As a growing ecosystem with more than 275,000 merchants, Shopify has a lot to offer the eCommerce world. If you can design and implement an app through Shopify, then you could get even more out of your online ecosystem.
Of course, if you've ever tried to tackle an app creation project in the past before - either for Shopify or otherwise, you'll know that designing and marketing something that can effectively stand out from the crowd isn't always as simple as it seems.
Merchants have countless options to choose from in the existing app pool, and their decision over whether or not to use your app will be influenced by a range of factors. So, when you decide to develop an app, you'll need to make sure it's something that your merchants will actively want to buy and use. Here are a few tips to help you do just that.
1. Start with a Great Idea
Choosing an idea, or finding a reason to build your app is one of the most complicated things you'll have to do when you're starting your development journey. The good news is that there are a couple of things you can use to track down viable concepts. For instance, a good Shopify app will often be able to solve a problem for merchants. A good way to start identifying problems is by becoming an active member in Shopify forums. These are places where merchants go to discuss their business development and find ways to improve their stores. By participating in the discussions that take place online, you can generally find gaps that could easily be filled by a new app.
2. Validate Your Idea
If you have an idea that you think could become a real winner for your business, and you want to validate it, then you can start by creating something called an "MVP". This means "Minimum Viable Product", and it allows you to build a minimum set of features that are just enough to help you launch your product. By creating your MVP, you'll be able to test your ideas out with your users and avoid the full-scale development of the products your merchants might not really want.
Start off by prototyping your app, and thinking of ways that you can get it into the hands of as many merchants as possible to gather feedback and enhance app quality.
3. Design Your App
Since your background is likely to be in core development instead of design, Shopify helpfully provides developers with a range of tools that could help them to improve the visual appearance and UX of their app. Shopify also has an app store where you can list your finished product.
With a single click, the merchants interested in your product will be able to install your app on their stores, and approve charges - all of this is taken care of by Shopify, which improves the onboarding process for users.
The embedded App SDK on Shopify allows your app to integrate seamlessly into the Shopify admin centre. The benefit of this is that your merchants won't have to learn a new interface just to access your app. Instead, it will look like a native feature of the admin.
4. Simplify Development
Remember, Shopify apps can be developed using Python, Ruby on Rails, or any other coding language. Shopify also provides a gem that can help you to get started if you're using Ruby on Rails, and there are many integration libraries out there to choose from. The libraries integrate with your chosen development system to give you a basic skeleton for your app.
Remember, if you want the best chances of success, then you should probably start searching for ways to pool resources and tools together that will cut down your workload in the long-term. As Shopify app popularity has grown over recent years, countless new solutions have begun to emerge to make development easier for new and building companies.
5. Remember to Keep Updating
Finally, just because you've developed a potentially successful application for Shopify, doesn't mean that your work is necessarily done. If you want to stay ahead of the competition and earn your place in the market, then you'll need to be willing to give your merchants an exciting and innovative experience by constantly updating the features your app has to offer.
Keep an eye out for the trends emerging in the marketplace, and make sure that you're ready to respond whenever someone notices a glitch or problem with your app.