Which Shopify App Type is the Right One?

Shopify App

The app ecosystem is one of the most important advantages of Shopify. The core system provides all the basics that traders need to sell their products and services. The now more than 3,200 apps on the App Store provide additional, often country-specific functions.

But even beyond the App Store, apps are the best means for agencies and freelancers to adapt their customers' shops visually and functionally to their wishes. Shopify has a total of three different types of apps, and in this post you will find out which type suits which best in which situation, whether you create it by yourself or hire shopify developer.

Because, and this is very important: the app type can no longer be changed afterwards, so it makes sense to have thought about it beforehand.


Public app: functions for the whole world

Public app

Let's say you have a brilliant app idea that would benefit many retailers worldwide. Maybe you have found a way to make shipping much easier? Or are you writing an integration for software that saves Shopify merchants a lot of working time? Then it would be great if traders around the globe – after all more than one million – benefited from this app, wouldn't it?

We think so too. That's why we have the so-called public apps: These are made for the app store, i.e. they go through the review process of our app team and are accessible worldwide after activation. You decide for yourself what the business model behind it should look like and decide for yourself whether they can be used free of charge or for a monthly fee (via the use of our so-called billing APIs).

Here are the most important features of public apps:

  • Installation via the partner dashboard
  • Usable in an unlimited number of shops
  • (Optional) listing on the App Store
  • Goes through the review process of our app team
  • OAuth 2.0 authentication
  • Embedding the app via App Bridge

If you are a freelancer and want to generate regular income with an app in the store, this type of app is just the right one. But this variant is also interesting as an agency if the implemented functionality is to be marketed beyond the specific customer project.

By the way, a public app does not have to be listed in the store. This means that you can market your app elsewhere with a link. It is also the only type of app that can be used in more than one shop.


Custom app: Implement special customer functions

The small, perhaps somewhat “light-shy” sister of the public app is the custom (custom) app. It has only been available on Shopify for a few months. It is functionally very similar to the public sister, but can only be installed in a single shop for a dealer, also via the partner dashboard.

  • Installation via partner dashboard
  • Limited to one shop
  • No listing in the App Store
  • No review process
  • OAuth 2.0 authentication
  • Embedding via App Bridge

Because the custom app is not intended for publication in the App Store, the review process is also omitted. It is particularly interesting for agencies that implement very special requirements for a customer project, so publication in the app store is out of the question.


Private app: Expand your own shop

Private app

Finally, the private app should be mentioned. It is special because it is not created from the partner dashboard, but from the admin area of a shop. It can also be used to implement individual functions and, for example, to connect the APIs, but authentication works differently.

  • Installation via Shop Admin
  • Limited to one shop
  • No listing
  • No review process
  • HTTP authentication
  • No embedding of the app

In particular, the last point is important. With a private app, only “standalone” apps can be built, i.e. applications that are completely separate from the Shopify user interface. This means that while you were able to use the app bridge for the two previous types and thus bring your UI elements into the Shopify backend, the user must jump completely to a different user interface for a private app.

Against this background, private apps are particularly interesting if developers want to modify their own shop without needing an external partner (with their partner dashboard).

Follow https://digitalsuits.co/blog/startup-stages-of-development/ for more.


How do you launch a successful Shopify app?

Shopify sets basic requirements that must be met in every app, that is the validation process. This applies, for example, to the order of the installation steps or the process of subscriber. This ensures that all applications meet the same standards and meet a minimum of usability.

In order to successfully introduce an app:

Tip#1: Keep the onboarding process easy for new users

Give a clear instruction for the successful shop connection of the application. Automate processes such as account registration so that your users can use the app as quickly and easily as possible.

Tip#2: Don't forget the entry page

Before installation, users only experience your application through the display page in the App Store. Create a clear and informative entry with high-quality screenshots or videos and a brief explanation of the most important functions.

Tip#3: Integrate the feedback from the App Store team

If your app does not meet the requirements, it will be rejected and you will receive feedback from Shopify with suggestions for improvement. In my opinion, this path is an important step in the development of a successful Shopify application – a kind of quality test of your work.

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