So, you’ve invested hours building an app that improves commerce for entrepreneurs.
You listed your app in the Shopify App Store, and even researched how to make your listing truly shine. Then you turned to marketing, and used every trick in the book to network and build strong partnerships with merchants and other developers.
Then, you sat back and expected the app downloads to pour in.
Instead, nothing happened. No increase in installs, no new reviews, nada.
What happened? With so many moving parts, app developers can often overlook tiny but crucial details. But those small details can make a big difference, not only in how your app performs, but in how much bang a merchant gets for their buck, too.
This is the final article in a three-part blog series on marketing your Shopify App, and today we’ll cap off the discussion by pinpointing some of the most overlooked factors, crucial to any app developer’s overall success.
Read on and learn how to get those installs!
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An important aspect all successful Shopify Apps share, is the quality of support. It might not seem important while you’re building an app, or even while you’re creating a great app listing, but eventually no app is able to grow and thrive without the help of high quality support.
Shopify has a very high bar for support — merchants consistently say they choose our platform in large part due to the high quality of support services.
After every interaction with our support team, we ask the customer to rate their experience by clicking one of three ratings: “It was great” (happy face), “It was OK” (flat-line face) or “It wasn’t good” (frown face). Here is our last 100 customer ratings.
The logic is that if merchants expect such great support from Shopify, then it’s inevitable they’ll expect similar support from our third party apps.
Support should also be a number one priority because it leads to positive reviews from customers. Having positive reviews leads to gaining trust with merchants, which leads to further installs of your app. Customers can be quick to leave negative reviews if they’re not satisfied with support, which could affect your app’s reputation with other merchants.
Furthermore, reviews affect your Shopify App Store ranking, and the Shopify Apps Team considers reviews when deciding whether to feature and promote your app. For example, to be eligible to be featured on the Shopify App Store banner, you need to have a minimum of five 4-star ratings.
Other ways to passively provide support is by having a website, documentation, or a simple FAQs page. These help your potential customers understand the app better, establish your expertise, and boost sales by encouraging installs. Here are a few examples of Shopify Apps that make use of a site in order to highlight features, pricing, FAQs, and demos.
Providing solid support can also help you get more positive reviews. If you’ve helped out a user, and provided good customer support, don’t hesitate to reach out afterwards. Ask them for a review, after you gave them such stellar service, they’ll probably be more than happy to help you out.
Another approach is to send a follow-up email after the support interaction. Thank the user for their business, and ask for a review, a rating of their overall experience with support, or any general feedback they might have.
It’s important to note that the feedback email can be as simple as sending a form with a smiley face, a frown face, and a neutral face. It’s an opportunity to build relationships, and turn merchants into advocates for your app.
Here’s s an example of a support email from Shopify Apps about a merchant’s experience with Celtic Commerce. Notice the ‘rate my reply’ section.
Also don’t forget, it’s not only reviews that you’ll get out of these conversations. It’s also free UX research directly from merchants.This gives you a chance to enhance and improve your app, by creating features that merchants are actually asking for.
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Tracking metrics for support interactions, and choosing what type of metrics you want to measure, will impact the overall growth and focus of your app.
When you know what to improve, you can focus on giving merchants what they want, which helps you get more installs. You can eventually use the data to create documentation, FAQs, demos, and webinars.
What you choose to measure will shape what you focus on, and affect the style and quality of support you’ll ultimately deliver. Here are a few metrics you could consider:
As the name suggests, the interaction total is the total number of interactions you’ve had with your customers. You can measure this by using a ticketing system, such as Zendesk. This will help you track a few things, including:
- What kind of queries you’re getting from merchants.
- What time is the busiest (you could possibly look into providing live support during that time period).
- Which merchants are coming back with numerous requests (you could perhaps set up a live demo for a group of those merchants).
Time to Response
This metric will measure how much time you took to respond to a question. If you use a ticketing system, or your personal email address, it will create a timestamp to show exactly when you got a query, and when you responded to it. The amount of time it takes you to respond to your customer’s queries is crucial.
We’ve seen merchants who are very curious about an app, but due to slow response times from the app developer, hesitate to install. The worry is that if they can’t get support now, how can they expect the developer to provide support if there are any issues after installing. That’s why replying as fast as possible is another key factor that can help you get more installs.
The quality rating measures how your customers felt about the support they got for your app. As mentioned earlier, you can measure this by sending out an email after every interaction with a customer. Having a quality rating for your interactions with customers is important to determining how you’re performing in the app store.
Google Analytics is a great tool in measuring where your audience is coming from. It helps to determine which marketing methods are worth investing more into, and which should be disregarded. It also provides insights as to where your customers are coming from, what is attracting them, and how much time they’re spending on your app. All these details can help you make better and more informed decision for the success of your app.
3. Consider beta
This decision comes before you launch your app, but it’s still a critical option that many app developers overlook. We recommend launching your app in beta because improvement is often the key difference between a mediocre app and a great one
Launching your app in beta gives you tons of benefits. First, your customers are aware of the fact that the app is in beta, so bugs are expected, therefore, it doesn’t tarnish your reputation. Beta apps come with a warning to merchants: “Although this app works, it might have some bugs in it that are still being worked out, so please be patient with us.”
This is a chance to own your faults – merchants are more understanding at this point. They’re a lot harder on apps that aren’t in beta, as they expect a published app to work efficiently without any issues.
Second, having a beta app, means you get constant feedback from your customers. This it helps you iterate on your product until you are satisfied with it.
Customers who send feedback are ripe for a survey or support forum: You can include questions like:
- How often do you use the app?
- What is the the app’s best feature?
- What are some additional features you’d like to see in this app?
- How happy are you with the support for this app?
- Are you satisfied with the amount you paid for this app?
Creating a community of users through surveys and forums will help you gain momentum right from the beginning, and make loyal customers out of merchants.
Finally, one Shopify survey sent out earlier this year revealed merchants judge apps based on how they look. When asked why merchants were choosing more attractive apps, a common response was “this app looks more trustworthy.” Use the customer feedback you get during your beta period to make tweaks and improvement to the look and feel of your app.
Overall, a good line of communication between customers, support, and development will help ensure you iterate and innovate.
There are some other ways to gain exposure for your app:
1. Write, write, write
It’s simple. Whether you write an article for your own blog, or publish a guest post on Medium or even Shopify’s Web Design and Development Blog, writing posts will give exposure to your brand. Establish yourself as an expert in whatever you do best, and offer value up front to those in your industry by including tips for other entrepreneurs, app developers, Shopify Partners and/or merchants.
2. Collaborate with other partners
If you attended Shopify’s Unite conference, you already understand the power of networking and collaborating with other partners. Consider reaching out to other developers, designers, or Experts within the Shopify ecosystem. Not only will you learn more about their practices and products, but you can also collaborate by cross-promoting each other’s apps. It’s a great way to leverage an existing or new relationship, and we’ve seen tremendous success with app developers supporting and promoting other developers’ applications.
Another great option is to use the traditional agency model to your advantage; many agencies are looking for new tools to offer their customers, and by providing them with an incentive, like discounts for their customers, you can leverage their customer base for some installs as well.
3. Launch your app as a free app
It might sound a little crazy to put in all that time to build an app and list it for free, but having a free app has its advantages. First, you’ll get more users willing to try your app if it’s free. Second, it’s essentially free UX research, as you’ll get questions and feedback from active Shopify merchants, which will help you improve your app and understand your customers’ needs.
And your app doesn’t have to be a free app forever. Once you have enough installs, reviews, and publicity, you can change your app to a freemium model, or a paid-only app.
Finally, you can have both a free app and a paid app listed in the App Store. The free app can help you reach out to customers and suggest your paid app. You can also try offering a discount for the paid app if they are an existing customer.
From mediocre to millions
As the number of apps increase within the Shopify ecosystem, the more important it is to pay attention to the minute details that make a significant difference to merchants.
It’s clean design and dedicated support that will attract merchants, and ensure they try your app in the first place. By providing adequate support, recognizing merchant needs, and continuously improving your product based on merchant feedback, you can take your app from mediocre to millions of downloads in no time!
Want more on the apps ecosystem? Check out this presentation from Shopify’s Unite conference on ‘How To Succeed in the App Store.’
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