Building Shopify Channels

Channels are apps that allow Shopify merchants to create a path to purchase for their products across multiple platforms, even outside of Shopify. You can build a sales channel app to connect merchants to customers on marketplaces, social media, mobile devices, and more.

Using our docs and tutorials, you can familiarize yourself with all aspects of the sales channel creation process, from explore and build, through to launch:

  1. Explore - Review the different sales channel types and their requirements.
  2. Build - Refer to the getting started guide to walk through each step in the build process. This guide links you to detailed, step-by-step tutorials for each sales channel app type.
  3. Launch - Follow the launch checklist to submit your app to the Shopify app store.

Sales channel app types

Consider following our getting started guide, or exploring guided tutorials for Shopify's different sales channel app types:

Let customers browse products and then transfer them to a merchant's product page.

Build a sales channel using cart permalinks

Build a sales channel with the Checkout API

Enable customers to purchase products from a single merchant within your platform. You can use the Admin API or Storefront API.

Build a sales channel with the Checkout API

Build a sales channel with the Orders API

Allow customers to purchase products from multiple merchants in a shopping cart and sync orders back to Shopify.

Build a sales channel with the Orders API

Sales channel requirements

All sales channels must onboard and connect merchants using OAuth and Shopify's Polaris components. For more information, refer to Build a sales channel onboarding and account connection flow. All sales channels must be submitted for approval to the Shopify app store.

For all sales channel types, the key features of a sales channel app are as follows:

  • Onboarding and account connection: Get permission from merchants to install your app, and then connect them to your channel.
  • Product publishing: Import products into your channel, manage product errors, and stay in sync with merchants' product catalogs.
  • Order management: Generate orders for merchants.

The build requirements are listed in the table below:

Build type Permalinks Checkout API Orders API
General requirements
Platform requirements No
  • Partner owns and operates the platform which products will be sold on directly.
  • After the sales channel is live, Partner has the intention and capacity to onboard several hundred Shopify merchants in the first year after launch.
  • Partner owns and operates the platform which products will be sold on directly.
  • Platform currently has multiple active third-party sellers.
  • After the sales channel is live, Partner has the intention and capacity to onboard at least 1,000 Shopify merchants in the first year after launch.
  • Partner must demonstrate capability to securely process checkout.
Application required? No Apply to build a sales channel. Apply to build a sales channel.
PPA Addendum required?? No No
App approval process required? Must meet the general requirements for apps and for sales channel apps Must meet the general requirements for apps and for sales channel apps Must meet the general requirements for apps and for sales channel apps
Build type Permalinks Checkout API Orders API
Onboarding and account connection
Connect using OAuth
Shopify App Bridge
Shopify Polaris
Build type Permalinks Checkout API Orders API
Product publishing
List products using the ProductListing API
Manage errors with the ResourceFeedback API
Stay in sync with webhooks
Build type Permalinks Checkout API Orders API
Payments and orders
Checkout build complexity Low. Take customers to Shopify's checkout with items pre-loaded in the cart. Medium. Use the Checkout API. Shopify handles paying out to the merchant, keeping track of orders and fulfillments, and handling disputes, refunds or cancellations. High. Build your own checkout experience and sync orders with Shopify. You're responsible for keeping track of fulfillments, handling disputes or refunds, and paying out to the merchant.
Payment processing requirements No Complete checkouts using Shopify's web checkout, or apply for payment processing to process credit cards. Build your own payment processing solution.
Build type Permalinks Checkout API Orders API
Getting paid
Receiving payments Use the Billing API. For sales attribution, you can use a storefront access token. Use the Billing API. Build your own system for taking marketplace fees, or use the Billing API.
Revenue share Refer to the Shopify Partner revenue share agreement Refer to the Shopify Partner revenue share agreement If you're not using the Billing API, then Shopify receives a percentage of Merchant GMV processed on the Partner platform.

Apply to build a sales channel

After you've confirmed that you meet all the requirements for building a sales channel, you're ready to apply:

Apply to build a sales channel

After you apply, the business development team will review your application. You'll be contacted directly only if you've been conditionally accepted for review.

Next steps