What Are Shopify Partners & How Can They Help Me
If Shopify makes ecommerce so simple (“no design skills needed”, “everything in one place”, and “perfect for beginners”), why do Shopify Partners and Experts need to exist?
A good question.
It’s a little like running an offline retail store. With the right budget, it’s simple to set up a shop and start selling something.
However, mastering the art of retail and becoming successful is another matter. It takes insight, know-how, and expertise from people who’ve “been there and done that” to get the best possible performance from a store.
Most successful entrepreneurs take professional help and advice from other successful people.
That’s where Shopify Experts come in. They help you master the art of ecommerce using the simple tools provided by their platform: particularly in the areas of design, functionality, marketing, and product display.
Imagine what an extra 10 or 20 percent performance might do for your store. It goes straight to your profits. That makes Shopify Partners and Experts a big deal. The guidance and expertise they provide is extremely valuable for store owners.
Here we look a little closer at what they do and precisely how they can help entrepreneurs and store owners like you…
Shopify Partners program fundamentals
The Shopify Partners program essentially exists because, while it’s now easy to set up a store, it’s still as challenging as ever to stand out from the competition and be successful and profitable.
The Partners program allows ecommerce entrepreneurs to earn money by sharing their knowledge, recommending Shopify to clients, or simply by providing affiliate referrals.
For you as a store owner, Partners who are also ecommerce experts can provide the professional assistance you may require.
But first a look at the basic Partners program, where stablished ecommerce professionals (agencies, freelancers, etc.) can earn money in two ways by partnering with Shopify:
- Shopify Partner Revenue Share – where your clients use Shopify and 20 percent of Shopify’s earnings from this are shared with you.
- Shopify Affiliate Link – where you have your own affiliate link on your website and you earn a Shopify partner commission on any paid subscriptions that result from click-throughs (you get twice what they pay for the first month).
Shopify Partner status comes from a formal agreement that you enter into with Shopify.
This agreement is reviewed every 12 months. For the revenue share agreement, you’re expected to launch six new stores each year and provide:
- Development store referrals
- Affiliate link referrals
- An upgrade or referral of an existing merchant to Shopify Plus
Is it the same for Shopify Experts?
No. “Shopify Partner and Expert” is a higher distinction that simply “Partner”. It’s like getting Shopify certification.
Whereas almost any ecommerce entrepreneur can become a Shopify Partner, Experts need to demonstrate a good success rate of growing Shopify stores into profitable entities.
Many Partners become Experts too – and Experts are also Partners; but Experts first need to prove their expertise to the powers-that-be at Shopify to earn the status.
In particular, they need to excel in one (or more) of these six categories highlighted by Shopify:
- Shopify Setup Experts
- Shopify Design Experts
- Shopify Development Experts
- Shopify Marketing Experts
- Shopify Photography Experts
- Shopify 3-D Modeling Experts
Each Expert category has been selected by Shopify because store owners have faced challenges with them.
You can also find Shopify plus partners, that focus on enterprise ecommerce businesses, like top Shopify experts UK Whole Design Studios.
Currently, to become a Shopify Partner and Expert in any of these areas, it’s required that you demonstrate five examples of successful Shopify stores you’ve helped.
That’s great – but how exactly do I benefit as a store owner?
Here’s a little more detail on each of the six Expert categories and how they can help you as a store owner:
1. Get Expert help with optimizing store set up from the start
While most newcomers to ecommerce can pick up a Shopify store and start running with it, the process becomes more challenging if you need to migrate an existing store over to Shopify.
Switching from another platform to Shopify is helped by the import option but it can present technical challenges that require expert assistance.
It’s easier to get it right first time than to go back and have to make changes later.
Shopify Experts have experience in setting up stores with all types of technical hurdles and all types of requirements from the store owner.
They know the Shopify apps and media you need and can help you create a great user experience from the word ‘go’ by getting the set up right.
How much will it cost? Shopify Experts start at around $65/hour, so expect to pay thousands of dollars for setup, depending on the size and complexity of your store. But it’s a one-time expense to justify.
2. Get Expert help with store design to improve user experience
Most Shopify store designs will be based on one of the large range of eye-catching templates provided by the platform. There are free templates and paid-for options and you can customize them.
For a completely tailored design that looks and feels different to all other stores, you need Expert design help.
Shopify Design Experts are well-versed in using Liquid, the template language. This helps you achieve the exact branding you’re after.
Your designer will also help you optimize and improve SEO, make your store mobile-friendly, and improve the user experience with easy navigation and usability: all features that can help your store stand out from the competition.
How much will it cost? Expect to pay thousands of dollars for a new template – less if it’s customizing an existing template. But the good news is that it’s a one-time expense again.
3. Get Expert help with making your products stand out
The quality of your product photography plays a key role in the success of your store.
Yet it’s an area where ecommerce novices might settle for second best to save on costs, using their iPhone to capture product images.
Customers are generally visual beings. They buy on the strength of what they see. It’s why the likes of Amazon, Adidas, Nike, and other leading online brands and retailers spend a fortune on photography/video.
If you want to upgrade your store, upgrade the quality of your product photos, using a Shopify Expert Photographer. They have the right equipment to capture high-quality images, as well as the keen photographic eye to present your products in their best light.
How much will it cost? They generally charge on a per-project basis – so it depends on the size of your product range and your specific requirements.
4. Get Expert help with improving store functionality for users
With the exceptional functionality that comes with Shopify, most of the features you need will be there already.
And, if you use a Shopify Set Up Expert, they should be able to help you unlock these features.
Sometimes though, as with design, store owners have unique requirements. It may be something simple, such as providing tweaks to a dropdown menu. Alternatively, it could be more complex like developing the checkout process to improve conversions or perhaps even a feature that simplifies retail hardware integration (for businesses with a physical store as well).
This would usually require the services of a Shopify Developer, who can manage the process from start to finish and add the required functionality.
How much will it cost? This totally depends on the scope of the developer’s work – anything from $100 to many thousands.
5. Get Expert help with marketing and increasing sales
Without effectively marketing your store, it’s a big challenge to outstrip the competition and be successful. How can you sell more if you aren’t getting qualified traffic?
It is an area that many store owners are not comfortable with – and require assistance with.
Yes, there are some built-in marketing tools like SEO tools – but a Shopify Marketing Expert can really help you take your marketing into overdrive.
They are familiar with the specific ecommerce marketing strategies that work best for your niche and help you stand out, get more qualified traffic to your store, generate leads, and convert more sales.
General online marketers may not be well versed in ecommerce marketing. With a Shopify Marketing Expert, you can be sure that they’ll help you in all of the key areas such as:
- PPC (AdWords)
- Facebook ads
- Instagram marketing
- Other social media marketing
How much will it cost? It depends on your requirements but probably over a thousand dollars per month.
6. Get Expert help with 3D Modeling
This is relatively recent addition to the Shopify Partner and Expert categories, highlighting the fact that the platform is rapidly evolving.
It’s specifically for you if your store is looking to model your products in 3D.
Being able to interact closer with products, with a 360-degree view, provides a richer user experience for people shopping for your products.
How much will it cost? It depends on the number of products in your range.
Identifying the Shopify Expert you need…
It may be obvious where you need help with your store: your product images are poor or you’re not getting enough traffic.
Or it may be that things aren’t working as well as you’d expected and you need help in identifying where the problems lie.
A Shopify Partner and Expert will be able to point you in the right direction and get the help you need.
But be careful.
Many web development companies and freelancers call themselves “Shopify experts” because they are able to set up and modify Shopify stores. They are not necessarily endorsed by Shopify.
Those that call themselves “Shopify Partners and Experts” have been given the status by Shopify and have proven that they deserve it during a rigorous vetting process.
That’s an important difference.
Before hiring anyone, make sure that they can actually provide what you need. Shopify Partners and Experts reside in over 50 countries around the world so there are plenty to choose from.
You can browse the list of experts on the Shopify site to find an Expert or perform a search.
Alternatively, send a query to the Shopify Help Centre, outlining your issues. They are available 24/7 and will put you in touch with an appropriate Expert, according to your requirements.
Before hiring, check out their previous client portfolio and delve deeper into case studies and testimonials for proof of results.
How can you get your store firing?
Over 600,000 merchants entrust their ecommerce performance to Shopify.
If it was not dead simple to use, these numbers would not be possible. In fact, the platform has taken user-friendliness to a new level in ecommerce.
So Shopify Partners and Experts will only be called upon by a fraction of store owners.
But those that do will get the know-how of hand-picked professionals with Shopify intelligence and a wealth of experience.
Stores that hire Shopify Partners and Experts generally benefit from:
- Better user experiences for your shoppers;
- Fewer technical glitches;
- An uplift in performance and sales;
- Greater revenues and profit margins;
- Greater peace of mind that they’re doing it right.
If you’re serious about taking your Shopify store to the next level, you might want to consider going down the Expert route.