First of all, give yourself a pat on your back for making it as a Shopify Partner. Going through tons of “read this before…” guides, the strict and robust review process, and the patience exercised waiting for the app to be listed on the Shopify App Store is a feat in itself. Congratulations, your app is visible to the world now!
Now that you’ve got your app listed, you must be wondering what next? We just went through this journey in 2020 and there’s a ton we learnt. As we are preparing to put out another app we realised there’s a lot we could share with the Shopify Partners community from our own learnings. I’ve included some bonus insights too.
For those still waiting for their app to be listed, do go through the Guidelines and Resources for Getting Listed in the Shopify App Store. Make sure you’re following all the specified Shopify guidelines because their reviewers have got the eyes of an eagle. All the best, we know you’ll sail through the review process!
Let’s begin by getting into some data
The app store offers more than 4200 apps. Every category has a lot of competition, so how do you stand out with so many fish in the sea?
I believe that the sea, Shopify App Store, is actually an ocean where all the fish can coexist. Let me tell you why I believe so…
Shopify App Store Potential
- 25.8 million total number of apps were installed (June, 2019)
- Merchants have spent more than $100 million in the App Store (September, 2018)
- App developers have earned $100 million with more than half of that in 2017 alone*
- $162k is the average annual earnings of the top 25% of app developers(more than 2,400 apps)*
- 23 million App Store visits and on average merchants have 6 apps installed. (*May, 2018)
In case you’re a data nerd like me, you could check out Statistics and figures about Shopify
These numbers sure look promising but the journey is not so easy. There are many veterans who leverage being early on the platform and have several apps complementing each other. And with Shopify itself being a competitor with 29 apps on the app store, it sure seems an ambitious goal for a new Shopify partner to be in the top 25% developers (where the moolah is!).
I was in the same shoes few months back when we launched Similarity on the app store. Similarity is a Similar Item Suggestor, which falls under the Upselling apps category which is a highly competitive one. As anyone would, I started by searching all over the internet for any helpful links I could find to make our new Shopify app viral. Realising the lack of easily available resources I decided to note down what I was doing and what was working. All of the experiments, as I’d like to call them, didn’t work out while some were valuable and worth sharing with existing and future Shopify Partners (like yourself!).
Let’s jump right in. These are some important steps I would suggest to follow right after your app is live.
1. Shopify Communities: A Goldmine
Here are the best Shopify Developer Communities:
- Shopify App Developers: This is a Facebook community of app developers with 6.6k members. You’ll get most of your questions answered here as it has some veterans like Shashank Kumar, founder of Pushowl and Amit Porwal, founder of Expert Village Media Technologies as active members.
- Official Shopify Communities : With more than 765k members and 885k posts, these are the communities run by Shopify itself with a very strict moderation policy. There are many sub-communities covering almost all types of discussions and topics.
- Shopify Reddit Community : It is a popular Reddit community with almost a 100k members including both merchants and developers.
- Other communities you can check out:
Ask all your doubts here and share your thoughts. These communities are also a great platform to connect with merchants and tell them about your app. Merchants actively post about their needs and ask feedback on their store, so you can tell them how your app can be useful for their store. Also you can gather insights on the need gap in the market and try to fulfil it. Very important, if you can be useful to the community by being generous with your knowledge and experiences you can build up credibility for you and/or your business.
2. Set up Google Analytics Tracking
Google Analytics, oft referred to as GA, tells you how the merchants are landing on your app listing. It tracks critical data like total active users in real time, bounce rate and traffic source. You can also track your marketing campaign here and gather insights about the visitors such as their country, visiting time, and the type of device they use. Insights from this data can be used wisely, for example, if most of your visitors come from a particular country you can try to put out listing in their local language and also reach them using targeted ads.
Most importantly you can know what type of keywords merchants use while searching for your app. Once you know the high volume keywords you can bid for them by placing ads. Depending on your ad spend you can multi-fold the traffic coming to your listing.
If you want to know how to set it up, here is a exhaustive article on it that was pretty useful: The Finest Google Analytics Setup In Shopify For Splendid Data
3. Launch your Marketing Campaigns
With your GA tracking in place you can start with your marketing activities to bring in new signups. You must have had tons of marketing ideas while waiting for your app to go live. It’s time to execute those. Below are some of the most pursued marketing activities by new Shopify partners.
- Cold Emails – Hunt for relevant Shopify leads and send out promotional emails
- Shopify Ads – Start bidding for important volume keywords. Start with the free $100 ad credit that Shopify offers
- Facebook, Reddit Ads – Decide a marketing budget and start advertising with a clearly defined target audience
- Affiliate programs – If you didn’t know, Partner Drift & ConnectPlus are dedicated affiliate platforms for new and existing Shopify partners.
- Collaboration – There are few apps which advertise about other apps to their users. You can collaborate with such apps to get more installs.
- Featuring on paid blogs – Some blog sites show up on top for Shopify related data and they leverage it by featuring various Shopify apps on their blogs in exchange for a fee.
- Writing your own blogs – Writing your own content is always a good strategy but it’s not easy to write and get ranked on Google search engine results. It’s a long term asset as it keep giving results once built well.
There are many other ways to promote your app apart from the ones I shared above. But remember whatever activity you do, give it time, measure the results and, you know it, give it your 100%.
4. Set up Automated Emails
Now with your marketing campaign running you will start getting sign ups, yeah. But you need to retain them as well. In a marketplace like the Shopify App Store, the switching cost is very low for merchants as most of the app developers offer a freemium model. It’s hard to retain customers in such a scenario, so you need to be quick in your response and offer the best support you can. You cannot afford to be late, that’s why setting up automated emails that are triggered to your customers for certain repeating events is essential.
To make life easier for you, here are some of the emails you could automate:
- Welcome Email: Greet your customers when they install your app and tell them how your app will help them in their Shopify journey. These emails assure your customers about the benefits and support provided.
- Store set up Email: Tell your customers how they can set up your app best suited to their needs. Attach a (preferably visual) guide describing various optimizations available.
- Feedback/Review Email: Set an email for about 2 – 3 weeks after installation asking for feedback. Then follow up to get your 5-star review.
- Reinstall Email: Whenever a merchant uninstalls your app, ask them politely what happened and try to resolve it as soon as possible. As it may lead to a bad review, being proactive here is important.
- Support Email: This is an acknowledgment email one should automate to trigger whenever a merchant needs support. Tell them you have received their query and will get back at a specific time. Be punctual and responsive as it builds confidence in your team.
There are many emailing solutions to set up automated emails, I recommend:
- Zoho: it’s an Indian software development company famous for its CRM tool. It also offers an emailing solution at a very affordable price.
- SendGrid: SendGrid is an emailing service trusted by some of the big brands to communicate with their key customers.
Integrating with these solutions requires a little bit of custom coding to push the data collected through your app into the solutions using API. If you want to know more about it, keep checking our blogs as I am going to write a detailed guide on it.
5. Plan and Share your Product Roadmap (v2, v3, v4…)
Most developers do a soft launch and list the MVP (minimum viable product) on the app store. They call it version 1 and keep basic functionality to test how the app performs with real users. And with a lot of user feedback and iterations, they keep launching the updates as version 2, 3, 4, etc. This is a risk-hedged way of launching a product in the market, something that has been very popular in the tech world.
So if you’ve launched your version 1, keep a list of the changes or additions you want in the next version as it helps in planning a road map. Also as a new Shopify partner, it’s very critical to understand what your users want before you start making changes. Speak to your users and understand what they want in the next update. Accordingly, give priority to the features you need to roll out. Sharing your product roadmap on your listing helps communicate to potential customers that you are committed to building a better version in the future.
Side note: Trello & Asana are useful for product management tasks.
6. Keep Optimising your Shopify App Store Listing
Optimising your listing is also important as it is the first impression an organic visitor will get. If you want to increase your conversion rate your listing should be convincing. Keep these points in mind:
- The name or the tagline of your app contains the keyword you want to rank for
- The three main features you list, should sound appealing to your target audience and have relevant images
- Put a clear and concise promo video on the listing page as it appeals the merchants
- Set up a demo store to show how your app will perform in a real environment
- Description of the app should make it very clear that what the app does
- Add neat screenshots of your app, most pages have 6 images
- Don’t forget to add what you’re cooking next, share your roadmap of upcoming features
- Research competitor pricing and offer a competitive price along with a free trial
Last but not least, you should keep updating all of the above as you keep rolling out new updates to your app.
Now time for the bonus insights
Prizes for staying till here!
- Organic traffic has higher conversion rate than the traffic acquired through various marketing activities
- Based on our GA data for past 3 months
- Conversion Rate for Organic traffic : 25%
- Conversion Rate for Inorganic traffic : 4%
- Based on our GA data for past 3 months
- The organic traffic to the app listing comes through 2 types of search: keyword search and category search
- Keyword Search: When merchants come to your listing by searching for a keyword. Keeping track of the most relevant, high volume, and long-tail keywords and ranking high for them can significantly increase your number of installs. So keep updating your app listing and notice the change in ranking. You can keep track of your app ranking on SASI (Shopify App Store Index)
- Category Search: When a merchant browses through a category and lands on your listing. It could be very effective if your app is not need-based and can grab the attention of merchants browsing through categories. Make sure your app shows up in the most relevant category.
- If you’re getting a lot of uninstalls, test if there are any issues by imitating the whole process as a merchant. Send the uninstalling merchants a polite email asking what went wrong and let them know you are a new Shopify partner and still learning. If you don’t get any response, send another mail saying that you have fixed existing issues and ask them to give you a second chance, offer some incentives.
- The uninstall rate for our app ranges between 50 – 60% for past 3 months
- Events like BFCM where merchants become very active could trigger a surge in uninstall rate.
- It varies depending on various factors like the competition in the category and type of traffic coming to your listing
- Keep checking up on your customers by sending weekly or fortnightly emails asking if they need any help with their store or if they want you to add any feature to the app
- Quick response to merchants’ queries is one of the best ways to prompt them to write reviews because they feel the instant gratitude.
- Both the reviews I got on my app are through the follow up.
- Demo Store could be a game-changer. Put up photos of how your app looks on different types of stores, share testimonials, share the results, show your upcoming features, tell them your journey. For inspiration, check out how Sparq has created an amazing demo store.
- Assure customers of the support you will provide. Share your personal contact details, set up a support chat button in the admin panel, put a contact us form in the demo store.
- Keep experimenting
I hope you are now more informed and can take better decisions to grow as a Shopify Partner and move ahead in App Development business. Would love to know the things that helped you or the ones you’re most excited to try. Drop me a message in the comments section.
On a separate note, if you’re into app development for retailers, we’d love to hear your feedback about our clienteling app which makes it possible for any retailer to start clienteling instantly without the need for technical integration. Here is an informative read on why clienteling is useful for retailers.