Shopify developers have been left seething after a recent update to the platform’s app store has meant that the algorithm is recommending competitors’ apps at the bottom of app detail pages.
The issue lies with the fact that Shopify’s growth depends on having a strong ecosystem of developers building apps for its merchants.
In mid-December, the ecommerce giant rolled out a number of changes to the app store which included small tweaks to the image requirements and drastic changes to how it recommends apps on its home page and specific product categories.
Developers have revealed to Business Insider that the change to app recommendations is detrimental to their own interests.
Currently, a large number of developers pay for ads which bring web traffic to their page where merchants can download their apps.
Merchants then bid on specific search items within the app store in a system that works similarly to Google’s ad product.
The issue many developers have with the new app update is that competitors could end up profiting from someone else’s ad spending.
“I don’t have control over what those four apps are, nor do I really want other apps shown on my page when I’m paying for traffic to that page,” entrepreneur Dennis Hegstad told Business Insider.
He added that he decided to pause his ad spending on Shopify after the changes were announced.
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Hegstad and a number of other developers on Twitter said they were waiting for clarification from Shopify before continuing their businesses on the platform.
Developers have claimed that the design tweaks have already started to have a negative impact.
Shopify app development company Venntov chief executive Josh Highland told Business Insider: “The number of impressions that we’re getting per day has dropped to almost zero after this recent change.”
Another new addition to the algorithm that developers are concerned with is that the redesign displays the most-installed apps at the top of the Shopify app store homepage when merchants aren’t logged into their accounts.
Meaning that Facebook and Google will always be amongst the most popular apps because of how valuable they are to merchants.
There are more than 7,000 apps that merchants can install on their stores on the Shopify app store, from helping with store design, product sourcing, SEO, marketing, and shipping.
Shopify does also build some of the apps itself however it mainly relies on apps built by third parties to populate its app store.
App developers have stressed that they are concerned with how the app store redesign will affect smaller, independent developers acquire business with merchants.