Custom app vs paid app, what is best for your Shopify online store?

by Pamela Dominguez January 25, 2023

Custom app vs paid app, what is best for your Shopify online store?

Now that you own a Shopify store, you might have noticed that there are some functionalities missing from your theme, and that Shopify’s system isn’t covering. That’s because each business has its own particular necessities, and those are simply too wide to be fully covered by Shopify, specifically when each industry is growing and expanding to reach new and more complex needs. 


Here’s where apps come in handy. Shopify has made available an app store that works specifically for every Shopify store created. In this place, you’ll find a wide range of apps to cover most of your particular needs, with a huge range of apps by category that will match your budget and expectations. 


So before you contact a developer to create custom coding for your store, it’s always a good idea to investigate Shopify’s app store first. 


Once you have checked closely to the app store, and if you find no app that meets your needs, that’s when a custom development or an app development is exactly what you need. 


So let’s understand a little more about the pros and cons of each of these options.


Apps from Shopify app store


Shopify’s app store is full of options, whether you simply need to change how your store looks or it’s management. Start by being clear on the solution you’re looking for and search by category.  


Let’s say you need to add a bundle option so your clients can add multiple products to their cart. If you look up for “bundle”, you’ll get more than 200 results of apps that offer bundle options. 


It might feel a bit daunting, but you’ll have to review each app and see which one meets your needs, since they all are different in terms of functionalities and pricing plans. Some are even free to use depending on things like the number of monthly sales, amount of products, etc, so if you are just starting with your business and need to be very mindful of the money, this might be a great option for you. 


By the way, based on our experience, Bold Bundles is one of the best apps for bundles. If you are looking for a great app to offer bundles, you can check it out here. 


If you’re unsure if an app is right for you, you can always add it to your store and test it. Each app offers a different trial, some offer you only a few days, others are free until you meet certain criteria. Be sure to check this before installing it in your store, so that you have plenty of time to play with it. 


If you want to install and app for testing, you can go to your Admin, find “Apps” on your left menu and click the “Visit Shopify app store” button. One you’re in the apps store, you can locate the app that you want to add and, in the app information page, you’ll find a button in the top left that says “Add app”. You’ll be redirected to your admin to authorize the installation. Click the “Install app” button and you can start using it. 


Please have in mind that apps have 3 types of charges: recurring (these are usually monthly subscriptions), usage (depending on the number of sales, clicks, orders, and other criteria particular to your online store), and one-time. Be sure to uninstall the app before the trial is over, otherwise, you’ll get your charge on the next Shopify billing. 


If you have checking with multiple apps and none seems to offer exactly what you need, then it’s time to opt for a custom app development.


Custom app development


Many times, no matter how much you search, there’s simply no app that meets your needs. In this case, a custom app development might be the solution. 


Have in mind that app developments are pricy in the beginning, but in the long term, they might be cheaper. The reason is simple, a monthly subscription to an app is a monthly investment for as long as you need that app, no matter if it goes on for years. A custom development is a one-time investment that might work for the same amount of time, but you’ll only have to pay for a fraction of the time compared to a subscription app. 


We don’t recommend paying for an app development if your business is brand new and you have no real experience, but if you have been in business for a while, this might be a great option for you. 


Another reason why this might be a great investment is that you can implement multiple options or functionalities from multiple apps into a single app. So let’s say you have one app for managing pre-orders and another one to manage subscriptions, and you’re paying a monthly subscription for each. Having both functionalities implemented in the same app might save you lots of money in the long run. 


In order to see if you need a custom app development, always keep in touch with a Shopify Expert and have a clear understanding of the functionalities you need implementing, the ideal workflow of the app, how should it impact on the price, etc. All these details will help the Expert come up with a more accurate quote for your custom app. Let us help you! Contact us today by clicking here and tell us more about what kind of app development are you after. 



We’ll be happy to help you


Hiring a Shopify Expert can help you streamline your store's development. Having the experience of working with hundreds of stores online, we have developed a systemized process to set up any new Shopify store by following e-commerce best practices that will work for your business and actually give you a competitive advantage.


Here are a few things we can do for you:



Ready to work with us? Contact us today by clicking here and tell us more about your business!



Pamela Dominguez
Pamela Dominguez

Author

Pamela has been working for more than 10 years with creatives and small business owners helping them developing brands that feel close and authentic. Her creative and busy mind comes in handy when juggling maternity, creativity, and entrepreneurship is a daily challenge. You'll see her with a good coffee, a great book, and a lovely cat as she goes through her day, helping people love their brands and their businesses.


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