Shopify has invested a significant amount of time and resources to its core platform over the last few years. Their out-of-the-box marketing tools, marketplace integrations, and merchandising features equip retailers with many of the resources needed to run a lucrative business. However, the standard features do have their limits. The platform has to stay true to a general customer archetype. Like any widely-used software, Shopify can’t extend its features far enough to handle all business types and verticals.
Enter the Shopify App Store. The Shopify community has done a great job of bridging the gap between the platform’s core functions and sometimes-complex retailer needs through native and third-party apps. There are tons of options and solutions. A question I hear often is “There are so many choices. How do I know which ones are right for my business?” In this blog post, I’ll answer that question with some of our favorite Shopify apps. We use many of these on a daily basis. So read on to discover the best value for your money, the best app makers, and maybe even some things to watch out for
Shopify Developed Apps
Google Shopping lists your product SKUs on Google’s Product Listing Ads program. Using this tool you can assign each product to its correct Google Shopping category (like toys, women’s t-shirts, etc.) and designate whether you want to list that individual product.
Getting this app up and running takes some manual configuration, but once it’s set up, maintenance is low. The app notices when you make changes to the price, description, etc., and it’ll dynamically change your advertising to match. Google’s whole focus is to provide really accurate, well-matched search results for each query. That means the more data you can provide, the better, since it will improve Google’s automated matching.
One word of warning: Be aware that if you restart your shopping feed while migrating from another platform to Shopify, or if you delete your previous feed, Google will delist all your products. Your feed will be restarted and you’ll lose any link juice you had with their system.
While there are many great review apps in the Shopify App Store (like Yotpo or Rivio, I really like overall value you get with Shopify’s Product Reviews app. Not only is it free, it just works. If you are migrating from another cart, you can import reviews, publish and manage reviews quickly. Even better, Product Reviews is compatible with the vast majority of stock or custom Shopify themes.
Facebook has more than 1.8 billion users. What if you could take advantage of that by communicating with customers directly through Facebook Messenger? The Messenger app does just that. You can send direct real-time messages using Facebook Messenger to send order details, provide customer service, and even deliver tracking numbers.
The best thing about this app is that it dodges the need to convince a customer to download and use a unique app. If your customer is shopping online, they likely already know how to use Facebook. This app lets you go to where the customers are: in their comfort zones.
Smart Search & Instant Search by Searchanise
Price: $0-54 monthly
Smart Search & Instant Search offers two functions in one app, and it’s the answer to all your search problems. With features you’ll usually only find with expensive services, the value is hard to beat. Users can search by SKU, collection, product type, content pages, blog posts, and more. It will autosuggest top search terms, autocomplete search queries, and recommend alternate spellings or synonyms when a query doesn’t yield results.
I have been extremely impressed with the app’s ability to “just work” right out of the box. Installation is straightforward and doesn’t require a developer. The search results page is very user friendly and the mobile front-end experience is great. I recommend this app to all clients on Shopify and Shopify Plus.
Bonus: Pricing is based on your product catalog size, so you’ll know how much you’ll pay each month. No more guessing about monthly search query amounts or page views.
Chatra by Roger Wilco LLC
Price: $0-19 monthly
Chatra is one of the best Live Chat options available on Shopify. If you’ve never used a chat line for customer service, it’s time to try it. There are a host of benefits and possibilities, including the big one: Reducing abandoned carts when customers get stuck in checkout.
Chatra is a great place to start. A few of its outstanding features: triggered chats, saved chats and saved responses (for frequent questions or recurring issues, and group chat for collaborative troubleshooting. It even gleans valuable visitor information and user stats that you can pass on to your Shopify Plus Partner, like Gauge, to identify and solve UX issues.
inkFrog Open (eBay app) by inkFrog, Inc.
Price: $0-29 monthly
One of the most annoying parts of merchandising your store online is that typically, you’re forced to repeat the same merchandising on multiple systems. With inkFrog you can reduce the hassle of maintaining your Shopify product catalog and your eBay store separately. It essentially syncs your stores, dynamically reviewing and updating your inventory and product data.
One drawback: The only element I find lacking is a limited selection of eBay design templates. I’d love to see inkFrog offer more options.
Loyalty Reward Points by Sweet Tooth
Price: Free for Shopify retailers with up to 500 customers enrolled; after that, plans start at $59 monthly
As most retailers know, your best customer is your current customer. Take advantage of Sweet Tooth’s advanced rewards program to continue to remarket and retain customers. Sweet Tooth is one of the best rewards programs on the market. They’ve been around the block and their features are fantastic. The app lets customers earn points with purchase, enables sharing functions, and even lets you award bonus points as a birthday gift.
Transportr Redirect Management by Transportr
Price: $5 monthly
Transportr is a 404 and 301 redirect management solution. The app analyzes your traffic history and shows you where customers are hitting 404 pages (i.e. “Page not found” messages). With this info, you can easily redirect those links to the proper location on your site to increase customer satisfaction and engagement on the site. Transportr is my favorite feature for migrations, because you can use a CSV to import originally indexed urls and assign where they should go in Shopify. It’ll save you tons of time.
ShipperHQ by ShipperHQ
Price: See note below
If your business uses unique shipping rules, you’ll need to invest in a program that can support them; Shopify’s native shipping rules won’t be robust enough for your needs. ShipperHQ is the solution I recommend. It’s a one-stop-shop for all your Shopify shipping rate needs. With this app you can restrict certain shipping methods, create sku-based rules for locations, set surcharges for certain orders, and much more.
Important note: This app is currently in beta and available by request only. To try it out, contact ShipperHQ directly. See for yourself what ShipperHQ can do for you by checking out their instructional videos here.
Also Bought by Code Black Belt
Price: $5.99 monthly
Does your store have thousands of products with many different collections? Do you wish you could recommend additional products according to what your customer is viewing or purchasing? Also Bought is the app for you. It brings the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” feature from famous sites like Amazon to your own Shopify store.
When a customer hits the product detail page, they’ll be shown product recommendations based on what other users have viewed and purchased. The power of offering a truly dynamic product mix to your customers can improve your site’s shopping experience and increase your average order value. The best thing about Also Bought: You set it and forget it!
Price: Free (used with a free or premium MailChimp account)
Over the last few years we have really fallen in love with MailChimp. With an easy-to-use platform and features, killer product support, and a company-wide dedication to helping eCommerce retailers automate and sell more, we typically recommend the ‘Chimp to all our clients.
The MailChimp app quickly and easily connects your Shopify store to your MailChimp account. The integration lets you stream newsletter signups into specific lists, share website data with MailChimp for automated campaigns, or even set up abandoned cart emails to retain customers and gain more sales. At Gauge we love things that “just work,” and MailChimp for Shopify falls squarely into that category.
Bonus: Chrome Extension
ShopifyFD by Freakdesign
ShopifyFD is a chrome extension (not available for Firefox or Internet Explorer) designed to save Shopify retailers time. This purely back-end tool will show meta fields inline with the stock attributes in Shopify, and gives you easy access to add, edit, and bulk modify metafields. It’s also got a few other handy features, like bulk adding simple shipping rates, backups, jumping to open orders with one click, removing all tags or bulk adding a tag to all products, and more. For a free tool that’ll save you some time, you can’t beat it.
So, there you have it: Some of our favorite Shopify apps and tools. Have you tried any of these? Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments!