Ideas and Validation February 12, 2020

Is it a good choice to build a Shopify app? 🤔

Lukasz Wiktor @LukaszWiktor

Inspired by this post:

https://www.indiehackers.com/post/best-resources-and-tools-for-building-a-shopify-app-282d1f4243

I thought it will be valuable to share my experience with other indie hackers. I've built a Shopify app that is currently making over $1.3K per month and I'm planning to create another one. I'm going to share my experience through a newsletter. In fact, I've already sent a first email (first ever newsletter in my life!) to 8 valued subscribers 😁
I wrote about why I think it's a perfect choice for an indie hacker to build a Shopify app:

  1. You can start small. It's enough if your app solves just one simple problem.
  2. It's a great market. Shopify is growing like crazy. There are already over 1M stores running on Shopify.
  3. Shop owners are willing to pay. If your solution brings them more money or makes their life easier, then they will be happy to pay for your app. They are already used to a monthly subscription for the Shopify account, and app payments are part of their monthly bill.
  4. You don't have to care too much about marketing. Shopify App Store is the main distribution channel. It's not easy to get your app listed there, but it's worth the effort.
  5. It's a really nice development environment. Your app communicates with shops through a REST or GraphQL API. In fact, your app is a micro-SaaS implemented in your favorite language and running on a server of your choice.

What do you think? Do you agree or am I too optimistic? Have you tried building a Shopify app already and gained another or similar perception?

If you are interested in learning more then please sign up for my newsletter
https://mailchi.mp/12bb129961ce/build-shopify-apps

  1. 2

    Actually it's not that hard to get listed. All you have to do, is follow their instructions properly.

    Another big advantage is, that Shopify acts also as a payment provider, so you don't hav to do this by yourself.

    1. 1

      Yeah, I probably didn't pay enough attention to all the instructions.

      I agree that Shopify payments are frictionless, although Shopify takes the 20% cut.

      1. 2

        Wow 20% cut is huge. I guess the App Store set expectations at 30% so it doesn’t seem that bad in comparison, but still...

      2. 1

        When I submitted my first App, I had to redo this for five or six times, because there were some troubles with shopify's requirements 🙂. And yes, 20% is huge. But, as @anakravitz already said, if you compare it to the 30% from the app stores from Google, Apple or Amazon, it's ok.

        1. 1

          Oh man, my submission was also being rejected several times.

  2. 1

    To be honest I've barely paid any attention to Shopify in the past but you've convinced me to sign up to your newsletter. Looking forward to hearing from you again :)

    1. 1

      Haha 😄 Thanks a lot!

  3. 1

    I cant code, know where I can find a coder? I have an idea but need a coder.

    1. 2

      As @craftworkgames mentioned, you're already in the right place to find coders. The question is what skills could you offer in exchange?

      Have you already tried to validate your idea through a landing page or potential customer interviews?

      1. 1

        I would be offering money in exchange for the app and no, idea is in its infancy, will validate soon.

        1. 1

          Got you! Then you'd probably be better off looking for a developer on upwork or fiverr. People here are rather trying to escape trading time for money.

    2. 2

      There are coders all over the indie hackers forums. The hard part is going to be convincing a coder to put in days, weeks or months worth of work based on an idea.

      That said, you're in the right place to find coders that are keen to build profitable businesses. My suggestion would be to figure out what you can do on your own and then use that to ask for help. For example, put together a landing page with some kind of No-Code tool and start getting feedback to find out if your idea has any merit.

      Alternatively you could just start learning how to code. You might surprise yourself. Many coders started their careers by simply starting somewhere. Myself included.

      1. 1

        I'm technical in nature and have coded in the past so I agree with your point. I'm working on few other projects and if I were to start this, I wouldn't have the time to start from scratch. Thanks for the pointer, I'll look around here more.

  4. 1

    Subscribed as well! Thanks for this.

    1. 1

      Thanks for subscribing!

  5. 1

    Subscribed! :) I was doing research a few days ago about this. One of the things I like to see is open-source apps that are on the Store or just simple open-source ones which will help understand the entire flow of the building.

    1. 2

      Thanks for your feedback. I think that one day I'll publish a starter kit that will cover all necessary aspects like installing, uninstalling, handling payments, etc.

      In the meantime you can take a look at these examples from Shopify:

      https://github.com/Shopify/shopify-demo-app-node-react

      https://github.com/Shopify/example-ruby-app

      https://github.com/Shopify/shopify-php-app

      1. 1

        Thank you so much!