopify. The latter allows you to create your online store via various custom themes. In addition to facilitating the branding of your e-commerce site, Shopify is accessible to beginners and requires no prior knowledge!

The solution is hosted, which means it runs on its own servers. So you don't need to worry about hosting your store either. Product listing, payment module, and even marketing tools (mailing, blog, etc.) are provided and ready to use. 

The benefits of Shopify

The numbers speak for themselves. 1.75 million merchants sell using the Shopify platform. The latter processed $119.58 billion in order value in 2020.

Why is it so popular?

Its simplicity

Its intuitive interface allows merchants to focus on managing their business. The "drag & drop" mode makes it easy to customise your store;

Its technical support

A dedicated team is available 24/7. A reassuring element for beginners who would need help to familiarise themselves with Shopify;

Endless customisation possibilities

Shopify allows you to create a store that looks like your brand and world. With a wide selection of themes, some of which are free, you can customise your customer experience and quickly adapt it to their feedback ;

Shopify’s app store

With over 1,200 plugins and apps, Shopify allows you to streamline and automate your sales channels. If you're not familiar with accounting or inventory management, there's bound to be an app that can do it for you;

Its marketing opportunities.

The more your store is visited, the more your sales increase. Shopify allows you to increase your traffic organically, thanks to its many SEO tools. You can also easily create your coupons or promote your brand on social networks. For example, connecting your different ads accounts (on TikTok, Facebook, or Instagram) to the Shopify CMS. Then measure your ROI thanks to add-ons that allow you to deepen the data of your page;

Its ability to grow with you

Shopify adapts to the size of your business and brings you specific tools according to your brand's growth stages. 

The disadvantages of Shopify

Despite its many advantages for your brand, Shopify also has some disadvantages. For example, it's not super easy to customise your online store. 

To go beyond the choice of themes offered on the application, you will have to go through the Shopify Liquid configuration tool. In practice, the latter will undoubtedly prove to be too technical for inexperienced merchants. Unlike WordPress, which relies on PHP to customise its themes, the Shopify method will be more challenging to master. 

The other disadvantage of Shopify lies in the content marketing side. You can certainly create a blog and optimise it for SEO to increase your organic traffic. Or make it easy to integrate your social networks on your store to boost your brand visibility. But Shopify could still make some efforts to improve their editor (especially for galleries) or product integration in blog posts. 

To add some of these missing features, you can install the relevant applications from your App Store. However, these extensions present new challenges and require a lot of your time. That's where Bigblue comes in! We make it easy for you to manage the more complex aspects of Shopify's CMS (especially around your inventory and shipping management) with the functionality of our platform. 

In practice: how to sell and combine the power of Amazon with Shopify’s customer experience?

So how do you make the most of both platforms? And more importantly, how do you sell on Amazon using Shopify's CMS?

To sell on Amazon, you have two basic options: 

  • FBA (or Fulfillment by Amazon): this is the platform that does everything. You send your inventory to an Amazon Fulfillment Center (FC), which ships the products and handles customer returns. You simply control the amount of stock to send to the FC from your end. Then pay the storage fee, plus a fulfillment fee for each unit sold. Amazon also handles the payment and sends you your revenue every two weeks in this model. The catch is that you will have no control over your branding (customisation of packages, flyers, etc.). Nor any way to access your customers directly (or indirectly)!
  • The MFN (Merchant Fulfillment Network): You interact directly with your customers and manage shipments, returns and support. The MFN (or FBM, for Fulfillment By Merchant) is a good option for made-to-order products. Or items that require a longer processing time. It's also the way to regain control of your customer data and control the experience you offer them. All you need to do is connect your CMS (in this case, Shopify) to Amazon. 

How to sell on Amazon using Shopify

E-tailers have been able to integrate Shopify with Amazon since September 2015. A long-awaited integration that allows them to connect their shop with the millions of potential customers of the American giant!

In concrete terms, you can therefore add Amazon to your sales channels on Shopify, and even create Amazon product listings from existing items. Using Bigblue’s App, fully integrated with Amazon and Shopify, you can fulfill and track your orders in real-time, which can now be done directly in the Shopify admin panel. 

Bigblue also syncs your available inventory across all active sales channels. With multi-channel snapshots of your key SKUs and shipping costs, you now have a complete view of your business performance.

To complete the Shopify integration on Amazon and Bigblue, simply follow these steps: 

1. Add Amazon as a sales channel

Log in to your Shopify shop and click on the "+" icon next to "Sales Channels". Select Amazon and click "Add" to confirm.

Bigblue's integration to Amazon's marketplace

2. Register with Amazon Seller Central

To find out how to sell on Amazon with Shopify, you need to register as a professional seller and upgrade to an Amazon Seller Central business account.

Then, open the Amazon services and click on "Start Selling". You will be asked to fill in your name, email address and choose a password to create your seller account.

After creating your professional seller account, you will need to get approval from Amazon to validate that your products fit into the categories you entered. 

3. Create Amazon listings of your products

Before you can start selling on Amazon, you need to create listings for your products. The good news? You can now do this from within Shopify! Click on Amazon in the "Sales Channels" section, then click on "Create a Listing". Choose the product you want to list and click on "Select a product".

If you already sell on Amazon, you can also migrate existing Amazon listings to your Shopify shop. Listings from your Professional Seller account will be visible on your Amazon listings page in Shopify.

Also, take the opportunity to set your inventory tracking policy from your shop's inventory settings. You can allow Shopify to do this, or you can do it manually.

That's it: you can now start selling on Amazon through Shopify!

Managing the duality of selling via Amazon and on your own Shopify CMS 

At first glance, Amazon may seem like an enemy threatening your business. In reality, when used correctly, the platform can actually help you grow your brand and boost your sales!

However, this increased visibility comes at a cost. In particular, it implies a loss of control over your conversion and branding. It also risks damaging the experience you offer your customers and your ability to measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategies. 

So to take advantage of Amazon's effectiveness, while maintaining your brand and supporting its growth, the best solution is to combine Amazon and Shopify (and all your channels). 

At Bigblue, we are particularly fond of the approach of Diego Alary, the king of the "foodporn" recipe on TikTok. He has over 2.5 million followers on the social network and sells his recipe book on several different channels:

  • on TikTok, via its Shopify CMS
  • on its website hosted on Shopify
  • via Amazon in MFN

All this, thanks to Bigblue’s platform. With all of his sales information synced in real-time, Diego is in full control of his ROI and is able to create a great shopping experience for his fans!

Think of your Shopify shop as your home base, and Amazon and your social networks as the beacons to drive more traffic to it. With a little strategic planning, experimentation, and marketing hacks (including taking advantage of Shopify's social networking opportunities), you can significantly increase your sales. 

So think about combining the tools available to you, and let Bigblue handle your logistics too!