Shopify Collabs: What Is It and How Do You Use It?

WRITTEN BY
Mark Barnes
TOPIC
General
PUBLISHED
TIME
10 minutes read
shopify collabs

What exactly is Shopify Collabs?

In August 2022, Shopify launched Shopify Collabs, its latest feature designed to bring merchants and content creators closer together than ever before.

At its most basic, it’s an app that you add to your Shopify store that is used to create your own influencer community. In practice, that means a page with an application form for content creators to register their interest in working with your brand. (For the technical details, see: How to get started with Shopify Collabs).
But take a step back, and you can pretty quickly see that this little app is oozing with potential.

Influencer marketing–using content creators to spruik products and promote your brand–has become a mainstream staple of any good marketing program. Nano-influencers, through to celebrity juggernauts, have been responsible for making products fly off shelves all over the world.

This has not gone unnoticed by the platforms that these influencers use.
Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok all have their own creator marketplaces or versions thereof where brands can track down and hire content creators.
Likewise, it’s not a new concept for Shopify either.

screenshot shopify collabs landing page

Shopify Collabs makes it easy to find influencers to promote your brand

In October 2020, it announced it was connecting its services to TikTok.

A year later, it announced Spotify users would also be able to sell their Shopify products directly through their Spotify accounts, and in July of 2022, Shopify announced a similar partnership with YouTube (see: How to connect your Youtube account with Shopify).

Shopify’s pursuit of the creator community has been relentless, and for a good reason. Influencer Marketing Hub estimated in its The State of Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report 2022 that the market size of the ‘creator economy’ would reach a whopping $104 billion in 2022.

With such huge growth and with so many marketers jumping on board, it makes sense that Shopify would join the fray too.

It’s no surprise then that in April, Shopify purchased the influencer app Dovetale. An incredibly successful app at bringing influencers and marketers together, it has since gone on to be the basis for Shopify Collabs, although with a few tweaks and new features.

How is Shopify Collabs different from Dovetale?

Never used Dovetale? Skip this section

1. It’s got a new name and a new look. The Dovetale brand has been retired with the functions and features now branded Shopify Collabs. Shopify Collabs is still an app that you need to add to your store, but its design reflects the Shopify brand–the Dovetale feather has been retired and replaced with the Shopify shopping bag.

2. You don’t need to log in to the app separately. In the days of Dovetale, you needed to log into the app to access its services. Under the Shopify brand, that’s become a thing of the past. All you need to do is install the app and log in to Shopify as per usual.

3. You don’t need to set up separate staff accounts. With Dovetale, you added a team manager to manage your influencers. This was separate from the staff members that had access to your Shopify store. These have now been integrated so that staff permissions are all managed through your Shopify admin.

4. Communications will all be sent to the email address on your Shopify account. This is as opposed to the email address connected to your Dovetale account when Dovetale was a separate entity.

5. It’s easier for creators to find your brand. With Dovetale, content creators had to apply through your application page. With Shopify Collabs, however, content creators can use a separate Shopify search engine to browse brands and choose products that suit their audience.

6. The domain name of application pages will change from Dovetale to Shopify. This will be automatically changed, and links that are pointed at your Dovetale page will automatically redirect to your Shopify page.

7. It’s free. Before being taken over by Shopify, Dovetale used to cost $99 a month on its cheapest starter plan. Shopify Collabs, on the other hand, is free for all Shopify users.

How does Shopify Collabs work?

Boiled down to its simplest form, Shopify Collabs works by connecting content creators to Shopify merchants. Content creators promote the merchant’s products, and merchants reward the content creators with either free gifts or money. In practice, this is broken down into three key parts:

  • Finding customers through the Shopify Collabs Discover influencer platform,
  • taking applications through your merchant community page,
  • and paying your content partners through affiliate links, free gifts, and/or cash.

1. What is the Shopify Collabs Discover influencer platform?

The Shopify Collabs Discover platform is a database of content creators from around the world and Shopify merchants that have connected to the Shopify Collabs app.

Merchants can search this influencer platform for content creators they can use to promote their products. Similarly, content creators can search the platform for brands to promote to their followers in exchange for compensation.

2. What is a Shopify Collabs community page?

Your community page is the heart of your Shopify Collabs campaign. This is where content creators can learn more about your store, what you’ve got to offer, and apply to partner with your brand.

makeup influencer gives thumbs up

Mobile technology has given rise to a range of nano-influencers in niche markets.

Creating a clear and straightforward community page is key to attracting the right content creators for your brand. Sell your brand but also clearly articulate what you expect from your partners and what they can expect from you.

A community page includes a sign-up form, and you can choose which questions to ask through your Shopify admin. Demographic information is vital for making sure that your products reach the right audience.

3. How do you pay a content creator?

  • Affiliate links: Shopify Collabs affiliate links are links that are used to record the sales driven by any one particular content creator. An affiliate link is unique to each content creator. For each sale that is made by a consumer that follows a creator’s affiliate link, the creator generally receives a commission.
  • Free gifts: One way to reward content creators is to give them free gifts or merchandise. This is particularly important if you want them to create content that involves using your product. Cosmetics or clothing, for example.
  • Cash: A one-time payment to make a particular piece of content is probably the most popular way of rewarding a content creator. Along with negotiating the fee, you can also negotiate how long it should be active.

The benefits of using Shopify Collabs for merchants

Not a merchant? Skip to the benefits of using Shopify Collabs for creators

Instead of looking for content creators, they can look for you. At the core of effective influencer marketing is matching the right product with the right audience. In the past, brands would search creator marketplaces and approach content creators. Shopify, however, has flipped this process around.

At the heart of Shopify’s approach is an influencer marketing platform, dubbed Shopify Collabs Discover, that contains all of the brands that have signed up to Shopify Collabs. This platform is searchable by influencers who can find products that they believe best match their target audience. Content creators, after all, know their audiences best. (Note: As of writing, this is not active, but Shopify is taking early bird applications).

It brings everything together all in one place. With Shopify Collabs, you can send gifts, create affiliate links, and issue payouts to creators, all inside your Shopify admin. You can also manage applications and track sales made through your affiliate program.

The benefits of using Shopify Collabs for creators

It is easier to find brands to work with. With Shopify Collabs, creators can search Shopify’s database to find brands that reflect the interests of their audiences. This should lead to more appropriately targeted products which should lead to more sales and more affiliate commissions for you.

 sports influencer sells shoes livestreamFashion influencers are often paid in cash and receive free gifts and samples


It’s easier to work with brands. When you have found a brand you like, you use an online application form to reach out to said brand. This form has been developed to guide brands toward collecting all of the necessary information for a brand to make an informed decision. This is important when working with smaller brands with less experience that might normally engage in a lot of back and forth as they try to work out exactly what information they need–demographic information, traffic data, and whatnot.

How to get started with Shopify Collabs

1. Install the app

Follow this link to the Shopify App store and click install.

shopify collabs app store

2. Open an account

Setting up a Shopify Collabs account is relatively simple. There are only three steps.

  • Go to your Shopify admin panel and click on Settings and then Apps and sales channels.
  • You should see a list of apps you’ve installed. Find and open Shopify Collabs.
  • You should see the Shopify Collabs terms and conditions. After agreeing to the terms and conditions, you’re all set, and you can get started creating your creator community.

3. Create your community

(In case you missed it, see: What is a Shopify Collabs community page?)

In brief, your community page is where creators learn about what you do and apply to partner with your brand.

From the Shopify Collabs dashboard, click on edit your application page. This is divided into five sections.

3.1 Application

This is where you design your community page.

  • Page design: This is where you add your logo and choose a background and button color.
  • About your brand: This is where you add a heading, a brief description, and choose your button text (your call to action).
  • Collab benefits: Tell content creators what’s in it for them if they sign up to your program. List the perks and benefits of partnering with your brand.

3.2 Social

This is where you choose which social networks creators can use to apply.

  • There are six social networks to choose from: Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitch.
  • Toggle the on/off switch to choose the networks you want to accept.

inside shopify collabs app

Brands can choose which influencer platforms they would like to take applications from.

3.3 Profile

This is where you decide what information you want applicants to provide.

  • First name, last name, and email address are already selected and can’t be changed.
  • There are several demographic options, including date of birth, location, and gender. You can use this information to align your target markets with your content creator applicants.
  • You can also add additional contact information, including a phone number and shipping address.
  • Finally, choose which of the creator’s social handles you would like them to provide (it’s the same social networks listed earlier).

3.4 Survey

This is the part where you quiz your applicants to determine whether or not they’re a good fit for your brand.

  • This is an interactive form, and you can add or remove questions as you see fit.
  • Questions can be short answer, long answer, multiple choice, or selections that can be either radio buttons or a drop-down menu.
  • You use the up and down arrows on the side to change the order of your questions.

3.5 Share

At this point, you should have your community and application pages customized to your own specifications. All that is left to do is let people know that your content creator community is open for business and taking new applicants. Shopify Collabs gives you three ways to do this.

  • Link to your application page: Copy the link provided and paste it on your blog or website, or share it on your social networks.
  • Add it to your Shopify store: This field should already be populated with your website address. All you need to do is add a title for your page and then click Create Page. This will now be added to your store. However, you may still need to add it to your navigation menu.
  • Add a widget to your store: This is a floating widget at either the bottom left or bottom right of your website. You can change the text on the label and the button color too.

Finally, click Save & Finish.

influencer applying makeup filming on phone

Makeup influencers can help to boost your cosmetics sales.

 And that’s it! Your Shopify Collabs community is up and running. All you have to do next is wait for content creators to come flooding in. If you want to be more proactive, however, you can jump on the Shopify Collabs Discover platform and start searching for creators yourself.

How to find creators with Shopify Collabs Discover

(In case you missed it, see: What is the Shopify Collabs Discover platform?)

In brief, Shopify Collabs Discover is where you search for content creators to promote your brand.

You’ll find it in the navigation menu running along the top of your Shopify Collabs dashboard.

There are two basic parts to a Shopify Collabs Discover search: the search parameters and the search results.

1. Search Parameters

This is where you decide how and where you want to search and what you want to search for.

  • Platform Selector: Use the platform selector to choose the social network you would like to search. You can choose from Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch, and you can also search through a database of blogs.
  • Search Bar: The Shopify Collabs Discover search bar has several options for narrowing down your search, which will depend on which platform you select.
  • Keyword: Search the database using a specific search term. You can also narrow this selection down by going to the settings menu and selecting only certain places to search. For example, with Instagram you can choose to search usernames, display names, bios, posts, or a combination of all four. The options vary depending on the social network.
  • Location: Use this to search for creators within a specific geographic area. For example, if you’re selling maple syrup, you might want to target only Canadians. Like a keyword search, you can narrow down your search by choosing only specific areas. Whether or not you can search by location will depend on the social network you’ve selected.
  • Hashtag: This search parameter allows you to search through specific hashtags on social media posts. You can narrow this down by the number of hashtags: zero or more, one or more, or all. You can also choose a timeframe. This can be either the last 14, 30, 90 or 180 days.
  • Username: You can search using any or all of the first three in combination or perform a username search. You can either search for a specific user or search with only part of a username.
  • Category: For Facebook and YouTube, you can also search by category.
  • Mentions: With YouTube and TikTok, you can also search for mentions. Like hashtags, you can choose the number of times a search term needs to appear for it to count: zero or more, one or more, or all. There is also an option to search the last 14, 30, 90, or 180 days.
  • Results Filter: After you have performed your search, depending on the platform you have selected, you’ll have a range of options to choose from to filter your search.
  • Search in/exclude lists: You can use this setting to exclude creators on lists that you’ve already created. Alternatively, you can use this setting to search within lists that you have already created.
  • Required accounts: This gives you the ability to find creators that work across multiple platforms. For example, if you want an influencer that has both an Instagram and a TikTok account.
  • Following: You can also narrow down your search based on the number of followers an influencer has. This is useful if you’re looking for an audience of a specific size to match a specific budget.
  • Metrics: Data is imperative for informed decision-making. Choose from: following, average engagement, average likes, average views, total likes, average comments, average shares, total views, average retweets, average peak viewers, Alexa rank, and post frequency.

When you have completed your search, you should have a list of creators.

2. Search Results

Analyzing your search results is equally as important as setting the parameters.

a screenshot of the search results for the keyword ecommerce

Search results in the Shopify Collabs Discover influencer marketing platform come with a range of important data

At the time of writing, this was a little clunky, but essentially you use a combination of three factors to sort through your results.

  • Metrics: As in the search parameters, these change depending on the platform selected but can include: following, average engagement, average likes, average views, total likes, average comments, average shares, total views, average retweets, average peak viewers, Alexa rank, and post frequency.
  • Growth: This will let you choose the time period from which you want to pull data. It’s either the last seven or the last 30 days.
  • Sort: This reorders the results based on growth, the metric you have chosen, the number of followers a creator has, or the reach a blog post gets.

Sort through the content creators and either head to their social channels to contact them directly or save them to a list for later.

Conclusion

And that’s about it! It’s not everything in the Shopify Collabs app. There are a lot more features that make adding influencer marketing to your marketing program much easier. These are, however, the basics, and it’s enough to get you set up and on the right track.

Influencers and content creators are a fantastic way to build brand awareness and boost sales. The Shopify Collabs makes this process that little bit easier and connects merchants and creators in a way that hasn’t really been done before–at least not to the extent that Shopify intends.

This is a great new app with lots of potential and coupled with a Shopify store beautifully designed using GemPages drag-and-drop editor, you can use it to boost your sales, drive conversions, and build trust in your brand.

FAQs about Shopify Collabs

Who is eligible for Shopify Collabs?

Currently, only the US and Canada, but Shopify says that more countries will be added soon.

What’s better: gifts and samples or affiliate commissions?

Whether you should offer a creator gifts or samples or affiliate commission will really depend on the content creator you are working with. When it comes to cosmetics or clothing, it’s quite common to create content that samples the product. It’s not uncommon either for content creators that do this to use an affiliate link too.