There are more than 800 thousand merchants who use Shopify as their ecommerce platform, and the reason is obvious as it is quite simple on Shopify to launch an ecommerce store. It automates sales, shipping, and also marketing tasks. But changes are the most certain things in ecommerce. After setting up the store you need to delve what you can do for your online store and drive up sales? The answer is Shopify apps. There are quite amazing Shopify apps on the Shopify App store which can help in growing your online business. These apps are quite in demand, and hence in this article, we are going to explain to you how to develop a Shopify App using PHP.
What is a Shopify App?
A Shopify app is an integral part of the Shopify platform by which you can offer better services to your patrons and simultaneously improving the feature and functionality of your online store. There are a lot of apps on the Shopify App store, some of which are free to use while others you have you purchase. However, if you are looking for a custom solution or require a highly customized app then we may recommend you to hire expert Shopify developers who can meet your requirements precisely.
You would be surprised to know that nearly 87% of the Shopify store owners have used 6 apps from the Shopify App store on average, and the app store has generated revenue of more than $100 million. There are more than 2,400 apps on the Shopify App Store. The number of installs is more than 12 million with each month’s number of downloads is nearly 33,000. The average rate of these apps is $19.14, however, the median rate is only $4.
Benefits of Shopify Apps
Shopify apps are used to provide a custom service or solution to the customers along with building a brand in the market. There are many advantages to using these apps. In fact, before investing you should first know how these apps can promote your business.
- These apps are an excellent way of accessing information regarding an ecommerce web application
- The apps have the ability to do all the tasks which an owner can do from the admin panel
- These apps are designed in a manner that they can store all the information of purchases which are made through them along with complete analytics of the entire sale process
- Shopify apps can perform single or multiple tasks by your smartphone
- The apps give you a wide range of advertisement options by which you can target a specific group of customers for higher conversion results
- You can also hire Shopify app developers which will integrate these apps with social media to build up a better brand image, and also provide customers with a feature to share their experience on the social media
- All the Shopify apps are easily customizable which gives Shopify app developers the flexibility of offering a personalized solution to their customers
- The apps are also scalable, however up to a limited extent
How to Develop a Shopify App?
Before developing an app there are three points that you need to keep in mind:
- Your app should be registered and authorized. You can set up the dashboard at the partners account. After registration, the app will get listed in your partner account and you will get an API key and API secret key for authorization.
- The apps must be hosted somewhere. You will require a public address to access your app and then you will submit it to Shopify. When the app is ready to deploy an app, you can use a service like Heroku for hosting.
- The app must use a Shopify API. The API will allow you to both read and write data from your store. Essentially, it provides an interface to all the functions within your store admin.
Developing a Shopify app is not rocket science. As a developer, you should have a good command over how the APIs work. Shopify is a Rails application and there are a lot of repositories that you can use for free to integrate your website to the Shopify API. Now you are going to learn, how to develop a Shopify App with PHP from scratch, provided you must have a Shopify Developer account.
The first page you will see is this:
You must proceed to the left navigation panel and then click on the Apps Category. Then you will come across this page.
Then click on create app and you will have to fill the forms like:
You have to fill the entries in a proper manner. In App Name, enter the name of the application you want to create, in App URL, enter the URL of the web application where you are going to upload the Shopify files, and at last Whitelisted redirection URL(s) where you will list down the generated token script or URLs you need for authentication.
Here’s the example:
After filling the form, click on the Create app button, you will come across a new screen.
Now your Shopify app has been created, you need to connect your website by using the API credentials. For doing this, you need to download at least one Shopify repository. You can download any one among these:
In this article, we are going to use the Shopify API developed by Alexaitken, Shopify Generating API Token Guide
You need to download it from the GitHub. There would be 4 files in it namely:
- inc file which contains PHP function which is used to make Shopify actions like displaying products.
- api_call_write_products.php, a PHP file to make actions.
- generate_token.php, a PHP file for generating token per store.
- install.php, as the name implies, is a Shopify installment file.
Firstly, you need to assign the value of $_GET[‘shop’] in $shop. The value is coming from the URL that the user will visit. For e.g. https://example.com/install.php?shop=example.myshopify.com
In $api_key assign the API key there, which you can get from your developer app page.
You can wish to leave the $scope variable. In the $redirect_url, there should be a URL of the generate_token.php file.
$install_url will have the complete URL where the user will install the app. After setting up these variables, you can begin the redirection to the URL from $install_url
Also Read: How to Develop an eCommerce Mobile App?
Installation of Shopify App
Once everything is set up, you can go to the project URL and run install.php. You definitely include the shop variable in the URL like this http://example/example/install.php?shop=shop.myshopify.com
The URL should be the same as on the app dashboard, else you will face this error.
What to consider while Hiring Shopify App Developers?
There are many companies that bestow their Shopify app development capabilities. However, if you are looking for the right company for building your Shopify App, then you need to check what are the things which make a company a great Shopify App Development company.
- First come first is experience. It is necessary that you should take note of what the previous app the company had developed earlier for their clients.
- Check the website of the company to see about in what technologies they work and how much previous experience they have in that technology, here PHP.
- Can you take the interview of the developers who are going to develop your Shopify app?
- Is there any unique feature the developer will implement in the Shopify app?
- What will be the cost of developing the app, and is there any charge of maintenance?
- What would be the payment terms?
After getting an answer for all these questions, and find relevant, you can begin the work of Shopify App development from that company. At Emizentech, we are having the best Shopify App developers who can meet all your custom requirements.