Advice for Using Third-Party Apps in Shopify
5 things retailers should consider, and 5 apps that can add value.
Third-party apps are a (relatively) quick, convenient way to add features to your Shopify retail site, and they’re often (though not always) a cheaper option than a custom build.
However, sometimes a retailer will add a third-party app to their store before looking at the bigger picture. Consider these 5 things before integrating an app:
- How does it scale?
- How does it integrate with your development environment?
- Wait … does it even integrate with your development environment?
- Does it integrate with your fulfillment or inventory management system?
- How quickly can you get help from the makers of the app? Check the service level agreements and check the ratings on the Shopify App Store.
In other words, when you choose an app, does it fit into your overall growth roadmap, and does it really reconcile with your sales and marketing projections? Or, are you just fulfilling a need for the moment that won’t scale two years (or two months) down the line?
Shopify’s app store offers many easy-to-integrate tools that can evolve your site quickly. We’ve had good experiences with these, and we’re happy to answer your questions about the results we’ve seen.
Free Shipping Bar
Displays a customizable banner at the top or bottom of the page to promote sales or special offers or free shipping. You can adjust offers based on country, time of day, type of device, or distinct pages.
Great for integrating shoppable Instagram galleries into your site. Really easy to set up and use. It basically integrates with Instagram and allows you to sell products. You can put a carousel with all your Instagram posts, tag your products from your site, create a direct link for purchasing. It comes with a basic theme, but is also quite easy to style with your brand elements. In a short time it can look high-end.
G:Form Builder – Contact Form
Building a form from scratch can be a slog, eating up a lot of development time. With this app you can create your own forms and customize the style, and it integrates nicely with marketing platforms like Klaviyo. The app also sends an email to the user after they submit their info.
Lucky Orange Heatmaps and Replay
This optimization tool has been extremely useful for us. You can observe behaviors on your site to see what’s working, what’s not, how people move through your experience, etc. If a user reported an issue, or we found one, we could play back their session and (hopefully) see what happened. Also offers a live view.
Ok, technically not an app. But … Shopify’s style guide (and React library) basically gives your Shopify Admin GUI elements to use in your app so it has more Shopify-like feel. It’s straightforward, comprehensive, and an essential rulebook (even if you’re breaking the rules) for designers and developers.