With the global shift to online shopping, making money on Shopify has become an opportunity for anyone with a vision. Creating an eCommerce store, reaching customers and managing your business is a breeze with Shopify, allowing for recurring earnings.
In this article, we’ll share some effective ideas for making money on Shopify, from selling handcrafted products and personalized services to specializing in affiliate marketing and app development. We’ll also look over how to estimate your earnings and additional tips for quick Shopify store growth.
Let’s dive in and see how you can start earning with Shopify.
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15 ways to make money on Shopify
There are loads of ways to make money on Shopify, from selling vintage items or specialist services to becoming a Shopify expert and helping launch other businesses.
Here are 15 of the best ideas for making money with Shopify:
1. Start an eCommerce Store
The most common way to make money on Shopify is by launching an eCommerce store.
Perhaps one of Shopify’s best-known features is its incredible infrastructure for allowing users to set up an e-commerce store quickly and with relative ease. Virtually anything can be sold on Shopify, from handcrafted products to a service you provide, or something that you’re reselling.
The platform is easy enough to use. With one of the best Shopify themes you can have most of your store’s design covered, you can easily add and curate items on your online store, and your customers can browse and purchase hassle-free. Remember, it takes effort to draw in and retain customers - check out these customer retention strategies that will help boost your sales.
Alternatively, with a simple Shopify Starter option you can launch a mini-store to start monetizing your social media. It gives people browsing your Instagram, Facebook or other social media networks to buy directly from the platform.
2. Start a Dropshipping Business
Dropshipping is a great way to start earning on Shopify fast since the seller does not physically store goods in their inventory. To fulfill an order, the seller purchases stock from a third party and arranges to ship it to the buyer. As such, the seller does not handle inventory directly.
This has been a popular mode of selling things online for many years now, as sellers don’t need to worry about storage space or dealing with unsold items.
Shopify also supports dropshipping. Through your Shopify account, you can easily set up your catalog, pricing, and orders to a dropshipping partner. Shopify also has a service in partnership with Oberlo for those who want to get started with a dropshipping business.
3. Start an affiliate business
Affiliate marketing is a commission-based advertising and business model that works very well for making money on Shopify.
You can take one of two routes:
- You can choose one of the top Shopify affiliate marketing apps to start an affiliate program for your own store, which involves social media influencers, other websites and stores advertising your products via their channels. You’ll pay these affiliates a commission, but it can help to grow your reach and increase sales.
- Alternatively, you can sell affiliate products on your Shopify store. If your store has good reach and could use some more product variety, reselling products for a commission-based profit is a great way to make more profit.
Find out more about affiliate marketing on Shopify and how you could use it to make money.
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4. Create your own clothing brand
If you’re a clothing designer or fashion aficionado, put your talents to good use and earn money by starting your own clothing line. Whether you sew the garments yourself or design them and have them produced by someone else, Shopify can help you start a clothing company of your own in just a few easy steps.
Shopify has partnerships with Printful and Printify that can help you connect with clothing printers and manufacturers. Retail fulfillment can also be handled by these providers, so there’s no need to worry about holding inventory or packing items for shipping.
5. Sell art and digital products
This is another great example of the variety of things you can sell on Shopify. If you’re a painter, photographer, digital illustrator, or work with other art media, Shopify is a great way to sell art through your own website. You can also curate art pieces and put up an art store where people can find prints, digital art, custom art, and all sorts of handcrafted pieces.
It’s pretty much like selling on Etsy, except that you can create your own website or sell from your social media pages. With Shopify you have the option to design your website in such a way that it matches your design philosophy and aesthetic, making purchasing an even more immersive experience for your clients and loyal followers.
6. Sell merch to your fans
Earning with Shopify is also very much possible if you’re a musician - whether you’re big on Spotify or have a loyal YouTube following.
Use Shopify to sell CDs, vinyl LPs, and digital copies of your music. You can also use it to sell other related merchandise, such as custom-made guitar picks, drumsticks, guitars, clothing, tote bags, mugs, and autographed photos.
Your Shopify store is completely customizable, so you can build a storefront that perfectly suits your band’s style and aesthetic. Want an idea of big artists and bands that use Shopify? Lady Gaga, Foo Fighters, HAIM and Bastille all use the platform to sell music and merch to their fans!
7. Resell vintage items and thrift store finds
There’s a large market of people looking for vintage and novelty items, and this is a line of business that lends itself perfectly to a Shopify store. If you love scouring estate sales and thrift stores for unique finds and unnoticed high-value vintage items, then this is a great option for you! Take your bargain finds and sell them at a higher price on Shopify to make amazing profits on your purchases.
Check out these stories of people who scored big from flipping their thrift store finds.
8. Sell your services
Did you know that as a freelancer, you can earn with Shopify by setting fixed prices for your services on an eCommerce store? Simply list your available services as your ‘products’ and disable shipping. A lot of freelance writers, graphic designers, and web or app developers can benefit from this model.
This model is also called ‘drop servicing’ - unlike dropshipping, you won’t necessarily be shipping physical products to your customers, but they still pay you through the platform. Of course, you’ll still need to network and market to promote your services in order to make this an effective mode of earning money consistently through the platform.
9. Become a Shopify expert
If you already have a track record of success with Shopify, you can earn money with Shopify by becoming a Shopify partner and helping other merchants build and scale their online businesses. This might include helping with design, development, marketing, SEO, photography, image optimization, and more!
According to Shopify, 1 in 3 of their merchants reach out to a Shopify Partner every 6 months, so this could be a great side hustle (or full-time hustle!) for you to give a go. As a Shopify Partner, you’ll also get exclusive access to deals on extra tools that other Shopify merchants don’t have access to.
10. Become a Shopify affiliate
Shopify’s affiliate program is an innovative way to earn money without even needing to sell anything. If you happen to know online merchants that aren’t currently using Shopify platforms, then encourage them to join Shopify and you’ll earn a commission for referring them!
As a Shopify affiliate, you’ll create and share online courses, seminars, blog posts, or videos to inspire and teach your audience about entrepreneurship with Shopify. You’ll earn a referral fee for every new merchant that joins thanks to you! The more sellers you refer, the more you’ll earn!
11. Monetize your social media
If you already have a loyal following on social media, then you can turn that into a source of Shopify earnings as well. Maximize your online presence by using your social media influence to make money on Shopify.
Shopify Starter is especially great for selling on social media as it allows you to insert ‘buy now’ calls to action on your Instagram and Facebook posts - your followers can simply click the link to buy the specific product you’ve advertised.
12. Build and flip Shopify stores
Another way to make money through Shopify is to build a Shopify store and then sell it for profit. How much effort you put in is up to you, but the more you put in, the more you’re likely to get out of it.
You could simply come up with a business idea, a domain name and a template before selling the store, or you could go a step or two further by creating a social media presence and investing in some marketing to get the store to a more appealing and profitable level.
How much you can sell your Shopify store for will depend on many factors, including what stage the business is at and the market value of the business. Some starter Shopify businesses sell for as little as $50, while established six-figure stores can sell for more than $1 million!
13. Build and sell online courses
Earn passive income by creating an online course on a subject that you’re an expert in and selling your courses via your Shopify store. Upload your courses and tutorials to your website - perhaps to your blog - as restricted pages, and then sell membership to your customers in order for them to access this content.
The subject doesn’t have to be academic. It can be about anything you’re highly experienced in, whether that’s SEO, social media marketing, music production, writing, acting, or even dance!
To record your screen and voice-overs simultaneously, you can use a screencasting app like Screenflow, which will help you walk your viewers through a certain topic.
14. Turn your Shopify experience into products
Make the most of your Shopify expertise by monetizing what you’ve learnt during your time using the platform. You could create a blog specializing in tips for how to succeed as a Shopify entrepreneur, or you could create training courses, digital marketing materials, or YouTube tutorials - be as creative as you like, spend time marketing these ‘products’ and you’ll soon reap the rewards.
15. Create Shopify apps
Last, but not least, if you’re a pro when it comes to creating apps, then you can earn regular revenue on the Shopify App Store by helping Shopify merchants from around the world to build their custom apps. To find out more, visit the Shopify Developers page.
How much can you make on Shopify?
Shopify merchants make around $1,000 - $5,000 on average per month. Needless to say, that’s a very rough estimation and when it comes to your business, sky's the limit
So how can you evaluate your potential earnings before you launch your Shopify business?
Here are some things you can consider to understand your possible Shopify income:
- Product demand. Are you selling luxury goods or must-have everyday objects? Can your business work on a subscription-based model because people will constantly need it?
- International vs local business model. International scale business has huge growth potential whereas local merchants can hit a revenue ceiling rather quickly.
- Marketing costs. Will it be just a couple of apps and email newsletters or are you intending to launch a content empire and paid ad campaigns?
- Profit per sale. What will your actual revenue be from each sale?
- Your capacity. How much inventory and shipments can you handle?
- Additional streams of income. Are you planning to launch affiliate marketing or partner programs to help scale your store?
While answering these questions won’t necessarily give you a specific number, at least you’ll be able to orient yourself. Set realistic expectations to ensure sustainable increase of your Shopify sales.
Tips for making money on Shopify
Promote your store
Now that you’ve settled on how you will make money on Shopify, let’s see how we can speed up the process
Here is how to promote your store and start earning with Shopify fast:
- Drive traffic to your Shopify store with a multi-channel marketing strategy
- Unlock the power of search engines with a Shopify SEO guide
- Monetize your social media and merge your social media and SEO strategies
- Create automated emails to promote products and inform your audience
- Generate sales on Shopify from the start with tried-and-tested sales strategies
- Run calculated paid ad campaigns
- Launch affiliate marketing programs with one of the best Shopify affiliate apps
- Reward people for bringing in new customers with a Shopify referral app
Tip: To avoid miscommunications when you're reaching out to potential customers via many different communication platforms, you can use UCaaS systems. UCaaS conversations are picked up right where they left off, even if those conversations took place across multiple channels.
Improve user experience
How comfortable are your potential buyers once they land on your store’s pages?
Take a close look at these metrics to understand how to optimize your store’s UX and increase your Shopify earnings:
- Cart abandonment rate. Is there a friction point right at the moment of purchasing? Remove all unnecessary steps and make button placement intuitive.
- Bounce rate, meaning how many visitors left your store after viewing just one page. If it’s anything over 70%, take a careful look at your top menu and overall site navigation, people are likely lacking evident ways to browse.
- Conversion rates. Take your best converting landing pages and least converting landing pages. What’s the difference? If you can’t notice anything that stands out, implement A/B testing to achieve the full potential of every single landing page
- Customer satisfaction. Always offer an option for your buyers to tell you what’s wrong. E.g. email post-purchase survey with multiple choice and open-ended questions and improve your UX based on past experiences
- Retention. Depending on what type of products you sell, your customer retention rate can be telling. If very few people order again, chances are you have issues with long shipping times, loyalty incentives (e.g. no loyalty program), post-purchase engagement (e.g. no follow up emails) or customer support.
Customers are more likely to buy from you if they trust you, that’s a fact.
Prioritize collecting reviews with a Shopify product reviews app as you go along and add satisfied customer testimonials to your Shopify store. It will reassure and entice new buyers
Also, take care to always provide excellent customer service, from replying to customer queries promptly to ensuring items are shipped on time
Read more on how to start a successful Shopify store.
Is Shopify a good way to make money?
Overall, your opportunities to make money on Shopify are endless. The platform is powerful, intuitive, and has potential not only for eCommerce stores, but also service providers, app developers and more.
We reviewed 15 ways to earn money on Shopify, how to estimate your monthly earnings and what additional steps you can take towards success.
Whatever your line of work or vision is, we trust you’ll find your way to make money with Shopify.
Frequently asked questions
The most common products to sell on Shopify and make money include clothing (especially print on demand), cosmetics and accessories, sports products and home decor. That being said, if you have a niche you know in and out, don’t be afraid to venture out into other options and build something truly unique.
Scroll up to check out our 15 top Shopify business ideas! As a brief recap:
- Start an eCommerce Store
- Start a Dropshipping Business
- Start an affiliate business
- Create your own clothing brand
- Sell art and digital products
- Sell merch to your fans
- Resell vintage items and thrift store finds
- Sell your services
- Become a Shopify expert
- Become a Shopify affiliate
- Monetize your social media
- Build and flip Shopify stores
- Build and sell online courses
- Turn your Shopify experience into products
- Create Shopify apps
This list isn’t exhaustive, and there’s really no limit to the type of business you can launch on Shopify.
There’s no hard and fast answer to how quickly you’ll start to make money on Shopify - it could be days, weeks, or even months. It would be reasonable to expect your first sale after 30 days of opening. You can increase your chance of making money by having a solid business plan and a strategic marketing plan in place.
An average estimate for Shopify dropshipping businesses is $1,000-$2,000 per month. However, with a long-term strategy and one of top Shopify dropshipping apps, you can scale your Shopify earnings from dropshipping fast.