3 Shopify Store to App Solutions to Modernize Your E-Commerce Brand

Did you know that over 70% of all e-commerce sales are now happening on mobile devices? You may have experienced this yourself — post-pandemic, more and more shoppers are buying from their phones.

The shift to mCommerce is happening faster than you realize. Online brands without a mobile strategy could miss out on billions in sales. The solution? Turn your Shopify store into a mobile app.

It might seem overwhelming, but don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. By the end of this 6-minute read, you’ll know exactly how to win a mobile-first future.

Why Mobile Commerce Is The Future

Mobile phone real estate is precious, and there are several reasons you’d want to own some. Here are just a few:

  • Mobile phone users are everywhere. As of 2021, the number of global smartphone users is over 6.3 billion — nearly 80% of the world population.
    • The market for mobile phones is still growing. In growing consumer markets like India, Brazil, and China, smartphone penetration rates are only between 30 - 60%.
    • Growth in time spent on mobile phones. In 2021, the average US smartphone user will spend 4 hours and 23 minutes on their phone. You can expect that figure to hit 4 hours and 35 minutes in the next two years.
    • Mobile commerce is snowballing. From 2016 to 2021, the average YoY growth of mCommerce was 29.8%.
    • Mobile apps have better conversion rates. When comparing a mobile browser experience to a mobile app experience, customers will look at more products, add more to their carts, and buy more items. Conversion rates can improve 4x!

    Now that you know why your Shopify store needs a mobile app let’s figure out how to do it.

    3 Different Shopify Store to Mobile App Solutions

    Each of these methods comes with its own set of pros and cons — don’t worry, we’ll be walking you through them all.

    1. Use Shopify Apps and Plugins

    The Shopify App Store is filled with tools and plugins you can use to turn your Shopify store into a mobile app. Pre-packaged mobile app solutions come with several benefits:

  • Ease of use. When you use a plugin, the team behind the Shopify app will take care of all the development for you. 
  • Affordability. Since you’re simply buying a service and not hiring new talent, outsourcing your app development to a Shopify app plugin is far more affordable.
    • Speed. E-commerce brands need to move fast. Building via plugin is much quicker than building a mobile app from scratch.

    That said, building a mobile-native platform with a Shopify App comes with challenges:

    • Ownership vs. rent. You’re paying a monthly fee to the Shopify App team, not your employees. You don’t own your app — you’re renting it out from your providers.
    • Technical support availability. Your app builders build platforms for many brands — you’ll likely have some difficulty getting a hold of someone to help you with technical issues.

    Here are some popular Shopify Apps you can use to go from Shopify store to mobile app:

    • MageNative Mobile App Builder: this plugin offers iOS and Android apps with real-time updates, easy synchronizations, and multi-language support. Packages start at $29/month.
    • Shopney Mobile App: boasting nearly 400 5-star reviews, Shopney is a popular choice among many well-known brands. Their team of experts uses features like abandoned cart push notifications to improve customer conversions.
    • Vajro Mobile App Builder: Vajro builds and maintains apps for over 2000 Shopify stores. Their platform provides BNPL options, 24/7 support, and a generous 3-month trial.

    2. Use A SaaS Mobile App Builder

    Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) mobile app building platforms are typically more expensive than a simple Shopify App. Still, they offer all the same benefits and more:

    • Inclusive and straightforward support. Your monthly fee covers everything you’ll need: maintenance, technical issues, and more are covered.
    • No-code building. These SaaS platforms provide you with constructors — ready-made blocks you can use to build out your store’s features. It's often a matter of simply dragging and dropping.
    • Speed and affordability. Building via a SaaS platform takes longer than using a plugin, but it’s still a high-speed and inexpensive approach to building your Shopify mobile app.

    But let’s not forget the drawbacks:

    • Ownership. Once again, you don’t have complete control over your app. While the information inside is yours, the code is not.
    • Vendor contracts. After you’re locked in with a SaaS provider, it’s difficult to change vendors. Whether it’s data migration or contract details, it’ll be a headache regardless.
    • Limited customization opportunities. You’re constrained by whatever features your vendor provides. If they haven’t added support for a hot new feature, you could be missing out.

    If you end up going the Shopify mobile app builder route, there are a few reliable options:

    • Tapcart: a drag and drop builder to turn your Shopify store into a mobile app. It also integrates with the tools you’re already using, like Google Analytics and Klaviyo.
    • Apptuse: another app builder with four different push notifications, sharing features for social promotion, and a 14-day free trial.
    • Appy Pie: a service that makes it simple to transform your Shopify store into a mobile application. Simply plug in the link to your store, drag and drop, then publish your app.

    3. Hire A Developer Team

    If your eCommerce business is an established brand — with employees, distributors, investors, etc. — you should consider developing an app from the ground up. Custom app development tackles many of the issues you’d face with the first two options:

    • Ownership of your platform. Once you’ve built the app, it’s yours: the code, the test scripts, the animations, all of it. No one can gatekeep any features from you!
    • Ultimate customization. Your speed of updates is only limited by the talent you hire. Whenever you want a new feature implemented, you can start a project right away.
    • Better data security. You run the pipelines, and your customers’ data isn't sent through an unknown third party.

    Of course, two significant factors are preventing most e-Commerce brands from going the custom route.

    • Time. Mobile app development is a lengthy process. Depending on how comprehensive your store is, development could take up to six months.
    • Price. Developers are expensive. You’re hiring talent, not a plug-and-play software solution.

    If you have the capital and momentum, this is the ideal approach to turn your Shopify store into an app.

    Tips on How to Turn Your Shopify Store into an App

    After you’ve decided which approach you want to take to convert your Shopify store into a mobile app, all that’s left to do is enact your vision. The app for your Shopify store should reflect your brand and put your users first. Remember — your customers will only shop here if it’s easier.

    If you want more advice on building out your e-commerce brand’s mobile platform, customer experience, reach out to the experts at Flaym! We’ll help you accelerate your Shopify store in whatever way you need.

    Frequently Asked Questions 

    Can I turn my Shopify store into an app?

    Yes, there are several ways to build a Shopify mobile app for your online store. Many services — like Tapcart, Shopney, and MageNative — offer tools to develop native apps for Android and iOS. The best part? No coding knowledge is necessary.

    Does Shopify have an app builder?

    Shopify’s App Store offers many services that can help you build a Shopify mobile app. Ideally, look for one that offers a free trial, comprehensive customer support, and high levels of customization.

    How do I integrate apps with Shopify?

    To add an App to your online store, simply visit Shopify's App Store. There you’ll find plugins and apps that can manage your inventory, convert customers, and create mobile apps.