15 Ways How to Make Money on Shopify in 2024

One of the biggest questions that people ask when times are hard or when they want to boost their income is how they can make more money online. After all, in the age of high-speed internet and side hustles, it’s easy to increase our incomes from the comfort of our own homes. These days, selling goods and services online is one of the easier options.

With that said, not all online retailing options are created equal. Some of them, like building your custom website from scratch, are time-consuming and expensive. In addition, you must worry about questions like inventory and the cost of selling your goods and services. One of the best ways to reduce your workload is learning how to make money on Shopify.

Start Making Money on Shopify

Simply put, Shopify is an ecommerce platform that lets you design your own website, list your goods and services, and handle orders, payments, and other logistical aspects of running an e-commerce business. With some service levels, you can even manage online advertising or social selling.

Learning how to make money on Shopify is relatively easy. That’s because this content management system is designed for people with relatively little technical expertise. And while some heavyweight brands use Shopify, it’s really set up for small to medium-sized retailers without a large IT staff (if any). Therefore, it’s easy to use and low maintenance. Spend time doing what you love rather than endless site maintenance.

If you choose Shopify for your store, you won’t be alone. Currently, there are over 4 million stores from around the world that are powered by Shopify. Similarly, there are over 2 million people who use this tool every day. That doesn’t even count the millions more who make purchases from these stores regularly. This is one reason why if you know how to make money on Shopify, you can get many customers quickly.

How to Set Up Your Shopify Store

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Naturally, one of the most important aspects of how to make money on Shopify is setting up your account and your store. How you set everything up will help determine whether or not your website operates smoothly. That’s because issues like insufficient bandwidth or too few features can hamper your website’s growth. On the other hand, you don’t want to pay for a lot of features that you don’t need.

Decide what you want to sell, and to whom

Before you start setting up your Shopify store, it’s important to have a product and a strategy. It’s well-known that most startup businesses fail, and one reason for this is a lack of focus and proper planning on the part of its owners. Another issue is cash flow, but that goes beyond the scope of our article.

Often, choosing your products can seem overwhelming. There are many options available, both in terms of merchandise type and product assortment. For example, you might decide to sell clothing, hobby supplies, sports equipment, shoes, or a host of other products. The level of competition in the market and the uniqueness of your products have a significant impact on the viability of your business, so choose carefully.

By far, the best thing you can do regarding how to make money on Shopify is market research. First, think about what you’re interested in. If you are a sports fanatic, then sporting goods may be a great option for you. On the other hand, somebody few never plays or watches sports should probably pick a different niche.

Once you’ve chosen the right product, you need to think about your niche and your target market. For instance, if you love a certain aesthetic, like vintage clothing, then make your appeal to like-minded consumers. You may also choose a different but related niche if your favorite market is overcrowded. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s as sustainable and competitive as possible.

Create your Shopify account

Compared to deciding what you’d like to sell, setting up your Shopify account is pretty easy. To get started, all you have to do is go to their website and click on “Create an account” in the top right-hand corner. Simply fill out the necessary information, and you’re done.

Part of the account setup process is deciding on your service plan. Shopify has several options, each with different pricing. However, chances are that if you’re first starting out, you’re fine with a basic plan. The good news is that unless you sign up for an annual plan, you can change your service tier at any time. Critically, all plans come with payment processing and marketing functions.

Designing your store

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A relatively difficult aspect of how to make money on Shopify is setting up your store. One of the worst tendencies for a new shop owner is to crowd products onto the same page in an endless scroll. But this will annoy your customers and drive them elsewhere. Instead, make your website aesthetically pleasing. You should showcase the product with adequate pictures and an accurate product description so that people can easily determine if the product is something they want to buy.

Another consideration is easy navigation. While this isn’t a major issue if your store only has a few products, as your shop grows, it’s important to break products down into categories. For instance, if you sell shoes for the whole family, you should have a category for men, women, and children right away. Later on, you might find that you need more categories, such as dress shoes, sandals, and sneakers.

Finally, you need to set up your payment methods. Shopify gives everyone access to PayPal payments by default. However, you may decide that you want to add other options, such as credit cards independent of PayPal, buy now pay later companies or even a crypto wallet. Shopify has an extensive page on how to set these up.

Choose some extras

While the basic features of a Shopify account will get you started, you probably want to add some extra functionality. For example, you can get an add-on that will give customers single-use discount codes that are tied to their email addresses. This prevents people from publishing all your discount codes and getting a lot of discounted merchandise. Other options include pop-up generators that alert customers when an item is low in stock, or some other action needs to be taken.

Both of these options help with how to make money on Shopify by minimizing the improper use of discount codes and by encouraging people to buy before their favorite item sells out. Creating a sense of urgency is a time-tested way to increase sales. Other options include marketing tools , extra security, and more.

15 Ideas for Making Money on Shopify

Of course, there’s a lot more to how to make money on Shopify than simply setting up an account and waiting for the money to pour in. Instead, you need some sort of product. These can be tangible goods, digital content or products, and even services. Each of these options has different advantages, disadvantages, and techniques.

1. Create a custom apparel store

1. Create a custom apparel store

Whether it’s the classic grandmother shirt or elaborate artwork, people love custom apparel. With some creativity and the right equipment or connections, you can create custom designs for t-shirts, hoodies, hats, and more.

Here, the idea is to offer a personalized experience for customers with unique designs and messages. In particular, hats and T-shirts are wildly popular for commemorating an event, identifying a group, or even doing some advertising.

Even better, you don’t have to get all your designs from customers or your personal creativity. There’s an opportunity to expand your business by partnering with influencers, businesses, or events to create custom merchandise. The options are almost unlimited.

2. Sell digital products such as e-books, music, or software

Another option is to sell e-books, podcasts, apps, themes, or NFTs on Shopify. People love these products because they have a lot of meaning and do not pick up a lot of space. For instance, NFTs our digital artwork that can be bought and sold like a painting, but they don’t take up any space. Likewise, e-books and audio products can easily fit on a mobile device to consume on the go.

Naturally, this method for how to make money on Shopify has a locked of seller benefits. For instance, you don’t need to worry about inventory, shipping, or packaging. You can email the content itself or a link to a hosted copy once people pay for the item. This technique has been used for a long time, and it’s incredibly convenient for customers. Merchants also benefit because most of the emails can be automated, and you will ultimately create a passive form of income.

3. Start a subscription-based service offering monthly products

If you love to try something new and share it with your friends, then you might like the subscription box method of how to make money on Shopify. You can start a subscription box business on Shopify using apps like ReCharge or Bold Subscriptions, which will manage your automated order by collecting the money and telling your fulfillment provider to send the products.

One of the best ways to make a lot of money with subscription boxes is customer loyalty. Many companies have a hard time convincing their customers to try something new. But if you’re sending out fresh products every month, there’s an incentive for customers to try, but they’ve already paid for. Plus, you can offer a discount on products featured in that month’s box.

This technique can work with almost any niche or tangible product type.

4. Sell vintage items

Sell vintage items

With today’s emphasis on sustainability, vintage items are more popular than ever. Yet, even without the environmental emphasis, many people love vintage items because they are often unique and create an image of the bygone days. And these items often have an increasingly rare quality. For this reason, quality vintage items are often easy to sell.

To implement this method of how to make money on Shopify, and you’ll need to find these special items. There are many places you can look, such as thrift stores, flea markets, and estate sales. Be sure to select items that are still in good condition and of high quality.

While you really will find items that are very valuable, the right audience will spend significant amounts of money on a top-quality vintage piece. Therefore, you may be able to realize a high-profit margin. However, it may take longer to move your merchandise because unique items must find the right buyer.

5. Sell second-hand items

Not secondhand items for sale online need to be vintage. Sometimes, it’s enough to sell gently used items at a discounted price. Not only does this help reduce waste by promoting the reuse of products, but it also helps households with less money live well. With Shopify, you can easily offer a wide variety of items, from clothing to electronics to furniture. Just keep in mind that larger items are more difficult to ship, and plan accordingly.

6. Offer a drop shipping service

It used to be that in order to have any type of stock, you would need plenty of storage space for inventory. Fortunately, if you want to sell brand-new items, this is no longer true. Drop shipping lets you partner with a supplier and sell their products through your online store without keeping inventory. For instance, many drop shippers buy products through an agreement with AliExpress. Then, when a customer orders something, the drop shipping partner fulfills the order.

One of the best advantages of this approach is the reduced risk and investment, as you don’t need to hold inventory or manage fulfillment. You simply sell the product for a lot more than what you are paying the supplier. This approach also increases the variety of products you can offer since there’s no need for warehouse space.

7. Create a custom printing service

Create a custom printing service

Another great idea of how to make money on Shopify is to create custom designs for customers and print them on t-shirts, mugs, posters, and more. Many influencers and Youtube personalities design merchandise for sale to their customers, and you can easily do this yourself. The difference is that you won’t necessarily be selling your personality.

In addition, you’ll probably have access to a wider product range. Here, the idea is to offer a personalized experience for customers with unique designs and messages. And with such an emphasis on authenticity, people love things that are unique. You may even want to expand your business by partnering with influencers, businesses, or events to create custom merchandise. There are a lot of options with this technique.

8. Sell health and beauty products

These days, many people are suspicious of mass-produced products. Additionally, the events of the past few years have made us more determined than ever to practice self-care. To capitalize on this trend, you can sell natural or organic products that promote health and wellness. You can also offer a wide variety of products, from skincare to supplements to fitness equipment.

Want to really grow your business? Provide customers with a one-stop shop for all their health and beauty needs. Customer loyalty and repeat purchases are extremely valuable for your new business, and this is especially true for shops that sell this type of product. Plus, some of the products, like cosmetics and skincare, have a very high profit margin.

9. Sell eco-friendly products

These days, people think a lot about sustainability and the reduction of waste. The last few years, in particular, have shown us how well we can make do with what we have. To capitalize on this trend, you can offer eco-friendly and sustainable products that promote environmentally friendly practices. For instance, you might choose products that have been made in a more environmentally friendly way, or let people reduce waste.

By offering eco-friendly products, you will target a fast-growing market. Even people who aren’t into renewable energy or electric cars often appreciate being able to use less. You can choose almost any type of product, from clothing and shoes to accessories, housewares, and even personal care products. The possibilities are almost endless.

10. Offer personalized gifts

Sometimes, the best gifts are simple yet personalized. There’s a certain thoughtfulness about a mug or something similar with, for example, the names of someone’s grandchildren. You can also create personalized gifts for special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, or holidays. Many families will create a T-shirt design for everybody to wear during a family reunion. Frequently, the designs are quite simple, but the keepsake will be treasured for years.

While tees and mugs are among the most common options, you can also offer a range of products from jewelry to home decor to pet accessories. Some of them are more difficult to customize, so they may involve longer lead times. However, if you offer the right item at the right price, then the longer lead time will be less of an issue.

11. Offer custom jewelry

A really nice method of how to make money on Shopify is to create custom jewelry designs for customers. Back in the 90s, big, bold designs in the shape of a name were all the rage. And while many are understated, many 90s stalls are making a comeback. For this reason, you may have significant potential for growth over the next few years. Also, there’s an opportunity to expand your business by partnering with influencers or creating custom pieces for events.

To be successful at this technique, you’ll need enough basic styles to please a range of tastes. At the same time, good customer service and a commitment to quality at the relevant price point are very important.

12. Sell craft supplies

Sell a wide variety of craft supplies from fabric to yarn to beads, model-making equipment, and even fabric paint. Many people enjoy crafting during their free time, and it’s becoming more common in a world where people need to manage their stress. Also, making crafts is something people primarily do with disposable income.

By offering various craft supplies, you will cater to a specific market niche of crafters and hobbyists. There’s a love of quality and creativity in this market segment, meaning that they’ll often want something unique and special. In addition, this market niche typically has a higher profit margin.

Finally, you can expand your business by creating tutorials or courses. Tutorials are a great opportunity for content marketing, and you can post these for free on YouTube or other platforms. They can also double as a second income stream if you monetize your channel. Courses would generally be another product line that people pay for. Shopify has payment support for this type of product.

13. Enroll as a Shopify affiliate marketer

A relatively easy aspect of how to make money on Shopify is to become an affiliate marketer. That is, you can promote Shopify on your website or social media channels and earn a commission on sales made through your unique affiliate link.

There are several reasons that this approach is beneficial. First, you have reduced risk and investment as you don’t need to hold inventory or manage shipping logistics. Instead, you can talk about how Shopify helps you run your store or membership site. Many affiliate marketers create content that will help with SEO and conversion. In other words, this is an opportunity to earn passive income with minimal effort and almost no risk.

Further Reading: Shopify Affiliate Marketing: How to Leverage Influencers to Grow Your Shopify Store

14. Sell online courses

While most people think about Shopify as a place to sell tangible goods, this is only one aspect of how to make money on Shopify. Many Shopify users also create and sell online courses on a wide variety of topics, from cooking to marketing to programming, using apps like Teachable or Thinkific. Essentially, you can sell a course about nearly any topic you can think of, so long as you have the expertise.

This option lets you offer customers an opportunity to learn and improve their skills from the comfort of their own homes. And if you also sell tangible products that are related to your courses, such as craft materials or kitchen gadgets, then your two lines of business will help each other.

Of course, you don’t have to do everything yourself. This is an opportunity to expand your business by partnering with other educators or experts in your field. At the same time, bringing in other experts is a form of influencer marketing that can help your business grow.

15. Offer consulting services

Finally, you can offer consulting services in a specific area of expertise, such as marketing, finance, or business strategy, using apps like BookThatApp or Sesami. Shopify is a versatile platform that can let you sell almost anything online. Using these extra apps lets you provide clients with personalized advice and solutions to their business challenges.

Also, there’s an opportunity to expand your business by offering additional services or partnering with other consultants in complementary areas. Over time, you’ll become an important thought leader whom people seek out for advice.

How to Drive Traffic to Your Shopify Store

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Even the best Shopify store needs traffic from organic search, referrals, and advertising. After all, if people don’t visit your website, they won’t buy anything from you. A store without traffic will ultimately go out of business.

However, there are many ways to drive traffic to your website. Each of these can be used in conjunction with the others, and has different strengths and weaknesses.

SEO

Your first technique is search engine optimization, or SEO. This is the practice of making your website easy for search engines to understand and categorize. Ultimately, the goal is to be on the first page of Google for your target keywords, which will give you a lot of organic traffic.

Sadly, SEO is a relatively difficult technique. That’s because the field is very competitive, and there are relatively frequent algorithm changes on Google. Practically speaking, this means that if the more basic SEO strategies are not working well for you, you may need to hire an SEO agency or marketing firm to help you with this.

Further Reading: Shopify SEO Checklist: 11+ SEO Tasks to Increase Store Sales without Paid Ads

Social media

Another option is social media. Depending on your niche, this can be relatively easy to execute. I have several articles on the topic of social media marketing, in which I present many different techniques. However, the big thing to remember is that the most effective social media marketing will build a community around your brand. And because people pay people (or, in this case, brands), they typically buy from a familiar source whenever possible.

One of the great things about social media marketing, in general, is that there’s a lot of flexibility in terms of content format, medium, and other factors. To be effective with social media marketing, you need to work with those platforms that are most attractive to your ideal customer. For instance, if you want to sell to GenZ, TikTok is a good choice. On the other hand, Facebook is great for an older audience, and YouTube works for almost anyone.

Further Reading: 10 Ways to Leverage Social Media in eCommerce

Email marketing

Generally speaking, email marketing is one of the most effective techniques overall. It has a very high return on investment, in part because people like getting emails from their favorite brands. Furthermore, you’re not limited to just sending coupons. Rather, many e-commerce brands send out new product announcements, newsletters, and customer education articles.

Another form of email marketing is a triggered campaign. One of the most common examples is an abandoned cart email. Because many consumers will place items in their carts and forget about them, an abandoned cart email can help recover some of those nearly-lost purchases by reminding customers to take another look. These are highly effective and, therefore, popular. You can use an email marketing tool to accomplish this or look for a Shopify app that may help.

Further Reading: How to Leverage Ecommerce Email Marketing to Increase Your Sales (with 14 Examples)

Influencer marketing

Another powerful technique for generating traffic is influencer marketing. This is where you collaborate with someone who has a significant social media following or who is a major voice in your industry. The influencer will discuss your products, demonstrate their use, or cooperate with you to make a new product. You’ll also see influencers creating branded content for you, such as a giveaway or other event. There are a lot of ways you can use this technique.

Further Reading: Shopify Collabs: The Definitive App for Ecommerce Influencer Marketing

Paid advertising

Finally, there are various paid advertising techniques. Using AdSense or other services, you can place pay per click ads for your website’s target keywords. You can even use some secondary keywords to get your name out in public.

Similarly, you can buy display ads on other people’s websites or on social media. These can get rather expensive, but they are a nice way to promote a sale or announce a new product. Plus, getting those early customers for your new Spotify site is often relatively difficult. Spending a little money on paid advertising can get you some decent ROI.

How to Convert Visitors into Customers

An important part of how to make money on Shopify is converting your site visitors into customers. This is important because if people visit and don’t buy anything, you will go out of business as surely as if people didn’t visit at all. Short of this, if you have a poor conversion rate than you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. Therefore, it’s important to maximize your conversion rate and increase profitability.

There are several ways that you can turn visitors into customers, a process that we marketers refer to as a sales funnel. One of the best ways is with product reviews because potential customers can see that other people have tried a certain product and found it to be useful. Otherwise, they’re just looking at another competing product from a Shopify store.

Another technique is offering a discount, either on their first purchase or when it looks like they might abandon their cart. For example, I know of a clothing store where if you put items in your cart and then navigate away from the cart, you’ll get a pop-up that offers a discount. Similarly, many websites offer a discount code for that first purchase.

Similarly, you can try and offer an upsell, such as a product bundle. Not only does this offer a better value to the customer, but it also increases your average ticket price and increases your profit per customer. These techniques are very effective and frequently turn merely curious people into repeat customers.

How to Retain Customers and Increase Loyalty

Think your job is done when you fulfill someone’s first order? Think again. Many other e-commerce brands would love to get their business the next time. And as a business owner, one of your major expenses is new customer acquisition. To get the most bang for your buck, you need to turn first-time customers into regulars and regulars into loyalists.

There are several ways to accomplish this task. First, you can use email marketing to send both transactional emails and a thank-you discount for the next order. These techniques build a connection with your customer and encourage them to try something else.

Similarly, you want a good customer service program. Although only a small percentage of orders will experience problems, if your company does a poor job of handling the issues, then it becomes a reason for people to look elsewhere the next time. Worse, you might receive a bad review or a report to the Better Business Bureau.

Another option is a loyalty program. There are many ways to structure these, but most of them provide perks for customers who spend more money with a company. Sometimes the perks are discounts, and in other cases, you might offer freebies. Each of these opportunities incentivizes customer loyalty by offering your best customers a more advantageous deal. Generally, you will receive a significant return on investment.

Finally, you can incentivize referrals. Frequently, an e-commerce brand will do this by offering a discount for every person that’s referred. Sometimes, they’ll also use a freebie or a discount for the person who make a referral. Essentially, the referral technique is a small-scale version of influencer marketing, because it leverages individual relationships.

Conclusion

The question of how to make money on Shopify has many answers. For instance, you can sell a huge variety of products, from clothing and shoes all the way to hardware and home goods. Plus, you can sell these items at any level of quality or price to accommodate your target audience. This high level of flexibility lets business owners use Shopify to reach almost any segment of society.

Similarly, you can sell various services using a Shopify storefront. Different apps can help you deliver products and manage subscriptions. There’s even an option to offer both products and services on the same website. However, no matter what you sell, it’s important to attract traffic, convert your leads into customers, and then earn customer loyalty. Otherwise, you’ll ultimately have nothing.

Fortunately, by following these techniques, you should be able to build a thriving business with Shopify.

Further Reading: 10 Ways How to Make Money with Ecommerce Today

Photo by Roberto Cortese on Unsplash

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

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