The Shopify Fund -- Shopify's million-dollar fund for encouraging developers to build apps on the Shopify platform -- is in full swing, with the first set of developers to receive funding hard at work on their applications (and in one case, a book). Here's a quick recap of their projects:
We're going to start looking for the next set of apps to be funded soon, and I thought I'd let you know about the kinds of apps we're looking for:
- Apps that integrate Facebook and Shopify: With 845 million monthly active users (425 million of whom are mobile), 1 in 2 North Americans being a Facebook user and Facebook accounting for 1 of every 5 web pages viewed, Facebook is a great place for shopowners to promote themselves and their shops, products and specials. We'd like to see more apps that bring together Facebook and Shopify, and especially those that make it easy for shopowners to set up a storefront on their Facebook pages. Mark Hayes recently wrote about these kinds of apps; check out his article titled How to Sell on Facebook to see examples of the sorts of apps we're looking for.
- Customer image and text uploads: Many shops sell items that can be customized either with custom text (such as the customer's name on a sports uniform or a monogrammed towel) or photo (such as the customer's photo on a mug or t-shirt). Some shopowners have come up with manual workarounds such as following up via email with their customers to get the custom text or image. We'd love to see an app that automates the process.
- Follow-up email: Here's a simple one, but it's an opportunity to get imaginative. There's a lot of call for an app that emails customers after they've place their orders, thanking them for shopping at the shop and providing extra information such as "If you have any questions or concerns about your order, here's an email address you can write to". Follow-up emails help keep shopowners in touch with the customers and can also be a great way to point customers to new products and events such as upcoming sales.
- Rentals App: Shopify is great "out of the box" for selling products that you can ship to customers who will then own them, whether they're physical or digital. However, there are people in the business of loaning out rather than selling things. We'd like to see an app that lets people book things for rental, whether they're cars, computers or cooking equipment. Rental products can be mapped to products, but an app would have to take care of who's renting which item and when, and prevent things such as two customers renting the same thing at the same time.
- Resource-Booking App: In a case similar to the one with the Rentals App (see above), there are people in the business of selling things that aren't shipped butbooked, such as: memberships (for gyms, clubs and all sorts of organizations), booking training and courses and services (such as catering, dog walking, housekeeping and so on). Resources such as these can be mapped onto products, but we'd like to see an app that helps take care of the extra stuff involved in booking resources, whether it's availability (such as the maximum size for a class, or the availability of a dog walker at a certain day and time).
If you've got an idea for an app and would like Shopify to fund its development, drop us a line at the Shopify Fund email address: email@example.com. We're already looking around for apps to fund, so sooner is better!