34 Top Shopify Stores to Imitate to Boost Sales & Customer Happiness
April 13, 2022
Need some inspiration to elevate your site from standard to superb? Of course, you do.
There are so many Shopify stores out there, selling all manner of things. Some stores do very well, while other stores fail. Best to aim to be the former. But, how do you do that?
There are many reasons for success or failure in eCommerce. Shopify gives businesses a great foundation to get their store on the right track, but it’s up to the store owner to make it a success.
Your path to increased sales and customers that just keep coming back is bound to differ from that of someone selling a different product. So, it’s good to see many different success stories and how they’ve made their business thrive.
Given that there are so many reasons that a particular store will be successful, what works for one may not work for another. No two stores are alike.
These highly successful stores should serve as an inspiration, not a color-by-numbers template.
Nevertheless, to get your sales figures up into the seven digits and beyond, it certainly helps to analyze the stores that have already achieved that level of success.
So, let’s start by breaking down the elements of a successful Shopify store.
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What makes a Shopify store great?
A Shopify store is equipped to look pretty good right out of the box. This both means that it’s simple to put up a beautiful storefront and you are competing with similarly lovely looking stores.
So, the bar for what sets you apart from the competition has been raised (assuming they also have a Shopify store).
What makes a Shopify store great isn’t just one thing. It is multifaceted and depends on your particular customer base. One thing is for sure: you need to be more visible and enticing than your competitors.
While your target market may be unique to your vertical, there are many site improvements that any customer will appreciate.
A unique and striking storefront. The fact is that ugly sites don’t inspire people to stick around. Many brands have moved toward minimal and modern design aesthetics, moving beyond the standard Shopify themes available and utilizing a powerful page builder for a totally customized storefront.
Stunning photography. Really great stores have incredible imagery to go along with that freshly designed site experience. You want to represent your amazing products in the most flattering (and descriptive) way from a shopper’s first visit to the site all the way to when they click that buy button.
Responsive shopping experience. Shopping happens wherever people are, whether on their laptop at home or out and about with their mobile device. If your site isn’t optimized for the mobile experience, you are losing out on sales.
Quick loading pages. Humans are impatient creatures. If a page doesn’t load fast enough, we’ll just go elsewhere. In fact, conversion rates drop 4.42% each second in the first five seconds of loading. So, the faster your site loads, the better your conversion rate will be.
A significant influx of traffic. You can’t expect conversions if you don’t have enough traffic to convert. Through a great SEO strategy and a strong social media presence, you can start to drive all that amazing traffic to your store.
Powerful integrations. A store on its own can go a long way but integrations can bring it over the line with additional functionality that makes the customer experience better and the store owner’s experience easier. Shopify apps can help you manage your email marketing, implement customer loyalty programs, utilize social proof, help with customer support, and so much more.
Free shipping! The power of this offer is undeniable. Even if the final cost ends up being the same (or more), shoppers do not want to pay for shipping. A whopping 73% of consumers said that free shipping greatly impacts their decision to buy.
Descriptive product pages. You have to understand what your online store is replacing—the in-person shopping experience. In the store, shoppers can pick up a product, look at it from all sides, get a feel for texture. You have to do that with only photos, videos, and detailed descriptions. If they fully understand what they are buying, they are less likely to return it. So, be descriptive!
Pricing. Obviously one of the biggest considerations for shoppers, pricing products too high or too low can take a toll on your sales. There are many pricing strategies that can get you on the right track.
Shipping issues. Another ever-present consideration for shoppers is shipping. If your shipping is too costly or your shipper is terrible, your customers won’t stick around.
Unreliable product. The cornerstone of any store is its product, so if the product isn’t up to snuff, the store will inevitably fail. Make sure the product you sell is of the highest quality and your customers will pay you back with their continued patronage.
Your niche is too small. If there aren’t enough people to sell to, you can’t sell enough to stay open. When considering your niche, make certain that the market is sufficiently large enough to keep you in business.
Your target market is too large. On the other hand, if you go too big and try to sell to everyone, you may find yourself struggling to market to anyone.
Too much competition. Finally, if you start selling a product that is already being sold by many others without a clear differentiation, you may not ever be able to break into the market.
Lack of customer support. Your relationship with your customer doesn’t end at purchase. Keeping your customers coming back means supporting them when they need it.
What are the biggest brands on Shopify?
There are a number of huge brands that choose Shopify to handle their ecommerce store needs. Here are just a handful of recognizable brands on Shopify, some of which we’ll cover in more detail below.
Now that we’ve talked through the reasons for success and failure for online stores and noted some of the biggest brands utilizing Shopify, let’s get into the top Shopify stores that can inspire your own amazing brand.
34 of the best Shopify store examples for ecommerce inspiration
There are several Shopify plugins that have been integral to Bulletproof’s success.
For example, Yotpo helps Bulletproof collect customer reviews and showcase user-generated content (UGC) on its site. Reviews and UGC are a powerful form of social proof that encourages shoppers who are unsure about making a purchase to go ahead and pull the trigger.
Bulletproof also uses Back in Stock, which allows customers to sign up for notifications that will alert them when an unavailable item they’re interested in is restocked. This is a simple, yet especially effective way to increase sales for your store.
Social proof is hardly a problem for SkinnyMe Tea, but you can never have too much of a good thing.
To make its on-site customer reviews even more effective, it uses the Loox app to enable customers to add a photo to their reviews (Loox also includes a tool for offering customers a discount in exchange for a photo review). We featured Loox in our roundup of the best Shopify review apps.
This combination of reviews and UGC shows visitors exactly the kind of results that SkinnyMe Tea’s products can produce, making them more likely to feel comfortable with making a purchase.
Back in 1979, The Great Cookie opened on the shorefront of Ocean City, MD. They’ve since grown to seven brick-and-mortar locations and a formidable ecommerce presence.
Online stores need to feature a lot of content in order to give visitors all the information they might want to know before making a purchase (prices, product descriptions, product options, customer reviews, contact info, etc.).
So, when there’s a particular message that you want to highlight, you’ll need to make an effort to have it stand out from all the other noise.
The Great Cookie does exactly that with the Quick Announcement Bar plugin, which allows you to set up a customizable banner at the very top of your site. At the moment, The Great Cookie is using its banner to notify customers that shipping may be delayed due to COVID-19.
Like many Shopify stores, Chubbies uses the Klaviyo and Back in Stock apps to improve its sales performance.
Chubbies also uses Signifyd, a fraud prevention app, to help protect its profit margin. Ecommerce companies lose billions of dollars every year due to fraud-related chargebacks—but with Signifyd, Chubbies is able to prevent fraudulent transactions and avoid such losses.
Finally, Chubbies updated the look and feel of their site with Shogun Page Builder to create a powerful customer experience.
They’ve amassed a huge following with nearly a million followers on Instagram alone, and have gotten the attention of the likes of Pharrell Williams, Bella Hadid, Kourtney Kardashian, and more.
To further amplify their social media footprint, PANGAIA invests in influencer marketing via GRIN, a platform that connects brands with influencers. Creating brand awareness is key to driving valuable traffic to your store and PANGAIA knows it.
Like others, they also use Back in Stock to alert customers when their favorite sweatpants are available for purchase.
To create a store that truly reflects their brand identity, PANGAIA customized their store pages with Shogun, drenching every page with an array of brilliant nature-derived colors.
And a quick look at the language on this site shows how it’s been able to sustain such success—the tried-and-true best practices for ecommerce marketing are executed flawlessly here.
To succeed, an ecommerce brand needs to effectively communicate what sets it apart from the competition. In marketing industry lingo, this is known as the unique selling proposition (USP).
The Allbirds USP is that its business practices are particularly eco-conscious—and visitors are reminded of this fact frequently, from the “Light on Your Feet, Easy on the Planet” message featured above the fold on the homepage to the mention of “Renewable Materials” on each product page.
Furthermore, Allbirds shows visitors that the company has received positive coverage from high-authority publications such as Wall Street Journal, CNN, and Time.
Displaying social proof like this gives visitors a reason to trust all the claims that you make about your products, and therefore makes them more likely to buy from you.
Like Allbirds, Bombas used the strength of a good product (in this case, especially colorful and comfortable socks) and a progressive business model (for every pair of socks that Bombas sells, the company donates a pair to charity) to grow from a crowdfunding campaign to a highly profitable online store.
According to Billboard, the footwear/apparel brand KITH “rules music’s sneaker culture.”
And indeed, founder Ronnie Fieg got his start working for the popular New York City shoe store David Z, where he sold shoes to music legends such as Jay Z and Lauryn Hill.
Fieg now has his own shoe business in KITH, which has collaborated on designs with A-list brands such as Versace and Coca-Cola.
One tool that KITH uses to improve its online sales is product recommendations.
The most successful ecommerce company in the country, Amazon, owes much of its success to this technique. Each product page on Amazon includes a “Frequently bought together” section, and this section alone generates a full 35% of Amazon’s revenue.
This app has an AI-powered smart suggestions features that can personalize recommendations for each customer. It also allows you to recommend products on the cart page, giving you one last chance to increase the customer’s order value before they finish checking out.
mnml is an online-only clothing company that sells high-quality, progressive designs without the retail markup.
Their website is as minimalist as it gets, using a bright white background to accentuate bold product photographs and descriptions.
Let’s face it—you’re not the only store on the internet that sells the types of products you sell. There may be dozens or even hundreds of competitors going after the exact same pool of potential customers as you.
This is a zero-sum game, of course.
Whenever someone decides to buy from one of your competitors, that’s a sale your store missed out on. How are you going to convince customers to keep coming back to you when they have so many other options to choose from?
To retain your customers, you should encourage them to sign up for and use an account rather than checking out as a guest. One way to accomplish this is to offer a loyalty program and reward regular members with perks such as discounts, free shipping, etc.
And to encourage these sign-ups, it should be as easy to create an account on your site as possible. With the Oxi Social Login app, mnml makes this process simple as can be.
Instead of creating a new username and password, visitors can just log in with their existing Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Amazon credentials.
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The Taylor Stitch menswear brand has received praise from publications such as Entrepreneur and The Daily Beast for its eco-conscious and sustainable business practices.
In Taylor Stitch, we have another example of a Shopify store using Klaviyo for its email marketing needs.
And when you look at what Klaviyo was able to do for this site, it’s easy to see why the app is so popular—after switching to Klaviyo, Taylor Stitch’s campaigns saw a 60% increase in revenue per recipient. A ringing endorsement, for sure.
The most successful activewear & outdoor gear stores on Shopify
“It started in the back of a van” begins the story of Rumpl, a brand revolutionizing blankets by integrating the technology that already works in sleeping bags.
Their Kickstarter campaign took off, hitting their original goal within a day and continuing on to 10 times that amount. Needless to say, people were excited.
Their success has been, in large part, due to their innovative and one-of-a-kind product. But it takes more than just a great product to become really successful.
They use Klaviyo to automate their marketing efforts, Privy for email marketing, Yotpo for capturing product reviews, and Back in Stock to keep customers alerted as new stuff comes in.
On top of that, they run an affiliate program and a referral program to reward evangelists of every size. Shoppers that come in from referrals are way more likely to become loyal customers than from any other source.
Started in 2015, Cupshe is an apparel brand that designs beachwear with different body shapes and sizes in mind. The result is stylish and affordable swimwear that women look and feel great in.
Like other brands in this list, Cupshe has created quite the following on social media with more than a million followers on Facebook and Instagram.
Their social strategy is driven by an emphasis on user-generated content, with most posts coming directly from their adoring fans.
Cupshe rewards their customers with a loyalty program that they manage with Loyalty Lion. Yotpo helps them capture more reviews and show off that social proof across their site. And, for marketing automation, they use the ever-popular Klaviyo.
Delivering an exceptional shopping experience wouldn’t be complete without an online storefront built exactly to their specifications, which they achieve with Shogun Page Builder.
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The Australian swimwear company sells simple and sporty bathing suits that appeal to women worldwide.
TRIANGL’s website sports a homepage with no text, just a slideshow of grainy, vintage-looking photos of its bathing suits in action. The minimalist website points visitors’ attention to the quality and design of its products.
TRIANGL founders Erin Deering and Craig Ellis started this swimwear brand with $25,000 borrowed from friends, and in just three years they were making$45 million in annual sales.
Again, the path to ecommerce success is often paved by a strong social media presence.
Leading science and technology publications such as National Geographic and Popular Science have raved about BioLite’s groundbreaking thermoelectric products, which allow campers to use fire for not just heating and cooking, but also charging their smartphones and other devices.
One of the tools that BioLite has used to achieve this success is the Klaviyo app.
Again, email marketing is a key ingredient to ecommerce success, and Klaviyo makes it easy with pre-built flows for common exchanges such as recovering abandoned carts and reengaging inactive subscribers.
It also has analytics features that will help you better understand your audience and improve the performance of your campaigns.
Jane Motorcycles is surely unlike any clothing store you’ve ever been to before, as its brick-and-mortar locations offer not just apparel, but also custom motorcycles (they sell books and espresso, too).
Online, one technique that Jane uses to increase sales is Afterpay, which allows customers to break up large payments into a series of smaller installments.
A high price tag will often drive visitors away, but being able to spread out the cost rather than paying for everything upfront will make these pricier items more appealing to budget-conscious shoppers.
The men’s grooming company Beardbrand provides an excellent example of how social media can be used to improve the performance of your Shopify store.
Since starting its YouTube channel in 2012, Beardbrand has gained over 1.6 million subscribers, and it’s been able to convert this audience into a steady stream of customers.
You should know that this is no get-rich-quick scheme.
It takes a lot of time and effort to develop the sort of genuinely interesting and entertaining video content that attracts masses of viewers.
But if you’re able to pull it off, it can make the difference between a struggling store and a wildly successful one.
Also, when a potential customer lands on the Beardbrand site, the first thing they see is a prompt that asks them to take a quiz. Upon completing the quiz, Beardbrand captures the contact information of the visitor, which it can then use for email marketing campaigns.
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to increase traffic and sales for your store—according to one study, email marketing campaigns generate 42 in revenue for every $1 spent.
Kylie Cosmetics is certainly one of the biggest cosmetics stores on the Shopify platform—after just four years in business, the company generates over $100 million in annual sales.
This business was founded by Kylie Jenner, and considering that the Kardashians are famously savvy with social media, it should be no surprise that social media platforms (in particular, Instagram) have played a key role in creating this store’s nine-digit sales figures.
In general, the more hoops that a visitor needs to jump through in order to buy a product, the less likely they are to actually follow through with the purchase.
This is what makes Instagram such a valuable marketing channel for ecommerce stores—with its Shoppable Posts feature, users can make purchases directly on a store’s Instagram page. There’s no need for users to take the extra step of navigating from Instagram to the store itself.
Kylie Cosmetics uses Feedfy to help manage its Instagram sales.
This app makes it easy for you to transfer product data from your Shopify store to your Instagram account, and it also allows you to add a shoppable Instagram feed slider to your site.
This DTC mattress brand came on the scene in late 2015 to make buying the right mattress easier. Since then, they’ve been heaped with praise from publications striving to find the best mattress for all types of sleepers.
And, a company that sells custom mattresses understands better than most that they need a custom Shopify store to go with it. Which is why they use Shogun Page Builder to make every page pop.
One of the first things you see as you enter the site is their ‘WHICH MATTRESS IS RIGHT?’ call to action, which takes you to a quiz that finds exactly the right type of mattress for your needs.
With that, they can capture important unique information that helps them create personalized email marketing campaigns that can push potential customers over the line for this higher ticket purchase.
Since there are so many direct-to-consumer mattress brands out there, Helix understands that social proof—both from major publication features and customer reviews—can mean the difference between a sale and an abandoned cart.
To capture those ever-important customer reviews, they use Yotpo.
Finally, Helix sets potential customers at ease with a constant reminder at the top of the page that they can count on “free, no contact delivery”. Free is always a selling point and, during a pandemic, the term ‘no contact’ has alleviated major consumer anxieties.
This app is free for one bundle—if you want to have multiple bundles available, you’ll need to upgrade to the premium version, which will cost you somewhere between $17.99 per month and $37.99 per month depending on your Shopify plan.
Nick Mayer Art sells prints and apparel featuring the artwork of (you guessed it) award-winning nature illustrator Nick Mayer.
This store has seen a significant rise in its popularity recently, as it’s jumped over 2 million spots in the Alexa rankings in the past year.
Like several stores on this list, Nick Mayer Art users Klaviyo to manage its email marketing campaigns.
But this store also features a rather unique way to collect contact information for email marketing— with the Wheelio app, visitors to the Nick Mayer Art site are presented with a popup interactive wheel that they can “spin” to win prizes (in exchange for their email address, of course).
Using gamification elements like this is an excellent way to achieve your business goals while improving the customer experience.
The shiniest Shopify stores for your necessary accessories
The Ridge creates quality products that streamline and simplify everyday life. The first, and most popular, Ridge product is the Ridge Wallet.
The RFID blocking wallet appeals to millions for its card protection, slim design, durability, and lifetime guarantee. The Ridge uses a robust and industrial style layout to capture the strength of its products.
They capture that rugged aesthetic in how they designed their site too, taking care to feature their products in action with high definition lifestyle and studio photography. To make their store just right, they used Page Builder to customize it to their exact specifications.
And with this site, we see how many of the most successful Shopify stores use the same plugins.
The Ridge uses Klaviyo for email marketing, Messenger for Facebook marketing, and Back in Stock to keep customers updated about its inventory.
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Known for her iconic “I Love New York” t-shirt design, fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff started her lifestyle company in 2005, designing high-end leather handbags.
The company has since branched out into all manner of apparel and gained renown throughout the fashion industry, earning many awards along the way.
As you might expect, their social following is substantial and certainly drives a good amount of traffic to their store.
Outside of a healthy social following, Rebecca Minkoff uses a number of Shopify Apps that help attract shoppers and retain customers.
They use Yotpo for social proof, Klaviyo for automation, Swell for their rewards program, Narvar for shipping tracking, and Back in Stock for stock notifications. To make their store look just right, they use Page Builder to create the most on-brand experience.
Free shipping is a given for all domestic orders, which removes the customer’s dread of finding yet another charge at the end of the purchase journey. It’s already taken care of.
You may recognize the brand Nerdwax from its appearance on the popular reality show “Shark Tank.”
Their flagship product, a wax that stops glasses from slipping down your face, was impressive enough to receive offers from two of the “sharks”—but the Nerdwax founders turned down those offers and decided to bet on themselves instead.
Shortly after appearing on Shark Tank, Nerdwax’s total sales shot up from $136,000 to over $1 million, and the business is still going strong today.
We already mentioned above how free shipping is a powerful tool for increasing sales, especially when you set an order value minimum for free shipping to encourage customers to add more items to their cart.
Nerdwax makes this technique even more effective with the Free Shipping Bar app, which lets customers know exactly what they need to do in order to qualify for free shipping.
Few Shopify sites have received as much media attention as Tattly—this store, which sells fake tattoos designed by real artists, has been covered everywhere from The New York Times to NBC to The Atlantic.
Tattly has also used the Smile.io app to create a loyalty program for its store.
This is an area that many ecommerce merchants overlook—but adding some custom elements to your packaging, such as using glossy white rather than natural brown cardboard or adding your logo and other branding elements, will set you apart from the competition and improve customer loyalty.
The top Shopify stores of the miscellaneous category
With a full-width background video element showcasing these prizes above the fold on its homepage, the design of Omaze’s site reflects the organically attention-grabbing nature of its content.
The Secret to Shopify Success
Each ecommerce site is different, and indeed each of the 38 brands covered in this guide found their own unique path to success.
But it should also be noted that many of these stores share similarities—and success leaves clues. For example:
These Shopify Apps are used by several of the stores featured in this collection: Klaviyo, Yotpo, Product Reviews, Back in Stock, Messenger, and Page Builder. These apps comprise these store’s dedication to social proof, intuitive customer communication, and custom online experiences.
Social media has helped many brands cultivate a loyal following.
Offering free shipping entices shoppers and helps you close the sale.
An emphasis on fostering customer retention through loyalty programs.
Important messaging is prominently displayed via announcement bars or in the header.
By applying these lessons to your own Shopify store, you’ll be able to improve customer experience, increase sales, and ultimately make your site much more successful.
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Alexandra Rood is a freelance content writer specializing in ecommerce, travel and lifestyle writing. When she’s not working, she’s probably doing improv or snuggling with her pitbull, Mabel.