Shopify’s enterprise platform Shopify Plus has been an ecommerce giant for quite some time. You might have heard good things about it. It gives you this huge scalable platform that can process orders in large numbers. Even the support you get is very good with in-depth analytics for your operations. But it still is not perfect.
Do you know why that’s the case?
Maybe you already know the answer. It’s a steep learning curve with Liquid in play and installing plugins for complete B2B functionalities. There are still some ‘Wholesale’ feature limitations.
You’ll also need basic coding knowledge and an understanding of the Liquid, language that Shopify uses. Shopify’s ‘Advanced’ plan is an easy to use plan but if you are building a website for high volume enterprise business with unique requirements and a bit of tweaking the regular flow, then you need to go with their ‘Plus’ platform. Shopify plus costs about $2000/month minimum, hence that’s not an economical option for small to medium businesses. It’s only suited to big businesses.
Shopify and Plugin Dependency
Shopify Plus does a decent job of helping its users to work on a platform designed to fulfill the needs of an enterprise. But their users have to go the extra mile because of their dependence on external third-party plugins. An enterprise business needs a much more complex enterprise-level platform for companies that are already selling thousands of products every day. Such platforms should be able to deliver high-level operation capabilities such as speed, security, customization. But again, to enhance the functionalities, you need to install addons.
You want a multilingual website? Install an app like Weglot or Langshop from the Shopify app store. You want multi-vendor management? Download another extension for that. You want features like logistics providers or multiple payment solutions? Too bad, go to their app store and download the plugin.
Plugins can create more problems than they solve
You guys see the pattern here, right? Shopify would give you the basic platform to build a pretty online store but that’s about it. You will have limited payment options, limited logistics options, no multilingual, no multi-vendor management.
If you want more functionalities and features added to power up your website,
- Go to the Shopify app store
- Spend time browsing for the right extension.
- When you find the right one, buy it (That’s right, that’s some extra expenditure).
- Install it and hope it works flawlessly with minimum disruptions.
That’s how it goes when you talk about adding more features in your Shopify “Powered” store. Using plugins can enhance your website’s functionalities for sure but it’s not always as smooth as people expect it to be.
So here are some common problems that users face while working with Shopify app store extensions and how to tackle them.
The loading time of the websites gets slower
The use of multiple plugins can make your online store slower than they should while loading at the user’s end. Optimizing websites for these problems can also be quite a stretch. Using every feature means requesting a set of connections that take a little time to exchange information — and each app, depending on the complexities of the build, might make more requests to download content, script files, images. Even if the browsers are able to handle these requests parallely, you might have to wait a while for your Shopify/Shopify Plus powered store to load completely. It depends on how well apps are built and how well their servers respond.
Solution: It goes without saying that the simplest solution would be to install as few plugins as you possibly can. But the downside to it would be compromising and sacrificing a few functionalities that you want for your online store. You obviously don’t want to do that.
So the simple way out of this dilemma can be using app bundles that provide services of various apps in one. There are many bundles in the Shopify app store and if any of these bundles have the combined features that you need, use it. You can also look for other ecommerce platforms that would provide you a lot of features integrated without dependence on any kind of add-ons. Too many addons can be a liability for your online store.
The use of multiple plugins can be in conflict
Shopify Plugins offer a ton of functionalities your website can use but using too many of them not only slows down your website, but it can also be in conflict with other Shopify Plus apps. There might be compatibility issues among different plugins that are installed. These conflicts can cause the website to crash. You don’t want your website to crash while the buyer is making payment. That’s annoying for an online shopper. Not only that, but your website’s security can also be compromised.
Solution: Make sure you use as few plugins you can. Try to install the kind of apps that provide multiple services bundled in one. Also, spend time in vetting the plugins by reaching out to their support team or trying the demo. The demo should give you a crystal clear idea about its compatibility with other apps working with your online store.
The use of too many plugins can be expensive if you are working on a budget
A lot of free plugins and extensions are available in the Shopify app store but the majority of the useful ones are paid and not free. Each app has its own pricing structure and is not included in Shopify subscription. If you are using the ‘Advanced’ plan then adding plugins after buying them can set you back a lot of money. Suppose you use 7–8 plugins to enhance your online store each accounting for an additional feature such as Product Reviews, Online Forms, Multilingual, multicurrency, logistics, etc. Then consider the price range of $20-$500 per extension. Huge! Right?
Solution: There is no easy way out of this. You need to pay money to make money. The best you can do is try to use fewer apps. You can also look out for ecommerce platforms which provide a lot of features integrated included in the subscription.
Conflict in themes
This will only end up with different sets of codes that are struggling with each other and since they are developed by different teams, you’ll get stuck, meditating while trying to resolve an issue.
Because of the complexities involved, most theme and app developers are reluctant to touch the code that wasn’t developed by them.
Issues with support
Support is a must in today’s day and age. A lot of non-tech newbies have started dabbling in ecommerce operations too. They can get stuck because of some steps that require technical/coding experience. To tackle it, they have to find help from support teams. Support is a huge way to retain clients and not lose them. Shopify’s support for its ecommerce platform doesn’t include support for third-party addons. Those plugin’s respective developers are responsible for providing support, not Shopify or Shopify Plus. The level of support may vary, it’s availability, working hours, location, etc. Some apps might not give good support while others may operate from different continents and time-zones.
Support is one of the biggest aspects to consider when deciding to use any service. It helps you determine how well supported the app is by its creators. This is very important if you run into trouble with the app and need help to keep your Shopify plus powered store running.
Solution: Always check out the customer reviews for each app. Try to find out the reviews which include anything that discusses support responsiveness. It will also be smart to query if the app will work for you before you install it, especially if you have very specific or unique requirements.
Most apps may come with a free trial but don’t just add an app just to see if it will work for you. Adding and removing apps on an impulse can cause more problems. Take the time to do your homework first.
This helps you to get an idea for the quality of support the developer offers. If you reach out to them with a pre-sales inquiry and they don’t get back to you, definitely think twice about using their app.
Cons and drawbacks of the apps
Not every extension is perfect. They have their flaws. A lot of user reviews in the Shopify app store tell the same story. Some common instances are app lagging in service, inaccurate translations, and many other issues.
Having too many apps installed makes it more complicated to pinpoint the exact issue and troubleshoot it properly. These issues can also impact your sales. Every time you install a new plugin, you’re adding another unknown variable into your store and more possibilities for issues.
Solution: Take your time to find the right Shopify Plus app. Proper research and homework help to a great extent. If you are testing out apps or removing them, always make a record of the pages that have been modified by the app. This helps in resetting files easier and organized if you need to recover your website in case it crashes.
Look out for user reviews and ratings too. Those reviews and how the developer responds to them is also a good giveaway on how serious they are about their work.
Finding the right app
You already know that you just don’t buy the first thing you see when you enter a shop. The same goes for adding a plugin to your Shopify or Shopify Plus powered store. You need to find the right plugin that won’t give you a lot of trouble. And Yes, it does take a lot of time to find one.
Finding the right app that would help increase your sales must be done patiently. You need to perform meticulous research and explore trial versions of several add-ons. It takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. So patience is the key.
Solution: Consider the features and cost of the apps. If the app is overrated then it’s a no brainer. An app you use might not help with the sales immediately or over the first few months so keep on the lookout for its alternative.
Another good approach can be prioritizing the apps which make sense for your Shopify or Shopify Plus powered store now and which might be more useful in the future.
Installations of app
Once you find the right addon, installing the plugin is the next step. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Installing can be a little risky, can create a conflict of compatibility with existing infrastructure. Your website might also crash because of conflicting themes. You might even need support while installing it and if you make the mistake of installing multiple plugins at once, your Shopify/Shopify Plus powered store may slow down a great deal.
Solution: This issue can be tackled in a lot of ways. First of all, just make a backup of the entire code and keep a static copy of it in case you need them for the theme-conflict resolution. Pick a time frame where the sales or traffic is low on your website In this way if you run into any trouble while installing, you can tackle them without losing any sales. If you try to install multiple apps for your Shopify/Shopify Plus store, make sure you do that in phases, slowly. Don’t just install all of them at once, do it in phases. Make sure each phase is a success before moving on to the next one. This will give you some time to take care of installation issues if any come up.
Problems will always be there and with multiple third-party apps, the problems may never end. But there’s always some means to reduce the setbacks caused by them. Hopefully, this article will help you deal with some of the aforementioned issues caused by the usage of Shopify Plus extensions.
Now you know to be careful while handling these apps. They can increase the functionality of your online store but most of the time it comes with a cost.
It’s in your hands to control the magnitude of that cost. Scope these apps out before you use them. Try their demo and try to communicate with their respective support as much as you can. You can also save yourself with these troubles of solving every minor issue you face because of any plugin you find in the Shopify app store. Look for other options too. There are other e-commerce platforms that give a lot of features integrated. Be sure to check those out by signing up for their trial versions.