The Shopify App Store is filled with thousands of apps that are supposed to make your life easier as a store owner. From appointment scheduling to search-engine optimization, there seems to be an app for everything.
With such a wide selection of Shopify apps available for installation, it’s important that you choose only the best solutions for your store. But how? How do you know what’s worthwhile and what’s a waste of time?
When building/re-designing Shopify stores for clients, we are occasionally tasked with finding the best Shopify app to streamline a process(when we’re not building our own custom solution). To determine the best apps, we take a look at three key aspects to weed out the junk and spotlight the winners.
Finding the Best Shopify Apps: The Three Considerations
When determining what Shopify apps your store needs, it’s important to use as pragmatic an approach as possible. To make the best decisions as often as possible, we like to compare apps on three key aspects. If an app checks each box, it’s a go for installation.
The three things we look at are:
- Easy Setup
- Valuable Service
- Excellent Customer Support
Easy setup is a must with any Shopify app. The ability to install and use an app without a painstaking setup is crucial. Not only will it save you money and resources, but it will do wonders for you mentally. Trust us, we’ve come across some baaaadd ones.
It’s important to fully read an apps description for any hints that point to a difficult installation. Often times, Shopify apps that require numerous 3rd party integrations and manual data imports are going to be laborious to setup.
On the other hand, apps that automatically sync data from appropriate sources, often only requiring a single additional login, can often be setup in fewer than five minutes.
It’s important to be aware of your own limitations when reviewing an apps setup process. If you’re technically proficient and are comfortable manipulating code, a more manually intensive Shopify app may work well for you.
If you’d like to do as little work as possible setting up your apps, look specifically for apps that tout autonomy.
It’s all a matter of personal preference. Whatever your choice, just make sure you’re comfortable with the setup required.
Valuable service is, of course, the most important factor to consider. After all, nothing else matters if the app doesn’t do its job.
When determining the value of a Shopify app, it’s important to consider both the quality of the app as a whole, as well as the specific value it has to YOU.
If that was a bit confusing, let me explain further.
The quality of an app refers to its technical abilities. Can it do what it’s supposed to do? An easy way to figure out the quality of an app is to look at the reviews. Reading reviews on the Shopify App Store is a surefire way to determine effectiveness. If a bunch of people say it works, it probably does.
Specific value refers to what the app can specifically do for you. It’s easy to get swayed by a “popular” app, or one recommended to you by a peer. At the end of the day, what really matters is if the app can improve your store or your personal workload. It’s important to fully analyze your needs before browsing the app store for a solution. Then, if you can tangibly articulate the benefits an app will have, it’s probably worth adding to your store.
If an app is able to pass both of those tests, you can be sure it’s one step closer to making it to your store.
Customer Service Support
The third and final consideration is a Shopify apps’ customer support. This is a huge factor, and often something that’s often overlooked until it’s too late.
As your business scales, so too will the workload of your apps. With scale comes unforeseen complications that are best fixed by the people who built the app in the first place.
There are a couple of ways to figure out how good an apps customer service is. The first of which is viewing the developer rating. Every Shopify app developer has a rating which can be used to judge their work.
Based on a five-star scale, a developers rating is the mean rating among each of their apps available in the app store. This number is especially useful for developers/development teams with several apps available for installation. Given that poor customer support is the most common cause for a one or two star review, a developer rating of 4.5 stars or more is a good sign that they take care of their users.
If a developer doesn’t have many reviews, or you’re looking for some additional backup, it’s always a good idea to look at app specific reviews. As previously noted, poor customer service is a pain point that typically results in a bad review.
Multiple one or two star reviews citing poor support is a pretty cut and dry sign that you should look for alternatives.
Our Favorite Shopify Apps
While we always recommend choosing apps on an as needed basis, we thought we’d introduce you to a few of our favorites that pass all the tests.
Take a look at five of our favorites and, if one(or more) looks like it might help you out, give it a try and let us know what you think.
One of the biggest challenges when running an online store is accurately calculating marketing and customer acquisition costs. This is where Lifetimely comes in. In their own words, Lifetimely is an:
“advanced analytics toolkit for Shopify. It helps you easily track your customer lifetime value and how your best customers behave.”
Getting started with the Lifetimely Shopify app could not be more simple. Just install the app from the Shopify App Store and you’re done nearly done. Lifetimely automatically imports your store data, including products, customers, sales prices and much more. From there it’s able to perform a wide variety of calculations.
If you’ve run/are running Facebook or Google Ads campaigns, Lifetimely will pull data to include paid media in your calculations.
In all, installation to function is less than 5 minutes.
We’ve recently started including the Lifetimely Shopify app in our clients stack and have no thoughts of turning back. With powerful processing and an easy-to-navigate UI, Lifetimely consistently holds true to it’s claim of “turning customer data to profits”.
Don’t take our word for it though. A quick look at Lifetimely’s reviews on the Shopify App Store shows an incredible 70 reviews, all giving 5-stars.
Now how about the “specific value” test. How do you know if Liftimely is the best app for you? To us, this decision comes down to it’s price. As a free app, we strongly believe that would be Lifetimely a no-brainer. At a cost of $19 – 49/month, it’s important to consider the value being added to your store.
If you currently calculate LTV and CAC with an Excel spreadsheet, will the time-savings be worth the monthly price. Chances are the answer to that question is yes, but who knows.
Likewise, if you’re currently using a 3rd party software that doesn’t sync with Shopify, does the added convenience justify the cost?
These are all important determinations to make. If Lifetimely passes your “specific value” test, it’s right around the corner from installation!
The continued success of the Lifetimely Shopify App is in large part due to their customer service. Nearly all issues are handled by the lead developer, Karri, who never fails to troubleshoot issues in a timely manner. And that’s just been our personal experience.
Let’s again take a look at the reviews.
Seems like people agree. Great customer service rarely goes unnoticed, and is in large part why the Lifetimely App has continued grow.
The Sesami App is a Shopify app that allows you to seamlessly add appointment booking features to your store. Integrating directly with your Shopify account, Sesami makes it easy to sell services the same way you do your other products.
We use Sesami almost exclusively when setting up appointment scheduling features for clients. According to several of our clients, Sesami makes it incredibly easy to manage schedules directly from the app, nearly eliminating the need for a separate employee scheduler.
Getting started with Sesami is as painless as any appointment scheduler we’ve ever worked with. After installation, you’re prompted to add team members and their availability to the schedule.
From there, you can add services, link them to team members, and sell them the same way you would any other product.
We did a walkthrough setup for a fictitious store, and were able to setup a full team of 10 in less than 15 minutes. Not so bad for a tool that will likely save you hours of time.
Upon completing initial setup, it’s clear that Sesami functions as needed. With a functioning calendar, and the stress free ability to add services for sale, it passes the “app quality” test.
And of course, for additional backup, their reviews reflect the same sentiments. With over 70 5-star reviews and an average 4.7 star rating, Sesami is a well functioning program.
When considering whether it makes sense for your business, it’s important again to think about it’s price compared to other software. At $19/monthly for 2-5 team members and $49/monthly for larger teams, it does require a monetary investment.
Much like with Lifetimely, if the value it returns is greater than the monthly cost(which it probably is), Sesami is a logical choice for your store.
As one of the most popular apps listed in the Shopify App Store, Sesami has built a strong customer support team to troubleshoot all issues. When we had an issue with a clients unique need to schedule far out in the future, Sesami support staff assisted us and created a custom solution within an hour.
A quick look at the reviews shows other customers feel the same way.
When lost time equals lost revenue, it’s comforting to know Sesami has your back at a moments notice.
Chances are you’re already familiar with Pinterest, the image sharing social media platform. What you may or may not know is how valuable Pinterest can be for businesses.
With 84% of weekly users saying they use Pinterest to make purchasing decisions, utilizing the platform for your business is a no-brainer.
The Pinterest Shopify App automatically creates pins for each of your products. From there, you can categorize pins and reach an audience ready to purchase.
For example, say you own a candle company, the Pinterest Shopify App would upload your candle inventory as individual pins. You can then adjust the displayed images, and be seen by those looking through Pinterest for great candles! With the click of a button, eager buyers are taken to your site to make their purchase.
Upon installation of the Pinterest Shopify App, you’re directed to either login or register for a Pinterest account. If you’re registering a new account, make sure it’s a business account and not personal. Business accounts offer additional features that are not available to personal accounts.
Once you’re logged in and have your credentials saved, Pinterest automatically uploads your products and pins them to your board.
In a test with a fictitious store, we were able to get things completely setup in less than 10 minutes.
Once things are setup, you have a wide range of options from within your Pinterest account. While not necessary, we always advise creating Pinterest specific featured images to better appeal to users. More about that can be found here.
It’s important to note that the Pinterest app is merely a sync between your store and your Pinterest account. The majority of the setup that will be needed will take place within Pinterest itself, and not through your Shopify Dashboard.
As merely a link between your store and a 3rd party service, the merit of the app is largely based on its ability to maintain and update a connection.
We’ve been using the Shopify Pinterest App with a very high volume client for over 6-months, and have never had any connection issues with the app. Upon the addition of a new product, the app uploads and new pin that can be found immediately in the Pinterest Dashboard.
Per usual, don’t take our word for it. Numerous 5-star reviews on the App Store tout how easily and consistently the app refreshes data between the two party’s. This definitely passes our “quality test”.
How about determining if Pinterest is the right decision for you? Unlike the other apps discussed, Pinterest is a social platform that makes sense for nearly every business. If you or your staff has the minimal time to manage a Pinterest account, this app really is a no-brainer.
One of the benefits of using an app developed by a large organization is the support that often comes with. Pinterest, which is known for providing excellent customer support, surely doesn’t fail with this app.
Should you need any assistance, a support team member is a chat, email or phone call away. And better yet, due to it’s reach, often times forums like Reddit and Shopify Forums are a great place to find Pinterest App specific help in a fraction of the time of speaking with a service rep.
If you’ve ever wondered how to keep track of all your customers, Hubspot is your answer. Hubspot helps you upgrade your marketing by managing customer emails, paid media, abandoned carts and much more.
With their Shopify App, Hubspot specifically pulls the metrics that mean most to your store. The ability to nurture abandoned carts, add smarter CTA’s to your site, and reach non-active visitors with re-engagement ads directly leads to increased revenue and boosted KPI’s.
Much like Pinterest, the Hubspot Shopify App is merely a link between Shopify and your Hubspot account. Because of this, setup is easy.
Once the Hubspot App is installed, you’re prompted to login to your Hubspot account. If you don’t have an account, feel free to set one up here before continuing.
After all your credentials are figured out, Hubspot will import your data to its servers and you’re done! You now have the power of Hubspot at your fingertips.
As noted before, Hubspot is a powerful CRM tool that has the power to grow your sales immensely. To learn more about Hubspot, check out this link.
As another syncing app, the judge of service is in its ability to seamlessly transmit data between the two mediums. In our experience with clients, we have yet to experience a connectivity issue.
A glance at its Shopify App Store reviews shows several 5-star reviews applauding the Hubspot Shopify Apps’ ease of use.
As a paid service, Hubspot requires a serious look to determine feasibility. We recommend trying their free version before ultimately making a decision. If the value added outweighs the cost, go for it.
Hubspot customer support is the biggest reason we’ve included them on this list. While we strongly believe in their services, their customer support team is second to none.
On top of having an easy to reach support staff, they also maintain a variety of support documents to help you find solutions.
With a CRM, it’s vital to have the right information at the right time. With an incredible support team, the Hubspot Shopify App is able to ensure that you won’t experience any downtime.
We hope that you’re able to utilize one, if not more of our Shopify app favorites.
It can be difficult to parse through the sea of available apps and find the best fit for your business. While there certainly is a bit of guess work involved, a strict framework like our “three considerations” is a great way to filter out the noise.
Give our method a try, give these apps a try, and let us know what you think.
As always, our Shopify team is here to assist you with anything you may need along the way!