Online businesses offer the convenience of a 24/7 shopping experience and a wide range of products and services, accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. However, being an online business owner comes with challenges such as the lack of in-person customer interaction, staying updated with evolving social media tools, and managing inventory across multiple channels.
Shopify, a prominent platform established in 2006, addresses these challenges by providing a seamless and productive experience for running online businesses. One of the reasons behind its popularity is its integration with developer-built apps tailored for Shopify.
Whether you’re interested in creating and selling your own app or looking for apps and plugins to support various aspects of your online business, Shopify offers a diverse range of options. From accounting and marketing tools to analytics and shipping solutions, you can find apps to streamline your operations.
Running an online business involves numerous components, and Shopify apps enable you to quickly establish your business, making them particularly beneficial for beginners. Moreover, if you’re expanding your online business, these apps can assist you in that process as well.
With over 1500 apps available, choosing the right ones can be overwhelming. To simplify the selection process, we have curated a list of the ten most popular Shopify apps for building and growing your online business. Each app is introduced with a brief overview and pricing information, offering a glimpse into the diverse services you can utilize.
Best Shopify Apps:
Establishing direct communication with your customers even when they’re not on your website is crucial for your business. MailChimp is an email marketing service that simplifies the process of collecting and managing your customers’ email addresses, while also assisting you in creating effective email campaigns.
With MailChimp, you can personalize your marketing efforts based on your customers’ purchasing behavior and automate tasks related to customer engagement, such as welcoming new customers and sending reminders about abandoned carts.
The app offers valuable insights by providing extensive data on metrics like email open rates and customer click-throughs. Additionally, it helps you maintain a clean email list by removing bounced emails.
Email marketing can significantly contribute to the growth of your business, as it allows you to differentiate yourself from competitors and strengthen your brand presence. While the app itself is free, you need to have a MailChimp account to utilize its features.
If you’re looking to engage with your customers through email, integrating MailChimp with your online store is a recommended approach.
If you’re like me, the concept of SEO (search engine optimization) might feel a bit like magic, with its mysterious spells and incantations that help your website appear in online searches. In Shopify’s words, SEO is a measurable and repeatable process that involves sending signals to search engines, indicating that your pages are worthy of being indexed by Google.
However, if you understand the concept but struggle with executing it effectively, there’s a solution: Plug In SEO. This app examines your web pages and identifies areas where your SEO could be improved. What sets it apart is that it not only points out the issues but also teaches you how to address them.
For example, let’s take a look at the app’s functionality using their provided examples or by testing it on your own website. It’s quite entertaining to see what insights the app offers for a website like whitehouse.gov.
The app’s operation is straightforward and transparent. It identifies missing elements, highlights what needs to be fixed, and highlights what’s currently working well. In the case of whitehouse.gov, one issue identified is the absence of alt tags on the page’s images. The app provides key points, explains the general usage of alt tags, and offers best practices.
Moreover, Plug In SEO guides you through the process of resolving the problem in simple language. It suggests adding ALT tags to all images on your site, some of which can be set through your content management system, while others may require a developer’s assistance. If you prefer, there’s also an option to hire someone to handle the task.
The app is free to use, but you can upgrade to access additional features for $20 per month or enlist the help of a Shopify expert.
Whether you desire a deeper understanding of the “why” behind SEO or need assistance from professionals, Plug In SEO is a valuable app to consider.
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When it comes to creating alt tags for your images, there’s another useful app available on Shopify called Image Alt Text Optimizer. This app automatically generates alternative text for your online products.
Crafting concise alt text can be challenging, akin to writing a catchy headline for your online dating profile. It should be descriptive yet succinct, primarily aimed at helping more people discover you and your products.
Image Alt Text Optimizer plays an important role in aiding individuals who cannot see the images. For instance, text readers used by visually impaired individuals will read the alt text aloud to describe the image.
In essence, it’s crucial not to overlook or disregard the alt text fields. They are of vital importance to certain online users and can also benefit your SEO efforts.
This free app simplifies the process of generating good alt tags, making your life easier and streamlining your business operations.
Related: How to Sell CBD Products on Shopify
If your business involves shipping, it’s worth considering the app Aftership. This app allows you to conveniently track all your business’s shipments from a single platform, while also enabling your customers to track their orders.
With Aftership, each order is assigned a unique tracking number which you can provide to your customers. This allows them to easily track their order’s progress through your website. Customers can view the delivery status, expected delivery date, and information about the delivery provider.
Additionally, business owners can automate updates for their customers by sending them emails that provide information on the whereabouts of their package and its estimated arrival time.
Transparent communication regarding the delivery status and estimated arrival time may seem like a simple aspect, but it plays a crucial role in fostering trust with your customers and cultivating long-term loyalty.
If you lack visibility on your current inventory, it can negatively impact your customer base. Out‑of‑Stock Police offers a solution by assisting sellers in effectively managing their inventory, particularly for those operating on multiple platforms.
This app enables you to monitor demand, available supply, and purchasing. You can seamlessly synchronize your inventory across different channels and have a clear overview of your stock levels and inventory locations.
For business owners, Out‑of‑Stock Police serves as a stress reliever as it facilitates inventory checks across various sources. By having a comprehensive understanding of your inventory, you can enhance customer service, ultimately leading to business growth.
Although Out‑of‑Stock Police is one of the more expensive apps, with prices starting at $499 per month, it is a worthwhile investment if your business heavily relies on having the right inventory available at the right time and in the right location.
Coupon X: Discount Code Pop Up
Boosting subscriptions and sales can be achieved through the implementation of various strategies such as discount pop-ups, coupons, email pop-ups, and promo codes. By utilizing Coupon X, a Shopify app, you can create and personalize discount code pop-ups, coupon codes, and promotional offers on your online store.
These engaging pop-ups and coupons have proven to enhance sales, minimize cart abandonment, increase customer engagement, and generate more email sign-ups, particularly when accompanied by a countdown timer. Coupon X simplifies the process of building coupon code pop-ups with its user-friendly interface, and it offers a range of triggers, targeting options, and integration features. By leveraging this app, you can attract new visitors, incentivize purchases, and reward loyal customers with interactive promo codes, ultimately fostering customer loyalty.
Smile: Loyalty & Rewards (formerly SweetTooth)
Selling to existing customers is often easier compared to acquiring new ones. Once you have already gained their trust, you can further strengthen your relationship with them and cultivate loyal returning customers.
Smile.io is specifically designed to support this objective by offering your customers a customizable rewards program that aligns with their preferences and your business requirements. The app provides three types of programs that you can implement:
- Points-based system: Foster customer loyalty by enabling them to earn points towards rewards.
- Referral program: Transform existing customers into valuable promoters by incentivizing them to refer others.
- VIP programs: Show extra appreciation to your top customers, providing them with exclusive benefits.
Smile.io assures a seamless integration with your brand, and if you have both online and brick-and-mortar stores, it caters to both environments.
The app offers a free plan initially, which accommodates up to 500 program members. As your program grows, the pricing transitions to a tiered structure based on the number of members enrolled.
If you’re seeking effective ways to leverage social media for business promotion and customer engagement, Outfy is here to simplify the process for you.
Outfy serves as a centralized platform where you can conveniently schedule and monitor your posts across multiple social media platforms. It also offers an autopilot mode that automates your posts, saving you time and effort.
The app provides a free trial initially, allowing you to explore its features. Once the trial period ends, you have the option to purchase a package of credits. These credits determine the price per social media share, with each credit equivalent to one share.
An interesting aspect of Outfy is its extensive compatibility with numerous social media platforms. Apart from the popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Outfy also connects with other platforms such as Fancy, Wanelo, and Weheartit, broadening your reach and diversifying your social media presence.
Related: Why Is Shopify So Expensive?
If you cater to international customers, it’s crucial to ensure a seamless shopping experience for them, just like for local customers.
This currency converter automatically adjusts the displayed prices to the shopper’s local currency based on their location. The basic version of the converter is free to use. Alternatively, you can opt for the elite version, which offers additional features such as enabling checkout currency notification, displaying prices by hovering over items, and the flexibility to change the currency for specific countries (e.g., using Euros instead of GBP for customers in the UK).
Related: Is Shopify Safe and Secure?
When shopping online, it’s common to rely on reviews from other customers to make informed decisions about a product. In fact, while researching for this article, I personally went through the Shopify reviews of each app to determine their suitability for inclusion.
Yotpo is specifically designed to simplify the review process for your customers. It provides them with an easily accessible mobile platform that encourages them to leave reviews. What sets Yotpo apart is that it allows customers to include their own photos in their reviews and facilitates direct interaction between customers and both other customers and your business’s employees. This fosters a sense of community among customers. As a business owner, you can also respond to reviews, enabling direct engagement with your customers.
Creating a sense of community and engagement with your customers is vital for the growth of your business. It’s akin to building a group of loyal customers in a physical store. By making your customers feel valued and part of a community, you establish trust in your product or service, ultimately turning your existing customers into your most effective marketing advocates.
Yotpo, like several other apps, offers a free version with the option to upgrade to tiered plans as per your business needs.
In 2016, Shopify introduced a WordPress plugin that allowed seamless integration of your Shopify store with your WordPress site. This plugin was highly popular among users.
If you currently use WordPress and are excited about the possibility of using Shopify as well, I have both good news and bad news for you. The good news is that you can still utilize Shopify for your e-commerce needs. However, the bad news is that the previously easy method of doing so has become a bit more complicated.
Starting from June 30, Shopify’s e-commerce plugin for WordPress will be discontinued. Nevertheless, you will still have the ability to sell products using Shopify on your WordPress site. The process now involves creating a Buy Button in Shopify and then embedding the generated code onto your WordPress site.
Although it may require a few additional steps, the Buy Button is fully customizable to align with your brand’s identity and provides a direct connection to Shopify’s secure shopping cart platform.
Building Better Online Stores
The emergence of e-commerce has transformed the dynamics of customer-business interactions. In the virtual realm of online businesses, entrepreneurs must put in extra effort to establish and expand a thriving enterprise.
For newcomers in the online business sphere, there is an abundance of platforms and applications that can enhance business operations and deliver exceptional customer experiences. Among these options, Shopify stands out as one of the most widely used platforms, offering a vast selection of over a thousand apps to personalize and optimize your online business website. It is highly recommended to explore the possibilities that Shopify offers.