How To Sell On Shopify in 2021 [The Ultimate Guide]
Estimated reading time: 13 minutes.
Shopify was started in 2004.
Canadians Tobias Lütke and Scott Lake wanted to sell snowboarding equipment, but found the existing tools for ecommerce sellers too restrictive. So, they built their own.
By 2007, the company was bringing in around $8,000/month. Now, monthly revenue is closer to $20million.
As an industry leader, Shopify is constantly evolving to give customers the best experience, exceed their expectations and help sellers push boundaries.
With access to the latest technology for AR and 3D shopping experiences through payment gateway options, chatbot add-ons and personalization tools, learning how to sell on Shopify in 2021 is rife with possibilities. So where to begin?
This guide is for anyone wanting to know how to make money using Shopify this year and make the most of its opportunities, whether you are new to the platform or a seasoned pro.
Table of Contents
Let’s dive in.
Ecommerce and Shopify in 2021: What You Need to Know
Ecommerce is an industry that’s only as agile as the technology that drives it, and a lot has changed since Shopify’s birth 17 years ago.
For sellers to remain competitive in an industry boasting up to 24 million sites globally, they need to keep up with the changes.
Changes in what, exactly? Customer behavior, search intent, supply and demand, fulfilment methods, automation software - you name it. Just about every aspect of running an ecommerce business is constantly evolving.
Whilst that may feel overwhelming, it’s also the most exciting part of the industry too. It is constantly being improved.
So what are the experts predicting will be ahead for sellers this coming year, and how is Shopify stepping up to the challenge?
8 ecommerce industry trends for 2021
With more competition than ever, increasing advertising rates and changing shopping habits, ecommerce sellers need to be adaptive.
The following potential trends for this coming year are just some examples of what ecommerce sellers need to be aware of. We’ll explore how you can apply some of them to your Shopify store in this guide:
Digital optimization is a basic standard
Sellers rely on algorithms to attract attention, whether within a search engine, ecommerce platform or social media site. For a hope of standing out from the crowd, they must understand what these algorithms look for and how they can optimize for them.
Augmented reality helping buyers visualize
Some brands now allow shoppers to digitally wear their clothes or place furniture in their homes using device cameras. This solves the problem of ambiguity when buying online.
Websites offering highly personalized experiences
Adding the otherwise absent human touch to an ecommerce experience, personalization can reduce bounce rate by up to 30%.
Chatbots are the new front of house
In 2019, more than 60% of customers said they preferred having their simpler questions answered by a friendly chatbot.
Mobile remains king
It is estimated that by the end of 2021, 73% of ecommerce sales will be made via mobile devices. Mobile optimization is crucial this year.
Payment options expanding
Aligning with the experts, our analysis of popular Shopify payment gateways found that, ultimately, shoppers want options. Whilst PayPal remains a main player, it’s all about choice.
Headless commerce is solving multi-channel problems
With shoppers using so many different avenues to buy online, developers wanted to create the technology to better support sellers managing them all. Headless commerce involves a separated front and backend, connected by an API for ultimate flexibility and easy updates.
Sustainability is trending up
With the climate crisis more prevalent in the news today, consumers have new demands of brands. Customers want eco-friendly products, processes, and shipping options.
What changes has Shopify made to support sellers in 2021?
In the third quarter of 2020 alone, Shopify generated $767.4 million in revenue, a 96% increase from the same period of 2019.
One of the main reasons that Shopify remains a top ecommerce player is its constant evolution in upgrades, apps, and integrations that allow merchants access to the latest industry trends and tech.
Here are some of the latest Shopify developments of particular interest this year:
Optimized for omnichannel sellers, the new POS offers easier app management, contactless checkout, more customizations for pickups and shipping, and personalized customer profiles that collect data each time a customer shops with you. See Shopify’s announcement for more information.
Shopify AR and video
Shopify’s support of AR, 3D media and built-in video features give sellers the tools to harness the latest ecommerce technology available. Find out more about these and how to add them to your store here.
Shop Pay installments
At their Reunite 2020 event, Shopify announced the launch of a new payment method: Shop Pay installments. Essentially, Shopify’s own version of Afterpay will be integrated with the platform, allowing buyers to spread costs over four payments, and giving them another payment option at checkout. See the full article here.
Shopify is helping merchants reach customers globally and give them a personalized experience too. Merchants can set up local domains with relevant currency and language settings so that when a buyer logs in overseas, they will have a domestic version of your site. See more on this here.
These are just some of the updates made in the last year by Shopify to help its merchants stay ahead of the game. It’s a pretty exciting time to be a Shopify seller!
Shopify Store Ideas: What to Sell on Shopify to Make Money
For keen entrepreneurs who see the value of selling and making money using Shopify but have no idea what products sell best, a little research goes a long way.
Where to find Shopify store ideas
- What’s currently selling well on the platform? (And what typically doesn’t sell well too).
- What’s currently selling well online to your target market?
- Are there any gaps or niches in those popular product industries?
Check out this helpful video from Deliverr about conducting product research for Shopify:
Shopify’s own blog, 12 Trending Products to Sell in 2021, lists the following suggestions:
- Peel-off face masks: According to the research presented in this article, face masks are regularly searched for on Google, Amazon and YouTube, so you know the demand is out there.
- Nail polish: This search term took off again in March last year with innovative new texture and effect products re-energizing the market.
- Exercise bands: With COVID-19 forcing us all indoors, at-home gym equipment is on the rise, with exercise bands proving particularly popular.
- Reusable water bottles: In line with what we know about sustainability, it’s no surprise that this staple would be a top choice and is searched for often.
- Blankets: With high profit margins, blankets have become objects of home decor as well as cozy insulators for our Netflix nights in.
- Yoga and pilates mats: With a global rise in mindfulness awareness and practice, the yoga mat industry is predicted to be worth around $17.3 billion by 2025.
- Kayak accessories: Kayaking popularity rises year on year, with Google Trends showing spikes just before summer and then after the festive season.
- Jigsaw puzzles: Google Trends saw a massive spike in searches just after lockdown was announced in the US, with continual growth expected.
- Kitchen and dining furniture: Searches related to this category spiked with people staying at home more in 2020.
- Rugs: Reaching its peak interest in the last five years, perhaps increased searches for rugs has something to do with the home improvements trend we are seeing.
- Board games: Another at-home entertainment option, board games have been getting hundreds of thousands of monthly searches.
- Laptop skins: Their popularity wavers but when it’s hot, it’s hot. And apparently, it’s up again right now.
It’s easy to see how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted shopping behavior. This is a great example of how agile ecommerce sellers need to be.
When looking for Shopify niche ideas, expert ecommerce marketer Neil Patel suggests throwing out the money element for a second and thinking about your passion.
Starting there and building your strategy around something you care about will help you remain committed to your business when times get tough. See Neil Patel’s 10 steps to finding your ecommerce niche here.
How to Start a Successful Shopify Store Today
Now that we’ve seen how Shopify is helping its sellers stay on top for 2021, let’s talk about the startup process and what that looks like today.
Here we’ll cover the basic practical steps, and where appropriate, share some insider info about taking your Shopify biz to the next level this year.
The basics: a checklist
In this video, Shopify takes you through the basics of setup and shows you how to navigate your Shopify account.
It covers choosing themes, adding products, creating collections, custom domains, creating pages, managing your navigation menus, payment gateways, tax settings, shipping and adding Shopify sales channels.
It also talks about creating policies for your business and marketing opportunities:
The next level: optimization
If you want to run a successful, growing Shopify business, you will struggle to do it alone. And by alone, we mean without leveraging the wealth of tools and resources on the market to help you.
Optimization is all about understanding what contributes to success and adjusting your strategy to match.
Whether it’s analytics to learn about your customers and tweak your strategies, SEO to help your customers find you, or automation to cover some of your tasks for you, you’ll need help somewhere.
Ways to optimize your Shopify store:
- Use Google Analytics to learn more: In our blog How to Add Google Analytics to Shopify, we discuss how tracking customer data can help you predict their behavior and ensure you capitalize on every opportunity. See the blog for why and how to implement Google Analytics.
- SEO for your titles and descriptions: If you want to show up in search results for free, you’ll need to understand what algorithms are looking for in your listings, and where. Do your keyword and long tail keyword research, make sure your listings are informative and easy to read, and write to your target audience. See Shopify’s help section on SEO here.
- Automation to free up your time: You need free time in order to grow, and automation is the key to more free time. You can automate any number of elements of your Shopify store to listings, fulfilment, inventory management, accounting, tax collection and more. For instructions on how to create an automation strategy, prioritize what you automate first, and recommendations for software, check out our blog.
If you want to expand your Shopify sales channels, optimizing your business will depend on the channel. Make sure you learn about each and how to adjust your strategy to match as you go.
The upper echelons: new technology
In our section above on ecommerce and Shopify in 2021, we discussed the ways that Shopify makes the latest trends and tech available to its merchants.
Aside from personalization options, chatbot add-ons and the other things we mentioned, let’s talk a little bit about the top of the line apps for 3D and augmented reality.
They’re hot for 2021, if you can and want to integrate these into your store, you’re sure to give customers a great impression of your brand and its commitment to premium customer experience.
Remember to keep these two key elements in mind when choosing whether to invest in these awesome technologies: product + target audience.
If the tech solution doesn’t fit both of those, don’t force it.
Will it add value and make sense for your business?
If the answer to these is yes then, great! You’re a perfect fit for using 3D and/or AR to bring your Shopify product pages to life.
For an in-depth introduction to AR/VR for Shopify from the engineers themselves, check out this video:
Can You Close or Pause a Shopify Store?
Yes, you can. It’s easy to pause or close your Shopify store should you want to take a break or step away from your business altogether.
Simply navigate to Account > Store Status and select the route you wish to take.
There are a number of things you should be aware of before pausing or closing your store which may affect your business in the long term.
To find out what these are and see more detailed instructions, check out our blog How to Cancel, Close or Pause Your Shopify Store here.
A2X: A Lifesaver for Shopify Sellers
A thriving business depends on accurate accounting.
Whether you’re comfortable with managing finances or a total amateur, using software for your ecommerce bookkeeping could be the difference between sink and swim. And if you’re keen to grow as quickly as you can, automating this part of your business helps to ensure you make informed decisions with calculated risk.
Shopify sellers have numerous income and outgoings to keep track of: fees, costs of goods sold, shipping charges, returns and reimbursements, sales tax and more. The bank deposits sent from Shopify to your bank account represent multiple line items which you will need to manually calculate to understand the health of your business.
But not with A2X.
By connecting A2X to Shopify and your accounting software, this huge task is done for you automatically. Your settlements are organized by month, transaction details are grouped into journal summaries, and every amount you need to match and reconcile your books is provided. Imagine how much time you could save.
Why would you do it yourself when you don’t have to?
Start a Shopify Store FAQs
Can you make money on Shopify?
It’s easy to make money with Shopify if you do your research. By taking the time to customize your store, research your products and customers, optimize your listings, find a scalable fulfilment option and expand your Shopify sales channels, there’s no reason why you can’t have a successful Shopify business in 2021.
How do I make my Shopify store live?
Make sure you have set up your store domain and removed any front-end blocks. Go to Sales Channels > Domains and set your primary domain. Ensure your store is not paused, has no storefront password protections and your shop should be live.
How do I get rid of “Powered by Shopify”?
For removing powered by Shopify, go to Online Store > Themes, find the theme you want to edit and select Actions > Edit languages. In the Filter translations box, type “powered”. In the Powered by Shopify box, type a single space and click Save.
See these instructions with screenshots here:
Can you change your Shopify store name?
You can change your store name but not the URL that was created with it when you originally built your store, i.e. my-store-name.myshopify.com.
You don’t have to keep this domain as your primary, public-facing domain, however. So if you change your store name, you can create a custom domain and set that one as public-facing. Your original domain would just be used when contacting Shopify support to identify you. See Shopify’s help pages on managing domains here.
Also on the blog
- The A2X Shopify Accounting Hub
- Buyers’ Guide to Shopify Automation
- How to Get Reconciled Shopify POS Accounting
- How to Fulfil Orders on Shopify
- Guide to Shopify Fulfilment Network
- How to Collect Shopify Sales Tax
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