Shopify Apps May Cost You More Than You Pay For Them — Especially If They’re Free
Did you know that every app you install slows your site down by a little (or a lot) for every visitor?
The slower your website, the less happy your customers will be.
People don’t like waiting. Especially now when an alternative is a Google search away.
Here is an example from last week: we gathered for the usual Thursday board-game night. The plan was to get started with the games, order Chinese food and have it delivered just in time for when the first game session is over and hunger hits.
We called the restaurant with the best Chinese food in town and placed our orders. Then we started waiting. One hour later, we call to check what’s happening with the order (we live in a small town, the restaurant is 1km away and it wasn’t even Friday night) and they told us they’ve been swarmed with orders and delivery time is around 1.5 hours, i.e. expect the food to arrive soon.
The second hour passed. We call again, a little hangry this time: “Where is the food? We ordered 2 hours ago!”. The woman on the other side told us the driver is on his way, but his car broke. Looks like we’ll be playing Hunger Games for some more time…
Long story short, 2.5 hours after placing the order we got our cold Chinese food and swore to never order from them again. They delivered what we wanted, but later than we expected and in a condition that didn’t make us any happier.
Your store’s visitors are no different from us on that Thursday game night—their patience drops the more they need to wait. Even if you show them the perfect website with the perfect product they desperately need, but after the “mere” 60 seconds, they will just… not be there to see it.
Expectations vs Reality
Sadly, you don’t get to set the expectations of what a good page load time is for your visitors. People expect to see a sign of progress towards their goal in the first 3 seconds after they’ve clicked that link or tapped that ad.
That’s why you want to be slow and cautious when you install new apps. An app might not cost you any money to install and it might make your site load half a second slower — which according to Walmart/Amazon1 studies results in a revenue drop of about 5%. That free app might cost you a sale, two or more each month, depending on the size of your store. That isn’t quite “free” anymore.
How to deal with the apps that slow down your Shopify store?
What I recommend is to get a developer to move your most loved features from an app into the code for the theme. They’ll use the libraries of your theme to design and integrate that feature into your site. Then remove the app.
This will get you the features without the additional time for the site to load, which means your store is fast, your customers are happy, and your sales are good.
Walmart and Amazon both observed a 1% increase in earnings for every 100 milliseconds of improved webpage speed. ↩