Key Points:

  • According to Shopify, the eCommerce market size grew from $1.3 trillion in 2014 to $4.1 trillion in 2020
  • Shopify Exchange is a platform that allows you to safely buy or sell eCommerce stores owned by Shopify-registered merchants
  • The process of selling on a Shopify store starts with creating a listing on the Exchange marketplace

If there’s something inherent within the global B2C eCommerce space, it’s the market’s astounding growth rate over the years. With improved internet infrastructure and the continuous adoption of digital technologies, businesses can now operate in a borderless world. This has led to a remarkable surge in digital trade. According to Shopify, the eCommerce market size grew from $1.3 trillion in 2014 to $4.1 trillion in 2020, and Shopify Exchange is allowing people to cash in on that.

These mind-boggling figures are a clear indication that the shadow of eCommerce looms too large to be ignored. So, if you’re among the millions of people staring at this $4 trillion market and wondering how you can get a slice of that pie, then Shopify Exchange might just be the right place for you. Read on to learn more about how you can get in on the B2C eCommerce space, whether you want to do it as a full-time business or a side-hustle.

Table of Contents

What is Shopify Exchange?

Shopify Exchange is a platform that allows you to safely buy or sell eCommerce stores owned by Shopify-registered merchants. It was created by Shopify, a leading e-commerce platform that powers over one million businesses around the world. This marketplace works on an exchange basis, where approved merchants list their businesses for sale, and potential buyers can view these stores for sale and make offers to purchase them.

Unlike buying a traditional brick-and-mortar business that requires a lot of paperwork, large cash infusions, and grappling with complex legal issues, the exchange marketplace provides an easy and secure route for buying an already established Shopify store. As such, it’s great for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to break into the world of eCommerce without spending too much time (or money) creating a concept or working on store design and product development.

Why is Shopify Exchange Shutting Down?

On November 21st, 2022 Shopify closed its Exchange Marketplace, 5 years after its 2017 launch. Since Shopify shut down the marketplace app, all data and listings have now been deleted. Merchants who want to sell their Shopify store will now have to use other marketplaces. While Shopify has not clearly stated the factors behind this decision, questions about value inflation and lack of seller protection have been raised.

How Does Shopify Exchange Work?

The Shopify Exchange marketplace is designed to facilitate the easy buying and selling of online stores. Merchants listing their stores for sale provide basic business information like revenue figures and traffic, which are extracted directly from Shopify and can’t be falsified. Sellers also set a price for their store, which could be as low as $50 for small startups or as high as $1 million for established online stores.

To minimize fraud and other malpractice issues associated with exchange marketplaces, Shopify authorizes all data provided in the listings and doesn’t allow the seller to manipulate the figures. For more transparency, Shopify provides detailed sales data so that buyers can properly assess business performance data in real-time.

For a store to be featured in the exchange marketplace, it has to meet the following criteria:

  • The seller must be the real account owner
  • Your business cannot be on its trial period
  • The Shopify account must be on a paid plan, but not Shopify Plus
  • Accounts using Shopify payments must be in good standing
  • The seller’s account must not have active financing from Shopify Capital

If a store meets these criteria, it can be added to the marketplace listings. Buyers can then search through the listings by using filters to navigate the categories. This way, they can find exactly the kind of store they want. The marketplace also uses escrow to protect all payments, so you can be sure it's a completely safe and fully regulated environment. For a complete understanding of how the exchange works, we will go through the selling and buying process in another section of this article.

Is It Worth Buying a Shopify Store? How Much Will It Cost?

Buying an online store through Shopify exchange can be a great idea if you’re looking to test the waters of profitable online businesses without too much stress or effort on your part. The challenging task of building the site is already done, so you’ll be able to focus more on improving the existing business.

While the benefits of getting your hands on an established business are pretty obvious, a complete understanding of running a Shopify store and the associated costs can help improve your profit margins, so you should make sure you’re fully prepared before you even venture into the marketplace.

The most important cost is the up-front cost of purchasing the business. As mentioned, this can vary from $50 to $1 million, depending on the kind of store you’re buying. This ensures that you’ll be able to find a store that suits your purchasing budget. It’s also worth mentioning that the prices listed by the sellers are a starting point; buyers usually have some room to negotiate.

Of course, once you’ve bought the business, there will be other costs associated with running the business. However, these will vary greatly depending on how much you want to spend and what exactly you want to do with the business. Ideally, you’d get a breakdown of all operating costs from the seller of the online store. This will help you gauge what they’ve done so far and figure out if there’s room for improvement. Some costs you may need to budget for include:

  • Inventory
  • Marketing campaigns (both online and offline)
  • SEO
  • Public relations
  • Software
  • Copywriting and imagery
  • Product shipping options
  • Continued store maintenance
  • Staff

You should aim to get a clear picture of the cost-benefit analysis of an online business you’re thinking about buying, so ask as many details as possible before closing the deal.

If you’re planning to buy out a Shopify store that needs to ship products to customers, it’s important to think about how you will fulfill your customers’ orders and how much it will cost. You should ask the store seller what process they currently use and assess what options are available to you. Easyship can help with that.

Easyship can be quickly integrated into all Shopify stores to allow owners to build a seamless shipping process. You’ll have access to over 250 courier solutions at affordable pricing so that you’ll always be able to find the best way to ship each order, no matter where it’s going.

Plus, it enhances the post-purchase experience for merchants and customers with automated labels, forms, and branded tracking. And, with our “freemium” pricing model, you can sign up for a free account, which is available to stores shipping under 500 packages a month, and test the waters to see how efficiently we can handle your fulfillment needs.

Integrating Easyship with your Shopify store is pretty simple.

  • Find Easyship on the Shopify App Store and add it to your store
  • Sign up for a free account with Easyship
  • Download your orders into our app
  • Start shipping!

How to Buy vs. How to Sell a Shopify Store?

The exchange marketplace allows the Shopify community to sell their businesses for profit. It also comes in handy for buyers looking to jumpstart their entrepreneurial journey by leveraging the power of already proven business models. Below are some tips for using Shopify exchange for both buyers and sellers.

Buying a Shopify Store in 8 Easy Steps

Thousands of stores are available for sale on Shopify Exchange. You must first create an account on the exchange marketplace to buy one. After creating an account successfully, use these steps:

  1. Do your research to find a store you want to buy by browsing through the categories. Use filters to make your search easier.
  2. Once you’ve identified which store you’re interested in, evaluate its performance by looking at revenue statistics, traffic sources, social media accounts, and any other pertinent information.
  3. Once you’re satisfied with the information, engage the seller.
  4. Start the price negotiation.
  5. Send an offer to the seller.
  6. Get account details from the seller.
  7. Release the escrow payment by accepting the received assets.
  8. Take ownership of your ready-to-go Shopify store!

How to Sell a Shopify Store in 11 Quick Steps

The process of selling a Shopify store starts with creating a listing on the Exchange marketplace, which we will cover in the next section. In general, the selling process involves these steps:

  1. Create a listing and submit it for review.
  2. Once the listing is approved, publish it so that it’s visible to the public.
  3. Potential buyers will send a message.
  4. Respond to their concerns.
  5. The buyer sends an offer. Accept it if you agree to the business terms.
  6. Create an escrow transaction in your app which includes the terms.
  7. The buyer accepts the terms and submits payment.
  8. The Exchange notifies you to transfer assets to your buyer.
  9. The buyer marks assets as received and performs an inspection before accepting the assets.
  10. Once the buyer accepts, all assets are disbursed to the seller.
  11. The Shopify accounts team changes the store details so that the buyer is the new owner.

How to Create an Exchange Marketplace Listing

The first step you’ll need to take when listing your business on Shopify Exchange is to go to the marketplace and fill out a listing form with all your complete business information. A good listing should contain the following details at the very least:

  1. An overview of your Shopify store history.
  2. Your reason for selling the business.
  3. Things you’ve been doing to build your business.
  4. An in-depth description of your business model.
  5. Your business’s marketing and sales strategies.
  6. An overview of customer acquisition costs.
  7. The number of recurring or loyal customers.
  8. A list of social media accounts, domains, and inventory is included in the sale.

As a best practice for listing your business on the marketplace, you should always provide as much information about your Shopify store as possible so that buyers can understand your business and make an informed decision. Once done, upload screenshots of your business sales, traffic reports, ads, or anything else you think potential buyers might like to see. When ready, hit the publish button to submit your listing. The exchange support team will review your listing and notify you if any changes are needed.

Once approved, your business will be live on the Shopify Exchange marketplace. You can now expect messages from potential buyers. To ensure you receive notifications, review your contact information in Settings > Account (or Settings > Plan and permissions).

Become an Overnight Entrepreneur with Shopify Exchange

Shopify Exchange is a cool concept that expands the amazing possibilities of global eCommerce. It’s a great way for aspiring entrepreneurs to effortlessly plunge into eCommerce. Through the fast and completely transparent process managed by the Shopify Exchange experts, this marketplace provides an invaluable opportunity for Shopify merchants. If the seller and buyer come into an agreement, it’s a win-win for both parties.

And, in your bid to create an extra revenue stream, don't forget to integrate your Shopify store with Easyship for smooth shipping processes. Easyship helps you ship your products worldwide by providing access to over 250 courier solutions. It also enhances the post-purchase experience for merchants and customers through automated labels and customs forms and branded tracking.