And in case you want something more than the bare basic features, you can always go to Shopify’s main app store and pick your first Shopify app from there. With nearly 7000 apps from all categories, there should be everything you might ever need, right? 

The problem with those ready-made Shopify apps though is that they are all pretty limited in what they can do. What if you are looking for an app that has unique features or integrations? Or a Shopify app for custom products your store is offering?

This is where Shopify custom app development comes into play. Shopify partners can create a bespoke app for that will fit perfectly and solve the main obstacle holding you back from growing your business.

But what is a custom app, and why would you want one?

What is Shopify App? What is Shopify app development?

In Shopify, apps function as plugins with which you can extend shop functionalities, improve customer experience or automate some of the daily tasks. Those apps use the Shopify API to access a shop’s data (like items for sale, orders, etc.) and allow you to take most of the actions from a shop’s control panel. 

There are thousands of apps available in the Shopify marketplace from all sorts of categories – from marketing and store management to payments, shipping, and customer experience. Currently, Shopify has 6943 apps available to merchants – and that’s not counting the unlisted apps that are not available in the search results. 

If you have a tight budget, you can find thousands of apps available for free – but there are also plenty of paid apps created by third-party developers for the Shopify platform. Most paid apps also have a free trial so you can test those before buying a subscription. If neither of those apps fulfill your expectations though or you need an app with unique features, then you can go the bespoke route – meaning, ask a Shopify app development company to create a fully custom app for you.  Then you’ll have a team of developers who will first talk with you about your needs the new app should match and then suggest the best way to design such app for you.  

We’ll talk more about custom apps in a moment, let’s go back first to the Shopify marketplace and apps available there.

When you visit the Shopify marketplace, you will see that the apps are all categorized to help you find what you want more easily. Shopify also has a “Collections” section where you can discover apps that may prove helpful when you are launching a new shop or searching for apps that work with Shopify POS (Points of Sale).

Now, how can you start using those apps?

In the Shopify marketplace, find the app you want to use and download it. Then, on the App listing page, you can add the app to your online store. Then you just need to install the app from the Shopify Admin panel, and that’s it. You can then access the app from the Shopify’s Apps page.

Why should you use Shopify Apps?

Thanks to how many dedicated apps you can find in Shopify, you have almost endless options for extending the functionality of your online Shopify stores. There’s an app for (almost) every need, whether you’re looking to add customer reviews, send email newsletters, promote products on Facebook, or get in-depth analytics. Shopify customization app? Point of Sale integration app? Upsell bundles? Few clicks and you can have it.

Using those, you can, with a couple of clicks, automate some daily tasks that you would instead have to do manually or add new features to run your business more effectively.

For example, you could use one of the Shopify apps to handle accounting tasks. Typically, either you or an accountant would need to export data like the sales figures and transaction information from the platform, then manually import it into accounting software. It would also be your responsibility to sort out and analyze the sales metrics. Shopify apps from the Accounting category meanwhile could do all of that for you. 

What’s more, you can use those tools also to design custom invoices, forecast profits or manage inventory. This gives you more time to focus on growing your business or serving customers.

With Shopify’s partnerships with dozens of software companies and tool providers who are adding their apps to the Shopify marketplace, you can basically get all the tools you need to run your online shop from one place, saving you time.

What types of Shopify Apps are there?

You can add two types of apps to the store: public apps (available to all merchants inside Shopify Marketplace) or custom apps (made exclusively for you). In previous years, Private apps (that were similar to custom apps with the difference you had to give the app developers API access to the online store and your Shopify admin page) were allowed, but from January 2022, those apps are no longer supported.

How are public and custom apps different?

Public Apps

Public apps are created either by the Shopify team themselves or made by third-party developers and are available for all Shopify users to download. But before that, every app has to pass Shopify’s approval process to ensure that it is safe to use and works as intended.

Public apps can be very useful for solving everyday problems that a lot of  merchants face. On the other hand, since they are made for a “general audience,” you shouldn’t count on many customization options available inside. But if you are just starting,  those apps can be an excellent way for you to try out a solution and see if it makes your life easier… or you need something else. 

Public apps fall into two types, listed and unlisted. Listed apps can be found and downloaded from the Shopify App Store. Unlisted apps meanwhile can be either found on the App listing or the developer’s website. It does not mean they are less safe. All apps, listed and unlisted, must pass Shopify’s app review process before they are approved by the platform.

Custom Apps

Shopify merchants who are looking for something unique, can ask a Shopify app development company to build a custom Shopify app for them.  Unlike public ones, custom apps are tailored to a specific merchant and their specific business requirements. Such apps can give you exactly the features, integrations, or functionality you need or seamlessly integrate with your store or tools you use. However, they take time and cost quite a bit as you first need to hire developers to build the Shopify app for you and  then discuss your expectations with them. Developers also need to pick which programming languages they will use, what technologies the apps must use to meet the expectations, how will it import and export data and so. 

But the good thing is that because those apps aren’t available in the Shopify app store, they don’t have tp go through Shopify’s approval process. That means you can use them straight after the developers will send you an installation link.

How Shopify’s custom app can help your business?

As Shopify has so many tools from all sorts of categories and they can be installed in a matter of minutes, most Shopify merchants simply use those they can find there. That’s a good start – public apps are designed to address the most common issues Shopify store owners are experiencing, so you might find a good fit if you try a few.

However, you might also discover that neither of those is what you need – or that you have to use several apps to run your store. Here, it might be better to consider hiring a custom Shopify app development company to create a bespoke application for you.

A custom-made application is made from scratch, so you have full control over how it should look and function. Whether it is about what features should be available, what integrations it should have, or how the workflow should be – everything will be customized to your business requirements.

So if you need an app that will smoothly work with a dedicated CRM or ERP, fixes an irritating problem you regularly encounter, or one that will help you sell products on other platforms, a custom application can easily do that. 

However, getting a bespoke app has one more benefit – you’ll have all the features and functionalities in one place rather than several. In this way, you won’t have to switch between multiple apps during your workday, but you will be able to accomplish most of the tasks with just one. Not only will that make managing store easier, but you also won’t have to worry about slowing down the website with multiple programs installed.

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What are the biggest benefits of custom Shopify apps?

That’s true that custom application are on the pricier side. The developers need time to research, design, test and develop Shopify apps for a given business, so it will take a while to get the Shopify app up and running. And the longer it will take, the costlier the app might be. But custom applications also have a couple of advantages that you won’t find in ready-made apps. 

  • Solve your main problem:  Shopify app developers will listen to you so they can figure out what is the main problem you’d like to solve, and then they will design a custom solution to address those problems.
  • You are the sole owner of it: All the essential data, source code, images, etc. inside the app belong to you.
  • High Scalability: Ready-made Shopify apps don’t offer much scalability, so you might learn one day that an application that worked great for months is no longer useful. Then you might either try to find a workaround to keep using it or look for a replacement. With custom apps, you don’t have to worry about that – if you need other features or integrations, developers who worked with you earlier can quickly add those.
  • Priority support. If you have a custom app, you are always prioritized by the developers. So whether you have a problem or want to ask for modifications, you can count on the support team to reach out to you and solve problems in a timely and effective manner.
  • 100% Customizable: Everything inside the app, from the design to functionality is tailored to your business requirements. You can also ask the developers to add new features or tailor the user interface as well later. 
  • Better performance: Before you will get the new app to work, it will be tested to see how does it work with your current website and tech stack. That way, you don’t have to worry that the new tool might clash with any of the integrations or slow down the store. In fact, it might actually work far faster and smoother than ever before since it will be optimized specifically for your website and tools.

Why should you ask a Shopify app development agency for creating a custom app? Can’t you just make it yourself?

The benefits of having a custom app are obvious, but well, those benefits come with a price to match. Just like tailor-made clothes, the custom-made applications can have a significant price tag on them. So here, you might wonder wouldn’t be cheaper to create Shopify apps yourself.

And technically, if you know a bit about using a programming language, are familiar with computer’s command line and know how to use rest API, you can use it for building a Shopify app or yourself.

But while doing this might look like you are saving money now, the time and energy you will spend on designing, building, and later maintaining and updating it might actually cost you far more in the future. If there are any problems or issues with the app, you will also have to rely on your skills to fix those. 

So, in fact, hiring a custom Shopify app development company, while expensive at the start, might actually save you money in the long term.

A company specializing in custom Shopify app development services will first spend a fair amount of time getting to know your business. What are your specific requirements? What’s your client base? What goal do you wish to accomplish with the custom app? Or do you need it to solve a particular problem?

Based on those answers, they will design and build an application that fits your expectations as much as possible. Throughout the app development process, they will also test every part of the app (including testing the usability with real users) to make sure that it does what it needs to do and adds value to your business.

But what’s more important is that the agency won’t only focus on what you will get right not- but also on what you might need in the future. That way, if you will want additional features, redesign, or new integrations, then you will be able to simply call the developers to ask them for help. Regular maintenance and hosting services will also be done for you – saving you a lot of time and possibly nerves as well. 

Why should you choose our Shopify app development company?

Agencies such as ours have been dealing with everything related to Shopify for years, cooperating with both Polish and foreign brands – for example, Just Beck or Vetsak.

That’s why we can quickly recognize what needs are, what is the best way to create your app, what will take the most time and price our work. 

And besides working on your main project,  we can also support you with the app setup, SEO or UX, build custom UI elements for you or optimizing the website. If you need any other specific Shopify app integration in your new app, then we might be able to help as well.    That’s why we can say with confidence that we know Shopify inside out. 

We are also pretty familiar with Shopify plugin development as we have also created ourselves a few useful Shopify b2b apps for our clients to use in their Shopify stores: 

  • Przelewy24 integration – one of the most popular Polish payment providers.
  • InPost integration – to allow your customers to choose whether they want their package delivered by courier or to a parcel locker.
  • DHL, DPD, UPS, TNT, GLS, FedEx Integration – all-in-one application to add support for courier deliveries.

As all of those apps are direct integrations, you don’t have to add any additional applications to accept payments or offer shipping options. Additionally, all those are compatible with all screen sizes and devices, so your customers can use them on any device they wish.

Conclusion

There are plenty of Shopify apps that you can use right from the start to customize your shop or simply make running the store a bit easier. If you are just starting, have a limited budget, or must have an app straight away, then there’s a good chance that a ready Shopify app will be enough.

But if you are thinking about a tailor-made app that will help to give next-level experience to the users and grow your business in a few years, you should contact a Shopify app development service provider like us. Since we have been in the Shopify industry for quite some time, we’ll know what needs to be done once you tell us about your problems and requirements. So rather than get an ready app that might stop being useful in a few months or use several apps during one day, why not  getting a user-friendly  custom app that can grow with your business?

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