Shopify's Build a Business Competition FAQ

How do you calculate the winners?

We determine the winners based on your Highest Gross Sales for your two months with the highest revenue, whether those months are consecutive or not. For example, if your store's top two sales months are October and December, we would calculate your Highest Gross Sales by adding October and December's sales.

For the competition, we will use the top two calendar months between October 1, 2015 and May 31, 2016.

Why are certain states not included in the competition?

Excluded states include Arizona, Maryland, Vermont, Delaware, Louisiana and Montana. These jurisdictions have specific laws that make it difficult or illegal to run competitions like this one.

I'm outside the US, UK, AUS, NZ, Spain, Denmark, and Canada. Can I still participate?

We welcome you to the competition and you will have full access to the tutorials, guides and videos that are posted on Ecommerce University. However, you will not be eligible for the prizes listed on the Build a Business page.

I opened my Shopify store a week ago, can I still enter the competition?

Yes you can. Any Shopify store that was opened after June 1st, 2015 may join the competition. Enter your store URL into the form at and follow the prompts.

I am an existing Shopify customer, can I still enter the competition?

Only stores opened after June 1st, 2015 may participate in the competition. We want a level playing field and existing stores have a big advantage when competing against brand new stores. But, this is the perfect time to launch a new business to enter the Build a Business Competition!

What do I need in order to start selling?

All you need to sell products online is Shopify, something to sell, and a credit card to pay for your online store (once you've completed your free trial).

Can I use my own domain name with my shop?

Yes! The easiest way to do this is to purchase a domain from Shopify. All the configuration is taken care of for you. Go to Settings->Domains in your store admin to purchase a domain. Shopify can also integrate with an existing domain.

Where can I find tips, tutorials and guides?

Make sure you check out Ecommerce University. The Shopify Ecommerce Blog also has lots of great content.

What other help is available?

Just like every new Shopify customer, you'll have access to our amazing Shopify Guru team. Our team of Gurus can provide one-on-one help with any question you have about setting up and running your shop 24/7 via phone or chat.

Can you explain more about the trip to the Oheka Castle?

The winners will be flown (along with a guest) to New York City to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. After a day of mentorship and adventure in NYC, you and your guest will be flown via helicopter to Oheka Castle in Long Island for workshops, Q&As, and meetings with the mentors. Shopify will cover the flights, hotel and transportation.

Can I move my existing online store over?

Obviously we would love to have your business on Shopify. However, the spirit of this competition is to encourage new businesses to be created. Maybe you already have an idea for a new business that is only semi-related to your existing store? You should try this idea and you will be free to enter the competition.

If you are planning to move your existing business to Shopify as well, please contact our sales team.

What about a brick and mortar store?

It's a fantastic time to move your business online. However, much like with existing online stores – see previous point – the spirit of the competition is to encourage new businesses. Moving an existing brick and mortar store online is not going to be a valid new business unless you can clearly demonstrate that you are not taking advantage of the existing offline business.

However, if you have a brand new store that is making in-store sales, those can be used toward winning the competition! Take a look at Shopify and Shopify POS, which sync seamlessly with your online store.

Is there a maximum order price?

Yes, only the first $1,000 of each order will count towards the competition. We put this rule in place to stop used car salesmen from sweeping the competition.

Can I sell real estate, pianos, cars…?

Sure thing. However, only the first $1,000 from any sale counts towards the competition. Also, you can't get 100 orders placed by the same person for $1,000 each. We check for this. :-)

Can I sell digital goods?

Yes, you can sell digital goods using Shopify – it's quite easy. You can identify certain items in your store that don't require shipping addresses and/or taxation. If an order consists of only items that don't require shipping then Shopify will not ask for a shipping address during the checkout.

If you’re selling software, we recommend that you install Digital Downloads from the Shopify App Store.

Can I sell a combination of affiliate products and my own products through Shopify?

Yes, absolutely. In fact we highly encourage our customers to source extra products that round off their product offering. A lot of our customers started by selling just a single product and later started cross selling related products between their stores for additional sales.

I'm a programmer. Can I extend Shopify with new features?

Yes. This is what we created the Shopify platform for! The platform is fairly similar to the Facebook platform and allows you to add all sorts of interesting capabilities to your store. You can check Shopify's API documentation or browse through existing apps at the Shopify App Store.

Can we use a drop shipper like Shipwire for products?

Yes, Shopify even integrates directly with drop shippers and fulfillment services such as Shipwire, Rakuten Super Logistics and Amazon fulfillment. These services are really the key to fully automating your online store because manual shipping is labor intensive. At Shopify we have something called the App Store, which allows you to add extensions to your store.

Why do you judge based on revenues? Aren't profit margins a better measure of how healthy a business is?

This is true, but it would be impossible for us to determine profit margins of all the participants. Since revenues are easily trackable, we use them as the measurement of success. This was the best way running the competition without making it overly complicated. Of course, all the information we track for the competition strictly complies with our privacy policy.