As the #1 marketplace for buying and selling online businesses, we’re pleased to announce our latest addition:
Amazon FBA Businesses
As with the release of Shopify, Amazon FBA businesses will soon have its own space, allowing buyers to seamlessly view the hottest Amazon FBA businesses for sale and for sellers to quickly list their asset for sale in front of over 600,000 buyers on Flippa.
Users have been able to buy and sell FBA businesses since our launch, but we’re upgrading our marketplace to improve the experience for FBA buyers and sellers.
For those unfamiliar with Amazon FBA stores, running a Fulfillment by Amazon store is as simple as 4 key stages:
- The seller sources products and stock they wish to sell
- The seller then ships the products to one of Amazon’s Fulfillment centers
- The seller lists the sale price and information about the product. This is then displayed on the Amazon store.
- When someone buys the product, Amazon handles all logistics of the sale from packaging the product and shipping, to providing customer support to the buyers.
Amazon FBA is an amazing resource for lowering your workload, while still increasing the sales volume of your business.
If you are interested in buying or selling an Amazon FBA business, please fill in one of the expression of interest forms:
If you’re looking to buy an Amazon FBA business – Please fill out our Buyer Expression of Interest Form
If you’re looking to sell an Amazon FBA business – Please fill out our Seller Expression of Interest Form
As we prepare our Amazon FBA section, we’ll be working directly with each seller to ensure that each listing is fully prepared.
If you’re interested in buying an Amazon FBA business, please fill out the buyer expression of interest. You may just find yourself getting early access, meaning you’ll see the top Amazon FBA businesses for sale before anyone else! 😉
Does Amazon Allow FBA Businesses to be Transferred?
Good news: FBA businesses are being transferred on a regular basis and it is allowed!
Even better news is Amazon FBA Accounts are easier to transfer than most online businesses, like eCommerce stores or content websites because there is no domain or hosting required for an FBA business! All you need to do is transfer the whole seller central account to the new owner.
We’ll have another post coming soon outlining the top questions we’ve received regarding Amazon FBA businesses. Stay tuned!
Do you have any suggestions on what should be added to the Amazon FBA section of the Flippa marketplace? Let us know in the comments!
Buyer Due Diligence Checklist
Whether you’re a first-time website buyer or an experienced web entrepreneur, it is always important to perform proper due diligence before placing a bid.
For those unfamiliar with due diligence, it is the process of verifying that an asset is as it is claimed to be. In the case of due diligence on websites, it’s making sure that revenue and traffic claims are accurate and ensuring the online business isn’t fraudulent in any way.
With the help of our marketplace integrity team, we have pinpointed some of the top questions to ask and areas to focus on when looking at an asset for purchase. Below is the complete buyer’s due diligence guide and checklist.
One of the first things you should check is to make sure you understand the business model and how it operates. For example, is it an eCommerce site or does it provide a service? Does it carry any inventory or not?
If you’re unsure about the business model, make sure the owner clarifies:
- The hourly time commitment, broken down by task
- Any technical expertise required to operate the business (ex: knowledge of WordPress, Amazon Affiliates, etc.)
- Monetization Methods
You can verify the owner by checking the site through a WhoIs lookup.
Personally, we recommend whois.domaintools.com. From there, search for the domain and scroll down to whois history. Click through some whois records to see if the owner has changed recently.
For example, here is Flippa.com’s WhoIs history.
If the domain is under privacy, you can also check the hosting history and see if there have been any IP address, hosting provider and domain registrar changes. This will not tell you with 100% certainty that the owner has changed, but if all three have changed (around the same time, +/- 3 days), it is likely.
Checking for plagiarism isn’t just something college professors do. Verify that the site has original content will help confirm that the website is built using whitehat SEO tactics.
Our personal favorite tool to use is copyscape.com.
This will show if there are other copies of the site out there. If you spot very similar sites, it may mean that the site is either using someone else’s design, the theme is very popular, or the seller has other competing sites.
In case of blogs, it is recommended to check a random sample of 5-10 articles, to verify they are original and not stolen from elsewhere.
To verify if the business has been established for as long as the seller has claimed, go to: archive.org and search for the domain. Always check for more than one screenshot, something from the beginning, middle and end.
Note: If the business is very young (less than 6 months), archive.org might not have that domain archived yet.
One thing to look out for is big gaps in archived pages as this may indicate that the site was down during that time. Below as an example is Flippa.com:
You’ll notice that from 2005 to 2008 there’s almost nothing archived. In this case, you would need to take a look at the last and first screenshot from that gap. In many case this will show that the domain was parked, meaning that most likely it had not been used for the entire time.
In this particular case, it was parked and redirected to seeq.com.
Sometimes archive.org may show something like this:
In this case, click on the link to the robots.txt file. Sometimes the seller has blocked archive.org by mistake and sometimes it is intentional, if they want to hide the true age of the site for example. But in either case, you would need to be cautious.
If you see that robots.txt has disallowed all spiders apart from Google and Bing, it’s not a red flag. But if you see that they have disallowed archive.org specifically, this would raise a red flag.
A non-compete form prevents a seller from competing with the site you just bought from them for a pre-determined amount of time (typically 2-3 years).
If the seller says that they can’t sign it, find out why and if this can be negotiated. For example, in some cases, they don’t want to sign a very broad non-compete, which is understandable, but if it is very specific, most sellers are willing to sign it.
Another example would be that they have another similar site, in which case, ask if they would be willing to include it in the sale for the right price.
Check if there is a trademark for the business name or domain name. If there is a trademark in a similar niche, ask the seller if they own the trademark and will include it with the sale or if they have the right to use that trademark.
Also check that the domain isn’t infringing on any trademarks, for example, iphone7.com or theandroid.com. Note though that trademarks in names are fine if the site is in no way infringing, i.e iphoneyou.com is fine if it is a blog about phone calls, called “I phone you” but not fine if it is an eCommerce site selling iPhones (unless the have permission from Apple to use the name).
For more on trademarks:
Australian trademarks: http://pericles.ipaustralia.gov.au/atmoss/falcon.application_start
European trademarks: https://www.tmdn.org/tmview/welcome
For certain business models, such as eCommerce, it is important to check the refund and chargeback rate of the business. It should never exceed 2%. Anything over and the payment processor may terminate their account. Often this happens without prior warning, but usually a month of high refund rates is not an issue, only if it is a trend.
If the current owner hasn’t already disclosed the refund/chargeback rate, follow up with them to get an idea about the business.
Top-Level Domain Transfer
Check that the domain can be transferred to anyone. Some top level domains have specific registration requirements. Examples:
- .com.au – buyer needs to have Australian presence, either reside in Australia or have a business registered there.
- .com.mt – buyer needs to have presence in Malta
- .ca – buyer needs to have presence in Canada
You can check the requirements by Googling the top level domain. The Wikipedia page for a particular TLD will have the requirements. For example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.au
TTM Financial Trends
This one will likely be one of the first things you check, but in case you haven’t already, check that the trailing twelve months’ revenue trend seems reasonable. Both the net profit and gross revenue. If you see a sharp spike or large decrease, ask the current owner what caused it.
Make sure to identify exactly how the site is monetized, and if this monetization method has been changed in the last six months.
Revenue Account Transferability
Make sure that the revenue account can be transferred or that opening a new account is straightforward and easy. Easiest is just to Google for it and look at the terms for that particular payment processor. At the time of writing, PayPal and Stripe for example can’t be transferred, but it is fairly straightforward to open up a new account.
In case of subscriptions, unless the seller is selling the entire business, not just the asset, in most cases the subscriptions can’t be transferred over to a new owner. In this case all the current subscribers would be prompted to re-subscribe, but you would be sure to lose at least a portion of them, thus losing a portion of the revenue.
The only sure way to keep the current revenue levels with a subscription business, would be for the new owner to assume ownership of the entire business, therefore be able to keep the current revenue accounts.
Note: In some cases many payment processors allow transfer of subscriptions, but this is on a case by case basis and is rather the exception than the rule.
Google AdSense ToS Compliance
When a business is monetized with AdSense, it is very important to make sure it complies with AdSense terms. AdSense terms can change fairly regularly, so for the most up-to-date terms, visit their help page: https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/48182
One big change that Google did just recently, was to remove max ads per page limit. But instead they now just say: “Advertising and other paid promotional material added to your pages should not exceed your content. “
It’s important that the site complies because even if they have been running for years just fine with AdSense and breaking the terms, it may get a manual review at any point and get banned from AdSense. Usually manual reviews are done within 6 months to a year since implementation.
While Flippa does show Google Analytics stats from the listing itself, we highly recommend getting the full picture by asking for Google Analytics “read-only” access.
With this check you’ll need to go through all the top traffic sources and see if they make sense and are sustainable.
For example, if organic search shows as one of the top traffic sources, click on it to see the traffic graph for that and make sure there aren’t any drastic changes that may indicate a Google penalty, algorithm change or that the traffic is faked.
But if you see a traffic source that you can’t verify, (e.x. the source shows up “ads / 22media”), ask the current owner about this.
This is basically the same check as for revenue but instead of the revenue graph you look at the traffic graph for TTM and see if there are any odd spikes and if the revenue is declining or increasing.
Typically, high revenue months will also coincide with high traffic months. This is particularly relevant for content sites that make money via advertisements.
Now that you have access, click through all the traffic sources and see if you spot any that may be bought traffic or from ads. If the seller has not disclosed any expenses for Google AdWords but you spot cpc traffic from Google, ask for explanations.
Also be on the lookout for odd referrals. If you spot anything suspicious that you wouldn’t expect to be sending traffic to that site, check out the URL and if it still doesn’t make any sense, it is most likely paid traffic.
Example: The seller is selling a blog in the pet grooming niche but you spot that 30% of traffic is coming from getfreebitcoinsinstant.org and it’s a random low quality site, with no links to the site, it is almost certainly paid bot traffic.
If the business is selling subscriptions or products, ask the seller where his customers are from and see if it matches the top traffic countries, if not, try to understand why/ ask the seller and see if makes sense.
Make sure visitor engagement seems natural and sustainable. If engagement is very low, i.e bounce rate is around 99% and returning visits are less than 5% and time on site is only a few seconds, it is highly likely that the traffic is faked. But if the engagement is a bit higher but still on the high side, it means that visitors for some reason do not want to stick around on the site.
And on the flipside, if engagement seems too good to be true, i.e bounce rate is only 10%, it may mean there is a tracking issue. Or in very very rare cases people find the site so appealing that most tend to click through to another page.
Make sure to get a clear understanding of the owner’s responsibilities, including the time to perform the tasks and the technical experience necessary.
As always, if you have any questions, make sure to ask for clarification from the current owner.
Live Revenue Verification
After you’ve done a majority of the heavy lifting, one final thing to do would be to prove that their financials are as claimed.
While screenshots can make for excellent revenue proof, one way to quickly verify all the data is to ask the owner about live revenue verification.
Live revenue verification would involve doing a screenshare through a service like Skype, where the current owner would navigate around the account financials and proving that these claims are accurate. Typically this is verified by looking at the Shopify Analytics, WordPress plugins, or just going through the businesses PayPal account.
If everything checks out and you have no further questions, it’s time to place your bid! The whole process may be exhausting, but it’s necessary to ensure the authenticity of your asset.
If you ever uncover anything suspicious, please use the report feature, which can be found on every listing.
Head to the Flippa Marketplace and check out our Editor’s Choice listings.
Anymore enquiries, reach out to us here.
With the number of Shopify stores being bought and sold on Flippa growing rapidly.
We thought a mini-guide on How to Sell Your Shopify Store would make the process a whole lot easier for you.
The demand for Shopify stores has increased drastically, so much so, that we’ve made it easier than ever for buyers to find the hottest Shopify stores for sale on Flippa with the launch of our Shopify marketplace.
This new marketplace brings increased visibility for Shopify stores, allowing sellers to easily reach over 1 million Flippa users.
Why Sell Your Shopify Store?
There are plenty of reasons why people sell their online businesses, but the most common reasons are that owners don’t have the time to run their business, or are looking to sell the business to invest in a new business opportunity or help put a down payment on something big (like a house or car).
Setting Up Your Auction
Once you’re ready to sell your Shopify store, simply go to our sell your business listing page. Our listing builder will walk you through the rest of the steps.
What information should I provide?
When creating your listing, it is important to provide as much information by being as thorough as possible. This includes going into detail on every aspect of the business, including operations, revenue, and traffic.
If you have Google Analytics installed on your site, verifying traffic is simple! During the process of creating your listing, you will be prompted to use our Google Analytics API to automatically verify your traffic. If Google Analytics is not installed, you will need to look at your Shopify Analytics and manually input the data. It is recommended you take screenshots of your analytics if you are using Shopify Analytics.
Beyond that, it is important to take screenshots of your revenue, and make sure to factor in all the operating costs of running the business. Once you have inputted this information into the listing, don’t forget to upload these screenshots as attachments, so users can see the revenue for themselves.
For operations, we recommend outlining each activity with the time requirements and how this can be done. For example, if you spend 3 hours a week posting on the business’ social media account and 2 hours per week placing orders, your operations may look like this:
Hours of work per week: 5
Task 1: Social Media Posting (3 hours)
I spend about 3 hours per week scheduling posts on Instagram and Facebook. These posts typically outline any promotions that are going on, or any new products that have been added to the store.
Task 2: Placing Orders (2 hours)
This is done once a day and typically takes 15-30 minutes per day, depending on how many total orders are placed. All orders are fulfilled by a third party, so you just need to place the orders with them directly.
Once your listing is ready for launch, we recommend reviewing your auction and looking to see if you’ve missed any details that a buyer might want to know. The more information you have on your listing, the less questions you’ll be answering during the auction!
How much can I sell my Shopify store for?
If you’re unsure how much you can sell your Shopify business for, we’ve written a blog post that will help with just that:
How long does the auction process take?
We recommend setting your auction time to last for 10-14 days. This gives enough buyers to perform their due diligence on your asset and gives you time to answer any questions they may have. Once the reserve price has been met and your auction ends, typically sellers receive their payments in about one week’s time. This is dependent on how quickly you (the seller) can transfer over the ownership of the asset.
Auction Process: What to Expect?
Now that your Shopify listing is live, what can you expect the process to be like?
For starters, it’s important to treat everyone as if they will be the person buying your Shopify store. As with the listing process, try to answer any question as throughly as possible. By doing so, not only are buyers knowing what your store is like, but you also establish an excellent connection with them, increasing the trust. Since it’s likely you and the buyer have never met, trust can play a big factor on whether a user decided to buy an asset or not.
One great tip is if anyone asks a great question that wasn’t covered in your listing description, is to copy the question, and the answer, and paste it into the comments section below your listing. This will help you avoid answering the same question again, and let potential buyers know that you’re willing to go the extra step, which again, helps build trust.
Don’t forget, if you have spent a lot of time building your listing, I can promise that the amount of questions you receive will be much lower than some other listings!
Transferring Assets & Getting Paid
Rather than transferring assets and setting the site up on a new cPanel like you would a WordPress or PHP site, Shopify makes the process very simple to transfer assets to a new owner.
Note: Before transferring any assets to the new owner, either make sure the funds are in the Flippa Escrow account or you have received the funds via PayPal. If you have not received the funds or the funds are not in escrow, do not transfer any assets.
After verifying payment, the first step is to add the buyer as a staff member for the Shopify store. From there, you’ll need to navigate to the account tab under settings and make the user the account owner. Verify with the buyer that they have control of the account.
Now that he owns the website, you must then transfer the domain to his name. If you bought the domain through Shopify, you can do this through OpenSRS.
For OpenSRS, navigate from the ‘Manage your Domain’ menu and click on any of the following: Organization Contact, Admin Contact, or Billing Contact. Once there, put in the new owner’s information and select YES for admin contact, technical contact, and billing contact, then save it.
If the domain was registered through GoDaddy or any other domain provider, you’ll need to check with them directly on how to transfer the domain.
Now that the domain and website have been transferred to the new owner, it is time to get paid! Just make sure all social media accounts relating to the site have been transferred over as well. From here, the new owner just has to verify they received the assets, and the money is yours!
Do you have any experience on transferring Shopify stores? Leave a comment below with any tips or tricks you may know!
With the launch of our new Shopify marketplace comes the ability to find the hottest Shopify stores for sale! Now you can quickly sort through top Shopify stores for sale and find which store is right for you.
Want to jump right in? See all current Shopify stores for sale.
Why Shopify Stores (over WordPress)?
If you’re unfamiliar with Shopify as a platform, you may be a bit skeptical on how Shopify performs over, say, a WordPress site powered by WooCommerce. So why should you consider buying a Shopify eCommerce store? Because Shopify as a platform is both simple and powerful.
Everything from themes, to analytics, to payment processing, is handled seamlessly through the Shopify platform, creating an easy-to-use platform with strong analytics.
To put it simply, Shopify has eCommerce down to the tee, which is why Shopify powers over 400,000 active eCommerce stores worldwide.
How to Browse Shopify Stores on Flippa
To find all Shopify stores for sale, navigate to our websites tab and click on Shopify.
Alternatively, you can click this link!
Once there, we recommend filtering your search options, to find the asset in your price range and that fits your needs.
Shopify Due Diligence
Now that you’ve found an asset that you like, it’s time for due diligence. Due diligence is an important process when buying any digital asset, including Shopify eCommerce stores. That said, Shopify does make it easy for potential buyers to verify the income and traffic of a Shopify store.
What questions should you ask?
The goal of due diligence is to verify everything that the owner has said to be truthful, and to make sure that the asset is what you think it is. Never be afraid of asking questions!
Some things you should be looking for include:
- Verified revenue (such as screenshots of the Shopify revenue dashboard)
- Access to Google Analytics or screenshots of Shopify Analytics
- Understanding the time commitment of operating an online business
- Asking about their return rate
These are a few of the questions you should be asking. If you ever had a bad feeling about an asset, please report the listing immediately and our marketplace integrity team will investigate further.
Purchasing a Shopify Store on Flippa
Once you’ve done your due diligence on an asset and you would like to purchase it, it’s now time to place a bid!
If you’re not sure how much a Shopify eCommerce store may sell for, we recommend reading this blog post about website valuations from Jeff Hunt, a serial website investor.
The Flippa bidding process works the same as other online marketplaces, but in case you’re unfamiliar with the process, you can learn more about bidding here.
Upon winning an auction, it’s now time to make the payment. Whether the transaction is done through PayPal or Flippa Escrow, you can start by proceeding to the sales completion area, which is only available to you and the seller.
If you have the option, we highly recommend using Flippa Escrow as the transaction is the much more secure compared to PayPal.
Once the money has been sent over, the seller will now transfer the assets over, and you now own your very own Shopify eCommerce store!
Have you bought a Shopify store before? Comment below with your experience!