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.
- Archiving development stores.
Make note of each section and keep this article handy, as it will be useful when you repeat or scale your development process.
Learn more about collaborator accounts
For a full understanding of collaborator accounts and how they're different from development stores, please visit our blog post Everything You Need to Know About Collaborator Accounts.Visit post
A development store is a free Shopify account that allows you to 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). These 50 orders are for testing purposes.
- 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.
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 Stores.
2. On the Stores page, click the Add store button.
After it's created, you’ll be able to log into your new development store through the Stores tab in your Partner Dashboard.
Now that you know how to create a development store, you can start building.
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.
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 Stores.
That’s everything you need to know about transferring ownership of your development store to your client.
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.
If you already have a staff account for the client's store or have been invited by the store owner to activate a staff account (but not yet activated it), then your request for a collaborator account will prompt the store owner to update your current account permissions to reflect those of your collaborator account.
Here’s how to request access to a client's store:1. From your Partner Dashboard, click Stores.
2. Click Add store.
3. For store type, select Managed store.
4. Enter the store URL.
5. 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.
6. If you want to include a message to the store owner in your request, then enter a message in the Add a message section.
7. When you're done, click Save.
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 Stores 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 10 pending requests open at a time.
You can also archive development stores that you’re no longer working on. After you archive a store, you can unarchive it later if you want to continue working on it.
To archive a development store:1. From your Partner Dashboard, click Stores.
2. Click the name of the development store that you want to archive.
3. Click Archive.
Unarchive a development store
If you need to restore a development store that you've archived, then you can unarchive it.
To unarchive a development store:1. From your Partner Dashboard, click Stores.
2. Click Filter, and select Archived.
3. Search for the store you would like to unarchive, and click on it.
4. Click Unarchive.
Grow your business with the Shopify Partner Program
Whether you offer web design and development services or want to build apps for the Shopify App Store, the Shopify Partner Program will set you up for success. Join for free and access revenue share opportunities, developer preview environments, and educational resources.Sign up
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.