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Shopify is one of the largest eCommerce platforms that empowers merchants to build thriving online stores. The marketplace serves users in over 175 countries, attracting millions of buyers every year. 

Recent reports show that Shopify has contributed over $319 billion in global economic activity in the past year alone. This figure represents the massive range of opportunities available for making money on this platform. 

One of the greatest advantages of using Shopify is that it allows you to design, build, and customize your online store without any need to learn coding or web design skills. It’s an accessible solution for all users. And best of all, the platform offers a range of additional methods for earning an income regardless of your business skills

Here’s what you need to know to learn how to make money on Shopify

Can You Make Money On Shopify?

Making money with Shopify is possible but it’s not necessarily easy. Like every other type of online business you can start, it takes a lot of hard work and determination. You also need to have a solid Shopify strategy that you can follow on your path to success.

But, like any other online business or side hustle, if you put in the hard work, you will reap the rewards. 

All you need is a simple plan to follow to get started earning on this platform – and that’s exactly what you’ll get from this article: A well-thought-out plan to bring your ideas to the digital world and build a strong presence on Shopify.

The platform, which was founded in 2006, started as a simple online store toolset and has grown to become a multi-faceted eCommerce giant with an ecosystem of suppliers, vendors, and customers. 

Millions of businesses use Shopify, and their revenue ranges from mere hundreds of dollars to hundreds of thousands, and even millions of dollars every month

The graph below shows Shopify revenue for the period between 2012 and the second quarter of 2021. As you can see, the platform has paid out billions of dollars to sellers over that time. 


There is no denying that this is a great income stream for entrepreneurs around the world. And if you are ready to join the ranks of successful Shopify creators, then roll up your sleeves, and let’s get started.

Pro Tip: You can sign up for a free trial on Shopify to test out the features as you go through this guide. This way, you’ll be able to explore the platform’s entire ecosystem extensively.

Best Ways to Make Money With Shopify

There are many different ways to make money with Shopify. However, this guide will focus on three broad methods for monetizing the platform, which are:

  1. With a Shopify Store: This is the most commonly used way to make money on Shopify.
  2. With Shopify’s Platform: This is the most accessible way to make money.
  3. With Shopify Merchants: The most lucrative and fastest-growing way to make money.

Within each of these specific categories lies a well trodden path that’ll help you not just understand how to make money on Shopify, but how to maximize your potential income.

1) Create a Blog

Whatever your monetary goals are, one of the best ways to achieve them is to start your own blog. 

If you have an interest in selling on platforms like Shopify, you’ll get even more success selling products on your own blog where you have more control over your income. Also, it’s always better for the long-term to build your business on a platform that you own so you don’t suffer a loss of income if something changes on that platform. 

If you’re not sure how to start a blog, I offer a free blogging course that will help you start a successful blog from scratch. 

This 10-day email course is perfect for beginners who have never built a blog before and will provide you with all the basics to build a profitable blog from start to finish. Once your blog is built, you can monetize it in a variety of ways, including things like:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Ads
  • Email marketing
  • Selling physical products
  • Selling digital or information products
  • Offering coaching/consulting services
  • Securing brand sponsorships

… and more.

Building and selling online courses, in particular, is a very powerful way to monetize your blog. And in fact, if your interest in selling on Shopify results in you becoming more knowledgeable about the platform and its features, you can use that knowledge to create an online course to help others find success on Shopify. 

And now, let’s look at other tactics you can use to make money on the Shopify platform itself.

2) Build a Traditional Online Store

Starting an eCommerce store is the best way to make money on Shopify. The traditional online shop business model is a simple one. Just buy wholesale inventory and then resell the individual units for profit. 

For this you’ll need to:

  • First, acquire inventory;
  • Then, build an online store with Shopify;
  • Next, optimize your product pages;
  • You can then promote your store to get customers;
  • Process payments and manage orders and shipping; and finally
  • Manage customer services.

So what types of things can you sell on Shopify? The platform lets you sell anything from physical items to virtual products and even services. 

Here’s a quick list of some of the best-selling products and services on the platform.

  • Physical Products
    • Clothes and accessories
    • Art
    • CBD products
    • Print books and eBooks
    • Vinyl LPs and CDs
    • Handcrafted products
    • Merch
    • Vintage items/thrift store finds
  • Digital Downloads and Products
    • Online courses
    • eBooks
    • Apps
    • Graphics/Printables
  • Services
    • Business consultations
    • One-on-one coaching
    • Event support or workshops

The biggest advantage of this business model is that it’s very clear and straightforward. It’s easy to understand and implement. 

Of course, there’s a lot of competition, but on the flipside, such a well-trodden path also means a lower barrier to entry. Best of all, Shopify provides a lot of resources to help beginners succeed which means you won’t have to go it alone.

3) Operate a Dropshipping Retail Brand

Dropshipping is a retail model that doesn’t involve any inventory. Suppliers take care of all the manual work for you, including inventory management, delivery, and customer service. 

This is a great business model to use on Shopify because it requires very little capital to start. You only purchase the product after you have already made the sale. Once the customer pays you, only then do you place the order with the supplier. 

And since you aren’t obliged to invest in inventory, as in the traditional retail business outlined above, there is much less risk involved in starting a Shopify dropshipping business. 

To get started using this monetization method for Shopify, simply search for a relevant app on the platform. Shopify has apps for everything, and you’ll find one that helps you find the best products to sell. 

Shopify also has a marketplace, Orbelo, which was developed to help independent business owners build profitable dropshipping retail brands.

Meowingtons, a dropshipping store that sells cat-themed products is an example of a brand that has achieved phenomenal success from its dropshipping store on Shopify.

One of the reasons for this store’s massive success on Shopify is its engaging layout which is combined with a lot of creative cat humor. 

The brand even gives a creative twist to boring, repetitive phrases like “Follow us on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter” as shown below: 

4) Start a Multichannel Retail Brand 

On a superficial level, multichannel retail brands are quite similar to traditional stores. You want to buy low and sell high directly to your customers, except with multichannel retail brands, you are doing this across different platforms as opposed to just one store. 

This type of business works very well because of the value it provides. With an online shop, most of the value comes from things like pricing, curation, customer support, etc. However, with a retail brand, the value is in the entire experience. 

So, for example, you might list products on your online store, but customers can also find them offline and elsewhere on the internet, such as on eBay, Amazon, Instagram, Facebook, etc.

5) Flip Turn-Key Online Stores

Although Shopify strives to simplify the process of building an online shop, some tech-challenged users still find it daunting to put a Shopify store together. 

There are a lot of things to do, including getting logos just right, organizing menus, writing product pages, setting up email and payment systems, and so on. Some people would rather not have to do all of this themselves, which presents an opportunity for you to earn money by building and selling Shopify stores. 

Shopify has an open market, Exchange Marketplace where you can buy and sell established Shopify businesses easily.

What makes this so appealing is that you can easily systematize and scale this type of business by working with a team. 

6) Build and Migrate Shopify Stores

Once you have a Shopify partner account, you can start building websites for your clients and continue making money even after transferring the store to your client. 

This is a referral structure designed to incentivize web designers to steer eCommerce clients to Shopify’s platform. By building and migrating Shopify stores, you get to make active and passive income at the same time.

7) Develop Custom Resources for Shopify Sellers

There is a huge demand for Shopify-specific content and resources. From dropship directories and fulfillment guides to inventory calculators, and more, there are tons of opportunities for you to make money helping Shopify merchants improve their stores with premium resources. 

This business model is scalable and you only have to create a resource once and you could potentially sell infinite copies. The constantly changing digital landscape means there’ll never be a shortage of opportunities. 

For example, you might consider building an app to easily integrate Shopify with Tik-Tok or any other social or eCommerce platform. 

8) Offer Custom Services for Shopify Store Merchants

Whichever direction you choose to take with Shopify, there are always a lot of options for services and compliments you can offer to Shopify sellers. 

You can offer services like:

  • Marketing services
  • Design services
  • Copywriting services
  • App development services
  • Inventory management services
  • Fulfillment services

… and much more.

You can even turn your Shopify experience into a product. 

Make the most of your expertise on the platform by creating how-to guides on your blog, or eBooks, online training courses, YouTube tutorials, or email courses detailing what you’ve learned so you can help others succeed as Shopify entrepreneurs. 

9) Solve Technical Problems for Shopify Stores

Another way to earn money on the platform is to become a Shopify Expert. Shopify is now a promising market for merchants and also for third-party eCommerce businesses and experts who provide Shopify-related resources and services.

The platform maintains a directory of experts who can help store owners with specific technical problems. This is a great place to start building a solid freelance business that will provide you with consistent monthly income. 

To get started, simply sign up as a Shopify Partner and then follow the prompts to add your name to the “Experts” directory.

You’ll be able to leverage your expertise and give guidance to help other Shopify store owners in different areas, including:  

  • SKUs and inventory setups
  • Marketing strategies
  • SEO (Search engine optimization)
  • PPC (Pay-per-click) advertising
  • Store design
  • Data analysis
  • Store development

…and so on.

10) Become an Affiliate Marketer

Shopify has a partner program which is basically a thriving ecosystem made up of freelancers who use the platform to boost their businesses and earn money through commissions. 

As Shopify continues to expand, so does the increased demand for Shopify Partners. If you are a developer, content creator, agency, etc., this program is a great way for you to make money on Shopify without building a store

Also, you don’t have to sell clients directly like the other Shopify monetization tactics outlined here.

Here are some examples of the types of creators who can benefit from this program: 

  • Theme Creators: Build and sell Shopify themes and keep 70% of your theme’s sales.
  • App Developers: Create a Shopify app, charge a subscription fee, and keep 80%.
  • Web Designers: Charge merchants to create their Shopify store (or improve their existing one) and receive 20% of their Shopify subscription EVERY month.
  • Influencers: Refer people to Shopify and get a commission for each person that signs up through your unique affiliate link.

11) Monetize Social Media Traffic

Social eCommerce involves selling directly through social media. This is a great approach that allows customers to process everything inside of existing platforms that they’re already familiar with. 

You can take advantage of this by connecting your Shopify store with different social commerce platforms, including:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Tik Tok
  • Pinterest

…and others. 

You’ll find integration apps to easily connect to different social platforms on Shopify’s App Store.

If you’ve already built a loyal following on any of these platforms, then you’ll find it a lot easier to monetize your social media traffic and turn it into a reliable income on Shopify. 

You can use an app like Shopify Lite, which is especially great for maximizing your social media presence. It allows you to insert calls to action like “Buy now” on your Facebook and Instagram posts. Followers can then click the link to purchase the specific products advertised.

Most of the larger social media platforms also have detailed analytics that will help you gain a better understanding of your customer demographics. You’ll get actionable insights that you can use to make business decisions and implement the necessary changes to meet today’s ever-changing market needs.

12) Build a Print on Demand Store

Print-on-demand is a popular retail fulfillment method that is quite similar to dropshipping. It works in basically the same way, whereby a customer buys an item (such as customized t-shirts, tote bags, books, etc.) on a retail website like Shopify. 

As soon as payment is made, the order is sent to the print provider who is responsible for stocking the physical product, printing the design, and shippping the product to the customer. 

This means that there is no need for you to worry about things like storage space, or deal with expensive local printers, large-scale shipping, etc. 

As a print-on-demand store owner, you eliminate the demand for bulk inventory so you can focus instead on the design and marketing of your product. You can connect an app like Printful to your Shopify store with large-batch production features for integrated selling on your eCommerce platform. 

Bonus Tip: Buy Shopify Shares

Technically, it’s also possible to make money on Shopify as an investor. Shopify is a publicly traded company (SHOP) that continues to get a lot of attention in the financial press. So, in addition to using Shopify as a platform, you can also buy and hold stocks to take advantage of expectations for the eCommerce giant’s future growth.

What Are the Highest Earning Shopify Sellers?

I hope by now you can see the endless possibilities that come with creating a Shopify store (or using the platform to sell your services). 

The next section of this guide on how to make money on Shopify revolves around how much can you actually earn and who the highest-earning sellers are.

Just keep in mind that the level of profitability of your Shopify store depends on a variety of factors, such as:

  • The type of business you create
  • The value of your offer(s)
  • Your profit margins
  • Your business expenses
  • The competition in your particular market
  • Your skill at promoting your store

… and various other factors.

The average income for most small, established businesses is around $1,000 – $1,500 per month. Some dropshippers earn as much as $10,000 according to a May 2022 survey from LittleData which also showed that for most Shopify businesses, the average revenue per customer was $92.

With that said, here are some of Shopify’s top earners: 

1) ColourPop Cosmetics

Website: Colourpop.com

Niche: Beauty and Makeup

Alexa: 3,311

ColourPop store is a unique cosmetic brand that stands out from the rest because of its strikingly beautiful store design and fun use of colors that brilliantly add to the overall customer experience. 

The store has crossed $4 million in revenue and has even collaborated with established brands like Disney and Sofia Nygaard which allowed the brand to generate a huge chunk of its customers through social media. 

One of the reasons why Colorpop has emerged as one of the best Shopify beauty stores is that the brand strategically uses color and elaborate product reviews as a way to attract more customers to the site. They also offer cruelty-free, vegan product options, which is a huge plus with their target audience.

2) Jeffree Star Cosmetics 

Website: Jeffreestarcosmetics.com

Niche: Beauty and Makeup

Alexa: 4,262

Jeffreestarcosmetics.com receives over 625,200 monthly visitors. The website was ranked 16,356th in the US, and 178th in the lifestyle/beauty and cosmetics niche.

The eCommerce site is powered by Shopify, with an estimated monthly traffic of 999.3 K. The site has around 175 products with an average price of $43.94 for all products. The highest priced item is $450 and the lowest is $7.20.

3) Fashion Nova 

Website: Fashionnova.com

Niche: Fashion 

Alexa: 5,015

Fashion Nova is one of the most popular eCommerce brands for fashion. It has amassed over a billion dollars in revenue and continues to grow in success thanks to its unique selling proposition (USP) of offering afordable clothes for both men and women of every shape and size. 

One of the reasons for the clothing brand’s success is due to its avoidance of the stereotypical sizing that’s offered by most other fashion brands. 

Fashion Nova makes curvy and plus-size women feel more valued as customers. They make this clear in their social media campaigns which generate even more user-generated content which they then incorporate into their overall digital marketing strategy. 

This brand also uses influencer marketing and in the past have collaborated with Cardi B and other world-famous influencers.

4) Red Dress Boutique

Website: Reddressboutique.com

Niche: Fashion and Accessories

Alexa: 8,014

RedDressBoutique is a brand that focuses on helping women dress to impress with a unique collection of stylish dresses and accessories. The brand has a huge Instagram presence and a strong fashion influencer following. 

Just a few years ago, the store owners were running a brick-and-mortar shop making $64K, and they managed to scale it into a multichannel eCommerce powerhouse that generates over $15 million in annual sales. 

Part of this success was due to the owner’s decision to re-platform from Magento, as well as the brand’s creation of a unique “Shop the Look” feature for the fashion store.

5) Gymshark

Website: Gymshark.com

Niche: Sports Apparel

Alexa: 9,848

Gymshark is another brand that re-platformed from Magento to Shopify in order to scale its online store business. 

The sports apparel company set its sights on international expansion and hasn’t looked back since. Today, Gymshark is one of the most popular sportswear retailers on Shopify. 

The brand fosters customer experiences that are second to none. Customers get immersive online-offline interactions through Shopify’s POS system, bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds while creating emotional customer experiences that foster brand loyalty.

6 Tips to Earn the Most Money From Shopify

By now, it’s clear that anyone can make money on Shopify. However, relatively few people make the most income from the platform while others can barely pay their expenses every month. 

The difference between these two groups of people is that the successful Shopify sellers follow certain best practices to achieve that level of success.

I’ve listed some of them below: 

1) Place Customer Experience Above Everything

One thing all the top-grossing Shopify stores have in common is that they offer best-in-class customer service. 

This is not surprising when you consider that the latest research shows that over 86% of customers leave a store due to poor customer experience. 

So, make sure you offer good CX in everything from:

  • Aesthetics, such as modern, minimalist store design
  • High-quality, visually appealing imagery
  • Pleasant color palletes
  • Engaging web page copy
  • Simple navigation menus
  • No annoying pop-ups
  • A chatbot to provide 24/7 assistance

2) Leverage Social Proof

Another way to achieve more success on Shopify is to have strong social proof in the form of positive customer reviews and testimonials

This impacts the minds of your customers in a powerful way. The reason for this is that people want to buy goods and services from brands that have a proven track record of happy and satisfied customers. That’s why most people read customer reviews online before purchasing a product. 

So make sure you collect ample social proof and display it prominently on your homepage as this will help to increase revenue for your Shopify store.

3) Develop a Great Marketing Plan

To succeed on Shopify, you also need to have good marketing and search engine optimization rankings. After all, you won’t make any sales if you can’t attract new people to your website. 

And while a lot of eCommerce merchants believe there is a lack of traffic, the truth is traffic is everywhere and you just need to create and follow a good marketing strategy to send traffic to your eCommerce store. 

Work to improve your SEO, marketing, guest blogging, and outreach skills and you’ll see the resulting increase in traffic to your site.

4) Boost Your Brand Appeal

One reason why so many Shopify merchants fail to make a lot of money from their stores is that they don’t have high brand value. This is yet another factor that plays a determining role in whether customers pick your store or that of your competitor. 

It goes without saying that you should always have a unique selling point that showcases YOUR value to the customer. This is especially important in dropshipping where competition is fierce. 

So boost your brand appeal and make it easier for customers to pick out your shop from the slew of other Shopify stores selling similar items.

5) Build a Community

Build a community around your product so you can easily leverage word-of-mouth marketing from your loyal customer base. 

Your community doesn’t even have to be on Shopify, it can be on any other social platform you choose. For instance, you might create a Facebook group and maintain engagement with active members while promoting your Shopify products.

6) Use Shopify’s Free Tools

As previously mentioned, Shopify provides you with a ton of free tools and resources to help you build a solid foundation for your online business. 

While working on the platform, you won’t have to search elsewhere to find solutions to many of the issues concerning building and running your online store. 

There’s also a community forum that serves as a solution library for all Shopify- or eCommerce-related issues. Whatever problem you face, you’ll find answers there, either from merchants, experts, or Shopify staff.

Wrapping Things Up

The majority of this article focused on Shopify store owners, but as you’ve seen from the tactics outlined above, there are many other ways to make money on Shopify that don’t include running a traditional online store. 

Now that you’ve read through this guide on how to make money on Shopify, you are in a better position to decide which type of monetization tactic will work well for you. 

Just remember, if you can outline your concrete goals and the problem(s) you solve for customers, then Shopify will be an excellent platform for you to promote your offerings. If you’d like to know more about how Shopify compares to other site builders, check out my Shopify vs. Squarespace comparison for more info.

Whether you want to use Shopify as a fun hobby, side hustle outside of work, a teen looking to have a side hustle of your own, or a serious business commitment that will eventually provide you with a full-time income, you now have the information you need to get started making money on the platform.

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