So what exactly is a "Shopify partner?" I get this question a lot. Probably because most of my conversations with potential projects start with, "I'm a web developer and Shopify Partner." The most authoritative answer is directly from Shopify's Help Center Docs in their post About the Shopify Partner Program. That's it. That's the blog post.
A Shopify Partner, to save you a click or perhaps a longer more specific read, in this instance is a web developer who works specifically with Shopify. It's a devotion or vested interest to start to specialize in that area. Because here's the thing, it is "free" to become a Shopify Partner. There's no test you have to pass or anything like that, but in order to capitalize and actually use the tools that are made available to Shopify Partners you do kinda have to know what you're doing.
Perks of Being a Shopify Partner
So there has to be some benefit to working with a Shopify Partner right? Shopify Partners can earn recurring income for getting folks on their platform. That's one of the cool things. They also can spin up free development stores to give store owners an opportunity what it's like to see the Shopify Dashboard or interact with different store features. It's an opportunity to "kick the tires" so to speak without really investing any additional time outside of maybe a 15-30 minute video conference call.
I know some developers still work with a handful of other programs, but after working with Shopify enough and learning to specialize, it gives you the opportunity to really hone your craft and understand the ins and outs of the platform. There are also learning opportunities, priority support, and even certifications you can take.
Perks of Working with a Shopify Partner
Alright, so you're probably more interested in why you should work with a Shopify Partner? In general, Shopify Partners are going to be specialists. They are going to be aware of not only the ins and outs of a Shopify store, but also all the resources that Shopify makes available for free to store owners. Take for instance the Online Video Maker. This super simple tool helps you create video promotional products for your site or social media accounts. How cool is that?! No need to hire a special media company just for some simple product videos for social media or your store. Just pick a template, drop in some photos, and let the tool do its work!
Shopify is great at listening and anticipating needs of store owners and is constantly providing tools and content to arm store owners with resources that will help give them a fighting chance at being successful. The Shopify Partner program is part of that. Sure, there are perks for developers, marketers, affiliates, and so on to become Shopify Partners, but by creating the program Shopify has devoted time and resources to attracting good talent to help store owners fill in the gaps to getting their store started and successful.
Shopify Partners versus Shopify Experts
Shopify Partners should not be confused with Shopify Experts. This is a separate classification that's reserved for folks that have applied and been accepted to Shopify's Expert Marketplace, where folks can hire directly on Shopify's site and pay through your Shopify dashboard. The benefits of this are that these Experts have been vetted by Shopify and ease-of-use when it comes to payments. The potential downside is that they can to charge more for their expertise.