15 Best Shopify Apps to Optimize Your Store & Boost Sales
Apps are the fundamental building blocks behind every great Shopify-powered store experience. Without a strong foundation of critical apps, you risk missing out on valuable features and potential sales opportunities.
On the other hand, downloading everything you see in the app store can push prospective customers away by extending site loading time, increasing operational costs, or creating recurrent bugs which can ultimately lower your search engine optimization or SEO score.
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Table of Contents:
Best Shopify Apps for Digital Marketing
Best Shopify Apps for Email Marketing
Best Shopify Apps for Affiliate Marketing
Best Shopify Apps for SEO
Best Shopify Apps for Social Media
Best Shopify Apps for Optimizing Your Website
Best Shopify Apps for Behavioral Marketing
Best Shopify Apps for Retargeting
Best Shopify Apps for Conversion Marketing
Best Shopify Apps for Upselling and Cross-Selling
Best Shopify Apps for Custom Support and Live Chat
Best Shopify Apps for Loyalty Programs
Best Shopify Apps for Inventory Management
Best Shopify Apps for Drop Shipping
Best Shopify Apps for Product Reviews
15 Best Shopify Apps for 2021
Before you can make any sales, you first need to drive traffic to your site. Traffic can come from ads, email, social media, or traditional word of mouth. Below are the 15 best Shopify apps to help bring visitors to your ecommerce store.
1. Best Shopify Apps for Digital Marketing
Shopify marketing apps give you the tools to build and launch effective digital marketing campaigns. These apps let marketers design test content and optimize messaging to fit any device, audience, or sales channel.
In addition to campaign deployment, ecommerce marketing apps also pack robust reporting and analytics dashboards to inform your marketing and business strategy. They let you know what messaging resonates with your audience, and which are the strongest channels to boost conversions and increase sales.
Our App Store Pick: Criteo
Criteo is one of the leading Shopify marketing apps. It helps brands boost conversions and drive sales by serving targeted advertisements across a network of publishers, content providers, and social media sites. With Criteo, you can upload your customer list for re-engagement, or target new audiences similar to your most loyal shoppers.
What makes Criteo unique is its ability to implement machine learning based on data from over 1.2 billion active shoppers. This exclusive data set is known as the Criteo Shopper Graph. According to their website, Criteo's data-driven retargeting ads can deliver a 13x Return on ad spend by keeping your brand top of mind even after a visitor has left your site.
2. Best Shopify Apps for Email Marketing
Email marketing apps allow marketers to build their email list and optimize & simplify the creation, deployment, and measurement of email campaigns. Email creates long-lasting customer relationships by providing a direct channel to offer promotions, announce new products, or share order information. In fact, over 2 out of 3 (68%) millennials said promotional emails impacted their purchase decisions on at least a few occasions. ("Marketing to Millennials." Fluent, 2017.)
Having an email marketing tool with pre-built best practice techniques, A/B testing, segmentation capabilities, and in-depth reporting will likely be one of the most essential tools on your Shopify Plus site.
Our App Store Pick: Klaviyo
While Klaviyo is no longer advertised as just an email marketing tool (and instead a full-spectrum marketing automation platform), for the purpose of this piece, we’ll focus exclusively on their email capabilities.
Klaviyo's email and SMS marketing app is designed to help ecommerce businesses create high-quality, personalized email campaigns based on behavioral and transactional data. Within its rich feature set is the ability to compare past and present campaign success, the ROI of each campaign, revenue per subscriber, and comprehensive segment performance.
Another reason Klaviyo is the big winner in this category is their robust library of integrations that allow you to pull in data from CRM platforms, help desk software, payment and rewards solutions, or a suite of other digital marketing tools for expanded functionality — the possibilities are truly endless when using Klaviyo.
3. Best Shopify Apps for Affiliate Marketing
If you spend time on social media, chances are you've come across an influencer post #sponsored by a brand or product. In a world where much of what we buy is influenced by those we admire, brands are starting to capitalize on ‘likes’ by sponsoring content through affiliate or influencer networks. It's estimated that total advertising spend on influencer marketing will increase to nearly $10 billion dollars by 2020. "The Influencer Marketing Industry Global Ad Spend." MediaKix, 2018.
So how can you take advantage of the Age of the Influencer? A good place to start is by getting an affiliate or referral marketing app to connect your business with individuals and customers (or ‘affiliates’) that can promote your products. In addition, these apps also measure engagement, revenue, and conversion rates on a per affiliate basis. Ecommerce sites sometimes have their own programs, as well (e.g. Amazon's Influencer Program). Remember, affiliates can include celebrities and your everyday customers, enabling both to take part in growing your brand.
Our App Store Pick: Refersion
Refersion is an affiliate and influencer marketing platform that lets brands create and launch customized referral, affiliate, or promoter networks. Refersion enables you to see clicks and conversions in real-time alongside channels and peak performance times.
Once you approve an affiliate, it's easy to create a referral or discount code with your store's domain or a specific product page (known as deep linking). For affiliate members, it's simple to check the marketplace and see which brands or product recommendations are available. Members can then request to partner with you and start generating referrals within minutes.
4. Best Shopify Apps for SEO
SEO apps are designed to help you get higher rankings and more traffic to your ecommerce store. Improving your Shopify SEO requires intentional time and a certain expertise, but by incorporating the right apps into your existing interface, the entire process becomes much quicker and more streamlined.
Supplementing your own efforts with Shopify apps for SEO not only gets your storefront noticed, but it also drives site traffic and creates opportunities for conversion; when your site has greater visibility (and visitors), it won’t be long before you see a bump in sales, as well.
Our App Store Pick: SEO Manager
To be successful as an ecommerce brand, it’s imperative you optimize your storefront and drive traffic to your site. With the SEO Manager app, Shopify merchants can take control of how search engines see their store, and review live feedback on the successes (and failures) of their SEO strategy. Plus, it’ll be considerably easier to understand and implement SEO measures that’ll help your brand achieve higher rankings across the board.
SEO Manager boasts more than 20 versatile features, 15 of which are unique. This app allows business owners to edit titles and descriptions, scan for SEO issues, log and manage 404 errors, repair 404 errors in real-time, redirect from stockouts, and much more. If your company is hoping to land on the front page of Google, SEO Manager is truly the best way to get you there.
5. Best Shopify Apps for Social Media
Social media apps connect your Shopify Plus store to popular social media channels for two-way communication and customer insight. Given the conversational nature of social channels and the time spent on them by customers, these technologies can also serve as an extension of your customer support team. Internet users spend an average of 1 hour and 15 minutes per day on social networking sites, leaving a lot of room to boost customer satisfaction. Williamson, Debra Aho. Time Spent With Media 2019, Social. eMarketer, 2019.
Having a seamless shopping experience — whether customers use your Shopify-hosted site or via social media — is a great way to increase sales and drive engagement.
Our App Store Pick: Octane AI
Octane AI provides an all-in-one platform for engaging quizzes, data collection, and personalized Facebook Messenger and SMS automation for Shopify and Shopify Plus. It interacts with customers and prospects through Facebook Messenger to answer frequently asked questions, remind shoppers about their abandoned carts, announce new promotions, or provide transactional data like order confirmation and delivery status.
It boasts better engagement (75% open rates) and conversion (10%) when compared to traditional email, and describes itself as "messenger marketing for conversational commerce."
6. Best Shopify Apps for Optimizing Your Website
Site visits are great, but they’re much more valuable when they turn into sales. An excellent approach to increase conversions is to optimize your website and make it easier for customers to purchase. Fortunately, Shopify apps provide data and insights around why customers don’t convert, so you can stop guessing or implementing ineffective changes.
A focused effort in optimization and customization of your site will help you connect with visitors and earn their trust, which then translates to greater customer satisfaction. Leveraging apps for optimization is one of the strongest ways to avoid cart abandonment and enjoy greater conversion and retention.
Our App Store Pick: Lucky Orange
The Shopify app store has plenty of options when it comes to optimization, yet Lucky Orange continues to stand out. Lucky Orange knows why someone left your ecommerce store, and it gives you the opportunity to know the same; the app allows you to view your website through the eyes of your visitors and customers, by digitally watching over their shoulders.
Thanks to User Recordings and Dynamic Heatmaps, you’ll see exactly what visitors are seeing as they navigate your site and move through the checkout process. User Recordings are like a DVR for your store, meaning you can watch video playback of various customer interactions. Heatmaps, on the other hand, let you explore your site just like a visitor. Data is immediately populated on every drop-down, pop-up, and hover-over menu, while at the same time, you can isolate certain devices, traffic sources, or visitors to identify potential problem areas.
In addition to these features, Lucky Orange is also equipped with form analytics, live chat, surveys and polls, conversion funnels, real-time dashboard, and daily email reports. When used in conjunction with one another, these assets add up to one powerful resource for connecting with your customers, determining the cause of abandoned carts, and boosting your conversion rates through applicable data and visitor feedback.
7. Best Shopify Apps for Behavioral Marketing
Customer behavior apps (also called user behavior apps) have a myriad of benefits, like tracking and monitoring engagement with your Shopify site, offering insight into customer interactions, and identifying areas that need improvement or deliver strong conversion rates.
These apps provide heat map analyses showing aggregated user behavior, and capture session recordings of anonymous user visits to determine exactly where and when they abandon your site. What’s more, behavioral marketing apps also collect feedback through custom-designed surveys and user polls to verify your CX strategies align with the needs of your customers.
Our App Store Pick: Hotjar
Not only is Hotjar the most used customer behavior app on Shopify, but it was also installed on every Shopify Plus online store we evaluated. Hotjar is used by more than 350,000 customers across 184 countries, beyond ecommerce and by top technology and service providers.
This platform is known for its heatmap and conversion rate funnel technology, which helps merchants identify reasons for cart abandonment and low conversion. Its feedback tools include polls, surveys, and messaging channels to capture context before a seller changes their site.
8. Best Shopify Apps for Retargeting
Retargeting apps focus on regaining ‘lost’ customers, by serving ads that feature products they've either clicked on or added to their cart. This sets retargeting apart from traditional digital marketing apps because the goal isn't to acquire new visitors, but to convert existing ones.
Retargeting ads are 76% more likely to get clicks than standard display ads, and are a significant driver of sales and conversions. Ninety-two percent of customers don't make a purchase on their first visit to a site, which means retargeting apps are vital to your sales and digital marketing strategy. "Reimagining Commerce." Episerver, 2017.
Our App Store Pick: Shoelace
Shoelace helps store owners deliver engaging retargeting experiences, while decreasing cart abandonment through automation, human touch, and insights from thousands of digital marketing campaigns. The Shoelace app also helps distinguish whether a user showed interest, considered a specific product, took action, or became a customer, so it can offer relevant messaging to the right person at the right time.
Lastly, its integration library enables Shopify merchants to connect additional apps like YotPo for social proof, apps like MailChimp for email, or apps like Swell for loyalty and rewards.
9. Best Shopify Apps for Conversion Marketing
Conversion marketing apps get site visitors to take action. By giving insight into the messaging and channels that resonate with your visitors, these apps can also serve as tools to inform your overall business strategy. According to Statista, during the first quarter of 2019, 2.72% of US ecommerce website visits actually converted, down from 3.44% the preceding quarter.
Our App Store Pick: Justuno
Justuno leverages artificial intelligence and billions of user sessions to create intelligent lead captures, personalized website content, and in-depth audience analytics. In addition to a catalog of pop-up and messaging options, Justuno offers exit-intent messaging to decrease cart abandonment, push notifications for sale reminders, and even gamification to increase conversions. Its core visitor intelligence technology utilizes predictive analytics to drive informed decisions, thus boosting sales and promoting stronger customer experiences.
10. Best Shopify Apps for Upselling and Cross-Selling
Upsell and cross-selling applications are your omnipresent sales team. They identify opportunities to sell complementary (or superior) products to drive more revenue and create a smarter shopping experience for every product in your online store.
These apps enable Shopify users to program pop-up interstitials, notifications, and shopping cart widgets to display related products based on shopping cart contents or browsing history. A customer who buys more products is likely to be more loyal and trust your brand in the future, especially if you’re consistently providing insight to improve their purchase experience.
Our App Store Pick: Bold Upsell
Bold Upsell is the most popular and top-rated upsell app on the Shopify platform. It enables Shopify store owners to display upsell, cross-sell, or post-purchase pop-up offers that customers can quickly add to their cart with a single click. It's the only Shopify app to upgrade and replace the original item in the cart, while also offering a unique post-purchase upsell that allows customers to add a final deal after they've placed an order.
According to Bold, upsells convert 20x better than cross-sells, since the customer is already committed to the product; most users see a revenue increase within days of installing.
A seller can trigger different offers based on a customer's previous engagement. Powerful analytics and reporting help Shopify store owners understand what messaging and formats convert best. And if you don’t have time to plan offers, you can actually put upsells on autopilot. By using data like product views, order history, and purchasing trends, Bold creates smart upsells that can be instantly deployed.
With Bold, you can use all three features at the same time — your customer adds something to the cart, you upsell with a larger, slightly discounted item, and when they click checkout you cross-sell on a complimentary item. Once checkout is completed, you deliver a one-click bonus offer alongside a countdown timer, for another opportunity to increase AOV on every order.
11. Best Shopify Apps for Customer Support and Live Chat
Customer support apps enable Shopify store owners to communicate with customers across a spectrum of support and messaging channels. Whether your customers prefer to contact you directly via website chatbox, email, phone, or social media, it's important to have an open channel to address their questions, complaints, and concerns.
According to an Intercom study, website visitors who chat with a seller before a purchase are "82% more likely to convert to customers, while also spending 13% more than those who don't."
In addition to establishing two-way communication, these apps also provide qualitative customer data to understand persistent pain points and frequently asked questions (which can inform site content planning). But if you aren’t able to hire a 24/7 support staff, many apps now offer chatbots that can be programmed to answer FAQs, product queries, and transactional information in seconds. Overall, chat apps have been proven to increase brand loyalty and retention by driving a more customer-centric experience.
Our App Store Pick: Gorgias
Gorgias is a help desk that allows Shopify customer service teams to manage all support and service channels in one place. By seamlessly integrating with Shopify Plus, Facebook, Instagram, and email, Gorgias easily connects the dots between each channel to deliver a holistic view of your customer interactions.
This app offers useful context and dialogue history so your support team can respond and resolve issues quickly, while also identifying persistent problems that require operational attention. Top Shopify stores use Gorgias to reduce first response time and increase the efficiency of their customer support department.
12. Best Shopify Apps for Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs are one of the best tools for driving retention, because they incentivize customers for ongoing engagement. According to The Harvard Business Review, "acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one." Loyalty programs facilitate the tracking and management of your rewards program, and this spend is significant considering 84% of consumers are more likely to stick with a brand that offers a loyalty program.
Our App Store Pick: Swell
Swell is an incentive-based Shopify Plus loyalty platform whose highly-customizable software helps thousands of merchants build engaging rewards, discounts, and referral programs, resulting in 9x ROI on average. Swell turns shoppers into loyal advocates, by motivating them to build meaningful relationships with brands through social engagement, repeat purchasing, and product reviews.
13. Best Shopify Inventory Management Apps
Having products to sell is the most critical aspect of your online business, because without products, there can be no sales. Today, consumer brands need to be everywhere potential customers are shopping, whether it's marketplaces, brand websites, or social media channels. Inventory and order management apps are central to these operations, since they optimize a fundamental aspect of your business: the fulfillment process.
Inventory management apps need to integrate with multiple sales channels, third-party logistics companies, POS, as well as warehouses. If you're a multi-channel seller, these apps can serve as the ‘one source of truth’ for operational and logistics data, channel profitability, return management, vendor communications, revenue information, and sales data.
The best apps have tools to mitigate overselling, manage returns, and automate order routing for efficient fulfillment. And some may even offer additional insights like inventory forecasting and automatic PO creation (based on sales velocity and lead times), but that’ll vary by provider.
Our App Store Pick: Skubana
Skubana was built to synchronize fulfillment, inventory, and product intelligence, giving consumer brands a unified view of their overall operations. Its robust product functionality automates redundancies and allows brands to sell across multiple sales channels, while also managing product inventory, purchase orders, and fulfillment.
Skubana's proprietary Orderbot technology lets users automate repetitive tasks related to order fulfillment, inventory management, warehouse operations, and shipping. This happens across a large network of sales channels, ranging from marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart, to ecommerce-hosted platforms like Shopify, Magento, or BigCommerce. (For more on the differences between these sites, check out our guide on BigCommerce vs Shopify vs Magento).
In addition to inventory management, Skubana helps brands automatically calculate shipping rates from a variety of couriers and 3PLs to determine the most cost-effective method in seconds. Skubana is also the first (and only) backend platform with a plug-and-play app store, automatic PO generation, enterprise-grade cloud shipping, and in-depth SKU-based reporting and analytics so you can send your products direct to everywhere.
14. Best Shopify Apps for Dropshipping
Dropshipping allows you to partner with suppliers and display their products in your store. In other words, you sell the supplier’s goods, and they keep inventory in their own warehouse until an item is ordered. It’s not uncommon for dropshippers to have lower operational costs (but higher product costs) as compared to traditional wholesalers.
With that said, the easiest way to offset product costs is by incorporating tools that make your routines and rhythms as efficient as possible. Shopify apps help dropshipping businesses succeed in their marketing strategies, store management, and more. By leveraging apps for dropshipping, you can increase revenue without expending your energy or cashflow on tedious tasks, so you’ll be well on your way to building a more profitable store.
Our App Store Pick: Oberlo
Oberlo is perhaps the best known dropshipping app, likely due to its rave customer reviews and superior services (for free). This platform has been used to sell more than 100 million products to date, and continues to be a leader in its industry. If you’re in search of a product to sell, Oberlo is ready to help you source a supplier.
With this app, you can comb through a virtual warehouse (packed with products from thousands of suppliers), and import directly into your Shopify store. When a customer places an order, it’s automatically synced to the Oberlo system, and then the products are shipped to the customer for you — gone are the days of packaging and shipping orders yourself!
Plus, inventory and pricing are always up to date, so you won’t mistakenly sell a product that’s out of stock or above your retail price. Without these details to worry about, you can concentrate more on increasing sales and improving your conversion.
15. Best Shopify Apps for Product Reviews
Reviews are a pivotal part of the ecommerce customer journey. According to a study by BazaarVoice, shoppers who interact with reviews on retail sites are 106% more likely to convert and experience an average 116% lift in revenue per visitor. YotPo, our app of choice in this category, says the average conversion rate of visitors who saw a piece of user-generated content was 161% higher than those who didn't.
While some sales channels have review technology built-in, we recommend independent product review apps to give you better functionality and coverage across all selling channels.
Our App Store Pick: Yotpo
Yotpo is the leading app for Shopify Plus product reviews. It enables consumer brands to collect user-generated content and showcase it across the buyer journey via your website, email campaigns, digital advertisements, and social media channels. Yotpo's flexible and easy-to-use visual marketing tools allow Shopify sellers to repurpose reviews, social posts, product feedback, and FAQs to build trust, drive traffic, and boost conversion.
Yotpo is also one of the few companies approved by Google to syndicate both product and seller ratings on Shopping and Google Ads, making it essential for discovery and brand awareness in organic search results. Finally, Yotpo has amazing insight tools to help brands identify opportunities for improving customer experience, sentiment analysis, trend forecasting, and competitive benchmarking.
You can’t grow your revenue without the right tools, which is where Shopify apps come to the rescue. Regardless if you’re starting a new business or updating your existing site, Shopify apps make it simple to sell anything online and improve the performance of your store.
Utilizing these tools offers a wide range of benefits, from promoting your brand and selling your products, to rewarding your customers and streamlining your inventory processes. Whether you want to test out a free plan or you’re ready to invest in one of the many available paid plans, Shopify apps can help you grow your business in no time.
FAQs about Shopify Apps
What are the best Shopify apps?
This will vary for each business depending on what your priorities & goals are, but the most important Shopify apps are apps like Skubana that allow you to manage the backend of your store, from inventory management to order management. These apps put a wealth of tools at your disposal for analyzing and optimizing order fulfillment, and automate repetitive tasks so you can focus on growing your business.
What types of Shopify apps are there?
Some popular types of Shopify apps include inventory & order management apps, customer support & live chat apps, tools for upselling and cross selling, SEO tools, behavioral analytics, marketing tools (like email or social media marketing), and product review management apps.
Gina Tirelli manages Partner Marketing initiatives at Skubana, the leading retail inventory and order management software for D2C brands and marketplace sellers looking to unify and automate their multichannel operations. When Gina is not marketing ecommerce software, she likes to spend time outdoors with her dog Elli.