How to Sell on Shopify?

Ashwin Honawar

Updated on:

how to sell on shopify

For anyone who wants to open a small, home-based business to sell something, Shopify is definitely one of the best options. That’s because Shopify by itself is very famous among people searching for unique stuff online.

Let’s explore what makes Shopify so famous.

Shopify Facts and Figures

As of January 2024, there were some 4.8 million online stores selling through Shopify. Furthermore, Shopify has some 2.1 million daily active users. All marketplaces on Shopify account for a combined over $444 billion in sales each year, according to statistics available from various reliable sources online.

That’s not all. Shopify allows you to sell stuff in over 175 countries around the world. This means, your home based small business can get a global presence and exposure through the Shopify ecommerce platform.

These facts and figures amply prove that Shopify can be the right online platform for your small business. In fact, some sellers on Shopify are making thousands of Dollars every month by simply offering stuff that people love to buy.

So, what’s the stuff that people would love to buy from your Shopify store?  I will answer this question now.

Stuff to Sell on Your Shopify Store

It’s possible to sell almost everything from your Shopify store, as long as it’s legit in the US and the countries where you’re targeting customers.

Banned items include drugs, narcotics and psychotropic substances, abortion pills and all kinds of medicines unless approved by the FDA, porn material including books, CDs, DVDs and other such devices, weapons of all sorts, flags, banners or posters with hate speech or targeting any community, animal skins and parts, seeds and plants for export unless allowed by competent authorities and lots more.

Additionally, there’re some goods that might require specific clearances from regional or Federal authorities to be sold online and especially to customers in countries facing sanctions from the USA.

However, this isn’t anything to worry about. There are still millions of things that you can sell on Shopify and make a lot of money. Here’s a broad list of such stuff to sell from your Shopify stores.

  • Gadgets and Electronics: Gadgets and electronics are the hottest buys on Shopify. You can sell gadgets and electronics from reputed brands as well as those from lesser known ones. In fact, countless dropshippers that sell unknown brands of gadgets and electronics own a Shopify store. They offer such new or budding brands at very economical rates compared to large brands.
  • Handcrafted Dresses & Accessories: If you’re a superb dressmaker or have dress accessories to sell, Shopify could be the right place. Thousands of sellers here display and sell their unique creations through their own store on Shopify. One of the superb features of having a store on Shopify is that you can also take orders for making dresses and accessories from customers, according to their specs. However, you would have to be very careful with terms and conditions while accepting customized orders.
  • Handicrafts: If you’re a craftsperson and can make amazing handicrafts, there’s every chance you can strike it big with a store on Shopify. There’re also others that import handicrafts from various countries and sell them to customers at a premium. Countless handicraft collectors around the world look for superb pieces to add to their collections and decorate their homes. You can try these too and import from places where they’re cheap and yet, unique.
  • Homemade Beauty Products: Another major hit on Shopify are homemade beauty products, especially the herbal variety. That’s because most people nowadays wish to avoid chemical-based body and beauty products and instead, opt for herbal varieties. Therefore, if you have some traditional recipes for such creams, lotions and oils that have proven results, sell them on your store on Shopify. You can sell under your own brand too.
  • Gardening Stuff: Gardening stuff such as plants and saplings, homemade fertilizers, mulch and such things fetch a lot of customers on a Shopify store. However, these are available for local sales only and you can’t send these things outside of the US. Yet, there’s a sizable market in the US for gardening stuff, especially considering that Americans are fond of well-landscaped and beautiful home gardens for their houses.

More Stuff that Sells on Shopify

What else sells on Shopify? Handmade chocolates, spice mixes, food products such as jams and sauces that can be made to order, brocade stuff, costume jewellery, upcoming brands of fragrances and home décor items.

Additionally, you can also sell collectables such as stamps and coins, matchbox covers, unique playing cards, bags, purses and wallets, footwear from dropshipping suppliers, wires and cables for home use, gift hampers and subscription boxes, among others.

The type of goods you can sell will depend on your skills and location. Remember, shipping can cost a lot and hence, customers prefer buying from Shopify stores that charge low for delivering their orders.

Selling On Shopify

So, let’s get down to selling on Shopify. The process is quite simple but can take some time. The better your online store, the greater your chances of bagging customers. Hence, you need to exert some extra effort in making your online store attractive, just as you would do with an offline shop.

Here are some simple steps to follow:

1. Select your Niche

Select your Niche

The first and most important step is to select your niche for the Shopify store. That means, finalizing what stuff you will sell from your Shopify store. Generally, persons who set up a Shopify store, opt for selling things about which they have good knowledge.

That way, they’re able to write better descriptions, handle questions from leads and make proper sales and marketing pitches. Also, you would be aware of the price of such stuff in the local market, both from top online sellers and offline shops. Therefore, select your niche before setting up the online Shopify store.

2. Prepare Samples for Sale

Prepare Samples for Sale

Unless you’re a veteran of Shopify selling, the best thing to do is prepare a few samples of the stuff that you’ll sell. If you’re selling readymade things such as electronics and gadgets, keep some handy.  You will need these for taking excellent pictures and writing superb product descriptions to upload to your Shopify store.

Also, these will come in handy if you’re lucky enough to get some orders instantly. Customers generally expect a confirmed delivery date and hence, you will have to make some commitments on when their orders will arrive on their doorsteps.

3. Test Drive Shopify

Test Drive Shopify

Depending on your location, Shopify allows you a free trial. This free trial is limited to three days only. However, depending on the plan you choose, it’s possible to subscribe to a full store on Shopify for just $1 per month, for a period of three months.

This free and discounted use period allows you to test drive your own online store on Shopify and make alterations or changes where needed to attract more customers.

Using the free trial and discounted offers also helps you to gain some experience in how to manage a Shopify store for maximum profits and the various processes that’re necessary.

4. Setup Your Store

Setup Your Store

Generally, every Shopify seller does this once they open a basic store. You can start setting up your store by giving it a catchy and easy-to-remember name, a wonderful theme that people will love, and customizing the design to suit the range of products you’re selling and the niche as well as the type of customers you’re targeting.

This is a very important part of setting up a Shopify store since people are attracted to those with catchy names, professional looks and neat designs. As you would be aware, the same holds true for offline stores also. Remember, your products, descriptions and prices should be visible clearly and should convey the right meaning.

5. Create Payment Systems

Create Payment Systems

Shopify supports all types of payment systems including wire transfers, credit card and debit card payments as well as PayPal. Therefore, you will have to create and configure these systems to get payments from your customers. Here, there are two things to remember.

The first is that payment systems charge you a fee. Secondly, Shopify also charges a small fee per transaction. Read all terms and conditions properly and comprehend how much money you would be paying per order to Shopify and payment systems. That would give a better picture of the actual amount of money you can get from a sale.

6. Promote Your Store

Promote Your Store

The next part is to promote your Shopify store to make it visible to the highest possible number of customers in your niche and attract buyers. This can be done in a number of ways. Shopify has its own resources that are available for a fee.

Additionally, you can also promote your Shopify store through email marketing, social media posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, X, Instagram and Pinterest, among others, word of mouth publicity and Search Engine Optimization or SEO.

Promoting your store can cost some money and therefore, make sure you use the right resources that could fetch the desired results.

Also Read: 50 Best Ways to Promote Your Business Online

7. Finalize your Shipping Partner

Finalize your Shipping Partner

Who will carry the orders to your customers? This is a major question that you have to address before accepting orders. There are several shippers available through Shopify but some prefer independent carriers such as the United States Postal Service (USPS).

The idea is to get economical shipping rates for a very reliable service. If you’re shipping free, this becomes more important because you might end up selling something and not making any profit or actually losing money due to shipping costs.

8. Returns and Refunds Policy

As a rule, all online sellers are required to have a returns and refunds policy. There would be times when something that you ship gets damaged in transit. Or instances where the sizes or specs of your goods are unsuitable for the buyer.

In such situations, customers have every right to return the goods and seek a refund or replacement. To reduce returns and refunds, you’ll have to adopt a strict quality control policy which means everything is checked thoroughly before it gets shipped.

Also, the product descriptions should be precise and clear and leave no space for ambiguity. This can happen a lot when you’re selling apparel that comes in sizes marked as XS, S, M, L, XL etc. Nobody can judge which size would suit them based on these kinds of classifications. Hence, it’s best to provide a size chart.

Here, it’s worth noting that you have to upgrade and update the overall design and appeal of your Shopify store quite frequently and add newer products in your niche. That’s because customers on Shopify always look for something new and unique. Your design and products have to be attractive enough to engage customers. This can also be done by email and social media marketing.

Tips & Tweaks to Bag More Customers

You can also try a few time-tested and proven tips and tweaks to attract more customers. Remember that a Shopify store is the same as any other online store, regardless of whether it’s Amazon, eBay, Walmart or a local seller on Facebook Marketplace.

Similar to these businesses, you would also have to use some common and uncommon marketing tactics to bag more customers.

Selective Discounts

Once you have an email list of your customers, it’s possible to provide them with selective discounts on specific products. You can also open a virtual guest book where visitors to your store can leave suggestions and their email IDs. Make special offers to these people so they’re tempted to become your customers.

Seasonal Sales

You too can launch seasonal sales occasionally to attract more customers and finish off any old stocks that might be lying unsold. You can make lots of special offers and discounts during these periods. Whether or not to launch your seasonal sales at a time when major online stores are running them, is your choice. Generally, festive seasons are the best anyway.

Innovate Your Stuff

As Peter Drucker, a great management expert says, a business has two functions, marketing and innovation. That’s very true because unless you innovate your products, people will lose interest and move to others. Customers always look for something new from their store. Find ways to innovate and market your innovations in different online ways.

Wrap Up

One of the things I would suggest before you sell on Shopify is doing market research. That would give a clear idea of the kind of stuff that sells and the prices it fetches. Additionally, you also get to learn a lot about your competitors in your niche. Never go for price wars, meaning slashing your rates to undercut competitors. It can boomerang on you severely and cause heavy losses.

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