If you have a business, you’ve probably heard of Shopify. And if you have an online store, you’ve definitely heard of Shopify. Why? Because Shopify is to ecommerce platforms what Google is to search engines. For a quick recap of Google’s dominance, it holds 92% market share, with Bing claiming second place with about 2.5%.
Like Google, Shopify came onto the scene at the perfect time and quickly amassed a huge following. There are about 1,700,000 businesses using the platform, which qualifies it as a true juggernaut.
One of the primary draws of Shopify is its ease of use. People throw the term “intuitive” a lot when discussing websites, but this is one that actually deserves that description. You don’t need to have extensive ecommerce experience to navigate Shopify and create an online store.
As with everything in life, there’s a tradeoff that comes with the uber-simple approach that Shopify takes with running an ecommerce business. The builder is basic and the options can sometimes be lean. The platform is easy to manage, but it can be difficult to enhance.
What You Need to Know About the Best Shopify Apps
While the core Shopify platform is based on efficiency that doesn’t mean you’ll be limited to these features. As long as you know about the useful free and paid Shopify apps available, you’ll be able to upgrade your online store in all the most impactful ways, while still benefiting from the user-friendly design.
The Shopify App Store opened in 2018 and now offers thousands of both free and paid apps. Because the vast selection can get overwhelming, the best route is to create a free 14-day trial. During this time, you can explore the platform and figure out what you’ll need to find success going forward. If you realize that you want something to help you send out a monthly newsletter, there are multiple apps for that. If you decide you want to promote customer referrals, never fear, because there are multiple apps for that as well.
You should always approach website apps as an à la carte solution that keeps your monthly bill lower and life easier. You simply choose what you need, avoiding the rest.
This approach is better than having a buffet-type setup where you get all the options upfront, which is expensive and complex to navigate. There are other small business owners who prefer these package deals. Lacking vision and hunger, they’re happiest with one-size-fits-all solutions.
Your Best Shopify Apps Options
But we know these clunky business styles aren’t for you, because you’re out to build a legacy… and those don’t come in a bulk box. You have to be equal parts tenacious and creative. And the only way to proceed with confidence is to know the right course. Otherwise, your tenacity can border on foolhardiness.
Check out this insightful video from Gretta Rose van Riel, as she talks about the power of Shopify apps and shares insights about some of her top picks.
Let’s review some key options, such as the best review app for Shopify and the best subscription app for Shopify. The 13 apps listed here are all worthy of your consideration, but certainly won’t all be right for you. Additionally, there are dozens of additional apps that you might want to check out. Most of these apps have a free plan and a paid plan. We suggest always selecting a trial version first to test the value of the app and if you need to utilize the paid plan. Use this as your starting point and then prepare to expand your search as your website begins to run smoothly.
1. Shopify Ship, Rate, and Track for FedEx
Shipping is a major expense for most online businesses. This paid app helps you automate the process with FedEx, so you can effortlessly print labels and then track packages to their destination. Having these details accessible in the app makes it easier to manage your deliverability and quality of service. You’ll also get real-time pricing, which is essential as you strive to streamline your processes and save money.
This robust customer data platform helps you get down and dirty with analysis without breaking a sweat. Reveal’s dashboard breaks down your cost of acquisition, NPS (Net Promoter Score), gross margin per customer type, CLV (customer lifetime value), retention rate, and more. If you want happier customers and sustainable sales, a paid tool like Reveal is an absolute must.
It’s hard enough figuring out which products to sell, but finding the right supplier can be an even trickier process. This is where Oberlo comes in, helping you locate your chosen products and add them to your store. When customers make purchases they are handled by the dropshipper, making an app such as FedEx obsolete. Of course, whenever you’re outsourcing a service like this, you’ll want a tool like Reveal to track the results to ensure your customers are getting a good experience. It’s worth noting that Oberlo has both free and paid options.
Business texting is developing into a potent strategy, and Cartloop is among the best ways to leverage it within Shopify. Just sign up for the 14-day trial and you can see if the unlimited texting is impactful for your business. The Cartloop team strives to make human connections with your customers, helping them navigate the shopping experience on your website. The end goal? Fewer abandoned carts and higher sales.
Advertising on social media requires time, resources, and expertise. But if you don’t mind paying a moderate amount each week, the Advoz team will just make the ads for you. Their whole goal is to drive traffic from Facebook, Instagram, and elsewhere to your store. The app is free to download, so it’s worth checking out to decide if you want to find the budget necessary to enlist the help of Advoz’s experts.
Staying connected with your customers is essential for long-term success. Klaviyo, a paid app, makes it easier by offering pre-built email automations and the advanced segmentation tools you need to reach the right people at the right times. Klaviyo’s abandoned carts emails are excellent. And once your audience subscribes to your communications, you’ll be able to reach them with newsletters and other recurring emails.
Another option for using automation to connect with your customers is Sumo. This tool is engineered to boost conversions through abandoned cart recovery and build your email list for even better results in the future. The automation side of things is emphasized with this app, as their “Sumo Shortcuts” are meant to help you accomplish big email tasks in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea. Sumo has both free and paid options.
Many customers want to know what you’re doing to help the environment. With Offset, you can calculate the emissions caused by your business operations. Those shipping-related emissions are tracked in the dashboard, where you then have the chance to make small payments toward earth-friendly initiatives. You can then share the positive impact stats with your customers to quantify the difference your business is making in the world.
Instagram followers are great, but customers are even better. Designed to make them one and the same, Snapppt is one of the best free Shopify apps available. The secret is to make your Instagram feed more interactive, allowing followers to click within your bio link to make a purchase if they desire.
All the purchase intent in the world doesn’t amount to anything if you can’t find the thing you want to buy. Doofinder addresses this issue head on by making it easier than ever for visitors to search your online store. If you care about the customer experience, this is definitely a paid app you should check out.
Customer referrals are one of the most powerful ways to grow your customer base. After all, a recommendation from a trusted friend or family member will always be much more impactful on spending decisions than a banner ad or email from a business. This paid app lets you reward customers when they endorse your business, allowing you to show your appreciation and help set the stage for future referrals.
Speaking of leveraging the power of your customers, this paid app helps you do it from a visual perspective. Socialphotos scours social networks to find photos of real customers with your real products. You can also prime the pump by having the app deliver a post-purchase message requesting product photos from your customers.
You can help convert first-time customers into long-time friends with a rewards app like Smile.io. Using this paid tool, you can create a program that helps your customers feel valued. The details of the program will be totally customizable, but the common denominator throughout all Smile.io programs is that customers are rewarded for their loyalty and encouraged to visit your store again and again.
How Shopify Pricing Tiers Can Impact Your App Selection
In addition to choosing the right apps for your website, you should also pay close attention to Shopify’s pricing tiers. Some of the functions you might be seeking from an app could actually be included with a higher Shopify tier, which is why it’s essential for you to understand their costs and features.
Here are the 6 pricing options offered by Shopify:
- Free 14-day trial
- Shopify Lite: $9 a month
- Basic Shopify: $29 a month
- Shopify: $79 a month
- Advanced Shopify: $299 a month
- Shopify Plus: $2,000+ a month
The 14-day trial obviously isn’t a true payment tier, as it only lasts for 2 weeks. But it’s worth mentioning here because it’s the best way to experience the platform and get a feel for what your business will need in order to thrive.
With Shopify Lite, you get an extremely low price. But this tier provides only the ability to accept payments through an already established website. You don’t get access to Shopify’s builder or the chance to make a new ecommerce site. So unless you’re only looking to add a “Buy Now” button to your website, you’ll need to move up to a higher tier.
The most popular option is Basic Shopify, which provides a solid foundation for your ecommerce store. A couple of notable features you get at this tier are the abandoned cart saver and unlimited sales (other platforms often limit your sales at this middle tier).
There’s a big price increase associated with the Shopify tier, but you receive access to a suite of advanced tracking tools. You’re also able to accept payments from more international locations.
Shopify Plus probably isn’t a good choice for your business right now, as it’s an enterprise-level product. Unless your operations are so extensive and sophisticated that the Shopify option won’t meet your needs, you won’t see a good ROI with Shopify Plus.
Whatever You Choose, Shopify Will Back You Up
When you’re embarking on something new for your business, it’s always comforting to know that someone has your back. Fortunately, Shopify’s customer service is among the best in the business.
You can reach out to a customer service representative any time day or night. If you have the luxury of waiting, it’s always advisable to call between 10pm and 6am, EST. If you have a specific question that won’t require much discussion, it’s more efficient to chat or text. Shopify’s team is usually able to respond quickly through these channels.
Want even more expert support as you seek to create the best Shopify store possible?
Our Start & Scale masterclass teaches you everything from testing your ideas to expediting your sales. Best of all, the training is completely free.