What do FitBit, Penguin Books, Lindt & Sprüngli, Hyatt Hotels Corp, and Kylie Cosmetics, all worth billions, have in common? They’re powered by Shopify, a Canadian eCommerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems.
eCommerce platforms are the backbone of online stores, providing the front-end and back-end structure that supports B2B and B2C companies. They offer a seamless customer experience and enable scalable growth for any online business.
As a cloud-based tool, Shopify provides full control over the structure and setup of your store. It is a great choice for businesses that sell physical and digital goods or services. Shopify’s flexibility, feature-rich capabilities, and customization are some reasons why over 1 million businesses in over 175 different countries utilize it as their preferred eCommerce platform.
Choosing the right eCommerce platform helps businesses streamline client interactions, facilitates global reach and revenue growth. Shopify is an excellent platform, and its development store offering, i.e., demo store capabilities are incredibly valuable to test design and app functionality. If your store sells products, each with less than 100 variations, then Shopify is an excellent option.
Here’s the lowdown on how to create a Shopify development store, and the benefits it offers eCommerce businesses.
Over one million businesses use Shopify as their preferred eCommerce platform because it offers quality, efficiency, simplicity, and rich features. A Shopify development store account gives eCommerce businesses the ability to install and test new themes for their digital “storefronts” before they decide to use the platform.
Some hosts only offer one website version, URL, and domain, but if you’re a Shopify Partner, you can create unlimited development stores for demo purposes. And these aren’t just for testing how a layout looks. You’ll also have access to Shopify’s discount engine, real-time carrier-calculated shopping, abandoned checkout recovery, and 50 test orders, so you can see how all your apps and add-ons run before going live.
A Shopify development store is a free account accessible from the Partner Dashboard. It has no time limits and offers functionality similar to the Advanced Shopify plan. However, until you switch to a paid account, you can’t install paid apps or create more than ten private apps. Read: That’s why it’s advantageous to hire an agency to create a development store for you!
According to Shopify, Development stores allow organizations to:
Essentially, development stores offer the ideal test environment to build online eCommerce platforms without any trial constraints that expire after a set length of time. With Shopify, you can set up a development environment without affecting your original storefront (if you have one) and then migrate your store over to the new design once you’re happy with it.
Pro-tip: All new development stores are password protected. This means that visitors can only access the development store by entering the password on the password page, logging into the development store’s admin, or through a Shopify Theme Store or Shopify App store demo link. Unlike the customizable password page for a free trial store or paid plan, the development store password isn’t linked to the online store’s theme and cannot be customized.
While the development store is free, you won’t be able to do the following until you upgrade to a Shopify paid plan:
As a leading eCommerce platform provider, Shopify offers beautiful mobile-friendly storefront themes broken down by industry; however, there are only ten free theme templates. Using any others for your development store requires a one-time fee payment. If you want extensive customization, you will need to understand Shopify’s Liquid code, which in most cases, entails hiring an expert developer.
Additionally, while third-party apps provide additional functionality, there is a possibility that some may not work with your theme, or require modifications. Of course, that’s not to say there isn’t value in building a Shopify development store. It is very helpful to have an idea of how your store will work and what it looks like, just so long as you’re aware that you won’t experience full functionality until you have a paid account.
Before you can build a Shopify development store, you need a Shopify Partner account. It’s free to join, and lets members experiment with Shopify store functionality. As a Shopify Partner, you have access to free training courses and other useful resources to leverage the platform to help grow your business.
Once you have a free Shopify account, you can follow these steps to build a development store:
Once you’ve created your Shopify Development store, you can archive it. If you want your Shopify development store to go live, you have to transfer ownership and select a Shopify plan. When this is processed, all restrictions are lifted from the development store.
When it comes to Shopify development stores, some organizations use the developer preview to gain early access to new Shopify features, so they can build and test apps against upcoming features before they’re released. A word of caution: Development stores created on developer preview mode can’t be transferred to another owner or transitioned to a paid plan.
Even without any technical knowledge, the plug-and-play capabilities of development stores allow anyone to set up a basic store with relative ease. However, without technical knowledge, it will take you longer to achieve the results that a professional agency team can deliver. This is largely why 80% of Fortune 500 companies outsource their web development needs.
Experts know how the platform works. They leverage its features and functionalities to ensure an online store’s success. A top-tier agency will analyze an organization’s goals and develop a high-performance Shopify store strategy that’s scalable and optimized to achieve long-term results.
Utilizing the Shopify platform entails more than just uploading products and choosing creative theme designs. The goal of any eCommerce store should be to increase sales. Accomplishing this feat in a saturated and highly competitive online space demands SEO strategies. These help sites to rank on search engines, maximize ROI, and increase revenue stream. Experts will also ensure the smooth integration of third-party apps.
Professional Shopify developer partners offer many benefits, including:
Hiring professionals to complete high-quality bespoke tasks within a specified time frame for your online store will keep your organization up-to-date with the latest marketing developments. They can improve Shopify store functionality and grow your business through SEO, leading to higher traffic, increased conversions, and greater profits.
As a full-service marketing agency, we’re a certified member of the Shopify partner program and specialize in customer development, PPC, SEO, content, Email, and revenue strategies. Our team can build your store from scratch, or help migrate your current one to Shopify. Contact us to help you build a cost-effective Shopify app store with high ROI.
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