10 reasons why your Shopify stores might fail

Reasons why your Shopify store might fail.

It is estimated that over 95 percent of Shopify stores fail. This is utterly discouraging for anyone hoping to open a Shopify store. If I were you, I would focus on the 5 percent. Is it easy to be in the 5 percent? Of course not. Is it worth a try? Absolutely!

Let’s look at the top 10 reasons why Shopify stores fail and how you can avoid them, to become part of the 5 percent.

1. It is not the Shopify store that fails. It’s the business

You should never forget one thing if you decide to open a Shopify store: the store is not the business. Too many people get carried away by the hype of building a ‘Shopify business’ and becoming an overnight success.

A Shopify store is merely a tool you use to run your business. It provides your customers with a way to interact with your products. A business is much more comprehensive. It involves product research, supplier research, store setup, product photography, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), customer support, payments, fulfillment, returns, accounting, taxes, etc.

When a Shopify store fails, it is the business that has failed.

2. It is not the business that fails. It’s the person behind it

It’s much easier to sit back and say that you tried, but the business failed, absolving yourself from the failure. The business can not speak for itself and is often forced to take the fall for the owner’s incompetence. The truth is, the person behind the business fails to keep it alive.

Many reasons come to mind but what stands out is that people get into business unprepared. They are clueless about what it takes to launch, run, and scale a business successfully. They realize how difficult it is even to launch while in the middle of it. A few keep giving to the business at this realization, while the rest give up and shut down the store.

Also, can we just agree that not everyone is cut out to run a business? The illusion that people on the internet are selling others with loadsamoney screenshots of ‘their Shopify stores’ that it is easy and anyone can do it should not get to you. If you have an excellent job that supports you and your family, keep going. If you must try to get into entrepreneurship, ensure you are adequately prepared, psychologically and financially. The implications of a failed business can be dire.

3. Poor research, planning, and execution

Most people read an article about someone who started selling dog leashes and made a fortune, so they invest their life savings in a Shopify store that sells dog leashes. For obvious reasons, they get frustrated when they don’t make a sale within a day or week. Frustration leads to desperation, which leads to poor decision-making, which leads to failure.

Before launching a store, ensure you have all the facts. Figure out all the requirements of a business and work on them before you even think about opening a Shopify store. Believe it or not, opening a store is the easiest part of the entire process.

After collecting your requirements, make plans to launch and scale your business. How are you going to achieve that? Is it possible? Does it make sense? Maybe get a second opinion and a third. Conduct as much research as possible and plan effectively.

Finally, discipline, patience, and consistency are essential to execution. Be disciplined with your strategy, and keep doing things that yield positive results. Run tests and give them time to materialize. If they don’t work, shut them down and try different things.

4. Fixation on money

Image: Sportskeeda

One fascinating aspect of starting a business may seem counterintuitive at face value; don’t focus on the money. You may be wondering what the point of running is at this point. Here’s why. In the nascent days of a business, the odds of making a profit are stacked against you. It is possible to make a profit, but you have to assume that may not happen for your sanity.

You spend significant time optimizing your business to start making money. Within this time, you can not afford to worry about how much you are losing or making. Your main goal should be establishing a sustainable business that will make you significant income six months from the launch date.

Fixating on how much you lose leads you down a rabbit hole you will have difficulties getting yourself out of, especially as a new entrepreneur.

5. Insufficient capital

This one is pretty common. I have personally suffered from this one. Your heart is in the right place, you have done everything right, and you have the skills, but you don’t have the money to get you off the ground.

The remedy may be easy or difficult, depending on where you are, your additional skills, and your life stage. If you have other skills, access to opportunities, and without many responsibilities, simply get a temporary job and save however much you need to get your business off the ground, then get started.

If you have other responsibilities you can’t put on hold like a family, put this dream on hold, figure out a way to save money slowly, and get back to it when you’re ready.

6. The prospect of becoming an overnight millionaire

This is perhaps the most common reason for failure. People go on YouTube and search “How to make money online with Shopify,” a list of twenty-something-year-olds with phony thumbnails of preposterous Shopify revenue screenshots shows up. They click the links and are fed lies about easy it is to make $10,000 a month.

These peeps rush to shopify.com, buy a domain, go to aliexpress.com, get substandard products, upload them to their free-themed Shopify stores, then share the link to their Facebook and sit back waiting for the big bucks to roll in.

To their amusement, they get a few visitors to their sites, and then ……….. crickets! Suffice it to say, none of this works. Becoming a millionaire is hard, very hard. There is a reason why there are very few of those, why they are known as the one percent. A lot of planning, trial, and error goes into building a successful business.

If you see a successful Shopify store, it is because someone has already gone through the initial, frustration-filled, failing stages and established processes that work for them. This is how they are able to launch new successful stores without much thought repeatedly.

7. Not understanding your customer, product, and “the why”

Before you start selling something, ask yourself to whom you are selling that product and why you are selling it to them. Why would someone buy what you are selling? Who is this person? The why is the problem that your product solves for your customer. If you have a solid why and a big enough who, you are well on your way to success.

I can not emphasize how crucial this stage of your business is. If you get it wrong, nothing else will matter. This is another big reason why most Shopify stores fail.

8. A lack of self-awareness

Image: NBC News

Alright, so you start a business and do everything by the book, but eventually, nothing works as you expect it to. Instead of quitting, this is usually a good time to sit down, retrospect, and introspect. What have you done wrong? Why isn’t it working so far? Where is it failing? How have you been doing it? What could you be doing wrong?

When you do this often enough, you can point out your weaknesses and deal with them head-on. You get to improve yourself over time, and this reflects on your business.

When the person behind the business is self-aware, the business is self-aware. It is difficult to beat such an individual because they fully grasp the extent of their capabilities and are also fully aware of their limitations. They understand their emotions and constantly keep them in check, which maintains the stability of their businesses.

Without self-awareness, you might experience periodic success if you’re lucky. Otherwise, you are destined for failure, however far into the future.

9. Poor marketing strategies

At this point, it is not a good sign if I need to explain the essence of marketing in business to someone who is already running a business. However, as a newbie, you need to understand the role marketing plays in your business.

Marketing is what brings people to your website. You can have a mediocre website with good products and traffic that will outperform a world-class website with good products and bad marketing.

An entrepreneur must understand their customer. Figure out what they like doing, where they like hanging out, what they like wearing, which celebrities they love, which shows they watch, when they are online, where they do their shopping, which other big brands they buy from, etc. These questions help the entrepreneur find ways to get their ideal customer’s attention, send them to their website, and get them to buy something.

A good Shopify store with bad marketing will always fail.

10. Bad suppliers

I once owned a successful business that was killed by a bad supplier. The supplier was unreliable. Most times, the fastest moving products were out of stock. The product quality was inconsistent, and they didn’t seem to care about us, the resellers. They also kept increasing the prices of their products. The bottom line for them was that they were making sales.

I would get reviews from disappointed repeat customers who would be impressed by the product the first time but not the second because the quality had changed. Rather than take too many negative reviews and disappoint my customers, I decided to shut down the business until there was a better supplier or I was able to find a manufacturer for that product.

The lesson here is that your business is as good as your supplier because all your customer sees and knows is you. If they deliver late (if you’re dropshipping), you’re the one delivering late from a customer’s perspective. If they make substandard goods, you’re the one selling substandard goods. I think you get the gist of it.

Choose your supplier carefully and wisely. Take your time, read reviews, and maybe order a few products for yourself to establish how long they take to arrive, if at all they arrive.


Take care of everything on this list, and your business will have a higher chance of survival. More importantly, treat every day like it’s the first day, every customer like it’s your first customer. Consistency is critical; your attitude is everything.

All the best!

Duncan Kishira

Software engineer cum eCommerce entrepreneur and writer. Professional Shopify dropshipping store developer (5 years of experience). I share the knowledge I've acquired through years of practice and also offer professional services on this website.

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