How to Sell Your Shopify Store: Tips & Tricks to Sell for More Money in 2023

David Holmes

I’ve fielded a lot of questions about whether or not it’s possible to sell your Shopify store or other ecommerce business, and I realized it became clear that what most people needed was a detailed article and step by step guide. There are many resources online that are helpful for particular questions, but I’ve noticed a lack of resources that pull all the important information into one place.

In this article you will find:

  • Clear answers on questions around selling a Shopify Store
  • How to prepare before the sale
  • Best places to sell a Shopify store
  • A step-by-step guide to selling your Shopify Store

Let’s dive in!


Is it Possible to Sell Your Shopify Store?

Despite some beliefs to the contrary, Shopify does allow the transfer of store ownership, giving detailed step-by-step instructions on how to do so from one account to another.

Since transferring ownership of a Shopify store is an inherent feature on the platform, it is possible to sell your store and then transfer it to the buyer.

There are important steps and preparations to take before jumping into any sale.

Is It Legally Permissible To Sell Your Shopify Store?

Selling your Shopify Store is 100% legal and permitted under Shopify terms of service. The tools are there for transferring ownership on the platform, which makes the actual transfer of the store itself easy. 

It’s important to properly prepare for the sale though and to make sure to have a clear contract that includes mentioning all transferable (and non-transferable) assets, clear payment terms (and escrow), and any other points necessary to cover both sides’ needs in the deal.

What Do You Need To Prepare Before The Sale?

The same steps that are crucial for preparing to sell a website or other online business still apply to preparing for selling an ecommerce business or Amazon FBA business.

Steps you need to take include:

  • Preparing profit and loss statements for the last 12 months
  • Determining your net profit Last 12 Months monthly average to get a business valuation
  • Create a business pitch highlighting your Shopify store’s strong points and potential easy areas of growth
  • Put together a full list of transferable assets
  • Decide on where to place your business listing
  • Start the listing process

Organization is extremely important and can make a huge difference in the final sale price. A prepared seller who can provide past business tax returns, detailed profit and loss statements, and a business summary or white paper that clearly explains expenses, profits, markets, and can identify some potential places of growth is going to get far more interest from buyers willing to pay a higher multiple for the ecommerce business.

This prep work can seem like a lot upfront, but that upfront work can mean a higher multiple that leads to thousands or tens of thousands of dollars added to the final sales price. Potentially even more for very successful Shopify stores already doing large amounts of business.

What Are The Transferable Assets?

When you share a Shopify Store there are multiple transferable assets to pay attention to. It’s not just the online storefront being sold, but the designs on the site, the connections with contractors, and the brand itself. 

This could include your logo, an associated website or YouTube channel branded to the store name, social media accounts, etc.

At a bare minimum a buyer will expect:

  • The Shopify Store’s ownership to be transferred to them
  • Any logo associated with the store
  • Any email list directly tied to the store’s brand
  • Creative assets (images/videos/artwork related to the products or brand)

Any additional related properties should be a part of the negotiations and the purchase contract should explicitly state who gets each asset – whether it goes to the buyer or stays with the seller.

Such assets potentially include:

  • Social media channels related to the brand
  • YouTube channel
  • Website or URL of the Shopify store brand
  • Connections to overseas suppliers, SEO work, writers, etc – freelance connections who have been used for marketing, publicity, or attention.

Where To Sell Your Shopify Store?

While there are dozens of options for places to sell online businesses, when it comes to getting the best deal for a Shopify store the list gets much smaller. I would look at one of these five options the next time I was considering selling an ecommerce store, Shopify or otherwise.

Empire Flippers

Empire Flippers is an excellent place for listing an online business for sale. They have a great reputation, a huge amount of traffic, and basic vetting that builds trust with their client base. This means more investors looking to spend with confidence.

Your Shopify store must have averaged at least $2,000 in net profit per month (on average) over the last 12 months to be qualified for listing. There are no listing fees, with varying commissions based on the selling price going up to 15%.

Flippa

Flippa is the world’s largest marketplace for online businesses. More responsibility is on both the buyer and seller since this is an open market system. If you list here be prepared to handle contracts and transfers by yourself.

Do not proceed without using an Escrow service on Flippa.

The biggest benefit of Flippa though is the sheer number of buyers looking for a business to acquire.

Website Closers

Website Closers has a long held reputation as a reliable option for selling an online business. They focus on larger businesses, with a “small” business starting at $500,000 for a sale by their numbers. This will be a drawback for the many Shopify Stores whose valuations don’t hit this level, but if your business is large enough, then this is an excellent place to list your business.

Acquire.com (aka MicroAcquire)

Acquire.com, formerly known as MicroAcquire, focuses on being a platform that allows sellers to mold their pitch with guidance from the site, whose listings are then scoured by buyers who have done multiple acquisitions through Acquire before.

Private Sale

Many of the best deals never happen on an online brokerage or auction place. Reaching out to known buyers, or responding to outreach emails can sometimes help to line up an excellent deal.

What Happened to the Shopify Exchange Marketplace?

The decision to decommission the Shopify Exchange Marketplace happened in November of 2022 by Shopify. Their official response is here, and more information can be found elsewhere about the potential reasons why.

Whatever the reasons, the most important point is that the once most popular place for selling Shopify stores is no longer up and running so it’s not a viable option.


Step-By-Step Guide for Selling Your Shopify Store

Don’t be intimidated or overwhelmed from selling your Shopify Store. Here’s a step-by-step guide I put together to help guide you through the process.

Step 1: Business Valuation

Having an idea of where you value your business, and where others will value it, is important. A general rule of thumb of 32x to 45x L12M average monthly income is a good starting point but there are many ecommerce business valuation calculators and several of the previously mentioned best places to sell start with a free consultation and valuation.

Get an idea of what the business can go for and if that range is worth it to you to sell.

Step 2: Pre-Listing Prep

The pre-listing preparation is all about getting your ducks in a row and positioning yourself for success. This is the profit and loss statements, the net income, and preparing your own “Buyer’s Guide” to pitch to potential investors why your Shopify store is worth paying a premium valuation for.

This is your chance to really pitch what the ecommerce store has to offer and needs to be done prior to the listing.

Step 3: Pick Where to List

Take a look at the top marketplaces for selling Shopify Stores and find the one you think is the best fit for you and your situation. If you’re new to selling online businesses, look at the marketplaces with more vetting and seller support.

Trust your instincts when interacting with each platform to figure out who you are most comfortable working with.

Step 4: Put the Listing Live

Here’s where all that work pays off. You should have the best possible listing to make your Shopify Store really stick out compared to similar sized listings.

Different platforms have different average times before sale, different rules on communicating with potential buyers, and different levels of support so have patience and make sure you understand how long the process may take.

Step 5: Negotiate the Sale

Sometimes active negotiations take place, sometimes a listing has a solid price. This changes based on the platform but if you have the ability to negotiate for a better payment, this is the time to negotiate with potential buyers as they are asking for more information or testing out how firm any listed sales price is.

Step 6: Set Up Escrow

Sometimes the seller is responsible for this, sometimes the listing marketplace has an escrow lined up for all transactions. Never go through a sale without escrow protection.

Step 7: Transfer Ownership of the Shopify Store

Once the sale has been agreed to and money is in escrow, it’s time to transfer the ownership of your Shopify store to the new owner.

Shopify does a great job providing a detailed step-by-step process of how to transfer ownership of stores on their platform. Refer to that guide and you should have no issue handling this step of the process.

Step 8: Transfer Ownership of Any Agreed Upon Assets

These would be any assets in addition to the Shopify Store that need to be handed over to the new owners, per the sale agreement.

Step 9: Collect from Escrow

Once all the terms have been met, collect your payment from escrow, minus the escrow fee. The transaction is complete and the buyer has their new Shopify store while you have your big payout.


How Much Can You Expect To Get?

The average valuation for ecommerce stores like Shopify Stores is the average monthly income based on the last 12 months of sales times a negotiable number of months. 

With ecommerce sometimes you’ll see it written as “app. 2x-4x” this is referring to yearly net profit instead of monthly, which some investors prefer although more accurate estimations come from breaking it down to 24x to 48x monthly net income.

That is a wide spread, and realistically for the majority of ecommerce businesses the spread tends to be between 32x to 44x. Many various factors go into whether a store is on the low side or high side of that including:

  • Length of successful store history
  • Gross income vs net income numbers
  • Overall store and related industry trends
  • Further potential for growth
  • Additional assets of note

There is some room for negotiations here, but valuations of Shopify stores will most often fall in the 32 to 44 times average monthly earnings (net profits). The higher in that range you can get, the more profitable the sale of your Shopify Store will be!



David Holmes

Analyzed by David Holmes

David has acquired, grown, and exited 2 Amazon-based businesses for 6 figure sums. He has been in the Amazon space for over 6 years and has experience with Amazon print-on-demand and all manner of Amazon FBA businesses. He currently consults for multiple 7 figure brands while developing a new FBA brand of his own.