20 Must Have Shopify Apps & Cost Justification For Each

By Eric Kooymans ~ See more E-commerce & Marketing Tips

With 15 years of online marketing and e-commerce development, we have built and managed sites for clients using all the leading e-commerce software including Magento, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and Volusion, CS-cart and more. However, the biggest struggle and distraction for site owners using Magento, WooCommerce and CS cart is the endless upgrades.  They spend more time and money upgrading and fixing problems from updates than actually marketing and growing the website.

In contrary, with Shopify’ s e-commerce platform, you don’t have to worry about upgrades, but you still get the advantage of a huge app ecosystem with the app then all e-commerce marketing features you need for success. As a result, Shopify powers over 400k stores and has become the third most used e-commerce platform and growing fast.  Being a Shopify Partner, we go to all the Shopify Unite conferences and at the last event, Shopify said that on average stores that have over 16 apps make over $100k in sales. The reason is by default, Shopify relies on its app partners for some of the important features that key for success.

Below is a list of the Shopify apps that we use, have partnered with over the years, and strongly recommend you set up to have a perfect foundation and then an effective marketing strategy to take your site to the next level.

Step 1 – Fill The Holes & Setup A Strong Foundation

Shopify Back Up

Rewind is always the first app I install on every Shopify site. I always say, save as much as you can afford to lose and my teams and my time are valuable. Rewind will take a real-time backup of the theme, products collections, orders, etc. and keep different versions of each. So if there is a problem with the theme, client deleting products, etc., you always have a backup. I can’t tell you how many times I had a client or staff member saying Eric; I messed up. And the best part about this Shopify backup tool is you can easily pick what you want to restore and to what day and in a couple of clicks, you are quickly and fully back up. They also provide great customer support and a great team to work with.  Learn More

Cost Justification: What happens if you accidentally deleted your products, broke your theme, or messed up your lead generation page? What is the value of your time and skill to fix it? With Rewind, you can put it back to yesterday less than a 1 minute time.

Automatic Product Importer & Updates

Stock sync is one of the essential apps. It will update your inventory, pricing,  meta text fields, etc. The best part is that the app will also the automatically import products from a spreadsheet. So no more manually adding products or formatting spreadsheets. With Stocksync, you map the fields, set a schedule and it will automatically pull spreadsheet from an FTP, Dropbox link, etc. and import or update all the product information from your spreadsheet that you can quickly and easily map.  And when a product is removed from your spreadsheet, it will remove or unpublish the product from your website.  These guys also provide great customer support, and I strongly recommend them. Learn more

Cost Justification – How much time do you spend importing products, updating inventory, pricing, etc. This app could cover the cost of an employee. Highly recommended.

Shopify Landing Page Builder

One weakness of most CMS solutions and especially with is the page builder. In summary, there is not one. Just a place for a title and the body. There are no advanced layouts, an advanced editor, visual composer tool built into Shopify. However, the Shogun landing page builder does a great job build any advanced layout landing page you need. So don’t settle for the basic Shopify page layout, get the Shopify landing page builder take your Services page, FAQs, about us, contact us, testimonials to the next level. Not to mention, if you run paid search campaigns, landing pages are essential to generate an effective CPA and allows you to A/B test and optimization. In addition, you can also turn on/off blocks for different devices which are great for mobile lead generation pages.  If you use this link, you will get 20% off.

Cost Justification – If you spend any money on paid search, you are losing money if you don’t have a custom landing page. If you spend any money on programmers to build custom landing pages, you are wasting money.  If you don’t have any lead generation landing pages, you are missing an opportunity.  This Shopify landing page builder does it all.

Shopify Form Builder

Another weakness of Shopify is it has not form builder at all, all the forms are built into your theme if at all. Needless to say, unless you are a developer, or have Shopify developer on staff, you can’t change the form fields to have the all important form fields. In today’s world, your contact us, lead generation form, dealer login, survey, online donation, are more important than ever, and you need to control it.  Second the reason, we recommend this Shopify form builder is because it will keep a copy of the form submissions. I can’t tell you how many times a client calls saying I am not getting form submissions from the site and they never thought to check their clutter or spam folder. With this tool, you will always have a backup.  Start Customizing Your Forms Today.

Cost Justification: Do you have any lead generation forms? Have you ever had contacted us form stop working? Are you tired of getting form spam? If you answered yes to any of these, this Shopify form builder is essential. Just after installing, double check your load speed and might need to make a couple adjustments to the JS external files.

Out of Stock Reminder / Waiting List

We have a client go completely viral, 95 million video views, completely sold out four days. The problem was that we were so busy fulfilling orders, I did not add a waiting list email sign up to the product pages until three days later. After I added it, we got 25k people on the waiting lists, but if we would have had the email sign up immediately after it went out stock, the client would of have 75k to 100k people on a waiting list. If you install this app, it will put a pretty email sign-up box and will automatically alert them when back in stock. It is very cheap highly recommended.  Stop losing sales install this app.

Cost Justification: If you happen to lose one sale to do being out of stock or a technical issue, you have paid the $3 for this app. And if you happen to go viral and get 95 million videos views in 5 days, you have built an amazing backorder/waiting list. And are you sending out personalized emails for each product, when your back in-stock for every product? Best $3 you will ever spend.

Advanced Shopify Search Feature

As you have probably learned, the search feature for Shopify is pretty basic and kind of sucks. There is no predictive search, no image search, no product grid, no report, and you can’t make it smarter, etc. And in today’s world, you can’t afford to get a customer a bad experience and not be able to find what they are looking for.  The app is a one-click setup, and you are up and running. You can also customize the colors, output, sidebar filters, etc. So after installing the app, and no installation, you can start offering predictive search, image search, custom search, and make all the results as smart as you want. Get Searchanise today.

Cost Justification: As you know, the days of browsing are over, your customers know what they want and what they are looking for.  So if you provided a bad search experience, you will immediately lose the customer.  So don’t settle for Shopify’s amateur search experience, if you get 1 or 2 sales per month from search, you will make the plugin.  This is a must-have plugin.

Automated Return Management Made Easy

In the world of Amazon, returns have become very easy, and now over 30% of products are returned. You have to make it quick and easy if they will never order from you again.  Returnly allows your customers to easily print a packing slip so they can return the product.  So a person puts in the email address, it pulls the order, they put in the reason and allows them to print the label. And then you can update the settings for you to pay for shipping or the customer. Get Returnly today start making returns easy.

Cost Justification: Having to return a product is the most frustrating process for a customer and you don’t make it quick, easy, painless, you will never get that customer again.  So would you like to lose 30% of customers who will return a product this year, or keep them?  Install Returnly and never have to worry about returns in the future.  Best return management app for Shopify and a must have in today’s world.

Automated Tax Management for Shopify

Over the last couple years, online taxes are becoming more complicated than ever and only going to get worse every day. The best part, you just have to install the Shopify tax app, put in your nexus states and all the taxes are taken care of.  Then you can just print the reports when needed or have them file and pay the taxes for you. The best part is that this same tax software also integrates with Amazon, eBay, PayPal and more. Get TaxJar today and make taxes easy.

Cost Justification: Well, not having a worrying about sales tax, IRS, changing laws, being compliant, fines, going to jail, filing monthly in all nexus states, is worth all the money in the world. But this starts at $19.99. Just do it and stop worrying about taxes, it is Shopify tax management made easy  🙂

Edit Order In Shopify App  

I know, it is totally crazy, for some dumb reason, Shopify does not allow you to edit an order. Editify takes care of that. It allows you to edit the order, products in the order, quantities, color, give discounts, partial refunds, change shipping information, taxes, etc.  This edit order app is an essential tool for effective customer service.

Cost Justification: Think about Black Friday or Cyber Monday, 10x the amount of orders you normally get in a day.  And everybody is calling with a problem.  But with Shopify, you can’t edit or fix an order.  You just screwed. But with Editify, you can quickly fix the issue and keep a happy customer. This is a very essential app if Shopify does not fix the basic problem first. hint hint hint.

Duplicate URL and Canonical Links Fix

Actually, this not an app but is the biggest weakness Shopify has that you must fix on every Shopify site.  The biggest weakness of Shopify is the duplicate URL structure.

  • Problem 1: For products URLs, you can get the product with the URL structure products/product-name quick is preferred. But you can also get collection-name/product-name.  This creates a duplicate URL.
  • Problem 2: When you click on a collection filter, the URL becomes /collection-name/-filter-name/ which creates duplicate content title tags, duplicate collection content,
  • Solution: So if you put this in this code the theme.liquid file in the header section. It will make certain your filter page are not indexed and will put in the correct canonical for the product and collection pages.  So make certain this using this code or handling your duplicate URL’s effectively.

Shopify SEO Manager App

As you know Shopify has some SEO weaknesses when it comes to URL structure (/collections/ and /products/), native content blocks, etc.  So when designing a Shopify site, you make certain you don’t have any other SEO issue that can be easily fixed.  So that is why we recommend the SEO Manager app.  This app will help you quickly find where you SEO problems when it comes title tags, focus keywords, alt tags, load speed, 404 errors, index manager, mobile friendliness, sitemap manager, out of stock redirects, redirect importer, and more. Get Shopify SEO Manager today

Cost Justification: When 50% to 75% of your traffic will come from search engines, you can’t afford to have SEO Problems. I don’t install it for all of my clients as they hire us to do your SEO, but if you don’t have an SEO team and you are not an SEO Expert or have time to learn, this app greatly help.

…. okay Stretch, get another cup of coffee…. make certain you are sitting, now for the really good stuff….

Shopify Marketing Apps – Where The Fun Begins

The best part about Shopify’s app ecosystem is all the marketing apps. Some are better than others, but there are some amazing Shopify app developers that have to build some essential apps that every store must have. What is even more exciting is that Shopify has just opened up a handful of more APIs that greatly improve the marketing apps over the next year as well. Here are the marketing apps that every Shopify site must have to maximize the opportunity of every visitors to your site.

Cross sell / Related Products App

One the biggest weaknesses of Shopify is the inability to add custom related products to a specific product. Every other e-commerce solution does. But the good part is that there is an awesome cross-sell app. It is one of the best Shopify apps made and cross features in all the e-commerce platforms. The best part is that it allows you to add the related products to a product but also do a save and link which will apply related products to all the other products that were applied. This cross-sell app can also be applied to the cart page.   Start cross selling on Shopify today.

Cost Justification: If you can increase your average order value $5 and make 2 orders, you paid for the app.  If you have a bunch of products and you want your related products to make sense, you have to have it.

On-Site Product Discount App

The next biggest weakness Shopify has is the inability to run an on-site discount. Yes, they provide coupon codes, but those don’t perform as well as on side discounts. However bold e-commerce has built a great product discount app that allows us to quickly assign an on-site discount to any and products on the site.  So if you are going to start doing any promotions on your site, this is a must-have app as your promotion will be more much success using an on-site

Cost Justification: It gives a free trial, run a test with an on-site discount, count down clock, collection page sticker, etc. And then run a promotion with your normal copy code and see how your sales 2 to 3 greater with the on-site discount. You will thank me later.

Shopify Upsell App

One of the keys to online success is doing everything possible to increase the average value.  One of the coolest apps is the ability quickly and easily add a upsell to each product. So once a person adds a product to the cart, a pop-up will show and allow you to quickly add a product to the cart. This Upsell app the most effective way to increase your average order value. Start Upselling on Shopify today.

Cost Justification: Again, just install it, add a couple upsells and you will thank me.  If you increase the average order value $10 on 1 to 6 orders, you paid for your app depending on your plan.  This app will make so much money.  You need to install it today.

Shopify Cart Motivator App

This is another great app way to increase the average order value is to add a sales motivator to the site. This app allows you to give a personalized message on the cart page. For example, if you have free shipping over $50, and you only have $46 in the cart, the app will say, “If you add $4 to your cart, you will get Free Shipping.” This messaging is a great way to get them to add another product to the cart.  I have learned clients say that Free Shipping promotions don’t help that much, but actually, they are not effectively marketing it.  Once we added this app and showed the increase, now they love the strategy.  Stop losing sales and install the sales motivator today.

Cost Justification: This app makes a free shipping over X amount work like a charm, this will increase the average order value on every order under the free shipping number.  This is another no-brainer app if you run a free shipping promotion. You will make it back after the first day.

Quantity Discount For Shopify

The last way to increase the average order value is to add a quantity discount to your products. Therefore when a person adds 2 or 5 or 10 to the cart, they get a discount price.  Providing an incentive is a great way to get people to add more than one product to the cart, to buy more a friend or family member extra.  The best part about this quantity discount app is that it allows you to product quantity discounts for all the products in collections, so they don’t have only to buy one of the same product to get the discount.  Also, getting more products into an order is a great way to save on shipping costs and margins.  Due to higher shipping cost, low-cost items are tougher to sell online, but if you get them to add 2, 3, or 5 products to the cart, the shipping costs are spread over more products as well. Add the Shopify quantity discount today.

Cost Justification: With the cost of shipping and the need for free shipping incentives, quantity discounts have become essential. Often times if you can get the second or third product in the box, the cost of shipping does not go up but your profit margin does.  This plugin is the easiest way to get people to increase the average order value and differentiates yourself from Amazon and others stores.

Advanced Triggered Emails

Another weakness of Shopify is there is no HTML WYSIWYG for all of the email templates, and basic Shopify email template is embarrassing. There are a couple of different templates you could buy that is a one-time fee. But there are two solutions that have greatly improved over the years and are what we recommend. First is MailChimp, it is free for the first 2000 emails and has a direct integration to with Shopify to completely revamp all the triggered emails like the order confirmation, shipping confirmation, abandoned cart emails, review email and future triggers for upselling and cross-sell emails. The next solutions Conversio, this used to be called Reciptful but the main goal is to revamp the order receipt and other triggered emails. The best part is it will automatically make a unique coupon code to encourage an order in next 30 days. Conversio is a great solution as well.

Cost Justification: Being you lose over 68% of orders due to abandonment carts, adding an abandonment email and incentive, you can recover between 10% and 24% of orders.  This will pay for all of your email marketing costs and all the apps above.

Google Shopping Feed

As you know, Google shipping is one of the most cost-effective forms of Google advertising and is strongly recommended. A nice part about Shopify is it makes a free google shopping app that directly integrates with google merchant and allows you to configure and fix the google feed directly in Shopify. And as you add new products to Shopify, it will automatically sync it with google merchant. Also if you would like a more advanced data feed where you can submit to google shopping, Bing shopping, and 50 other shopping sites, check Shopping Feeds.

Cost Justification: Google Shopping is one of the best converting marketing channels and you have to get it setup.  Shopify Free app is great and highly recommended.  After you get Google Shopping Setup, you can upgrade to the advanced data feed too and connect with 50 other shipping sites.

Smart Pop Up App

Having a Smart pop-up that quietly flies in after scrolling down on the page or can increase your email list 100% to 300%; especially if you offer a sign-up incentive. And with the average list churn rate being 33%, you have to do something to help increase email list size. However, the KEY point of this section is “smart” pop up. Many themes come with a pop-up feature, but it is important because google does not like popup or anything that provides a poor experience for searches. So it will kill your landing page quality score for paid search and even hurt your organic rankings.  This is why you need a smart pop up app where you can make the pop-up trigger on the second page, after 30 seconds, and after somebody closes the people; it will never show up again.  Also, if you want to be safe, you can even exclude to from showing up for all Google Adwords traffic.  More importantly, if you are running a specific marketing campaign, you can make it should up after 10-seconds on the first page from specific sources of traffic to maximize the ROI. The goal is to make everybody happy, Google, your visitors but still increase your email list.    Use the coupon code: HARNESS and get 15% off. Stop getting penalized from base pop ups, and sign up for the smart pop up today

Cost Justification: As you already know, email marketing is the best free marketing channel you will have.  Being that you will lose 33% of your list each year, you really have to be growing at 40% to 50% each year to be growing your list.  And being that a standard pop up will hurt your rankings and Google quality score, you have to have this smart pop up app.

Shopify Affiliate Marketing Software – Affiliate marketing or influencer marketing is one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing. You only Have to pay the marketing commission after it works. And setting up an affiliate software on Shopify store allows you to develop your own relationships with your affiliate and lose or distract your affiliates to more competitive affiliate offers. There is two affiliate software I recommend is Referison and IDivAffilate. The great part about Refersion is that it has a coupon code and email address tracking codes, so you don’t have to have a tracking link for affiliate tracking.  However, iDevAffiliate has the best marketing materials section everything from HTML emails, page peels, PDF tracking, training videos, etc. If you don’t care about coupon code tracking, then I would recommend iDevAffiliate.

Cost Justification: Affiliate marketing is the only marketing you do can do where you only have to pay for it after it works. The software does have a monthly cost but having recurring sales stream of people marketing your site is extremely valuable and worth the extra hustle.

In conclusion, you are spending a great deal of money getting traffic to your website; you always need to do everything you possibly to increase the average order value, so you have a good CTA. Yes, Shopify applications have a monthly cost, but it is important to understand that is actually a good thing.  You don’t have to worry about paying to upgrade it, and you don’t have to worry about the app becoming unsupported because they developer is not making any money.

Interested in learning about more cool tools, go here and learn more about all the cool tools we use to transfer the world. J Or if you would like to get featured in our recommended tools.  Please fill out this form and tell us why your tool awesome!

Also, if you have any other Shopify apps or tools that you recommend, please recommend your tool here.

Disclaimer: With over 15 years experience and a Shopify partner, we have partnered with and have affiliates relationships of many of the apps list above. However, it is important to note, that we only recommend apps we have used, trust, and strongly recommend.  And we always will put a cost justification for each app or product recommendation. And don’t just trust me, research the app, read the reviews, talk with the company, see how 400k stores use Shopify and its app partners can really grow your business. And as always, please free to contact me if you have any questions.