And that’s not the only reason you might want to sell on Shopify, Wordpress, Squarespace.
Picture this: You’ve been selling on Amazon FBA for months, maybe years. Your sales are strong, so you want to boost your profit margin by nabbing sales on your own ecommerce site.
But with so many options, how do you choose which platform to build your store?
Today, I’m going to break down three popular website builders—Shopify, WordPress, and Squarespace—to help you decide which one is the right one to help you expand your Amazon FBA business.
Selling on WordPress
What is WordPress?
In terms of powering the internet, WordPress is a household name. Over 27% of the world’s websites are powered by WordPress.
You’ve most likely heard of WordPress in one of its two variations: WordPress.org, which allows users to build free blogs hosted on the WordPress platform created with WordPress templates, and WordPress.com, which allows more code and tech-savvy builders to create their own website down to the HTML.
For ecommerce options, we’re talking about the latter, WordPress.com (there are no selling options available on the WordPress.org blog platform).
That said, WordPress was founded as a blog-first platform primarily for traditional bloggers (back in the ‘ole days before everyone with an Instagram account and a smartphone was considered a “blogger”).
WordPress currently comes in two different subscription options: WordPress Starter, $5 per month, and WordPress Pro, $15.
If you’re going to build an online store, opt for the Pro, which features unlimited plugins (hello Amazon FBA integration) and access to WooCommerce, the ecommerce platform WordPress acquired in 2015.
What makes WordPress different?
Own your site.
With both of our other options (we’ll get there), you can build your own site, however that site will be inherently hosted on that particular platform itself. And, not that this is likely, but in the event of a power failure, snowmageddon, avalanche, or other natural or social disaster that defuncts that platform, your site would cease to exist.
However, when you build a site using WordPress, you own it completely. You host it on your own domain. So if WordPress the site were to ever go bankrupt, or their headquarters engulfed in a fiery pit of doom, your site could still prevail.
That said, because your site isn’t hosted on an existing mega-platform, you’ll be responsible for securing your site—a key attribute for online stores—on your own.
WordPress’s code-base can make it hard to navigate if you’re not a trained systems architect. That said, if you are—or have the budget for one—on WordPress there is no real limit as to how you build your site.
You can also create your own custom URL to help your shoppers easily find and return to your store.
Pay less for your store.
At $15 per month for a Pro membership (currently), WordPress is easily the least expensive option to bring your off-Amazon ecommerce dreams to life.
Create off-the chain email lists.
Thanks to WordPress’s seemingly limitless capabilities (provided you can code them), you can create landing pages to collect customer contact information and then funnel that data into email campaigns. In doing so, you can advertise new products, run promotions and special discounts, and even educate your customers about your brand and products, which can only lead to more sales.
Get found on social media and google.
WordPress’s functionality makes it easy to set up and run ads on google, Facebook, and more, allowing you to access even more shoppers who might just become your next best customers.
Additionally, with WordPress’s SEO plugin, you can easily (or with an online guide) optimize your site for your main keywords to get found by googlers in search of your product types.
Should you sell on WordPress?
Arguably the biggest drawback to WordPress, apart from its blogger foundation, is also one of its greatest assets: Customizations. You will likely need extensive development experience and/or a professional developer to build out your site. But that site will look exactly as you want it to.
Apart from that, some users have indicated that WordPress’s plugins don’t always play well together, which could cause some hiccups for Amazon integration.
WordPress is still a great option if you need greater ecommerce functionality than what comes in Shopify’s Basic (least expensive) membership option, but don’t want to pay the hefty price tag of their mid-level and advanced options (advanced clocks in at $299 per month).
Keep in mind, however, that while WordPress Pro is only $15, access to WooCommerce, arguably WordPress’s most enticing bid for ecommerce merchants, comes at an additional $79 per month (although it does give you integration access with Amazon, eBay, instagram, and Facebook, along with extension options for just about any commercial setup you’d need), which is a smidge more than Shopify’s mid-level membership (and, afterall, Shopify does have the term shop in the name).
Some users have also cited WordPress’s overall lack of support, which can be daunting for sellers with little web development experience.
Bottom line: If you’re looking for a lower price option with highly customizable features, WordPress might just be the tool for your site and store expansion.
True story: WordPress is powerful and customizable enough to host Amazon FBA Mastery (AFM), Just One Dime’s training that helped 32 students start from knowing nothing about Amazon to becoming 7-figure Amazon sellers. Hundreds more are 6-figure sellers. This training contains over 100 videos, slideshows, quizzes, hosts weekly group coaching sessions, and is trusted by students in over 150 countries around the world. (Want to see what all the fuss is about? Click here.)
We trust WordPress to deliver Amazon FBA Mastery to our students, but is it the best for selling physical products online?
Selling on Squarespace
What is Squarespace?
Squarespace offers users hundreds of customizable templates which means just about every type of site can be created with the platform. In fact, for a company that began exclusively as a blogging site, Squarespace has since expanded to include several ecommerce functions, along with a physical point of sales (POS) system available to its US subscribers, that allows it to rival other dominant players in the ecommerce space.
Squarespace currently offers four different monthly plans, two for blog-based sites and two for commerce-based sites, and all of which you can save on by paying annually rather than monthly. The platform’s two blog plans range from $14 - $33, depending on the plan and how you’ll pay. The two commerce plans range from $27 - $65, which squarely places Squarespace (😆) in the mid-range tier for ecommerce sites.
What makes Squarespace different?
Bunches of customer-friendly features.
Squarespace’s Advanced commerce plan (currently $49 - $65 per month, depending on how you pay) offers a wide variety of features that can make your customers’ shopping experience a breeze, including the ability to:
- Sell gift cards
- Get product reviews
- Allow customers to create accounts
- Auto-send emails to customers who leave products in their shopping carts
- Sell subscription services
- Offer discounts
- Calculate shipping costs for multiple shipping timelines
Choose your transaction fees.
Squarespace’s Business plan (non-commerce) offers many of the coveted sales features available within its two commerce plans. However, the platform will take a 3% cut of any transactions done through a Business plan.
That said, Squarespace doesn’t charge any transaction fees for its two commerce plans. If you plan to sell more often than every blue moon, the slightly higher charge for a commerce plan is well worth it.
Free custom domains.
Whatever plan you decide upon, pay the first year upfront and receive your own custom web domain for free.
Apart from the sheer bonus of a great freebie (or, let’s be honest, any freebie), having your own domain can help to add authority to your email campaigns. Think about it: If you were the customer, would you have more faith in a brand who emails you from “HeliccookCooking.Sales@Squarespace.com” or “Sales@HeliccookCooking.com”?
Create custom email campaigns and sequences.
When it comes to email marketing, Squarespace takes the lead. And while you do have to pay an additional subscription fee for this feature (four separate monthly plans ranging from $7 - $68 on top of your site subscription), it’s well worth it to:
- Easily edit highly-customizable e-newsletter templates
- Manage your website and mailing list in one place
- Create between 3 and 20 email campaigns per month, unlimited with the Max plan
- Email up to 250,000 subscribers at once
Sell on social media.
Reach new customers by selling through Instagram. Create sponsored ads for your products with links to buy that take users to your own little “store” on the platform.
From there you’re just a few clicks away from pushing your content to other social media channels, as well.
Automatically calculate customer taxes.
US merchants with a Squarespace commerce plan have the option to set up automatic sales tax calculation for their customers (Psst! The alternative is figuring it out yourself or hiring someone else to help you).
Take your online store offline.
With Squarespace’s physical POS system, US merchants can expand their ecommerce businesses to the realm of brick and mortar with a Squarespace commerce plan.
Squarespace users receive one free year of Google’s entire workspace suite for their business.
Should you sell on Squarespace?
If you’re in the market for a mid-priced platform to host your ecommerce business, Squarespace is a completely viable option. You’ll have most of your shopping bases covered and thousands of ecommerce merchants use Squarespace, which suggests the platform’s strengths. And if you’re going to add a heavy blogging portion to your store, Squarespace might just be your best bet.
However, it’s worth keeping in mind that Squarespace is, at its core, a blogging platform built for bloggers, not merchants. Several merchant users have found its commerce setup rather limiting compared to ecommerce platform giant Shopify.
For starters, most of Squarespace’s jazzy ecommerce features mentioned above are only available with the Advanced commerce plan, the most expensive across the platform.
Additionally, while Squarespace does offer business analytics tools, they’re not nearly as powerful as other options.
As for global selling, Squarespace’s language translator has been deemed “clunky” and described in no better terms than google translate, which is to say it’ll do the job but will feel awkward for fluent and native speakers.
Squarespace’s ecommerce pros are rather limited to US-based merchants, overall. Your tax calculations and several of their 24 plugins are only available if you register from the US. On top of that, Squarespace users can only offer shoppers one currency, all of which limits your customer base.
As for paying, with Squarespace, you can elect either Stripe or Paypal as your payment platform, however Squarespace lacks their own dedicated payment system, which unfortunately means more fees for both you and your shoppers.
While Squarespace’s email features make it easy to contact and engage customers, those services will run you an additional monthly charge.
Finally, while you can integrate Instagram shopping into your Squarespace site, there are no integrations for other platforms such as Amazon, eBay, or even Facebook.
Bottom line: Squarespace is a strong contender for a fledgling ecommerce business if you’re looking for mid-tier pricing, are only selling in the US, will only sell a handful of products, and don’t care too much about fancy ecommerce features. However, if you are an established Amazon seller looking to expand your store, will sell outside of the US (or across multiple countries), and/or need more powerful, customer and seller-friendly tools, you might opt for our final platform.
Selling on Shopify
What is Shopifiy?
What grew out of an exasperation with the lack of ecommerce platforms to help a fledgling snowboard business now serves over 1.7 million merchants worldwide, including Pepsi, Redbull, and Tesla. The platform processed over $79.5 billion in sales in the first half of 2021 alone.
All three of Shopify’s current plans are geared towards ecommerce. Current plans include a $29 per month Basic plan, a $79 per month Shopify plan, and a $299 per month Advanced plan. While the latter two offer more business-focused features, all three plans include the ability to build an online store, sell an unlimited number of products, 24/7 support, and the ability to sell across several sales channels, including Amazon.
Shopify has long been the favorite choice for ecommerce sellers, particularly thanks to its founding as an ecommerce platform (both Squarespace and WordPress were founded for blogging). And because of this foundation, Shopify is flush with thousands of apps and business features, including a POS system, that makes it hard to beat.
What makes Shopify different?
Capture shoppers through Google.
Shopify comes with SEO optimization tools to best outfit your website for Google’s algorithm (in other words, drive Google traffic to your store) however the fun doesn’t stop there.
With Shopify, you can create an actual blog on your site to discuss your products, their uses, and the lifestyles they support. And you can use your blog to target different keywords potential shoppers may be searching for on Google and thus drive new traffic to your site.
Integrate your website with up to 10 different social media and ecommerce platforms.
Shopify offers a unique way to approach more customers through various angles, including Amazon.
In fact, Shopify’s Amazon integration is unmatched. With Shopify, you can sync your Shopify and Amazon product listings, track orders and refunds for both platforms simultaneously, and even fulfill orders for your Shopify store with your Amazon FBA inventory from Amazon’s fulfillment centers.
Become an Amazon affiliate.
Amazon wants more shoppers on their platform. If you sell a product both on and off Amazon, Amazon will pay you a small referral fee (4.5 - 10% depending on the product category; up to 20% for Amazon games) to direct shoppers to purchase your products on their platform. And if you write a blog article in which you discuss other Amazon products not sold in your store, Amazon will pay you that same referral fee to direct your blog readers to that product on Amazon.
As an added bonus, Amazon will pay you that same referral fee for all purchases made by whatever customer you “refer” to Amazon within 24 hours after that shopper has clicked on your affiliate link.
Gain invaluable shopper analytics.
Shopify offers users up to 14 different sales reports that can help you to optimize your customer outreach, marketing, and more.
Shopify allows users to sell around the world from just one single site. With Shopify you can
- Create your site in up to five different languages.
- Sell in various currencies.
- Have your tax registration auto-setup for certain, high traffic regions, including the US, the UK, the EU, Canada, and Australia.
You can even calculate duties and import taxes as well as set pricing that’s custom to each of your global markets with Shopify’s Advanced membership.
Bring your brick and mortar dreams to life.
For $89 per month (per location), you can outfit your own brick and mortar store with a Shopify physical POS system so that you can cross sell locally and across the web.
Pay less for your sales.
Every ecommerce platform, including Amazon, charges users fees per transaction. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t last very long, now would they.
That said, when you use Shopify’s built in payment system (which can be used in most countries), you won’t pay any transaction fees, just credit card fees (2.4 - 2.9% + $0.30).
You do, however, have the option to choose a different payment platform, such as Paypal or Stripe, for a small transaction fee that ranges from 0.5 - 2% of each sale.
Should you sell on Shopify?
Shopify offers users nearly unlimited ecommerce potential.
That said, perhaps Shopify’s biggest drawback is its email platform. All plans are outfitted with customer emailing capabilities, however, the emails themselves are limited to a basic newsletter style template, with limited customization options. If you’re looking to consistently blast customers with different types of emails, this might not be your platform.
However, you can absolutely leverage Shopify’s email platform to keep your customers up to date on your latest products, sales, and more.
Additionally, when you build your Shopify site, you’ll not only get customer email addresses from shoppers who purchase on that site, but you can add a pop-up box to get customer contact information in exchange for keeping them up to date with your latest and greatest. While the box is not a lead magnet in the same way we teach our students to build to connect to an Amazon store, it serves the same purpose: Allowing you to better target shoppers who are interested in your brand.
Apart from email, however, Shopify reigns strong as the most-often, number one pick for ecommerce businesses. Its cross-platform functionality is especially handy for sellers looking to merge existing stores on Amazon, eBay, or even social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Bottom line: While you can make any of these three options work, Shopify is by far the strongest option if you plan to extend your Amazon store to the rest of the world wide web. Its ability to integrate with your existing FBA inventory is just one of the many pluses afforded by this ecommerce-specific platform.
This is why in Just One Dime’s Amazon FBA Mastery membership, we have an entire lesson focused solely on how to expand from Amazon to selling on Shopify. If you have the ambition to sell on Amazon and Shopify, the Amazon FBA Mastery (AFM) membership is a MUST.
Get the full scoop on setting up your Amazon FBA store, building it to a scalable size, and even more info on how to use third party platforms to boost your sales and expand your business at JOD.com/freedom.
Which platform do you want to use for your business? Let me know in the comments.
Carmichael, C. (2022, March 23). WooCommerce vs Shopify: Who Comes Out on Top? (2022). Website Builder Expert. https://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/ecommerce-website-builders/comparisons/woocommerce-vs-shopify/#:~:text=Both%20platforms%20enable%20you%20to,your%20store%20with%20those%20channels.
Cole, T. (2014, November 27). Our Canadian CEO of the year you’ve probably never heard of. The Globe and Mail. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-magazine/meet-our-ceo-of-the-year/article21734931/.
Di, R. (2022). Which should you choose? Wordpress, Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, or Other? Geek Unicorn. Retrieved 3 June, 2022 from https://geekunicorn.com/which-should-you-choose-wordpress-shopify-squarespace-wix-or-other/.
Doherty, J. (2021, January 18). Squarespace vs Shopify vs WordPress/WooCommerce for eCommerce (updated 2021). Credo. https://www.getcredo.com/squarespace-vs-shopify-vs-wordpress/.
Impressive Shopify Statistics You Need to Know. (2022). PopUp Smart. Retrieved 3 June, 2022, from https://popupsmart.com/blog/shopify-statistics#:~:text=Your%20Questions%20Answered-,How%20many%20Shopify%20stores%20are%20there%20in%202021%3F,Shopify%20stores%20is%20constantly%20changing.
Lee, I. (2022, May 3). Shopify vs Squarespace: What’s the Better Pick in 2022? LitExtension Blog. https://litextension.com/blog/shopify-vs-squarespace/.
Singleton, C. (2022, June 2). Shopify vs Squarespace – Which is Best? Style Factory. https://www.stylefactoryproductions.com/blog/shopify-vs-squarespace.
Soon, M. (2021). Shopify vs Squarespace vs Wordpress: Find the best platform for your online store. Marketing News Canada. Retrieved 3 June, 2022 from https://marketingnewscanada.com/news/shopify-vs-squarespace-vs-wordpress-find-the-best-platform-for-your-online-store.