The Ultimate Guide to Selling on Shopify

Shopify is the go-to solution for starting an eCommerce store. As of 2021, over 1.75 million sellers are using Shopify. But how does selling on Shopify work? We'll break it down for you in our complete guide to selling on Shopify. You'll also learn the difference between selling on Shopify vs Amazon.

How to be successful on Shopify

1. What Is Shopify? 

Shopify is a complete eCommerce website builder with many integrated sales tools. It operates as a subscription service, with multiple tiers of membership ranging from $9/month up to $300+/month. This website builder is used to create a complete online store in just a few simple steps. One of the main perks is no coding or design skills are needed. 

The Shopify App Store offers free and paid plugins for endless customization depending upon your niche and business needs. Many different themes let you customize the appearance and customer experience on your site. 

Shopify also includes Point-of-Sale (POS) for physical selling. This integrated feature is available while using Shopify's online platform. For example, a brick-and-mortar comic book store could use Shopify POS to handle its in-store payments and sell inventory through a Shopify eCommerce site. The Payments function would then record and report both income streams. 

Some other benefits of Shopify include:

  • Database of free stock photos 
  • Shopify Payments app 
  • 24/7 customer service 
  • 14-day free trial 
  • Integrated shipping services (labels, postage, etc.) 

2. How Does Selling on Shopify Work? 

In the past, starting an eCommerce business involved designing a website from scratch, and creating secure payment processes was a nightmare. Today, eCommerce platforms like Shopify make it possible for anyone to start selling on Shopify in a matter of days. You know it's popular, but how exactly do you get started selling on Shopify? To get started quickly selling on Shopify, it helps to know a few key things:

  • What the platform does
  • What you can sell
  • Who it's for
  • How it differs from other eCommerce platforms 
  • How to set up an account 

Bottom Line: Shopify lets sellers create a completely customized eCommerce website selling anything they want - with no technical or design requirements needed.  If you want to take a deeper look at how to drive traffic to your Shopify store, check out this article.

3. What Can You Sell on Shopify? 

Just about anything! You can sell products and services on Shopify. The type is dependant on which Shopify subscription you purchase (more on that below). Sellers on Shopify offer a wide variety of products which include:

  • Handmade items
  • Dropshipped items 
  • Niche items (i.e., pet costumes, natural beauty, gamer gear, etc.) 
  • Memberships
  • Event rentals 
  • Gift cards
  • Buy online, pick up in-store services 
  • Food (not alcohol) 
  • Vintage or collector's items 
  • In-restaurant favorites 
  • Groceries 

The platform is a blank slate. You can visualize it as an empty storefront for you to design your business. Just make sure you are choosing high-volume keywords to use in your Shopify listing.

4. What Not to Sell on Shopify 

Shopify does have some selling restrictions around prohibited items. Exceptions to what you can sell on Shopify include: 

  • Alcohol
  • Gaming credits 
  • Firearms
  • CBD
  • Financial Services 
  • Fireworks 

Accounts attempting to sell these items will be suspended by Shopify. Note that these are not all illegal items - just because an item may be legal in your area does not necessarily mean it can be sold on Shopify. For a full list of prohibited items on Shopify, check here. 

5. Who Should Use Shopify? 

Shopify is designed to be used by non-technical, non-designer sellers. Thanks to its drag-and-drop website builder, Shopify is perfect for beginners. 

This means that you do not need to have coding or web design experience to understand selling on Shopify. While you can customize to your heart's content - including logos, branded color schemes, or other personal touches - you can also pick a pre-packaged theme and get started right away. 

Understanding selling on Shopify can be as simple as choosing a basic plan and theme and plugging in your products or services. That's why Shopify is great for:

  • Dropshippers
  • Restaurateurs
  • Small business owners
  • Boutiques
  • Resellers 
  • Personal coaches/trainers with products to sell 

Some of the most successful Shopify stores have been in unexpected niches - like mattresses and baby shoes - so don't discount your product. Top selling products on Shopify typically benefit from quality branding, which is easy to do with Shopify's themes and plugins. 

If it can be sold online, then Shopify is probably a great venue for it. 

6. Selling on Shopify Vs. Amazon 

Many beginner online sellers want to know: is Shopify better than Amazon? Both offer an easy way to list products online and reach a global audience. Though they are both eCommerce platforms, Amazon and Shopify operate differently. Amazon is like a massive mall where individual vendors can access Amazon's vast customer base to sell their products. 

Shopify, by contrast, is more like a storefront: it allows each vendor to create their custom store, selling only their products and branded the way they want. When you look at it this way, Amazon vs. Shopify is more nuanced than just picking which site you want to use to sell your products online. Instead, you need to decide which trade-offs are the most reasonable for your product, business type, and market. 

To help you make this choice, we'll go through the Shopify Vs. Amazon pros and cons for you. 

Shopify Pros:

  • You own your website 
  • Customized product listings 
  • More control over branding 
  • Up-front pricing with Shopify subscriptions 
  • Shopify doesn't officially charge a commission (it does charge a small fee per credit card transaction) 
  • You can customize product packages or add new services at any time 

Shopify Cons: 

  • Marketing is up to the vendor 
  • Your products are not benefiting from the Amazon name 
  • Additional apps can add fees 

In a nutshell: Shopify gives you more control over your business, which means more potential scalability and more marketing work. 

Now, let's turn to sell products on Amazon: 

Amazon Pros:

  • Imputed trustworthiness from the Amazon brand
  • Massive existing customer base - over 300 million people globally 
  • Quick to set up 
  • Product listing templates already predetermined 

Amazon Cons: 

  • Amazon takes a commission on every sale 
  • No design options
  • Limited product listing customization options 
  • Amazon can change seller policies at any time 
  • Intense competition from other sellers 
  • Amazon can suspend sellers 

In a nutshell: Amazon offers access to a massive market and name recognition. Little control is available to individual sellers. 

Additional Option - Use Both 

Shopify and Amazon can be used together as part of an integrated selling strategy. This approach is helpful for the following reasons: 

  • You have an official, branded website 
  • You can use your Amazon inventory to fulfill Shopify orders 
  • You can access a broader market with Amazon and direct that traffic to your Shopify site 

To learn more about the difference between selling on Amazon, Walmart, and Shopify, check out this related article.

7. How Much Does It Cost to Sell on Shopify? 

One question sellers have out of the gate concerns cost. When it comes to pricing, how does selling on Shopify work? Shopify operates as a subscription service with multiple pricing tiers, with three main subscription options ranging from $29/month to $299/month USD:

  • Basic Shopify
  • Shopify
  • Advanced Shopify 
Selling on Shopify

Shopify also offers two additional subscription options for more specific eCommerce needs:

  • Shopify Lite
  • Shopify Plus

Shopify Lite is a solution for businesses that already have a website. It offers selected Shopify selling tools for $9/month. For example, a local marketing firm might already have a well-functioning website but wants to add the ability to book appointments on its website. Adding Shopify Lite would allow access to Shopify payments to improve that service. 

Shopify Plus is a solution for large businesses and starts at $2,000/month, offering an alternative to creating and managing expensive websites for high-volume businesses. 

Depending upon the subscription plan you choose, Shopify also charges a small fee per credit card transaction. 

How to sell on Shopify

This comes in the form of a percentage of the sale plus about 30 cents. More advanced Shopify plans offer smaller percentages. In addition to the monthly prices listed above and the fee for credit card transactions, there are additional costs. If you purchase your domain name through Shopify (highly recommended), that costs about $14year

Some themes and plugins represent an additional cost. This varies widely - some themes are available for as little as $180, whereas bespoke themes can run in the thousands but include access to a custom designer. 

As with most marketing decisions, it will depend upon the price point of your product and whether the additional functionality offered by higher-priced themes will increase your sales. Choosing a free theme is perfectly acceptable, though we recommend always choosing a theme that is optimized for mobile browsing since a growing number of consumers shop using a mobile device. 

What to sell on Shopify

In a nutshell: It is difficult to quote a simple cost for a Shopify subscription because customizable options and sales value figure into the final price tag. 

Sellers should keep in mind that:

  • Most charges are monthly, not annually (with the exception of the domain name)
  • Extra features incur extra charges
  • Credit card charges are calculated as a percentage of sales, not a flat rate 

8. How to Sell on Shopify 

Now that you know what Spotify is for, how does selling on Shopify work? While it is the most intuitive eCommerce builder out there, Shopify offers multiple options that can become overwhelming. 

We'll guide you through each step of the process before you start, so you can decide what you want out of your site. This allows you to purchase the subscription and add-ons that you really need for your business. 

Getting Set Up 

If you've ever created a WordPress site, then understanding selling on Shopify will be fairly simple for you. 

If you've already decided to begin selling online, you're likely eager to set up your site as quickly as possible. Our complete guide to selling on Shopify will help you get up and running without wasting needless time navigating the platform. 

Step 1: Create an Account 

To get started selling on Shopify, you'll need to create an account. Unlike other eCommerce platforms, Shopify does not require a credit card number to get started with a Shopify free 14-day trial. 

How to start selling on Shopify

All you need to do is enter your name and an email address. This will let you set up a store on Shopify, and you will be able to start customizing it as you like. 

Step 2: Customize your Shopify Domain Name 

This also grants you a free domain name with the following formula: 

Youremailaddress.myshopify.com 

There is an option to edit the email address portion, so then the formula looks like this:

YourStoreName.myshopify.com

You have two options at this point: 

  1. Keep this free domain name
  2. Purchase your own domain name 

If you're just signing up for the 14-day free Shopify trial to learn how to sell on Shopify, it's fine to keep the formulaic, free domain name. You can always change it later. If you are ready to launch your site and start selling online using Shopify, we strongly recommend option #2. 

There are several reasons to purchase your own domain name:

  • It makes it easier for customers to find you 
  • Helps maintain consistency in branding 
  • It looks more professional 
  • It prevents competing businesses from using your name 
  • Included WHOIS Privacy Protection 
  • Unlimited email addresses/forwarding included 

If you choose to purchase a domain name at this step: 

Make sure this is the store name you want to stick with long-term. If you have an existing business that is expanding online, simply use your existing natural store name. 

If a domain name already exists with that name, you will have to add something to it - for example, if your coffee shop is named Neighborhood Coffee, then someone else has likely already purchased that name. You could modify it by adding your location, like NeighborhoodCoffeeAtlanta.com.

This adds to how much does it cost to sell on Shopify - your domain name will likely cost  $14/year if you purchase through Shopify. 

If you already own a domain name - perhaps from earlier attempts to build an eCommerce website on your own - you can migrate it over to your Shopify store. You can do this from your Shopify admin page by clicking Online Store and then Domains. 

Step 3: Enter Your Business Details

Selling on Shopify vs. Amazon

This step is optional, but it's a good idea to fill out the questionnaire. Choosing an industry and adding in other business details helps Shopify recommend relevant themes and plugins to you. For example, if your store is selling clothing, there are many add-ons specifically designed for apparel sellers.  

Step 4: Add a Business Address 

How to sell on Shopify

This step is not optional. If you have an existing real-world business, simply enter the business address.

If your business is new or you will be selling exclusively online, then you need to enter a physical address. This can be your home address, though most sellers prefer to get a P.O. box because it looks more professional and keeps their personal location off the internet. 

Step 5: Log in to Your Dashboard 

There is quite a bit going on at the Shopify Dashboard, so we'll take it to step by step to help you understand how selling on Shopify works. 

Selling on Shopify vs. Amazon

If you are new to the platform and wondering how to get started selling on Shopify, they offer a handy step-by-step list right on the main dashboard. 

This list takes you through the key steps you need to get started:

  • Add your first product 
  • Buy a domain name
  • Customize your theme
  • Set up payments 
  • Review shipping 

Since we already discussed the benefits of purchasing your own domain name above, we'll look at each of the next steps in turn. 

Step 6: Add Your First Product 

This is the fun part - you get to create a listing for your first product for your online site. 

Selling on Shopify

This step is where you actually see what you can sell on Shopify with just a little creative writing and some photo uploads. A few things to keep in mind when creating your first product listing on Shopify:

  • Use high-quality, original images of your products 
  • Include frequently-searched keywords in your product descriptions (SEO)
  • Be sure to include measurements or other specifications
  • Include features and benefits in your product descriptions 
  • Include plenty of extra details 
  • Consider using bullet points for easy readability 

Try adding two or three products to your Shopify page to get the hang of it. Once you've done that, it will be easier to see how your products will display on your finished page when you choose a theme and start to customize your site. 

Keep in mind that your product catalog will remain intact even if you change themes later - keeping you from unnecessarily repeating work. 

Step 7: Choose a Shopify Theme 

There are two kinds of Shopify themes: free and paid. One is not necessarily "better" in this context. Rather, it depends on your vision for the design and branding of your online store. There are two major considerations when choosing a theme to get started selling on Shopify: 

  1. Features of the theme
  2. The appearance of the theme 

What do you want visitors - and eventually, customers - to be able to do on your site? 

Theme Features 

Shopify themes offer a whole host of shopping features, including: 

  • Forms
  • Video players
  • Quick load times
  • Spotlight layout options
  • Slideshows
  • Customizable navigation options 
  • Zoom function
  • Photo galleries 

If having certain shopping features is important to your business, you want to make sure that your chosen theme offers that functionality. For example, if you really want to include videos of each product, make sure your theme supports that.

Many first-time Shopify sellers pick a theme somewhat at random or based solely on appearance and then need to change it later because it doesn't offer the features they need.

While you can always change the theme at any time, it can be a waste of time to reconfigure your entire site, plus the wasted money on themes you're not using. 

Theme Appearance 

Becoming a successful seller on Shopify can have a lot to do with branding and marketing. Theme and design are crucial elements of your branding strategy, so it's important to determine how you want visitors to experience your site.

This means more than just choosing a theme that looks good to you. It should be consistent with your business's branding. 

This is far more than just making sure that your logo is displayed on the header. Ideally, your brand should have a custom color palette and custom fonts that help customers quickly recognize your brand. Researchers suggest that customers can quickly identify brands by their color schemes alone. 

Your brand identity also creates a certain user experience on your eCommerce site. Do you want visitors to feel like they are part of an exclusive shopping experience? Or that they are getting a deal? Does your brand prioritize eco-friendliness or social consciousness? Theme design can reflect all of these brand values without words. 

Step 9: Review Shipping 

Integrated shipping services are another perk of selling on Shopify. Sellers can pay for shipping, easily print labels, set different shipping rates, or outsource all inventory shipping. 

If you navigate to the shipping tab on your dashboard, you'll see that a number of shipping options are already set for you. 

Optimize Shopify store

These are useful presets that show the weight and geographic restrictions that come with each kind of shipping.

You can customize these options on either a temporary or permanent basis. Some stores prefer to set all shipping as free to encourage quick purchase, whereas others run short-term free shipping promotions around holidays or store anniversaries. 

Shipping Labels

Shopify also allows sellers to create customized shipping labels directly from their dashboards. This means that sellers don't have to arrange separate shipping or take all of their packages down to the post office.

A basic shipping label includes:

  • Recipient's name
  • Mailing address
  • Return address
  • Postage 

Shipping labels can also be customized to include more details, like:

  • Order numbers
  • Tracking numbers
  • Shipping date 

It's up to the seller to determine what the label should display. Keep in mind that additional options often incur extra charges. 

Review - Basic Steps 

Once you've gone through the initial setup detailed above, you are well on your way to becoming a successful seller on Shopify! 

Take a moment to quickly review your store and make sure you've set up the following:

  • Hosting 
  • Theme
  • Products 
  • Payments
  • Shipping 

These are the basic things that must be done to understand how selling on Shopify works and make your first sale. If you can't ship an item out, for example, there's no point in listing products for sale on your website. 

9. How to Increase Your Ecommerce Sales on Shopify 

There's more to Shopify's success than just setting up your store and waiting for customers to knock down the proverbial door. As of 2021, there are over 1 million individual stores hosted through Shopify. 

How can you compete with all those other sellers to make your products stand out? 

We'll help you. 

10. Shopify Marketing - How to Sell on Shopify and Make More Money 

You could offer the best products in the world, but if no one knows about it, then your sales will be nonexistent. In today's increasingly crowded online marketplace, marketing is more important than ever. 

Our complete guide to selling on Shopify continues with some pro tips on marketing. Boosting your sales often boils down to mastering your marketing strategy, and we'll help you decide how best to do that. 

Use Shopify's Marketing Dashboard + Apps

Shopify offers an integrated marketing dashboard to get you started with marketing your new store. 

Hot to increase revenue on Shopify

This dashboard allows you to set up basic marketing campaigns, like 

  • Email marketing 
  • Google Ads
  • Social campaigns
  • Content marketing 
  • SMS reminders and outreach 

There are also a whole host of marketing apps that you can install on your Shopify dashboard that expand its functionality. Some top performers include:

  • Pinterest
  • Google 
  • Microsoft Advertising
  • Optin Monster 
  • Facebook Live Chat
  • Plug-In SEO

Each subcategory of marketing has numerous apps that can help you manage contacts, create campaigns, optimize content for search engines, and track your performance over time. The number of options can be overwhelming. Perhaps you will focus on your social marketing through Facebook and Instagram along with SMS marketing. Then, choose the apps that easily help you create campaigns for your chosen channels.  We'll cover some of the benefits of the top 3 marketing strategies to show you how to sell more on Shopify. 

We'll give you a primer on:

  • Email marketing for Shopify
  • Integrating Shopify eCommerce with social media
  • Optimize your Shopify site 

Email Marketing for Shopify

Abundant research demonstrates that email marketing is successful at driving sales. On average, every dollar spent on a marketing campaign comes with a return of about $56 USD.  Customers who opt-in to your email list are already invested in your brand. Create groups of leads - called segments - and target specific emails to them. Has a lead visited your website and filled out a form? You should direct an email sequence towards them designed to nurture the lead into a customer. If you have a group of people who already repeat customers, you can target emails to them with new product launches, special discounts, behind-the-scenes features of your business. These emails keep them interested and returning to your business to purchase more in the future.

One highly successful email strategy that applies to leads and repeats customers alike is the abandoned cart email. Customers will often add products to their cart and then leave the site without completing checkout. Automating an email response to customers who abandoned their carts - often with an extra incentive like 10% off or a bonus sample -increases the likelihood that customers will return to the site and purchase. 

Remember: too many emails will likely cause people to unsubscribe. Keep it relevant but not intrusive.

11. Sell on Instagram Shopify 

Instagram presents a huge market for Shopify sellers. As of 2019, 90% of Instagram users followed at least one brand on the social networking site. 

Selling on Instagram with Shopify is about more than just sharing photos of your products. To increase your eCommerce sales on Shopify, you'll need to reach your target audience on Instagram, market your products there, and then link them back to your online store.

To get started, you'll need an Instagram business account. This is free to create. 

Next, you'll need to link your online stores to your Instagram account. This allows you to tag your products in your photos so people can shop directly from Instagram.

On Instagram, you get one link only in your bio. Your store's Instagram account should link back to your online store so customers can browse your products easily. Shopify apps like tag box let you add an Instagram feed to your Shopify site, making it even easier to shop products from your photos. 

Instagram for Shopify is most successful when the content is relevant and fresh. A few ways to keep your customer base engaged include:

  • Featuring user-submitted photos 
  • Running giveaways, polls, and contests
  • Styling your products in attractive flat lays
  • Showing real-world use of your products
  • Behind-the-scenes photos 
  • Sharing stories about your brand's purpose and history

Credibility and customer service are crucial to Instagram marketing. You can maintain your reputation on social media by following these best practices: 

  • Respond to comments 
  • Answer questions and concerns quickly
  • Keep your content and business details updated - don't include expired sales in your bio, for example 

With the rapid growth of Instagram for business, brands can quickly reach and engage with more customers than ever before.

Integrate Shopify with Other Social Media Sites 

Though learning to sell on Instagram Shopify integration is important, other social sites can boost your marketing and branding efforts. 

Facebook

Like Instagram, adding the Facebook extension to your Shopify store allows you to automatically sync your products to your brand's Facebook account. You can also run Facebook Ads directly from your Shopify dashboard. 

Since Facebook unveiled a separate app for its instant messaging service - Facebook Messenger - businesses are expanding onto Facebook messenger at an explosive rate. 

With 1.3 billion active monthly users on Messenger, this is a key place to make sales. 

When customers are engaging with your brand via Facebook, how does selling on Shopify work? Luckily, new apps are available that make the integration between the two sites seamless. 

Two of the most useful Facebook integrations for top-selling products on Shopify are chatbots and the buy now button. 

Chatbots are simple artificial intelligence programs that simulate a conversation with a customer service representative. They are pre-programmed to handle some of the most common customer queries, including: 

  • Checking hours
  • Price updates
  • Booking appointments
  • Upselling 
  • Provide tracking numbers and updates 

Some apps even allow the entire interaction - from the initial welcome message to the final sale - to take place entirely on Messenger. This reduces the bounce rate because customers are not redirected to a new site that they then have to learn to navigate. 

Similarly, the Buy Now Button streamlines customers' interaction with your Shopify store by making it even simpler to purchase an item they see shared to your brand's Facebook page or Marketplace listing. 

Some research suggests that buy buttons can reduce the time it takes a customer to complete a transaction by almost 40% - making them more likely to stay on the page to complete the sale instead of getting frustrated and abandoning the cart. 

In a nutshell: Automate interactions as much as possible on Facebook to get your Shopify store in front of a broader audience, answer questions quickly, and streamline the buying process. 

Pinterest 

Consumers overwhelmingly use Pinterest to plan and budget projects. This makes it a gold mine for marketing an eCommerce business, as customers tend to be open to discovering new brands when they browse on Pinterest.

According to Hootsuite's research team, tagging featured products in Pinterest scenes makes visitors 70% more likely to engage with the product - especially if it's shown in an appealing, real-world setting.  

As with Instagram, you will need to set up a free Pinterest business account. 

You can simply pin images of your products from your Shopify site and hope that they are repinned organically. Or, you can invest in a paid service like Tailwind to automatically re-share pins strategically across Pinterest. 

Ideally, you should have multiple pinnable images of each product to keep the content fresh. As with Instagram, this is a visual platform that relies on catching the eye. "Rich pins" allow you to seamlessly migrate product info from your Shopify site over to your pins, saving time and giving your potential customers all the information they need. 

Additionally, you can implement "buyable pins," allowing your customers to make purchases directly from your Pinterest board. This streamlines the process for customers, keeping them engaged with your products and leading to more sales. 

Optimizing your Shopify Store 

Our third tip concerning how to sell on Shopify concerns search engine optimization or SEO.  SEO is the process of improving the user experience on your site and including high-volume search words and phrases into your online content. This makes it more likely that search engines will rank your site as highly relevant to certain search terms and serve your site higher in the results. Ultimately, this drives more traffic to your site. 

Around 44% of customers begin their shopping experience by searching for a product through a search engine like Google. SEO helps ensure those customers end up on your Shopify site. 

Improving user experience for your site can include:

  • Organizing your site in a logical, easily navigable way 
  • Keeping the site structure simple 
  • Providing a search bar
  • Adding social proof - like reviews and testimonials 

All of these factors make your site easier to use, which leads customers to spend more time there. Search engines consider this a favorable factor in your rankings.

Integrating keywords and search terms into your Shopify content can include: 

  • Optimizing all meta descriptions
  • Conducting competitor research 
  • Targeting a few specific search terms 
  • Optimizing product titles and descriptions to match search terms
  • Using long-tail search terms - longer, more specific phrases 

Be aware that Google and other search engines penalize you for simply stuffing your site full of unconnected keywords. Additionally, that hurts the customer's experience because they want clear, helpful content. 

While optimization can be time-consuming, it is one of the most cost-effective ways to drive new customers to your website. 

12. Try Shopify Dropshipping 

If you're wondering what to sell on Shopify or what the top-selling products on Shopify are, then dropshipping might be the perfect setup for you. 

Dropshipping is a selling arrangement where the Shopify seller does not keep inventory in stock. Instead, she handles marketing and selling the products and then orders and ships them to the customer through a third-party seller. 

To get started with dropshipping, you need to install a sourcing app that connects you to products. 

Shopify vs. Amazon

Popular dropshipping apps for Shopify include:

  • Oberlo 
  • Ali Express
  • Spocket 
  • Print

Once you have an app installed, you can browse around and decide which products to add to your store. 

You can filter by a category, best-sellers, customer reviews, and more. Ideally, your shop should be organized around a certain theme. For example, you might add only pet products and market to that specific niche. Generally speaking, the broader the category of products you sell, the more competition you will face in marketing. 

Starting a dropshipping business is a great way for small business owners to get started with a low initial investment of capital. It also allows businesses to quickly adapt to customer demand because they don't have to handle the entire supply chain themselves.

Pros of Dropshipping on Shopify:

  • Low startup costs
  • Low risk
  • Flexible model
  • No physical store required
  • Passive income possible 
  • Shipping and manufacturing are taken care of

Cons of Dropshipping on Shopify: 

  • Highly competitive
  • High marketing requirement 
  • Difficult quality control 
  • Setup is time-consuming 
  • Demand for constant adaptation 

If you have a knack for consumer research and marketing, dropshipping may be a perfect option for you. If you already have an existing business that you want to bring online, then a traditional Shopify model is a better fit. 

Additional Dropship Option: Sometimes, sellers create and build businesses on Shopify and then move on to something else. Shopify hosts a marketplace where people can buy and sell entire Shopify businesses, called the Exchange

13. Top Selling Products on Shopify for 2021

What's one of the best ways to increase your sales and profits? Sell what people want to buy. If you are just getting started with your eCommerce store, you may not even have decided what you want to sell. This is great news because it means you can respond to current trends and offer popular goods and services.

If you have an existing business, eCommerce makes it easy to expand into new territory. A good example of this is collectible handbag designer Vera Bradley. Like many textile manufacturers, the brand began selling face masks when the Covid-19 pandemic began. The company used its existing branding and large base to offer a high-demand product with its own unique twist- colorful, limited-edition patterns. 

Selling on Shopify

Adding new products on Shopify is as simple as creating new product listings and notifying your followers about the change. If you are wondering what to sell on Shopify, the good news is that you can make any product work - if you have the right niche and superior marketing skills. 

If you can identify a need and then market a specific product that addresses that need, you will have a successful business. While a small, devoted customer base can build you an immensely successful business, it's also a good idea to build your business around products that are already in demand. 

Shopify maintains a list of high-selling products that is updated annually. According to Shopify, current favorites for the 2021-2022 selling year include:

  • Toys
  • Shoes
  • Pens & Pencils 
  • Decorative Bottles
  • Drills
  • Cutters (for DIY and home projects)
  • GPS Systems 
  • Bras
  • Motor Vehicle Parts
  • Office Chairs
  • Projectors
  • Kitchen Towels
  • Digital Artwork
  • Eyebrow Enhancers
  • Neon Signs
  • Tablet Computers
  • Water Bottles

The key with lists like these is to identify the trends and figure out how your unique business can anticipate future needs. This list clearly reflects some of the needs people have had over the past year - they've been working from home, needing school supplies and entertainment for their children, and engaging in more DIY projects than usual. 

Now, while you could build an entire online store around selling shoes, the bold eyebrow trend will eventually wane, and you don't want your entire business built around that single product. 

It's better to identify popular projects that fill well with your existing brand and meet the current or anticipated needs of your particular customer base.

One way that you can find what products are becoming popular is to research trending Google searches and Instagram hashtags. 

You can do this at Google Trends and the Instagram search function. Trends come and go, but there are perennial solid performers on Shopify. Some broad categories that tend to do well on Shopify over time include:

  • Apparel 
  • Jewelry 
  • Kitchen Products
  • Pet supplies
  • Furniture

As with any business, determining your price point, niche, and brand voice will help determine what you sell. If your business has prioritized affordability thus far, suddenly branching into a luxury market would be unsuccessful. For example, if Ikea suddenly started selling high-end furniture with a premium price tag, sales would not likely be high. 

In a nutshell: Ecommerce sites make it easy to respond to changing trends. If you plan to add new products, make sure they align with your brand values and customers' pain points. 

14. Conclusion  

So, how does selling on Shopify work? It's a combination of good design, choosing the right apps, and having a solid plan for finding your ideal customers and marketing to them. 

While you can expect to spend a fair amount of time setting up your business on the front-end, Shopify stores are quite easy to maintain. Because shipping and payments are handled, you have more time to devote to building your brand. 

Using our complete guide to selling on Shopify, you can get your own eCommerce business up and running in short order. 

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