Last updated on 5th October 2023 at 13:48 by Alex Nicholas
Shopify has become one of the most popular platforms for e-commerce businesses to build and manage their online stores. With its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features, Shopify has become the go-to platform for many entrepreneurs who want to start their own online businesses.
Before you read the whole article on what Shopify stores make the most money, here's a quick breakdown of Shopify's main attributes and why people like me love it:
- User-friendly: Shopify is known for its ease of use, and even beginners can quickly set up and manage their online stores with its user-friendly interface.
- Customizable: Shopify offers a range of customizable templates and themes that allow users to create unique and visually appealing storefronts.
- Secure: Shopify is a highly secure platform that employs multiple layers of security to protect its users' data and transactions.
- Mobile-ready: Shopify offers mobile-responsive templates that allow customers to shop on the go and for merchants to manage their stores from their mobile devices.
- Payment gateway integration: Shopify has its own payment gateway, Shopify Payments, and it also integrates with over 100 third-party payment gateways, making it easy for customers to pay and merchants to receive payments.
- Inventory management: Shopify's inventory management system makes it easy to manage and track stock levels, set up notifications for low inventory, and more.
- Marketing and SEO tools: Shopify provides built-in marketing and SEO tools that allow merchants to promote their stores, run email campaigns, and optimize their sites for search engines.
- App store: Shopify's app store offers a wide range of apps and integrations that allow users to add new features and functionalities to their stores.
- Customer support: Shopify offers 24/7 customer support via phone, email, and live chat, ensuring that users always have access to help when they need it.
Success comes from more than a Shopify store
Many successful online businesses have been able to make significant amounts of money through their Shopify stores. In this article, we will explore what makes a Shopify store successful and what types of businesses tend to make the most money on this platform.
But the first thing to understand is that the success of a Shopify store is not solely dependent on the platform itself. While Shopify provides the tools and features necessary to run a successful online business, it is ultimately up to the entrepreneur to put in the effort and create a solid business plan.
You need to start with a detailed business plan that maps out everything needed to be successful and still be in operation in 5 years time.
This includes knowing things like where your primary customers are, price points, advertising fees and most importantly cash flow.
That being said, there are certain types of businesses that tend to perform well on Shopify. For example, businesses that sell unique and niche products are often able to generate a lot of interest and sales on the platform. Additionally, businesses that focus on customer service and building strong relationships with their customers tend to do well on Shopify, as the platform allows for easy communication and follow-up with customers, so even these types of details need to be in your business plan.
Successful businesses on the platform often have a strong social media presence and invest in targeted advertising to reach their ideal customers. They also focus on creating high-quality content (yes I know that's a horrible and subjective phrase), such as blog posts and videos, that help to establish their brand and build trust with potential customers.
Average Shopify revenue
In terms of sales, businesses on Shopify have the potential to generate significant revenue. According to data from the company, the average Shopify store generates around $72,000 in annual sales. However, with the right business plan many successful businesses on the platform are able to far exceed this figure, with some even generating millions in revenue each year.
Shopify provides a powerful platform for entrepreneurs to build and manage their own online businesses, and while success on the platform is not guaranteed, businesses that focus on unique products, customer service, and effective marketing strategies have the potential to generate significant revenue and build successful online brands.
Core features of successful Shopify stores
Successful Shopify stores share several key factors that contribute to their company's bottom line and overall revenue.
First and foremost, they offer best-in-class user experiences to their customers, with aesthetics like minimalistic design, visual appeal, and easy navigation. They also streamline payment options and provide risk-free payment methods, free shipping, and good return policies.
Top Shopify stores have created winning brands by having a strong presence where their core customer base hangs out, be that on social media platforms, Google or YouTube. And by constantly being in front of their audience, coupled with having a unique USP, collaborating with popular brands/influencers, and taking the lead with things like sustainability initiatives, they're able to build a strong and loyal following that actively promotes their brands without asking.
They also leverage this social proof by displaying positive reviews and testimonials prominently throughout their sites.
Targeted product descriptions
Successful Shopify stores take their time to produce product descriptions that talk directly to their target audience in a tone that will appeal, they always use high-quality product images, and extensive size charts or buyer guides to provide buyers with all the information they need to make informed decisions and minimise returns.
They also provide excellent customer service, including quick assistance, personalised customer support, and engagement through email lists.
Shopify converts browsers into customers
Loading speed is another crucial factor that top Shopify stores take care of, especially on mobile devices, which are where the vast majority of their customers browse. This is essential because the faster your Shopify store is the better it will convert browsers into buyers.
In fact, for every additional 100ms your site takes to load you lose you will lose up to 7% in sales (source). And whilst initially, this doesn't sound like much, it will certainly add up if you're driving tens or hundreds of thousands of visitors through your site every month.
This is why Shopify focuses in part on the performance of it's code, server setups and loading times.
On top of this, successful Shopify stores also use cart abandonment as well as marketing tactics like email marketing, remarketing, and web push notifications to capture abandoned cart details and re-engage with potential customers, bringing back lost revenue and keeping their brand top of mind.
This is something that I've personally had great success with on my own personal projects, especially over the Christmas period.
Successful Shopify products & niches
You'll no doubt already have in mind a niche that you're thinking of entering, be that with a cool t-shirt brand or a unique laptop stand idea, but one thing I will say is that you need to make sure that you're actually able to compete within your niche with regards to budget and customer reach because some niches are insanely hard to break into and even harder to make a profit in.
Below are some niche ideas for you if you haven't settled on what exactly you want to sell.
Some of the most successful Shopify stores in the world often specialise in uncompetitive niches that are uncompetitive due to the restrictions placed on these products and/or government red tape.
These restricted products are often overlooked by the vast majority because of the hassle factor that goes with buying and selling them. But in all honesty, there's a lot of money in restricted products because the demand is usually high and the skill set and patience needed to see it through is generally low, because of the expertise needed to deal with the regulations.
Niches like consumer goods, such as the fashion niche, accessories niche, and cosmetics and beauty niches are amongst the most saturated niches on the web, and whilst there is always going to be a space for someone to enter the field that has something truly awesome, it's a very tough niche to gain traction in.
This is down to the fact that there are already some of the world's biggest brands in this space with some of the biggest budgets and the best research and development. So be aware that getting a foothold will be time-consuming and expensive.
There's also the dreaded returns factor to think about when it comes to fashion, with an estimated 1 in 3 items being returned.
People buy lots to try on at once with the intention of only holding on to 1 or 2 items and the rest getting returned. And don't think you'll get away with charging people for returns either, because if you do you can expect to sell less than a third of what your nearest competitor will sell!
The day-to-day consumer niche is also incredibly price-sensitive and margins are often low, so in my opinion, this type of niche is something you should only enter if you have a large budget and a solid USP.
Single product srtores
You'll also from time to time notice that some of the most popular Shopify stores specialise in the single-product market, they focus all of their time and energies on making one product much better than anyone else's.
To achieve success in the highly competitive eCommerce world, it's essential to have a high-quality and high-converting store that attracts traffic and converts visitors into customers. With tools like the Shopify platform, similar web, and the chrome extension, you can find top Shopify stores with high world site popularity and monthly visits. So, if you're looking to start your own online business, it's worth investing time in building a successful Shopify store that follows these proven strategies for customer success.
Selling high-ticket products like expensive gym equipment is one of my favourite ways to make money with Shopify. You won't sell as many items as a store that sells products like clothing, but the profit margins from high ticket items are obviously so much better.
And if you drive lots of relevant traffic to your site via PPC and SEO, within no time at all you'll be in a position to expand your lines and reach new audiences.
And in many instances with the more expensive and/or custom build products you don't actually need to hold much stock because the majority of it will be built to order.
Most profitable Shopify business models
Shopify is a platform that focuses heavily on the D2C (direct to consumer) model, so rather than give you an answer to a question that's incredibly hard to answer because of the sheer volume of different niches to operate in, below are some broad models that work well with Shopify.
Direct to consumer
This is an obvious business model that 98% of Shopify users will be using Shopify for so I won't spend much time on this. But in case you are wondering what D2C is, it's when you market to your target audience, they buy from your own platform (rather than a 3rd party platform like Amazon), and then you ship directly to them, meaning you aren't paying a middle man it's cut and you make more money.
This is something I've done with great success over the years and provides you with much more control over your brand.
Subscription business model
In the fast-growing world of eCommerce, businesses are constantly looking for innovative ways to increase their sales and expand their market share. One increasingly popular model for generating steady, recurring revenue is the subscription-based approach.
Shopify has been quick to recognize this trend and has developed a number of tools and features to help businesses implement and manage subscription-based models on their platform.
Subscriptions have become a popular choice for eCommerce businesses for a number of reasons. Firstly, they provide a more predictable revenue stream, which is particularly valuable for businesses looking to expand and invest in their operations. Additionally, subscription-based models can help to build long-term relationships with customers, as they often involve regular interactions and ongoing engagement.
Shopify offers a range of subscription-based features and apps that make it easy for businesses to implement this model on their platform. These include tools for setting up recurring payments, managing subscriptions and providing customers with a customized, seamless experience.
One of the key advantages of using a subscription-based model on Shopify is the potential for increased customer lifetime value (CLV). By providing customers with regular, ongoing value, businesses can increase the amount of money that each customer spends over time. This can be particularly valuable for businesses in competitive markets, as it helps to establish a loyal customer base that is more resistant to the appeals of competitors.
Customer loyalty in my opinion is the one thing that takes a brand from just doing okay to consistently growing year over year. By providing regular value through great products and ongoing engagement (videos, social etc), businesses can build strong relationships with their customers and create a sense of community around their brand which ultimately will increase customer retention and reduce the likelihood of churn.
And for an idea of a good subscription-based product, think coffee or everyday office consumables that people can't do without.
Selling digital products is often something that gets overlooked because most people think of physical products when it comes to Shopify.
But the truth is if I were to set up a site that sold digital products I would use Shopify. And that's for all of the reasons outlined in this article such as the ease of set up and ready-to-go payment gateway.
But the main reason I would use Shopify is that it handles VAT MOSS brilliantly out of the box.
VAT MOSS can be a pain to set up but Shopify has rules for it for every country you sell into saving you time and energy.
Lastly, it's worth mentioning that Shopify can also be used for service businesses that need to take payments online, such as personal trainers that need customers to book group sessions or craft centres that offer limited workshop space over a weekend.
You can attach a calendar to your Shopify store so that when someone pays for your services or space you can quickly and easily see how many people have booked and when they've booked you for.
Building a Successful Business on Shopify
Shopify provides entrepreneurs with a powerful platform for building and managing their online stores. While the potential for making money on the platform is high, building a successful business on Shopify requires careful planning, hard work, and a focus on providing value to customers.
One of the key factors in building a successful business on Shopify is having a clear understanding of your target market and what they are looking for in a product or service. By identifying a specific niche or customer segment, you can tailor your store and marketing efforts to better meet their needs and stand out in a crowded market.
Another important factor in building a successful business on Shopify, as I'm sure you've figured out already, is creating a high-quality, professional-looking website. Your website is the first point of contact that potential customers will have with your brand, so it is essential that it is easy to navigate, visually appealing, and provides a seamless user experience.
Marketing your Shopify store
In addition to creating a strong website, businesses on Shopify need to focus on effective marketing and sales strategies. This includes leveraging social media platforms, paid advertising, and content marketing to drive traffic to your store and generate sales. By understanding your target audience and where they spend their time online, you can optimize your marketing efforts to better reach and engage with potential customers.
To make money on Shopify, businesses also need to focus on creating a compelling product offering and providing exceptional customer service. This means sourcing high-quality products, providing detailed and accurate product descriptions, and responding quickly to customer inquiries and concerns. By prioritizing the customer experience, businesses can build a loyal customer base that is more likely to make repeat purchases and recommend their store to others.
You also need to be willing to adapt and evolve over time. This includes regularly analyzing sales data and customer feedback to identify areas for improvement, experimenting with new marketing and sales strategies, and staying up-to-date with the latest trends and innovations in eCommerce.
Successful Shopify brands
Of course, this article wouldn't be complete without a little inspiration, so below are four brands that have used Shopify to grow into worldwide industry leaders whose names will be instantly recognisable within their niches.
Back in 2012 Ben Francis and Lewis Morgan (Lewis isn't involved anymore) set up Gymshark, which is a fitness apparel brand that has gone on to be one of the world's fastest-growing companies and is now synonymous within the world of gym clothing.
Gymshark has leveraged Shopify to grow its traffic to huge monthly volumes (4.4 million organic visitors) and revenues and is now valued at $1.3 billion.
Fashion Nova has recently crossed the $400 million revenue mark due to the way they've positioned themselves (selling clothes to “curvy” people).
Like Gymshark they heavily relied on social media and then organic search to build a successful brand with a loyal following, which in turn has led to very healthy traffic growth from Google.
Ruggable stands out because its USP is perfect for most homeowners in that the rugs are both eye-catching and washable. Ruggable's product descriptions are clear and concise, which is all made possible by using Shopify.
Raycon attracts over 160K monthly visitors to it's store via organic search alone to a store that sells expensive items. And if for example, Raycon's conversion rate is an average of 2% then you can see that they're shipping over 3000 products every month.
That's a wrap
So there we have it, everything you need to know when it comes to what makes a Shopify store successful and profitable, and yes, I'm aware that I'm biased because I personally use the platform, but I use it for a reason.
And that reason is that Shopify enables me to take a product to my target audience with minimal headaches.
I can link it up to my social accounts, easily set up Google shopping campaigns and it's great for optimising for search engines.
All-in-all there's a lot to like about Shopify and not much to dislike.