Shopify Affiliate Program: Make Money as a Shopify Partner
If you're looking to promote a product that's easy to sell, earns you an attractive commission per sale, and rarely disappoints its customers, seriously consider becoming a Shopify affiliate.
Why do I say that?
Because Shopify is the world's leading eCommerce platform that's far ahead of its competitors in terms of innovation, brand awareness, and product features.
This is why persuading your audience to purchase a Shopify plan is much easier as compared to any other eCommerce solution.
It's easy money as an affiliate.
But how do you join the Shopify affiliate program?
How does it work, what is the commission structure, do they offer any support, and would they even accept you as an affiliate in the first place?
In this super detailed guide, I'll answer all those questions (plus many others) and tell you exactly how you can make money as a Shopify Affiliate.
Shopify - A Revolutionary eCommerce Platform
"A revolutionary eCommerce platform" - why do I say that?
Let's look at some stats about Shopify and its impact on small businesses around the world.
- Shopify powers more than 1 million eCommerce websites and online stores around the world.
- Between 2016 and 2018, businesses using Shopify generate more than $183 billion of economic activity.
- In 12 countries, businesses using Shopify collectively generated more than $1 billion of economic activity.
- In 40+ countries, businesses using Shopify collectively contributed $100M+ to their local economies.
- Businesses running on Shopify collectively support 1.4M+ full-time jobs across the globe.
- It is also making a huge economic impact in the developing world where businesses using Shopify generated $4billion+ between 2016-2018
- At the peak of the 2019 Black Friday sales, Shopify stores were collectively making $1.5million per minute while the total sales for the day were $2.9billion+.
Those stats give you a glimpse of what Shopify has been able to achieve in the last few years.
They also give you confidence as an affiliate because you know you're promoting a solid product that has a proven record of delivering on its promise.
Shopify was founded in 2004 by Tobias Lütke, a Canadian entrepreneur, along with a couple of other co-founders with a simple mission statement.
“Make commerce better for everyone, so businesses can focus on what they do best: building and selling their products.”
And this is exactly what it has done.
It has turned into the perfect eCommerce platform even for non-tech savvy users and offers so many different ways you can use it to sell products online.
You can use Shopify to build a fully hosted online store, use it as a point of sale (POS) system on retail locations or to add Buy Now buttons to turn a simple blog into an eCommerce site, or even as a checkout solution for online stores.
You can also use it to sell directly on Facebook and Instagram without the need to route users to your site.
It comes with a user-friendly drag & drop site builder using which users can create any type of store they want.
Plus, it offers more than 100+ free and premium responsive eCommerce themes that can turn your site into a modern online store in any industry.
And I've not even gone into the different marketing and conversion optimization features it offers for your store.
In short, Shopify is a product you can promote with the utmost confidence knowing that it will deliver immense value to your audience and make their businesses more profitable.
You can do that by joining the Shopify affiliate program - which is the main topic of this guide.
Let's explore it in more detail.
Shopify Affiliate Program - A Chance To Ride On Shopify's Success
You can promote Shopify and make money by referring new customers to it by joining the Shopify Affiliate Program.
It's a popular self-hosted affiliate marketing program that rewards entrepreneurs, bloggers, eCommerce consultants, and affiliate marketers for recommending Shopify to their audiences and persuading them to become paying customers.
The great thing about becoming a Shopify affiliate is that the product pretty much sells itself. It allows you to ride on Shopify's success and earn additional affiliate income by recommending it to your audience.
This is why several leading eCommerce bloggers and marketers are active Shopify affiliates (including Ezra Firestone, founder of Smart Marketer and a 7-figure eCommerce marketer)
Shopify's affiliate program is a part of its broader partnership program.
Shopify Partners is a much bigger advocacy program in which the registered partners can earn money by
- Promoting Shopify as affiliates
- Registering as experts and helping Shopify merchants with any development projects
- Creating apps for Shopify App Store
- Helping people switch from other eCommerce platforms to Shopify by building their stores.
How much money do Shopify Partners make?
In 2018, Shopify paid more than $100 million to its partners (including affiliates).
You don't need to qualify for the full partnership program to become an affiliate.
You can be accepted into the referral program if you have an active and engaged audience on your blog in any niche as long as it ties in with eCommerce.
This effectively means you can promote Shopify to any audience because every industry has products and services that can be sold online.
For example, if you have an existing blog in the weight loss or health & fitness niche, you can show your audience how they can sell weight-loss products online using Shopify even if you don't normally talk about money related topics on your site (who doesn't like making more money?).
The same approach can be applied to any industry.
But that's just one of the many reasons why joining the Shopify affiliate program is a great idea.
What are the other reasons?
Let me share a few more (in detail) in the next section.
8 Reasons Why You Should Consider Becoming a Shopify Affiliate
Why do you join affiliate and referral programs? To make money, of course.
You have a much better chance of making consistent money if you promote a genuinely useful product that gives you all the tools and resources you need to promote it effectively.
Shopify meets both those conditions.
Here are several reasons why promoting Shopify as an affiliate is a great idea.
Shopify Is The World's Leading eCommerce Platform
I've already shared several stats that show just how popular Shopify already is.
It's the number one choice when it comes to self-hosted eCommerce platforms. This is also reflected in a 2018 survey of almost 1000 eCommerce entrepreneurs and online store owners.
Most people in the eCommerce industry already know that Shopify is the best option for anyone looking to start an online store quickly.
It makes your job as an affiliate much easier.
To sell Shopify plans, you only need to create detailed and high-quality content that connects the problems of your target audience with the features Shopify offers.
Show them how it simplifies the otherwise complex process of starting a fully integrated online store with all the necessary eCommerce features.
Create tutorials, product reviews, and list posts that share different tips on running a high-performance Shopify store.
Once your audience sees how useful the product is, converting them into customers won't be a problem.
Using Shopify Is Easy Even For Non-Technical Users
User-friendliness is one of the main reasons behind Shopify's exponential growth and popularity.
Before Shopify, starting an eCommerce website or an online store was difficult and expensive. You had to hire technical experts and website developers to add basic eCommerce features to your site and integrate different payment gateways with it.
With Shopify, even my grandma can start the most advanced eCommerce website within minutes.
For example, here's the homepage of an online store created with Shopify.
The homepage has features like image and video sliders, live chat pop-up, email pop-up box, and along with the list of best selling products.
Here's the listing page in one of the product categories.
And here's the product page.
Fully responsive design with social media integration, along with dozens of backend features.
A developer would charge several thousand dollars to create a website like this from scratch.
Shopify gives it away for $29/month.
And here's the best part.
Even a complete noob can create such stores using Shopify themes.
As an affiliate, this is one of your strongest arguments when pitching Shopify to your audience.
They can't get such a feature-rich and user-friendly online store anywhere else.
Anyone who sees an active Shopify store will realize this in minutes.
Shopify Makes Dropshipping Even Simpler
Dropshipping, as a business model, has been around for a long time.
Unlike traditional trading, dropshipping allows you to market third-party products under your brand name without acquiring or storing them in your inventory. When a customer orders a product, you can collect the payment and forward it to the original supplier along with the shipping customer's shipping details to get the product delivered.
Shopify has completely automated the dropshipping business model which has resulted in the emergence of hundreds of thousands of dropshipping stores around the world.
Here's how the process works with Shopify
Shopify dropshipping has become a separate industry with its own experts, gurus, and success stories like these entrepreneurs who silently built a 7-figure dropshipping business.
Starting a dropshipping business with Shopify is easy thanks to Oberlo, one of the most popular apps on the Shopify theme store.
It completely automated the dropshipping business model by helping you find products to sell, connecting you with the right suppliers, managing payments, and even streamlining shipments.
It's one of the cheapest ways to make money online because you don't need any major investment to start a dropshipping store.
This is a major selling point for Shopify affiliates.
If you can show your audience how they can start profitable eCommerce businesses with Shopify dropshipping, they'll be tempted to buy the product.
Share success stories, teach them how to set up a dropshipping store, and show them the opportunities they can grab with such a small investment.
Thousands Of Shopify Experts Are Always Ready To Help
Shopify Experts is an exclusive community of service providers who're experts in everything related to Shopify.
From plugin development and theme design to content marketing and daily troubleshooting, Shopify Experts can be hired for virtually any job.
You can call it a Shopify specific freelance marketplace where Shopify store owners can post jobs and instantly get proposals from different Shopify approved agencies, development teams, and freelancers.
It's like your team of experts ready to address any issues whenever you want.
It's another factor to include in your affiliate marketing pitch since the availability of technical support is a major consideration of most eCommerce merchants.
Adding New Store Features Is Easy With Shopify Apps
One of the biggest reasons behind the success of WordPress is its seemingly unlimited range of plugins.
You don't need to hire any technical expertise to develop features for your WordPress site because there's already a plugin for it that you can simply install and start using.
Shopify has taken the same route.
Shopify App Store has several thousand ready-to-use apps for features like email marketing, lead generation, live chat, inventory management, and dozens of others.
With a click of a button, you can install any app to your Shopify store and start using features that would otherwise cost thousands of dollars to develop.
No other eCommerce platform offers such flexibility right now.
It's a major selling point, especially for non-technical users.
Shopify Supports 100+ Payment Gateways
I've run several custom developed eCommerce sites and I know how difficult it is to integrate different payment methods with it.
No such issues with Shopify which supports more than 100 different third-party payment gateways across the globe.
The users in the US and several other countries can also use Shopify Payments, Shopify's proprietary payment system, to accept payments from credit cards, Google Pay, PayPal, and several other leading payment services.
It not only allows you to accept payments in local currencies but is also much cheaper as compared to the different third-party payment services.
Shopify Academy Offers World-Class Learning Resouces
Here's another strong reason for promoting Shopify as an affiliate.
If your target audience wants to make money with eCommerce but knows nothing about running an online store or the different eCommerce models like drop shipping, print on demand, etc. Shopify offers completely free learning resources that'll teach them everything they want to know.
First up, Shopify Academy offers some of the best eCommerce courses anywhere in the world - completely free.
You can find courses on topics like SEO, Facebook Advertising, Google Ads or very specific courses like starting a dropshipping business with Shopify, Instagram marketing for your Shopify store, or eCommerce product Photography.
These are no ordinary courses.
They're high-quality video tutorials taught by some of the most successful eCommerce entrepreneurs.
Even if your audience has no experience of running an eCommerce business, they can jump right into businesses like Print-On-Demand and Dropshipping thanks to the detailed courses of Shopify Academy
Anyone can register for free and start learning from Shopify Academy.
Then you have the Shopify Blog, one of the most popular content resources in the eCommerce and digital marketing space.
And finally, you have the Shopify knowledgebase, help center, and forum that have answers for most questions about using Shopify.
So excuses like "I don't know how to run an online store" or "I have no idea how print on demand works" don't apply here.
If your target audience is ready to make money online, Shopify will teach them how to do it.
Shopify Provides Training And Resources To Affiliates
Shopify also offers world-class learning resources for its affiliate and partners.
It not only gives you the standard promotional material like links, banners, and marketing docs but also teaches you everything you need to know about affiliate marketing.
On Shopify Partners Academy, you can find a range of video courses designed for affiliates and partners to maximize their productivity and performance.
Then you have the Shopify Partners blog which has dozens of detailed guides and articles on how you can promote Shopify and maximize your affiliate income.
It also shares success stories of different Shopify affiliates to help you replicate their approach.
Other than this, it gives you links to different guides, content resources, and landing pages that best suite your target audience.
Plus, you get your own affiliate manager who's always ready to answer any questions you have.
In short, promoting Shopify as an affiliate marketer is a no-brainer because of how good the product is and the kind of support it offers to its customers and affiliates.
Let's now look at the commission structure of the Shopify Affiliate Program and other relevant details.
Shopify Affiliate Commission Structure, Payout Threshold & Frequency
As a Shopify Affiliate, you get the full subscription fee of your referred customers (whichever plan they choose) for two months.
This applies to its Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify plans.
Here's a screenshot of the three Shopify pricing plans to give you a better understanding of what you'll be promoting.
Every plan comes with a 14-Day free trial.
You'll only qualify for a commission when your referral completes the free trial period and purchases one of the paid plans.
For example, if your referral opts for the $79/month Shopify plan, you'll earn two commission payments of $79 each for two consecutive months.
That's $158 in total for one referral.
If your referral goes for the Basic Shopify plan of $29/month, you'll get $58 as commission spread over two months.
In case your referral cancels the subscription after 1 month, you won't get the second commission payment.
Here's the official Shopify statement about the affiliate commission structure.
When will you get paid?
You qualify for payment as soon as your referral signs up for a paid plan.
If paid plans upgraded from the 1st up to and including the 15th of the month, the affiliate payouts are processed five working days after the 15th of the month.
For the referrals upgraded from the 16th up to and including the last day of the month, the payments occur five business days after the last day of the month.
The minimum payment threshold is $25.
If an affiliate's commission balance is below $25, it's held until the next payout period.
The payments are made exclusively via PayPal and in USD only which is a bit of a turn off for affiliates in regions where PayPal isn't supported.
All this information applies to the standard Shopify Plans (Basic, Shopify, and Advanced)
But there are other ways to earn affiliate commissions with Shopify as well.
For instance, Shopify's enterprise eCommerce solution, Shopify Plus, offers a one-time affiliate commission of $2000 on every successful referral.
You can also earn recurring commissions as a Shopify Partner (not just an affiliate)
For every new customer you bring or every new Shopify store you build for a customer, you get 20% recurring commission of their monthly subscription fee as long as they remain active customers and you remain an active Shopify Partner.
All good so far?
Great! let see how you can sign up as a Shopify affiliate and how the program works.
How Does Shopify Affiliate Program Work And How To Get Started
Shopify Affiliate Program is a part of its broader Partners Program.
However, you can sign up only as an affiliate as well.
Shopify's objective with its referral program is to use the influence of different bloggers, marketers, entrepreneurs, consultants, and service providers to attract relevant customers to its paid subscription plans.
The program is free to join for everyone.
But not everyone is accepted.
The approval rate is quite low since Shopify scrutinizes every affiliate application and approves only the ones that satisfy all its requirements.
What are the requirements?
- You need to own and run an active website, blog or forum.
- Your content must be original, high quality, and known for its usefulness.
- You must have an engaged and sizeable audience subscribed to your email list and social media accounts.
- You're familiar with Shopify and other popular eCommerce platforms (even better if you own active eCommerce stores).
- You must agree to the Shopify Partners Program Agreement.
To apply as an affiliate, visit the Shopify Affiliate site and click on Apply Now.
To sign up, you need to have a Shopify account (a free account will work).
Next, you'll be asked to fill a detailed Shopify Partner Program sign up form.
Other than the standard contact information, it specifically asks you about your business goals and your experience with different eCommerce platforms.
These are the key sections, along with a manual review of your site, that determines whether you're approved as an affiliate or not.
In the business goals heading, choose "Referring merchants as an affiliate" since you're applying for the affiliate program only.
Once you submit this form, you're taken to your Shopify Partners Dashboard where you're asked to fill the more detailed application form.
In this step, you have to share details of the types of content you publish, the traffic sources you plan to use to drive traffic to it, and the unique value your content will add to the customer's buying process.
Complete this step, apply, and wait for the Shopify team to evaluate it.
You can expect to get a response within five business days (although sometimes they take longer).
Once your application is approved, you can jump right into your affiliate dashboard, grab your affiliate link, and start promoting Shopify.
Shopify Affiliate Link Types And Affiliate Disclosure
When you become a Shopify Affiliate, you'll get an email from Shopify with your affiliate link.
This is how it will look
The link will have your unique referral id, which Shopify will email you, which will be used to track all the customers you refer to.
Every time you create content or promote Shopify anywhere on the web, use your referral link to get the credit for your referrals.
You promote Shopify using text links in your blog content or by placing banners on your site.
However, Shopify requires all affiliates to disclose their affiliate relationship with Shopify while promoting it online.
They also require you to mention the free 14-day trial that your referrals will sign up for.
Here are a few ways you can use your Shopify affiliate links in text content.
You can also create custom affiliate links with different UTM parameters for different campaigns and platforms so that it's easier to track where your referrals are coming from.
You can read more about that here.
Other than text links, Shopify also gives you a wide range of banners and visuals you can use on your site.
This includes the standard Shopify banners in English and several other languages.
You can find all the affiliate banners, logos and other brand assets on Shopify's brand page.
However, make sure that you stick to the guidelines shared on Shopify's brand page while using the different banners otherwise your affiliate contract can be terminated for violation.
How To Promote Shopify As An Affiliate
Shopify wants its affiliates to adopt ethical promotional strategies that focus on educating their audiences about the advantages Shopify offers and how they can use it to become a part of the eCommerce revolution.
Keeping this in mind, Shopify recommends that you create the following content types to promote it.
- List Articles: Create list posts of different eCommerce tips, Shopify strategies, and ways people can make money with it.
- How-To Guides: Create detailed guides that teach your audience how to achieve different business objectives with Shopify
- Interviews: Find successful Shopify entrepreneurs and share their thoughts about the platform on your site.
- Case Studies: Publish detailed case studies of how Shopify was used to drive eCommerce success.
- Video Tutorials: Create screencasts and video tutorials teaching people how to use Shopify for different objectives.
- Live Webinars: Demonstrate the effectiveness of Shopify live in webinars and drive traffic to your affiliate links.
- Email Marketing: Create a series of automated emails that shows your subscribers how to use Shopify
There are many other content types as well that you can use to promote Shopify as an affiliate. You can find them in this detailed Nichehacks article.
The Pros and Cons of Shopify Affiliate Program
If you've read this far, you've already seen why Shopify is such a popular eCommerce platform.
Its features and benefits are unmatched which makes it an ideal product to promote as an affiliate marketer.
Let's look at some of its major pros & cons.
6 Key Benefits of Shopify Affiliate Program
I've already listed dozens of reasons why joining the Shopify Affiliate Program is a no-brainer for any serious affiliate marketer.
But here are a few more for you (just in case you're still not convinced)
Easy To Sign Up And Get Started
The process of applying to the Shopify Affiliate Program is quite simple.
If you have a free Shopify account and your website where you publish high-quality content relevant to eCommerce and digital marketing, you can apply to become a Shopify affiliate.
The application process doesn't take more than 5-10 minutes after which your application goes into the review phase.
In five to seven business days, you get an email on whether you're accepted in the program or not.
For any experienced affiliate marketer, becoming a Shopify affiliate shouldn't be a problem.
30-Day Cookie Period
Shopify Affiliate Program has a cookie period of 30 days.
This means that you'll earn a commission as long as your referral becomes a paid customer within 30 days of using your affiliate link to visit Shopify for the first time.
This includes the 14-day free trial period.
Affiliates Can Use Deep Linking To Maximize Conversions
Instead of linking to the Shopify homepage all the time, you can also use deep links to different content resources, guides, articles, etc. on the Shopify blog that are relevant to your content.
Using deep links makes it much easier to promote Shopify without aggressively pithing to your visitors.
Here are a few content resources that Shopify recommends for deep linking.
- Facebook Advertising for Ecommerce Entrepreneurs
- Ecommerce Analytics for Absolute Beginners
- The Small Business Blueprint to Marketing on Twitter
- The Ultimate Guide to Google Shopping
- Shipping and Fulfillment 101
- How to Find a Product to Sell Online
- The Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding
- The Ultimate Guide to Pop-Up Shops
- 50 Ways to Make Your First Sale
- The Ultimate Guide to Business Plans
- A Legal Guide to Ecommerce
You can find more deep linking options on this help page.
Shopify Offers An Attractive Affiliate Commission Rate
Shopify affiliate program offers a 200% affiliate commission for the plan your referral chooses. That's quite a generous offer considering some of the other eCommerce affiliate programs.
Multiple Ways To Make Money As An Affiliate
Apart from affiliate income, you can become a full Shopify partner and make money by building Shopify stores and apps, or by offering services as an expert.
Word-Class Affiliate Support And Resources
You've already seen the detailed affiliate resources, tools, and content that you can use to improve your chances of driving more sales.
The Drawbacks of Shopify Affiliate Program
Shopify doesn't have many flaws but there are a few things they can improve.
No Free Plan
Shopify offers a 14-day free trial during which you can explore all its features. But once it ends, you need to sign up for a paid plan to continue using Shopify.
That's a bit of a turn off for new eCommerce marketers and users who're not ready to upgrade to a paid plan.
A free plan with limited features could've helped to add more customers to the sales pipeline.
Strict Affiliate Guidelines
Some of the terms & conditions of the Shopify affiliate program are quite strict and can result in account suspension. For example, your affiliate membership can be terminated if you edit their logo to fit in your content.
That's quite harsh, to be honest.
What To Do If Your Shopify Affiliate Application Is Rejected
What happens if your application is rejected despite meeting all the requirements of the Shopify Affiliate Program?
First of all, review your application and make sure you satisfy all their requirements.
If you think your application has been wrongly rejected, you can send Shopify a review request via email.
However, not all review appeals are entertained so be prepared to get the rejection email once again.
If that does happen, leave it for now and apply again in a few months if you honestly feel you've covered all the bases.
Are You Ready To Make Money With Shopify Affiliate Program?
Shopify has grown exponentially since starting in 2004 and still shows no signs of slowing down.
By becoming an affiliate for Shopify, you can become a part of its success story and use its goodwill to drive additional affiliate revenue for your business.
The best thing about Shopify's affiliate program is the quality of the product itself plus the educational resources and training content it offers to both its customers and affiliates.
Even if you're a complete newbie to eCommerce, you can use these resources to learn how to use Shopify, start a store, build an audience and then apply to the affiliate program when you have your own audience in a few months.
I've tried to cover everything possible in this massive guide and from what I've seen during research, no other guide on the Shopify Affiliate Program comes even close to this one.
However, if you still have some questions, do check out the FAQs section below which answers several popular questions that people have about Shopify and its affiliate program.