There has never been a better time to sell a stay-at-home eCommerce business – especially on an established platform like Shopify.
Which approach should you choose for selling an online retail brand, and how exactly does the whole process work? What’s the best way to approach finding a buyer, and what benefits can you expect from partnering with a broker that you wouldn’t get by going it alone?
Let’s address a few of these key questions right now, starting with the most fundamental ones: why should you sell your Shopify store, and how much is it going to be worth?
Why should you sell your Shopify store?
There are plenty of reasons why you might be considering selling your established Shopify store. Among the most common reasons we tend to hear are:
Building an eCommerce brand is dedicated, time-consuming work – and, after putting in all those countless hours early on, your Shopify store has now grown to become an established and credible retailer in its field. Does that mean you want to remain chipping away at the same online sales coalface forever? Of course not.
Perhaps you feel you’ve earned yourself an extended vacation? Maybe other competing interests or life priorities are starting to make those long hours spent dealing directly with customers even trickier to schedule?
Whatever the reason, lots of established Shopify store owners eventually find that time management – or simply desire for more free time – becomes an issue. Unsurprisingly, that’s precisely when many of them start thinking about selling up and moving on.
Prioritizing a new store or project
What happens when you want to switch focus, freshen things up, and concentrate on developing a new project?
It’s a common enough scenario experienced by many Shopify proprietors, and many decide to hand over the reins on an existing project so they can fully explore exciting new opportunities elsewhere.
Reaping rewards for your efforts in building the brand
Maybe the whole ‘sell, don’t sell’ equation is actually much more straightforward for you than in either of the above scenarios: simply put, you’ve done the work, grown the brand, and now you want to reap the rewards. We totally get it!
In your case, the demands for moving forward are pretty clear. You want to strike while the iron is hot, get the best possible sale price for your established Shopify store, and come away from the deal feeling as good about your online business acumen as you did going in.
We hear you, and we’d love to help you make that happen. Let’s talk about how.
How to value an established Shopify store
There are various metrics used to value a Shopify business. While these tend to differ slightly depending on which specific sources, valuation tools or brokers you’re working with, several key considerations will be common across the vast majority of assessment models.
Others are a little more refined, and only accessible to those with expert industry oversight. At Latona’s, we’re extremely proud to place ourselves firmly in the latter bracket. Our expert M&A brokers call upon a vast amount of dedicated frontline experience to help accurately assess – and assertively price – your full portfolio of online enterprise and assets.
We offer a fully free valuation service (which, let’s be frank, is reason one to consider working with us – although as you’ll see, there are many more besides!). Plenty of our competitors don’t do this, but we’re firm believers in it; see the ‘no up-front fees’ section below for more detail on exactly why we feel this way.
We’ll carefully assess sales data, revenue distribution patterns, ongoing cost bases and many more details when arriving at a considered valuation. For this process to work to its greatest potential, we focus our efforts on clients who meet two key metrics for us:
- Your online business must have been fully up and running (meaning actively trading) for at least one year
- Your annual profits should be $20,000 or higher
These criteria are important, because they’ve been tailored through experience to fit best with the extensive network of vetted international investors we work alongside. With that said, if you’d like to talk to us about potentially selling an online business that’s heading towards both of these milestones, but isn’t quite there yet, then by all means drop us a line.
If it looks as though we’ll be ready to work together in the near future, we’d absolutely be keen to stay in touch.
Expert brokers or Shopify Exchange?
So, you’ve made the key decision to find a buyer – the next question is how to sell your Shopify store. There are two main routes you can go here: using the Shopify Exchange app, or working alongside a professional mergers and acquisitions (M&A) broker.
The Shopify Exchange marketplace is still a relatively new method for selling your established eCommerce store, having launched to surprisingly little fanfare in mid-2017. Sure, it raised a few eyebrows at the time – many established store owners assumed it must be an especially convenient option for those looking to sell. After all, it’s right there on the same platform.
But is it actually the best way to maximize your sale price and minimize the hassle of transferring ownership? We’d suggest not, and that you’ll usually be far better off teaming up with an expert broker to sell a Shopify store. Why, exactly?
Well, for several important reasons. First and foremost, partnering with an expert broker to help sell your eCommerce store takes a huge amount of busywork off your hands. By contrast, using Shopify Exchange means you’ll be entirely responsible for:
- Installing the Exchange app, and learning to navigate it like a pro
- Creating all your own sales listings, providing detailed and enticing descriptions of exactly what it is that makes your store a uniquely compelling purchase for any would-be buyers
- Taking and uploading all your own screenshots if you don’t feel the auto-generated ones does your listing justice
- Assessing the suggested sale price that the app will calculate based on a few simple metrics, and adjusting this manually if you’re not satisfied
- Reviewing and confirming all aspects of the listing before sending it live, without the benefit of any expert external help to really make it shine in an already crowded marketplace
- Handling all communication with potential buyers yourself over email, and being ready to respond almost instantaneously to any quick-fire offers that might come in
- If you do eventually manage to find a buyer, you’ll also be entirely responsible for handling all the complex legal, financial and technical admin involved in the full transfer process, including:
- account disconnection from your own sales channels and payment platforms
- switching all the administrator privileges and social media controls over to the new owner
- updating all the contact information across your domain
- preparing all the financial paperwork for tax purposes
With all this to juggle (at the same time as keeping your store running smoothly for customers throughout, no less!), it’s pretty clear that having an expert broker onside to help out can make the process a whole lot less daunting.
How Latona’s does it
As a leading expert professional broker firm, our team has collectively amassed decades of experience in the online business-selling marketplace. We bring the full weight of that expertise to bear on every client project – and believe us, we’ve learned more than a few things about best practice over the years!
Working with Latona’s to sell your established online retail business means you’ll benefit from, among other things:
No Upfront Fees
One of the reasons people often cite for not going with a broker is a wariness of additional upfront fees – and we couldn’t agree more. It’s true that some less scrupulous dealers will often tack a bunch of billable numbers onto your account before a sale has even been made.
Needless to say, the best professional business brokers won’t do this. Latona’s don’t do this. A key philosophy in our approach is zero pressure tactics when working with our clients, and this includes free evaluation of your existing eCommerce business.
Our experienced online business team will perform a comprehensive review of your operating model and sales potential, and help you discover what the best options are for attracting a buyer in this highly competitive sector. You needn’t agree to anything you’re not completely comfortable with, and you won’t owe us a penny until you’re entirely happy with the terms of your completed sale.
Choosing Latona’s as your expert professional broker when selling an established Shopify store means you’ll immediately benefit from the enhanced security and reassurance of our Safe Escrow policies. Moreover, you’ll also benefit from full industry-standard confidentiality protection around all transfers and financial dealings when you use Latona’s to help sell your business.
(It’s worth noting that if you do choose to go it alone via the Exchange app, you’ll find that Shopify itself strongly recommends partnering with an external Escrow service to help safeguard the transaction.)
Access to large market of global vetted buyers
A professional broker will have direct access to hundreds, possibly even thousands of active and interested buyers year-round, and that’s certainly true in Latona’s case. We’ve been matching investors and entrepreneurs with mutually beneficial business opportunities since 2008, and our portfolio of satisfied customers on both sides of every deal has grown exponentially during that time.
Furthermore, we also bring our extensive knowledge of a complex-fast-changing industry to the table every time we start on a new client project. This gives us – and you, by extension – hugely valuable insight over exactly who’s looking for what sort of investment opportunity at any given moment. Needless to say, you certainly won’t get that from signing up to an app and hoping for the best!
Experienced and market-savvy exit strategy consultants
Because our service involves fully guided transactions throughout, you’re looked after carefully from step one, right through to closure and sign-off.
If you’ve never sold an online business before, you’re actually in great company with a majority of our clients. Sellers come to us for help precisely because the process can be daunting. We know this, and that’s why every Latona’s client is assigned a dedicated broker to help manage and oversee each stage of the transaction from start to finish.
We also know that the process of selling an online business doesn’t end abruptly with a signature – as experienced exit strategy consultants, we’re in an ideal position to help you evaluate and strategize your next forward move. And, when you’ve decided on a course of action, we’ll be right there wanting to work with you again in future.