As the number of e-merchant’s increases, the specialized needs of merchants in turn evolved.
As it becomes easier and easier to sell almost anything online, more merchants are entering e-commerce to sell new types of products and services in current and emerging markets around the world.
While Shopify provides the platform and tools to meet the essential needs of e-commerce entrepreneurs, new challenges and opportunities constantly arise. It’s when these new opportunities emerge that app developers can strike hard.
It’s when these new opportunities emerge that app developers can strike hard.
At the last Shopify Unite conference, the annual Shopify Partner and Developer Conference, Sarah Sui and Todd Courtyard from the Data Analytics team presented the possibilities in the area of new Shopify application development. In their data-driven presentation, they shared trends shown by Shopify merchants, observations on top-performing apps, and opportunities for new app development. In addition, they explained how new app developers can enter the Shopify app ecosystem and find success.
In this article, we go over the merchant issues that have been brought up at Unite, linking them to trends shared by Sarah and Todd. And we provide you with inspiration by showing you high-performing apps that solved specific issues merchants face.
Merchants today need apps
Our data analytics team spends a significant amount of time compiling and analyzing data as part of the study of customer surveys, merchant store trends, and Shopify App Store trends. We already know that a typical Shopify store has an average of 4 apps installed at the end of its first year of operation. But recent data shows that new merchants are installing and maintaining apps at an even faster rate.
In addition to the growing demand for apps, the data shows that merchants are very open to using recently released apps. Some of the most popular apps in the Shopify App Store have seen huge success in just a few short months. These triumphant new applications can also be found in all categories of the Shopify App Store.
This means that while there are already several great apps in the Shopify App Store, there are new apps that can definitely capture the hearts of merchants. As Sarah reported in her talk to Unite, “The App Store is ripe for disruption.”
Merchants are looking for apps to solve specific problems
When the data analysis team studied the list of the best performing applications, a common point emerged in the sense that each of these applications solves specific problems encountered by merchants in a specific market.
You would think that merchants visit the Shopify App Store primarily to find unique tools or interesting optimizations. But in fact, what drives the installation of new applications is the need to find a solution to a very specific challenge, whether it is in terms of acquiring inventory, creating marketing campaigns, or even converting currencies for international customers, among others.
This shows that application developers looking for success must tackle the pain points of merchants.
To help you find success in developing your app, we’ve analyzed data from our most recent customer survey and identified the top three issues that drive merchants to the Shopify App Store:
- Updating products and stocks
- Analysis of web traffic and trends
- Changing the appearance of the store
We’ve looked at these issues and looked at changing trends in merchant and category searches. With that in mind, we’ve uncovered the reasons merchants need help with these challenges, and how best to position your app to solve them.
1. Updating products and stocks
Inventory issues can not only be related to the quantity of products, but also the types of products sold in a particular category. Here are the best-represented markets currently on the Shopify platform:
- Fashion and clothing
- Beauty and health
- House and furniture
- Food and drinks
The most represented market on Shopify is the fashion and clothing market. Applications such as Return Magic have provided solutions that solve the biggest product and inventory management challenges in the fashion and apparel market.
In the case of Return Magic, the creators have developed a robust application for managing returns. Since customers cannot try on the clothes or touch the fabrics in person, the clothing market is known for its high rate of return of items purchased online.
By focusing on this challenge encountered in this market, the developers of Return Magic have created a solution to facilitate this part of the shopping experience for both merchants and their customers.
Rewind is another application that addresses a specific inventory management problem. For stores that sell multiple types of products and maintain very detailed product pages (such as fashion, personal care, and beauty stores), product data is critical.
With so much detail living online, if that data were to be lost, it would take merchants hours to re-enter everything. This would result in downtime and lost sales. Rewind mitigates this risk by backing up store data, to reassure merchants.
You will notice that these two applications have some things in common: they were designed for specific markets, they were developed around a challenge related to inventory management, and they provide effective solutions to manage that challenge.
While there are already many effective applications focused on solving the inventory management issues faced by fashion and clothing store owners, in particular, there are other markets that are starting to be increasingly represented. On Shopify; but who do not have the same choice of applications. Besides the current dominant markets, the other three fastest-growing markets on Shopify are:
- Animal products
- Jewelry and luxury goods
Merchants operating in these markets may have specific sourcing, packaging, shipping, and distribution needs. By researching the challenges encountered in these markets, you might discover a pain point that your application could resolve and thus take advantage of a very lean competitive landscape.
2. Analysis of web traffic and trends
All merchants want to attract as many visitors as possible. But to convert those visitors into sales, they need to better understand how and why customers came to their online store. Here is some information that may be useful for merchants:
- Region: Helps merchants understand which countries visitors are from and regional shipping and payment issues.
- Discovery Potential: Helps merchants be more easily found through search engines or social media.
- Shopping Experience: Helps merchants understand how often customers visit their site, as well as other sites they visit when making their purchasing decision.
Looking at the issues relating to the region, we’ve seen a huge increase in Shopify merchants across all continents year after year. Not only do merchants serve customers all over the world, but they are also themselves based around the world.
South America is one of our fast-growing merchant regions. Reviewing the search terms used by merchants based in South America, here are the keywords that come up the most:
Main search terms used by merchants based in South America
One of the most popular search terms is ‘curries’, which means ‘post office’ in Portuguese. Developers of some apps like “Curries – SIGEP – Etiquette’s ” have taken note of this strong demand for better shipping solutions and created a Shopify app to help Brazilian merchants ship their products.
Asia is our second fastest growing market, beyond South America. By repeating the previous exercise, you will have the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage from an increasing number of merchants.
3. Change the appearance of a store
It is not only important that merchants ensure that their store reflects their brand image, but also that they make certain adjustments to be in tune with emerging trends as well as with the expectations of the market or a specific region.
For example, Hex tom is a Shopify partner who has created user-friendly applications that help merchants add visual functionality to their stores. The Hex tom team has created several successful apps – countdown bar, free shipping bar, and quick ad bar apps.
While these features may seem trivial, they are obviously of great importance to merchants. By examining regional search trends, as well as trends within markets, you might discover that there are new features or functions that merchants would like to incorporate into their stores – including virtual reality, augmented reality, or even functions that improve the user experience on mobile.
There are still many challenges that merchants are looking to solve
While there is a large selection of apps available on the Shopify App Store for merchants, there are still many untapped opportunities. As our merchant base grows, there will be more and more opportunities to develop new successful applications. Maybe after doing some research on the needs in a given region, in a specific industry, or on the needs in terms of understanding the traffic received on a store, you will find your application ranked in the list of the best sales of this year!
Article published by Rick Smith
Rick Smith is the editor of the Shopify App Development company. He is responsible for content marketing and localization for Shopify Services by Folio3.