Custom App Development

Shopify App Development Services – Things to Know Before You Start

Maha Yaser 21-Aug-2023
Shopify App Development Services – Things to Know Before You Start

Shopify app development services have been extremely popular over the years. In fact, from just 900 apps in 2015, the platform reported 7,000 apps by Q1 2021. And in 2023, the number crossed 8,000.

What is Shopify App Development?

Leveraging Shopify app development services enables you to create web applications that can be integrated into the Shopify e-commerce platform.

These, in turn, help businesses meet specific requirements or provide unique functionality that extend the platform’s capabilities.

Shopify app development can further enhance user experience for both store owners and customers.

This might involve streamlining the checkout process, optimizing product search and discovery, or simplifying inventory management.

Another reason to choose Shopify app development services is integration with third-party services and platforms.

For example, your app may connect a Shopify store to a shipping and fulfillment service or an email marketing tool.’

In case you’re wondering, Shopify apps can be developed using various programming languages such as JavaScript and PHP. That said, Ruby on Rails is more commonly used as Shopify’s core is built using this language.

Once developed, the apps can go on the Shopify App Store, making them accessible to thousands of Shopify merchants. This marketplace allows businesses to discover and install apps that meet their specific needs.

Types of Shopify Apps You Can Create

Shopify app development services can create two types of apps with different levels of accessibility – public and custom apps.

Shopify Public Apps

A Shopify public app aims to extend the functionality of the Shopify e-commerce platform. It can be made available to the general public through the Shopify App Store.

Other things you should know about this app type are –

  • Shopify public apps are accessible to any Shopify merchant who wishes to install and use them. They’re not limited to a specific store or business, making them available to a broad audience.
  • The apps are submitted to the Shopify App store. Once approved, they’re listed in the App Store for merchants to discover and install.
  • If you’re an appreneur, you can monetize your creation through pricing models like subscription fees, one-time payments, or revenue-sharing agreements.

Shopify Custom Apps

The other type of app you can have Shopify app development services create is a custom app.

Also known as private apps, Shopify custom apps are developed specifically for a single Shopify store or a specific group of stores.

They’re a way for businesses to leverage the flexibility of the Shopify platform and create bespoke solutions to optimize their e-commerce operations.

So, as you probably guessed, these apps are tailored to the unique needs and requirements of a store or business.

They’re also not publicly available on the Shopify App Store, so there are no records of them on there.

Another important fact to know is that the responsibility of maintenance and support falls on the developers or development team that created the app.

Draft Apps

Shopify app development services can help create a draft app, i.e. an app to be used during development for testing purposes.

This type of Shopify app can only be installed on development stores for testing purposes though. Otherwise, you risk disabling store transfer permanently.

You can install a draft app, however, after Shopify review or after converting it into a custom app.

Should You Really Create a Shopify App?

Considering how long Shopify apps have been around, you may think there’s an app already for what you have in mind. In that case, what’s the value of Shopify app development services?

However, there’s always an opening for fresh ideas, especially great ones. What you should do first though is validate your idea.

For that, Shopify experts recommend that you answer three important questions –

  1. Can the app you wish to develop solve a real problem?
  2. What ways is my target market currently using to solve this problem?
  3. Can this app actually be built?

Can the app you wish to develop solve a real problem?

A ‘real problem’ is an issue that’s costing merchants time, money, and effort to solve. If you’re creating the app for your store, you’ll need to ask other stakeholders such as your staff for input.

On the other hand, if you’re using Shopify app development services as an appreneur, go to the source. Check forums and social media groups to learn about what frustrates merchants.

Whichever scenario you fit in, pinpoint current solutions you/merchants have been using. Also, determine what challenges may arise with the new app in place.

In addition, don’t forget to carry out your market research. This allows you to cover all bases and validate your app idea.

What ways is my target market currently using to solve this problem?

The only one who can answer this question is you or Shopify merchants.

In your case, dig deep down to find out whether you need the app and define its purpose. You can leverage groups and forums to connect with merchants and ask them the same.

As you ask questions, make sure to formulate what may constitute a solution.

You may also want to touch base with as many merchants as possible to determine if your app can serve them too. That is, if you wish to publish a public app.

Can this app actually be built?

With all the data you have in hand, it’s time to start the development process. If you have the expertise and time to build it, all you need to do is set a realistic timeline and start the work.

Considering how some apps may take a year to build for a one-person team, your best bet is hiring a Shopify app development services provider.

This will give you the edge you need to deliver the app quickly and ensure your success.

How to Get the Most from Shopify App Development Services

Before starting your hunt for Shopify app development services, there’s still one more thing you should know: how to get the most value from these services.

So, here are some tips to help you achieve this aspect.

Hire a Team that Comes with a Talented UI/UX Expert

When contacting Shopify app development services, make sure to ask questions about their UX and UI expertise.

That’s because design will help you adhere to Shopify’s values as well as ensure the happiness of your customers and high retention rates.

Another option is to choose a team that can utilize Polaris, Shopify’s open source design system for designing and building apps. Especially if you’re creating a public app since the platform allows you to leverage common conventions.

Whichever direction you decide on, just make sure to keep your design functional and beautiful.

Also, opt for clear texts and plain language for your copy. And, finally, ensure universal design and inclusivity practices are incorporated.

Create Apps with Shopify Experience Values in Mind

Shopify has specific experience values that extend even to third-party apps and themes –

  • Considerate, which means being thoughtful about how users access the app and implementing features such as accessibility needs or multi-language support
  • Empowering, allowing users to access additional features they may need without unnecessary complexity
  • Crafted, which means your Shopify app development services should ensure great design and functionality for great user experience
  • Efficient, enabling users to complete actions accurately and quickly
  • Trustworthy, which means being transparent about the app’s capabilities and assuring users that developers are acting in their best interests
  • Familiar, by giving people familiar UI/UX patterns that make them feel comfortable using your app

Discuss Security with Your Chosen Shopify App Development Services

Security is vital for building a successful Shopify app. Not only can it prevent data breaches, but it can also build trust with users.

One aspect that you must especially prioritize is the safety of personally identifiable information (PII). After all, merchants and customers will be sharing this information with you. So, you can’t afford to neglect this while planning security aspects.

You also need to carry out regular security checks and maintenance to minimize risks to users and infrastructure.

So, post launch, make sure to manage open ports, review access permission for cloud-based storage, etc.

Prioritize High Performance (i.e. Speed)

To ensure your success, your app needs to match the store’s speed and excellent user experience. Therefore, you can consult with your Shopify app development services about the following –

  • Ensure that assets and the number of requests are on the lower side.
  • Avoid loading existing assets on a page. Moreover, delay loading non-critical assets until the page loads or a customer interacts with a feature.
  • Check for duplicate code in app integrations.
  • Keep an eye on the online store speed report to assess the app’s impact on performance.

Let’s Talk About Your Shopify App Development Services Needs

After all, you’re on the page of reliable and experience ecommerce app developers with Shopify expertise.

So, let us know what you need in the form below and let’s work together to give your Shopify store a valuable edge.

Maha Yaser
Maha Yaser

A versatile copywriter with a software engineering degree, four years' experience as a teacher, 15 years of content writing and editing, and two years of eLearning expertise

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