What Products & Businesses Are Prohibited from selling on Shopify?

Are you prepared to learn more about the goods and services that Shopify does not allow you to sell? The most popular ones and your best alternatives to get around their limitations are listed below, so keep reading!

Although Shopify enables you to sell a wide range of goods, some are prohibited by the website.

What Products Can’t You Sell on Shopify?

Legitimate Shopify has one of the longest lists of prohibited and restricted items out of any eCommerce platform. There are hundreds of them, ranging from regulated products to financial services. Even if they are legal where you live, Shopify won’t let you sell them if your company deals with any of these.

1. Alcohol

8,386 breweries, or 98.67% of them being craft breweries, are located in the US alone. You cannot sell your products on Shopify if you operate one of these companies. It’s one of the (many) age-restricted goods that Shopify lists as being forbidden.

2. Tobacco and E-Cigarettes

Shopify won’t approve you as a merchant if your company sells anything related to smoking. Tobacco, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, e-juice, and smoking-related accessories are not allowed to be sold by the company. Additionally prohibited from sale on this eCommerce platform are pipes, bongs, and vaporizers.

3. Cbd

The cannabidiol (CBD) market, according to industry analysts, will grow to be worth more than $2.5 billion by 2022. If a CBD product has a THC content of 0.3% or less, it is acceptable to sell it in both the US and Canada. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid with psychoactive properties, is what it stands for.

The problem is that Shopify imposes considerable limitations on the sales of goods related to CBD. For starters, there’s the “For the Sale of Hemp and Hemp-Derived Products Attestation.” All US-based CBD vendors must fill it out in order to list their products on the marketplace.

Keep in mind that this only applies to US businesses. To sell your products on Shopify as a Canadian merchant, you need a cannabis license. You must also sign up with the platform’s “Shopify Plus” plan.

What if you reside in Europe, where CBD is currently legal almost everywhere (aside from Italy and Slovakia)? There isn’t a comprehensive page about it on Shopify, unfortunately. Instead, it provides information on selling CBD products that is tailored to US retailers.

However, if you reside outside the US (or Canada), you’ll probably encounter difficulties when trying to sell CBD products on Shopify. Actually, a few US business owners claimed that their hard-earned money had been put on hold.

4. Fireworks

In 46 states and Washington, DC, specific consumer fireworks are allowed. Massachusetts is the only state in which it is entirely forbidden in all forms. Illinois, Ohio, and Vermont have strict regulations regarding the use of these products.

These items are regrettably among the numerous generally prohibited items listed by Shopify. Therefore, even if fireworks are permitted where you live, Shopify’s Payments Services will not be available to you.

5. Firearms and Weapons

Shopify forbids the use of weapons of any kind, including knives and firearms. Additionally, it prohibits the sale of explosives, ammunition, and other similar items. Crossbows, air rifles, pellets, and targets are also prohibited from sale.

The fact that there are numerous state laws restricting them makes a lot of these restrictions understandable. Shopify, however, imposes them on all users, not just those who use it in a particular location.

7. What Products & Businesses Are Prohibited to Sell on Shopify2

6. Solvents

In the US, at least 350 common solvents are employed, including benzene, gasoline, kerosene, and alcohol. Butane-based solvents are also used in lighter fluid and portable camp stoves.

Sounds like your online store? If so, your store falls under the category of Shopify’s prohibited businesses.

7. Pharmaceuticals

Despite being a recognized legal entity in their country, online pharmacies are unable to conduct business on Shopify. Additionally, it forbids the sale of research chemicals, peptides, nutraceuticals, and pseudo-pharmaceuticals. The same holds true for any product making health or therapeutic claims.

8. Gaming Restrictions

Online gaming, virtual goods, and game credits are not allowed on Shopify. Only those who run the game itself are authorized to sell virtual money. You might not be able to sell games with age restrictions depending on where you are.

9. Certain High-Demand Items

In recent times, specific personal protective equipment has been added to Shopify’s list of prohibited items. This includes, to name a few, masks, sanitizers, isopropyl alcohol, and disinfectant sprays. This action led to the eCommerce platform suspending thousands of stores.

Sadly, even reliable retailers were impacted by this action. Even if their store didn’t sell masks, some users claimed that Shopify still closed their store. Even worse, many store owners had downtime that lasted days rather than just a few hours.

10. Gambling Products

  • Lotteries, auctions with a bid minimum, and sports betting or odds with a monetary or material prize all fall under this category.
  • Fantasy sports leagues with cash prizes, online gaming, contests, and sweepstakes are also included.
  • Games of chance, including both legal and illegal forms of gambling, internet gambling, sweepstakes and competitions with a buy-in or cash prize, charity sweepstakes, and raffles held specifically to raise money are all examples of products that are prohibited.

Best Shopify Alternatives for High-Risk Products

The good news is that many of the above-mentioned items can still be sold through other eCommerce platforms. When it comes to harmful and illegal activities, they naturally enforce the same policies. The apparent breaking of laws and regulations is also subject to laws.

Complying with local, state, and federal laws is of utmost importance in this situation. If so, one of these five Shopify alternatives might be the ideal eCommerce partner for you.

1. Shift4Shop

Are you looking for an eCommerce platform with as many features as Magento but still with a user-friendly interface? If so, Shift4Shop might be exactly what you’re looking for. The best part is that it will enable you to design stunning websites where you can sell items that Shopify forbids.

Several high-risk payment processors are integrated with Shift4Shop. People who sell goods that frequently fall under strict regulations are known as high-risk merchants. These products include things like CBD, vapes, wine, alcoholic beverages, and supplements.

You can sell goods that you can’t on Shopify if you use these payment options. If you want to sell wine online, for instance, Shift4Shop will provide you with the tools you need to make sure that all sales are proper and legal. Through cutting-edge age verification tools, your store will have the authority to do so.

E-juice, e-cigarettes, and vaporizers are other items you can sell. Given that it generated $4.2 billion in revenue in the US in 2018, this industry is quite lucrative. By 2025, market analysts predict an additional 24.1% growth.

Shift4Shop is still a great choice for a number of other factors, though. This eCommerce platform based in Florida doesn’t impose transaction fees, unlike Shopify. The fact that it has over 200 built-in features, including a shopping cart, API access, an integrated blog, and a Facebook Store, gives it more bells and whistles. Additionally, you can select from dozens of themes that are optimized for mobile devices and enjoy unlimited bandwidth and orders. Additionally, you can depend on a support staff that is available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

Perhaps best yet, if you’re selling items prohibited by Shopify but don’t need a high-risk payment processor, you can use The End-to-End eCommerce plan from Shift4Shop is free. There are no restrictions on bandwidth, sales, or anything else with this plan, which uses Shift4 Payments as its power source.

2. Wix

Website builder Wix, with its headquarters in Israel, offers both free and paid plans. It includes a drag-and-drop tool that makes it simple to create an attractive online store. The free plan has numerous ads and Wix-branded elements, whereas the paid plans are ad-free.

Even so, it might be a good choice if you want to sell some goods that Shopify wouldn’t allow you to. Similar to Canada’s most valuable company, it does have a lengthy list of prohibited items.

Tobacco, e-cigarettes, and alcoholic beverages are a few examples of items you cannot sell. Wix, however, has clearer guidelines for selling some goods, like CBD, when compared to Shopify. You can sell CBD through your Wix website if you have a legitimate US-based store, so long as you do.

Pseudo-pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals might also be available for sale on Wix. The same goes for cosmetic products that claim to produce “extreme results.” However, in both situations, you must first get express written permission to do so.

While Wix does not permit the sale of game cards, it does permit the sale of video games and gaming consoles. Make sure there isn’t any copyright infringement on your store.

3. WooCommerce

Being a plug-in for WordPress, an open-source website builder, WooCommerce is a great substitute for Shopify. The eCommerce platform does not limit its use as a result.

If you use other Automattic services, then that’s the only time you’ll run into limitations. The organization that created WooCommerce is called Automattic.

Having said that, WooCommerce can be used to sell items that are subject to strict regulations, like CBD or wine. Additionally, you can use it for your online store for gaming, gaming accessories, or fireworks. Use WooCommerce as long as your payment service providers permit it.

But there are some things you can’t sell if you’re going to use WooCommerce Payments. These include virtual goods like in-game money, e-cigs, nutraceuticals, and fake pharmaceuticals, among others.

Additionally, WooCommerce does permit the sale of CBD, as was already mentioned. The payment provider you must use if you plan to use Automattic services is Square.

One more thing: if you intend to sell CBD, your website shouldn’t be hosted on WordPress.com. That’s because Automattic hosts and supports websites created using this platform. Selling shouldn’t be a problem if your website isn’t hosted by Automattic, such as a self-hosted website made with WordPress.org.

4. Magento

Leading global eCommerce platform Magento is renowned for offering an all-in-one solution. For instance, cloud hosting and deployment are already included with Magento Commerce. You have total control over how you run your website as a whole, including what you can sell there.

The free, downloadable version of Magento is known as Magento Open Source. You can use it however you see fit as long as it doesn’t violate any laws, making it another open-source platform. For instance, it shouldn’t be used to display harmful content or violate copyright.

Having said that, Magento enables users to sell a lot of the products that Shopify does not allow them to. Alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, dietary supplements, and nutraceuticals fall under this category. Even health-related equipment like anti-snoring devices are permitted.

But Magento’s biggest disadvantage is that it requires some technical knowledge to use. Magento Commerce only has a few parts that don’t require lines of code, like adding web pages. So, unless you have a background in programming or an in-house development team, you might find it a little challenging to use this platform.

5. BigCommerce

Another great Shopify substitute is BigCommerce, which enables you to sell the majority of what Shopify does not permit. BigCommerce is much less constrained in terms of what you can sell even though it is a SaaS (software as a service) platform rather than an open-source platform. The platform permits the sale of alcoholic beverages, games, paintball, publishing, education, cosmetics, and nutrients, among other things.

High-risk companies like CBD and supplement retailers are also catered to by BigCommerce. Additionally, retailers of vaporizers and vaping accessories benefit from the eCommerce platform.

BigCommerce is a fantastic, comprehensive eCommerce platform overall. It includes a number of helpful features that are built-in, including management of products and inventory. Even better, you can incorporate shipping options and coupon codes into your account.

Pricing-wise, BigCommerce plans start at $29.95 per month, which is 95 cents more than Shopify. But, like Shopify, it also adds 30 cents per transaction to the credit card rates for PayPal, which range from 2.2% to 2.9%. There is a two-week trial period available for free if you’re interested.

Conclusion

This should help to make it clear what is and isn’t permitted on the Shopify platform. When a client is unsure whether Shopify will approve their store, I advise sending them this guide.

In some circumstances, it is preferable to use an open source platform or another cloud platform as long as your company does not engage in illegal or immoral activities.

FAQs

Can I Sell Disney Products on Shopify?

Yes, but only if you have the owner’s permission. Even so, there are some limitations. For instance, you cannot alter the item in any way without the owner’s consent. Let’s talk about selling trademarked goods on Shopify now that that has been clarified.

Can You Sell Supplements on Shopify?

No, you cannot sell vitamins on Shopify. The FDA has not given its approval for the sale of vitamins and other dietary supplements through the Shopify platform. Your account will be at risk of suspension or termination if you try to sell these items on Shopify.

Can You Sell Knives on Shopify?

Shopify prohibits firearms and anything else that can classify as a weapon, even knives. It forbids the sale of explosives, ammunition, and other similar items.

Ivy Smith

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