There's a good chance you've landed on this page because you are about to quit your nine-to-five job and start a full-time business online. Or you might just be looking to earn extra cash from the comfort of your own home. Whatever your reason, you will likely find this article a super useful guide on how to make money on Shopify. There are also a bunch of helpful tips and tricks too.
Why you're going to love making money on Shopify
Shopify is an eCommerce platform on which you can build your very own online store. It's pretty much the same as renting a building to set up a physical store but digital.
To get started, you just need to create an account, pick your Shopify theme, add the products you want to sell, and choose your shipping methods and payment gateways.
Make use of a 14-day free trial to try out Shopify for yourself.
Here's why you're going to love making money on Shopify:
- It is uber-easy to set up and manage on a day-by-day basis.
- It comes with many built-in features to support online selling, from product management and marketing to analytics tools.
- You can later improve your eCommerce store with a slew of Shopify apps.
- Compared to selling via a marketplace like Amazon or eBay, Shopify lets you create a much more on-brand presence. There is more space and creative freedom for you to build your brand image.
- It's not just selling products. There are many more ways to make money on Shopify (more on this later).
10 ways to make money on Shopify
#1 Start a dropshipping business
Dropshipping is a business model allowing entrepreneurs to sell products without carrying any stock. When a customer buys a product from your dropshipping store, the third-party supplier ships it directly to them. The customer pays the retail price you set, you pay the suppliers' wholesale price, and the rest is your profit.
How dropshipping works
If you have budget and time constraints, dropshipping is an ideal business model for first-time entrepreneurs like you. Without the hassle of manufacturing, storing, and shipping, you can keep upfront costs low and focus time on marketing your products and engaging with customers.
To start Shopify dropshipping, you will first need to set up your Shopify store and then install a dropshipping app like Oberlo, AliExpress, or CJDropshipping. These Shopify dropshipping apps help to sync your store with wholesalers with whom you can source dropshipping products with just a few clicks.
Tim Kock is one example of a dropshipper who made $8,873 through Shopify in a month. Just like most drop shippers out there, this was a side hustle–he only worked on his online store after work and on the weekends. The keys to his success were choosing steady dropshipping niches, placing test orders to review the quality of the suppliers, and creating fascinating product descriptions.
#2 Start a print on demand business
If you're a creative talent who wants to create your own products but lacks the time to take care of the manufacturing process, print on demand can be the perfect business model.
Here's how print on demand works: You customize white label products (t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, laptop skins, etcetera) with your artwork. Then, the third-party supplier prints and has your products shipped directly to your customers. Basically, print on demand is a subset of dropshipping as you don't have to hold inventory yourself.
#3 Sell DIY products
If you have a knack for art and love working with your hands, there are a plethora of things to make and sell including: jewelry, clothes, candles, lip balms, and so many more. This is a creative way to make money from your hobby while having granular control over your product quality. It’s something that you can't do if you use a dropshipping or print on demand service.
But if the idea of crafting handmade products yourself isn't striking a chord, you can also sell products that allow customers to flex their creative muscles. For instance, you can create candle-making or paint-by-numbers kits.
The only drawback of selling handmade goods is it can take a lot of time to produce and procure, which can make scaling-up difficult.
#4 Go for eco-friendly products
Eco-friendly products are not a new concept. From sustainable supplies for the home and kitchen to organic skincare, the variety of eco-friendly products entering every sphere of our lives is endless. That's why selling eco-friendly products is a potentially lucrative business idea.
Though you won't surprise anyone with reusable tote bags and coffee cups anymore, that in no way means you shouldn't sell them. The best eco-friendly product ideas for things to sell are things everyone needs to use daily, not trendy stuff they crave but only use a few times.
Notabag, is a tote and duffle bag brand focusing on smart design and sustainable material. Its signature tote doubles as a backpack, targeting mindful and eco-conscious lifestyles. And each bag sold helps fund the brand's "1% for the Planet'' program, whereby, as the name suggests, they donate 1% of their annual sales to environmental nonprofits.
Notabag’s convertible bag backpack
Being dedicated to making minimal impact with your business, you want to ensure all parts of your supply chain are environmentally friendly. You can sell personal care products made from vegan ingredients, but if you create a lot of waste during packaging and shipment, you're not living your true eco-friendly mission.
Think of some green initiatives your brand can undertake without breaking your budget:
- Replace plastic packaging with reusable cardboard.
- A return program for your empty product containers is an efficient way to reduce your environmental impact. This can also encourage your customers to buy from you again if you offer a discount for reusing the same packaging.
- Encourage customers to have products delivered to their offices or depots if they know they won't be home. This helps to eliminate repeat delivery attempts that can add to your carbon footprint.
#5 Collect and sell vintage clothing
Have you ever rummaged through thrift shops, spotted a rare piece in your size, and bought it for a steal? There's no better feeling than the thrill of the hunt!
But having a good eye and patience sourcing vintage items can pay off beyond your one-of-a-kind wardrobe. The secondhand market is forecast to reach $64 billion by 2024. How do you get a slice of this enormous cake?
You can start small by selling unwanted stuff from your own wardrobe. Later as you already have a number of loyal buyers, you can begin selling thrifted garments that you have hand-picked from vintage markets.
To sell vintage clothing online, it's imperative that you capture every angle of the items you’re selling. Close-up details like patterns, buttons, the original label, or any flaws they might have, are important for your buyers to see. Your product images can be shot in a flat-lay style (laying your clothing down or hanging them up) or worn by a mannequin or a model (it can just be you with your phone camera). Have fun mixing and matching outfits and accessorizing to show customers how each item can be styled.
#6 Sell subscription boxes
Subscription boxes are recurring packages that customers receive on a regular basis, often weekly, monthly, every few months, or annually. This business model is a great way to maintain customer retention when compared to traditional methods that require higher customer acquisition costs.
Traditional subscription boxes often contain a specific set of items that can be chosen by either the buyer or seller. Other creative boxes might be filled with surprise mystery collectibles or randomized items that fall under a particular niche or theme. For instance, your beauty subscription box could include metallic eyeshadow palettes, golden orange blushes, and a variety of lipsticks.
Once you decide on your subscription product ideas and which items are featured in your boxes, the next step is to create your subscription website on Shopify. As mentioned above, setting up your Shopify store doesn't require much muscle or technical expertise. This eCommerce platform, combined with GemPages drag-and-drop page builder, offers you basically everything you need to start your subscription business.
But if you want to create a better subscription experience for your customers while increasing your profit, you can also install one of these Shopify's subscription apps. Bold Subscription, for example, integrates seamlessly with both Shopify and GemPages.
#7 Start a pet business
Pet owners in the U.S spent $123.6 billion on their furry, fluffy, and feathered companions. The numbers speak for themselves: the pet business is highly profitable.
Pet businesses come in various forms, like making and selling pet food and treats, selling pet clothes and accessories, or providing grooming and training services.
One thing you should always bear in mind is pet owners are very protective of their four-legged friends. Hence, the more trust you gain, the more likely these pet lovers will buy from your store.
One of the most effective ways to build brand love is by sharing valuable information with your potential customers. It can be as simple as creating a blog post explaining why cats scratch furniture or shooting a thirty-second video about how to bathe your kitten.
#8 Sell digital products
We all consume digital products, from music to e-learning. The appeal of selling digital products is that they allow you to package knowledge you already have, or skills and services you already perform, into a product you can create once and sell repeatedly. This can save you tons of time and money.
There are hundreds of digital products you can build and sell online, and the process of developing these products is highly dependent on which product you decide to create. Here are some digital product ideas to get you inspired:
- Online courses: With the increasing normalization of remote work and remote learning, if you have the expertise and a passion for sharing it with others, an online course can be a cash cow. People are eager to learn anything from home, whether it's a baking course or an investing course.
- E-book: Your e-book topic can be about anything you're good at and want to teach or inspire people. You don't need to be a professional writer to succeed in selling ebooks. A tight structure, concise language, and original thinking are the key.
- Stock photography: If you have an eye for light, color, and framing, then selling photos online can supply you with a steady side income. Start by taking some niche-specific images, polishing them up with a photo editor, and then selling them on your Shopify store.
- Templates: Proposals, resumes, business cards, social media graphics, wedding invitations, and product packaging are some of the most common template ideas. Your templates can be a life-saver to your customers, helping them create a quality asset that is outside of their skillset.
#9 Create a blog
Remember when we said at the very beginning of this article that selling things is not the only way to make money on Shopify? It’s true, you can also increase your financial inflows by starting your own blog.
All you need to get started is a passion for writing. Your blog can be an outlet to share your thoughts and life experiences. It can also be an effective channel to build your personal brand, which may later open up many opportunities for your work. As your blog has its own loyal audience, you can start earning extra cash by adding affiliate links and creating sponsored posts.
The best thing is that Shopify supports blogging features out of the box. Your blog posts can be categorized, tagged, edited, and optimized for SEO. Shopify also offers an array of themes tailor-made for wordsmiths such as Grid, Woodstock, and Story.
#10 Become a Shopify affiliate partner
In recent years, affiliate marketing has become very popular. This marketing model allows you to earn a commission from sales by promoting retail products, apps, and more.
But have you ever heard of the Shopify Affiliate Program? This program involves content creators, course educators, influencers, and individuals who want to inspire audiences and encourage them to build their online store on Shopify.
You refer your audiences to Shopify, and once they register a paid Shopify plan, you receive a commission.
Tips and tricks on how to make money on Shopify
#1 Validate your product ideas
When you’re starting out, it's crucial that you check Google Trends to see whether there is demand for the product you’re about to sell. Your product idea may be interesting, but if there's not much demand, chances are you will not earn big bucks.
Insert your search item, choose the location and time frame to track data of your products
#2 Create a stunning storefront that keeps your customers scrolling to the very end
When it comes to online selling, everything above the fold is your prime real estate! Thus, you should always put your heart and soul into designing your storefront.
If you're just starting out, we recommend sticking with Shopify themes. Your theme forms the foundation on which you can build the online store of your dreams.
But later, as your brand scales and demands a more advanced storefront, you might need to install a third-party page builder for Shopify. With a helping hand from GemPages page builder, you can create stunning, high-converting store pages that make your audience assume you have a professional developer at your fingertips, or that you are one yourself!
#3 Describe your products in detail
As online customers can't touch the product, it's imperative that you paint a picture for them, making products as tangible as they can be. A killer product description should follow the below rules:
- Contain power words that sell
- Optimize for search engines
- Include social proof
- Provide high-quality product images (maybe use GemPages 3D product image feature?).
This is how our customer, Lucy&Yak, introduces one of their products.
“Super-comfy, fun, and floaty, with a big-hips shape that gives your thighs room to do their thing. Boom!”
Who wouldn’t fall in love with such an intriguing product description?
#4 Capitalize on multichannel marketing
The more nets you have in the water, the more likely you will catch a fish. That's why you should always promote your brand and products via all of your marketing channels.
But don't confuse yourself with an overcomplicated multichannel marketing strategy. It can just be as simple as integrating your online store with your social media platforms. Customers can browse your products as they use Facebook or Instagram, add an item to their cart, and check out all in one place. The ultimate goal is to get as many sales as possible by making shopping more convenient for your customers.
The good news is Shopify allows you to connect your online store with multiple platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, and Tiktok. This means you can add shopping tabs to your social profile or link directly to your product pages.
#5 Support your customers whenever they need it
One of the most critical touch points on the customer journey is their support experience. In fact, 50% of U.S. consumers have abandoned a purchase due to poor customer service. With this in mind, you should always strive to treat customers the best you can.
It's unrealistic for small businesses to accommodate every possible point of contact. Still, it is essential that you choose support channels that fit your business resources and your customers' needs.
Below are a few foundational channels that best fit small to medium-sized businesses.
- Live chat is the best method for customers to get help through instant messaging platforms. Live chat doesn't need to be available 24/7. You can set hours and post them on your website so customers know when they can find you.
- Email is easier to manage than live chat support channels as there is no need for both parties to be online to initiate or maintain the conversation.
- Social support differs from live chat and email support in one fundamental way: all responses are public and visible to anyone who wants to see them. If done properly, this support channel is also a great way to increase trust in your brand.
The bottom line
Hopefully, as you reach these final lines, you already have a few money-making ideas.
We know that taking the plunge can be tricky at first. But as long as you are determined with a clear goal and a little know-how, you are well on your way to gaining financial freedom and living the life you have always dreamed of.
The best time to get started is always now! So, which idea will you choose?
Whatever you do, remember: GemPages is at your service.
FAQs about how to make money on Shopify
No, you don’t need a license to sell on Shopify.
Dropshipping is a business model that allows you to make money on Shopify without upfront investment. There are no manufacturing costs and inventory fees.
No, Shopify doesn’t have any hidden fees. To start selling on Shopify, you need to pay for your Shopify plan ($29, $79, or $299 per month), and then you will pay a small transaction fee for purchases made on your Shopify store.
Undoubtedly, YES! Shopify's recent integration with multiple platforms like Tiktok and Youtube will bring many opportunities for both merchants and shoppers. Sellers have more channels to reach their potential customers, while buyers can enjoy a more convenient shopping experience.