Understanding Shopify & the Shopify App Store
As both consumers and businesses increasingly turn to online shopping, e-commerce platforms like Shopify have become an essential channel for merchants to reach their target clients. As of July 2019, 820,000+ site owners (merchants) are using Shopify’s platform to sell their products; that’s more than double the roughly 400,000 merchants that were leveraging Shopify at this point in 2017 (1). And given that a consistently growing number (now 51%) of U.S.-based shoppers prefer to buy online (2), the relevancy and appeal of platforms like Shopify continues to grow.
Note: The above stats represent the latest available metrics regarding Shopify’s e-commerce platform and app store as of July 2019
Although Shopify’s core e-commerce platform offers a full suite of functionality, there are a variety of apps available as plug-ins that can be used to enhance site owners’ pages. These apps can perform all manner of functions from running sales promotions and developing marketing campaigns to tracking and managing online orders. As of June 2019, there are over 2,500 apps available via Shopify, 34% of which are free and 66% that require a paid subscription (3). Since their app store was first introduced, there have been almost 26 million unique downloads. Today, over 80% of all Shopify store owners have downloaded at least one app (4).
Although Shopify allows you to browse their app store categorically, sifting through thousands of apps to determine the best fit for your business is probably not the most effective use of your time. So to help you cut through the maze of offerings, we’ve highlighted what we believe are 11 of the most useful apps available on Shopify’s store. The categories we focus on include Marketing, Sales & Conversion, Inventory / Order Management, and Customer Support.
- Privy Exit Pop Ups & Email. Privy is a subscription-based app that provides exit pop-ups, flyers, banners, and bars that promote various aspects of your company directly within your site while shoppers browse. It also allows you to build your own targeted email lists to engage with shoppers. Used by 200,000+ businesses, this is a great app for email automation and cart abandonment management.
- Conversio Marketing Automation. The Conversio app (also subscription-based) provides automated email campaigns to deliver across your Shopify contact base. The tool is essentially a Mailchimp alternative and offers a large library of email templates that include welcome, cart abandonment, and follow-up workflows. The app can also deliver triggers and actions based on user activity so you can more easily monitor and respond to customer engagement across your site.
- Free Shipping Bar by Hextom. This app displays your free shipping info in a bar that extends down from the top of your Shopify site page. This enables you to highlight the various shipping promotions you are running as a way to entice customers to buy your products. You can view an example of what this looks like here. Hextom currently costs $9.99 per month, or $99 for an annual subscription.
- SEO Image Optimizer. According to SEO analysts from Moz, 27% of online searches today come through Google Images (5). This means that the better you get at tagging the images on your site, the more views your website and products will receive. With this in mind, the SEO Optimizer is a free tool for improving your SEO search ranking on Google Images. SEO Optimizer has processed 1.4+ billion images to date and is used by over 153,000 Shopify stores.
Sales & Conversion
- Recart FB Messenger Marketing. This is a must-have app if you maintain a strong presence on Facebook. This app essentially enables you to automate Facebook Messenger conversations with your customers and followers. Because of the significantly higher engagement rates on Facebook’s messenger app compared to email, this solution is gaining widespread popularity and has a 4.8 rating after 5500+ customer reviews. To date, the functionality costs around $30 per month after a 4-week free trial.
- Loox Photo Reviews. According to analysts from Baidu and building off Moz’s research, voice and image-based searches will account for over 50% of all web-based queries by 2020 (6). Customers are also proven to trust reviews and images posted by customers much more than direct marketing or sales promotions. With these factors in mind, the Loox Photo Review app allows users to import customer photos and reviews from various sites directly onto their platform. This allows you to showcase the appeal of your product firsthand through non-biased sources. Loox costs $10 per month after a 14-day free trial.
- McAfee SECURE. While security apps might seem a strange entry in the sales category, hear me out. As surges in data breaches and hacking / phishing schemes create a climate of fear among online shoppers, buyers are wary of sites or pages that are not secure. This is especially true if they’re expected to enter payment information or other sensitive data into online forms. To avoid missing sales due to security concerns, downloading McAfee and prominently displaying the McAfee SECURE badge on your site can go a long way in earning your customers’ trust. McAfee offers both a free and subscription-based app.
Inventory Management, Orders & Shipping
- Modalyst. Modalyst is one of the top dropshipping providers on Shopify, particularly for international orders. To date, they maintain a 4.3 rating after 632 reviews. One of the main advantages of Modalyst is their large catalog of products, which include private / white label, luxury, handmade, and high margin items. Many of the private and white label products can be sent to your customer with your own branding, packaging, and tags, and they have a list of fully-vetted suppliers from the US, Australia, EU, and Canada to choose from. The free version of Modalyst allows Shopify merchants to add up to 25 products to their store, but there are paid versions that allow for expanded usage.
- Arka. Arka is a newer and less widely known app, but is still one of our favorites on Shopify for several reasons. It comes free, is easy to install, and provides complete flexibility tIn an age where businesses are doing anything they can to stand out from their competitors, Arka provides store owners with a unique opportunity to use branded packaging to create a memorable buyer experience.
- AfterShip Tracking / Returns Center. This app enables Shopify stores to automate the customer return process for buyers that are unhappy with their purchase or that receive defective products. The app allows customers to submit returns directly via your site without having to email customer support, and also sends automated notifications regarding the status of outstanding claims. AfterShip has 4.7 stars after nearly 1,000 reviews. Aftership offers a free trial, along with 4-5 subscription-based packages.
- Tidio Live Chat. Tidio’s chat app enables customers to submit questions or comments about your site or products directly to you, either via phone or desktop. The auto-chat bot feature also enables automated customer interactions regarding product availability, delivery statuses, and ETAs when you aren’t available. Tidio can also integrate with email and Facebook messenger so that customer inquiries received across all your support channels are aggregated into a single app. Tidio offers a free plan, along with several subscription options.
While the above list represents a selection of our favorite Shopify apps, it is encouraged that you do some additional homework before installing. Aside from evaluating their cost and function, the apps you incorporate to your site should be adaptive and readable on multiple devices including laptops, PCs, tablets, and mobile phones. They should also have verified security, be easy to install, and should not require heavy technical manipulation. But most importantly, they should allow you to run your site and interact with customers in a more effective fashion. For more information regarding the above insights, reach out to Ware2Go!
1 – https://www.shopifyandyou.com/blogs/news/statistics-about-shopify
2 – https://pagely.com/blog/top-ecommerce-platforms-2018-compared/
3 – https://blog.asoft.co/shopify-app-store-analysis-c8d9aab85ba7
4 – https://blog.asoft.co/shopify-app-store-analysis-c8d9aab85ba7
5 – https://moz.com/blog/state-of-searcher-behavior-revealed
6 – https://www.vox.com/2016/6/1/11829844/mary-meeker-voice-image-searches-2020