Everything You Need to Know About Development Stores

Everything You Need to Know About Development Stores

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:

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.

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Understanding development stores

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.

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.

development stores: create
From your Shopify Partner Dashboard, click Create store.

3. Enter the details about your new development store.

development stores: create new
You must include the store name, store type (online, retail, or online and retail), and a password for your store login.

4. When you’re done, click Save.

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.

development stores: dashboard
Log into your Partner Dashboard to find all your existing development stores.

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.

Shopify app development stores

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.

development stores: transfer

2. Click Transfer ownership beside the store that you want to transfer.

3. On the Transfer store ownership dialog, select the new owner from the list of eligible new owners. If you haven't added your client as a staff member yet, then click Add a staff account and create a new account for your client before you continue.

development stores: owner

4. 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 new owner receives an email with instructions to create the account and select a plan. Until your client accepts the transfer, the store is paused. After the client begins paying for a Shopify plan, a collaborator account is automatically created and you start to receive your monthly recurring revenue share

development stores: transfers
An example of a transferred stores tab you’d see in your Partner Dashboard.

    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.

    Request access

    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 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.

    development stores: requesting
    Your clients will receive a notification about your request on their Shopify Admin.
    development stores: collaborator account
    To request a collaborator account, send a request through your Partner Dashboard.

    View your merchant stores

    You can view the stores that you've requested access to on the Managed 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.

    Archiving development stores

    To help you keep your dashboard clean and organized, you can also archive development stores that you’re not longer working on. Archiving a development store removes it from the Development stores page in your Partner Dashboard. 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 Development stores.

    2. Click the name of the development store that you want to archive.

    3. Click Archive development store:

      development store: archive

      Unarchive a development store

      If you need to restore a development store that you've archived, then you can unarchive it. After you unarchive a development store, it will appear again in the list of stores on the Development stores page in your Partner Dashboard.

      To unarchive a development store:

      1. From your Partner Dashboard, click Development stores.

      2. In the page footer, click See development stores you have archived.

      3. On the Archived development stores page, click the name of the store that you want to restore.

      4. Click Unarchive development store.

        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.

        If you need more information, check the in-depth documentation and help center, as well as the discussion forums.

        Create a development store

        About the Author

        Lea Abboud is a Partner Growth Intern at Shopify working on all things marketing and content. She subscribes to way too many newsletters but is always looking for more to flood her inbox.


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