Marketing Your Shopify App: The App Listing Page

Marketing Your Shopify App: The App Listing Page
The App Listing Page: 2016

The Shopify App Store has seen tremendous growth over the past year. The number of apps in our store and the quality of apps continue to rise as our merchants look for more productive tools to grow their business.

However, with more apps being published daily, the Apps team has received numerous requests from developers regarding promoting and marketing their app. Over the next few weeks, we'll be running a three-part series about marketing your Shopify app. This first entry is focused on improving your app listing in the Shopify App Store.

Arguably, one of the most effective methods for our developers to reach their audience is through their app listing. The listing is the go-to resource for merchants to learn about, evaluate, and ultimately determine if they are willing to pay for an app.

A brief, yet informative app listing is likely to translate to more downloads and revenue for our app developers. To help you get started, here are a few recommendations to improve your app listing.

You might also like: How Improving Your App Store Banner Can Increase Traffic by 400%**

1. Include a descriptive video and screenshots

There is no denying the positive effect that multimedia can have on user conversion. By including videos and screenshots in your app listing, you not only illustrate how your app looks, but also how it functions. Merchants can quickly evaluate whether your app is suitable for their business, and whether it’s worth paying for.

In order to help merchants better understand functionality, include images and videos of how your app works by populating some products in a test store. However, don’t upload low quality videos or screenshots (at least 720px by 480px). An image is only powerful if it can be read!

Your video is a combination of a walkthrough of your app, a pitch to merchants about your business, and the support you can provide if they ever run into trouble. A great video briefly shows merchants what your app accomplishes.

You can walk through a demo store with a voice over to explain content, or produce a short animation demonstrating your app. Don’t be shy to include how your business operates and how you can help merchants grow their store. Try to keep your video less than two minutes in length, and highlight the most important features of your app. If you need an example, Stitch Labs has made a great animation and included it in their app listing.

Captivating screenshots populate products in a demo store and demonstrate the functionality of an app. A brief description (with steps, if necessary) can accompany the screenshot to explain the image. Show your app in action by including up to 4 screenshots. If you need an example, the developers at Order Printer Templates have included four quality screenshots with their listing that really highlight the potential of their app to merchants.

The App Listing Page: Choose Your Design

The App Listing Page: Branding

The App Listing Page: Formatting

The App Listing Page: Wording

2. Create an engaging app banner and icon

The old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” certainly holds true with your app listing. But what immediately catches your attention when you browse through a book store? The same applies for merchants looking to evaluate apps.

Creating a visually stunning icon, and a banner that is prominently displayed as part of your app listing, highlights the benefits of your app. Remember to keep your icon and banner simple and clutter free – a busy icon or banner can be a distraction when viewing your app.

Your banner is the first touchpoint merchants have with your app as they browse through the App Store. Here are some tips for a stunning app banner:

  • Include some keywords that describe your app.
  • Keep the corners square. We round the corners for you when we display the banner.
  • Don't use a white background. Use bold colors and patterns that are recognizable.
  • Make it simple. Focus on one or two visual elements — no one likes clutter.
  • Be consistent. The icon and banners for your app should look like they belong to the same brand and product.
  • Banner size requirement is 310px by 100px.

It’s recommended you include only up to five words with your logo as part of your banner, to provide the appropriate amount of content about your app. Anything more can detract from your message. Add other descriptive text as part of the ‘Short Description’ (140 character limit) of your app.

The app icon is presented on the app listing page. It’s small yet prominently displays your app logo. Merchants should leave with an impression of your logo that makes it recognizable in the future. Here are some tips for a stunning app icon:

  • Keep the corners square. We round the corners for you when we display the icon.
  • Don't use a white background. Use bold colors and patterns that are recognizable.
  • Make it simple. Focus on one or two visual elements — no one likes clutter.
  • Be consistent. The icon and banners for your app should look like they belong to the same brand and product.
  • Icon size requirement is 60px by 60px.

Sky Pilot has produced a simple yet effective app icon and banner as part of their listing. The logo is crisp, and appears in both the icon and banner. Sky Pilot has also limited the number of words in their banner to five.

App Listing Page: Sky Pilot

If you want to be featured in the carousel at the top of the App Store, don’t forget to include a Featured Banner (680px by 300px) for more visibility.

If you find that you need help with creating a logo or banner, don’t fret! Many of our app developers struggle with creating attractive and informative icons and banners. While there are many design agencies available online to help, Shopify Experts are the best to contact. Our Experts have proven themselves to be the best at Shopify, by consistently providing excellent service to our merchants and developers. Three Experts who can help you with your icon and banner design include:

Stem Design: web and graphic art services

App Listing Page: Stem Design

Sean Hopkins: logo design and web development

App Listing Page: Sean Hopkins

Motion Media: graphic design, web development, multimedia, and video production

App Listing Page: Motion Media

You might also like: App Development: Working Together for the Greater Good

3. Focus on support, not just sales

Shopify believes that enabling app developers to provide direct support for merchants helps them to become successful. Most of our success stories come from the positive interactions between developers and merchants, where relationships are developed and businesses are grown together.

To facilitate app support, it’s highly recommended that developers include a phone number and a support website, along with their mandatory email address. If you don’t have a phone number for support, you can create and list a Skype number.

If you feel that you are frequently answering the same questions, consider adding chat hours. Allocate a couple of hours every week to respond to questions, whether on the phone or via email. Don’t forget that successful interactions between merchants and developers often lead to more and better reviews!

Don’t be shy to ask for a positive review after you’ve helped a merchant install your app or troubleshoot a problem. After all, in order to be eligible to be featured on the App Store, you need 50+ installs with five reviews of at least a 4-star rating. But remember the rules set forth in the Shopify Partner Agreement – app developers cannot provide incentives (e.g. one month free for a positive review) to get customers to review their apps.

4. Offer a free trial

Offering a trial period is a no-strings-attached commitment that encourages merchants to evaluate your app before deciding to purchase. While Shopify does not regulate the length of the free trial period, it’s recommended that apps offer either 7, 14, or 30-day trials. Most of our app developers offer a 14-day trial, closely followed by 7 and 30 days.

The length of the trial is dependent on the type of app you are listing. For example, if your app adds a banner to the top of a web page, a suitable trial period may be 7 days. However, an ERP solution may need a 30-day trial so the merchant can fully evaluate the app prior to purchasing. Whatever you choose, make sure the trial period is long enough for merchants to explore the functionality of your app before deciding to purchase it.

5. Explain your app in detail

Getting a merchant to check out your app listing page is just the start. That’s why it’s crucial to include copy with your app listing that is compelling enough to convince a merchant to download your app before leaving. Approach these sections from the merchant perspective, and assume that your audience has limited technical knowledge. Here are a few places you can focus your creative writing:

The short description

The first opportunity to explain what your app does is within the “short description” – a 140-character description that appears when merchants hover over your app banner. This is an opportunity to drive engagement and highlight the benefits of your app to prospective merchants. The short description distinguishes your app from your competitors, while also providing a snapshot into what value it offers merchants.

For example, if my app helps merchants to sell tickets online, a strong short description can be:

Create and sell thousands of tickets online using Ticketfy. Produce professional and personalized ticket invites to manage your events.

For more examples, Free Shipping Bar and Coupon Pop have informative 140-character descriptions that effectively summarize what their app accomplishes.

App Listing Page: Coupon Pop

Free Shipping Bar’s short description

 

 The selling points

On the app listing page, the sellings points elaborate on the benefits that your app provides. Framing is important here — try to not discuss the features of your app, but instead how it can help a merchant to manage their store, improve visibility, or other benefits. For example, if our ticket selling app also includes a dynamic pricing model, “quickly adjust prices of tiered tickets based on demand” can be improved to “automatically adjusts ticket pricing to accommodate for demand”.

Locksmith has listed three selling points that highlight the benefits of using their app. Each selling point describes an aspect of the app that will assist merchants to secure their content in their Shopify store. Searchanise also does a good job of highlighting three unique benefits of their app and provides an overview of pricing.

App Listing Page: SearchaniseThe full description

The full description is your opportunity to elaborate on the selling points you outlined earlier. Be careful: it isn’t a pitch to merchants about why your app is best, but rather an opportunity to outline what the app seeks to accomplish by listing concrete features. Here are some helpful tricks when writing your description:

  • Avoid using blocks of all capital letter, stars, or any other special characters.
  • Explain acronyms and don’t assume that merchants understand buzzwords (e.g. explain that SEO is search engine optimization).
  • Use headings to break down paragraphs, and get someone not affiliated with your app to review the description. Consider your typical merchant not technically savvy; they should be able to understand your app just from the description.
  • Include a demo store to convince those skeptical merchants that your app accomplishes something they need.

It’s always beneficial to consider the following questions when writing your app description. Approach these questions from the perspective of the merchant to better understand their situation.

What problem(s) does the app solve?

It’s obvious that merchants will only download apps that offer value to them, whether the app is free or not. Ensure that you describe the value of your app by offering a unique solution to a merchant’s problem. If the data is available to you, include the expected return on investment (ROI) of your app.

What features does the app offer?

While the selling points describe the benefits of your app, the features belong in the full description. This is where you will solidify the value of your app to even the most skeptical merchants. As a tip, try to match each of the benefits to at least one feature to really show off the value of your app.

How does the app work?

In conjunction with the video and screenshots of your app, describe how the app accomplishes its objectives. Use short, but descriptive headings that demonstrate the power of your app. Drive home the benefits of the app and explain why it will greatly improve the merchant’s online experience.

Riskified has excellent copy in their app listing. It’s clear what services they offer, the problem they are solving, and the features of their app. Their full description is brief but informative.

App Listing Page: Riskified

Make a merchant-winning app listing page

As the number of apps in the App Store continues to grow, there are more exciting opportunities to showcase your app to the 243,000+ merchants who use the Shopify platform. Standing out and clearly communicating your value to merchants through your app store listing becomes increasingly important to grow your customer-base. Although there is no ‘right’ method, the Apps Team has compiled five of the top recommendations that will lead to more installs. Not only is an informative app listing critical in drawing attention, but the interactions and support you provide correlates to higher merchant retention.

In Parts 2 and 3 of this blog series, we will investigate the role of networking with other developers, platforms, and merchants to improve the app experience, and optimizing your app listing to increase your brand awareness.

You might also like: How to Improve Your Shopify App's Onboarding Flow

Want to learn more about building apps for Shopify? Check out our comprehensive list of articles on Shopify App Development and the Shopify API.

About the Author

Nick Chen is a Developer Advocate on the Apps Team. If he isn’t working on promoting app success in the Shopify App Store, he is slowly eating his lunch…alone because he takes too long.

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