Merchant onboarding overview

Onboarding is the process of merchants connecting to your channel app to publish products and sell on your marketplace. Merchants onboard, push products, and monitor their onboarding status through the channel app pages that you build in the Shopify admin.

The following gif shows a merchant onboarding flow for the channel app in the Shopify admin:

A gif showing the merchant onboarding flow in the channel app

This guide introduces you to the tutorials for onboarding merchants to a marketplace.

Onboarding flow

Approving merchants before they can publish products to your marketplace results in improved buyer experiences and reduces the risk of fraud.

An onboarding flow typically includes the following elements:

  1. Onboarding information - surface important information about selling on your marketplace, along with a Call-to-action that prompts merchants to indicate that they understand the information.

  2. Requirements check - surface a checklist of eligibility requirements for selling on your marketplace. Unmet requirements should should link to the relevant section in the Shopify admin. This gives merchants a clear path to making the changes to meet eligibility.

  3. Terms and conditions - surface a link to the marketplace terms and conditions, along with a Call-to-action that prompts merchants to indicate that they agree to the terms.

Information

Information on the channel app should reflect the merchant's onboarding state.

For example, channel apps should take new and onboarding merchants to an Introduction page that explains the marketplace and its features, with a link to either begin or continue the onboarding process. The app can take merchants who've completed onboarding to a Settings page that shows their status on the marketplace and the products that they're selling.

The channel app can also communicate information like the following:

  • How many products the merchant has published

  • Whether their shop is live

  • If merchants have been removed from the marketplace for violating requirements

Requirements

Marketplace eligibility requirements are at your discretion.

Shop configuration provide helpful information for requirements. You can determine some basic elements for eligibility to sell on your marketplace by querying store properties using the REST Admin API.For example, you can require merchants to have a refund policy in place, which you can surface to on the marketplace.

The following table lists some API resources and the questions that they can be used to answer:

REST Admin API resources for determining merchant eligibility
Resource Eligibility considerations
Shop Is this merchant in an eligible country/market?

How long has the merchant been on Shopify?

Is the merchant's online store set up to accept orders?

Policy Do merchants have return policies in place?

Advanced: MerchantApprovalSignals

The onboarding process is meant to be flexible to support your platform’s needs.

In the onboarding tutorials, you'll build a basic channel onboarding flow that enforces marketplace terms and conditions and merchant requirements. If you manually review merchant’s stores before approving them to sell on your marketplace, then the GraphQL Admin API's MerchantApprovalSignals object provides an accelerated onboarding process.

If a merchant is verified by Shopify, then you can feel confident allowing them to sell on your platform without needing to approve them manually. If a merchant is not verified by Shopify, then you can still allow them to sell on your marketplace if they pass your manual review.

Next steps