Selling your products whole on Shopify using Handshake

Learn how to sell products wholesale using Shopify's wholesale marketplace, Handshake.

If you’re a DTC seller looking to break into the wholesale market, Shopify Handshake is the perfect platform for you! With Handshake, you can easily connect with qualified wholesalers and get your products into the hands of more buyers. In this article, we’ll introduce you to Handshake and show you how it can help you take your business to the next level.

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What is Shopify Handshake?

Shopify Handshake is a B2B wholesale marketplace that connects DTC manufacturers (known as “brands”) with qualified retailers. With Shopify Handshake, you can easily find and connect with potential wholesale partners, view their contact information, and place orders directly on the platform.

Shopify Handshake offers a wide range of features to help streamline your wholesale business, including order management, inventory management, and payments. With over 65,000 retailers now using the platform, it’s a great opportunity for small manufacturers that are looking to expand their online customer base outside of their current ecommerce retail channels.

It was created by two Shopify employees, Kendall Denosky and Sarah Kauss and was first launched in October 2021. It is currently available to Shopify merchants in the US only, however they have plans to expand internationally.

One of the best features of Shopify Handshake is that it is committed to be “fee free”. This means you keep all revenue you make from each and every sale on the platform.

What does Shopify Handshake offer retailers?

Shopify offers retailers a number of perks to encourage them to place orders using their wholesale platform including:

  • Free shipping on all first (“opening”) orders
  • Free shipping on all orders if the first order is over $100 USD
  • Low / no minimum orders
  • No fees (to ensure that wholesale prices remain low and genuine)

In addition, Shopify Handshake offers support from a team of experts who can help merchants navigate the program and find the best partners for their business. The launch of Shopify Handshake is part of Shopify’s overall mission to democratize commerce and make it easy for anyone to start and grow a business.

Best of all, there are no fees for creating a Shopify Handshake profile or listing your products on the marketplace, so it’s a great way to test the waters on selling your handmade products wholesale.

So, if you’re new to Shopify Handshake or are simply looking for some tips on how to sell your products successfully on the platform, then read on. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide that covers everything from setting up your shop to promoting your products.

How do I join Shopify Handshake?

The first step to selling your products on Shopify Handshake is to set up your shop. If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to create a Shopify account and then install the Handshake sales channel in your Shopify admin.

Before you do so, you’ll want to make sure that you meet the Handshake eligibility requirements as this channel will only be available to you if you are eligible. These are as follows:

  • You are a business based in the US
  • Your store currency is USD
  • You need to have made at least $1000 USD in sales, for all time
  • You need at least 1 published product in an eligible category
  • Your store has a shipping rate with a United States shipping zone
  • Your store has a direct payment gateway enabled
  • Own your brand (i.e., you are not a reseller of products you don’t make)
  • Your images need to comply with the Shopify Handshake photography guidelines
  • Your products comply with one of the categories currently available on the Handshake marketplace

How do I apply for Shopify Handshake?

Once you have discovered if you are eligible for Handshake, you’ll want to follow these instructions to apply:

  1. Go to the Handshake for Suppliers page in the Shopify App Store
  2. Click Add App
  3. Click Add Sales Channel
  4. Check the checkbox that appears: By applying to Handshake, I confirm I am not a reseller, and I’ve read and agree to Shopify’s Privacy Policy and Handshake’s Terms of Service
  5. Click Continue

From here, a member of the Shopify Handshake team will review your application and will also take a look at your Shopify store to ensure you are eligible and that you make products suitable for the marketplace.

If successful, Shopify will then get in touch to let you know and you can then begin to set up your supplier profile. This application process is currently taking approximately 10-14 days.

What categories are available on the Shopify Handshake Marketplace?

Currently there are 5 available product categories on the Handshake marketplace. They are:

  • Apparel & Footwear
  • Beauty & Wellness
  • Home & Living
  • Jewelry
  • Kids & Baby

Selling on Shopify Handshake

As with a regular Shopify store, you’ll have complete control over listing your products including descriptions, pricing and stock availability.

Retailers will be able to search and discover your product range and will be able to place an order directly in the Shopify system for stock. These orders will appear as an order in the same manner as your direct-to-customer sales, so there are no new systems to learn or integrate for existing Shopify users.

For Craftybase Inventory users, Handshake orders and products will import as part of your existing daily updates and included in your real-time stock tracking as per direct-to-consumer Shopify sales.

Promoting your products on Shopify Handshake

As with most online marketplaces, Shopify Handshake will do much of the task of promoting you on the platform - they are investing lots of time and energy into providing smart ways to connect brands with retailers that are looking for similar products.

Retailers will expect a higher standard on the Handshake platform, so to make your conversion to sale a success, it’s worth spending time to make sure that your listing copy is convincing and detailed.

It’s also important to note that the photos you use on platforms like Etsy and WooCommerce (B2C) are unlikely to work as well for B2B sales. Why? The key difference is the motivations between the two buyers.

For DTC sales, you need to appeal emotionally to your buyer by providing images that in some way portrays how their lives will change or improve once they have purchased your product. For B2B sales, you’ll want to focus more on the key characteristics of the product you have made: dimensions, colors and textures.

Taking high resolution, white background images with only the product displayed is usually the best option. Try to laying your product out flat (a “flat lay” in industry parlance) or on a dummy model and ensure that you don’t have any obstructions or distractions in the image.

Whilst it can be a significant outlay, professional photography for wholesale can really make a difference to your sales.

Nicole Pascoe Nicole Pascoe - Profile

Written by Nicole Pascoe

Nicole is the co-founder of Craftybase, inventory and manufacturing software designed for small manufacturers. She has been working with, and writing articles for, small manufacturing businesses for the last 12 years. Her passion is to help makers to become more successful with their online endeavors by empowering them with the knowledge they need to take their business to the next level.