Apps overview

Before you start planning and developing your app, it’s important to understand what Shopify apps do and how they fit into Shopify.

What's a Shopify app?

A Shopify app extends the existing functionality of Shopify. Most Shopify apps are built by third-party developers, not by Shopify.

You can build an app to add features to Shopify stores and extend the merchant experience, or to create unique buying experiences for customers. You can also pull Shopify store data into your app, platform, or integration.

To tailor experiences to their specific needs, merchants use Shopify apps to help build their business, integrate with external services, and add features to their Shopify admin.

A diagram illustrating the relationships between apps, merchants, developers, and customers

How apps fit into Shopify

Apps integrate with Shopify in the following ways:

  • connecting with Shopify APIs to read and write store data, in response to either user input or webhook event notifications
  • extending new features inside existing parts of the Shopify admin or POS
  • enhancing the way that stores display information to customers

A diagram illustrating a detailed view of your app integrates with Shopify

There are three key areas where apps interact with the Shopify platform: Shopify admin, online store, and checkout.

Shopify admin

After logging in to Shopify, merchants set up their store, configure settings, and manage their business using the Shopify admin.

The Shopify admin includes core aspects of the merchant's Shopify business, including orders, products, and customers. Merchants also install apps in the Shopify admin.

Online store

The online store is an online home for a merchant's business. Merchants use the online store to create webpages, publish a blog, and sell their products.

As an app developer, you can build integrations in all the places where merchants want to sell, and where their customers want to buy.

Checkout

Merchants use the secure Shopify checkout to accept orders and take payments wherever they sell online. After a customer adds products to a cart, they use Shopify checkout to enter their shipping information and payment details before placing the order.

Apps can integrate with Shopify checkout to offer additional functionality to merchants and customers. For example, merchants can use apps that support post-purchase offers to show a cross-sell or upsell offer to customers at checkout.

Next steps

  • Use Shopify CLI to create an app, quickly set up your development environment, and generate starting code.