You built your app, promoted it, and have earned yourself a loyal group of app users. But to keep growing your user base, you need to continue growing your business. To do this, you’ll need to reach even more merchants and sell them on why their store needs your app.
While you can try creating new campaigns or using new tactics on the marketing channels you’ve used before, there’s another way to reach a whole pool of potential new users: targeting merchants who are already using other Shopify apps.
The average Shopify merchant uses at least four apps on their store, and enjoys when their stack of apps works well together. You can help merchants and also grow your own user base by showing merchants how well your app works with others in the Shopify Ecosystem.You and other app developers can cross-promote and help each other grow your respective businesses.
There are many ways that app developers can work together to help each other out. One powerful way is to integrate your app with complimentary apps. In this article, we’ll provide advice and tips for how to successfully make this happen.
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Look for other apps that enhance your offering
There are many tasks that take up a merchant’s time: sourcing inventory, creating product listings, editing product images, promoting products, creating campaigns, tracking campaigns, and so on. Your app likely makes one of these chores easier. But that’s just one part of the entrepreneurial grind. Could you integrate with an app that steps in at another stage, and add even more efficiencies for merchants?
For example, you could have a situation where one app could take care of product image editing as soon as a drop-shipped or print-on-demand product is sourced. Another could be connecting marketing campaign information directly into an analytics dashboard. As you can see there’s a lot of potential for task overlap between apps, that could be made easier.
Another approach is to think about what feature you’d love to add to your app, but you either don’t have the bandwidth to develop it, or there’s already an app in the app store that does a great job of providing that solution. Instead of over-extending yourself trying to compete, you could extend a handshake and work together. This would make things better for you, and for the merchants who use your apps.
Tip: Use the free development store in your developer’s account to download and test other apps. The best way to figure out how your apps work together is to know how other apps work.
As a Shopify App Developer, you have access to several tools and resources to get building, including being able to create functional Shopify stores to run tests on. Don’t yet have an account? Create one for free and get started today!Visit the Dashboard Become a Shopify Developer
Develop an integration and include it on your app listing
Now that you know which apps complement yours, you may want to develop integrations into their apps. To do this, see if the app you’d like to connect with has an open API, or message the app developer directly. The more seamlessly your apps work together, the more likely merchants are to adopt both.
An example of two apps that found synergies in working together are Swell and Klaviyo. Both apps help with customer acquisition and retention, but with different tactics - Swell provides reward and referral functions and Klaviyo helps merchants run effective email campaigns. Through integrating together, merchants can combine both tactics and include referral codes directly in their email campaigns.
Once you’ve created an integration, you can include those details on your app listing page. This will help users of those other apps give your app a try as well. Offering something of direct value to users of other apps creates a solid value proposition for your app in a whole new pool of potential users.
Tip: To help determine which partners have an open API, read through app listing pages of other popular apps and look for integrations that are commonly listed.
Build an API for your own app
As your app grows in popularity, you may find that other developers now want to build integrations into your product. When they build these integrations, they’re likely to mention your app on their own app listing app pages, which is great free marketing for you.
Another example of a successful app with its own API, is Smile.io. According the app’s co-founder, Steve Deckert: “expanding the ecosystem of Smile Apps is a major initiative for Smile.io in 2018. We're doing this by making an API of our own available to developers to easily build an integration, as well as a full marketing program to give companies the business reasons they need to justify this developer time spent on an integration.”
Tip: In addition, to increase discoverability of your app’s API, you can list it in an API directory. One example is the directory maintained by the API publication ProgrammableWeb.
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Build together to help grow your app users
There are hundreds of other app entrepreneurs working to grow their businesses on Shopify. In trying to reach as many merchants as possible, there’s no need to struggle on your own. Working with other successful app developers to improve merchants’ businesses together will help everybody grow and succeed.
Already building integrations with other Shopify apps? Let us know in the comments below!