Shopify has everything a merchant needs to get their store up and running straight away. That includes an app store full of apps with various functionalities, which merchants can install on the platform to help meet their business’ needs. However, some merchants have unique requirements, which is why they might consider custom Shopify app development.
The roles an app can perform are endless and ever-growing. Shopify apps give merchants the option to add functions, connect to outside resources and processes, and achieve certain tasks. They add a level of customization beyond the stock standard basics that come with each theme. According to Shopify, the average merchant has six apps installed on their store – demonstrating the importance of apps to merchant success.
Before getting an app developed especially for your store, check whether there’s an existing app that fulfills your requirements. This will save time and money and be more convenient. It’s important to curate these apps before settling on one. See whether the app you’re interested in has positive reviews. Look at the app developer’s site to get an idea of their experience and professionalism and the amount of support you’re likely to receive from them.
ShopCreatify founder and CEO Ross Allchorn provided this basic overview of the different types of apps that are available on Shopify and how custom apps compare.
Simple apps can be installed with a few clicks and usually in 15 minutes or less. They require minimal or no manual changes to the theme’s code and do not pose a significant threat of altering any existing part of the site.
Substantial apps are able to do really heavy lifting and can form a core piece of functionality for the merchant’s online business. The implementation of a substantial app needs to be approached similarly to a customization.
Custom Shopify apps are a true software development project. As with store customization, a “needs and viability” assessment should be done, as well as planning and scoping, design, development, testing, and deployment. A custom app will need to be updated and maintained by the developer. Make sure you know what the ongoing commitments will be if you decide to get a custom app designed for your store.
Once you’ve determined that the app store doesn’t have what you require, then it’s time to consider getting a Shopify app created specifically for your needs.
A software developer will scope the project so that they can provide an estimation of time and cost for the build. As part of this discovery process, the developer will make sure they have a good understanding of your business and its goals, who your target audience is, as well as what you need the custom app to achieve. They will work out what the best way to build the app would be, how it should look, and how it will function both on the front end and the back end.
Bear in mind that developing a custom Shopify app can be quite expensive and that the price will depend on how complex the app is. Remember to discuss with your developer what type of ongoing support you’re likely to need from them once the app is built. Most apps will need upgrades at some point and some form of maintenance as Shopify changes.
Installing apps, especially several of them or particularly complicated ones, could result in coding clashes or have other unexpected side effects. You will need your developer on hand to help prevent this if possible, and to try solving any problems that do occur.
ShopCreatify is no stranger to developing custom Shopify apps that are robust, easy for customers and merchants to use, highly functional, and built using best practices. Here’s an overview of some of the apps we’ve developed for our client.
For Grip6, we built a multipack app which their customers can use to bundle three separate products together and get a discount.
We developed this so that our client can control how the app is used. They can edit, delete, and name things. They can change how many items can be loaded, add their own graphics, reorder items and upload other merchandising elements.
We’ve built two custom Shopify apps for Foldabox, a store for high-quality gift boxes. The first app checks when products are out of stock and allows our client to create a custom pop-up message stating when the product will be back in stock (based on her production schedule).
The second app (above) allows customers to order custom printed boxes and shows them how much discount they’ve earned based on their order size. On the back end, the app allows the Foldabox team to manage the printing side of their business. They can see how many printing enquiries were completed or semi-completed.
To sum it all up, you’re not limited to what’s in Shopify’s app store. If you didn’t find the app you were looking for, get in touch with us so that we can build something that ticks all your boxes.
Masthead Photo by Laura Ockel
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