Shopify Partner Program vs Shift4Shop Partner Program

Shopify Partner Program
Shopify Partner Program
  • Only “active” partners earn revenue
  • 20% store referral commission
  • One-time 200% affiliate commission
  • Commission changes for different plans
Shift4Shop Partner Program
Shift4Shop Partner Program
  • Guaranteed revenue for life
  • 60% residual split revenue share
  • Up-front $500 bonus when clients use Shift4 Payments
  • Commission equal to 15x monthly profitability

A truly powerful and up-to-date eCommerce platform works hard to create and maintain relationships with the best and brightest web experts in the world. Whether they’re marketing agencies, web designers, or developers, partners simultaneously improve its service while sharing it with business owners around the world are indispensable. Naturally, the best way to foster that mutually beneficial relationship is by building a partner program that provides a reliable revenue stream to professionals who bring customers to the platform.

Shopify is one of the biggest eCommerce platforms in the world, with over a million stores running on its software. To encourage web-related businesses to bring in more customers to their platform, they’ve put together the Shopify Partner Program, which includes store development, app development, theme designs, affiliate referrals, and more as ways to make money with Shopify. It may be tempting to sign up for Shopify’s program and exchange your expertise for monthly revenue, but be wary – it’s not as easy as it sounds to stay in the program and make your rightfully-earned income.

Let's take a deep dive into how the Shopify Partner Program works and whether it’s the best option for your partnership

Shopify Partner Program:
Varied Benefits with Strict Requirements

The Shopify Partner Program incentivizes selected partners to build or migrate stores, solve merchant’s problems, develop apps, participate in affiliate marketing, and more to make revenue from their platform. Rather than split incentivized programs up based on each specific service provided, they lump everything together into the Partner program as a one-size-fits-all solution. You can’t just be a theme designer or an affiliate with Shopify – everyone is considered a "partner."

The program is free to join, but it’s not free of its strict rules and regulations that need to be abided by in order to stay in the program. The catch lies in maintaining your status as an ‘active’ Shopify Partner, which means that you’ll have to either refer a store, refer through an affiliate link or have an existing merchant upgrade to Shopify Plus every 12 months. This means that, if your status as an active Shopify Partner is revoked, you will stop earning revenue from all of the sales that you’ve made for Shopify – even if the merchants you referred are still using the service.

Shopify Partner Program

Features of the Shopify Partner Program


Shopify Partners have access to exclusive discounts on software and services for business development, product design, project management, and testing. However, certain discounts are only available to partners certified as Shopify Experts, which is a program that specifies extra requirements before qualifying for.

Exclusive Resources

As part of the Shopify Partner program, you’ll have access to the Shopify Partner Academy, which is an online training and certification program exclusive to those in the program. Partners also gain early access to new features and marketing materials.

Unlimited Test Stores

Shopify’s Partner Program gives its partners access to unlimited test stores that they can use to learn the platform and better understand what they’re selling to new customers.

Partner Support

Exclusively available to partners is the 24/7 Priority Partner Support team, available by phone, email, and live chat from within the Partner Dashboard.

How to Make Money with the Shopify Partner Program

Shopify provides its partners with ongoing monthly income for every client they refer, a theme they design, or app they build. However, that isn’t without a catch – a partner’s revenue share depends on your “contribution to the Shopify ecosystem,” and can stop at any time. Revenue will also vary on a variety of factors, including the program you join, the location you’re in, and the location of your merchants.

Development Store Referrals

If you refer a customer to sign up for a Shopify store on certain plans (Shopify Lite, Shopify Basic, their standard ‘Shopify’ plan, or Advanced Shopify), you’ll get 20% ongoing revenue share of the merchant’s monthly subscription fee. However, you’ll only get that continued revenue as long as the merchant remains a paying customer and you remain an active Shopify Partner.

Affiliate Link Referrals

Shopify’s Affiliate program splits up revenue based on which plan you lead a customer to purchase. If your referred merchant signs up for Shopify Basic, their standard ‘Shopify’ plan, or Advanced Shopify, then you’ll receive a one-time bounty payment equal to 200% of the merchant’s monthly fee over the first two months of the subscription. On the other hand, if your referred merchant signs up for Shopify Plus, then you’ll get a one-time bounty of $2,000 after the merchant has paid their first month.

App Developers

As a Shopify App Developer, you’ll be able to make 80% of the total revenue your app makes from the one-time sale price or recurring sub fees, as well as all app purchases and upgrades. With Shopify’s Billing API, app developers can charge for their apps in three different ways: one-time, usage-based and recurring charges.

Theme Designers

If you design a Shopify Theme, you have two revenue options. In order to make 70% revenue share of each theme sale, you’ll have to claim responsibility for all bug fixes and answering merchant questions, but you’ll be free to sell it on your personal channels (excluding open marketplaces). If you’d like to leave answering questions to Shopify and lose the ability to sell on other channels, then you can instead make 50% revenue share of each theme sale.

Shift4Shop Partner Program:
More Profit, More Versatility, and Easier Selling

The Shift4Shop Partner Program provides a way for marketing agencies, designers, developers, and anyone who can resell the Shift4Shop platform to clients while generating revenue. Because Shift4Shop offers an affordable, all-in-one solution, partners can easily yield higher profit margins while making their clients happier in the process. The platform’s hosting is fast, reliable, and secure, with an admin interface that’s easy to set up and packed with build-in essentials, making it the perfect product to sell to new business owners.

It’s free and easy to sign up for the Shift4Shop Partner Program. To get started, all you need to do is complete a short application, get approved by our team, gain access to the Shift4Shop Partner Program portal, and start reaping the rewards! There are no hard requirements to join and stay within the partner program – as long as your account is valid, you can be a partner.

Shift4Shop Partner Program

Features of the Shift4Shop Partner Program


Unique Commission Model

Shift4Shop’s revenue model is unique in the eCommerce industry, paying partners based on a percentage of processing fees rather than hosting fees (because the software is free to use). Shift4Shop Partners earn a 60% residual split revenue share, plus a $500 up-front bonus if clients use Shift4 Payments and commission worth 15 times the client’s monthly profitability.

Exclusive Resourcces

Exclusive Resources

As a partner, you’ll have access to the Shift4Shop Partner Program portal where you can use all of the tools and resources you need to get trained and earn money with our platform. Included is a dedicated newsletter with eCommerce resources and early access to all new Shift4Shop features and integrations.

Free Sandbox Accounts

Free Accounts

Shift4Shop’s free plan allows anyone to sign up for an account without spending a dime – even partners! Because accounts are free, partners can test out the software for themselves and familiarize themselves with Shift4Shop before referring it to new customers.

Partner Support

Partner Support

As a Shift4Shop partner, you’ll have access to our 24/7 premium technical support team with no fees or limits. Talk to our Priority Partner Support representatives on your time, any time by emailing [email protected] For questions or assistance with the Partner Program, you can also email [email protected].

How to Make Money with the Shift4Shop Partner Program

As part of the Shift4Shop Partner Program, partners can expect to see generous commissions relative to most other partner programs out there. By partnering with Shift4Shop, you’ll be able to make monthly commission for life from processing fees that are directly charged when clients make a sale. Compared to Shopify’s 20% commission rate, you’ll be seeing higher profits faster with Shift4Shop.

Reseller Program

Reseller Program

As a Shift4Shop reseller within the Partner Program, you’ll be referring merchants to the platform and selling the Shift4Shop service to them. In addition to your monthly commission, which increases based on volume, you’ll also benefit from the same 60% residual split revenue share, $500 bonus, and commission that’s 15 times the monthly profitability of the client.

Affiliate Program

Affiliate Program

The Shift4Shop Affiliate Program gives bloggers, influencers, and more the ability to earn $100 per referred account promoting Shift4Shop. Through Share-a-Sale, you’ll earn commission every time a customer signs up for Shift4Shop through your affiliate links.

Shift4Shop Experts

Shift4Shop Experts

If you’re a Shift4Shop partner and you offer a service, like photography, web development, web design, or marketing, then you can become a Shift4Shop Expert! Register and gain access to exclusive perks, like exposure on the Shift4Shop Expert directory.

What About App Developers and Theme Designers?

At Shift4Shop, we let you sell what you want, how you want. This carries over to our partner program and subsequent programs for Affiliates, app developers, and theme designers. Unlike Shopify, we’re not out to get you into a one-size-fits-all partner program that lumps every revenue venture into one.

If you’re an app developer, you don’t need to go through the process of signing up for the partner program – simply sign up to gain access to the Shift4Shop Developer Portal and sell your app on the Shift4Shop app store! If you’re a theme designer, you can register directly to design Shift4Shop themes. Shift4Shop cares about giving you options so that you can tailor your revenue stream the way you want.

App Developers

Frequently asked questions about Shopify Alternatives

Can you make money with Shopify's partner program?
Yes, the Shopify partner program can generate a 200% commission for every client you refer to Shopify. Alternatively, if you're a reseller and sign up the client directly, you can get a 20% ongoing commission.
How can I join the Shopify partner program?
Anyone can join the Shopify partner program, but while it's free to join, it has strict requirements to become a Shopify Expert or even to qualify for affiliate commissions.
Are there any requiements to remain on the Shopify partner program?
Yes, if you don't refer new accounts to Shopify within 2 months, you risk losing any current commissions and your status on the Shopify Experts portal.
What are the alternatives to Shopify Partner Program?
The closest alternative is Shift4Shop Partner Program, which offers a 60% residual split revenue share, $500 bonus when clients use Shift4 Payments, and a commission worth 15 times a client’s monthly profits.
Is Shopify an American company?
No, Shopify is a Canadian e-commerce company headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario.