How we’re helping developers help merchants in 2022 — Shopify App Development

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Feb 22, 2022


Running a successful online business is only getting harder, which is why our growing, global merchant base turns to the Shopify ecosystem for help. These merchants need Shopify to be the simplest, safest, and most personalized commerce ecosystem in the world. And that’s why we’re making significant improvements to how merchants discover, select, and make use of apps and themes this year. 

As more and more merchants join Shopify to grow and scale, so too does the need for innovative solutions from developers that can power their success. In fact, the average merchant uses 6 apps to manage their business. This demand creates new opportunities for our developers to succeed and shape the future of commerce. This natural alignment between merchant and developer success is a cornerstone of our platform strategy—we can’t do this without you. 

We’re going to be experimenting with new approaches so we can learn how best to help merchants and make our ecosystem safe, simple, and personalized. In this post, we’ll share a bit more about our plans and how you can get involved. 

Simple: Making it easy for merchants to get help 

When merchants sign up for Shopify, they need to learn about the set of apps and themes that will get them to their first sale. We want to make it as easy as possible to get to these solutions, so we’re focused on major UX improvements that will take as much burden off merchants. We’ll help merchants understand what apps are and get them everything they need to set up their store, build product catalogs, run marketing initiatives, and make operations and support more efficient. 

A few areas we’re working on: 

  • Intuitive navigation: We’re learning how merchants browse apps and themes and testing different approaches, including focusing more on merchant goals than app taxonomy.
  • Clearer categories: We’ll provide educational context on what different categories are used for, so that developers can explain their apps more clearly. 
  • App and theme cards: We’re experimenting with highlighting different details about apps and themes depending on what context they’re in, from the homepage to search results. 

Safe: Increasing trust between merchants and developers

Merchants expect apps and themes to be functional and effective, to work reliably and quickly, and to keep their customers’ data private and secure. Most of our partners share these goals and work hard to earn and keep merchant trust. But we’ll also be tightening controls on the small minority of fraudulent actors, which helps merchants while also levelling the playing field for trustworthy developers. 

We’ll provide clearer guidelines for how to meet these new standards, plus make it easier to test app quality and get approval for new apps. We’re also focused on:

  • Performance and reliability: Apps and themes should be fast, responsive, reliable, and optimized for mobile. We’re updating APIs and have added new checks to help you, including removing apps that don’t install properly and notifying developers to fix issues. 
  • Privacy and security: Merchants want to know developers are treating data with care, adhering to platform policies, and meeting relevant laws and regulation. Developers can reinforce trust by using the API responsibly and keeping apps up-to-date.
  • Trust: We want to make it easier for merchants to find useful reviews, getting quick signals on an app or theme’s quality. We also want to share insights back to developers about how their products are being used and evaluated. Fake reviews erode trust, and we continue to strengthen tools that flag potentially fraudulent reviews. 

Personalized: Getting merchants to the right solution for them

Merchants have a lot on their plate, so we want to guide them to the most relevant apps and themes for them, as quickly as possible. We’ve made improvements to the Shopify App Store around discovery and personalization, but we’re only getting started. We’re also focused on: 

  • Personalized recommendations: We’re showing merchants recommendations that take into account the maturity of their business, the country their store operates in, and what kind of business they’re in. We’ll continue to deepen the quality of these recommendations and show them in new highly contextual surfaces in the future. 
  • App details pages that convert: We recently made app images and video more prominent on the app details page. Next we’re updating app categories, so it’s easier for merchants to learn about and compare apps at a glance. We’ll share details on these updates so you can ensure your apps are described accurately. There will also be new merchandising opportunities that’ll help your app continue to stand out. 
  • Smarter search: Right now search queries are a mix of app brand names, app categories, and goals, like “improve AOV” or “returns management.” We’re now recommending app names, showing suggested categories, and saving search history so merchants can get to the right solutions quicker. 

Unlocking new opportunities for growth

We want to get more proactive with sharing new areas of opportunity with developers, using our insight into merchant needs and market trends. Today, we wanted to highlight two areas ripe for innovation: international and mobile.

International

In 2022, worldwide ecommerce sales will exceed $5 trillion for the first time. Increasingly, merchants are looking to sell to customers in other markets, and we are seeing more entrepreneurs launch stores in different countries, too. Already 20% of merchants use Shopify in a language other than English.

Going global isn’t easy, though. Developers play a key role here, helping merchants in all stages of the buyer journey—including attracting shoppers in new markets, delivering a compelling experience in multiple languages, handling multi-currency and tax considerations, and managing fulfillment at a global scale. 

Localizing existing apps and themes will make them more relevant and valuable to a larger pool of merchants and provide an opportunity to grow your existing business.

Mobile

We all know shoppers are browsing and buying more on their phones than ever before. So too are merchants, who are increasingly starting and managing their businesses on mobile devices. This becomes even more true in high-growth markets like Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, so building with mobile in mind is a foundation for future growth.

Making app and theme management simple, easy and intuitive on mobile is a priority. We will move the current mobile experience from a light, companion app to robust, full-store management. We’ll share details on how to make your apps and themes more mobile friendly soon.

What’s next

We want to make it easy for merchants to find apps and themes that solve their business’ unique challenges. To do that, we’ll be experimenting across Shopify surfaces to learn how merchants get what they need from the ecosystem. Whenever possible, we’ll share the details of those experiments —what we’re testing and what we learn—directly to the developer community through email, blog posts, and social channels.

And please know, we’re all ears for more feedback. You can share in the Partner Slack or reach out to partner support

Shopify paid out more than $441 million to developers last year, and we want to help developers achieve even more this year. Learn more about what we’re building and how you can take part at the next Partner Town Hall: 

Partner Town Hall: 2022 Kick Off – March 10th

Hear from Shopify leadership on the trends, challenges and opportunities facing merchants and how we’re empowering developers to help. 

Register now

NAKISISA GEORGE

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