Apps and Your eCommerce Platform

Apps

If you own and operate an online store, then you need to think about apps.

Apps may be primarily associated with smart phones and consumers, but they can and should play a huge role for your company’s  eCommerce efforts. The nature of this role varies tremendously between different eCommerce platforms. To maximize the value of your online retail efforts – and to make your life easier – you need to choose an eCommerce platform that takes the best possible approach to app availability and integration.

Platforms that Cover The Basics

There are some platforms requiring apps for basic eCommerce functionality and some that have those basic functionality already built in.

The single most important differentiator between eCommerce platforms when it comes to apps is whether these offerings fulfill basic functions or provide more advanced opportunities.

For example, consider the issue of shipping labels. For any retailer selling goods online, shipping levels are an obvious necessity. Yet a lot of eCommerce solutions don’t have the ability to create shipping labels built into their basic platform. Instead, users need to download an additional app to gain this ability, and that app is not likely to be free. It may not break the bank, but it’s yet another cost that an online retailer can’t avoid and may not have foreseen when choosing that platform. 

Platforms that go Beyond

For better performance and capabilities, look for an eCommerce platform that sees apps as upgrades, rather than base necessities. 

That’s a common tactic for many eCommerce platforms. However, it’s certainly not always the case. Other eCommerce solutions include shipping label creation as a basic component, built into the platform. 

For these more robust, sophisticated eCommerce platforms, apps will instead provide advanced functionality – features that aren’t necessary for basic eCommerce, but can deliver a powerful advantage.

Here are just a few examples of the more advanced capabilities that apps can potentially offer:

  • Auto-generate coupon codes to make promotions easier to implement.
  • Connect your online store to Facebook so you can sell via social media.
  • Integrate with MailChimp for better, smoother marketing campaigns.
  • Set-up and automate your shipping.
  • Mass update products to make changes throughout your online store quickly.

Generally speaking, those eCommerce platforms which require app installation for more basic functions will simply not offer more sophisticated apps, such as these. 

Integration issues

Online stores will operate much more efficiently and smoothly when apps are pre-integrated.

Beyond the issue of basic vs. advanced app availability, online retailers should also consider the question of integration. Put simply, there are two options here: apps that are pre-integrated and those that are not.

Pre-integrated apps

The advantage of an eCommerce platform with pre-integrated apps is straightforward: There’s no real chance of technical complications or other issues when you go to install a new app. Essentially, all of the apps are right there, waiting for you to hit the on switch. The process is smooth and simple, and will not cost you a fortune in development fees. 

Non-integrated apps

The same is not true for eCommerce solutions that rely on non-integrated apps. When this is the case, the online store will need to download and integrate each app onto the platform on a case-by-case basis. When this is the situation, companies are forced to rely on plug ins, and that will almost inevitably lead to software bugs and conflicts. 

How other platform works with apps: 

While some apps may be easier to install than others, most platforms require developers in order to integrate apps. 

Things to consider: 

  • What types of apps do I need in my store?
  • How much am I willing to invest in using apps?

How do Zoey’s apps integrate: 

The good news for Zoey customers is that all of our apps come pre-integrated with every Zoey site. Learn more about our apps here.  

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