Written by Michael Keenan

November 9, 2020

Shopify is undeniably leading the way when it comes to enabling businesses to sell their goods online. This formerly tiny, unassuming Canadian online retailer (which has given Amazon a run for its money) experienced blowout second-quarter revenues in 2020, increasing 97% year over year

And this is only the beginning. The total value of goods sold on Shopify in 2018 amounted to $41 billion, a mere 1.5% of total online sales. It’s a safe bet to assume that Shopify will continue to gobble up a bigger piece of the retail sales pie, thanks to advances in payment technology, shipping and fulfillment, and the proven ability to take retailers online successfully.

As more and more retailers turn to Shopify as their eCommerce platform of choice, people like you can benefit by supporting its growth. You can get paid, outside of the standard Shopify agency service, to do so.

So how can you jump on the Shopify train and profit from their success? By joining the Shopify Partner program. 

The Shopify Partner program provides everything you need to scale your knowledge, generate passive income, and grow your online business by supporting a platform experiencing exponential growth.

Here’s everything you need to know.

What are Shopify Partners?

Members of the Shopify Partner program can earn money by upgrading existing merchants to Shopify Plus, creating store themes and apps to sell on the Shopify App Store, or referring new Shopify clients through an affiliate link.

You can sign up to be a Shopify Partner as one of the following roles: 

  • Freelancer
  • Marketer
  • Photographer
  • Developer
  • Designer
  • Influencer 

For every store or Shopify blog theme you design, client you refer, or app you build, you’ll get ongoing monthly income from Shopify. 

The Shopify Partner program is free to join. It lets you experiment with the Shopify platform through test stores and gives you early access to new features, marketing tools, and a community of other Shopify Partners from around the world. 

How does the Shopify Partner program work?

How much you earn depends on the tasks you perform as a Shopify Partner. The platform offers three ways for you to grow your business and generate recurring revenue:

  1. Refer new clients to Shopify
  2. Create eCommerce themes and publish them in the Shopify Theme Store 
  3. Create Shopify apps and publish them in the Shopify App Store 

As a Shopify Partner, you also get access to free training courses, documentation, and other resources to help you learn about Shopify and how to grow your business

Partners get access to the product roadmap, priority Partner support, and are eligible to receive discounts on software and services for business development, product design, testing, and more. See the full list of perks

Shopify Partners even have the option to become Shopify Plus Partners if their level of product quality and performance meets the advanced requirements of the program. Shopify Plus Partners usually fall into the following categories:

  • Design and development agencies
  • Marketing agencies
  • System integrators 
  • Enterprise consultants

Shopify Plus Partners tend to work with enterprise eCommerce brands, whereas Shopify Partners work with small-to-medium sized businesses. While Shopify Plus Partners may earn higher revenue, it’s difficult to scale as a passive income source because of its strict eligibility requirements. See if you qualify for the Shopify Plus Partner program.

How much do Shopify Partners earn?

Shopify Partners earn money based on their activities within the Shopify ecosystem and their Partner program. Earnings vary and depend on their location as well as the location of clients they work with. 

Here’s a breakdown of potential payouts based on your activities:

  • Developmental store: Partners earn a recurring commission equal to 20% of the merchant’s monthly subscription fee for as long as the merchant stays with Shopify, and they remain an active Partner. 
  • Affiliate referrals: The commission equals the merchant’s subscription fee for the first two months, less any discounts or credits. Shopify affiliates earn an average of $58 for each referral who signs up for a paid plan. 
  • Shopify apps: Partners reap 80% of the total revenue from the one-time sale price or recurring subscription fees and all purchases and upgrades of their app made through the Shopify App Store.
  • Shopify themes: There are two payment options for selling custom Shopify themes. Option one: Partners earn 70% of each theme sale but will be responsible for all bug fixes and merchant support questions. However, they are free to sell the theme through their company website. Second option: Partners earn 50% of each theme sale but are only responsible for bug fixes, as Shopify will help answer merchant questions. Note that you are prohibited from selling your theme through private channels with this option. 

For more information about terms, conditions, and taxes, read this support article about Shopify Partner earnings.

How do I create a partner account on Shopify?

Here’s how you can create a Shopify Partners account right now. 

1. Head to the Shopify Partners Program website

Shopify Partner Program

Go to shopify.com/partners and select “Join now” at the top right corner of the page. You’ll be prompted to create an account. Fill out the required fields and click “Create account.”

Create an account with Shopify Partner Program

2. Confirm your email address

If you don’t have a Shopify account, you’ll have to verify your email address before setting up a Shopify Partners account. Shopify will send you an email with a link to verify your account. 

Confirm email address for Shopify Partner Program

After you verify your email address, you’ll be sent back to the Shopify website. Under “Where do you want to go?” click Shopify Partners 

Welcome to Shopify Partner Program

Then click + Create new partner account

Create new Partner account

If you already have a Shopify account, you can skip this process and sign in to Shopify Partners with your email address. You’ll be automatically routed into the process for creating a partner program account. 

3. Create your Partners Account

Once you’re in, you’ll have to fill out the fields for details about your business or agency. 

Filling out form for Partners Account

After you fill out your Account Information, scroll down to the “Tell us a little about yourself” section, and choose the option that fits you best. In this case, we’re choosing to build apps for the Shopify App Store.

Once you’ve filled out that section, you can choose from a list of eCommerce platforms you’ve previously worked with. This will give Shopify insight into what custom tools or dev resources you may need. 

ecommerce platform set ups in Shopify Partners portal

Once you’re done, check that you’ve read and agree to the Partner Program Agreement; then click View your dashboard. 

4. Explore your Partner dashboard

Ta da! Just like that, you’re in. From here, you’ll be able to apply for the various Shopify Partner programs available in the “Welcome to the Shopify Partner Program” section. 

Shopify Partner Dashboard

You can also explore different free training modules in the Partner Academy tab. Here, you can develop new skill sets, earn certifications, and learn how to grow your business online.

Partner Academy in dashboard

Start claiming your different Partner Perks, like free trials to FreeBooks, design tools like Invision, and more. 

Partner Perks in Shopify Partners

Don’t forget to learn the latest eCommerce marketing tips and tricks from Shopify experts in the Partners Town Hall tab.

Shopify Partner Town Hall

Get started today

Shopify’s explosive growth makes it a prime opportunity for entrepreneurs and marketers alike to generate some extra cash. Anyone with in-depth knowledge of the Shopify platform and basic eCommerce skills can become a Shopify Partner. Even better, Partners have access to a range of resources, tools, support, and more to help boost their income and expand their business. 

If, after all this, you’re still wondering if joining Shopify Partners is worth it? If you want to generate passive income while you sleep, the answer is yes. Use this guide to get started today. 

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