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How to Become a Shopify App Developer? With over 1 million merchants powered by Shopify, becoming a Shopify app developer lets you impact and enrich ecommerce experiences worldwide. But how do you get started building apps for this expansive platform?
As an experienced Shopify developer and partner, I’ll walk through a comprehensive guide to becoming a professional Shopify app builder covering:
- Why Become a Shopify App Developer
- Why you should build apps for Shopify’s ecosystem
- Required skills and recommended learning pathways
- Tools and accounts you’ll need access to
- How the Shopify Partner Program works
- Generating quality app ideas aligned to merchant pain points
- App monetization models and pricing strategies
- App marketing best practices to acquire users
- Development process from prototype to production
- Ensuring excellent user experience and support
- Shopify app developer resume and job opportunities
Let’s dig in so you can start profitably publishing apps to the Shopify App Store!
Why Become a Shopify App Developer?
Here are some of the key reasons to consider becoming a Shopify app developer:
- Huge market opportunity – With over 1 million merchants using Shopify, there is a massive potential market for your apps.
- Recurring revenue – You can charge monthly recurring fees, create in-app purchases, etc allowing for predictable revenue.
- Low barrier to entry – Shopify provides powerful developer tools to help you quickly build apps. No advanced coding skills required.
- Full control over your apps – You own the apps you build, allowing for much more creative and financial freedom.
- Ability to help businesses – Apps solve real problems for merchants and can provide a lot of value.
- Flexible lifestyle – You can work remotely and set your own hours and availability.
The potential to build a highly profitable app development business makes this an attractive career, especially for those with an entrepreneurial mindset. The large Shopify ecosystem provides a massive opportunity today and likely for many years to come.
Why Build Apps for Shopify?
With over 1 million merchants and growing rapidly, Shopify represents an immense opportunity:
- Established ecosystem with hundreds of thousands of paying app customers already
- Shopify actively promotes quality partner apps, providing distribution
- Frequent updates ensure continued innovation on platform
- Built-in payments, security, hosting takes care of backend complexities
- Opportunity to build a sustainable app business, not just take contract projects
Shopify’s thriving embedded community cements it as a rewarding place to focus your app development efforts.
Required Skills for Shopify App Development
Helpful skills include:
- Shopify Liquid template language
- React and React Native for building embedded UIs
- REST API integrations – Shopify GraphQL API ideal
- Ruby on Rails for custom backends when required
- User experience design skills
- App marketing – positioning, copywriting, ads
Invest time growing these core competencies early on.
Useful Tools and Accounts
You’ll want access to:
- Shopify Partner Dashboard – Manage apps and payouts
- Shopify CLI – Build and deploy apps
- Shopify App Bridge – Embed apps in admin
- Development store – For testing your apps
- GitHub – Repository for app code
- Google Analytics – Track app usage
- Slack – Get support from other developers
Having these tools setup makes development much smoother.
Understanding Shopify’s Partner Program
Shopify’s Partner Program supports app developers through:
- Free development accounts and tools
- App store listing and distribution
- Revenue share model – Shopify takes only 20%
- Marketing opportunities like featuring apps
- Inclusion in Shopify’s public app directory
- Access to SDKs, APIs and extensive docs
The program incentivizes quality apps aligning with merchant needs.
Identifying Solid App Ideas
Successful apps solve meaningful merchant problems like:
- Simplifying tedious workflows
- Recommending proven best practices
- Automating complex processes
- Extracting key business insights from data
- Increasing average order value
- Reducing operational costs
- Delighting customers for retention
- Standing out visually online
Evaluate ideas based on customer value and willingness to pay. Apps improving profitability, efficiency or differentiation excel.
Monetization Models and Pricing
Common monetization models include:
- Recurring subscriptions – Price based on functionality and plan levels
- Per-use charges – Usage charges based on activity
- Commissions – Take commission on resulting sales
- Licensing – License technology powering the app
Consider adoption factors like free trials and freemium models. Price based on value delivered.
Marketing Your App
Promote new apps through:
- Attractive App Store listing – screenshots, video, compelling descriptions
- Influencer marketing – Leverage blog/video reviews
- App giveaways – Strategic contests and promotions
- Retargeting ads to visitors who downloaded your app
- Content marketing – Blog about use cases
- Affiliate marketing – Recruit evangelists with referral commissions
- SEO optimized landing pages driving app store conversions
Consistent marketing builds awareness and loyal user bases.
Streamlined App Development Process
Follow these phases to build quality apps rapidly:
- Ideation – Validate pain points
- Design – Craft user flows and interfaces
- Development – Quickly iterate working prototypes
- App store prep – Optimize listing assets and metadata
- Release – Start small with friendly users
- Feedback – Request user reviews and suggestions
- Iterate – Release constant improvements
- Promote – Get the word out!
This methodology ensures polished apps solving real issues.
Delivering Excellent User Experience
Increase adoption through:
- Onboarding – Guide users through initial setup
- In-app messaging – Provide helpful tips
- Responsive support – Timely answers to questions
- Proactive communication – Share update details
- Offline use – Continue functionality without network
- abandoning – Reengage lapsed users
Meeting expectations and needs earns positive sentiment.
Becoming More Hireable as a Shopify Developer
Highlight skills and experience like:
- Number of apps published
- Total active users and merchants using your apps
- App store ratings and testimonials
- Types of customizations and optimizations added after launch
- Collaborating with merchants to refine apps
- Shopify Liquid and API expertise
- React and React Native skills
- Success guiding customers through migrations and issues
Proven ability to build merchant-delighting apps boosts prospects.
Next Steps Toward Becoming a Shopify App Developer
Hopefully this overview gives you a methodology to follow while building your first Shopify apps.
Key next steps include:
- Studying Shopify’s App Development Documentation
- Trying Shopify CLI to build sample apps
- Exploring successful apps in the Shopify App Store
- Researching proven app monetization strategies
- Joining Shopify focused developer communities for support
The opportunities await – go positively impact millions of merchants worldwide through your own quality Shopify apps!