Shopify App Development vs Custom eCommerce App Development: Which Benefits You More in Long-Run and Short-Run

3 years ago

When you want to take your offline retail business online or start it from scratch, you have two options. 

You can either select eCommerce app development for a custom app/website or select Shopify app development for a Shopify platform-based app/website. 

Both of these options are not at all similar ones and most importantly, it impacts your budget and business success differently - both in the long-run and in the short-run. 

So, today, in this blog, we - being the top Shopify experts in Canada - will share what you should choose - Shopify app or custom eCommerce app - for your store. 

Shopify App vs Custom eCommerce App - Which Justifies Your Needs & Budget the Better Way?  

1) Dependency 

  • Shopify app:

Shopify is the hosted platform. Meaning, it looks after every technical thing including the hosting company and SSL certificate

This surely saves your time and effort. But on the other hand, it increases your dependency on Shopify. 

If one day, Shopify closes its doors or shuts your store down, you leave with no choice. 

Yes, in such a scenario, you can migrate your Shopify store or app to another platform. But migration is a challenging task with hosted platforms. You must hire some experts. 

Short-run benefit: 

You don’t have to worry about any technical things about your Shopify app or website. 

Long-run benefit: 

There is a risk - rather than the benefit. 

If you violate any policy of Shopify, your account can be terminated and since you can’t migrate your Shopify store easily, you have to create one new from scratch. 

  • Custom eCommerce App 

You hire dedicated eCommerce developers to develop the app/website dedicatedly for you only. 

Here, you enjoy the full ownership of source code and you decide your own terms and conditions. 

No one - except for a government entity and play store & app store - can ever ask you to stop business operations through your eCommerce mobile app. 

You work as the independent app owner and that’s great freedom! 

Short-run benefit: 

You might face some challenges in the short-run as you have to manage everything by yourself. 

However, your hired technology partner eases those challenges very easily.  

Long-run benefit: 

You can run your online business through your own mobile app without the influence of anyone. 

And there is no risk of policy violation penalty. 

2) Pricing 

  • Shopify App

You have to buy a monthly subscription plan of Shopify based on your needs and usage. 

The most affordable Shopify plan costs you USD 29 per month, whereas the most expensive plan costs you USD 299 per month. 

At first glance, this seems very affordable. However, with the basic plan costs $29/month, you can only run a ‘basic’ eCommerce store.

You also need to pay extra transaction fees on each order if you choose any payment provider other than Shopify Payments.

You also need to pay credit card processing fees. 

Additionally, if you want to add more features to your apps such as a loyalty program or advanced order tracking, you have to buy some 3rd party apps from Shopify’s official app store. 

Short-run benefit: 

Shopify is very affordable when you want to start a basic online store with no plan for future business expansion. 

Long-run benefit:

You can easily upgrade the subscription plan and get more advanced features without putting more effort into development. 

However, this increases your operating cost as now you have to pay more every month to Shopify. 

  • Custom eCommerce App

The pricing of a custom eCommerce app depends on the features you ask an eCommerce app development company to add to the app. 

With all the useful and important features, it just costs you around $30000+ to develop your own eCommerce app in North America. 

This is a one-time investment - you don’t have to worry about the monthly payment to anyone. 

However, for third-party integrations such as payment gateway - you need to pay a monthly fee based on your usage. 

Short-run benefit: 

When it comes to pricing, you can derive fewer benefits in the short-run as the upfront amount you need to invest is high. 

Long-run benefits: 

There are many benefits in the long-run as once you cover the initial investment or reach the break-even point, you can make more than 60% of the profit out of the total revenue. 

Because with no need to pay for a monthly subscription and many hidden charges, your operating cost will be minimal. 

3) App/Website’s Theme or UI

  • Shopify App

The UI or theme of your eCommerce website or app represents your brand. Shopify offers many pre-build attractive-looking themes for all types of stores. 

However, there is one major downside. Shopify only offers 73 themes. 

That means, there are high possibilities that some other stores have already used the theme or UI that you’re planning to use. 

And if it happens, you would miss the best opportunity - which is app UI/theme - to differentiate your app and make your store a brand! 

Short-run benefit: 

You don’t have to hire any UI designers to design the UI or theme of your online store. 

Long-run benefit: 

There is no long-run benefit as with the same UI as your competitors, you will face a hard time creating brand recognition which is very crucial in a highly-competitive market.  

  • Custom eCommerce App

Your hired technology partner deploys dedicated UI/UX designers who prepare the unique design for your eCommerce app or website. 

They are professionals and prepare the customer-journey-based UI to provide a seamless and engaging user experience. 

Short-run benefit: 

There is no short-run benefit as it will increase your budget by a few percentages and it will also increase time-to-market as designers require to design it from scratch. 

Long-run benefit: 

With the unique UI, you can provide an excellent customer experience to your online users that increases their engagement with your business. 

The unique UI will also help you build the brand and let your users clearly differentiate you from your competitors. 

You should also read: Designing Shopify Website

4) Customization 

  • Shopify App

The one-fits-all approach leads you toward failure. Because many times, without customizing your app or website, you can’t address the unique needs of your customers. 

Shopify offers great customization options. But for that, you have to hire Shopify experts who customize your Shopify store according to your needs. 

However, the scope always remains limited as you have restricted access to the backend. 

Short-run benefit: 

If you don’t want to address the unique requirements of your customers, Shopify is a great platform. It enables you to set up your online store within hours. 

Long-run benefit: 

In future, when you feel a need for customizing your Shopify store, you can hire dedicated experts and customize your Shopify app easily - but within the limit or scope. 

  • Custom eCommerce App

When you hire an eCommerce app development company, the first question they would ask you is what are your unique requirements.  

That means they aim to address all of your and your customers’ unique needs while developing the app for you. 

They add all custom features - with respect to your market, customers and your unique business model. 

They in fact study your competitors and make sure your app would have more advanced and useful features than your competitors so that you can easily outperform them. 

They provide you with a complete custom experience and product. 

All top eCommerce apps are developed with such an approach. 

Short-run benefit: 

By addressing the specific requirements of your customers, you can easily and rapidly build a large customer base. 

However, developing a custom eCommerce app is time-consuming and costlier than the Shopify app. 

Long-run benefit: 

It is a fact that a custom app can easily outperform any app developed using Shopify. Meaning, you will be leading the market - after a few years! 

We’re Not Biased. We’ve Mastered Both Shopify App Development and Custom eCommerce App Development!

Between Shopify app and eCommerce app - whatever you choose - we are clever enough to help you. 

We’re an Ontario-based top app agency that has been helping businesses to grow for 7 years. 

With our app developers, app designers, business experts and legal consultants, we eliminate all of your business, technical and legal challenges. 

And this is what makes us different! 

Because we believe that the code only builds the app. You have to clear all of the business and legal obstacles to building the brand.  

In 2020, we helped more than 50 Canadian businesses to go online with a mobile app and website and convert businesses into brands. 

And you know what - it all started with free business consultation from our most experienced team!