Complete Guide to Shopify Retainers (2024)

Running an online business on Shopify can be extremely rewarding, but also presents some unique challenges. You have to coordinate with designers, developers, marketers, and other specialists to keep your store running smoothly. This constant back-and-forth with multiple teams can become difficult to manage.

Retainers provide a solution to help simplify operations and focus on growing your business. With a retainer, you can partner with an agency or freelancer to handle all aspects of your Shopify store on an ongoing basis.

What are Shopify retainers? 

Retainers refer to ongoing service agreements between Shopify merchants and agencies or freelancers. With retainers, businesses pay a flat monthly fee to "retain" the services of experts to handle critical store tasks on an ongoing basis.

Rather than hiring someone for a one-time project or paying hourly fees, retainers allow you to establish long-term relationships with service providers. This ensures you have consistent, reliable support for the key areas that enable your Shopify store's success.

Common Shopify retainer services include:

  • Store design - Ongoing enhancements and updates to your store's visual design.
  • Development - Custom programming, app installation, and technical maintenance by a developer.
  • Marketing - Handling all marketing channels like SEO, PPC, email, and social media.
  • Optimization - Improving site speed, conversions, and performance metrics.

Retainers provide merchants access to any capabilities required for their business on a monthly, fixed-fee basis. Instead of juggling multiple agencies, you can have one team handle all your needs for seamless store management.

Why are retainers good for your business? 

Retainers provide several important benefits for online businesses using Shopify - 

Ready skill availability 

The very first thing that our customers love about Shopify retainers is the fact that they have access to the best of experts  whenever they need them. The need to go seeking for an expert everytime the smallest of needs arise, can be time consuming and can often cost a lot considering there could be charges for the timeline you expect. 


With a retainer, you can ensure consistent and ongoing work on key areas like design, development, and marketing. Rather than sporadic, one-off projects, you'll have a reliable partner working regularly to support your business needs. 

This leads to greater continuity in the look, feel, functionality, and promotion of your Shopify store.


Retainer relationships create efficiency in a few ways. Your retained partner will become deeply familiar with your business, goals, aesthetics, and platform over time. This means they don't have to learn and ramp up every time you launch a new project. 

Their expertise will grow through consistent exposure to your business. You'll also save time vetting, hiring, onboarding, and managing multiple agencies or freelancers.

Cost Savings

Though retainers involve an ongoing expense, they can provide better value and ROI than hiring per project. Retained partners often offer discounts given the guaranteed recurring business. 

You can also reduce costs by avoiding downtime between projects. A steady flow of enhancements will likely boost revenue growth, providing a major return on your retainer investment.

Stronger Relationships

With retainers, you'll form much deeper relationships with key partners. Regular collaboration allows you to develop trust, streamline communication, and become truly integrated into your team. 

This leads to higher quality work, proactive recommendations, and smoother project execution from people who feel invested in your business. The continuity also helps support institutional knowledge.

How do Shopify retainers work? 

Retainers provide businesses with consistent, ongoing services from skilled experts through contractual agreements. This structured approach offers reliability and predictability for both clients and service providers.


Retainer contracts outline the scope of work, deliverables, timeline, and pricing for services. Contracts may be monthly, quarterly, or annual. Shorter contracts allow for more flexibility to adjust services over time.


With retainers, service providers reserve blocks of time to dedicate to the client each week or month. The scheduled time allotment depends on the client's needs and budget. More time ensures higher priority and availability.


Pricing is based on factors like the type of service, experience level of the provider, and number of hours contracted per month. Retainers often offer discounted hourly rates since the work is guaranteed versus one-off projects.


Upfront payments are common for retainers to secure the reserved time. Invoices are sent periodically based on the timeline outlined in the contract. Additional hours above the retainer are usually billed at hourly project rates.

This structured approach provides reliability for clients to receive ongoing expertise. It also enables service providers to effectively plan and deliver proactive support.

What services should your Shopify store avail on a retainer?

There are a number of different Shopify retainers that merchants can choose. Let’s take a detailed look at some of the most common ones -

Shopify Design Retainers

A design retainer provides ongoing access to a professional Shopify web designer to help maintain and improve the look and feel of your Shopify store. With a design retainer, you get -

  • Brand identity design - Logo, typography, color palette
  • Homepage design
  • Collection page layouts
  • Product page layouts
  • Custom landing pages

The designer will work with you regularly to create new designs and iterate on existing ones to keep your brand visuals fresh and engaging. This ongoing relationship ensures design consistency and gives you access to a professional graphic designer without having to hire one full-time.

Shopify Development Retainers

A development retainer provides ongoing access to a team of Shopify developers to help build, customize, and enhance your online store. This allows you to have technical experts on call to bring your vision to life.

Some common services included in a development retainer -

  • Custom theme design and development
  • Customizing your Shopify theme code and functionality
  • Integrating your Shopify store with other software, apps, and systems
  • Building custom Shopify apps to extend store functionality
  • Programming new store features like special calculators or configurators
  • Setting up product imports and order/inventory syncing with 3PLs
  • Offering technical advice and consultations on store setup, architecture and performance
  • Providing code reviews and site audits to identify improvement opportunities
  • Managing technical issues, debugging problems and ensuring site uptime
  • Data modeling and database optimization for complex product catalogs

The key deliverables a development retainer provides is continuous access to seasoned Shopify developers, proactive enhancements to improve the customer experience, and technical support if issues arise. 

This gives you confidence your online store will be in expert hands as you scale your e-commerce business.

Shopify Marketing Retainers

Retaining a dedicated marketing team provides ongoing and strategic support to grow your Shopify store. A marketing retainer includes a wide range of services targeted to increase traffic, leads, and sales.

Services include -

  • Content Marketing: Content experts will create high-quality blog and social media content tailored for your brand and audience. This includes topic research, writing, optimizing, and promotion. The experts will provide a content calendar and manage content creation and distribution.
  • Social Media Management: They will manage your business's social media accounts, including creating content, monitoring engagement, running contests and campaigns, customer service, analytics reporting, and more.
  • SEO: Seasoned SEO specialists will optimize your website for search engines, conduct keyword research, create metadata, build backlinks, provide technical recommendations, track rankings, and supply monthly reports.
  • Paid Ads: From campaign strategy to creative design and ongoing optimization, these PPC experts will set up and manage paid advertising campaigns across platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
  • Email Marketing: The team will create email sequences, promotions, newsletters, and automations to nurture leads and increase repeat sales. Includes list building, segmentation, designing templates, writing copy, testing, and in-depth reporting.

This comprehensive support allows them to execute marketing initiatives in a more agile, targeted, and data-driven way. These experts stay up-to-date on the latest trends, technologies, and tactics. Retaining these services ensures your brand has what it takes to successfully attract, convert, and delight customers online.

Shopify Optimization Retainers

Optimization retainers focus on improving the performance and conversion rate of your Shopify store. With an optimization retainer, you get continuous optimization enhancements to keep your store running smoothly and converting visitors into customers.

Shopify Store Speed Optimization

Fast page load times are critical for providing a good user experience and boosting conversions. Speed optimizations included in a retainer may involve:

  • Image compression to reduce file sizes
  • Minification and concatenation of CSS and JavaScript files
  • Eliminating render-blocking resources
  • Optimizing web fonts
  • Lazy loading of images/videos
  • CDN for faster load times

By speeding up your site, you'll improve visitor engagement, lower bounce rates, boost SEO rankings, and increase sales.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Conversion rate optimization focuses on turning more website visitors into customers. CRO services in a retainer normally include:

  • A/B testing of page elements like calls-to-action, headlines, images, etc.
  • Cart abandonment analysis and recovery
  • Checkout process optimization
  • Improving page navigation and user flows
  • Form and field optimization
  • Testing new page layouts and designs
  • Personalization and segmentation testing

Ongoing CRO as part of a retainer will maximize your conversions and revenue from your existing traffic. You'll gain insights to continuously refine your store for higher profits.

Shopify Support Retainers

Running an online store on Shopify requires ongoing support to keep things running smoothly. Support retainers provide your business with dedicated technical support to troubleshoot issues, offer guidance, and ensure your store stays operational.

With a support retainer, you gain access to a team of experts available to assist your business on demand. Whenever an issue arises with your Shopify store, theme customizations, app integrations, or day-to-day operations, your support team is ready to help diagnose and resolve the problem.

Common services included in Shopify support retainers:

  • Technical troubleshooting - Debug issues with your store, theme, apps, integrations, etc.
  • Theme editing and customizations - Tweak your theme and make custom CSS/HTML changes.
  • App troubleshooting - Troubleshoot app conflicts, uninstall/reinstall apps, and modify app settings.
  • Shopify platform assistance - Guidance on using Shopify admin and various platform features.
  • Bug fixing - Fix unexpected errors and glitches affecting your storefront or checkout.
  • Updates and migrations - Aid with navigating major Shopify updates and platform migrations.
  • Load speed optimization - Improve site speeds and optimize images/apps.
  • Uptime monitoring - Monitor your store and proactively detect downtime issues.
  • Shopify support liaison - Contact Shopify support on your behalf for platform issues.

Support retainers provide the safety net e-commerce businesses need to keep operations running 24/7. With experts on standby for technical issues, your internal staff can focus fully on core business functions.

Ready to grow your Shopify store with a retainer?

At XgenTech, we offer flexible Shopify retainers tailored to businesses of all sizes. Our expert team can customize a package to meet your specific needs and budget.

Retainers give you reliable ongoing support and services, allowing you to focus on what matters most - growing your business. We become your trusted partner, working by your side each step of the way.

Our retainers can include any combination of services like design, development, marketing, optimization, and technical support. We'll make sure you have the right solution to reach your goals.

Interested to learn more? Contact us today to discuss your Shopify store's needs. We'll provide a complimentary assessment and recommend the ideal retainer plan. Let's build a long-term partnership to drive success for your online store.

With flexible retainers from XgenTech, you can confidently scale your Shopify business. Our dedicated team has your back. 

Reach out to get started!

More reading...

Top Shopify Apps for Vitamin and Supplement Brands (2024)
June 15, 2024

Top Shopify Apps for Vitamin and Supp...

Best Shopify Themes for Vitamin and Supplement Brands
June 08, 2024

Best Shopify Themes for Vitamin and S...

E-commerce trends for Vitamin and Supplements brands
May 28, 2024

E-commerce and Design Trends for Vita...