Gone in a Flash: When Shopify Unexpectedly Shuts Down Your Store

Marina S
June 13, 2023 • 5 min read
shopife store closed cover

Are you prepared for the unexpected? No matter how reliable your cloud backup may be, unforeseen circumstances can threaten your business, income, and loyal customer base. When your e-commerce provider lets you down, it could take days to resolve the situation while your store remains closed.

We want to share an inspiring story about one of our clients that illustrates the importance of a comprehensive backup plan. Meet the owner of a sportswear store who faced a major setback but refused to give up. We’ll also provide you with practical advice on how to prepare for the unexpected and safeguard your business. In addition, we’ve developed a 10-Step plan for dealing with an unexpected Shopify store closure.

A Sustainable Solution for Kavya's Eco-Friendly Sportswear Store

Kavya had always dreamed of owning her own business, and after years of hard work and saving, she finally decided to take the plunge and start her own sustainable sportswear store on Shopify.

Kavya’s store offered a killer range of high-quality sportswear for men and women, made from sustainable and eco-friendly materials. She was proud to offer products that were not only functional and stylish but also aligned with her values of environmental sustainability and social responsibility.

However, Kavya’s dream of running a successful business took a major blow when, just before the big seasonal promotion, she received a notification that her payouts were on hold while Shopify reviewed her account. She contacted support and they said it was a routine check. However, after two days, she discovered that her store was totally shut down. She couldn’t access her store or any of its data, including all the apps and backups.

Completely freaking out, Kavya immediately contacted the Shopify support team to find out what was going on. They told her that her account was flagged as suspicious and required additional security checks before restoring it. Kavya explained that she had recently updated her store billing information, but the support team told her to hang tight while the Risk Operations team handled it.

Kavya was devastated. She had worked tirelessly to build up her store’s loyal customer base, and now she was worried about letting them down. She was also freaking out about losing out on all the seasonal sales that were coming her way.

But Kavya wasn’t about to give up that easily. She remembered that in addition to a cloud backup she also downloaded a backup copy of her store on her local computer. So she got to work and managed to create a functioning duplicate store in just one day. Thanks to her hard work, Kavya managed to save her store’s seasonal income and keep her customers happy while she waited for her main store to be re-opened.

And you know what? She came out on top. Kavya learned a valuable lesson about always keeping backups and being prepared for the unexpected, and she also proved to herself that she could handle anything that came her way. In the end, her store came back stronger than ever, and Kavya continued to crush it in the world of sustainable sportswear.

Is it common for Shopify stores to be taken offline due to security and fraud prevention reasons?

If Shopify suspects that an online store does not meet the requirements of consumer protection regulations, poses a potential risk, or shows signs of fraudulent activity, including the use of suspicious credit cards or payment processors, they may take it down. While such situations tend to be more common with newly established stores, there are also multiple reports on forums of thriving businesses that were eventually compelled to close after several months of operation.

fraud alert

If this happens, the store may be taken offline until the issue is resolved. While this can be frustrating, it’s important to understand that Shopify prioritizes security and fraud prevention for the benefit of store owners and their customers.

What other reasons can cause Shopify to close a store?

“Without limiting any other remedies, we may suspend or terminate your Account or the Terms of Service for any reason, without notice and at any time (unless otherwise required by law), including if we suspect that you (by conviction, settlement, insurance or escrow investigation, or otherwise) have engaged in fraudulent activity in connection with the use of the Services. Termination of the Terms of Service will be without prejudice to any rights or obligations which arose prior to the date of termination.”

Shopify Terms of Service, section 14.3

Shopify may close a store for various reasons, such as violating its Acceptable Use Policy, failing to comply with its Terms of Service, breaching local laws and regulations, or experiencing payment or security issues. This can happen if a store is found to be selling prohibited products, displaying offensive or illegal content, infringing on copyright or trademark laws, or engaging in fraudulent activities such as money laundering.

In some cases, Shopify may temporarily suspend the store until the issue is resolved. For instance, if a store fails to pay its fees or is inactive for several months. However, some store owners have reported being unaware of the reasons why their store was closed.

To avoid any potential issues, it’s crucial for store owners to carefully review and comply with Shopify’s policies and guidelines. This can include ensuring that all products sold in the store are allowed under Shopify’s Acceptable Use Policy, avoiding any fraudulent activities, and paying Shopify fees promptly. Store owners should also take appropriate measures to safeguard their store’s security, such as using strong passwords and two-factor authentication.

By following these guidelines, store owners can help ensure that their store remains compliant with Shopify’s policies and avoid any potential disruption or closure.

Richard Branson quote

10-Step plan for dealing with an unexpected Shopify store closure

  1. Stay calm: It can be stressful and overwhelming to discover that your store has been closed, but it’s important to stay calm and approach the situation in a rational manner.
  2. Contact Shopify support: If your store has been closed or suspended, the first step is to contact the Shopify support team. They can provide you with information about why your store was closed and advise you on the steps needed to rectify the situation.
  3. Maintain open communication: Keep the lines of communication open with Shopify’s support team throughout the process. This can help ensure that you understand what is happening and can provide any additional information that may be needed to get your store reopened.
  4. Document everything: Keep a record of all communications with Shopify’s support team, including emails and phone calls. This will help you to reference any agreements or commitments made, should you need to escalate the issue.
  5. Review Shopify’s policies and guidelines: Make sure you are familiar with the Shopify Acceptable Use Policy and Terms of Service. This will help you understand why your store may have been closed and what you need to do to get it reopened. 
  6. Correct any violations: If your store was closed due to policy violations, make sure to address these issues immediately. This may include removing prohibited products, resolving intellectual property disputes, or addressing fraudulent activity.
  7. Pay any outstanding fees: If your store was closed due to outstanding fees, make sure to pay them as soon as possible to get your store reopened.
  8. Be patient: Resolving a Shopify store closure can take time, so it’s important to be patient and work through the process step-by-step.
  9. Seek professional assistance: To better understand the reasons behind the closure and determine what steps you can take, it’s recommended that you seek professional assistance from a lawyer, accountant, or other relevant experts. They can help you navigate any legal or financial issues and offer guidance on how to get your store back up and running.
  10. Communicate with customers: If your store is temporarily closed, be sure to communicate with your customers and let them know what’s happening. Use social media and send emails to provide updates as you work to resolve the issue.
customers communication

How to ensure that store closure doesn't threaten the existence of your business?

  1. Review your backup options: To ensure the safety of your store’s data, having a reliable backup is absolutely essential. According to the 3-2-1 backup rule, you should keep at least three copies of your data, ideally in different locations. While Shopify does provide backup options, it’s not advisable to rely solely on them, as they’re only available in the event of a catastrophic platform crash. In addition, solely relying on cloud backups isn’t enough either, as it’s recommended to have a good old-fashioned local copy as well. By having a local backup, you can maintain complete control over your data and be able to restore your store more quickly in case of an unexpected issue.
  2. Stay informed: Keep up-to-date with Shopify’s policies and guidelines, as well as any changes or updates to their terms of service. This will help you to avoid any potential issues or violations.
  3. Implement a staging store: To protect your business in case your live store is closed for any reason, you can also create a staging store that regularly copies your main store data. A staging store is an exact duplicate of your live store, which you can use to test changes, updates, and new features before implementing them on your live store. By using a regularly updated staging store, you can quickly and easily copy your data and recreate a selling store if your live store is closed for any reason. This ensures that your business can continue to operate smoothly and that you don’t lose valuable data or customers.
  4. Diversify your sales channels: Consider diversifying your sales channels by using multiple platforms or marketplaces, such as Amazon or eBay. This will help to mitigate the risk of your entire business being impacted if one platform experiences an issue.
  5. Maintain accurate records: It’s important to maintain accurate records of your business operations, including financial records, sales data, and customer information. This will help you to quickly address any issues that may arise and avoid potential violations.
  6. Regularly monitor your store: Regularly monitor your store for any potential issues, such as unusual activity or transactions, and promptly address them. This can help to prevent fraudulent activities and potential violations of Shopify’s policies.
  7. Use reliable payment processors: Use reliable payment processors that are compliant with Shopify’s policies and guidelines to ensure that your store is in compliance with its Terms of Service.


Running an online store on Shopify comes with its own set of challenges and potential risks. However, there are steps you can take to mitigate these risks and protect your business.

Reviewing your backup options and following the 3-2-1 backup rule is essential for ensuring the safety of your store’s data. You can also diversify your sales channels to minimize the impact of any unexpected issues or implement a staging store that regularly copies your main store and provides a safety net in case your live store is closed for any reason.

Maintaining accurate records, regularly monitoring your store, using reliable payment processors, and seeking professional assistance when needed can also help ensure compliance with Shopify’s policies and regulations.

Overall, by taking a proactive approach to protecting your online store, you can minimize risks and increase the likelihood of success in the long run.

%d bloggers like this: