If you’ve got capital to invest then buying an established Shopify store can be the fastest way to start making back that investment and some more however it also comes with it’s own risks and challenges. If you’re looking to buy a shopify store then here is my advice on where to buy established businesses safely.
Not ready to buy a store? Learn how to start your own.
Drop Ship Model
Most Shopify stores that ultimately end up for sale operate on a drop shipping model and rely solely on paid ads to generate sales. This is a very risky business to buy as you’re effectively buying a Facebook or Instagram page and a few ads that perform well. The products will likely be shipped from a well known supplier or platform (Aliexpress) and the store will be using a high converting Shopify theme.
I recommend buying a business that has an established monthly revenue and profit for at least 6 months. I regularly see eCom courses telling their users to flog their stores after 1-2 months revenue but this isn’t long enough to ensure you’re buying an established business. Anything less than 3 months I call a startup. 12+ months is a good time to ensure a business has an established revenue.
Actual Net Profit
Sales revenue does not equal profit despite what the seller tells you. You need to skim over the revenue as it means very little if the cost of goods sold and expenses are super high. For example $100k revenue per month does not mean $100k spending money for your personal life. If the costs are $99k per month, the business is making $1,000 monthly.
Unfortunately when selling an online business, sales revenue seems to be the baseline for what people sell them for. As a seller this is good but as a buyer of a Shopify store it’s a real pain.
20-30X Price Point
Most sellers work on a 20-30X to arrive at their sales price. If a seller is trying to sell for more than this then it’s usually a sign to run for the hills unless you’re getting something benefical such as trademarks or stock. If not then try and find a 23-27X which is what most businesses seem to sell for these days.
Many stores for sale never actually installed Google Analytics. This is a big red flag and everyone knows it as Analytics is used by pretty much every serious website out there. If you’re thinking of buying a store you want to get the seller to add you to the Google analytics dashboard so you can confirm the traffic sources and popular products/pages yourself.
Far too often you’ll find out of a traffic source that is controlled by the vendor and once the site has sold you’ll lose access to this. For example a PBN network or a Instagram profile they own (unrelated to the business) or even paid ads on other websites (social media etc).
Has the drop ship store been spammed or has the seller bought tons of shitty Fiverr links to rank them high on Google or Bing? If so this is another red flag as you’ll probably get penalized at some point in the future. The only sure fire way to check if a site is clean is to use a service such as Ahrefs, Moz or Semrush and check the backlinks and anchor text.
Buy A Shopify Store
Now you know everything to look out for when buying a Shopify business online you can go ahead and checkout the following places we recommend to buy a store from.
If you haven’t heard of Flippa then you should really go and check them out now as they are the number one marketplace for small to medium sized online businesses. They also offer a startup section and new websites which are ones with no sales or revenue. You’ll need to exercise extreme caution buying websites here as all vendors are individuals and no vetting or checking has been carried out.
They do offer the ability to check which websites have confirmed their Google Analytics and Adsense (if applicable) figures through their integration app however as I mentioned earlier fake analytics are all too common.
You’ll want to read through the description, sales figures, revenue figures, attachments and of course follow along in the comments section and direct any questions directly to the vendor. Also get added to Analytics and ensure you’re fully aware of what you’re buying before placing a bid.
Flippa claims to have sold millions of dollars of websites over the last few websites. I guess they are like the eBay of buying websites and most sales are genuine however there are a few rogue traders taking full advantage of new website buyers on the platform.
I sold many websites for <$10,000 before so I can confirm it’s legitimate.
Quite possibly the biggest website brokerage in the world, Empire Flippers has gone from strength to strength and sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of websites. Just last week they sold a website for $1.8 million that was making $30k per month. If you’re looking for the best quality stores and have money to invest at a 25-30X revenue then you should skip Flippa and come straight to Empire Flippers.
Most websites featured on this platform are free to view but the domain and profit/loss statements are always hidden until you pay a fully refundable deposit of 10% of the sales price up to $10,000. You can use this towards a discount on the actual sale price if you do buy the business or put it towards seeing another business you might like. Alternatively it’s fully refundable and it helps keep the tyre kickers out of their platform.
The heavy price points are reflected in the commission Empire Flippers charge their sellers and the due diligence that was done before it was listed on their platform. If you want to be 99% sure you’re buying an established business with genuine sales and revenue then you should be using Empire Flippers.
I sold a website on here for $120,000 so confirm they are the real deal.
Another place to buy your shopify store is using the official exchange created by Shopify. As a Shopify store owner it’s the perfect place to list your business but as buyer you need to be extremely cautious as information provided to you is extremely limited. The descriptions are often fairly short and the revenue, profits are simply manually entered by the vendor.
There’s no profit/loss downloads like you get with Flippa and Empire Flippers and it would be very easy for you to trip up on some of the information provided before purchasing a store. The revenue figures are confirmed by Shopify as all revenue did go through their platform.
If you do decide to purchase a store, Shopify does make it very easy to transfer this into your own Shopify account within minutes. Of course the ads, customer base and product information is the critical part that wouldn’t be transferred on the platform.
No experience using this platform.
Believe it or not there are actual website deals to be had on eBay. I picked up an established business on there once for only 4X revenue as the seller had absolutely no idea about other platforms out there to sell their business on. I simply checkout eBay every few weeks and use keywords such as ‘website for sale’ or ‘buy my business.’
Times are tough and many people have hit rock bottom on their online businesses and simply want to offload them to go back to doing something more productive with their time so you can buy a Shopify store on eBay.
Bought a website for <$5,000 before so perfectly legitimate.
The last website to checkout is businessesforsale and they are primarily a real estate and physical business platform however they have a websites section that many small web stores often get published on. You may also find some larger websites here. Take note there is a lot of shit on this website such as people selling pre made website templates for $10,000.
You’ll need to do your research and ensure you’re buying a legitimate business.
I have no experience with this platform.