How to Become a Shopify Plus Partner in 2021

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4 min readShopify Plus
by: John Surdakowski06/11/2021

Quick Summary Shopify is a giant in the eCommerce world. It supports the websites of more than a million merchants worldwide, from one-person hobby stores to major brands. Yet, there’s more to Shopify than its success as a hosting platform.


The company makes it easy for people in the eCommerce space to work together. It offers the Shopify Partner Program to connect planning and support professionals with store owners. Enrollment in the program gives you the chance to work with Shopify’s vast audience and use their proprietary systems.

Whether you’re a solo consultant or you represent a design or marketing agency, there’s a role and partner tier for you. As long as you qualify for a Shopify partnership, it’s a great way to put yourself in front of a new audience. Best of all, as a Shopify Partner, you can earn commissions based on your jobs and programs.

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Here’s what you need to know about Shopify’s Partner Programs and how to join them.

The Basic Shopify Partner Program

The introductory partner program is called the “ Shopify Partner Program.” This tier is designed for individuals who support eCommerce stores. It’s aimed at solo developers, designers, marketers, and Shopify affiliate marketing professionals. It’s free to join, so there’s no risk to you.

The basic Shopify Partner Program helps members grow their business in three ways:

  • Referring clients to Shopify for ongoing monthly income

  • Creating paid eCommerce themes for Shopify stores

  • ‌Developing paid Shopify Apps to improve or specialize client sites

As a partner, you get a regular monthly commission from each of these tasks. For example, you can receive 10-20% of the subscriptions paid by any clients you refer. You can also receive up to 80% of the price or subscription fees for themes and apps you produce for Shopify. That can quickly add up, especially if you have multiple themes, apps, or referrals.

There’s more to the basic program than commissions, of course. As a Shopify Partner, you get to take part in a worldwide community based on the platform. Whether you have questions or just want to network, you can connect with others through the Partners blog.

Best of all, joining the program gives you access to in-depth educational materials. You can take courses through the Shopify Partner Academy, an exclusive certification program designed to help you succeed as a partner. You also get access to Shopify marketer materials, 24/7 support, and free stores so you can experiment with your ideas.

The Shopify Plus Partner Program

Suppose you’re interested in partnering with Shopify but you want more out of your membership. In that case, the Shopify Partner Plus Program is the right tier for you. This program is designed for groups that can provide end-to-end business solutions in fields like development, marketing, integration, and resource planning.

What sets the Plus program apart is that it’s reserved for partners “who demonstrate a level of product quality, service, performance, privacy, and support that meets the advanced requirements of Shopify Plus merchants.” These high entry requirements typically restrict membership to groups like:

  • Design agencies

  • Development agencies

  • Digital marketing agencies

  • Enterprise consultants

  • ‌System integrators

Like the basic program, Plus partnerships give you access to educational resources and sales opportunities. You can also earn Shopify income for referrals and products you produce for clients. Plus, partners generally receive higher commissions than other partners. You’ll even get a marketing boost since you’ll be categorized in the exclusive Plus directory.

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You will need to do more work to remain a Plus partner, however. Shopify requires Plus partners to stay active in the community by continuing to take jobs and provide support.

You’ll also need positive feedback from the Shopify merchants you work with, or you may be cut from the Plus program. Still, the benefits for dedicated Shopify designers and developer agencies are worth the effort.

How to Become a Basic Shopify Partner

Signing up to become a basic partner is easy. The qualifications are simple, and there’s no cost to join. You can make your partner account and get started in four easy steps:

  1. Learn the benefits and responsibilities of partnership. While the program is excellent, you should still understand what you’re signing up for before you get started.

  2. Make your account. Enter your email at shopify.com/partners to make your account.

  3. Learn the ins and outs of the dashboard. Use the Partner Academy to learn about the platform’s tools and resources.

  4. Start working as a partner. Now you can start using the tools and resources Shopify provides to make the most of your partnership.

How to Become a Shopify Plus Partner

Becoming a Shopify Plus Partner takes a little more work, but Shopify developer agencies can reap the benefits. Here are the four steps to becoming a Plus partner:

  1. Review Plus partnership qualifications. Plus partnership is generally reserved for groups who have a publicly proven track record of success with high-growth enterprise merchants. Review the qualifications for membership, so you know whether you’re eligible. Showing a successful history as a basic Shopify Partner is a great way to demonstrate your eligibility.

  2. Submit your application. Shopify has an in-depth partnership application form you’ll need to fill out. Make sure you answer each question thoroughly before you submit it for consideration.

  3. Wait for a follow-up. Once you’ve submitted your application, Shopify will contact you if you’re chosen for further consideration. You’ll only be contacted if you’re accepted.

  4. If applicable, attend the planning meeting. Successful applicants will schedule a follow-up meeting with Shopify representatives to discuss the terms of the partnership.

If Shopify decides you’re a good fit, then they’ll confirm your official Plus partnership.

Advance Your Business in 2021 with a Shopify Partnership

There’s a reason there are more than a million Shopify merchants. The platform makes it easy for store owners to run their businesses and connect with professionals like you. Whether you’re an individual working with clients on their Shopify stores or a full-fledged agency with enterprise clients, you can benefit from the Shopify partner programs.

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