Getting Featured on the Shopify App Store
A couple of months ago, one of our Shopify apps, Slacky (Shopify integration with Slack, currently free), was featured on the main banner of the Shopify App Store.
Our app was featured there for about 10 days, which really boosted the installs for our app. As of this writing, Slacky now has over 560 active installs. We're actually at a point now of thinking about offering a paid, premium version of the app as we've gotten some really good feedback from it.
Just to give a little bit of background, Slacky was the first app we've built for Shopify. It was meant more of an experiment to see how the Shopify app ecosystem works and whether we can actually get people to install it. Once we saw we were getting pretty regular installs of our app without doing much marketing on our side (people were simply searching the app store and finding our app that way), we became convinced that making Shopify apps could become a decent side business. So we started to take it more seriously and built a paid app, EZ Exporter, an app for automating and creating custom CSV exports of Shopify store data. A few months after launching that app and seeing steady growth, we finally formed an LLC to make it official, Highview Apps. We've then launched another app after that, EZ Importer, an app for importing orders (product import is on the roadmap) from other platforms into Shopify.
How to get featured on the main banner
According to this official Shopify blog post, an app should meet the following requirements before it will even be considered to get featured on the app store:
- at least 100 active installs
- at least 10 reviews with an average rating of four stars
- simple sign-up flow
- good onboarding flow
- good user experience
They do seem to make exceptions, though, as I've seen an app before get featured with only 6 reviews.
In our case, I think we had around 15 positive reviews and 250 active installs at the time. Our app was very simple to use. Just click a button to connect a Slack account and set up the events the user wants to receive in their Slack channel. Our app supports Slack slash commands as well and we have clear instructions on how to use them on the app's main page.
We were contacted by Shopify two and a half weeks from the start date of when our app will actually be featured on the app store. This gave us plenty of time to tweak our banner image and also spin up a new server to handle the additional load.
We didn't really know how much new installs to expect and it probably varies quite a bit depending on the app. I'm assuming a free app that can apply to all Shopify stores will probably get way more installs (such as promotion bars and SEO apps).
With Slacky, we got 163 new installs in those 10 days we were featured. Considering we typically only get 1-3 installs a day, this was a really big increase for us.
Here's the breakdown of installs during that period:
- 2017-08-14 - 22 installs
- 2017-08-13 - 14 installs
- 2017-08-12 - 12 installs
- 2017-08-11 - 14 installs
- 2017-08-10 - 7 installs
- 2017-08-09 - 10 installs
- 2017-08-08 - 14 installs
- 2017-08-07 - 28 installs
- 2017-08-06 - 33 installs
- 2017-08-05 - 9 installs
Note that we ran this query using UTC timezone and we probably didn't get a full day on August 5. One important thing to mention is there are 4 other apps getting featured on the main banner section and the position rotates. In the first 2 or so days, we were on the first slot (i.e. as soon as the app store page loads, our app is the first featured app displayed) and that definitely made a difference in installs as we could see those days have a much higher number. You can then see the installs go down and pick up again as the position changes.
One other thing we've done as well to take advantage of this is make the links to our other apps more visible on Slacky's main page for cross-promotion and we've gotten a few additional installs from it (we use a special URL to track where the installs come from).
New and Noteworthy section
Another way to get featured on the Shopify app store is via the "New and Noteworthy" section. We've actually gotten featured there as well but didn't get as many installs. Though at the time, I don't think we had any reviews which may have affected the installs.
It's also worth mentioning that the main banner for the featured apps doesn't get displayed on mobile. The "New and Noteworthy" section is instead the first thing that's displayed when viewing the app store on a mobile device, which makes me wonder if this section could actually give a better conversion if your app already has some nice reviews by the time it gets featured there. Though, on the other hand, there may not be many people installing apps while they're on mobile.
Overall, I find the Shopify app ecosystem to be very well designed. It's really cool that they're doing all these promotions to help new app developers get some traction. I believe they also have an app recommendation system now which uses machine learning so the apps that have been around for a while and have already gotten a ton of reviews don't get all the attention. For instance, if your app is being used by many stores in a specific industry, their algorithm may recommend your app to other stores in the same industry.