Must-Have Shopify Apps (2024): Expert Recommendations

Although Shopify includes a ton of features to build your online store, everyone’s needs are different so here’s where apps can fill in the gaps. Installing apps into your store helps you add additional selling and visual features to better serve your customers and improve conversion rates.

Must Have apps for Shopify

Let’s talk about the best apps to have on Shopify. I often see people complaining that Shopify requires too many paid apps to work and I completely disagree. The first step to avoiding excessive app usage is choosing the correct theme from the start of the project. Read How to Choose a Theme on Shopify for more about this.

With most stores, I set up just few (usually free) apps and then add apps depending on the specific needs of the store. It’s often the case that the problem can be solved without an app, but knowing what can and can’t be solved with an app requires some experience on the platform.

You can solve many problems by making changes to the theme code, rather than by purchasing an app. Take installing a custom Shopify font for example. I know several people who have unnecessarily paid $10 for an app to do this, when they could have read our blog post, How to Use Custom Fonts on Shopify and done it themselves for free. Apps aren't always required for added functionality but they are very helpful. 

It’s important to only install the apps that really help your customers and your conversion because apps can slow down your store. And we all know that a slow store does not convert visitors into customers very well. Try to always avoid installing apps for something that you can achieve by custom coding.

Essential Apps for Shopify

Here are my 6 essential apps for Shopify:

1. Product Review App - Judge.me

Judge.me product reviews Shopify app website

A product review app will let you build trust with your customers by letting customers publicly provide feedback on the product and their experience with your brand. When other shoppers see this feedback, they will see that others have indeed purchased and received the product, and better know what to expect. They’re more likely to purchase from you.

My go-to app for this is Judge.me. They include a lot on their free tier including automatic emails that ask your customers to upload a review. The paid tier will allow you to make some extra customizations and for customers to be able to upload images as well. Stamped.io is another one that is interesting because you can use review forms that collect customer attributes. Imagine you buy some shorts and the review app asks how the fit was, what activity you use them for, what size you bought and your measurements. Those customer attributes help future customers purchase the right product for them and reduce return rates.

Shopify's own Product Reviews app is no longer available to use, so using a third-party reviews app is the only option.

 

2. Email Marketing Integration - Klaviyo

Klaviyo Shopify app website screenshot

Email marketing is one of the best ways to have a direct way to contact your customers. Collecting customer emails or phone numbers is absolutely necessary for running successful campaigns, informing customers of new products and generally for keeping your brand top of mind. You don’t want anyone forgetting about you or losing touch.

So of course, you need a tool to help you reach those customers. Shopify’s own tool for this is Shopify Email. Its marketing automations and campaign features have really expanded over the past year and it's extremely affordable. 

Largely regarded as the gold standard tool for Shopify email marketing is Klaviyo. However, it can get pricey… and fast! So if you go with Klaviyo, you’ll want to make sure you’re making use of all its features and that your marketing tactics are paying off!

There are several other great email marketing tools that balance features and price. You can look through the app store and see which best fits your needs and budget.

By installing one of these apps, you’ll automatically have details of those who fill out your newsletter form, and purchasing customer emails will be sent to the app into the appropriate list. You can then target certain groups for different email campaigns.

 

3. Cookie Notice App - Shopify Privacy & Compliance

Shopify Privacy & Compliance App

If your store is accepting payments online, displaying ads or collecting visitor information (which it is if you're on Shopify), then you need to make sure that your website is compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). You'll need to disclose that your website is using cookies, and require users to acknowledge and accept this before proceeding. Use Shopify's own Customer Privacy app or a third-party app like GDPR/CCPA + Cookie Management to help implement this. It's worth noting that not complying with these regulations can result in large fines to your business.

Read our article, How to Make Your Shopify Store GDPR & CCPA Compliant for more information on steps to take to comply with privacy laws.

 

4. Instagram Feed App - Instafeed

Instafeed Shopify app website screenshot

If your products are highly visual, you’re probably building your audience on Instagram. In this case, you’ll want to attract your website visitors to your Instagram feed if they’re not already following you.

I’d suggest putting your Instagram feed in your website footer so that it’s on every page and can’t be missed. My go-to app for this is Instafeed. It has a forever free plan that offers a few different layout options, and it's super easy to install. I’m sure there are other great Instagram apps out there but this is the one I usually use because of its ease.

 

5. Localized Shopping App - Geolocation

Geolocation Shopify app website screenshot

If you have customers shopping from different countries, you’ll want to show them prices in their own currency. Shoppers are much more likely to purchase when they can see the price and/or purchase in their home currency. Geolocation by Shopify allows you to offer a different shopping experience for each country that you offer shipping to. Upon arrival to a store, a popup will show, confirming if the store ships to your country and offers the visitor the opportunity to shop in their home currency. Working together with Shopify Markets, this app allows checkouts will actually happen in the shopper's home currency. 

If you want to show prices in the visitor's local currency without allowing the actual checkout to happen in a different currency, other apps like BUCKS Currency Converter Pro (also free) offer this feature as well. In addition to showing currencies that are in your currency selector list, it is also able to show the visitor any country's currency, based on where they are located. It also comes with styling options but knowing some CSS will be helpful for making it fit in with your theme. So your choice will depend on where your visitors visit from and how many currencies you want to offer.

6. Advanced Filtering App - Search & Discovery

Shopify Search and Discovery App

Shopify's Search & Discovery app helps shoppers find what they're looking for by giving you more control over how products are shown to customers. You can:

  • Choose how to categorize products to improve the function of product filters on the collection page
  • Feature your favorite products in searches using "product boosts"
  • Describe products with search synonyms to improve the function of the search bar
  • Suggest relevant products in the product recommendations section

All such useful features for stores with large catalogs! Learn more about how to use this app with our guide, "How to use Shopify's Search & Discovery app for more sales".

Specialty Shopify Apps

Now that we’ve gotten through the apps that I think are useful for any store, let’s take a look at some others. Remember that what’s a “must-have” in one store might not be for yours. This is where research and knowledge of your customers and product niche are important to consider.

Store Locator - Stockist Store Locator

If your product is carried in brick and mortar stores, help customers find it locally. This way they can try it on for size or avoid shipping costs. My favourite is Stockist Store Locator which allows you to add a custom icon for store locations on the map. The Google Maps widget by Elfsight has a very similar user interface and comes at a lower price point (but it does lack the custom map pin icon).

Store Backups - Rewind Backups

Have you ever accidentally deleted something in your store, or made a change to the code and broken some functionality? Rewind Backups keeps daily backups of your store so that you can restore pieces or the entire store if you ever make a mistake. It's the app you hope you never have to use, but will be so thankful to have when you need it.

Digital Products App - Digital Downloads

If you’re selling digital files, this will make it possible for customers to immediately receive their product after purchase. Here’s Shopify's Digital Downloads app.

Product Bundles & Discounts - FC Simple Discounts

Creating product bundles and bulk discounts is a great way to increase average order value. Bundling allows you to offer a discount on specific combinations of products or on minimum quantities of product. It will also maintain the inventory levels for each product even when bundled. Shopify released Shopify Bundles in early 2024. It works for basic bundles, but unfortunately does not allow bundling of digital products (as of May 2024). In our store, we use FC Simple Discounts to provide a bulk discount – the more customers buy, the larger the discount applied. FC Simple Discounts currently allows: mix-and-match bundle discount, time-based product discounts, and quantity breaks / tiered pricing. 

Wholesale App - Wholesale Gorilla

For shops that want to sell wholesale to other retailers. Display wholesale prices to only logged-in wholesale customers with an app like Wholesale Gorilla. Or, become a wholesale dropshipper by helping other stores easily add your products to their store and with an app like Syncee for Suppliers.

Chat Bot - Shopify Inbox

Use a chatbot can be used to help customers make a purchasing decision. Automated responses lighten the load of customer service questions, while real-time personal support can help customers get to the checkout. Shopify Inbox allows you to create personalized FAQs and responses for your store, as well as provide order status updates to customers. If the question isn't answered, you can speak directly to customers with access to insights such as what's in their cart and what pages they're visiting. You can also share custom discount codes over the chat to help make the sale. 

Upsell App - Conversion Bear

Boost your average order value by providing additional product recommendations on the product or cart page so that customers can quickly add to cart. Imagine the low-ticket products you see when waiting in line in a physical store. Conversion Bear is my favorite because they are always adding new features and their support staff is soo helpful! 

Back in Stock Notifications - Klaviyo

If your products are often selling out, and you'd like customers to be notified when they're back in stock, you'll want to use "back in stock" notifications. This is actually feature that Klaviyo (mentioned above) offers. Otherwise, some themes offer a "back in stock" email signup which simply adds a tag to user profiles on the Shopify backend when they've signed up. Other apps may make notifying customers easier. 

Final Steps in Setting up Shopify Apps

These are just a few of the most common apps that I see in use. Everyone will need something different depending on their product and marketing strategy.

Remember that after installing an app, you need to go take one extra step to make it work with your theme. Go to the Theme Customizer > App Embeds > toggle on the apps you need. This helps ensure you don't have leftover code from old apps that you're not using anymore. 

Shopify app embeds screenshot

Let me know if you found this article helpful or have any questions by leaving a comment below. Thanks!


If you found this helpful, you might like to check out our Shopify Store Launch Kit.

Shopify Apps FAQ

What apps should I use with Shopify?

The most essential app for an ecommerce store is a product review app such as Judge.me, as this builds trust and credibility. Other essential apps are an email marketing integration, cookie notice and Instagram feed.

What Shopify apps are good for increasing AOV

To increase average order value (AOV), the best apps to use would be a product bundles app, a volume discount app, and a product upsell app. All of these apps encourage customers to purchase more items while giving them a discount as an incentive to do so. See our app recommendations above.

Are Shopify apps worth it?

Shopify apps come at a very low cost considering the time spent to build, maintain and provide app support. They should always be worth it because they are providing a functionality that will make you more sales. If the app is not worth it, the sales strategy should be revised. Although apps are worth the cost, choosing the right theme at the beginning of a project can greatly reduce the need for some apps.

How many apps are recommended for Shopify?

Only use the number of apps necessary for your store efficiently operate. Apps are necessary to create added functionality, but using many apps can slow down a store, so uninstall any apps that you decide not to use. Choosing the right theme at the beginning of a project can greatly reduce the need for some apps.


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