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Avoid the Shopify App Trap

Avoid the Shopify App Trap

Article: Avoid the Shopify App Trap

Shopify Apps

Shopify stands out as the ideal platform for merchants looking to launch or expand their e-commerce projects. With its robust set of out-of-the-box features, Shopify provides almost everything you need to get your online store up and running. Whether you're a small business owner or a large enterprise, Shopify's user-friendly interface and comprehensive tools make it easy to manage and grow your business.

Expanding Functionality with the Shopify App Store

One of the standout features of Shopify is its App Store, which allows merchants to extend their stores with a variety of Shopify apps. Apps add functionality to your site, for example, AI-driven product recommendations, customer reviews or enhanced analytics.

There are two primary types of apps: back-end and front-end. Back-end apps operate behind the scenes and do not impact the front-end directly. They help with tasks such as inventory management, order processing, and analytics. Front-end apps on the other hand, affect the visible part of your site - the part your customers interact with. These include apps for product recommendations, customer reviews, live chat, and other interactive features. For the context of this post, we are talking about front-end apps.

Proceed with Caution!

The urge to install as many apps as possible on your store can be very tempting. While it might seem beneficial to add as many features as possible, it’s crucial to approach this with caution. Apps often come with hidden costs, not only in terms of subscription fees but also potential performance issues that can arise from overloading your site. All front-end apps will inevitably have some degree of negative impact on your store’s performance. I have witnessed cases where poor app choices have drastically reduced a store's performance, severely affecting organic search rankings and damaging the overall user experience.

When selecting apps, consider the specific needs of your business and how each app will impact your store’s performance and user experience. Prioritise apps that provide the most value without compromising site speed or causing technical conflicts. It’s also wise to regularly review your app list to ensure your store remains efficient and cost-effective.

Do I need an app?

Consider if the functionality you require can be achieved without an app. In some cases, you may be able to achieve the same results by making some simple tweaks to your store's theme code. While you will likely have to enlist the help of a developer, you could save ongoing app subscription fees and avoid potential performance issues.

I recently carried out an app audit for a new client and discovered they were using a B2B app to simply hide product prices from customers who were not logged in. I was able to build a native Shopify solution for this in a few hours, saving the client over £400 / year in app fees and significantly improving the overall performance of the site.

Find a balanced approach

Apps are not a bad thing, I strongly encourage their use and I even have my own list of must-have apps for almost every store I work on. By carefully selecting and managing the apps you integrate into your store, you can enhance your site’s capabilities while maintaining optimal performance. This balanced approach will help you create a seamless and efficient shopping experience for your customers, ultimately driving the success of your e-commerce venture.

What my clients say...

Ciaron has been an invaluable part of our team for the past two years. He expertly guided us through the migration process from our bespoke platform to Shopify, and more recently to Shopify Plus. Throughout the entire journey, he provided unwavering support and development services that exceeded our expectations. We feel incredibly lucky to have him on board and look forward to continuing our partnership in the future.

Duncan, Weisters Ltd

We've been happily working with Ciaron at M60 digital for 15 years. As our business has grown he developed our website from a blog to online store on the Magento 1 platform and recently transferred the the entire system to Shopify with no disruption to our online trade.

His knowledge and expertise are spot on, he consistently delivers work above our expectations and he is always quick to implement any changes we require or problems we encounter.

Paul, Note Shop