This is a few questions all wrapped into one purpose. To give some background, I'm looking to create some subdomains with re-brainding (headers and such within a child theme). I want to have these subdomains basically be able to feature my main domain's store, just with that different branding in its own contained theme. Is that possible? If so, how do you implement this?
My name is Lilith, I'm on the Social Care team at Shopify.
The short answer is yes, this can be done. The longer answer is that it requires a few more steps and a few accounts to achieve this.
I'd love to get some more details on what the key differences of your stores would be. There could be several different ways to go about doing this, but each solution will cater to different needs or industries.
As a very general answer here are some of the basics you'll need:
In order for different subdomains to point to different sites (even if you're serving the same content), you'll need to create the different versions in different accounts.
Shopify accounts are limited to one site version per account.
If your accounts are all the same except for currency, for example, you can contact us to take a look at how we can best help you with your accounts on this.
Our guide on How to Expand Your Shopify Store to Multiple Countries also has an example of how this would work even if your goal isn't about expanding to other countries. This would be the same for most cases.
Your "main" or rather, the root domain will need to be hosted on a 3rd party host.
The reason for this is that if you have a domain that is hosted on our platform (purchased on Shopify) then you can't point it to a different Shopify site account that you own.
If you host your domain on a host like GoDaddy, you can point your domain to Shopify and connect it to any store you own easily.
We have a lot more information on the technical aspects of domains in our Help Center guides.
After you've created unique CNAMEs in your 3rd party host's DNS settings you can connect your subdomain to one of your accounts.
This would make your new version of your site point to that exact subdomain. For example, if you had a root domain of
thisismystore.com and you created a new account that will hold your second version of your site, you'll create a new subdomain for example
other.thisismystore.com. You can then connect this subdomain to your second store account.
If you do need a bit of help to set things all up, I highly recommend hiring one of our partners to help you with this. You can find a suitable Shopify Partner in the Experts Marketplace or request a quote by following this guide here.
Let me know how you do with the information above! I'm happy to answer any questions you think of as you work on your business.
Thank you for weighing in on that. Fortunately, we do have our site already hosted on GoDaddy, so that shouldn't be an issue setting the root domain properly. However, can we mirror our store in the subsequent subdomains? Does this mean we will need to purchase an additional Shopify plan for each subdomain subsequently, along with a theme? We just need each domain to be a singular landing page and no added functionality other than sharing our Shopify store within different branding for our various tour operators.
That's correct. You'll need separate accounts (separate plans) and duplicated themes (purchase new licenses if needed).
At the moment there isn't another way to do this as this is a rare request. That said, I do recommend keeping an eye on any announcements or new features released in the future in case something that can help achieve this gets launched down the road.
Thanks for that Lilith. I did find these instructions here for wholesale subdomains: https://help.shopify.com/en/manual/sell-online/wholesale/channel/wholesale-settings/domains#:~:text=....
Would the same still apply, separate accounts with separate themes in order to flesh these out?
These are great instructions, but work best for one store with a wholesale channel. The wholesale channel is accessible to Plus merchants on the enterprise level. However, the instructions would be useful to help guide you if you add a future wholesale channel.
These won't work for the separate sites with different design (branding) though. I'd still check in with an Expert to build out the format you'd like and possibly code in different layouts if needed, but this would be a much more complex build that our tutorials may not fully cover.
I appreciate it. At this juncture, would it be possible to seamlessly transfer our site over to a wholesale channel? Or would we have to rebuild from the ground up? Would this require us to repurchase the current apps we use, along with a new license?
Are there any third parties you'd recommend that may be able to help out with this implementation otherwise if we remain a standard retailer in Shopify?
Excellent questions! If you were to upgrade to Plus this would mean we'd need to qualify your business for that enterprise plan.
You wouldn't have to build from the ground up when upgrading plans for the most part, you'd just get the upgraded features and functions to use and help with your store. This means you'd also still have the apps you already installed since it's on your same account.
That said, I do think that you can speak with some of the 3rd party partners that are well versed in the Experts Marketplace. They'd be a great resource to tap into as there have been some pretty incredible projects that they've completed for many merchants before.
Keep asking questions in the forums as well, we do have tons of merchants and partners that can help provide some insight on how they might be doing this as well.