Third party apps that extend the functionality of ecommerce platforms serve the specific needs of small groups of customers without causing the entire platform to bloat up with a slew of unnecessary features. Shopify apps call the Shopify API, and provide additional functionality to the platform.
The Shopify App Store
If you have read my Shopify review, you know that one of its best features is that it is simple to use and set up. A part of this simplicity is derived from the small set of functions that are available in the basic version of Shopify. But what if you want a specialized service. That is where the apps in the Shopify App Store enter the picture.
Examples of Some Functionality that Shopify Apps Can Add to a Shopify Ecommerce Store
A common complain with ecommerce software is that it does not allow optimization of web pages for search engines. Software designers probably see this as a feature, as many ecommerce entrepreneurs do not have SEO skills. But if you want to optimize your ecommerce store for search engines, you could get an app from the Shopify App Store that allows you to modify the title, meta description, and meta keywords of a page on your ecommerce website.
- Social Presence
Social media has become an important part of everyday life. That means no business can stay away from it. And when it comes to online businesses, social media integration is absolutely necessary. The nature of this integration can vary. For instance, you could get an app that allows your customers to post updates to their social accounts when they buy something on your ecommerce website.
Likewise, your customers could find out what other members in their social network have purchased. And to take social presence to its logical conclusion, you could even get an app that will set up an fcommerce (i.e. ecommerce on Facebook) store for you.
- Managing Abandoned Shopping Carts
More than anything else, shopping cart abandonment is the biggest worry for ecommerce merchants. So they set up processes to follow up with customers who abandon their shopping carts. What if this could be automated? That is exactly the service that some Shopify apps provide.
All ecommerce platforms, hosted or otherwise, offer some level of customer insight. Shopify is no exception. But if you really want to extract juice out of the data that gets captured on online stores, you need the assistance of a specialized app.
This function can be performed by one of the analytics apps on the Shopify App Store. In fact head over to the article I wrote on Shopify apps to find out about a cool analytics app that is provided free of charge.
Though Shopify is in the same race as all the other hosted ecommerce solutions, I think that it has significantly enhanced its likelihood of emerging as a winner with the addition of the Shopify App Store. I can easily envisage many scenarios where Shopify can earn more money per customer by selling apps, than from its store creator service. Adding apps on top of basic functionality was made popular by smartphones. Shopify is riding that app wave.
And Shopify knows that it has come up with a winner. That would explain why it has set aside a million dollars, from its venture capital funding, as a Shopify fund to finance app developers.