What is a Shopify Partner?

As Shopify continues to grow exponentially, rolling out new features and functionality to suit an ever-wider range of businesses, its partner network has become even more critical.

So, what is a Shopify Partner? Simply put, a Shopify Partner is an agency or individual that has been officially recognised and accredited by Shopify as having expertise in developing, designing, and implementing solutions specifically tailored for Shopify or Shopify Plus merchants. They play a crucial role in helping brands maximise the potential of the Shopify Plus platform to achieve their goals and grow their online presence effectively.

In this post, we discuss what services Shopify Partners offer, the benefits of working with them, and how to choose the right one for your brand.

What is the difference between a Shopify Partner and Shopify Plus Partner?

The main difference between Shopify Partners and Shopify Plus Partners lies in the level of expertise and services they offer, which are primarily tailored to different tiers of the Shopify platform.

Shopify Partners:

  • Shopify Partners are individuals or agencies who have expertise in developing and designing eCommerce websites using the Shopify platform.

  • They offer a range of services that cater to merchants across all tiers of Shopify, including Shopify Basic, Shopify, and Shopify Advanced.

  • Shopify Partners may focus on services such as website design, development, theme customisation, app integration, and basic eCommerce setup.

  • These partners typically work with small to medium-sized businesses and provide solutions that meet the requirements of merchants at various stages of their eCommerce journey.

  • Shopify Partners can access resources, training, and support from Shopify to enhance their skills and grow their businesses.

Shopify Plus Partners:

  • Shopify Plus Partners are certified experts who specialise in serving merchants on the Shopify Plus platform, which is designed for high-growth and enterprise-level businesses.

  • These partners undergo additional training and accreditation to demonstrate their proficiency in using Shopify Plus's advanced features and capabilities.

  • Shopify Plus Partners offer a broader range of services that cater specifically to the needs of larger and enterprise-level merchants, including custom development, advanced integrations, scalability solutions, strategic planning, and dedicated support.

  • They possess a deep understanding of the unique requirements and challenges faced by large-scale eCommerce businesses and have experience implementing complex solutions to address them.

What services do Shopify Partners provide?

Shopify Plus Partners offer a comprehensive range of services tailored to the needs of enterprise-level merchants using the Shopify Plus platform.

1. Strategic consultation.

Shopify Plus Partners begin by conducting strategic consultations with merchants to understand their business goals, challenges, and requirements. They help merchants define their eCommerce strategies and growth opportunities and develop actionable plans to achieve their objectives. At blubolt, we offer this as part of our popular “bluprint for Success” programme.

2. Platform migration.

Partners offer platform migration services for businesses transitioning to Shopify Plus from another eCommerce platform or upgrading from Shopify's lower tiers. They assist with data migration, ensuring a smooth transition of product listings, customer information, order history, and other essential data to the new platform. Get project inspiration from GH Bass' replatform from Magento, Aquaplanet's move from WooCommerce, or KIDLY's migration from a proprietary platform.

3. eCommerce development.

Shopify Plus Partners specialise in bespoke development, creating tailored solutions to meet the unique needs of each merchant. This may include custom theme development, app development, API integrations, and feature enhancements. Partners leverage their technical expertise to build scalable, high-performance solutions that align with merchants' branding and functionality requirements. For example, blubolt delivered a sleek enterprise solution for eight ZyroFisher brands on Shopify. Read more on multi-store, multi-brand architecture here.

4. Design & UX services.

Shopify Partners provide design and UX services to create visually appealing and user-friendly eCommerce websites that reflect merchants' brand identities, resonate with their target audience, and factor in the latest design trends. This includes UI/UX design, mobile optimisation, responsive design, and branding elements such as logos, colour schemes, and typography. For example, blubolt’s design for the 70s-inspired fashion brand Bella Freud is markedly different from our design for organic skincare brand Green People.

5. Conversion rate optimisation.

Shopify Plus Partners may offer conversion rate optimisation services designed to improve the performance of merchants' eCommerce websites to ensure fast page load times, seamless navigation, and optimal user experience. This can involve conducting regular audits, implementing A/B testing, iterating on design and functionality enhancements, and staying abreast of industry innovations to keep merchants ahead of the competition, like 2024 CRO trends.

6. Integration solutions.

Partners offer integration solutions to connect Shopify Plus with third-party systems, tools, and applications merchants use. This includes integrating with ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, inventory management systems, payment gateways, marketing automation platforms, and more.

7. Marketing and SEO.

Shopify Plus Partners provides marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) services to help merchants attract more traffic, convert visitors into customers, and increase sales. This may involve implementing marketing automation tools, creating targeted email campaigns, optimising product pages for search engines, and leveraging social media advertising platforms to reach a wider audience.

8. Training and ongoing support.

Partners offer training and support services to ensure that merchants can effectively manage and maintain their Shopify Plus stores following launch. This includes onboarding training for new merchants, ongoing support for technical issues and troubleshooting, as well as training resources such as documentation, tutorials, and webinars to help merchants maximise their use of the platform. For example, at blubolt, our “bluprint for Success” programme is designed to expand and elevate your activities, team, and strategy beyond the daily grind and comes in a variety of packages.

9. Analytics and reporting.

Shopify Plus Partners assist merchants in leveraging analytics and reporting tools to gain insights into their eCommerce performance. They help merchants set up tracking mechanisms, analyse key metrics such as conversion rates, average order value, and customer lifetime value, and provide actionable recommendations for optimising performance and driving growth.

The benefits of collaborating with a Shopify Partner.

Utilising a Shopify Plus Partner can offer numerous benefits to businesses looking to maximise their success on the Shopify Plus platform. Here are some key advantages:

1. Expertise and guidance.

Shopify Plus Partners are experts in the platform, possessing extensive knowledge of its capabilities, best practices, and industry trends. They provide invaluable guidance to merchants, helping them make informed decisions. Whether it's selecting the right apps, optimising site performance, or implementing marketing tactics, partners offer strategic insights to drive growth.

2. Custom eCommerce development.

One of the primary benefits of working with a Shopify Plus Partner is access to custom development services. Partners have the technical proficiency to create bespoke solutions tailored to each merchant's unique needs. Whether building custom themes or creating custom features, partners can execute projects efficiently and effectively. For example, if you fancy letting your customers build their own products, your Shopify Partner could create custom product builders like the modular furniture blubolt delivered for The Dormy House and the custom bike builder for SourceBMX.

3. Scalability and flexibility.

Shopify Plus Partners understand the scalability requirements of enterprise-level businesses, probably more so than your internal team due to their experience managing a higher volume of projects and retainers. As such, they can architect solutions that accommodate high traffic volumes, complex workflows, and diverse product catalogues. Partners leverage the scalability of the Shopify Plus platform to ensure that merchants can adapt and grow without encountering technical limitations.

4. Integration expertise.

Integrating Shopify Plus with other systems and tools is often essential for enterprise merchants, and your integrations may need to change over time as your brand grows. Shopify Plus Partners have expertise in integrating the platform with various third-party applications, ERPs, CRMs, and other business systems. They ensure seamless data flow and synchronisation across platforms, enabling merchants to streamline operations and improve efficiency.

5. Optimised performance.

Performance optimisation is critical for providing an exceptional user experience and maximising conversion rates. Shopify Plus Partners employ advanced techniques to optimise site speed, enhance mobile responsiveness, and improve overall performance. From code optimisation to server configuration, partners implement strategies to ensure that merchants' websites deliver superior performance.

6. Dedicated support.

Shopify Plus Partners offer dedicated support and ongoing maintenance services to their clients. They serve as a trusted resource for resolving technical issues, providing training, and offering continuous optimisation recommendations, which is particularly important as merchants grow and have more eCommerce balls to juggle! A good Shopify Partner will prioritise client satisfaction and work proactively to address any challenges that arise, ensuring a smooth and seamless experience for merchants.

7. Strategic planning and growth.

Beyond technical implementation, Shopify Plus Partners provide strategic planning and growth consultancy services. They collaborate with merchants to develop long-term roadmaps for achieving their business objectives. Partners analyse data, identify opportunities for growth, and recommend strategies to optimise performance and drive revenue.

8. Access to beta programmes and resources.

Shopify is renowned for its huge R&D budget and often provides beta programs and early access to new features and tools to its Plus Partners. This access enables partners to stay ahead of the curve and leverage the latest innovations to benefit their clients.

9. Community and networking.

Shopify Plus Partners have access to a thriving community of fellow experts, developers, and merchants. This community provides opportunities for networking, knowledge sharing, and collaboration. Partners can leverage these connections to stay informed about industry trends, exchange ideas, and access additional resources and support, which, in turn, benefits their clients!

Perfect match: how to find your Shopify Partner.

Finding the right Shopify Partner for your business is crucial for maximising the potential of your eCommerce store. With numerous agencies and individuals offering services tailored to Shopify, it's essential to conduct thorough research to find a partner that aligns with your goals, budget, and requirements. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to find your ideal Shopify Partner:

1. Define your needs and goals.

Before you start searching for a Shopify Partner, it's important to define your needs and goals clearly. Consider what services you require, such as design, development, marketing, or ongoing support. Determine your budget, timeline, and any specific requirements or preferences you have for your eCommerce project.

2. Research Shopify Partner Directory.

Shopify maintains a directory of certified partners on its website, making it a great starting point for finding potential partners. Browse through the Shopify Plus Partner directory and use filters to narrow down your search based on location, expertise, services offered, and client reviews. Review the profiles of different partners to assess their experience, portfolio, and client testimonials.

3. Ask for recommendations.

Reach out to other retailers, tech partners, or agencies for recommendations on Shopify Partners. Those already working with the Shopify Partner in question are best placed to advise you on the agency’s operational style, results achieved, and overall satisfaction with the partnership. Personal recommendations can often lead to valuable insights and connections, too.

4. Review case studies.

Once you've identified potential Shopify Partners, review case studies on their websites to evaluate the quality of their work, expertise, and capabilities. While it can be helpful to see if they have experience with projects similar to yours, remember that an agency’s track record in solving a variety of client problems demonstrates adaptability and resourcefulness—that’s always a winner in the changing landscape of eCommerce!

5. Evaluate expertise and specialisations.

Consider the expertise and specialisations of each Shopify Partner you're considering. Some partners may specialise in specific industries or types of projects (for example, DTC or B2B only), while others may offer a broader range of services. Assess whether a partner's expertise aligns with your business niche, goals, and technical requirements.

6. Schedule consultations.

Reach out to your shortlisted Shopify Partners to schedule consultations or discovery calls. Use this opportunity to discuss your project in detail, ask questions, and gauge the partner's communication style, responsiveness, and level of engagement. Pay attention to how well they listen to your needs and whether they offer insightful recommendations or solutions.

7. Discuss pricing and terms.

During consultations, inquire about pricing, payment terms, and project timelines. Be transparent about your budget constraints and expectations to ensure that there are no surprises later on. Remember that, similar to renovating a house, the Partner with the lowest price and fastest turnaround isn’t necessarily the best option! So, ask for detailed proposals outlining the scope of work, deliverables, and any additional costs or expenses associated with the project.

8. Check references and reviews.

Request references from past clients and follow up with them to gather feedback on their experiences working with the Shopify Partner. Ask about the partner's reliability, professionalism, technical expertise, and ability to deliver results.

9. Trust your instincts.

Finally, trust your instincts when choosing a Shopify Partner. Consider factors such as rapport, trustworthiness, and cultural fit for your brand, in addition to technical expertise and capabilities. Select a partner that you feel confident in and comfortable working with, as this will contribute to a positive and productive partnership.

In conclusion: what is a Shopify Partner?

Having the experience and expertise of a Shopify Partner onboard is critical for brands wanting to maximise the potential of the Shopify platform and deliver the desired level of growth. If you’re looking to migrate to Shopify, or already use the platform and need additional support, blubolt is an accredited Shopify Plus partner. Explore our expert Shopify services and browse our client work for Shopify inspiration. Alternatively, get in touch to discuss your requirements. We would love to help!

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