Looking for ecommerce software? Here's how WooCommerce and Amazon FBA stack up.
Daniel Adams and Mark Hammersley
Last updated 10o July 2020
3.8 Stackupp rating
Best forIf you want to run your store on WordPress, then WooCommerce is hands-down the best choice. It’s ideal for small and medium-sized retailers, but larger enterprises might struggle.
3.4 Stackupp rating
$ 0.99 / month
Best foronline sellers with limited product ranges. It is also a good option for retailers with established stores that want to take advantage of Amazon’s significant reach.
Can't decide between WooCommerce and Amazon FBA?
Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of WooCommerce and Amazon FBA. See how each platform stacks up across ease of use, design, support and value for money.
Let the comparison begin. Don't worry, we'll guide you.
WooCommerce is an open-source ecommerce platform for WordPress users. It’s one of the world’s most popular ecommerce platforms, and retailers can add unlimited products.
WooCommerce has a lot of great features, including an intuitive management dashboard, an extensive integration and theme library, and an active community. What’s more, WooCommerce is completely customizable and completely free.
While WordPress users won’t find a better solution than WooCommerce, there are downsides.
Because WooCommerce isn’t a hosted solution like Shopify or BigCommerce, you are responsible for taking care of backend tasks like hosting, security and maintenance. Some features that larger retailers require are also missing.
Use Woocommerce if you like WordPress and want an easy-to-use ecommerce solution. It’s ideal for smaller retailers that are familiar with WordPress and are looking for a cost-effective platform.
Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) is Amazon’s in-house fulfillment service for sellers. Instead of taking care of the storage and delivery of products themselves, sellers who opt for Amazon FBA can use Amazon’s warehouses and logistics networks. This can significantly reduce financial and administrative burdens.
It’s important to recognize that Amazon FBA is an additional service for Amazon sellers. It will only meet your needs if you already intend to sell products on Amazon. It is not a self-contained ecommerce solution that will allow you to list a wide array of different items and keep all the revenue from sales. What’s more, Amazon takes a significant cut of the final purchase price. You will also have to compete with other sellers in the marketplace.
With all that in mind, it’s essential to weigh up the benefits associated with access to the world’s single largest retail market with the cons of hefty fees, limited control, and high levels of competition.
Generally speaking, small retailers that don’t want to deal with the hassle of managing an entire ecommerce store (and all the technical, marketing, and logistical tasks this involves) will find a lot to like in Amazon FBA. Equally, retailers with established stores that want to bring their best products to a broader market should consider Amazon FBA.
Finally, keep in mind that running a successful business on Amazon FBA requires a unique skill-set. It’s a different ballgame to running a “traditional” ecommerce store, and this should be accounted for. You will need to familiarize yourself with topics like competitor research, keyword analysis, product page optimization, results page optimization, and so on.
you are a small independent retailer who doesn’t want to run their own store and handle complex back-end logistical tasks. Amazon will do a lot of the hard work for you while providing access to a large retail marketplace.
Our first comparison criteria, ease of use. Why? Because it’s the most important.
Think about it. You don’t want to invest a lot of your precious time setting up an online store and tweaking the design only to find out that it’s a pain in the butt to manage day to day.
We take a look at how simple the WooCommerce and Amazon FBA platforms are to run.
WooCommerce is very easy to use. A set-up wizard walks you through the initial process of setting up your store.
Carrying out typical ecommerce tasks, like adding product inventory, processing orders, and launching promotions and discounts, is straightforward. WooCommerce offers a simple and intuitive dashboard that WordPress users will find familiar.
Choosing a theme and integrating with third-party services (like shipping providers, payment gateways, and email marketing apps) is also relatively straightforward. WooCommerce utilizes “extensions” to offer an array of features, although some of these extensions are quite pricey.
If you have any problems, you can pay for dedicated support or consult the large community of WooCommerce users.
“The best eCommerce platform available!”
“Such a good product running perfect for 6 months now. Thanks and keep up the good work.”
“This is incredible shopping cart. So professional solution with huge amount of add-ons. Thank you for your work!”
Amazon FBA is managed through “Seller Central”, an online dashboard that all Amazon merchants use to manage their inventory, product listings, storefronts, and analytics.
The interface is very user-friendly, and you can add and configure products quickly. There is a substantial amount of help documentation online through the “Seller Central” portal and Amazon also offers an “Amazon Seller App” for mobile devices. All in all, it’s a very good option for beginners, along with retailers who have limited technical expertise.
Configuring fulfillment options is also a straightforward, linear process and is completed within the “Seller Central” area once products have been added to a catalog.
Finally, you can manage your own independent store, which will show all your Amazon listings, via the “Stores” tab.
"This website is good for beginners who want to earn."
"This platform is the most solid on the web to sell products online."
"They have never failed to pay me and they have been supportive when deviant customers have tried to steal from me."
Powerful features are great, but we all know first impressions count. So, do WooCommerce and Amazon FBA templates actually look any good? See for yourself. We outline each platforms design options, plus showcase a few real life examples.
WooCommerce is one of the most customizable ecommerce platforms on the market. The WordPress editor makes it easy for users with no coding experience to tweak their storefront.
Deeper backend changes are also possible because WooCommerce is built on open-source software. Plugins allow for a host of minor changes, while more experienced developers can alter virtually any aspect of the core files.
If you don’t have any coding experience but want to make more complex changes, you can always enlist the help of a WooCommerce developer.
Along with a handful of free themes, WooCommerce offers a number of paid themes, most of which cost $39.
Amazon doesn’t offer much in the way of design freedom. Sellers can only customize specific product page elements, such as the title and description, images, and in-depth “body copy”. The layout and overall page design cannot be altered.
Once they have registered their brand, sellers can also open their own Amazon storefront, which affords a greater (albeit still limited) level of design flexibility.
If you’re looking for complete control over your store, you will likely find that a self-managed ecommerce solution like Shopify or WooCommerce better fits your needs.
Everyone’s favourite topic - pricing. Let's dive in to see if WooCommerce or Amazon FBA offers better value for money.
WooCommerce operates a unique revenue model. The basic plugin is free. Assuming that you have a WordPress site already, you can get up and running without having to pay anything.
WooCommerce makes money by selling plugins, themes, and support. So it’s important to account for these costs. Certain features that many retailers would consider essential, such as customer reviews, geo-targeting, customer services, and discount codes, can only be added through extensions that often cost several hundred dollars.
What’s more, customer support is only offered for WooCommerce products and via support tickets. For customization support, you’ll need to hire a WooCommerce developer, which can be costly.
“Value for money” is a slightly mixed bag when it comes to Amazon FBA. It’s important to stress that all serious Amazon FBA sellers will have to purchase a subscription to an Amazon Seller account. There are two plans available. The “Individual” plan is free, but a charge of $0.99 per item sold is collected. The “Professional” plan is $39.99 per month.
On the surface, these figures don’t seem significant. It’s when you get down to the nitty-gritty of item fees that a more precise picture starts to emerge. FBA sellers have to account for several charges: a referral fee (which can be up to 15% of the item sale price, a storage fee), storage costs, and a fulfillment fee. All of these can quickly add up, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the fine print and do all your calculations to ensure you can make a sustainable profit.
If things go wrong (and they often do) you need to know someone’s there to help get you back on track. So, how does WooCommerce's and Amazon FBA's support measure up?
WooCommerce support is a mixed bag. Because it’s a free WordPress plugin, customer service is not included as part of the core package.
If you need dedicated technical support, you’ll have to hire a “WooExpert”. WooCommerce provides basic general support and dedicated support for paid products like themes and extensions through help tickets.
That said, WooCommerce has an active community of users that are happy to help solve minor problems, along with extensive documentation.
Amazon provides support to sellers through online tickets and has published extensive online documentation and training for new users. There is also an active community forum where it’s possible to get answers to questions.
While the support options are reasonable, we would like to have seen phone and email support in conjunction with the options already on offer.
The final say. Let's wrap up our thoughts on each platform.
WooCommerce has many positives and only a handful of negatives.
If you’re thinking about WooCommerce, first make sure you wouldn’t prefer a fully-hosted solution like Shopify or Big Commerce. Out-of-the-box solutions come with dedicated customer service, an array of features, and all backend tasks are taken care of.
If, however, you’re looking for a cost-effective solution that integrates seamlessly with WordPress, and don’t mind looking after hosting yourself, then WooCommerce is ideal. A large library of extensions means that you won’t miss any features, and an active community of users is on hand to help you troubleshoot any issues.
What’s more, as an open-source platform, WooCommerce allows for almost unlimited customization.
Evaluate the cost of extensions and hosting before you decide to go all-in. And don’t be afraid to give WooCommerce a test-drive. It’s free, after all.
The FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) program has done a lot to open up Amazon’s sizable marketplace to new sellers and streamline the often-complex process of storing items and fulfilling purchases.
If you are starting out in the ecommerce space, and find the prospect of running an independent store daunting, then Amazon is a viable option. Equally, if you already have an established online presence and want to reach new customers, selling your top-performing products through Amazon is also worth considering.
Just keep in mind that running a profitable Amazon FBA business is different from running your own online store. It requires a unique skill-set and the ability to evaluate competition and find gaps in the market.
Overall, we found WooCommerce to be the better ecommerce platform.
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