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Elevate the eCommerce experience

Have you ever had a great idea for a new feature, functionality, or design for your Shopify store and then been at a loss as to how to make your vision a reality? Shopify’s built-in features and off-the-shelf apps won’t always achieve what you want them to. So, rather than compromise on your idea, why not build a custom Shopify app to get the job done?

Custom Shopify apps ensure your customers’ user experience is seamless, tailored, and exciting. If there isn’t an app that does what you want, don’t make do with second best; create something as unique as your business and stand out from your competitors.

This article will discover more about off-the-shelf and custom Shopify apps and how to use them to elevate the eCommerce experience.

What are custom Shopify apps?

Custom Shopify apps are apps created by third-party developers for the Shopify platform to solve a functionality problem or add a feature that existing apps cannot support.

Custom apps are built specifically for a business and do not appear in the Shopify app store unless they are later approved by Shopify and added to the App Store as an off-the-shelf solution.

Developers can use Shopify’s API (application programming interface) to build and integrate the custom app seamlessly with the Shopify store in question.

Custom apps be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Adding new features and functionalities to an eCommerce store to improve user experience.
  • Automating or streamlining a store’s operations.
  • Enhancing marketing and sales efforts.
  • Integrating with external systems or third-party services.
  • Customising a store’s appearance.

Custom Shopify apps can be used to enhance and extend the functionality of your Shopify store. Thousands of free and paid apps are available to browse on the Shopify App Store.

Why choose a custom Shopify app over an off-the-shelf solution?

Still unsure about the benefits of using custom Shopify apps? Here are a few advantages of opting for the bespoke option.

  • Full customisation – If a custom Shopify app has been tailor-made for your store, you have full control over how it looks and functions. Custom Shopify apps can be customised to align with your brand and processes to provide a seamless user experience.
  • Tailored to your needs – Custom Shopify apps can be built to address specific requirements and challenges that are unique to your business.
  • Enhance user experience – Custom Shopify apps can elevate your eCommerce experience by seamlessly integrating bespoke features and functionalities that are specific to your store.
  • Scalable – Because you have full control over your custom Shopify app, you can adapt, extend, and scale the app’s features, functionalities, and integrations as your business grows and evolves.
  • Competitive advantage – A custom Shopify app can help your business to do things differently from its competitors. You could use a custom app to provide unique features and functionalities, enhance user experience and differentiate your store from similar stores in a crowded market.

Whilst off-the-shelf Shopify apps are more readily available and affordable, they do not offer the same level of customisation, control, and potential for business growth as custom solutions.

How can custom Shopify apps be used to elevate the eCommerce experience?

Custom Shopify apps can be built to enhance or extend the functionality of almost any aspect of your online store.

Some of these apps are then approved by Shopify and added to the Shopify App Store, where they become a readily available off-the-shelf solution for other eCommerce businesses to install on their websites.

In this section, we’ll explore some of the most popular types of custom Shopify apps and provide examples of custom apps that were later added to the Shopify App Store for public use. 

Site navigation

A well-designed navigation structure is important for ensuring that customers can easily find what they’re looking for, which helps to boost conversion rates. To enhance site navigation, consider using custom Shopify apps to integrate the following features and functionalities:

  • Search functionality
  • Personalised navigation
  • Streamlined menus
  • ‘Breadcrumb’ navigation
  • Interactive site maps

paper clips on a yellow background in the shape of a cursorAn example of a Shopify app that can be used to improve site navigation is Smart Product Filter and Search by Globo.

Smart Product Filter and Search is a powerful search solution featuring instant suggestions and autocorrect. It allows users to quickly filter the products on a website by size, price, colour, tag, vendor, brand, collection, and meta fields, to improve the eCommerce experience and conversion rates.

While Smart Product Filter and Search is powerful and comprehensive, it might not do exactly what you need it to. A custom Shopify app could be designed to match your precise requirements. 

Product recommendations

Offering customers personalised product recommendations can help to drive customer engagement and increase average order value. Shopify apps can be used to integrate product recommendation features and functionalities including:

  • AI-based product recommendations
  • Product upselling and cross-selling
  • Dynamic product bundles
  • Location-based recommendations
  • Product recommendations based on exit intent
  • Product recommendation quizzes

Examples of Shopify apps that can be used to add product recommendations include: 

Frequently Bought Together by Code Black Belt.

Frequently Bought Together helps eCommerce businesses upsell to customers using AI-driven product recommendations, upselling, and discounts.

Presidio Quiz Kit by Presidio Creative 

Presidio Quiz Kit allows businesses to offer customers engaging, fully customisable quizzes and results pages to recommend products, increase average order value and improve product discoverability.

We helped Dirtea, a business selling mushroom tea powders, to create a product discovery quiz for their website using the Presidio Quiz app. It was designed to help customers discover the right product for their lifestyles and goals. You can take the quiz here to see what the Shopify Presidio Quiz Kit app is capable of.

ReConvert Upsell and Cross Sell by ReConvert

ReConvert can be used to add one-click upsells and discounted upsells to your checkout and thank you pages to increase average order value and maximise profits. 

If off-the-shelf solutions like ReConvert don’t offer all the features and functionalities you need, then you can make a proposal to the team at Create8 and our Shopify developers will build a custom Shopify app that meets your requirements.

Checkout flow 

Checkout flow is critical to the success of every eCommerce website. It’s the final step in the buying process, so it’s important to make it as quick and simple as possible for customers to complete their purchases – any inefficiencies can lead to cart abandonment and lost sales! To enhance your store’s checkout flow, consider using Shopify apps to integrate one or more of the following features and functionalities:

  • Customised checkout experience
  • Product upselling and cross-selling
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Diverse payment options
  • Speed and efficiency
  • Order customisation options

An example of a Shopify app that can be used to improve checkout flow is Fast Checkout in One Click by Sweet Ecom.

Fast Checkout in One Click streamlines the checkout process to enhance efficiency and user experience, reducing cart abandonment and improving conversion rates.


Reviews are essential to eCommerce websites as they build trust, provide social proof, and encourage purchases. Custom Shopify apps can add features and functionalities to help with collecting and displaying reviews; these include:

  • Review collection
  • On-site review display
  • Incentivised review program
  • Review moderation
  • Review import/export
  • SEO optimisation for reviews

5 3D yellow stars against a pink and blue backgroundAn example of an off-the-shelf Shopify app that can be used to add and enhance reviews is Judge.me Product Reviews.

Judge.me Product Reviews helps eCommerce businesses to collect and display product reviews and star ratings to help build trust and boost sales using social proof.

Subscriptions builder

Offering a subscription service helps eCommerce businesses to earn a consistent and predictable revenue stream and provide customers with a convenient service. 

Our team at Create8 built a highly customised subscription builder feature for our client Dirtea, allowing customers to select which products they would like sent to them and the frequency of their subscription. Allowing such a high level of personalisation and flexibility encourages more people to sign up, improving user experience and conversion rates.

Shopify subscription apps can be used to enhance these services by adding the following features and functionalities:

  • Flexible subscription options
  • Subscription management
  • Product bundling and upselling
  • Subscription discounts
  • Reminder notifications
  • Gift subscriptions
  • Hybrid car integration for one-time purchases and subscriptions

An example of a Shopify app that can be used to add a subscription service to your online store is Recharge Subscriptions by Recharge.

ReCharge Subscriptions is a subscription management solution which allows businesses to offer their customers the ability to manage their subscriptions online directly from their store.

Recharge Subscriptions provides an impressive range of features, but it may not meet all your requirements. If that’s the case, a custom-built Shopify app could be the perfect solution, as it will be 100% tailored to your business needs.

Loyalty program

Loyalty programs are a great way to encourage repeat business, boost lifetime value, and strengthen customer relationships. Custom Shopify apps can be created to build or enhance these programs by adding the following features and functionalities:

  • Points-based loyalty system
  • Tiered rewards
  • Referral programs
  • Membership programs
  • Birthday rewards
  • Rewards tracking and redemption

An example of a Shopify app that can add a loyalty program to your online store is Yotpo: Loyalty and Rewards by Yotpo – L&R.

Yotpo can be used to build a customisable customer loyalty program that allows customers to earn and redeem points to drive repeat purchases, increase lifetime value, and boost engagement.

Our client Splendette wanted to offer its customer the chance to earn points and rewards every time they shopped with them. We used the Yotpo Shopify app to build them a customer loyalty program that fits seamlessly with their store’s design and branding.

Product bundles

Product bundling is a great way to sell more products and increase your average order value. Here are some of the features and functionalities that custom Shopify apps can integrate with your eCommerce store to create or enhance product bundling.

  • Bundle creation
  • Dynamic bundling
  • Bundle discounts
  • Inventory management

An example of a Shopify app that can be used to add product bundles to your online store is BoxBuilder: DIY Product Bundle by StayTuned.

BoxBuilder helps businesses to create bespoke product bundles and gift boxes to increase average order value.

Toiletries product bundle shipped in a cardboard box, created by a custom Shopify app

The Candy King sells a huge selection of retro sweets online. We used the BoxBuilder Shopify app to help them to offer customers the option to create their own pick and mix orders online.

Web design

Custom Shopify apps can significantly enhance your website’s design, improving its look, feeling, and user experience.

Almost any element of the design can be customised using a custom Shopify app; including:

  • Themes and layouts
  • Interactive elements
  • Navigation
  • Dynamic content
  • Accessibility enhancements
  • Augmented reality

An example of a Shopify app that can be used to customise your eCommerce store’s design is LayoutHub – Easy Page Builder by LayoutHub.

LayoutHub offers a library of customisable high-quality layouts; it is, however, an off-the-shelf solution – so if you have a specific layout or design in mind, a custom-built solution can be tailored to your precise requirements.

Product options

Custom Shopify apps can greatly enhance product options in your eCommerce store, allowing you to offer more choices and customisation to your customers. Here are some of the features and functionalities that custom apps can add to enhance product options:

  • Additional product customisation options
  • Dynamic product options
  • Product add-ons
  • Bundling options
  • Pricing adjustments
  • Bundling options
  • Conditional logic

An example of a Shopify app that can be used to enhance your online store’s product options is Globo Product Options, Variant by Globo.

Globo allows businesses to create infinite product options and offer customers the option to personalise their products to increase sales.

Rock on Ruby, a contemporary brand offering personalised and custom-made clothing, needed a vast array of product options and variations due to the bespoke nature of its merchandise. Our Shopify developers used the Globo Product Options Shopify app, allowing high customisation. This included fields for each product where customers can choose the size and clothing colour, pick the colour for their personalised text, and add multiple rows of customised text.

Customer service

A great customer service experience can lead to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty. Here’s some of the customer service features and functionalities you can add by building a custom Shopify app:

  • Live chat support
  • Helpdesk integration
  • Chatbot
  • Order tracking
  • Returns and exchanges management
  • Feedback collection
  • Multi-language support

An example of a Shopify app that can enhance your store’s customer service is Tidio Live Chat and Chatbots by Tidio LLC.

Tidio is an all-in-one customer experience solution offering live chat, chatbots, and multichannel communication to help your store provide excellent customer service and increase store conversions.

Let Create8 build you a custom Shopify app

Are you ready to elevate the eCommerce experience? Here at Create8, we are proud to be a Shopify partner. Our team of Shopify web designers and developers understand the intricacies of the Shopify platform and specialise in building and installing custom and off-the-shelf Shopify apps that will suit the unique needs of your business.

Whether you need help installing one of the apps mentioned in this article or require a developer to build a bespoke app to solve a unique technical problem, our team can help. We will find or build a solution to enhance user experience and set your store apart from the competition.

Ready to get started? Contact us today to discuss your project, and let us bring your vision to life.

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