One of the best assets of any Shopify merchant is access to the Shopify App Store. With more than 7000 apps available, merchants can customize their store and experience to perfectly suit their goals and their customers’ needs.
With so many apps though, how does anyone know which to choose? Or which type of app they actually need?
Today we’re going to look at 5 different types of app every store owner needs to level up their customer experience, along with recommendations for apps to consider.
#1 - Subscriptions
There’s no denying that subscriptions are everywhere, and for good reason too. Adding subscriptions to your store can be a huge boost for sales, loyalty, retention, and customer experience.
In days gone by, subscription commerce was most associated with curated boxes, but these days it has evolved to become so much more. From software to streaming services, groceries to meal kits, clothing to hobbies, subscriptions can fit almost any type and size of business. More than 54% of US consumers are signed up to some kind of subscription box service, and 79% expressed interest in auto-replenishment model subscriptions.
Choosing the right model is key. You can opt to go the classic curated box route, or you can go with recurring orders. Adding curated box experiences can be costly if you haven’t yet tested your subscription service, so recurring orders can be an accessible and quick way to test the waters. The classic example is coffee subscriptions - a customer orders a variety to receive every week, two weeks, monthly etc.
Pricing - Standard is free to install, plus 1% + $0.10 per transaction. Pro is $499 per month, plus 1% + $0.19 per transaction.
Recharge has been powering subscriptions on Shopify since 2014. Their platform allows merchants to quickly build and start selling subscriptions. Plus they have the tools merchants need to acquire and retain customers, building loyalty and positive brand perception in the process. Recharge makes it easy for customers to take full control of their subscription allowing them to pause, skip, and swap deliveries and products.
#2 - Order tracking
The work isn’t over when the customer hits “checkout” - what happens in their post-purchase experience is just as important. Get that experience right, and you could earn a loyal customer. Miss the mark, and you’ll just have another one-off order at best, and a negative review at worst.
One of the areas in post-purchase that merchants frequently drop the ball on is order tracking. It seems simple enough, and many simply give their customers the tracking link to their chosen courier partner. However, what if you use multiple courier partners with different tracking capabilities? Or the partner you choose has a clunky, slow tracking system? Even if these aren’t something you can directly control, it will still impact your customer’s overall perception of your store experience.
That’s why it’s important to take ownership of every part of your experience, including order tracking. By using an order tracking app, you can control the information customers get, and how it’s presented, regardless of which courier is used.
Pricing - $10 per month, with 7 day free trial. First 100 lookups are included, with each additional lookup charged at $0.05.
Order Lookup is a simple to set up, easy to use real-time tracking tool for Shopify that gives merchants the ability to customize their order tracking portal. Merchants can tailor everything from the aesthetics of the tracking portal, to adding notes for the customer. Customers can input their email and order number, and be presented with a clean, clear tracking portal that tells them exactly where their order is at any moment. This in turn can help reduce customer support tickets, and improve customer experience.
#3 - Gift products
Gifting is huge in ecommerce; it’s why retailers prepare so far in advance for holidays like Christmas. Gift buyers have their own unique customer journey, different to that of your usual audience. Sometimes it isn’t as simple as purchasing a product, dispatching it to their home, and then gifting it forward. Sometimes, they want to send a gift card, other times they may want to gift a subscription box.
If you want to grow sales, especially around the holiday season, you need to accommodate all different types of customers. That doesn’t just mean offering gift products, but giving them the tools and features they need to personalize their gift and send it the way that suits their needs. That may be giving them the ability to send a gift card directly via email on a specific date, rather than using Shopify’s native gift card which can only send right away to the customer’s email address.
By offering additional gift products and features, you’ll be providing a better customer experience and improve chances of retention.
Pricing - Essential is free to install, and charges 2.9% of the total gift card value. Premium is $79 per month, plus 2.25% of gift card value. Enterprise is $399 per month, plus 1.9% of total gift card value.
Govalo is a gifting solution for Shopify that enables merchants to reinvent their gifting strategy. They started by improving gift cards, as Shopify’s native solution is basic and lacks personalization. Their enhanced gift card means merchants can fully customize the UI and offer multiple gift card products, and customers can send directly to recipients, choose the time it’s sent, and add a gift note. Since launching in late 2021, they have developed even more features and integrations focused on gifting. This includes gift subscriptions through integrations with Recharge and Bold, which allow merchants to offer a real gift subscription product and experience. Between these, store credit features, giftable products, and email integrations, Govalo is an asset to any Shopify store looking to improve their gift experience.
#4 - Loyalty program
You want to give your customers as many good reasons as possible to return to your store over and over again. While your products may be great, don’t forget your competitors will be out there looking to snatch your customers! Loyalty programs are a great way to incentivize your customers to come back to your store, spend more, and engage with your brand. 57% of consumers say they spend more with brands they’re loyal to, and 79% say loyalty programs make them more likely to continue doing business with a brand.
Like other aspects of your store, you want to be able to tailor your program to your customers. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to loyalty programs. There are many different options for how customers can engage with it, whether that’s tiers vs reward points, paid upgrades, how rewards are redeemed and so on. You can also tailor the rewards to those which you believe your customers would respond best to, and test out which rewards they redeem most frequently. For example, if you want to test gift cards vs free shipping, or discounts vs products as reward options. You can also incorporate your loyalty program into your holiday promotions, offering boosted loyalty points instead of discounts or a limited time tier upgrade for over BFCM weekend.
Adding a loyalty program into your store experience is a guaranteed value add, and one which can often have little impact on your team’s time. Customers will not only enjoy your great products, but be rewarded for their continued loyalty.
Pricing - Free plan available. Other tiers include Small Business at $159 per month, Classic at $399, and Advanced at $699.
Loyalty Lion is one of Shopify’s top loyalty program apps, powering top merchants like Skinnydip, and Reserve Bar. They provide merchants with an easy to use platform to set up, manage, and grow their loyalty program. It’s also fully customizable, so it will look and feel like the rest of a store’s brand experience. It offers the flexibility to design a program that functions exactly how merchants need it to, all while helping to boost retention and reduce churn.
#5 - Reviews
Social proof is one of the most powerful tools in customer acquisition. If a customer is unsure about whether or not a product is right for them, they’re going to look to their fellow customers for help. If they see glowing reviews, it boosts trust and confidence in your products. 93% of customers read reviews before making a purchase, and they’re willing to spend 31% more on a brand with great reviews.
The power of reviews is clear, and displaying them on key pages throughout your site is vital. Not only do customers want to read reviews, they also want to see what your product really looks like outside of stylized product photography. They may also have questions about the product that they’d prefer answered by fellow customers. The more social proof features you can add to your store, the more confidence you’ll give potential customers and boost your conversion rate.
Pricing - Essential plan is $29 per month, Growth is $99, Power is $299, and Advanced is $499. Each plan comes with different caps and features.
All those added value features for reviews we just mentioned can be achieved using Okendo. This review platform for Shopify stores goes beyond just reviews, making it easy for merchants to display high-value social proof such as user generated content and Q&A style message boards. Their platform powers brands like Netflix, Skims, and Thermomix, elevating their social proof strategy beyond star ratings. With additional features such as review request email automation, analytics, and more, it’s a great option for merchants looking to bolster their social proof.
Apps and integrations take your Shopify store to the next level. They enrich your customer experience, making it so that your customers have plenty of reasons beyond just your products to come back to your store. They’ll come back because they know they can get a really great gift, or they know they’ll have reliable tracking, or they can rely on other customers to make great purchase decisions. They’ll come back because they know your store experience is far and above what your competitors offer.