One of the good things about being on a leading ecommerce platform — Bigcommerce, in my case — is the ability to easily connect third-party apps to your store.
Apps are born out of someone’s desire to utilize the native platform in a new and exiting way. Some apps are built to make tasks more efficient, while others focus on making functionality more robust. Sometimes an app is designed to simply do something in a slightly different manner.
Periodically, I’ll browse the Bigcommerce app store to see if there is any new or exciting apps that can help me drive revenue, increase conversion rates, help with customer retention, or simply help make the task of running my online store easier.
It’s important to understand the technical consequences of installing an app in your live environment. For example, if you’re installing an app that will manage your inventory, back up your current inventory database, as it will likely be affected during the installation process. Other apps may require you to make slight modifications to your store’s theme. Again, it’s a good idea to back up the theme’s files prior to modifying the code.
Secondly, consider if the modification will truly add value to your online store. For instance, if your customer base has a specialized knowledge of how to best use your products, it would be a tremendous value to connect those people through enhanced product reviews, adding a comment section on product pages, or even creating a community within your online store.
Lastly, think about the time and energy related to the management and oversight of the app. If you’re rolling out a loyalty program, which member of the team will decide and implement the rules on when customers should be rewarded? How much of this process do you want automate and how much should maintain the human element? While apps can provide you with unprecedented opportunity, be mindful what will change on both the admin and the customer side.
Ecommerce platforms presumably have a vetting process to list an app. But there are instances when apps will be available outside of a platform’s official app store. One easy way to test whether or not an app will work for you is to create a second store, to experiment. If you find that you’re constantly tweaking things, you might consider paying for a second monthly subscription. Alternatively, the store’s trial period is a great mechanism to achieve this.
Apps can have various pricing models that are oftentimes success based. One of my favorite apps, Signifyd, is an additional layer of fraud monitoring. It offers a pricing model that is free up to a certain number of transactions in exchange for placing its logo on your online store.
A good way to unlock a discount or utilize services for free is in exchange for content marketing or a case study that highlights the way you are utilizing the app. This is a mutually beneficial way for both you and the company that developed the app to get brand exposure.
Apps can transform your store into something new and exciting for both you and the customers at very little cost compared to hiring a company to build a proprietary solution. Most apps offer support and are updated, to change with the times.