• Derick Ho

Understanding Why Most Shopify Stores Fail

They say that the starting point is always the hardest.

Unlike most e-commerce "gurus" that I've seen out there, I'm not going to try to clickbait you and say that it's this tiny little bit that you need to implement or to tweak this a little bit and it will make you millions of dollars.

Or perhaps you might have heard something like I have a course that costs you $10,000 that will teach you one thing or a secret that will make you a millionaire in no time.

No, I'm not going to do that. I would rather be upfront and honest with you as much as possible. And no, I'm not gunning for the populist approach here. After running a Shopify dropshipping store for nearly a decade with multiple engineering, testings, error corrections that managed to generate a consistent 4 to 6 figures per month in sales even till today, I can tell you that most Shopify stores fail not because they are short of one tiny thing.

But because they do not have the right systems in place.

Now, if you were to read finish this post until the bottom end, you are going to learn the exact same system every profitable Shopify store has these key components. And mind you, these systems that I'm going to reveal in this post I do utilize even till today.

Here, I'm going to give you a sneak preview of the four essential components that I'm going to reveal.

Component 1: Product components

Component 2: The type of store

Component 3: Traffic

Component 4: Email marketing

Hey, wait a minute! Isn't these are common sense when running a Shopify store?


I can assure you that almost 90% of the Shopify store owners that I've interacted with don't have all these full 4 complete components.

So without further ado, let's talk about the first component.

Component 1: Product

Now, what makes a good profitable product for your Shopify store? The first mistake most Shopify store owners made is that they are too over-focused on finding products that they like.

The worst mistake ever.

Don't be surprised, many Shopify dropshippers can get too overly attached to their own products that they sell. Many of them had this perception that they feel that it is amazing to sell the product that they themselves are interested in.

To be honest, this often leads to many cases where one would sell many products that many customers may not be interested in, and would end up many customers would not want to buy.

You can have all the right marketing strategies, the best marketing angles, or videos in the world that you could ever produce, but if you are promoting products that not enough people are going to care about, you are going to fail right out of the gate from the start.

So what are the right products to sell?

Here are my 3 criteria for selecting products to sell.

  1. The products that you select must be a product that invokes positive emotions. Now mind you, it should not something that is very boring and ordinary – but something that is unique, exciting items that spike positive emotions in customers. In the dropshipping world, the masses are driven by emotion, rather than necessity. For example, an everyday necessity like toilet paper or a normal foldable chair wouldn’t spike any positive emotion. But someone who is a huge fan of sailor moon AND a hardcore gamer would be interested in a sailor moon themed computer gamer chair. (I'm using sailor moon as an example for easy explanation. Do not sell it unless you have full permission from the original owner.) To be honest, I do not have an interest in such things. But I do know that there is a huge fanbase across the world who would go crazy for it. I have written an article that is related to this. You can click here to read more about it.

  2. The second criteria here is they got to be evergreen products. Now, you would want to be in business in the long term. This means that you should be selling products that stand the test of time, even in an apocalypse such as in the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, you aren't going to last very long in your Shopify store selling fidget spinners or some silly bands. Sure, if you are lucky you could make a quick dollar out of them when they are popular. But the moment they are no longer popular, your Shopify store is going to completely die out.

  3. They got to have the ability to go viral. The more viral your products, the more likes, comments, and shares that you get, the more traffic that you are going to receive. Which this would essentially mean, more sales. In recent years, Facebook has recently changed its algorithms – the more viral your ads go, the more traffic it is going to allocate to you with no extra costs in your ads.

Component 2: The Type of Store

The recent trend in e-commerce is to build loads of different niche stores. But this can get out of hand really fast.

For example, you start building a baby supply store. Then you start building a store for dog lovers. And before you know it, you are building a store selling vintage 1930s collectibles.

By doing this, you are wasting a lot of time and a lot of money.

My suggestion to you would be to focus on one store and put your heart and soul into it. In regards to whether to start a niche or general store, I did explain the difference between a niche and a general store in another article. You can click here to read more about it.

One notable issue that I would like to share — the majority of consumers’ decisions are influenced by color, it’s important to choose the right background for your Shopify store.

For those who are pretty observant, you may have noticed many top brands choose to play it safe — They stick to a plain, white background with black text. Here are a few examples.

I also wrote an article in regards to this. You can click here to read more in-depth about it.

Component 3: Traffic

You know, most people think that you need to blow a ton of money on advertising to figure out if your products are working.

To be honest, this is not true at all.

More than likely, you probably have heard of people out there that are spending $100 to as much as $1000 per day on Facebook Ads just to acquire new sales. I'll get back to this point in component 4.

I have been doing this for nearly a decade (at least 8 years at the time of writing this article) and while I have seen a ton of changes in this industry, I could tell you that a small amount of $5 to $10 a day ads on Facebook and Instagram still work today.

The reason behind is very simple. Facebook and Instagram continue to get smarter and smarter every single day. Not only does Facebook and Instagram allow you to hyper-target audiences to find the best segment for your products, but the more data that they collect from every advertiser, the more they will know where to show your products to generate as many sales as possible – no matter how much your budget is.

Ahhhh, the power of Facebook Pixel.

So remember, when I keep emphasizing products and how they need to be viral, the beauty of Facebook and Instagram ads is the ability for consumers to comment, like, and share your ads to generate even more traffic for free.

Essentially, the Facebook ads algorithm worked somewhat like a turbocharged engine, in which it will help you to achieve even better performance and speed without using too much of your fuel.

So here, we get loads of traffic from viral products just simply because people see your ads share them, and tag other people for us. They are literally marketing our ads for us completely free. This is like word-of-mouth marketing but in a digital version or modern way as you would call it.

Component 4: Email Marketing

The final part of the component here, and probably the most boring part about e-commerce. But yet, this section is where it is the most profitable part of e-commerce. Even much more profitable than acquiring new customers via Facebook and Instagram Ads.

Unfortunately, the majority of Shopify store owners have the above 3 components done perfectly, but not this.

More than likely, you probably have heard of people out there that are spending $100 to as much as $1000 per day on Facebook Ads just to acquire new sales.

Well, chances are they are likely not utilizing email marketing in their business. Either that or they are simply dissuading you to do Shopify e-commerce in order to cut off the competition that they face (trust me I've seen all these cheap tricks).

You see, the key to your business longevity, security, and stability is repeat customers.

In fact, it is a lot easier to acquire a conversion from a repeat customer than a new customer from Facebook or Instagram.

Every single that makes a purchase on your website goes to your email list. This is something that Amazon FBA has its limitation. You can't do this with Amazon FBA store because they don't give you your data, but Shopify does – and that is a big deal!

I could tell you upfront right now – it would have been impossible for me to earn 4 to 6 figures, start this website writing all these articles, and arrive where I am today if it wasn't for the ability to re-target my existing customers – my best customers with more high quality products absolutely FREE through email.

We are talking about upsells and cross-sells related products that I know people are interested in because if they bought a specific product from my store, it stands a legitimate reason that they might buy a related other product as well.

Email Marketing is the key to what we call, repeat return-on-investment.

Once you acquire a customer, you never have to pay for them again unlike Facebook and Instagram ads if you are doing email marketing. Sending an email by far is the best way to increase your net profits without spending a penny on more traffic.

In fact, there are times that I would gladly take a loss on the front end product because I know over time, the customer is worth so much more to me than when I spend to acquire them.

For example, if I were to spend $10 on a Facebook ad, and I only generate $9 in sales, I'm not going to feel demoralized or bitter over the loss of $1. Because that means that I have successfully acquired a customer that I can now email them, and they will probably buy more products from me over the course of the year, the next two years, or even the next few years. And that $1 loss that I made would eventually turn into $30, or even $50, or even $100.

So that is why email marketing is so important, and it is considered the "main dish" of Shopify store. And you got to start using the components in these key factors that I have listed above when you launched a Shopify store. I can't stress how important it is to have these systems in place in order to market things that your potential customers want.


Too many Shopify store owners that I come across are too heavily dependant on paid advertising in order to make a sale and profit. And this is why Shopify is the best e-commerce platform in the world. They give you your data, and you get to build your own brand.

So if you do have these systems in place which I mentioned, I promise you, you will have a higher probability of success with just one Shopify store rather than launching a few niche stores selling many different things.

I hope that you find this article a ton of value and hope you enjoy the content that I wrote.

Talk soon,