Starting a Watches Business with Shopify: Expert Guide

Starting a Watches Business with Shopify: Expert Guide

Take a stroll in the evening and you’ll see that almost every adult you walk past has a phone that tells the time. But in spite of this, the watch industry continues to boom.

In fact, the global watch market size is expected to hit $98 billion dollars in 2028 and one of the key drivers of this growth is that watches are now being used as a fashion statement.

Do you want to cash in on this growth?

You can design your own watches  and launch a successful watch business. But before you create a business bank account however, you need to understand what it takes to build an online watches business.

Fortunately, you’ve found this step-by-step guide to put you through.

Let’s begin.

Is the Watch Business the Right One for You

Before you dive headfirst into a new business, it is important that you take a moment to evaluate if this new venture aligns with your personal goals.

In this case, you should ask yourself: is this watch business the right one for me?

To help you come to grips with that question, here are some pros and cons of starting a watch business.

Pros of Starting a Watch Business

It is a flexible venture

One good thing about selling watches online (this applies to most eCommerce businesses too) is that you can run your business from the comfort of your home. If this flexibility is what you crave for, then that’s one point in favor of launching your watch business.

It provides a creative outlet

If you are the creative type, your watch business can also be an avenue for you to flex your creative muscles. You can design your own unique watch line and derive pleasure from seeing customers from around the world use your designs.

A case in point is Danish designer, Thomas Funder, who went from being a sketch artist to designing his own luxury watches.

Thomas Funder - DSers
Source: Thomas Funder

It can be a profitable business

Unless it’s for charity, one of the reasons why you start a new business is financial independence. If that’s your goal too, then you might lean a little closer towards a watch business with its good profit margin.

Numerous case studies like this MVMT success story show that it is very possible to launch and grow a profitable online watch business.

Cons of Starting a Watch Business

It can be hard finding a reputable manufacturer

Finding a manufacturing partner for your watch business can be a grueling experience. You might need to vet tens of options in order to find one that is a fit for you in terms of style, budget, and culture.

You’d be fighting in a prestige market

The watch market is home to many prestigious brands like Cartier, Patek Philippe, Rolex, Tag Heuer, and Omega. It is far from being an impossible task but entering this market means that you will compete with many of these established and respected brands.

brand market share - DSers
Source: Europa Star

Watch Industry Trends to Take Note of

Beyond just pros and cons, it is important that you understand the underlying trends happening in the online watch industry. Why?

This is so that you can make decisions for yourself on whether it is an industry with a profitable future.

So let’s see some of the industry trends to take note of in the watch industry.

  • The global watch market is valued at $71.1 billion in 2022.
  • It is expected to hit $98.6 billion dollars by 2028.
  • The key driver of this growth is the growing adoption of watches as fashion accessories. So more people see watches as a way to add an elegant look to their personality. For some other people, watches are valuable personal assets. You can target these people and make profits as long as you do not sell fake watches.
  • The luxury watch market is the biggest and fastest growing segment of the watch industry. It was valued at $39.36 billion in 2021.

If after all these, you realize that you want to explore other business opportunities, check out these related business ideas:

Choosing the Right Niche for Your Watches Business

If you have spent time researching the eCommerce industry, then you must know that there is great emphasis put on finding a niche for your brand.

For new market entrants, niching down is how you give yourself enough leeway to scale your brand until it is big enough to compete favorably with already-established competitors.

You can turn your small size into a weapon by making scaled-down manufacturing and marketing work for you. You can take control of your price points and be more responsive to the needs of your customers.

Choosing the Right Niche for Your Watches Business - DSers

But how do you find a profitable niche in the first place?

It all comes down to your ability to identify a market gap. Go online and examine different watch brands. Study their products, prices, and customer reviews to see if you can find gaps to fill.

For instance, you could find out that there is an underserved market for classic timepiece or quartz watches or watches with wooden straps.

Note: Specializing in a specific type of watch is a common way to niche down. You’ll focus your attention on a target market with clear tastes.

To find your niche as a new eCommerce watch entrepreneur, follow these steps.

  • Research your competitors
  • Find your target audience
  • Understand your strengths

Research Your Competitors

Competitive analysis is the process of finding competitors in your industry and figuring out exactly what they do. When you know how your competitors operate, it becomes easier to find gaps in their operations that you can exploit.

Research Your Competitors - DSers
Source: Aha

When performing competitive analysis, ask yourself these four questions:

  • Which brands offer what I plan to offer?
  • What do these brands do well?
  • What do they do that might turn customers off?
  • What customers do they target?

Your answers to those questions should give you a head start when it comes to finding gaps in the market.

Find Your Target Audience

You probably have a rough idea of who your audience is.

Good. But it is not ideal to launch your business based on that rough idea. You need to take steps to better understand the people you’ll target when your store is live.

How do you do that?

Without any concrete data, it can be hard to pinpoint who your best audience are. So you will need to do a bit of experimenting at the start. Find a company that sells what you want and mirror their audience. Or do some marketing with the rough target audience idea you have.

But as soon as you start getting feedback from your marketing efforts (which we will touch on later in this article), you must narrow your focus to your best customers.

Find Your Target Audience - DSers

The following questions will help you do so.

  • Out of everyone you’ve reached, who has been your most valuable customer?
  • What has been the most successful marketing strategy for you so far?
  • What demographics must you let go of in order to focus on the best ones?

With your answers, you should be able to narrow down your audience and finetune your niche.

Understand Your Strengths

Lastly, you must understand what you do differently from other entrepreneurs. It helps if you have a unique background in design, or manufacturing, or even marketing.

That background will help you easily dominate in your chosen niche.

Sourcing and Managing Your Watches Inventory

When you understand the niche you want to play in, it is time to source for watches to sell in that niche.

The two main product sourcing strategies you would explore are:

  • Dropshipping
  • Wholesale


Dropshipping is an eCommerce business model where your supplier or manufacturer ships the watch directly to your customer after the customer makes an order on your website.

Dropshipping - DSers
Source: Shopify

There are plenty of advantages to this product sourcing model. You do not have to maintain a warehouse or buy products in bulk. You have minimal overhead costs and it is very scalable.

On the other hand, dropshipping comes with its own drawbacks. You have reduced control over the product’s quality, stock levels, and unpredictable shipping times.


Unlike dropshipping where you only transport a handful of product pieces at a time, the wholesale model requires you to move sizable volumes of product in a single shipment.

This inventory sourcing model allows you to reduce your transportation costs and improve the efficiency of your supply chain.

DSers dropshipping

Get Started Now to Grow Your Online Business with the Best AliExpress Dropshipping Tool - DSers!


It also has its own disadvantages with the most obvious one being higher upfront costs. Others include reduced flexibility and increased chances of product damage.

We have talked about two different product sourcing models. But how do you find manufacturers to work with in the first place?

Unless you have the resources to build your own watches from scratch, finding a reliable manufacturer is crucial to the success of your online watch business. You need someone to ensure that your watches are made to exact specifications, they meet industrial standards and they are delivered on time and within budget.

Also, factor in the type of product you plan to sell? Do you want casual watches or business watches?

Choose manufacturers that have a track record of producing those types of watches.

There are a few ways to find a manufacturer you can work with. Some of them are:

Use DSers Supplier Optimizer

DSers is a dropshipping order management software that makes it easy for eCommerce merchants to dropship with Aliexpress.

Use DSers Supplier Optimizer - DSers

One of the product’s features is the Supplier Optimizer–what it does is help merchants find better suppliers for their products.

Here’s how it works.

Copy the URL of the product you want to sell on AliExpress and paste it in the Supplier Optimizer. You will automatically get a list of suppliers offering the same product, along with their varying price and ratings.

Use DSers Supplier Optimizer - DSers

When you find a supplier that you are comfortable with, you can then choose to import the product to your store.

Use Search Engines

Search engines like Google are another way to find suppliers/manufacturers for your watches. Just enter the type of watch you need plus the word “manufacturer” or supplier”.

For example, if I wanted to use Google to find manufacturers for a metal watch, What I’d type into Google is:

“Metal watch manufacturer”.

I can then click through the links to find the right supplier or manufacturer for my brand.

Use Search Engines - DSers

Attend Trade Shows and Exhibitions

Another way to find potential suppliers for your watch brand is to attend trade shows. Events like Geneva Watches and Wonder happen yearly and are a good place to meet watch collectors, enthusiasts, and manufacturers.

Set up Your Shopify Store

At this stage, it is assumed that you already have these three things:

  • Conviction in your new business venture
  • The right watch niche
  • And a clear idea of where you will get your products from.

Now it is time to create an online store to help you market and sell your watches to customers. The question that might be on your mind right now is: why Shopify?

The answer is very simple.

Shopify is used by approximately 2 million eCommerce sellers globally. It is regarded as one of the most complete eCommerce solutions for merchants looking to build an eCommerce business.

Watch the video below to learn about Shopify pricing plans and get started with creating your own Shopify store.

Set up Your Shopify Store - DSers

One of the first questions you have to answer when building your online store is: What theme do I use?

Your theme is a visual representation of what your business stands for. But beyond style, your theme also affects the performance of your online store in terms of conversion rate, trust worthiness, and online visibility.

Choosing the right Shopify theme comes down to a handful of factors including your budget, your industry, and the features you need. Do not skip the process of researching the best theme for you.

There’s still work to do when you get your theme, though. Even with the theme, you still have to optimize your store’s navigation and user experience.

Your website’s user experience is a big lever to move if you want to improve the profitability of your online store. In fact, a study by UXCam revealed that the ROI of a website’s user experience investments can be as high as 9900%.

With than in mind, some of the things you should do to improve your website’s user experience include:

  • Use a navigation search bar: The rule when it comes to search bars is this–when customers know what to look for on your website, make your search bar more prominent.

    The search bar functionality autocompletes your visitors queries and matches them with the product they’ve come to your website for. So think about your watches and your target audience. Are you targeting enthusiasts who know what they want? It might make a lot of sense to add a search bar functionality to your website.
  • Use a logical and relevant homepage design: A research by Baynard Institute revealed that “42% of eCommerce websites do not have a homepage design that enables users to accurately describe the type of site they’ve landed on”.

    This revelation spotlights a problem that most eCommerce sites have: lack of relevant homepage design.

    The homepage isn’t talked about often when site navigation is discussed but it plays a crucial role in directing people to different areas of your website.

    In the first few seconds of a visitor landing on your homepage, that visitor must be able to clearly understand what your brand is all about.

    When designing your homepage content, make sure to leave no room for confusion. Help your visitors understand what you offer without excessive scrolling.Use cookie retargeting: When it comes to maximizing customer satisfaction, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. Businesses today must come up with personalized strategies in order to offer their customers an enhanced buying experience.

    Stats show that this is true. 8 out of 10 shoppers are more likely to engage with a brand only if offers have been personalized to reflect previous interactions.

    This is why cookie retargeting is such a great idea.

Cookie retargeting is when you use cookies to track visitors behavior on your website so that you can provide them with more relevant content or offers when they visit next. So if a visitor spends time in a particular section of your website. The next time that visitor returns, rather than send them to your home page, you can take them straight to the section they showed interest in.

This way, that visitor doesn’t have to begin their search from scratch.

Create Compelling Product Pages

Your individual product pages will do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to converting your website visitors into customers. These pages are what most customers will find when they come to your website to check out a product.

So how do you make these pages high-converting?

You will find some tips and best practices below.

Map out Every Element You’ll Add to Your Product Page First

The first thing to do is to note down every element you want to put on your product pages. You can take a look at a popular brand’s product page and identify elements that you think work well in their favor.

Do not just just stockpile elements however–more doesn’t mean more efficient. Instead, ensure that each element plays a role in moving your website visitor closer to making a buying decision.

If you’re unsure of where to go in search of what to include on your product page, check out Nielsen Norman Group’s guide on how to create an effective product page.

Use Clean Product Images

Keep the following image tips in mind when choosing images for your upcoming product page:

  • Your images should be high resolution in order to visually communicate the details of your product to website visitors.
  • The more the merrier: Use more than 1 photo. A photo gallery of your product helps customers visualize your product better, hence, gives them the confidence to buy.
  • Be mindful about the image size. What's the point of having excellent product images if they take forever to load? Keep in mind that not everyone has access to high-speed internet, so always optimize your product images to the smallest size.

Use Clean Product Images - DSers
Source: New Hall Watches

Display Shipping Information Clearly

93% of consumers state they would purchase more products if free shipping were available. So since this detail influences the buying decision of customers, it is ideal to have your shipping information next to your price.

Feature a Clear Call-to-action (CTA)

A call to action induces your website visitor to take a specific action. As simple as that might sound, do not take your call-to-action for granted.

When creating product pages, focus on details that will make your CTA more effective. Some of these details are:

  • Content: It is advisable to experiment with different content on your CTA button. The overall goal should be to compel prospects into making a buying decision. Your CTA content should be descriptive. It should also make clear what will happen when a customer makes a certain decision.
  • Color: Do not choose colors at random. Different colors have different meanings. And as a result trigger different emotions from visitors. Remember these two things when choosing colors for your CTA button. 1) Consider if the color you choose conveys the mood and triggers the emotion you’re hoping for. 2) Consider if it abides by your color palette of the page, and if it stands out enough to earn customers' attention.
  • Include only one CTA: The main goal for your product page should be to get your visitors to buy something. As a result, your CTA should be strictly focused on getting your store visitors to take that action. Do not bombard them with many actions. You will risk confusing your visitors which will hurt conversions.

Feature a Clear Call-to-action (CTA) - DSers
Source: Lux Wood

Create Compelling Product Descriptions

A product description provides the buyer with as much product information as is necessary to make a buying decision.

Create Compelling Product Descriptions - DSers
Source: Air Wings

It usually includes information about the product’s benefits, features, and the problem it solves.

Some tips for creating product descriptions that sells include:

  • Focus on your ideal buyer: The first step to writing an effective product description requires you to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Address them personally and answer questions as if you’re having a conversation with them.
  • Use stories to cut through rationality: Storytelling gives your brand character and relatability that simple stats are not capable of. When it comes to using stories to elevate your product description, take note of the following:
  • Set a scene: Instead of rambling on about your watches’ technicalities, instead take your customers through the day-to-day impact the watch can have on their lives.
  • Make your descriptions user friendly: Stories can turn into paragraph-long descriptions that will put off customers. To avoid this, make use of formatting options like bulleted lists to keep your description ussr-friendly.
  • Show, don’t tell: Rather than say your watch is high quality, describe the features or conditions that make it high quality. It is better to cut down the superlatives and instead help the customer visualize why your product is worth the price.
  • Push your customers over the line with social proof: when prospects are unsure of what to buy, they often turn to other people for inspiration. Often, this means reviews and ratings from people who have bought that product.

You can sway your visitors by making positive reviews and testimonials about your product very visible. If you can, include an image of a customer along with a quote to add more credibility to your product page.

Start Marketing Your Online Watch Store

Maybe you will get a few casual online visitors, but you should still invest in digital marketing to get word out of your new business.

There are some obvious channels that you can (and should) explore.

Social Media

You are probably thinking of running eCommerce ads for your store. Social media platforms are your best bet for that. Once your store is up and running, link it to your social media accounts so you can share engaging posts about your products and brand.

Social Media - DSers


SEO will help your website appear closer to the top of search engine result pages for relevant search queries. This increased visibility is crucial in increasing sales for your brand.

Make sure to optimize your product pages for relevant keywords and experiment with different call-to-actions to improve your conversions.

Google & Yelp

If you plan to attract local clientele, get your website listed on platforms like Google My Business and Yelp to generate local awareness and customers.

Some other suggestions you can explore to kickstart your marketing include:

  • Send out regular newsletters: Email marketing is a way to get personal with your audience. Send regular emails to your customers and prospects where you talk about your brand and prospects.

Offer limited edition: Build up the anticipation of your brand or product line by offering a limited edition of your watch.

  • Influencer marketing: another potentially successful marketing tactic is to pay people with engaged (and relevant) following to introduce your watches to their audience.

Analyze and Optimize Your Shopify Store Performance

Building a successful online watch store is not a plug-and-play process. Successful Shopify brands built their success by  continually observing your store’s performance and finding areas for improvement in order to win more customers.

Explore the following strategies so you can do the same too.

Leverage Shopify’s Analytics Dashboard to Get Valuable Insights

Shopify offers a built-in analytics dashboard to track key metrics and trends related to your store.

Retail Analytics, Shopify POS Leverage Shopify’s Analytics Dashboard to Get Valuable Insights - DSers

Some of the metrics that you can keep an eye on include:

  • Sales and revenue data
  • Customer data
  • Traffic and referral data
  • Inventory and fulfillment data

Overall, Shopify analytics is a valuable resource if you’re looking to gain deeper insights into your customer and sales data.

Use Google Analytics to Unlock Valuable Website Performance

Shopify stores can also leverage Google Analytics to unlock their website’s online performance insights.

Some of the data you will have access to include:

  • Pageviews
  • Unique pageviews
  • Exit percentage
  • Bounce rate
  • Average time on page
  • Conversion rate

With Google Analytics, you can track your website traffic, understand how your customers behave on your website, and in general, understand how your marketing performs.

Collect and Analyze Customer Feedback to Make Informed Decisions

Sometimes, analytics won’t tell you all you need to know about your customers. In this case, you need to speak directly to the people who shop from you and learn what they have to say about your product and service.

Some of the ways you can collect customer feedback include:

  • Social media
  • Online surveys
  • Customer interview
  • Website feedback forms
  • Post-purchase feedback forms.


The watch industry remains a fast growing niche as people continue to use watches to make an impression. If you have a thing for watches and you know what an appealing one looks like, you can build your own watch brand into a household name.

Now that you’ve covered what you need to know about building your watch brand online, it is time to get started with designing your watches.

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