How to Earn Money as a Shopify Affiliate

How to Earn Passive Income from Shopify

If you’re looking for another source of passive income, Shopify offers an affiliate program that rewards commissions for every successful merchant referral you make, when they avail of full-price plans in particular. Since it’s performance-based, you can either earn a lucrative profit or not much at all. This article discusses all you need to know about the Shopify affiliate program and how to earn from it. 

What Is the Shopify Affiliate Program?

The Shopify affiliate program provides opportunities to entrepreneurs, influencers, educators, content creators, publishers, customers, and others to monetize their audience and earn passive income when they sign up for the program, promote content about Shopify entrepreneurship, and successfully attract merchants into purchasing any of the platform’s plans in full price. 

shopify affiliate home page

Until June 2022, Shopify ran its own affiliate program but later on used Impact, a third-party affiliate tracking platform. Impact allows easier means for tracking affiliates’ performance and issuing payments.

Signing up for the program is free. If accepted as an affiliate, there’s no limit to the number of merchants you can refer and your successful referrals will be tracked through your unique affiliate tracking link.

For as long as the merchants successfully avail of Shopify full-pricing plans—Basic, Shopify, and Advanced—and not the incentives or promotional offers, such as the offer “Start a 3-day free trial, and pay $1 for your first 3 months,” you are eligible for the commissions.

How Much Can You Earn from Shopify Affiliate?

Top-earning Shopify affiliates earn thousands each month while some don’t earn as much. It depends on the time, effort, and quality you put into your content to attract entrepreneurs to sign up as a merchant in Shopify. The more successful referrals you make, the more you earn.

Shopify’s commission rate is 100% for the first two months when the referred merchant continues to make payments and run their stores on Shopify, then 0% afterward. For example, when your referred merchant avails of $19 Basic plan on consecutive months, you will receive a $19 commission for each of the first two months. That goes the same for other plans.

Shopify Plans
If merchants avail of any of these plans using your affiliate link, you can earn commissions.

If you successfully attracted a merchant to avail of Shopify Plus, which costs $2,000 per month, you will receive  $2,000 for the first two months, and none afterward. With Shopify’s affiliate program, the more expensive the plan your referred merchant avails, the higher your income. You receive payments through a fixed bounty for all full-price plan merchant referrals, depending on your preferred seller’s plan. 

Impact requires affiliates to have at least a balance of $10 (or its equivalent amount in your currency) before you can withdraw your commission. You have two options when it comes to payment frequency. You can withdraw the amount when it exceeds $10 or you can opt to be paid on a bi-weekly basis.

The commissions will be in US dollars, not in your currency. Depending on your preference, you may receive the payments either directly through your bank account or your PayPal account.

Second Option: The Shopify Partner Program

Shopify also provides another opportunity for passive income in the form of the Shopify partner program. Members consist of developers, marketers, photographers, freelancers, and even influencers who are more on the side of creating eCommerce themes, developing apps, and publishing them on Shopify stores, alongside referring clients to Shopify plans.

The Shopify affiliate program only focuses on referring merchants to avail of full-pricing Shopify plans, while the Shopify partner program delves into more than that—partners can also create Shopify themes. They earn from publishing their products as well as gaining clients to sign up as a merchant in Shopify.

Requirements to Sign Up for the Shopify Affiliate Program

Signing up for the Shopify affiliate program is free, and you’re not required to have a Shopify website either. You will only need to meet these requirements:

shopify affiliate checklist

After signing up on Impact, you will also need to apply to the Shopify affiliate program to verify your credentials and see if you qualify. 

Since Impact reviews applications manually and you will have to go through further Shopify evaluation, the overall process usually takes five business days. Shopify will notify you via email.

How Can You Better Promote Your Affiliate Links?

There are many ways you can promote your Shopify affiliate links out there, whether you use a website, social media platforms, or a YouTube channel. These practices can help you turn your passive source of income into a lucrative business:

Maintain Ethical Standards
  • Avoid cookie stuffing, URL hijacking, fake leads, and click spam
Build an Email List
  • Collect contact information
Have an In-Depth Understanding of the Plans
  • Unique features
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Suggestions on product or service improvement
Have Strategic Distribution Means
  • High-quality content marketing
  • Incorporate social media platforms, email marketing, YouTube videos, etc.
Use Local SEO
  • Create localized quality content
  • Be consistent with the NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) citation


Shopify Affiliate Program vs. Amazon Affiliate Program

Shopify and Amazon have different concepts for their affiliate programs. Shopify rewards commissions for merchant referrals, while Amazon pays you for successful product referrals. 

Here’s a quick guide to the differences between Shopify and Amazon affiliate programs:

Category Shopify Affiliate Program Amazon Affiliate Program
Sign-Up Fee None None
Products Shopify Plans Physical and digital products
Third-Party Affiliate Network Impact Own
Commission Structure Fixed bounty of all full-price merchant plans (100% for 2 months of recurring payment; 0% afterward) Depends on the product category percentage
Payment Methods Directly to a bank account or via Paypal Bank account
Payment Schedule Affiliates choose from these options: Bi-weekly and when the commission reaches a certain amount Approximately 60 days after the end of the month in which it was earned
Sales Requirement None Minimum of 3 sales in the first 180 days


Wrapping Up

The Shopify affiliate program has no sign-up fee and doesn’t require you to have a Shopify website—only Shopify or general eCommerce experience and means to distribute your affiliate links. There’s no limit to how many referrals you can make. Its fixed bounty commissions can make it a very lucrative side hustle.

However, being a Shopify affiliate may not be for everyone. Almost always, you gain trust from your audience when you promote brands and niches close to your values or what you do. If your audience doesn’t see you as an entrepreneur or at least have in-depth knowledge about eCommerce business, being a Shopify affiliate may not be for you. You can also try other affiliate programs, such as Amazon’s, which require you mere knowledge about the product you choose to promote.

Liezel Comendador

Liezel Comendador goes by her motto, “I cannot not write.” If not taxes, eCommerce, and any other niche, she writes about her nomadic travels, peculiar people and experiences encountered along the way, and for some time, ponder metaphors, both petty and deep. She is a philomath who believes learning is better done when one starts as a nobody, ego and judgment aside, as everything and everyone can be teachers in this fleeting life.

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