Shopify offers a ton of powerful built-in features you need to build a profitable ecommerce store. That said, most successful businesses out there on the Shopify platform cannot just reply on these basic features, and would have utilise a host of either free or paid apps to bring their vision to life.
These visions can be in the form of specific features such as a subscription service (such as Bold Subscriptions or Subscriptions by Recharge) or installing key sales conversion apps such as product reviews, trust badges, or product upsells. Think of Shopify apps as "plugins" to give your store a boost and make sure it is performing at optimal level.
Over my time as a Shopify Partner, I have curated a list of top 10 Shopify apps that I strongly recommend you as a Shopify merchant to have. Don't think of these as just "apps", think of them as fundamental sales conversion must-have features in order to convert visitors into paying customers!
1. Trust Badges
No matter which of the top global online stores you've shopped in, chances are there is an assurance given that shopping in their store is going to be safe. Many a times merchants tend to get a lot of abandon carts and lose sales because the level of trust is not high enough for customers to be willing to use their credit card or PayPal in your store.
Trust badges are key to conveying to your customers 2 main messages: first, that shopping with your store is going to be a safe experience. Shoppers don't have to worry about credit card theft or privacy issues, which are pertinent worries that potential customers naturally have; second, highlighting the major forms of payment methods you accept (e.g. Mastercard, VISA, PayPal, etc.).
Tip: Place trust badges directly below your Add to Cart or Quick Buy button in your product page for best effect. We want to make these badges prominent and convey the message of trust when they are making the decision to buy.
2. Countdown Timer
This can get pretty subjective, so I'm going to share the ideal situation to use it. How a countdown timer works is pretty simple - you see that widget in product page that's counting down in real time? That works as a psychological tactic to inform you that whatever promotion is going on is for a limited time only.
Once the timer hits zero, the promotion, be it a discount or buy 1-get-1-free offer, is gone.
And that's the ideal way we want to use countdown timer. Sometimes, owners do not want "timers" because it can look spammy or messy. However if we do it right, it is an absolute conversion booster. Don't use it on products not on sale then. Use it on discounted products, or promotional products for the best effect.
3. Product Reviews
If I were to point out the ONE must have conversion feature in any ecommerce store, it has to be product reviews.
Don't just take my word for it, here's what Shopify has to say about reviews:
Nearly 95% of shoppers read reviews before making a purchase, which means reviews are essential for establishing trust.
In today's day and age, customers don't buy simply because you tell them how awesome the product is. They buy after making an informed decision themselves. Product reviews is like peer-to-peer sharing; it lets customers know exactly what others thought about the product after they purchased it.
The is crucial especially for new stores - it's going to be a hard time convincing potential buyers if you offer a product with zero reviews or testimonials. On the flip side, showcasing reviews is the ultimate form of social proof that speaks for itself, and has huge compounding effects on your business.
4. Product Upsell
Having a proper upsell system in place is often overlooked by amateurs or new merchants. But the most profitable Shopify stores know that it is an absolute conversion booster that they cannot live without.
An upsell serves as a call to action to encourage your customers to buy more than just one product. Perhaps they added to cart a toddler bag? Recommend them some breastfeeding kits or baby pacifiers. Or if they are just buying one part of an entire collectable series? Upsell them the remaining products to collect em' all.
The key to making upsells work is to recommend related products. Offer more value. In addition, make it a win-win situation for both you an your buyer but offering bundle discounts. For instance, if they buy a bundle of 3 products together, they get additional 10% off the entire order. You win because it increases your revenue and average order volume (AOV), and customers win because, well, they get to save money.
5. Live Chat
I would recommend having a live chat feature in your store not only because of it's primary function which is to let customers speak to someone in real time, but also because it gives the impression of a busy, genuine store that is ready to do business.
That is of course, you respond quickly to new enquiries. That's why it's LIVE!
Many a times customers either don't have the patience to find certain information they're looking for, or don't know where to find them. In this case a live chat feature is there to give them an exact answer and also helps to reduce bounce rate.
As found by Shopify,
Live chat is consistently rated as having the highest satisfaction levels across all support channels; customers like that they get answers fast, can multitask, and feel it’s the most efficient use of their time.
6. Sales Pop
Recommended apps: Sales pop master - countdown
When you see a name like Sales Pop, we can pretty much expect it to stick out. And that's exactly what it does. A sales pop is a widget that automatically display recent sales notifications in order to boost customer's order decision.
They come in the form of pop ups, usually in the bottom left hand corner of your store, and gives the impression of a live, busy store. It reinforces the much needed social proof in your store that there's actually a steady flow of transactions going on (psychologically, that you are a trusted brand with many happy customers!).
7. Currency Converter
If you're selling to multiple countries, having a currency converter is a must. When it comes to conversion optimization, you want to make sure shoppers go through as little effort as possible to get the information they need. In the case of your product prices, you don't want to have them manually convert the prices to their home currency.
With the use of an app, you can install a widget that allows customers to easily select the currency of their choice, reducing any friction or uncertainties towards the checkout process. Better yet, certain apps have premium features that automatically converts the price to shoppers home currency, depending on where they are visiting from.
8. Bulk Product Editor
We know how tedious and time consuming it can get when you handle large inventories. There's just so many things to work on - your descriptions, image sizes and resolutions, prices, alt tags, so on and so forth. Luckily, there's some amazing bulk editor apps in Shopify to make your life easier.
For instance, the Bulk Image Editor allows you to simply utilize a pre-set template to perfect your image alt tag. You simply select or premake your desired SEO template, and the app will automatically complete your image alt tag for all your products with just one click - no matter if you have a hundred or a thousand product images. Simply put, a bulk product editor app will save your precious time on repetitive work so you can focus on more important things (such as working on that Holiday campaign!)
9. Email Marketing Platform
The importance of email marketing cannot be overstated. And it still works. In fact, many business are not utilising this key platform and leaving a ton of money on the table, period.
Email marketing is the practice of sending marketing messages to prospective and current customers via email in order to sell, educate, or build loyalty. Email is an “owned” digital marketing channel—that is, the sender fully controls the content and distribution—and typically works best when used to send personal, relevant messages to segmented lists of recipients. Email is an especially important tool in relation to ecommerce, where it’s used for sending transactional, promotional, and lifecycle messages.
When you properly implement an email system for your ecommerce store, you are unlocking a very powerful marketing tool to generate recurring sales and brand loyalty. The sky is the limit for email marketing, and there's a ton of creative email campaigns that work, including abandon cart series, welcome emails, discounts/promotional mails, RSS feeds, and more.
10. Store Analytics Tracker
Recommended apps: Hotjar
Having an analytics app is pivotal to any serious online business. Looking into analytics and customer behavior gives you key empirical insights into how customers are actually responding to your store. This allows you to tweak your store based on actual evidence and not guess work.
Gathering analytic data also lets you measure and track progress of your campaigns, allowing you to compare and see the effectiveness of your strategies. Running headfirst and throwing your resources into marketing without implementing tracking apps such as Hotjar is like a fighter going into a boxing match blind. And it won't turn out well for the fighter.
Putting it all together
Shopify apps are wonderful, and at times, a live saver. When utilized properly, they can make a big difference in whether your store becomes profitable, or just becomes another statistic.
That said, it is a sin to install every single Shopify app out there. That's a newbie mistake. The reason why I recommend these 10 because these are by and large the ones you need, especially if you are a new store. The key to making it work is integration; Shopify apps must work in sync with each other and not appear messy, disruptive, or annoying.
Leave in the comments which of these apps helped you, and what other apps you'd recommend!