How Shopify Apps are Helping Reduce Development Time

How Shopify Apps are Helping Reduce Development Time

Shopify apps offer a bevy of benefits for merchants, but we developers also take our loot as they also help us save time and allow us to focus on other core operations. 

The Shopify App Store has a deluge of apps for pretty much everything a merchant might need to make their stores hit the sky and beyond. Need an effective and safe check-out page so that shoppers don’t jitter with credit card on hand? Or want Tanya to come back and buy more? Or follow-up on Jason, who abandoned his boxers in the cart? You know what they say; there is an app for that. 

Interested in dropshipping but don’t know where to start? Maybe share customer reviews on your front page for others to see how awesome people think your business is? Yes, there is an app for that too! Want to get your apartment cleaned without lifting a finger and for less than a dollar? Nope, not an app for that, but that does sound like a business idea!

In this article, we will be discussing how Shopify apps help us developers save time in delivering a world-class experience to merchants and, as a consequence, to their customers. 

Overwhelmed by so many apps? We have curated an elegant list of the top ones for you to get started. Go and check it out!

The Shopify App Ecosystem

We all know about Shopify’s developer-friendly API and how the entire ecosystem favors pretty much any store activity in the backend and frontend. On top of all this, the company has been making important updates, including the release of the new API version 2021-07

In an effort to become even more ubiquitous in the eCommerce world, Shopify is growing its relationship with developers. In 2020, apps were counted as more than 6,000, almost doubling the 3,700 from previous years. 

Not to mention that developers have found a lucrative business opportunity in app development. Take Oberlo, for example, who was on the way to making $1 mil in revenue in less than twelve months.

On average, new apps have a monthly income of $355. 

The Shopify ecosystem is considered more like a community where developers engage in events and forums where they share notes, opportunities, and integrations. So, we have brains from all over the world assembled in one place into highly functional apps. What a time to be a Shopify developer!

Key Benefits of Shopify Apps for Developers

Shopify apps have even more benefits besides the obvious time- and money-saving plus the myriad of availability. We have discussed before how apps like Klaviyo have massive benefits for merchants. As developers, we also enjoy the benefits of Shopify Apps. 

Easy to Install  

The purpose of apps is to enhance the merchant’s customer experience. Thankfully, they are easy to install. 

There are three ways to install apps in a store. 

  1. Through the Shopify App Store
  2. With a third-party install link (only applies to apps created before Dec. 5, 2019.)
  3. A custom app coded by a developer for a particular merchant’s store. 

The Shopify dashboard also offers a convenient dashboard with all installed apps and information. If installing an app is easy, uninstalling it is even easier and two clicks away. 

In addition to being installed easily, preferences can be edited, information of the app is of easy access, and you can even change the app’s proxy URL. All of this with no hassle and straight from the user’s Shopify dashboard. 

Fast Set Up and Easy to Use

As developers, we know our ways through code languages and stuff, but we still appreciate simplicity in functionality. Setting up an app does not require coding at all. The app developers, either be Shopify or a third party, have taken care of the hosting and servers. All you need to do is add names and product listings. 

Usually, entering the merchant’s pertinent information is all that is needed to get an app up and running. This is easier than setting up a WordPress site! 

You still need to do the work of uploading products, organizing inventory, create and offer discounts, coupons, etc. One more time, there is no coding at all required for that. Shopify will take care of that for the client.  

Mobile Integration

Worried that your client’s site will not run properly on mobile? Probably you have a standard operating procedure to get JavaScript, CSS, or image files optimized for an excellent mobile experience. 

There is no need to worry about that since Shopify does all that heavy lifting for you. Their platform is constantly updating to offer mobile clients a superb experience on their handhelds. It is within Shopify’s goal to continually optimize stores’ mobile responsiveness so that merchants do not miss out on this ever-growing market.   

Affordable and Cost-effective

Thanks to the competitive prices of apps, developers can bring costs down for clients, which makes the offer more attractive. Startups and entrepreneurs are always looking for entry-level expenses to maximize their profits. 

Not only are Shopify apps affordable, but the invoicing is very convenient for the merchant. Most paid apps in Shopify work with a monthly subscription. We particularly like this model as it guarantees that the app will stay up-to-date all the time. 

This model and offer are very convenient and worth the investment every time. As developers, we do not need to worry about coding to keep the app running the way it should. If an issue were to arise, we just need to get in touch with the app developer, bound by the monthly fee, to solve the problem. 

Easier to Create Beautiful Online Stores

Only developers know how satisfying it is to see all that painstaking code turn into a beautiful visual website. It pays off to see things running the way they should, especially if it happens on the first execution (does it ever, really?).

Shopify has developed themes and apps with highly customizable settings that you can tweak around without using code. This is a huge time-saver, and the end result is still gorgeous. The visuals provided by some Shopify apps are professional and remarkably appealing. 

You can easily edit prices, descriptions, size images, and titles, all at the click of one or two buttons. 

SEO & Marketing Tools

Search engine optimization is an essential aspect of online stores that we want to incorporate into our offer. It is critical for the store to be found by shoppers. 

Shopify provides the tools to build landing pages for store or product campaigns. You can also easily customize title tags and meta tags to improve SEO. 

Customer Support

Shopify’s customer support is altogether helpful and willing to help with whatever issue you might have. However, this assistance is provided for apps created by them. Most of the apps are from third-party companies. 

Customer support for these apps is still impeccable and overall friendly. When installing their apps, make sure you know if there is a schedule or if CS is 24/7. 

Moreover, Shopify and these third-party apps have created videos that take you through the core processes, including installation. 

Things That you Should Still be Looking at

We have seen how Shopify apps are convenient and save you time as a programmer and to the merchant. However, this does not mean that there are no kinks to iron out. It is not only about installing apps one after the other and just let it be.  

On the road, we have found that many merchants make honest mistakes along the way or are unsure of some things. Hence, we stress the need for a Shopify expert to help place and keep all the ducks in a row. 

These are some things that developers should be looking at when installing Shopify apps to make their job easier:

Store compatibility

Not all apps are built to work across all stores. Figuring out compatible apps in the App Store is easy. You just need to filter “See only compatible apps.” Not all the apps will work properly with specific themes, so it’s necessary to check that box. It is the developer’s job to set installation requirements for their apps. 

If you are trying to install a custom or a private app, make sure you run tests to check for site compatibility. In some cases, when the merchant wants an incompatible app installed, you can make changes to the store to meet those requirements. Thankfully, you will get what store settings are incompatible with your store. 

A compatible app may become incompatible after some time. The merchant will receive a notification with the list of store settings no longer compatible with their store. This is a bit in which you will need to make the necessary adjustments to the store or find an alternative app. 

App Integrations

Shopify apps integration

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

As developers and consultants, we usually get inquiries about app integration or make this app deep-link with this other. Your client will look for your advice because they trust your good judgment and experience. 

All the apps are cloud-ready, making them portable, intelligently designed, and easy to sync across devices. But what about making these apps work together?

Essentially, your job as a developer is to integrate these apps by bringing the data from one app to another. This will enable the apps to run smoothly with each other without having to place the merchant as a middleman. Talk about saving time and money! Not to mention that it reduces errors from data duplicates.  

Not to install Duplicate apps

Sometimes clients get excited at all the possibilities their stores will get with so many apps. But, unfortunately, this makes them risk installing two or more apps that essentially perform the same functions. As Shopify consultants, we should know what the client wants their store to look like and search for the best option. 

Sometimes you find two apps that offer function A and another that does function B. Then, later, you find one that does both A & B under the same app. This latter is a better option than installing two apps that will weigh down the website. 

We should always make sure to install the app that performs the best and has better reviews. 

Many merchants get a bid edgy about testing apps through installing and uninstalling. Furthermore, they should not be wasting time doing this kind of stuff and instead do what they do best: sell. 

We should not worry about these things as they are necessary. You should be testing apps on the store to provide the merchant with the most operational and convenient option. 

Customization

A great way to optimize for a particular eCommerce store is to customize an installed app. Merchants can change settings to make things look more fluent, but sometimes some high-quality coding might be required, and this is where we come in. There is a difference between coding from scratch and making adjustments to make frames match, for example.

Study the Cost/Benefit Tradeoff

Merchants must look at the ROI of an app against a monthly subscription. Is it a good value for money? Developers should evaluate if the overall cost of the app is financially more convenient than creating one.  

In Conclusion

Shopify apps are an essential part of the entire Shopify website as they add functionality to online stores and help merchants create highly productive and efficient platforms. Developers and store builders find them convenient as they significantly reduce developing time. 

This does not mean, however, that the job stops at installing and setting up. There is still work to be done to keep the apps running together without weighing down the website and negatively impacting the page experience. 

Contra Collective is a team of dedicated developers, programmers, and Shopify experts, ready to give you as a merchant the peace of mind of a fully operational and optimized store. Take care of what is more important to you, and we will take care of the backend, making sure it all runs like clockwork. We win if you win, and we are one message away. 

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Contact us today, and let’s talk about your eCommerce dreams. We’ll make them real. 

Are you a developer who has found the good graces of Shopify apps to help you save time and focus on more critical stuff? We hear you and encourage you to keep up the great work and efforts!

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