As you may know by now, I run my family’s online business on Shopify’s platform. We made the switch from SquareSpace after a year because we wanted more tools to automate our marketing strategy. We chose Shopify because it has an ecosystem of third-party Shopify apps that help you run your online business. From automating marketing programs to optimizing your online store’s performance, Shopify has you covered.

When we made the switch, we found ourselves asking the following question. Which Shopify apps could we use to get the most out of our store without breaking the bank? This is the question I seek to answer.

If you’re starting an online store on Shopify, then these Shopify apps are going to be absolutely essential.

1. SEO Manager

When you start an online business, you’re going to want people to find you. The best way to accomplish this, without spending money on ads, would be through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the practice of refining your content so search engines like Google can understand what your website is about. SEO is about improving your visibility on the web, so Google and other search engines can position your content to relevant searches.

As a result, you’re going to want to have control over the structure of site.  This includes page titles, meta descriptions, redirects and more. SEO Manager is a great tool that empowers you to tweak and optimize your website to get in front of prospective customers.

2. Product Reviews

This Shopify app is absolutely essential. With Product Reviews, you can capture, manage and publish product reviews your existing customers. It is widely known that product reviews help build confidence with prospective customers. Product reviews also help boost your credibility with search engines (there’s that SEO stuff again!).

For this reason, you’re going to need this app. Come up with campaigns that allow you to garner great customer reviews for everyone to read. Which leads me to my next recommended app.

3. Product Reviews Addon

So you installed the Product Reviews Shopify but you’re not getting a ton of reviews. This is where the Product Reviews Addon app comes in. This app automatically emails customers with a request to review your product after you’ve shipped the order. In addition, the app will send reminder emails too! Everything is customizable to your business and brand requirements. It’s been the best way for our store to gather relevant reviews seamlessly.

In addition to emails, you can easily create a reviews page with a single snippet of code. This code will loop through all of your product reviews display them all together. Having the ability to position all your reviews to customers is a great way to build trust.

4. MailChimp Email Marketing App

Speaking of emails; If you don’t already know, I’m a huge fan of MailChimp. I love their product. With robust features to build, automate and measure your email campaigns, MailChimp makes email easy. It’s also very inexpensive. Plus, Freddie the Chimp is pretty darn cool. Be sure to create your MailChimp account before setting up this Shopify app.

With this app, your store and MailChimp account will be in sync. That means, MailChimp will know when a certain customer purchased, what they purchased, how many orders they’ve placed and how much they’ve spent. Likewise, you’ll also be able to identify those customers who have not purchased. This is an invaluable asset to your marketing automation strategy, as it will enable you to build relevant and timely email campaigns such as welcome, win-back and best customer referral campaigns.

MailChimp is one of the many Shopify Apps to Improve Your Email Campaigns

5. Referral Candy

So you’re acquiring a few new customers each month. Why not tap into those happy customers to get referrals to accelerate your growth? Referral Candy is one of those Shopify Apps that enable you to automate your referral program. This app will periodically email your customers asking for referrals. In exchange for the each referral, your customer receives a reward defined by you. Simple and powerful.

I like this app for a few reasons. For starters, it’s very affordable. Pricing scales as your sales do, similar to other affiliate systems.

Secondly, you’re able to customize your referral reward and referrer incentives with ease. You also have complete control over the look and feel of your communication with customers.

Lastly, the app provides you with a complete analytics suite. You’ll learn who is referring the most customers, how many customers see referral links, how many click-through, etc. The app also prevents referrers from referring themselves, which is a big plus.

6. Google Shopping

If you’re new to selling online, you’re going to want to learn about Google Shopping. Google Shopping acts as an extension to your Shopify store. Whenever people search for products similar to yours, they may find it in the Google Shopping results.

If your products have common attributes such as size and color, you’re going to want to leverage the Google Shopping app. This Shopify app automatically creates and updates your Google Shopping feed. Trust me, this is a huge time saver.

Conclusion: Shopify Apps Are Awesome

These are the Shopify Apps I recommend for a new or growing store. There are hundreds of Shopify Apps to choose from—some more powerful and expensive than others. The key here is to automate as much as possible so you can focus on what’s important: the logistics of running an online business.