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How Do I Choose The Right Shopify Apps?

So, you’ve got your Shopify store up and running, but you’re looking for the next ideas to really optimize it for efficiency and success.

Most Shopify store owners will now look to the app store to select the right tools for the job, but with so many available, how do you choose?

“Analysis paralysis” is a common problem for store owners when they are presented with the plethora of options in the app store. You want to make the right choice but are bombarded with features, metrics and reviews. Where should you start? We have a few ideas...

What Additional Features Do You Need?

The secret to having a successful, streamlined Shopify store is to not get too carried away in terms of adding apps and new features. There is no easy button; every app you add requires some amount of work to integrate into your store and use to its optimal capacity.

For that reason, you need to have a clear idea of why you need apps outside of the core features provided by Shopify. Staying focused will help you to create a leaner model which is much easier for you to manage.

Avoid ‘analysis paralysis’ when choosing Shopify apps by clearly outlining your goals first .

Set Clear Goals First

If you want to stay lean, any app you add should directly lead to the accomplishment of goals you have set for your business, or provide a way to measure the KPIs associated with the goal.

If you haven’t set any yet, how will you know that your actions have been successful?

In this way, figuring out which features you actually need begins outside of the app store with you setting some targets for your business to hit. This will make it easier for you to sort through apps based on whether or not they will help you to achieve those goals.

Broadly speaking, goals for your ecommerce store should fall under the following categories:

Sales

For example:

  • Goals for total revenue or revenue growth.
  • New customers vs. returning customers.
  • Average order size.
  • Shopping cart abandonment rate.
  • Upsells and side-sells.

 

Customer Service

For example:

  • Number of complaints or returns.
  • Average resolution time for any issues.
  • Number of positive reviews.

 

Marketing

For example:

  • Traffic goals.
  • Newsletter Subscribers.
  • Source of traffic.
  • Time spent on site.

Admin

For example:

  • Reducing the amount of time spent on admin activities.
  • Streamlining and automating processes.

 

 

Be Specific

Have some specific, measurable goals so that you can devise KPIs which will help you to measure and assess whether you’re achieving them.

For example, if one of your overall goals is to increase conversion rate by 5% this year, a KPI that partly leads to achieving that goal could be your shopping cart abandonment rate.

The point of all this? Besides the fact that it’s always a good idea to have specific goals for your business, those goals and KPIs can help you to identify appropriate apps from the app store. For example, there are apps designed to help bring your shopping cart abandonment rate down.

In this same way you can rule out apps that aren’t going to help—if it doesn’t directly relate to the achievement of your goals, then push it to the “maybe later” pile.

Want to know some of the essential next-level Shopify apps? Get our list here .

Will It Increase Sales?

Every ecommerce store owner wants to find a way to increase sales, and this should definitely be an area that you devise specific goals around. In this section we’ve got a few suggestions for simple ways to boost sales and the apps that can help you do it.

Optimize Your Store To Encourage Sales

Here are just a few ways you can optimize your store for sales (there are many others too!):

Follow up with anyone who has abandoned the shopping cart: Do this by enabling an abandonment email sequence which reminds them they have items still in their cart, offers to help them if they have questions or even offers a discount.

Apps that will help with this: Carthook, Abandon Aid

Offer an upsell: A simple one, really: encourage larger orders by offering upsells or side-sells in your shopping cart.

Apps that will help with this: Product Upsell, Cross Sell

Recommended items: Similar to the upsell or cross-sell, set your store up to recommend related items, either automatically or by hand-picking them yourself in the app settings.

Apps that will help with this: Limespot

Product reviews: Shoppers always like to see social proof that others are buying the product and have good things to say about it.

Apps that will help with this: Product Reviews, Judge Me

Product quick views: Anything that speeds up the process of getting products into the cart is useful to the customer. The less they have to click around the more likely they are to stick around and check out. An example is to offer product previews where they don’t have to click through to the product page to view it and see its description.

Apps that will help with this: Quick View

Getting Your Store Found

Increasing your visibility is important if you want to drive more traffic to your store. We’d focus on this after you’ve already optimized for sales—there’s no point in driving more traffic if the website experience isn’t optimized, as you’ll end up losing it again.

Here are a few examples of ways to get your store found:

Integrate Instagram: Instagram is often a good choice for sellers of physical products. Studies have found that Instagram gives brands 25% more engagement than other social media platforms. If you use high-quality images and the right hashtags, it’s a great way to get more visibility on your store. You can even leverage user-generated content by displaying Instagram photos related to your products that your customers post.

Apps that will help with this: Instagration, Imageagram

Launch a Facebook store: Sell directly on your Facebook page by setting up a Facebook store that integrates with your Shopify store. This way tasks such as tracking inventory are all integrated in one place.

Apps that will help with this: Facebook Store

Build an email list: Bring customers back to your store by capturing their email address and regularly keeping in touch. You could send out a regular newsletter to all, or for more effective, targeted campaigns, segment your list and send emails based on behaviors or preferences.

Apps that will help with this: Privy, Ecommerce Email Marketing By Soundest

Will It Make Running Your Store Easier?

Mark McDonald explained well in this Shopify article why spending too much time on menial tasks for your ecommerce store is a mistake. The more time you are spending tinkering around with your website or fulfilling orders yourself, the less time you are spending on growth activities such as marketing your business.

Look for apps that will automate as many of those tasks as possible. For example: integrations with your accounting software, requests for product customizations, customized invoices, currency conversions, enabling discounts, fulfillment and shipping of orders.

For any other backend app that you use, you can usually find an integration with Shopify to make life easier. Check for apps such as your email client, CRM and marketing automation software too.

How To Evaluate A Shopify App

Once you’ve narrowed down apps solely to those which could help you accomplish your business goals, usability, features and cost are the main criteria that store owners use to evaluate an app. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it simple to set up and use?
  • Does it have all of the features I really need? (It’s better to find one that has all the features you need, rather than one that has a lot of features, but is missing some that you need. You don’t want to run two or more apps for the same set of tasks).
  • What will it cost me and how much am I willing to spend on apps? The apps in the store range widely in price; some are free but many charge a monthly subscription fee.

Another consideration is the ratings that users have given the app. Look for apps that have a lot of reviews for their higher rating if you want to ensure credibility. A five star rating but only seven reviews could indicate the app is new and the builder’s friends and colleagues have rated it. Look for balanced reviews that include pluses and minuses.

Also note the support available - do reviews indicate that the app is kept up-to-date and that support is easily available? Is there a clear path to getting support in the right-hand sidebar of the app page?

As far as selecting from the apps you’ve identified that could enhance your ability to achieve your goals, we suggest you select only one or two at a time to implement. This gives you a chance to set them up and use them properly so that you can identify how much of a difference they make.

Want to know some of the essential next-level Shopify apps? Get our list here:

Final Thoughts

If you want to ensure that you choose the right apps for your Shopify store, it’s always better to begin with a plan. This way you are not wasting time on apps that do not directly add to you achieving the goals of your business.

We suggest starting with apps that will help you to close more sales, get your store found by more customers and make the running of your store easier by automating menial tasks.

Take a strategic approach so that you are not bogged down trying to implement too many things at once. Evaluate the apps available based on their utility toward your business targets and implement one or two at a time.

 

Author: Katie Joll

 

 

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