Shopify Fulfillment Services: Understanding Marketplaces and Shopping Carts

Shopify is a popular eCommerce platform that offers a variety of services to assist merchants sell their items online. One of the most significant components of internet selling is order fulfillment. Fulfillment comprises the process of receiving, processing, and delivering orders to clients. Shopify offers two main fulfillment services: marketplaces and shopping carts. In this post, we’ll analyze the advantages and downsides of both services and help you determine which one is ideal for your organization. 

What are Marketplaces?

Marketplaces are platforms that allow merchants to sell their items through third-party websites. Examples of popular marketplaces include Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. When a customer purchases a product from a merchant on a marketplace, the marketplace handles the payment processing and order fulfillment. The seller just ships the product to the buyer and receives money from the marketplace.

Benefits of Utilizing Marketplaces for Fulfillment

  • Access to a broad client base: By selling in a marketplace, retailers can reach millions of buyers who might not have found their products otherwise.
  • Quick setup: Setting up an account in a marketplace is usually quick and uncomplicated, requiring no technical expertise.
  • Payment processing: Marketplaces handle payment processing, which may be a substantial time and resource saver for businesses.
  • Shipping and handling: Marketplaces manage shipping and handling, so sellers don’t have to bother about packaging and shipping orders.

Disadvantages of Utilizing Marketplaces for Fulfillment

  • High fees: Marketplaces normally charge a percentage of each sale, which can pile up quickly and eat into merchants’ revenues.
  • Minimal control: Sellers have limited control over their store’s branding and customer experience on the marketplace.
  • Competition: On a marketplace, retailers are competing with other sellers, which might make it harder to stand out.

What are Shopping Carts?

Shopping carts are digital software tools that enable online customers to pick and purchase products or services from a website. They are a crucial feature of every e-commerce website, as they give a convenient and secure way for users to buy and make transactions online.

When a customer adds an item to their shopping cart, the program will keep track of their selections and calculate the overall cost of the order, including any taxes or shipping charges. Consumers can then examine their order and make changes or go to the checkout page to finish their transaction.

Shopping carts can be integrated within an e-commerce website or can be hosted on a third-party platform. Many prominent e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify and WooCommerce, have built-in shopping cart capabilities.

For additional details on the difference between marketplaces and shopping carts, you can check out this link:

Benefits of Utilizing Shopping Carts for Fulfillment

  • Power over branding and customer experience: Businesses have complete control over their store’s branding and customer experience on a shopping cart.
  • Reduced fees: Shopping carts normally demand lower fees than marketplaces, which can result in better revenues for businesses.
  • Flexibility: Businesses have more flexibility in terms of how they handle shipping and handling on a shopping cart.
  • Reduced competition: On a shopping cart, merchants are not competing with other sellers, which can make it simpler to stand out.

Disadvantages of Utilizing Shopping Carts for Fulfillment

  • Technological expertise required: Putting up and managing a shopping cart can require more technical expertise than selling on a marketplace.
  • Payment processing: Merchants must manage payment processing, which can be time-consuming and need additional resources.
  •  Shipping and handling: Businesses must handle shipping and handling themselves, which can be a considerable time and resource expenditure.

Shopify’s Fulfillment Services

Shopify offers two main fulfillment services: Shopify Fulfillment Network (SFN) and Shopify Shipping. SFN is a network of fulfillment centers that conduct order fulfillment on behalf of Shopify merchants. Shopify Shipping allows retailers to purchase and print shipping labels straight from their Shopify account. Both services are meant to streamline order fulfillment for Shopify retailers.

Which Service is Perfect for You?

The decision to employ a marketplace or shopping cart for fulfillment depends on your business’s unique demands and ambitions. If you’re wanting to reach a huge customer base fast and easily, a marketplace can be the ideal solution for you. But, if you want more control over your store’s identity and customer experience, a shopping cart can be a better solution.

Shopify’s fulfillment services are designed to deliver the best of both worlds. SFN allows retailers to take use of the benefits of a marketplace, while Shopify Shipping delivers the control and flexibility of a shopping cart.

Tips for Selecting a Fulfillment Service

When picking a fulfillment service, there are various variables to consider. Here are some guidelines to help you make the best option for your business:

  • Assess your budget: Look at the fees associated with each service and choose one that matches your budget.
  • Think about your goals: Evaluate your business’s goals and choose a service that will help you reach them.
  • Assess your technical expertise: Assess your technological ability and choose a solution that you can quickly set up and maintain.
  • Look at the customer experience: Evaluate the customer experience on each service and choose one that gives a seamless and delightful experience for your customers.


Shopify offers a variety of fulfillment options to assist merchants optimize their operations and boost customer happiness. Whether you choose to sell on a marketplace or shopping cart, or use Shopify’s fulfillment services, the key is to choose the option that best meets your business’s unique needs and goals.



What is the difference between a marketplace and a shopping cart?

A marketplace is a third-party platform that handles payment processing and order fulfillment, while a shopping cart is an eCommerce platform that allows merchants to sell products on their own website and manage payment processing and order fulfillment themselves.

What are the advantages of using Shopify’s Fulfillment Network?

The advantages of adopting SFN include access to a network of fulfillment centers, faster order processing and shipment, and greater customer satisfaction.

Can I utilize Shopify Shipping without using SFN?

Yes, Shopify Shipping is available to all Shopify shops, regardless of whether they use SFN or not.