Floship blog readers are no strangers to the value of online marketplaces. Nor to the power of ecommerce.
But for entrepreneurs looking to grow traffic and sales quickly, did you know that you can buy a ready-made Shopify business all set up and ready to go?
The Shopify marketplace, or the Exchange Marketplace to give it its proper name, is where Shopify store owners offer their ecommerce websites for sale to interested buyers.
In this Shopify Exchange review, get the lowdown on how to find a Shopify store that could take your ecommerce business to the next level practically overnight…
What is the Exchange Marketplace?
Shopify Exchange exclusively features Shopify stores for sale. Over 4000 of them currently.
Merchants and buyers meet here to buy or sell a Shopify store as they would any other commodity.
Why would merchants want to sell their stores if they’re profitable? Is it only unprofitable stores for sale?
No. merchants sell for a variety of reasons. Some entrepreneurs build stores up specifically to sell them (flipping); others want to exit the business to focus on another one; some take up employment and can no longer find the time to run their store, and others find out that it’s simply not for them.
Of the over 500,000-plus Shopify stores currently in business, just a fraction of them are for sale.
Some are firmly established and priced at hundreds of thousands or over a million dollars. But most are smaller stores, dropshipping type businesses that carry no inventory or starter stores (with revenue less than $100) that you can pick up for a few thousand dollars or less.
Benefits of buying an existing store
The reasons to buy an existing store are as varied as the reasons to sell.
You might consider buying a Shopify store if you’re looking at:
- Kick-start your online presence – maybe you’re an eBay or Amazon merchant looking to take the step up with your own store and start omnichannel selling?
- Create a new revenue stream without starting up from scratch
- Expand into other areas within your main market (e.g. your main market may be men’s fashion and you are looking to buy a men’s ties and belts accessories store)
- Receive an instant traffic boost through buying a complementary Shopify store to the one you’re currently running (e.g. ladies’ bags and ladies’ shoes may have a similar target market)
An existing store may be particularly attractive if you want to avoid some of the legwork of starting up a business from scratch: planning, naming, establishing, and promoting your store can take up significant time.
Whatever your reason to get into ecommerce – or go deeper into it – the Shopify marketplace may be the place to make it happen.
But only if you do your research and go through the steps to find a store suitable for your needs.
How to find and choose Shopify stores for sale
The following steps walk you through how to find the right Shopify store for sale…
Research your options carefully
The Exchange Marketplace features 4000 businesses. Most of these won’t be what you’re looking for.
Fortunately, the marketplace allows you to filter your searches using many different key criteria. You can search listings by:
- Selling price
- Business type
- Business health
Use the available resources to narrow down your searches and make your research a little easier.
Shortlist the candidates
You should have a fairly clear idea on the price you can afford to pay, as well as the business type and industry you’re targeting.
Also consider how much time and effort you can invest in the business, as this will affect your choice.
Then start drawing up a shortlist of candidate businesses from your research.
Forensic analysis of your shortlist
For each candidate store, drill down into the details. A simple click through from the main search results gives you important information in the following areas:
- Asking price (negotiable)
- The business description
- Performance statistics – revenue, traffic, sales
- What the sale actually includes
Most key information is pulled directly from Shopify’s own statistics, so it holds up to scrutiny. Just be wary of the store’s profit claims as this can be edited by the store owner.
Make an offer
When you’ve found the store that’s right for you, it’s time to make an offer to the owner.
If the business is valued at less than $5000, simply set up an account and start communicating with the owner through Shopify Exchange.
If the asking price is over $5,000, you’ll need to provide some more information to Shopify Exchange before contacting the seller.
If the business asking price is over $20,000, it’s a condition that you connect your LinkedIn profile to your Exchange account.
Then negotiate with the owner. If they won’t come down on the price, try to get more inclusions – maybe extra marketing assets or inventory.
You could even ask for social accounts if they’ve followed a solid social strategy and grown those too.
Arrange transfer of the business
Offer accepted? Shopify then makes it easy to transfer the business over to the satisfaction of both the buyer and the seller.
They’ll send instructions to follow and will manage the entire transaction, using their trusted partner, Escrow.com. In this way, the funds are only released when both parties are happy with the terms of the deal.
The whole process usually takes no more than four or five days.
What you get when you buy a store
Depending on the type of business you bought, you may now have a turnkey operation that can start to make money from the word go.
Or you may have little more than a ‘shell’ of a store that needs a lot of your time and attention.
You should be very clear on that well before you finalize any offers. Understand precisely what you’re getting and so there are no surprises.
The last thing you need if you’re looking for a turnkey business is to stretch your time further with a store that needs a lot of work.
Ultimately, the Shopify Exchange Marketplace is a great opportunity to either enter ecommerce or take a step up.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for at first, keep tabs on what’s on offer there. It’s a lively marketplace where new opportunities can come along every day.
And if you do find something of interest, the steps outlined in this post should help you assess the opportunity and move in for the kill, if it’s right for you.