Three Types of Trending Apps in 2017 and What You Can Learn for 2018

trending apps

The Shopify App Store saw a great year of growth in 2017. New apps were introduced across all categories. Some were from current app developers, and others from developers new to the Shopify Developers Program.

As the world of commerce is expanding and changing, merchants are looking for new ways to grow their business through apps. While inventing something “new” may sound intimidating, sometimes instead of learning a new process, merchants just want a new way of approaching an old problem.

In looking at the most popular new apps introduced in 2017, it’s apparent that many successful app developers took this exact approach. There are even some clear trends in which types of improvements and innovations successful developers focused on.

To help highlight emerging trends on the app store — and to inspire you to look at things differently as you build your own apps in 2018 — here are three of the biggest trends we saw among 2017’s most successful new apps.

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1. Gamification of discounts

Using discount codes to incentivize purchases is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Online merchants have quite the appetite for this tactic, and more and more app developers are making use of the new Price Rules API to rethink discount code creation and delivery. In fact, apps like Wheelio went one step further and gamified the discount delivery experience.

trending apps: wheelio
Example of how the Wheelio pop-up appears to store visitors.

Instead of distributing discount codes through commonly used channels, such email and social platforms, Wheelio created a “spin-to-win” game pop-up, for store visitors to interact with and win a discount code. Not only has this app become one of the most successful new apps of 2017, we’ve also seen other new apps that applied gamification to discounts earn several installs as well.

Lesson for building a new app in 2018: These apps have just started to scratch the surface of gamifying ecommerce. Look for ways that current business and sales processes can be enhanced through gamification.

You might also like: What is Gamification? How to Encourage Engagement in Your Shopify App.

2. Apps for sourcing inventory

As more entrepreneurs join the ecommerce space, the demand for products to sell online rises. In addition to dropshipping apps that connect with AliExpress, apps introduced last year that offered curated product collections were popular among Shopify merchants.

Some apps allow Shopify merchants to sell merchandise from Etsy creators. Some of these also allow for merchants to search products by the maker’s country of origin, meaning that if the merchant wants to carry items from a particular country or region, that’s possible.

Other product sourcing apps introduced in late 2017 that were gaining traction quickly were My Online Fashion Store by CCFashion and Troupe. CCFashion’s app is targeted directly at merchants in the fashion vertical, and offers a curated selection of items shipped from a warehouse in Los Angeles, USA. Troupe’s app on the other hand, provides inventory options for artists and designers, by allowing them to include their artwork in custom jewellery.

trending apps: troupe
Experience within the Troupe app, as a merchant creates custom jewellery.

Lesson for building a new app in 2018: Since merchants are looking for new products to sell, think of ways that your app can connect them with new product offerings or new customizable items or experiences.

3. New ways to recover abandoned carts

Given that the average rate of online shopping cart abandonment is over 69 percent, abandoned cart recovery is top of mind for many merchants. While this isn’t a new problem, and apps to address this have existed before 2017, as the problem persists the desire for new solutions persists as well.

One way of looking at this old problem in a new way is by closing the conversion gap on mobile. We know that it’s common for half of merchants’ online traffic to occur over mobile, but that the purchase rate is still higher on desktop than in mobile shopping. Some apps are tackling this by introducing urgency in a mobile environment by way of countdown bars or popups.

Another new spin on trying to recover abandoned carts is serving retargeting messages through Facebook Messenger. ShopMessage took this new approach to retargeting in building their app, which allows merchants to send custom Facebook messages to customers who have left the store before completing a purchase.

Lesson for building a new app in 2018: Look at stats and trends in ecommerce that affect a merchant’s businesses. If the percentages are high (like in the case of cart abandonment) there’s likely a large audience contending with this issue. Big issues for merchants translate to big opportunities for app developers.

You might also like: Why You Should Build Apps That Address Merchant Pain Points.

Will your app be a trendsetter in 2018?

As we see each year, there are still opportunities for a brand new app to join to Shopify App Store, and become a top app in our ecosystem. Through looking at merchant and business trends, and trying to find new ways of doing things, it’s possible that you can build an entire business based around a successful Shopify app.

Know a common merchant problem that could use a new approach? Let us know in the comments section below!

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