We’ve worked with marketplaces and brokers to help us value and list our businesses. While doing this, we’ve learned so much about selling Shopify stores.
In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know, including how to prepare your store, how to optimize the value of your store, how to choose where to sell your store, and what happens after you sell.
Let’s get into it.
- You can increase the value of your Shopify store before you sell it by ensuring your processes and store are optimized. You might also want to consider the months the store will be valued and whether these accurately represent your business.
- Calculate the value of your store using free valuation tools. Several factors, apart from sales and profit, can increase your store's profit, such as outlook and assets.
- We recommend using a site like Empire Flippers or Flippa to sell your Shopify store. Marketplaces make it easy for genuine buyers to find your business, and brokers can ensure you get the best deal.
Step By Step to Selling a Shopify Store
These are the six main steps to selling your Shopify store.
- Prepare Your Shopify Store
- Value Your Shopify Store
- Choose Where to Sell Your Shopify Store
- List Your Shopify Store
- Negotiate and Agree on Terms and Price
- Complete the Sale
Let’s look at them in more detail.
Step 1 - Prepare Your Shopify Business
Before you list your store, there are a few things that can help increase the value and make your business appealing to potential buyers.
Efficiency and Processes
Is your business operating in the most efficient way possible?
A potential buyer will want to hit the ground running. Ironing out your processes and ensuring your business is efficient can help them do so.
You can do this in a few ways, including the following:
- Automation Software - If you manually send orders from your customers to your supplier, you could switch to automation software. This will automatically push the order details to your suppliers, reducing manual work.
- Refund and Return Policy - Agree on a refund and return policy with your supplier. This gives your potential buyers a contract they rely on and security if there are any issues.
- Optimized Ads - By testing and optimizing your ads, you can pass your ad information and keywords to your store buyer. This will help them get started with their own ad account and hopefully see sales instantly.
- Social Media Scheduling - Selling your store with an existing social media presence and audience is great. But you could also create posts for your store buyer to post after the sale. This can create a seamless experience for the social media audience and give your buyer some content to post while they’re still getting to grips with their new store.
Consider how appealing your store is to potential customers.
You can check and update a few things to help you attract buyers.
These include the following:
- Mobile Optimized - Your site should be optimized for mobile already, as studies have shown that over 56% of online sales come from mobile devices .
But if you haven’t checked your site recently, ensure every aspect works perfectly on mobile.
- GDPR and Terms and Conditions - Check your site is legally compliant and update any policies or terms and conditions. This protects your business and will help any prospective buyers feel secure purchasing your store.
- Design and Usability - The look of your website is the first thing a potential customer will see. Make sure your site looks professional, has a clear brand identity, and is easy to navigate.
- Product Listing - Your listing should have clear images, an informative description, and show your product's benefits and uses. Add any missing key points to your listing to help showcase your products.
Inform Employees and Freelancers
Your business might rely on employees or freelancers to run it.
When you list your business, you should inform your employees and freelancers and make sure their contacts are up to date. Give them as much notice as possible so they are ready for the transition and the sale goes smoothly.
Consider Sales and Overheads
You’ll need to value your Shopify store before you list and sell it (we’ll go into this in the next section).
Usually, the value is based on the profit you generate over a certain time frame. This could be three months, six months, one year, 18 months, lifetime, etc.
So, before you list your store, consider your profits during the time frame you will be valued on.
To optimize your profits during the time frame you’re valued in, look at two main things:
- Sales - Can you increase your sales to help increase your overall profit?
- Overheads - Overheads include all the expenses that accompany running a business but exclude the cost of creating and producing the product.
Is there any way to reduce your overheads to help increase your profits?
This could include optimizing your ads, changing your shipping options, looking at the software and tech you use and if you can find cheaper alternatives, etc.
Let’s say you started your Shopify store six months ago, and your value is based on a six-month prediction. But in the first two months, you were testing and spending more on ads and working out the most cost-effective shipping methods.
After these two months, you worked out the best way to ship and optimize your ad campaigns.
So your profit might look pretty low for the first two months and then increase for the remaining four months.
If your store is valued based on the entire six months, you will likely receive less than if you wait an additional two months to sell.
Let’s look at some estimated numbers:
- Profit for month 1 - $1000
- Profit for month 2 - $1000
- Profit for month 3 - $4000
- Profit for month 4 - $4300
- Profit for month 5 - $4150
- Profit for month 6 - $5000
- Profit for month 7 - $4700
- Profit for month 8 - $3990
Option 1: If you list your business at month 6, your six-month accumulated profit is $19450.
Option 2: But, if you waited until month 8 to list your business, your six-month accumulated profit is $26140.
This would give you a higher business value and, therefore, make more money from selling your business.
Step 2 - Value Your Shopify Business and Find a Listing Price
You’ve optimized your dropshipping store, so it’s in the best position to sell.
Now it’s time to work out its value and what you want to list it for.
The obvious way to work this out is using a multiplication of your profits.
However, there are a few other things that can affect the value of your business.
Let’s take a look at everything that might affect the price of your store.
Value Your Business - The Multiplier
The main way to value your business is by working out your business's monthly profit and multiplying it.
The number you multiply it by will depend on a variety of things, such as business assets, ease of running the business, the business's outlook, and more.
Currently, we’re seeing dropshipping stores listed with a multiple of anywhere between 20 and 40.
Now, you need to work out how to calculate the value that you’ll be multiplying the multiple with.
There are two common ways to do this. These are the following:
- SDE or seller’s discretionary earnings - This is the most common way to calculate small to medium businesses worth. SDE is the net sales minus the cost of goods and marketing and operating expenses plus the owner's salary.
For example, let’s say you make $100,000 in sales per year.
You spend $40,000 on the products and shipping, $30,000 on marketing, and $10,000 on other operating expenses.
You take $35,000 as a salary.
So the equation would be all expenses added together (40,000 + 30,000 + 10,000 = 80,000)
Sales minus expenses (100,000 - 80,000 = 20,000)
Salary added (20,000 + 35,000 = 55,000)
Total SDE Value = $55,000
- EBITDA or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization - This method is usually used for larger companies. The main difference between EBITDA and SDE is that the manager or owner's salary is not added back into an EBITDA valuation.
Now, we know our business's value and the average multiplier. We can look at how much we can charge for our Shopify store:
For instance, let’s use the example above.
SDE = $55,000
Valuation divided by 12 (for monthly profit) = $4583
Using a 20X multiple, you would list your store for the following:
- $4583 (monthly profit) multiplied by 20 = $91k
Using a 40X multiplier, you would list your store for the following:
- $4583 (monthly profit) multiplied by 40 = $183k
Now you know you could sell your business for between $91k and $183k.
But this is a huge gap! The next four points will show us how we can get a more precise listing price.
Time to Run the Business
If it’s just you running your business, you need to calculate how many hours, on average, it takes you.
Generally, the more time you spend, the lower your valuation.
However, this is really a toss-up.
For instance, if you outsource all your work and this costs you a lot of money, you will have already lost some of your listing price in your valuation estimate.
So, it might work out better to spend an additional few hours working on your business per week to save the amount you’re paying your freelancers or employees.
It’ll really depend on the buyer, their expectations, and whether time spent is a deciding factor.
Business Length and Outlook
The longevity of your Shopify store is always something potential buyers will look at. This could include the following:
- Products - Selling trendy products or those that might drop in sales quickly can make your store hard to sell. Buyers will often look for stores that sell products that will continue to sell for the next five years.
- Legal Issues - Some products are considered safer than others. Selling high-risk products, those that are difficult to advertise, or products with legal issues might be off-putting to potential buyers.
- Expansion - Ideally, buyers want to grow the businesses they buy. For example, when we’ve sold our stores, we’ve had products lined up and ready to launch for the new buyer. This allows them to easily expand the store and generate more revenue.
- Years of Operation - The length of time you’ve run your Shopify store can affect the valuation. A more established business has more sales data and a proven track record. A business with consistent sales for five years is considered a safer purchase than one with only two months of sales history.
- Reputation - How your business is perceived can make a huge difference in your listing price.
We always aim to offer high-quality service and products and make our customers happy.
This is done with clear communication for shipping times and returns, sticking to promises, ensuring our products are good quality, and being available for any questions, concerns, or feedback.
This keeps our brand professional and our customers satisfied. It also often leads to repeat purchases, good reviews, and recommendations to friends. All of these factors help increase our credibility and brand reputation. A good reputation can increase your overall valuation and appeal to potential buyers.
Other than your Shopify store, consider if you will include anything else in the sale of your business.
Some of the most popular extras to include are the following:
- Email list
- Social media accounts
- Patents, trademarks, etc
- Established blog or site content
- Amazon storefront
- Supplier relationships and contracts
- Employee relationships and contracts
- Automation software setup
- Store names and branding
Generally, the more additional assets your business has, the higher the listing valuation.
Revenue Streams or Sources
Having a variety of revenue streams and sources can be attractive to potential buyers.
With dropshipping, product sales are your only revenue stream.
However, generating sales from a variety of different platforms or sources could help increase your listing price. With a Shopify store, you might also sell your products on the following platforms:
- Instagram shop
- TikTok shop
For a Shopify store buyer, this split makes it appear that all their eggs won’t be in one basket.
Therefore, if there is an issue with the Instagram shop, it isn’t their entire business isn’t stopped.
They still have several alternative sources of product sales.
Step 3 - Choose Where to Sell Your Shopify Store
There are several places to list your Shopify store, each with benefits and risks.
Our preferred method is listing on a marketplace and using a business broker. In our opinion, it’s the safest and most secure way to sell your business, especially if it’s the first business you’re selling.
You could also sell your business directly to a buyer.
Let’s look at these two options in depth. So you can find the right option for your Shopify store.
A direct sale is where you find a buyer and manage the sale yourself.
Firstly, you need to find someone to buy your business,
This could be someone that you know who has expressed interest in buying your business.
Or someone that you find through an online group, forum, or community. Facebook, Reddit, and LinkedIn are all sites where you might be able to find a potential buyer.
Pros of a Direct Sale
- No fees
- Control over the sale and agreement
- Can choose your buyer directly
- Can value your business personally
- Not subject to the restrictions of a marketplace in terms of list price, time to agree on the sale, listing length, price reductions, etc
Cons of a Direct Sale
- Difficult to find potential buyers
- Hard to evaluate prospective buyers and their seriousness in buying your business
- Lots of time-wasters that have no intention of buying your business
- Risks of copycats
- Can be difficult to negotiate the sale of your own business
- Will likely need to hire legal help to complete the sale
Broker or Marketplace
We’ve grouped brokers and marketplaces as they often go hand in hand.
A broker is someone who arranges the sale between a buyer and seller. They can ensure the transaction is legitimate, safe, and secure.
An online marketplace is a site that lists services or products to help connect buyers and sellers.
We would always choose to list on a marketplace and use a broker. This is because a marketplace gets our business in front of the right buyers, and a broker adds a layer of security to the transaction.
Pros of Using a Broker or Marketplace
- Gives your store exposure to the right buyers
- Brokers have existing relationships with potential buyers who might want to buy your store
- Reduces time-wasters as each potential buyer is vetted
- Safe and secure sale
- Guidance through the process
- Can handle the legal aspects of the sale
- Can assist with the transition period and business exchange
- NDAs are often signed before you reveal the details of your business to a potential buyer
Cons of Using a Broker or Marketplace
- High service fees or sale fees
- Many marketplaces have a minimum amount of profit or length of time the business needs to run to qualify to be listed
- The valuation method might not align with your personal store valuation
These are two of the most popular sites that are both marketplaces and brokers where you can list your Shopify store for sale.
Empire Flipper is a business marketplace mainly focusing on Amazon and e-commerce store sales.
The marketplace is carefully curated, and you have to apply to list your store.
You can set up a call with the Empire Flippers team to see if your store qualifies to be listed on the site.
The team will also provide a valuation.
Once your store is listed on the Empire Flippers marketplace, you can check in regularly with the team about potential interest or ways you can make your listing more appealing.
When you have a potential buyer interested in your store, Empire Flippers have brokers that can help negotiate a deal. After the deal is agreed upon, they can handle the transfer for the website with a done-for-you service.
How Much Does It Cost to Sell My Shopify Store on Empire Flippers?
The fees Empire Flippers charges depend on the value of your business.
- Under $700,000 - 15% commission
- Between $700,000 and $5M - 7% commission
- Over $5M - 4.5% commission
For example, let’s say a business is listed at $5.5M.
The first $700,000 of the sale will be charged at 15% = $105,000
The $4.3M (between $700,00 and $5M) will be charged at 8% = $344,000
The additional $500,000 will be charged at 2.5% = $12,500
Total Commission = $105,000 + $344,000 + $12,500 = $461,500
Top Tip: The commission percentage isn’t set in stone. We highly recommend negotiating the rate. We sold a $600,000 website on Empire Flippers and managed to negotiate a commission rate of 12.5%.
Flippa is one of the largest online marketplaces for online businesses. These include websites, apps, domains, and more.
You can request a free valuation, and Flippa will verify your information before you can join the marketplace.
Once you join the marketplace, you can access over 600,000 potential buyers and investors. This large number of potential buyers gives you a high chance of successfully selling your business.
Flippa has a large team of experts who can help guide you through the entire sales process. They also have all the tools you need, including a deal room for discussions, call scheduling, due diligence options, legal services, integrated payment services, and much more.
How Much Does It Cost to Sell My Shopify Store on Flippa?
Flippa charges a success fee. This fee is charged once the sale is confirmed. The fee is a percentage of the sale price, and the percentage is determined by the amount the business sold for.
As well as a fee, you will also need to sign up for a listing package. This package defines the amount of reach your store will have and the sale duration. These listing packages cost between $49 and $599. These vary based on the inclusions and amount your business sells for.
There are also add-ons. Some of these add-ons are included in the listing packages. However, if they’re not, you can pay to add them on.
These are the following:
- NDA and confidentiality - For $199, you can make your listing confidential and require potential buyers to sign an NDA before accessing and enquiring about your listing.
- Legal templates - For $199, you can buy a bundle of legal document templates.
The success fees are charged as follows:
- Under $9,999 - 10% success fee plus a listing package
- Between $10,000 and $49,999 - 10% success fee plus a listing package
- Between $50,000 and $99,999 - 8% success fee plus a listing package
- Between $100,000 and $249,000 - 6% success fee plus a listing package
- Between $250,000 and $999,999 - 6% success fee plus a listing package at $299
- Between $1M and $4.99M - 5% success fee plus a listing package at $499
- Between $5M and $9.99M - 4% success fee plus a listing package at $499
- Over $10M - 3% success fee plus a listing package at $499
Step 4 - List Your Shopify Store
Once you decide how you’re going to sell your store, it’s time to list it.
If you’re using a broker or marketplace, complete their online forms or contact a member of the team.
The team will usually provide a checklist of everything you need to create a listing that is likely to sell.
This will usually include the following:
- Niche or store-type
- Listing price
- Number of months the listing price is based on
- Average profit
- Average revenue
- Profit margin
- Business creation date
- Assets included in the sale
- Location of operations
- Monetization methods
- Details or description of your business
- Links to your Shopify store
- Links to your social media accounts
- Website traffic
- Potential business opportunities and risks
- The skills or knowledge required by the potential buyer to run the store
- Support you’ll provide to the buyer for a smooth transition
- Reason you’re selling the business
- Number of hours spent running the business
We recommend spending time ensuring the information you provide is detailed, accurate, and up to date.
The more information you provide in your listing, the fewer questions potential buyers will have.
Step 5 - Negotiate and Agree on Terms and Price
Now, you have buyers that are interested in your store.
You’ll likely have many conversations and answer questions to help potential buyers understand your business and if it’s right for them.
All of the people you speak with will be potential buyers, so make sure to answer the questions thoroughly.
You will also likely be working with your buyer for a while during the transition, so we recommend treating everyone with respect to help create a relationship and build trust.
If there are any questions that are asked repeatedly, you could add them to your listing to save you time.
Once you have a buyer that has expressed interest in buying your business, it’s time to negotiate a deal.
Your broker will be able to help with this and guide you through the legalities.
The deal will usually include the following and more:
- Payment terms
- Ownership transfer
- Transition period
- Support you’ll provide to potential buyers
- Methods to resolve any disputes
Step 6 - Complete the Sale
Your business has sold, and you’ve agreed to the terms. It’s time to complete the sale.
What Happens After I Sell My Shopify Store?
The money will usually be transferred to the broker or marketplace. Once the money is with the broker or in your account, you can transfer the assets to the new owner.
Fortunately, Shopify makes transferring your site to a new owner super easy. You will need to remove your bank account information from Shopify and change your admin logins.
You will also need to change the domain ownership to the new owner.
You can also transfer any related social media accounts to the new business owner.
How Long Does it Take to Sell My Shopify Store?
It really depends on your store category, its value, and how you choose to sell it.
On Flippa, it says the average sales time is as follows :
- Stores up to $250k - 2 and a half months
- Stores between $250k and $1M - 3 and a half months
- Stores above $5M - 5 months
But, if you’re certain about a price and not open to negotiations, choose to sell privately, or have a store in a restricted or risky category, it can take longer.
Should I Sell My Shopify Store?
It’s completely your decision.
Consider why you want to sell your store and what you’ll do once you sell your store.
You might find your store is taking too much time, and it would be better run by someone else.
You might want to invest the money in several new stores.
Or, you might want to do something entirely different.
Whatever the reason behind selling the store, make sure it’s the right one for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Can You Sell Your Shopify Store For?
Quick answer: Anywhere from 20 to 40 times your monthly product.
The exact number will depend on many things, such as products, brand reputation, business assets, business longevity, reputation, number of hours spent running the business, etc.
Can I Flip Shopify Stores?
Yes! Start by creating and running a successful dropshipping store. You can then sell it for between 20 and 40 times the monthly profit.
You can then reinvest this money and start more Shopify dropshipping stores and repeat the process.
Is It Easy to Sell My Shopify Store?
It depends on the type of store you have and the amount you want to sell for.
You can use a broker, like Empire Flippers or Flippa, who will give you an accurate valuation and help promote your store to buyers.
The first step in selling your Shopify store is gathering all your store’s information and having it valued.
If you need help with your store's metrics, check out our free Numbers Breakdown calculator.
Based on the valuation, you can decide if it’s the right to sell, if you need to optimize your site, or if you’re going to keep your Shopify store.
If you do decide to sell your store, I hope this article has given you everything you need to know.