low-cost online business

5 Low-Cost Online Business Ideas to Start on Shopify

While people associate internet startups with overnight success, some basic business principles need to be respected. In fact, the Internet is only a channel that makes it easier for businesses to connect with people. It’s an incredibly powerful tool to extend your reach as a seller. But creating a business is all about offering value – that never changes. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can establish a low-cost online business thriving with Shopify. Let’s get started, we’ve got a lot to cover!

Benefits of Running an Online Business on Shopify

online business

Before we get into the business ideas, let’s go over a few pros of running a business on Shopify.

1. Easy to Setup and Use

Shopify is designed to be incredibly easy to set up and operate for new business owners.  You get to create an online store without the complex technicalities associated with development and web hosting. The software and hosting needed to launch your website is all integrated into Shopify’s own platform. As an admin, you get to work through an intuitive and user-friendly interface.

2. Visually Appealing Online Store

The platform is enriched with a variety of well-designed templates, facilitating your creativity and customization preferences. 

Moreover, you get to create visually appealing online stores through suitable themes, a responsive UI and a smooth UX. This means you can customize your store with a unique aesthetic theme visually sets you apart from competitors. By integrating customization options through the interface, Shopify makes it really simple for low-tech sellers to personalize their store’s look.

3. App Integrations

One of the best things about Shopify is how easy it is to integrate apps into it. Through them, sellers get to add extra features, buttons, or functionalities to their store, greatly enhancing its options.

Let’s look at a few great examples of integrable apps!

Shopify Email

shopify email

Emails are a great channel to promote your online business. And an app like Shopify Email is the perfect tool for it. It helps you build an emailing list and manage your campaigns effectively.

Product Reviews

According to a report by eMarketer, 98% of consumers look at reviews during their purchasing process. An app like Product Reviews is essential for any Shopify store, it lets you add customer reviews to your products. In addition, featuring their feedback on your store could immensely help you in building your brand.

Better Replay

Shopify sellers often face the issue of wandering shoppers who don’t convert to buyers. Through an app like BetterReplay, you gain access to live recordings of shoppers’ sessions. As a result, you can see how they explore and interact with your store, and the items they click on. 

With this information about shoppers’ behaviours, you can easily analyze and fix the areas where people get stuck, and figure out new ideas to improve your conversion rates, and lower the number of abandoned shopping carts in your store.


As an online business owner, social media marketing is the best channel to promote your store. Advoz offers a helping hand in that area with their social media advertising. Once you install the app, you gain access to a certified advertisement pro who creates customized ads for Facebook, Instagram, Google and engages you with audiences from the relevant niche to drive leads over to your domain. All you need is a weekly ad budget, an FB account, and a product catalogue to feature on your social media sites. 

Where do Shopify apps come from? 

shopify app store

On the Shopify App store, there are over 3,200 apps to choose from. For each purpose or objective, there are countless apps competing to be the best. This is good news for Shopify sellers, as they get a wide selection to choose from, whether it be free or paid options.

If you need a special app that’s particularly customized for your own Shopify store, you always have the option to hire a Shopify expert to develop an app according to your preferences. However, this route should only be taken if you’re on a flexible budget, as there’s a wide variety of free apps to choose from.

4. Security and Reliability


Any online business demands high security as it deals with the confidential financial and personal information of customers. 

In 2016, Shopify took a huge step towards ensuring high security all over their platform’s coverage. They did it by ensuring SSL encryption on all pages, content, and data on each and every online store powered by Shopify. Back then, they had 200,000 stores under their wing, but that number has now risen up to 3,200,000 – all SSL encrypted!

Shopify believes that security breaches and crashes should have no place in a thriving online business setup. With Shopify’s regular security upgrades and maintenance, these issues are always well taken care of.

5. Excellent Loading Speed

As a globally hosted online shopping solution, Shopify boasts a highly reliable infrastructure, reinforced with strong software and hardware. It guarantees super-fast loading speeds to the users, enabling shoppers to have a smooth and uninterrupted experience.Shopify does this through tools like ‘Storefront Renderer (SFR),’  which is a new upgrade designed to accelerate site speed.

According to Shopify’s claims: Rhone Apparel started using SFR in April 2020 and saw dramatic improvements over the previous month:

  • 15% increase in revenue
  • 17% increase in conversion rate
  • 12% decrease in average page load
  • 37.95% decrease in average server response time
  • 3% decrease in bounce rate”

5 Low-Cost Shopify Businesses to Consider

online business

Here are some of the best online business ideas that have been included in Shopify’s own low-cost business suggestions.

1. Dropshipping

Under a regular product-based business, you buy raw materials, produce your products, establish quality control systems, manage inventory, and fulfil orders by delivering products to buyers.

Under a dropshipping business model, a seller dodges all of the above. As a dropshipper, you don’t need to handle the products you sell. You make sales through your platform, and pass on the orders to your supplier(s). It’s one of the quickest, and cheapest business models to set up and start.

According to Shopify’s FAQ section about dropshipping here, “There are many dropshippers who make up to $100,000 per year with a successful dropshipping store. So, if your idea of being a successful dropshipper is to make $100,000 per year, you’ll need to choose the right suppliers and build a brand.

They also add that since it is almost free to start a dropshipping business, you may face a lot of competition with other companies.

2. Sell your art online

low-cost online business - sell art

If you’re an artist looking to monetize your work through the internet, Shopify is one of the best platforms to accomplish just that.

Whether you’re a musician, painter, or photographer, there are many ways to start an online business to turn your masterpieces into a reliable source of revenue. All you need is an aesthetic e-commerce website to start selling.

Using tools like Printful or Printify, you can sell your paintwork or photos as canvases, prints, or framed posters. Moreover, you can sell many other ‘digital products’ like songs, beats, samples, and more.

While you may sell on other platforms like Etsy or Facebook, selling through your own online store is the best route, as you don’t have to pay any additional marketplace fees or commissions. According to Shopify’s article on this business niche, “selling art online can be profitable if you’re intentional about your pricing and marketing strategies.”

3. Sell handmade goods

low-cost online business - sell handmade products

Another low-cost business model that’s highly successful on Shopify is to sell your own handmade goods. If you’re passionate about your crafty skills, selling handmade items through your own online store could be a great way to step into the world of e-commerce.

As a seller, you could be making anything from picture frames, jewellery, or furniture. You could even market your crafting skills as a service to produce handmade goods on demand.

As you’re creating your own products by hand, you don’t need to pay a manufacturer, run a factory, or buy any expensive plant and machinery. Hence, it’s a great low-cost method of monetizing your hobby.

Surely, platforms like Craigslist or Etsy can be used to sell such products, but developing an online store of your own ensures that you grow your brand name with time, and have more control over tracking and fulfilling orders, creating a loyal customer base under your domain.

Shopify greatly endorses the idea of selling handmade crafts online as it’s been highly profitable for many people on the platform.

Shopify has promoted handmade crafting in various articles like this one, but they stress the importance of creating goods that have a market demand to back them. For instance, the candle business is a $2.3 billion industry in the US, and the global industry of pet supplies is forecasted to reach $269 billion by 2025, so starting a handmade crafts Shopify store for such products could be a great idea.

4. Start your own web development service

low-cost online business - development service

Building websites and apps is an incredibly valuable skill in today’s internet age. Almost every business needs a decent website and app to extend its reach to its consumer base. Hence, marketing your web development skills under your own website through Shopify is highly advisable.

While you may alternatively market your skills through freelance platforms like Upwork or Fiverr, offering services under your own online brand is much more profitable.

Freelance websites charge high percentage-based commissions on your earnings, even on repeat clients. Moreover, they have complete control over your account, making you conform to their website’s principles. You also have little control over what you can share on your profile.

With a website of your own agency, you have more control over your online existence, and get to keep all of your earnings to yourself. Your potential clients can judge your development skills by the aesthetics of your website as well, which is an added bonus if you maintain your website to your highest standards.

As you’re marketing a skill you already possess, there’s barely any additional cost you need to incur to start things off through Shopify. According to Shopify’s recommendation for building apps and websites on Shopify, “Technology isn’t going anywhere, and the demand for the technical skills necessary to build apps and websites will only continue to grow.

As a developer, you could even become a Shopify App Developer through the Shopify Partner program, helping sellers on the platform build their online store.

According to Shopify’s claims, Shopify App Developers earn $10,000 per project on average.

5. Launch a Podcast

low-cost online business - launch a podcast

For people looking to start a low-cost online business, Shopify also recommends launching a podcast.

For it, all you need are:

  • A decent-quality microphone
  • Audio recording software
  • Call recording software

If you like the way your voice sounds, and have valuable ideas to share, starting a podcast is meant for you. It’s almost like starting a blog of your own, but without the hassle of writing, editing, and posting.

Over the last few years, the demand for podcasts has grown immensely. According to Podcast Insights, 51% of Americans have listened to a podcast.

You could also promote your podcast by collaborating with prominent people as guests on your show. As your listeners grow in numbers, you’ll receive more and more positive reviews and loyal fans who share your episodes with friends and family. With consistent uploads, effective marketing efforts, and a focus on maintaining quality, your podcast is bound to grow!

5 Steps to Start an Online Business on Shopify

online business with Shopify

1. Validate your idea with market research

Like all business, a successful Shopify venture begins with a great idea. Once you write down four to five good business ideas, it’s time to research how feasible it is. You can conduct market research online, or by hiring a marketing agency.

2. Develop your product or service

Once you know what to sell, the next step is to bring it to life. To create your product, you can find manufacturers or suppliers, and create demo packages of your offerings.

3. Set up your finances

Opening a business bank account is the first step towards setting up your business finances. Upon registering your business with your local government, you’ll need the tax ID number and other information required to open a business bank account.

As your business progresses, it may need additional funding to fuel your endeavours. Having a dedicated business bank account makes it easier to manage capital, and track expenses and revenues. With all business transactions in one place, tax preparations get simplified as well.

4. Find vendors and suppliers

Product-based online businesses greatly rely on relationships with vendors, suppliers, logistics coordinators, or delivery services, etc. As a new business owner, finding the right people to take on these roles is one of the most important things you should focus on. It’s best to look around, take recommendations, and compare your options to ensure you’re getting the best solution for your preferences.

5. Build your website

Finally, you’ll need to build a website and monetize it by incorporating payment processing functionality. This step entails finalizing a business name, choosing a suitable domain name, and building your own store according to your style preferences.


If you’ve been considering starting an online business for a while now, now is the time to bring your thoughts into reality. With the ideas and procedures we’ve discussed in this article, the next step is to get out there and create your new startup. There’s no need to go all-in, just start from a small beginning, and work consistently to turn your side hustle into an established online business. All the best!  

If you have questions or concerns about launching your Shopify store, please feel free to contact us, we’ll shortly get back to you.