Shopify is laying down the law: Ecommerce sellers must use Shopify Checkout and can't opt for Amazon's “Buy With Prime” checkout integration. In fact, using anything other than Shopify Checkout is against the ecommerce giant's terms of service.
Shopify's reasoning cites several security concerns — the potential for stolen data and the lack of Shopify's own fraud protection.
Is Shopify concerned about security or more interested in keeping Amazon from growing its lucrative stake in the ecommerce space? Whatever the case, the two companies remain giants in the industry, so this isn't a clash that any small business owners who sell online can ignore.
Why Can't Shopify Merchants Use “Buy With Prime”?
Amazon's checkout integration, called “Buy With Prime,” lets customers at an online store checkout with one click, provided they're logged into their Amazon Prime account. To add it, sellers must include Amazon's HTML code on their websites in order to create the button that buyers will use.
Now, research firm Marketplace Pulse reports that Shopify is sending its sellers warnings as soon as they add that code. Sellers can still use the “unsupported external checkout script,” but won't receive any support from Shopify, which warns:
“You have a code snippet on your storefront that violates Shopify’s Terms of Service. This script removes Shopify’s ability to protect your store against fraudulent orders, could steal customer data and may cause customers to be charged the wrong amount.”
Shopify continues on to say that it can't guarantee that various features will continue working, including fraud protection and order accuracy.
Is Shopify Trying to Freeze Out Amazon?
Shopify's stated reason for deterring its users from adding the Amazon button is that the code will leave merchants vulnerable to security concerns.
But that's an apparent reversal of the company's earlier position. When the integration first became available this past July, Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke told investors on the first-quarter earnings meeting that the integration “fits perfectly into our worldview, and it’s not nearly as zero-sum as some people make it out to be.”
Reports indicate that internal opinions have always differed, however. According to The Information in May, Shopify employees debated if they should allow the integration at all.
After all, Amazon is Shopify's biggest rival, and Shopify's recent acquisition of fulfillment service Deliverr hints that Shopify will be more directly competing with Amazon on even more elements of ecommerce in the near future.
How Can Small Businesses Benefit?
Monopolies are never good news for the little guys, and Amazon and Shopify both dominate large portions of the ecommerce website business. An online presence is key for small business owners everywhere. Now that Shopify is seemingly drawing the battle lines, we can expect even more clashes down the road.
In the short term, that can be helpful for small businesses, since each company has an incentive to offer a better experience than the other. But when it comes to restricting the tools that sellers have to boost sales — like offering a frictionless one-click buying option — it's not as great.
Sellers who want to opt out of the Amazon-Shopify debate entirely do have options, however. We've ranked all the top website builders for ecommerce specifically and found that Wix might be the best bet for a small business.
Other options include Squarespace, for its stellar marketing features, as well as our budget pick, Square Online, which works great with the popular POS. Shopify is still the best website builder for larger ecommerce businesses.