When you use Shopify apps to help run your business, you’re trusting them with your store’s performance and, in some cases, data. For this reason, we have high expectations that apps are safe, reliable, and maintain high levels of quality. This week, we removed over 1.5 percent of apps from the Shopify App Store because they were not meeting our standards of trust and integrity.
"This week, we removed over 1.5 percent of apps from the Shopify App Store because they were not meeting our standards of trust and integrity."
At Shopify, our mission is to help entrepreneurs realize their dreams. Millions of independent businesses use Shopify everyday to sell every type of product. To enable the best experiences for you and your customers, we take the trust that you place in our marketplaces very seriously. In this article, we walk you through how we ensure every app in the Shopify App Store is of the highest quality, so you can be empowered to customize your store and make your business work for you.
What happens when apps can’t meet our requirements
In an ideal world, everyone would always play fair—but we know that’s not always the case. The same is true for apps. Sometimes, apps in the Shopify App Store no longer meet the standards we’ve set out. When this happens, we need to act.
When a developer fails to meet our app standards—and cannot take the actions required to resolve the issue—our Partner Governance team will step in to remove the app from the app store and in some cases the platform. Whenever possible, we give developers an opportunity to rectify the issue, but sometimes, it’s simply not possible.
As part of our ongoing commitment to quality, we sometimes remove cohorts of apps that aren’t meeting our primary goals of trust and integrity. We recognize that this results in temporary disruptions to merchants, but is necessary to ensure that the standards set for app developers continue to be met—so you can trust any app in the Shopify App Store to serve your business well.
Now, let’s look at what expectations we communicate to our developers.
Setting a high bar for quality and trust
Making sure that every app in the app store is reliable starts with setting expectations with app developers early. Developers must adhere to the terms of our Partner Program Agreement, and every app in the Shopify App Store has to meet a strict list of requirements before it can be listed and available for install.
"Making sure that every app in the app store is reliable starts with setting expectations with app developers early."
Some of these requirements are technical, like making sure you can easily install and use the app. Others are functional: does the app do what the developer says it does? Will it slow down your store? Is it secure?
These requirements set the bar for app developers from the get-go. Developers are expected to be familiar with these standards, and meet them in every step of building their app.
Building with integrity and fostering fair competition
In addition to being functional, we expect a high level of integrity from developers building apps for the Shopify App Store. They are expected to act in a trustworthy manner, and foster fair, healthy competition in the app store. That means providing an excellent product, and being transparent and honest in their activities.
The app review process
As we know, expectations and reality don’t always align. To make sure every app meets our expectations in practice, we also have a stringent app review process for every app submitted to Shopify.
In this process, our app review team tests every new app to ensure it meets our requirements. The app review team keeps in touch with the developer throughout this process, so any issues discovered can be quickly resolved. If they aren’t resolved, the app isn’t made available in Shopify’s App store.
We’re constantly reviewing these processes to ensure our vision for the Shopify App Store is met.
Third-party Shopify app developers are the core of the Shopify App Store. In addition to working with them on app submissions and approvals, we help educate the developer community on expectations, best practices, and the needs of business owners. This conversation is a two-way street—app developers are plugged into the commerce industry, and come to the table with new, innovative ways of further supporting entrepreneurs everywhere!
Some of the forums for these conversations include:
We also have regular conversations with developers via Partner Town Hall, a partners- and developers-only event where we share a peek at our roadmap, talk product, and share how we’re building together to support business owners.
This continuous conversation means app developers are well-informed about everything impacting business owners, both within Shopify and beyond.
Excellent customer service is essential
A great app goes beyond being a functional product—you also need to have an excellent experience when interacting with it, including if and when you connect with the developers who built it.
To that end, we have certain expectations for the level of customer service developers provide to app users:
- User support: You should always be able to access high-quality support if you run into issues with an app, or have questions for the developers.
- Usability: Apps should be usable and understandable. You should be able to learn how to use the app relatively quickly to support your business.
- Reviews: Developers should never pressure you to leave a positive review, or offer an award for leaving a review. This is explicitly forbidden, so you can trust the information you read in app reviews is accurate.
These standards help ensure you’re supported throughout your experience using an app, and always have somewhere to turn if you run into issues.
Keeping your store fast
The speed of your online store is important: it impacts your conversion rate, search engine ranking, and customer experience. Keeping your store fast is top of mind, and that focus carries over to our apps, too.
"Keeping your store fast is top of mind, and that focus carries over to our apps, too."
We are always working with our developers to make sure adding apps to your store won’t slow you down, or create a clunky experience for you or your customers. We regularly run audits on how apps affect store performance. If it doesn’t look good, we’ll help the developer correct the issue. In some cases, we’ll temporarily remove apps from the Shopify App Store until the developer can adequately fix the problem.
Store speed is top of mind for you, for us, and for our app developers. Adding apps should only ever improve your business, not slow it down.
A marketplace you can trust
Because apps impact your business, our expectations for them are high. We expect that at every stage, apps support your business and help you reach your goals as a business owner. This is why we work with app developers throughout their journey, to ensure our expectations and standards are built into the apps you use at every stage, and so you can feel confident in any app you install from the Shopify App Store.