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.

Consider starting by exploring guided tutorials for Shopify's most prevalent sales channel app types and workflows:

Onboard and connect merchants to your sales channel using OAuth and Shopify's Polaris components.

Connect merchants to your platform and enable them to sell their products. You can build a sales channel using the Shopify Admin APIs or Storefront API, depending on your app's use case and needs.

Enable Shopify merchants to list their products on an external marketplace, and sync everything back to Shopify.


The key features of a sales channel are account setup, product syncing, and order management:

  • Account setup: Get permission from merchants to install your app, then connect them to your channel.
  • Product syncing: Import products into your channel, manage product errors, and stay in sync with merchants' product catalogs.
  • Order management: Generate orders for merchants by accepting payments from buyers on your channel.

You can use Polaris components and best practices to build a sales channel app that looks and feels like Shopify. Your app’s back end and front end components work together to deliver the merchant experience, as illustrated in the following diagram:

Sales channel overview

  1. Merchant clicks to install the sales channel app.
  2. Merchant connects to the sales channel using OAuth.
  3. Merchant connects to sales channel account using the account connection component. If they do not already have an account, then they are prompted to sign up. Authentication takes place in a pop-up provided by the app's UI and occurs outside of Shopify.
  4. If there are additional steps to complete or an approval period, then they an be completed as part of onboarding.
  5. If there are additional steps to complete or an approval period, then they an be completed as part of onboarding.
  6. Once the merchant is approved, the approved state is communicated to the merchant using a banner component.
  7. The app prompts the merchant to agree to any commissions or fees. If you're using the Checkout API, then you can use Shopify's Billing APIs to make charging for your sales channel app easier. Marketplace apps must build their own charging and payments mechanisms.
  8. Merchant publishes products to the sales channel. The sales channel reads the product catalog and stays in sync using the relevant webhooks. Product publishing errors are reported in the admin using resource feedback.
  9. Orders are created in the Shopify admin. Sales channels that use the Checkout API benefit from a more streamlined integration. Marketplaces must use their own custom integration for payments and fees.

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