Shopee and Shopify are two highly popular e-commerce platforms used for selling products. If you have a print-on-demand business and are wondering which platform would be suitable for you, let’s compare them side by side to help you make an informed choice.
In general, If you’re seeking an affordable solution that allows you to sell t-shirts to a wide range of customers, Shopee is the right option for you. It provides a low-budget approach and enables you to reach a large customer base.
On the other hand, if your focus is on building your own brand and you have some budget to invest in it, Shopify is the platform that suits your needs. It allows you to develop your brand identity and offers more flexibility for customization and branding.
By the end of this comparison, you will be better equipped to make a reasonable decision on which platform to choose for your e-commerce store.
Let’s begin the comparison and explore the features and benefits of both platforms.
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What is Shopee
Shopee, a Malaysian e-commerce company headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, has a history dating back to December 2012 when it was launched as a mobile platform with apps for iOS and Android. In June 2015, the company rebranded and transformed into an e-commerce website. Prior to the rebranding, it operated under the name Zalora Malaysia.
One of the key features that sets this service apart from other e-commerce companies is its emphasis on providing sellers with control over their online stores. Sellers can utilize Shopee merchandise, rewarded ads, and paid search advertisements to enhance their store’s visibility and reach.
Shopee has achieved notable recognition in the e-commerce industry. It secured the top position in the E-Commerce Indicator by the Malaysian Book of Records for two consecutive years, based on the gross merchandise value (GMV) sold in 2016 and 2017.
Here are the pros and cons of using Shopee as an e-commerce platform:
Pros of Shopee:
- No Set Up Costs: Unlike setting up a traditional e-commerce storefront, Shopee allows you to start selling without any upfront costs. You don’t need to establish your own payment gateway either, as Shopee provides one. This is particularly beneficial if you have a limited budget.
- Popularity: Shopee boasts a massive monthly visitor count of over 40 million, making it the largest marketplace in Asia. By leveraging Shopee’s platform, you can tap into this vast customer base and reach a wide audience for your online store.
Cons of Shopee:
- Customization: Shopee lacks comprehensive store customization options, limiting your ability to create a unique store that aligns with your brand image and preferences. As a result, your store may end up looking similar to others on the platform.
- Fees: While Shopee initially offered zero-fee rates to attract sellers during its early stages, as the platform matured and gained market dominance, fees have increased. It is unlikely that fees will decrease unless a new competitor enters the market.
- Competition: Selling on Shopee means you will likely encounter other sellers offering the same products, often at lower prices or with better promotions. To stand out, you may need to adopt an aggressive pricing strategy, even if it leads to lower profit margins and a race to the bottom in terms of pricing.
Considering these factors, it is important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of using Shopee as an e-commerce platform for your business.
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What is Shopify
Shopify, headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, is the leading cloud-based, multi-channel commerce platform globally. Their integrated e-commerce platform enables quick and easy setup of websites and online stores.
Shopify offers various plans and packages tailored to the size and requirements of different businesses. Whether you’re a new or established company, they provide high-quality solutions for selling products across multiple channels.
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Over the years, this company has successfully served more than 1.7 million businesses spanning 175 countries. It has provided these businesses with the opportunity to launch and establish their own branded online stores.
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The idea for Shopify emerged in 2006 when founders Tobias Lütke, Scott Lake, and Daniel Weinand faced challenges while launching Snowdevil, a snowboarding equipment website. Dissatisfied with the existing market options, they decided to create their own e-commerce platform, which eventually led to the birth of Shopify.
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Here are the pros and cons of using Shopify as an e-commerce platform:
Pros of Shopify:
- Branding: Unlike Shopee, Shopify offers unlimited customization options, allowing you to design your store according to your creativity and preferences. You have full control over the appearance and branding of your online store.
- Control: On Shopify, you have complete control over the entire customer experience. Customers visit your store, interact with your products, and you manage the communication and fulfillment process. This level of control allows you to shape the customer journey.
Cons of Shopify:
- Cost: Compared to Shopee, where setting up and maintaining a store is free, Shopify has associated costs. The basic version starts at $29 per month, while Shopify Plus can reach up to $2,000 per month. Additionally, for each transaction, you must pay a fee of at least 2.0%. There are also additional costs such as purchasing premium themes (around $170) or using Shopify apps for added features, each incurring extra monthly fees. Payment gateway fees are unavoidable. This makes Shopify less ideal for those with limited budgets.
- Marketing: Unlike Shopee, Shopify does not provide marketing support, so you must generate your own traffic to your store. This typically requires investing in paid advertising channels such as Facebook ads, Instagram ads, or influencer marketing. Without marketing efforts, it can be challenging to drive visitors to your Shopify store.
Consider these factors, such as customization, control, costs, and marketing, when deciding if Shopify is the right platform for your e-commerce business.
Shopify or Shopee – What to Choose?
Now that we have explored the advantages and disadvantages of selling t-shirts on Shopee and Shopify, the question of which platform to choose ultimately depends on your specific goals and priorities.
If you already have a Shopify store, you also have the option to expand your sales strategy by creating a shopping store as part of a multi-channel approach.
How to Sync Your Shopify Store to Shopee
If you’re still uncertain about which platform to choose, we have a solution for you!
Shopify has developed an app called “Easy Shopee” that seamlessly integrates with Shopee, allowing you to sell your products through their marketplace.
If your aim is to generate a supplementary income, prioritize affordability over brand creation, and have limited funds to invest, then Shopee is the ideal platform to begin with.
Conversely, if your objective is to develop and establish a brand over the long term, and you have financial resources to invest, then Shopify is the preferred choice. It offers limitless customization possibilities and enables you to elevate the shopping experience on your store.
The process is simple and automated once you synchronize it with your Shopify store. Here’s how it works:
- Install the “Easy Shopee” app and create a Shopee seller account.
- Connect the app to your Shopee account.
- You can now start publishing your custom t-shirts on your Shopify store, just like you normally would.
- These t-shirts will automatically be synchronized with your Shopee store, keeping it updated with your new merchandise.
- When a customer makes a purchase on your Shopee store, the order will be sent to your Shopify site for processing and fulfillment.
- The “Easy Shopee” app is available starting from $1 per month, and you can enjoy a 7-day free trial.
- Please note that both your Shopify and Shopee stores must sell items in the same currency.
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In this article, we have examined the distinctions between selling t-shirts on Shopee and Shopify. This information will be useful in determining whether to choose one platform over the other, or even selling on both. It is important to identify your requirements and preferences before making a final decision, but it is also advised not to procrastinate.
Both platforms provide a range of features that can assist you in expanding your t-shirt business into new markets, catering to different needs and preferences. Whether you prefer a user-friendly and straightforward solution or a more intricate and comprehensive service, both options have the capabilities to support your growth and enable you to reach a wider customer base.
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