As a Shopify Partner, you need to be familiar with development stores. They are used in the first steps of signing up a client for Shopify, as well as for demos, and even for portfolio purposes.
In this article, we condensed everything you need to know about development stores into a step-by-step guide. We’ll walk through:
- Understanding development stores.
- Creating development stores.
- Enhancing development store functionality.
- Transferring store ownership.
- Requesting access to existing stores.
Make note of each section and keep this article handy, as it will be useful when you repeat or scale your development process.
Understanding development stores
Development stores are Shopify accounts in which you build stores for clients and work on Shopify themes. As a Shopify Partner, you have access to unlimited development stores, which you can access from your Partner Dashboard.
They’re free of charge, hold no time restrictions and offer most of the same functionality as the Advanced Shopify plan. However, until you switch to a paid plan you can’t:
- Install paid apps (except for a selection of Partner-friendly apps).
- Process more than 50 orders (although you can create unlimited test orders).
- Create more than 10 private apps.
It’s important to note that you must create a development store for any merchant you refer in order to receive recurring revenue share. For the full details on what you can earn as a partner, consult our revenue share breakdown.
Creating development stores
Having access to unlimited trial periods means you can test, create, and explore as many development stores as you’d like.
Here’s how to get started:
1. From your Shopify Partner Dashboard, click Development stores.
2. On the Development stores page, click Create store.
3. Enter the details about your new development store.
4. When you’re done, click Create store.
After it's created, a development store will open in your browser. You can also log into existing development stores from the Development stores page in your Partner Dashboard.
Now that you know how to create a development, you can start building.
Enhancing development store functionality
The Shopify App Store holds a collection of apps that provide powerful features, services, and store plugins that enhance the functionality of a Shopify store.
All Shopify Partners get access to our collection of Partner Friendly Apps, which incur no cost when being tested in development stores. The paid apps on this list only start charging once the development store is switched over to a paying plan.
Always test apps on your development store before adding to a client’s live Shopify store to ensure they don’t cause any disorder.
Here’s how to install apps onto a development store:
1. From the Shopify App Store, click on the app you’d like to add.
2. Click on the Add app button.
You’ll want to ensure that adding a new app to your development store doesn’t cause disorder to your existing set-up.
3. Enter your store’s address to authenticate the app.
4. Confirm the installation of the app.
5. Start using the app.
If you want to install non-partner friendly apps, keep in mind that you will incur a cost immediately.
Transferring store ownership
Once you’re done creating a beautiful development store for your client, it’s time to hand over the reins.
This is the exciting part, as your clients are now ready to get up and running — all that’s left for you to do is transfer store ownership in a few simple steps:
1. Log into your Partner Dashboard, and click Development stores.
2. Select thename of the store that you want to transfer to your client.
3. Then, click Transfer store to client.
4. On the Transfer store to client dialog, select the new owner and the monthly Shopify plan that you recommend.
If you haven't added your client as a staff member yet, click Add a staff account and create a new account for your client before you continue.
5. When you're done, click Transfer store. The store now appears on the Transferred stores tab within the Development stores page, in your Partner dashboard.
The store pauses until your client accepts the transfers. Once they do, and they begin paying for a Shopify plan, a collaborator account is automatically created, and you will receive monthly revenue share.
When handing over store ownership, you can include an onboarding document to help your clients succeed. Your document should include:
- How to access the store using the URL client-store.myshopify.com/admin.
- A recommended plan of action.
- Other recommendations, like apps to download, webinars to watch, or other resources that will help them build their business.
- The merchant handoff kit as their reference guide.
That’s everything you need to know about transferring ownership of your development store to your client.
Requesting access to existing stores
Development stores are used when referring a new client to Shopify, but what if you’re working with a client who already has an existing Shopify store? Well, you’ll need to request access before you can start working.
You can use collaborator accounts to access your clients’ stores. To receive a collaborator account, send a request to the store owner through your Partner Dashboard.
Note: If you already have a staff account for your client’s store, your request for a collaborator account won’t be approved. In this case, you need to contact Priority Partner Support to delete the pending request, and contact the client or store owner to delete your already-existing staff account.
Here’s how to request access to a client's store:
1. From your Partner Dashboard, click Managed stores.
2. Click Add client store.
3. Enter the URL of the Shopify store that you want to access.
4. In the Permissions section, select the sections of the store that you want to access, or check Full access. The account owner can change these permissions after your account is created.
5. If you want to include a message to the store owner in your request, then enter a message in the Add a message section.
6. When you're done, click Send request.
After you submit a request, the store owner will receive an email about the request, and a notification on the homepage of their Shopify Admin.
View your merchant stores
You can view the stores that you've requested access to on the Store accounts page in your Partner Dashboard. There is no limit to the number of collaborator accounts that you can have, however, you can only have up to five pending requests open at a time.
Get up and running with development stores
We’ve covered everything you need to know to help you and your team get started.
Development stores are the perfect test environment for you to build your client’s online stores, without the limitation of a 14-day trial. You also want to ensure you use them when building and referring client stores to receive revenue share.