Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce marketplaces. It is efficient, economical and easy to use. Having been built exclusively for e-commerce it offers its sellers best in class e-commerce features and tools. Currently, there are about one million online stores that are powered by Shopify. But what makes a store stand out from the rest on Shopify? It could be the overall website design, functionality, the UX it offers, products that are sold on it, price at which they are sold,... the list is endless. But one thing is sure. The host of factors mentioned above definitely have an effect. It’s reasonable to assume an eclectic and enviable combination of these factors that can make an online store stand apart.
So how to go about building a successful store on Shopify? A good answer might be to look at successful Shopify stores and learn what makes them click. That is why in this blog, we are going to take a look at the top stores on Shopify and see what we can learn from them.
Table of Contents
Section 1 - How to rank the best Shopify Stores?
Section 2 - Top Shopify Stores by Revenue
Section 6 - Top Shopify Stores by Traffic
Section 11 - How to Write your Shopify Store Success Story?
How to rank the best Shopify Stores?
Ranking Shopify stores and selecting the top 10, top 50 or even the top 100 is not an easy task. You ought to have solid reasons to rank them so. Some stores might rank high on revenue, some might have the highest number of visitors while others might feature big on social media. So, instead of ranking the stores based on one parameter, let us fix some criteria for comparison and then rank them accordingly.
The criteria that we have chosen here are many and include revenue, website design, user experience, customer engagement or traffic, etc. Marketing integration, social media, influencer marketing, email marketing and intelligent use of e-commerce tools are other factors for comparison.
Top Shopify Stores by Revenue
All businesses are formed to make money. As much money as it can. So it’s a no brainer to have revenue as a metric for success. So, here are some Shopify stores with healthy cash flows that warrant your attention.
Top Grosser #1- Gymshark
Gymshark nailed $128 million in 2018. Isn’t this proof enough to put them at #1? It is one of the top fitness apparel and supplements brands on Shopify.
Gymshark was the brainchild of a 19-year-old university student, Ben Francis, in the UK. In between studies, delivering pizza and selling license plates, Ben started Gymshark from his mom’s garage. He zeroed in on the idea of selling fitting gym apparel for the youth who were conscious of what they wear. So, he started purchasing gym apparel from other retailers, and altered them or restitched them in the right sizes. His handmade apparel earned him $400 a day. This was not enough for Ben. In 2012, Ben attended Bodypower, a fitness trade show and that changed everything. He realized the potential of his products and sent some to YouTube Fitness celebrities like Scooby. This influencer marketing engagement paid off. As a little after his collaboration with Scooby, Gymshark started making $42000 in a day and was flooded with offers.
Now was the time for Gymshark to enter e-commerce. Ben started off in 2013 by setting up his brand on Shopify. With continuously rising demand Ben started utilizing multichannel selling. Then, they went to Magento. All went well until Black Friday arrived. On this massive sales day, Gymshark sales crashed instead of soaring. And all because of a bug on a Magento app. This cost Gymshark heavily. But they quickly rebound by doing 2 things. 2500 handwritten apologies with discounts were sent to the customers. Second, Gymshark returned to Shopify but on a different subscription model - the new Shopify Plus. The rest, as they say, is history.
$128 million in revenue, 197% growth in holiday revenue and 9.3x ROI on a social media campaign for Black Friday. (2018) (Source-Shopify Plus Case Study)
So how did Gymshark achieve this? Here’s what we think they did well.
- Gymshark’s traffic and leads were fueled by their savvy social media campaigns on Facebook and Instagram.
- They leveraged Influencer marketing with celebrities endorsing the brand at tradeshows.
- Gymshark opened a line of “pop-up” stores or boutiques where fitness celebrities could interact with fans. And this brought in a lot of business and boosted their online presence.
- Their innovative holiday campaigns run on multiple channels made their mark with great mileage. (Their Black Friday campaign had an all-black ensemble for the models and all-black posting on social media)
And how did they use Shopify for this?
- Gymshark used Shopify Scripts to enhance the UX of the customers. With Scripts, the customer’s checkout could be customized by offering special rewards or shipping options.
- Using Shopify POS, Gymshark blended the customer’s offline and online shopping experiences. Shopify’s POS reflected both physical and digital sales of products, providing a snapshot view of their performance.
- With multichannel marketing, Gymshark featured their Shopify Plus store on social media like Facebook and Instagram. This boosted their holiday revenue so much that they received a special mention on Facebook from COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Gymshark’s success story is impressive because they learnt from their failings to rebound to success. Their strength lies in harnessing the potential of Shopify fully as an online storefront and in their innovative e-commerce marketing.
Top Grosser #2 - Rebecca Minkoff
Grossing $91 million in revenue, Rebecca Minkoff is yet another inspiring example of a successful Shopify Store.
Joining Shopify in 2017, Rebecca Minkoff migrated to Shopify Plus in just 4 months due to their increasing product demand. Catering to the luxury apparel market, Rebecca Minkoff had about 26,000 SKUs lined up for the holiday season.
So what are the secrets to their success? Here’s our take
- Rebecca Minkoff added 3D and Augmented Reality technology to their website and transformed its UX. This gave customers highly-interactive shopping experience. Customers could now examine the product from every angle and even better understand the texture, quality and size. Minkoff offered this initially for nearly 50 models on both desktop and mobile. This gave customers an intimate encounter with the products before purchase. The virtual “touch and feel” aspect was a big hit for Rebecca Minkoff, shooting their sales upward and bringing in millions in revenue.
- Next, Rebecca Minkoff offered flexibility when it comes to payment options. They wanted their products to reach every corner of the globe. That is why they offered them in 70 currencies suitable for 100 countries. Customers could now shop to their heart’s content in their own currency. Source-Shopify.com
Intuitive thinking from the customer’s angle is what made Rebecca Minkoff such a successful business. This forethought made them use the e-commerce features of Shopify like multi-currency, 3D and AR effectively, offering customers a shopping experience like never before.
Top Grosser #3 - AllBirds
Necessity is the mother of invention and that is true for AllBirds. Ex-footballer Tim Brown was never satisfied with his sneakers. He wanted to design his own. He came up with his own patented wool design for these sneakers. He launched a Kickstarter campaign and sold $124,000 worth of shoes in just 5 days. But that was it. Brown had reached the end of his stock limit. Partnering with Joe Zwillberg, he launched the brand AllBirds in 2016 and built the online store on Shopify and later migrated to Shopify Plus. Two years later, in 2018, AllBirds grossed a whopping $80 million.
And now, AllBirds has pioneered 2 break-through in fabricating footwear. Its product innovation “sweet foam” uses sugarcane as the natural material for footwear. Another product called “Tree” which used the eucalyptus bark for the shoes. With this use of sustainable technology, AllBirds has carved a niche for itself among Shopify stores.
AllBirds' recipe for success included these ingredients
- Continuous product innovation
- Direct-to-customer sales
- Clever marketing strategy
- Aggressive social media campaigns like their Anniversary sale on Instagram featuring a limited-edition-shoe-collection.
- Made good use of Multichannel integration of Shopify Plus with Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics, Mailchimp, Zendesk, etc.
Continual product innovation, strong multi-channel presence, and clever social media marketing have all contributed to the Allbirds’ success story.
Top Shopify Stores based on E-Commerce Website Design and UX
Some stores on Shopify have an arresting appearance which keeps you engaged for long. And forces you to come back for a second look. Here are some Shopify stores with kickass design and uber-cool UX that make them stand out.
Happiness Abscissa - A Hallmark Shopify Store with a Unique Design
Refreshingly cool, this Shopify store has a sunny look and clever design. Their navigation panel is aligned to the left and the word “Ha” hangs artfully on the top left giving it a playful impression.
The clever use of graphics and product photos makes this Shopify store one-of-a-kind in design.
Quad-Lock - Product detailing at its best
The best part of quad lock’s design is that they make an ordinary product like a phone-mount look extraordinary. This is done by the artistic use of videos that illustrate the ease-of-use of products. Their product collections are cleverly organized below as per their usage like moto, drive, run, life etc.
Lastly, they’ve showcased a list of positive reviews they’ve received from The New York Times, Verge, etc. to establish their credibility.
Huit Denim - A distinct Store Design
This UK based Shopify store looks more like a newspaper than an e-commerce website. Its unique design is part of its appeal.
With a big banner on top and small snippets of content and photos below, the Huit Denim e-commerce website scores on its distinct design layout.
Factory 43 - Different E-Commerce Website Layout
Be it the usage of graphics on the banner or the animation on the marquee, Factory 43 has a striking design begging for a second look.
The sheer difference of the product depictions makes the Shopify store a must-see for all.
Triangl- Vivid Images for a Vibrant Experience
Triangl is an Australian swimwear brand whose online store stands out distinctly. It uses large-size lifestyle images of bikinis and swimsuits to capture attention. Launched in 2012, its Shopify store made $5 million in the first year and 5 times as much $25 million in the second year.
Swiss-born and New York-based Tina-Roth Eisenberg felt dissatisfied with her daughter's temporary tattoo. So, she created her own and Tattly was born. Apart from the superior quality of the product, Tattly made subtle differences in their product pages. They allowed customers to have a virtual feel of how their product looked like on the skin by clicking on it. They amassed social proof of the likes by allowing customers to share their product on social media like FB, Twitter or Instagram.
Website design hacks to learn from some best Shopify Stores
Scanning these success stories must have made you feel hungry for more. Grab some inputs from these Best Shopify Stores to optimize your website design.
- Use a simple landing page with a single but clear Call-to-Action (CTA) button like Beardbrand.
- Animated mastheads can boost your conversion rate up to 86%. Like Tattly, make your landing page more attractive with animations or videos.
- Use powerful headlines on your Home page like Death Wish Coffee.
- Bombas uses catchy content with clear outlining of product benefits on its Home Page. You can too.
- Weave a seamless flow of content into the product pages as Luxy Hair did. They use clever prompts and abandoned cart indicators at the right positions to help customers.
- Be innovative like Chubbies like offering a surprise gift or discount at checkout. Or like AllBirds, give self-satisfaction as the ultimate takeaway by bundling your purchase with a donation.
Try improvising your website design with hacks like these and be sure that your website design will stand out like these best Shopify stores.
Top Shopify Stores based on their intelligent use of E-Commerce Tools
Every store on Shopify sells products but some do it better than others. And this is due to the clever way in which they use the mundane e-commerce tools to their benefit.
This electric bike company based in North Carolina truly made electrifying sales in 50 days. And how? By the ingenious use of an “Abandoned Cart Pop-up”.
M2S’s masterstroke was integrating the Listbuilder of the Sumo App to their abandoned cart. The Sumo App is a free email capture app. Its List builder tool creates attractive pop-ups that make sure one-time visitors to your site become your loyal customers.
M2S integrated Sumo’s Listbuilder to their Shopify platform and built a substantial mailing list. They used this to augment their sales and recapture lost leads on Shopify. Using the Pop-ups, they maximized Abandoned-cart recovery by offering instant and attractive discounts that customers could not resist. They even offered an instant 10% off for completing the order. This gave customers the much-needed reason to visit their site again.
To amplify, one abandoned cart pop-up generated $51,994.28 sales in 50 days. This was because 577 customers saw the pop-up, 130 fed their email to it and 26 redeemed the discounts. By using Sumo’s Reduce Abandoned cart shortcut, M2S offered instant and individual discounts to people on entering their email on the pop-up. This one-click freebie became a big hit and got sales soaring high.
M2S success lies in their clever use of Pop-ups and Email capture from their Shopify site to recover sales from abandoned carts.
This Soho-based svelte clothing brand has made quite the impact. Founded in 2011, Untuckit grossed 100 million in 2017 and was estimated to be worth $200 million in 2018.
As its name implies, Untuckit aims at offering men and women stylish and snug-fitting clothes that can be worn untucked. Shirts, Tees, Polos Henleys- you name it, they have it. Believing strongly in market research, Untuckit created its products to fill the voids that customers had in purchasing their apparel.
Built mainly on Shopify Plus, Untuckit focused more on building customer trust in their brand. Apart from Shopify Plus, they sold a few items on Amazon to promote their name. Instead of focusing on multichannel selling, they diverted their attention to customer feedback. They constantly read customer reviews. Instead of asking for 4 or 5-star ratings from customers, they asked them what they needed in terms of fit, material or stitch. And the best part is, they put the customer feedback to practice at once while designing new products like performance T-shirts or athletic Tees. This was one of the keys to their success.
Untuckit’s other successful act of genius was in using referrals to boost their business. They integrated a Shopify App called Swell (now Yotpo) to their store to execute their referral program. Their customer-savyiness is evident in the way they allow these referral discounts to be passed through various channels like Email, Messenger or Facebook.
By offering referral bonuses to both the referred and the referee, Untuckit made sure all its customers went home truly happy.
Shopify has many such apps like ReferralCandy and Smilio to help you organize your referral programs
Acting on customer feedback and savvy referral programs have paved the way to Untuckit’s success.
Top Shopify Stores by Traffic
Attracting customers to your online store is not an easy task. But some Shopify stores like Death Wish Coffee lure customers by droves.
Death Wish Coffee
The reason why Death Wish Coffee migrated to Shopify Plus from their normal website was because of excessive traffic. ABC's Good Morning America featured their brand and this caused a surge in traffic that their site could not handle. So, they shifted to Shopify Plus and were able to handle 150,000 Super Bowl viewers who flocked to their site on seeing their event commercial.
Till today, Death Wish Coffee has continued to make magic by drawing heavy traffic to its innovative blog posts. For instance, its post "Should I drink coffee before a workout?" gets 42,000 monthly visits from organic search results.
Not stopping with this, Death Wish Coffee aims to get a high conversion rate with its clever social media marketing strategy. This could be through a pop-up offering a 10% discount on the first purchase or a CTA after each blog post. Or it could be through the social proof on its blogs.
Death Wish Coffee has been able to lure traffic consistently through its unique content.
Top Shopify Stores based on powerful Social Media and Marketing Integration
MVMT is a watch and accessories brand that made it big on Shopify. Starting off with an Indiegogo campaign in 2013, MVMT’s sales shot up from $1 million to $90 million in 4 years. And how ? - due to clever social media marketing.
MVMT has a “Shoppable Instagram Feed” that garners them most of their sales.
Apart from this admirable feat, they rely heavily on Influencer marketing. MVMT encourages people to enroll as affiliates and ambassadors and promote their products on communities and social media. These commission-based programs have attractive perks that lure influencers.
The successful use of Shopify’s powerful social media integrations has made MVMT rake in millions in sales.
This Californian cosmetics brand offers affordable cosmetics. Their successful Shopify store made $4 million in sales in 2018 in spite of their frugal pricing. How did they do it? Again through smart e-commerce and social media tools.
First, they went the extra mile in displaying the product reviews as “star rating” alongside their products on their site.
A click on the star or text saying “30 reviews” can give you the full review.
Apart from these, they pin badges onto certain products marking them as bestsellers.
These tiny touches make a huge impact on the consumer’s mind while they make their purchase decision.
Shopify has dozens of apps like Loox, Judge Me, Stamped.io etc that allow you to integrate product reviews to your benefit on your Shopify site.
Artistic use of product reviews and badges is what made Colour Pop steal the show.
This is one online store on Shopify that built its brand with intuitive social media marketing. Although its e-commerce website looks simple with only a CTA and an action button. It is its powerful presence on social media that made all the difference.
Starting with a blog and YouTube channel on beard styling, Beardbrand boosted both traffic and sales on his site. From earning $1000 in the first month, Beardbrand made $60k per month within a year.
Valuable content and powerful social media marketing are the reasons behind the high conversion rate for Beardbrand.
Top Shopify Stores that made the most of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is the best marketing strategy to build your own target audience in e-commerce. According to a SocialPubli survey in 2019, 93% of marketers use influencer marketing and 9 out of 10 of them made part of their marketing strategy. Kylie Cosmetics is a Shopify store example of an online store making the most of the power of influencers.
Imagine opening your online store at 9 am and finding all your products old at 9:01! This is what happened at Kylie Jenner's debuting online store Kylie's Lip kits in 2015. Yes, the lip kits priced at $29 each sold like hotcakes, and that too in a minute! How? Thanks to the 140 million Instagram followers and 13 million Twitter followers to whom she announced the launch in November 2015. And the best part is Kylie did not even have a physical store but just built an online store on Shopify and did it all. With Shopify handling all sales and fulfillment, Kylie concentrated on social media to exert her power on influencers to boost sales.
The secret lies in Kylie Jenner's success as an influencer on social media. D'Marie's analytics claim that each of her Instagram posts is worth a million dollars in ad value.
Top Shopify Stores that stand out by virtue of Innovative Tools
Some build successful online stores by using clever tools. Here are a few clever hacks for you to learn from.
Frank Body is an Australian skincare brand that sells organic plant-based products. They made waves promoting their “coffee scrub” and grossed US$20 million in yearly revenue in 2018.
The one thing that really made them click is their shopping cart. Yes, they added an extra tool that acted as an incentive for customers to shop more and complete their order. This tool was an animated progress bar which showed how their cart was being filled up. It also pointed out to customers how much more they had to add to their order to unlock “free shipping”. This gave customers the extra push to shop more.
The shopping cart progress bar gave Frank Body the extra edge in nudging customers to shop more and also improved their user-experience.
This London-based beauty brand stands out among Shopify stores due to one reason. It allows customers to explore, understand and realize which product is best for them- all on their own. They introduce a SKIN TREATS QUIZ for visitors to understand what should be their ideal skincare routine.
And when you take the quiz and add a product to your cart, they offer you a free sample of other products. This gives them a chance to “try and buy” for free. What a brilliant way to boost business, isn’t it? Well, that is what made them gross $1.6 million in revenue in 2019.
The explorative elements like the SKIN-TREATS QUIZ and added incentives like the FREE SAMPLES AT CHECKOUT are the tools that helped Pixibeauty succeed.
Top Shopify Stores that made the most of Email Marketing
Every store on the e-commerce platform has a trick up its sleeve for emerging as the winner. One such marketing strategy used by successful Shopify stores is TAYLOR STITCH.
Based in San Francisco, Taylor Stitch is a clothing brand that believes in custom and ready-made apparel for both men and women. Built on Shopify Plus, this brand aimed at created sophisticated clothing at slim prices. Right from their launch in 2010, Taylor Stitch's revenue tripled every year. And this was basically due to their clever marketing strategy.
Taylor Stitch's brilliant idea was to ask satisfied customers to share their shopping experiences. This gambit played off as the customer experiences became their success stories.
The other strength of Taylor Stitch was in their innovative email marketing. Emails always contributed to their e-commerce business as they had a huge repository of email lists. Initially, Taylor Stitch used Mailchimp for their email marketing. But they found that with Mailchimp, all the data was in silos and segmentation of their target audience was difficult. So, they switched to Klaviyo to do some targeted marketing.
With Klaviyo, Taylor Stitch was able to analyze customer behavior by sending emails on a segmented basis. The target audience was divided into segments based on their email open rates. Klaviyo also helped them weed out those who wished to unsubscribe to their emails. This funneled their email marketing to relevant audiences leading to better results. Grouping of the email lists to target the right customers brought a 60% hike in revenue per email recipient and a 60% decrease in people who wanted to unsubscribe. Source.
Taylor Stitch is an excellent Shopify store example of making the most of email marketing to increase revenue.
How to Write your Shopify Store Success Story?
Enough reading about success stories. It is time to write your own. How to make your store stand out on Shopify?
Here is a checklist of things you can try to incorporate to your Shopify store:
- Instead of selling just another product, make YOUR OWN. Create a new product or if not, bring in a much-needed differentiation.
- Portray your product as a solution and not an item. Let your product answer questions, satisfy needs and creating wants.
- Make the most of the Shopify platform. Use its excellent themes or create your own to bring in a striking design and unparalleled UX.
- Go multichannel. Integrate your Shopify store on other platforms like FB, Instagram, Amazon, Etsy, etc.
- Build up your Shopify site presence on social media with smart campaigns and fertile feeds.
- Integrate innovative website and e-commerce tools to make the most of referrals, abandoned cart recovery, etc.
- Bring one extra element of difference in your Shopify store. It may be through your product, design, tools, social media, or something else. But make sure this difference exists to bring distinction to your site.
- Last, of all, make the maximum use of Shopify’s e-commerce features to boost your site. If you feel there is a growing demand and you have to scale further and need more features, move to Shopify Plus or its higher versions.
Remember one thing, all the above Shopify stores have certain things in common.
- Trust in Shopify.- They all trusted Shopify and used to build their store. They found this a tried and tested approach. Take the case of Gymshark who burnt their fingers by shifting to Magento and then returned to Shopify Plus.
- Harnessing the potential of Shopify- All of them made full use of Shopify. Be it the themes, e-commerce tools or apps like Swell, ReferralCandy or Sumo.
- Multichannel presence- They use their Shopify store as the base and featured it on other platforms for visibility.
- Social media marketing- All of them used social media marketing and integration in an aggressive manner to create leads.
- Maximizing e-commerce capability- Most of them made the best use of e-commerce like abandoned cart recovery, customized checkout etc.
- Courage to try / full support from Shopify- Each of them tried and tried. Even if they failed, their Shopify platform did not. They supported them throughout.
- Consistent - They never gave up and neither did Shopify!
So go ahead folks, bank on Shopify blindly and make your Shopify store stand out from the rest!