Third-party apps can be wonderful if they fill a real business need. Quickly try features, often within a free trial period. If they do not work out, poof; you can delete them. Some are totally free, while others require a subscription.
When I first migrated my domain to Shopify, dozens of third-party apps were installed. With decades of programming background, I was ignorant about the underlying Liquid language. Previously, I had to program all features myself. So having so many options already written was like being a kid in a candy store. As my Liquid programming flourished, the dependency on all those apps diminished, along with the monthly fees.
An app I used for about a year significantly modified underlying code to the extent that its removal crashed my site. While reverting to a backup, I downloaded the theme code to perform GREP replacements and line-by-line comparisons in order to restore functionality. The lesson is to always duplicate your theme prior to installing a new app. Have backups to your backups.
Four problems with too many apps:
- Inconsistent interface elements
- Inter-application incompatibilities
- Sluggish performance
Each app that stores external scripts reads data from a different geographical server. Opening a product page could conceivably require processing requests from servers of different speeds in several countries. Numerous third-party paid apps can cost hundreds of dollars per month or more.
Some third-party apps provide great functionality at the sacrifice of disabling other features that you or your visitors cherish. Commonly, the cart drawer is disabled in favor of the full cart page. Currency conversion and a Buy Now button maybe casualties. Weigh app benefits with feature compromises. In some cases, custom programming can circumvent incompatibilities.
A rule of thumb is to measure whether an app increases revenue or saves valuable time. I still use about a dozen apps. Some are plugins by Shopify so they don’t add additional servers. At least one is required for GDPR compliance. An essential one offers logical product options. Some are scheduled for removal prior to their next monthly payment.
Optimize Your Store
A Shopify Guru can suggest apps for your specific business goals. Common reasons for hiring a Shopify Partner or Shopify Expert are to customize the look or behavior of a theme. Often the store owner wishes to replicate a feature available on a previous platform.
After settling on a theme and which apps are necessary, consider hiring a Shopify Partner to optimize your code. Shaving seconds off of page access improves customer engagement, thereby increasing sales.
Let me know how many apps you use. How many would you like to delete? If you could have a Shopify Partner solve one problem, what would it be?