What Products Are Prohibited on Shopify?

Prohibited Products on Shopify
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Shopify is one of the few eCommerce platforms where you can sell almost everything from anywhere in the world. From physical and digital products to services, you can sell anything.

However, being such a powerful platform, Shopify also has some social responsibilities to ensure that it is not being used to promote illegal or unsafe activities.

Shopify has strict rules and regulations regarding the types of products and services that can be sold using their platform – these are usually unsafe for consumers or are considered environmentally hazardous. 

So, if you are starting a Shopify store and looking for product ideas to sell on Shopify, here’s a complete list of banned products that you can cut from your list.

1. Investment & Credit Services

The services or solutions provided by security brokers. Services that are strictly banned under this category are

  • Mortgage consulting services
  • Debt reduction
  • Credit counseling or repair, Investment services
  • Real estate opportunities or lending instruments 

2. Money & Legal Services

In addition, some of the money and legal services that Shopify restricts selling are

  • Money services and money transmitters business, money orders, cash transfers.
  • Bill-pay services, currency exchange, insurance, bill-pay services, crowdfunding, and bail bonds.

3. Virtual Currency Services

Moreover, some of the virtual currency services that Shopify restrains on its platform are

  • Cryptocurrency mining equipment or initial coin offerings services.
  • You cannot sell virtual currency on Shopify like Bitcoin.
  • Additionally, you are not allowed to sell products in digital wallets.

4. Sexually oriented items

  • Shopify highly restricts any kind of product or services related to pornography or any other material under this domain like imagery, literature, etc that reveals nudity or any precise sexual act.
  • Also restrains adult live chat services, prostitution, or escorts.
  • Shopify also restricts any kings of promotions for topless bars, gentlemen’s clubs, or strip clubs.
  • You are prohibited from selling any type of adult toys, sexually oriented massage parlors, or adult video stores.

5. Counterfeit or unauthorized goods

  • No counterfeit goods are allowed to be sold on Shopify. You are not allowed to do any unauthorized selling or reselling of a brand name or designer products.
  • You are probably not allowed to sell any products that are imported or exported illegally within that place. 

6. Intellectual property or proprietary rights infringement

  • Using Shopify intellectual property with the consent of Shopify.
  • Any service or action that reveals a fake affiliation with Shopify.
  • Fake usage of Shopify’s logo, such as using Shopify trades or service marks directly or indirectly harms the Shopify brand.
  • You are not allowed to sell any services that directly or otherwise infringe upon any third party’s patent, trademark, copyright, privacy rights, or trade secrets.

7. Gambling

  • You are banned from offering services related to gambling like lotteries, sports forecasting, and bidding fee auctions.
  • No internet gaming, sweepstakes, or contests can be sold on Shopify.

8. Regulated products or services

  • Cannabis dispensaries and their related services.
  • Sale of e-liquids, e-cigarettes, and tobacco.
  • Peptides and research chemicals, online pharmacy services.
  • ID-providing services, weapons and munitions, age-restricted services, and gunpowder or explosives.
  • Products that use solvents like benzene, butane, kerosene, and gasoline are highly banned products.

9. Firearms & Weapons

  • Shopify strictly prohibits selling firearms or any classification of weapons.
  • Moreover, it does not allow crossbows, pellets, airguns, or targets.

10. Fireworks

  • Fireworks or related goods or services, radioactive and inflammable materials.
  • Although fireworks are legal in your area, Shopify’s Payment Services do not allow you to sell such items on Shopify.

11. Pharmaceuticals

  • Online pharmacies are not authorized to do business on Shopify.
  • You are not allowed to offer any drug-related products or medicines.
  • Moreover, no physical equipment is allowed that involves drugs in one or another way, like hookahs, vaporizers, bongs, etc.

12. High-Risk Business Services

  • Remote technical support, bankruptcy lawyers, essay mills, door-to-door sales, psychic services, etc.
  • Airlines, cruises, travel reservation services, circumvention, prepaid phone cards, telemarketing, and phone services.

13. Multi-level Marketing

  • Shopify does not involve any referral marketing programs, pyramid schemes, or network marketing services.

14. Video Game Or Virtual World Credits

  • You are not allowed to sell any in-game currency unless you are an operator of the virtual world.

15. Get rich quick schemes

  • You cannot adopt any unfair deceptive practice that involves any investment policies or promises high rewards.

16. Harassment, Bullying, Defamation, And Threats

  • You are strictly prohibited from uploading or adding any material or offering products or services that promote bullying or harassing any specific individual.

17. Hateful Content

  • You are prohibited from promoting any hateful content or violence against people based on caste, sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, color, veteran status, or any type of discriminatory intolerance.

18. Illegal Activities

  • Shopify also prohibits involving any products or services that promote actions that contravene the laws of jurisdictions through which you do business. 

19. Personal, Confidential, And Protected Health Information

  • You are probably not allowed to deliver any post that includes, sensitive personal information, personally identifiable information, or confidential data like national ID numbers, credit/debit card numbers, or account passwords.
  • You cannot use Shopify to process or collect any protected health information determined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA)

20. Self-Harm

  • Shopify does not give you any opportunity to offer any goods or services that promote self-harm.

What happens if you sell prohibited items on Shopify?

If Shopify determines that you are violating their policies, they may take various actions, such as:

  • Account suspension: Your Shopify account may be temporarily suspended while the issue is investigated.
  • Account termination: In serious cases or for repeated violations, Shopify may permanently terminate your account.
  • Funds hold: Shopify may hold or freeze funds in your account during an investigation.

Additionally, violating laws or regulations related to the sale of certain products or services can lead to legal repercussions, including fines, penalties, or legal action from relevant authorities or affected parties.

So, it’s crucial to carefully review Shopify’s Acceptable Use Policy and Terms of Service to ensure compliance with their rules. If you have questions about whether a specific product or service is allowed, you should contact Shopify’s support for clarification. 

Shopify Alternatives for Selling Banned Products

If you want to sell products restricted on Shopify, you can consider other alternatives. However, keep in mind that it’s important to comply with legal and regulatory requirements when selling any items, even on alternative platforms.

Here are some alternatives that might be more lenient with certain types of products –

1. WooCommerce

WooCommerce Homepage

WooCommerce, a WordPress plugin, is a robust eCommerce solution that provides flexibility and customization. Since it’s an open-source platform, it is not regulated by any specific entity. Thus, it doesn’t have many restrictions on products and services you can sell using the platform.

However, if you use any other products or services ( like plugins, themes payment gateway, etc.,) the rules may change per the developer or service provider’s terms. You can follow our WooCommerce tutorial to get started with setting up your online store.

2. OpenCart

Opencart Homepage

OpenCart is another open-source eCommerce solution that provides flexibility in terms of product types and customization. It is a suitable choice for small to medium-sized businesses looking for an affordable and customizable eCommerce platform.

3. BigCommerce

BigCommerce Homepage

BigCommerce is a cloud-based e-commerce platform that provides a user-friendly interface, strong SEO capabilities, and various built-in features that make it easy for businesses to set up and manage their online stores.

Like Shopify, it also has a set of prohibited items, and it typically follows industry standards and legal requirements. However, you may find some items allowed on BigCommerce that are restricted on Shopify. So, review their Acceptable Use Policy for the most up-to-date information.

Wrapping Up

In this article, we have covered every possible product restricted by Shopify. However, you should know that the platform may add or remove items from the list without any prior notice. So, make sure to check the updated Shopify use policy to confirm your suspicion.

Rest, you have other Shopify alternatives for consideration. But, make sure the products are legal to sell in customers’ jurisdiction. Otherwise, you may face legal troubles that can go beyond just shutting down your store.

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