Starting and expanding an online business these days is challenging. Economy aside, the market is highly competitive as the eCommerce market is booming exponentially. Thanks to the futuristic and next-generation development platforms, you can have your store up and running quickly without all that painful coding.
Speaking of eCommerce website and app development platforms, Shopify takes the lead amongst the many because of its handy features, user-friendly features, and ability to customize the store as your business grows. Before jumping onto custom Shopify app development, let’s learn a bit about the platform itself to get you started.
Launched in 2006, Shopify is an eCommerce development platform for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and even established corporations looking forward to excelling in their digital business. The platform enables developers and creators in building and manages online retail stores, accept payments, tailor the website as per the need, and also analyze sales statistics.
A Word on Shopify App Store
Shopify apps are easily available in the marketplace on the official Shopify App Store containing more than thousands of handy applications, catering to a variety of eCommerce business models. That said, the store is categorized based on the apps’ functionality, and nature of business operations and also filters the search.
Purpose of Shopify Applications
One can easily figure out the apps’ purpose and functionality based on the listings category. Store design, management, marketing, customer services, shipment, merchandising, conversion, and many more are a few examples whereas each further branches out into subcategories.
Take for instance, marketing can be divided further into analytics, SEO, content marketing, direct marketing, email marketing, etc. Such features give an idea of how you can customize your Shopify app and what you need based on the nature of your eCommerce business.
Different Types of Shopify Apps
In general, Shopify apps are divided into three types namely public, custom, and private. Let’s have a look at each for clarity.
- Shopify Public Apps
The name itself indicates that public apps are available for free to merchants and can easily be found under the respective category on Shopify App Store. On the contrary, many other public apps aren’t listed on the store which can be downloaded and installed directly by a partner Shopify app development company or individual developer having the proper license to operate.
The standard needs of retailers are fulfilled by these Shopify Public Apps with an ability to maximize reach and brand awareness. For seasonal or infrequent use, maintenance checks, and more targeted users in retail, unlisted Shopify Public apps are recommended.
- Shopify Custom Apps
Custom Shopify apps are tailored to a business or retailer’s unique needs whereas these apps are unavailable in the Shopify App Store. To introduce lucrative new features and extend the performance to other platforms, custom apps are the go-to option. An external app developer has no access to the custom app or Shopify admin panel to manage custom apps as these are unique to every user.
- Shopify Private Apps
Just like custom applications, Shopify Private Apps aren’t listed in the official app store and are available only at selected e-stores or e-shops. These apps target retailers with stricter and very specific requirements whereas external developers need access to the admin panel and API to manage the development and introduce features.
Embedded vs. Standalone Shopify Apps
Public, custom and private Shopify apps further vary in their nature as these can either be standalone or embedded.
These have a unique and specific interface along with their domain.
These apps are hosted and managed completely from your infrastructure, however, integrated with official Shopify through the App Bridge. As for their availability and display, you can find these apps directly in the admin or iframe’s POS. You can also introduce new UI features and storage options through Shopify app extensions.
Benefits of Custom Shopify App Development
There are many reasons and benefits to developing custom Shopify apps. According to a 2022 statistical report, 80% of Shopify store owners use these apps to beat their competitors and stay ahead in the game.
Disseminating the right information to the right audience in just the right way and time can be challenging for shop owners as they’ve too much to deal with already. This may be the case when sticking to the standard functions whereas mobile application is sure to give a better, smoother, and more engaging user experience thus increasing the chance of better conversions.
- Unique & Creative
Custom Shopify app can help store owners and brands showcase their stellar features and products which helps them stand in the limelight. Also, it increases the chance of getting more sales and earning customer loyalty in the longer run.
- Marketing & Branding
The very purpose of custom apps is to meet unique needs and features required to power up your retail brand. Having that said, custom Shopify apps come with tailored marketing and branding tools to give you visibility and sales beyond imagination.
- More Control
A custom app gives owners more authority to integrate new features and functions, data for safe and secure operations as well as prevention from various online threats.
Ways to Build a Custom Shopify App
To enable a custom Shopify app, follow the steps below:
- Go to the apps and click on Develop apps for your store
- Hit the allow custom app development option
You will receive a prompt that reads Warning and Information clause. Once done reading the details, click on Allow Custom App Development.
- Provide the name of the app and the developer company or individual
- Click on Create App
You can later assign API scopes that are of two types – Admin API and Storefront API scopes.
- Admin API Scopes lets you store and access data that moves the API operations and functionality.
- Storefront API Scopes are visible to customers but only to those that you would select.
- Once APIs have been assigned, click on Save
- Finally, you can click on Install App
Following the above steps will create a custom Shopify App
Update a Custom Shopify App
You can update the app by editing the API scopes. Here are the steps to follow:
- Click on Configuration
- Select Admin API or Storefront API integration depending on your needs
Click on Edit and then proceed to update the scopes as required.
Future of Shopify Applications
The world of eCommerce shows no sign of slowing down and having a powerful store built upon a robust platform like Shopify ensures healthy profit and the ability to scale with time. However, all of it depends on how you’d manage and keep up with the changing trends. As of now, the above details would surely help in creating your very own custom Shopify app.