TL;DR: Providing unique value, intuitive user onboarding, robust analytics, friendly support, and top-notch performance is key in creating a good Shopify app.
The Shopify app store is a crowded space, and it can be overwhelming for developers looking to break into the space. Whether you’re building your first Shopify app, or your 50th, here are four ways to help you exceed user expectations.
There are more than 8,000 Shopify apps on the market, so you need to be able to stand out from the crowd. Your app should offer a clear and unique value to merchants. Look into some of the emerging trends in the ecommerce space, and think of how you can integrate those into your app.
Omnichannel shopping, for example, is about helping merchants create engaging buyer experiences that go beyond their Shopify store, by featuring their products on mobile apps, social media, and physical stores. If you’re able to make it easier for them to hop on this trend, your app may bring that extra value they’re looking for.
If you’re building an app that competes with an existing solution, make sure you’re taking into account some of the gaps that may be present in the existing market, and prioritize addressing those features in your own app. For example, the founder of UPEZ.io was frustrated with the existing upsell apps available to merchants, because they lacked the flexibility and control he needed over the cart, and smaller brands had limited access to these solutions. As a result, he built UPEZ.
The onboarding process can have a massive impact on a user's first impression of your app, and churn can start from the moment they install. Make sure your onboarding is easy to understand and delivers on your value quickly.
Offering something like a guided tour or tutorial when users first access your app will help to highlight key features, demonstrate how to use them, and encourage them to explore more. For public apps, you’re also able to offer a free trial, or show off your app on a demo store. Try to tailor the onboarding process to highlight how your app addresses the specific challenges your app will solve. Ask questions or collect user data to customize the experience, so you can improve over time.
A Shopify app that is slow or prone to crashes won't win over users, and reviewers won’t keep it a secret. To keep users happy, you’ll want to make sure your app is optimized from the ground up. Develop clean, optimized code that doesn't put strain on a store's resources. Shopify has requirements for submitting your app to the app store, but that’s only for public apps, and they can’t catch every mistake. Inefficient code can lead to performance issues and negatively impact the user experience.
Make sure to thoroughly test your app to identify and resolve any bugs or glitches. It’s important to scale your testing efforts to simulate an increase in traffic so that when the time comes, you’re ready to handle it. Make sure you have a QA and bug fix process and a release procedure in place so you’re able to scale your app as your user base grows, without sacrificing on performance.
If you want to offload some of the maintenance for your app, Gadget’s full-stack platform will auto-scale your Shopify app, keeping everything from your database, to your API, to your frontend performant and running smoothly.
Data is invaluable to Shopify store owners looking to make informed decisions and optimize their operations. Including analytics and reporting features in your app can set you apart from the competition. Data on how your app has impacted conversions gives users a clear picture on their store's performance, and shows the direct value your app is adding.
Metrics like sales, website traffic, and conversion rates are highly valuable for store owners to see. If you’re able to generate custom reports and dashboards for users tailored to their specific KPIs, it’s easy to show the value of your app over time. Be sure to use data visualization tools like charts and graphs, like Polaris Viz for example, to make it easier to understand the impact.
Your app's success isn't solely based on its features. Equally important is the level of support you provide to users. Exceptional customer support can help set you apart from some of the bigger apps on the market. Users want to be heard, so if you’re able to promise responsive support and address user inquiries and issues in a timely manner, you have a better chance at creating loyal users.
Documentation is also an important part of any support strategy. By creating detailed, user-friendly documentation with step-by-step guides, FAQs, and troubleshooting solutions, you’re able to help your users solve common problems independently. As an added bonus, you won’t have to offer as much personal support.
And don’t forget – reviews are everything in the Shopify app store. When you go the extra mile to provide good support for your users, don’t be afraid to ask for a review of your app — once their issue is resolved, of course.
Creating a Shopify app that users will love involves more than just features and functionality. It's about providing unique value, ensuring a seamless user onboarding experience, maintaining high performance and reliability, and engaging with your user base effectively. By prioritizing these key elements in your app development process, you'll be well on your way to building a successful and user-centric Shopify app that can make a lasting impact in the e-commerce landscape.
If you’re looking for more tips and insight into best practices, you can connect with a community of Shopify app developers over on our Discord.