Amazon and Shopify: Best Frenemies

What if there was a magical place millions of people went to every day and could find your products just by looking for the things they want? Well, there is, and it’s Amazon. There are definitely some great advantages to hooking up Amazon and Shopify. I’ll illustrate the good and bad points and you’ll learn why they’re “best frenemies”…

It’s not all kittens and rainbows.

The good

You’ve now got access to millions of potential customers. Amazon will market your products to them based on their purchasing, searching, and browsing behavior. You should still do your own marketing though.

Your Shopify admin can manage all of your orders, helping to simplify things. So, fulfilling an order in Shopify will sync back to Amazon.

Did I mention millions of people?

The bad

Amazon will charge you $39.99 a month and a referral fee for each sale you make on Amazon.

You can only sell products in a few categories:

  • Clothing, Shoes & Jewelry

  • Arts, Crafts & Sewing

  • Home & Kitchen

  • Patio, Lawn & Garden

  • Sport & Outdoors

  • Health & Household

  • Toys & Games

  • Beauty

  • Electronics - variants are not allowed; add each variant as a separate product

Amazon only lets you sell a small number of products until you start building a sales history.

It’s complicated to use the Fulfilled by Amazon service:

  • Fulfillments by Amazon don’t sync automatically to your store; you’ll have to do that manually.

  • You’ll need to manually unfulfill any orders in your Amazon Seller Central account as well as your Shopify dashboard.

  • You have to add extra shipping rates to your store.

Orders at Amazon can take up to 30 minutes to sync to your Shopify store.

If an Amazon customer sends you a message through Amazon, it will go to your messaging in your Amazon Seller Central account, so you need to check there at least daily.

It’s harder to build your email list with Amazon customers. Amazon is very strict about customer privacy (which is a good thing, normally…) so you have to get them to opt-in separately.

The ugly

Because Amazon is one of the largest shopping malls, it’s difficult to build a unique brand that stands out. While there are a ton of companies that sell only on Amazon, can you name any?

Fake product reviews are rampant. Don’t succumb to getting your own though. You can use a tool like Fakespot to evaluate your competitors’ reviews.

Amazon is very strict about seller policies and behaviors. Read their guidelines. Sellers have had their accounts closed for pretty arbitrary reasons as well as sabotage by competitors. Here are the major criteria you must keep to as an Amazon seller:

  • Order defect rate of less than 1%

  • Negative feedback less than 6%

  • Customer response time less than 24 hours

  • A return rate of less than 3%

Product listing hijacking is a very real thing. And it’s pretty horrible. Other people can set up listings for your exact product and undercut you on price to bump you out of product searches and suggested product lists. There’s not much you can do to prevent it, but you can fight back if you’re selling private label goods.

So, should you connect Amazon and Shopify?

As you’ve seen, there are a lot of downsides to selling on Amazon. Whether it’s worth it to you depends on what you’re selling, how competitive it is, and how much of a separate brand you want to build. There’s a lot of upside as well, namely the potential to make a lot of money. It is not, however, an easy and risk-free thing to do.

Choose carefully. I recommend to try Amazon only once you’ve got experience with the whole selling cycle on your own site first. Fulfilling, shipping, returns, and customer service are all things you want to be good at before you are subject to Amazon’s stringent rules. When you’re ready, test it with one or two products and see how it goes. Your costs do to this for 6 months will be pretty low and you’ll learn a lot. Who doesn’t love to learn?

And even though Amazon and Shopify are best frenemies, you can help them get along.

No matter whether or not you sell on Amazon, you need an order tracking dashboard like ShopClerk to prevent shipping disasters.

How to connect Amazon and Shopify

  1. Set up an Amazon Professional Seller account.

  2. Install the Amazon Shopify app and use the app to publish your products on Amazon

  3. If you’re selling branded products, sign up for the Amazon Brand Registry which gives you added protections.

  4. Create listings for your products using the Amazon app in your Shopify admin. Read their guidelines on creating product descriptions.

  5. Add UPC (or EIN) codes to each listing.

  6. Create an offer for your products (if you want) which lets you evaluate your competitor’s pricing and make sure yours are competitive.