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How much does it cost to build a Shopify app?

"A comprehensive cost guide on Shopify app development."

Depending upon the features, pricing models and stages of Shopify app development, there is a lot of guesswork involved.

A basic Shopify store template doesn’t satisfy customers because they demand fully functional and automated stores. Shopify app store has hundreds of useful apps for integration but usually, the clients are not that tech-savvy and sometimes they fall prey to the wrong service providers.

Clients when first contact us, ask for the Shopify app development cost right away. We inquire about the project details and guide. ‘Low price and high quality’ is what every client wants, this fact is obvious for us as we are building Shopify apps for startups and big-size companies for the last couple of years.

However, we find a need to educate Shopify store owners about how they can calculate project pricing and keep themselves from getting mugged or paying extra (which clients are not supposed to).

Table of Contents

How to calculate Shopify app development cost?

It depends on the feature set you want to have in your Shopify store. Jot down the list of features and see how many are these and how complex they are going to be.

For example, you want a basic set-up with login, cart, product list and a couple of other features. Or you want an enterprise-level Shopify store. Both cases are different with varying costs.

Shopify app development costs mostly rely on the time developers spend on delivering those features.

Let us give you an insight. You want a Shopify store and want to add a catalog with a list of categories. This will take approximately 20 hours which an hour of custom Shopify app development will be $50.

All you need to do is multiple the number of hours by $50.

Formula for calculating Shopify app cost:

No. of hours developer spent x hourly rate of the developer/company = total cost

Formula for calculating Shopify app cost

Good companies/developers always share rough estimate of the app development and that quote (rough estimate) is based on the client’s project summary, tech requirements and the expected outcome.

Furthermore, tech companies offer some basic pricing models. Let’s review each of them one by one.

Typical time and cost required for Shopify app development

- Basic setup 

Time - 1 month

Cost - $5000 - 10000

- Complex app development

Time - 3 months

Cost - $15000 - 25000

- Enterprise-level app development

Time - 6 months / depends on features set

Cost - $25,000 - 75,000 

What factors affect Shopify app development cost?

There are number of factors affecting the cost of Shopify app development, and here they are:

1. App features / tech requirements

2. Time spent by developers

3. Agency vs freelancers

4. Custom development vs pre-built apps

5. Business/pricing model (Fixed price, T&M or dedicated team)

6. Stages of Shopify app development

7. Basic app set-up or app development for enterprise level

8. Rates of developers / dedicated team from different regions

How much does Shopify theme customization cost?

Custom Shopify theme development cost depends on where you get your developers from. The exact feature set, custom changes in a pre-built template, or custom development from scratch – all these scenarios have different pricing structures.

For a startup, you may need modifications in the pre-existing theme and it may cost you $300-600.

For a medium scale Shopify store, custom theme development can go from $600-1000.

For a large scale Shopify store or for enterprise level custom theme development cost starts from $1000 and goes as high as per the features set.

For in-depth understand, read a complete blog here: 

Basic Shopify Custom App Development Time and Cost Calculation

Clients who want to integrate custom apps in their Shopify store usually find custom development expensive mainly because they can pre-built apps from the Shopify app store.

A simple app integration takes 8-10 hours. However, depending upon the complexity of the custom app time may vary.

Here is the estimated time consumption for the basic Shopify app development and integration.

 Features  Timeline
 App setup  4 hours
 Dashboard  16 hours
 Designs  50 hours
 StoreFront script tags to fetch date from backend  12 hours
 StoreFront JS to handle use cases in the scope of app  30 hours
 Settings  16 hours
 Stats page  20 hours
 Deployment AWS/ DIGITAL OCEAN  8 hours
 10% of total project
Basic Shopify app development cost range from $5000 – 15000.

Get shopify app cost estimates

Average hourly rate worldwide

A typical U.S. based Shopify development agency will charge $150 per hour (top rate companies easily charge up to $400-$500 / hr for lead Shopify engineers).

i) Shopify developers rate in US/Europe – average $50-200/hr (depending upon the client store requirements and skill set of a developer)

ii) Shopify developers rate in Asia – $20-50/hr

iii) Freelance Shopify developers – 20% cheaper (we normally do not recommend this type of outsourcing because it won’t work as a long term solution)

Shopify app development rates in the world:

- Typical US based Shopify agency rate – $150/hr

- Shopify developers rate in US/Europe – $50-200/hr

- Shopify developers rate in Asia – $20-50/hr

(Source – Shopify)

Shopify app development rates in the world

Clients often ask per page rate too but that makes no sense no matter what pricing model is picked. Mainly because a lot of the product pages use the same templates.

Shopify developers rate per hour is another common query and it makes sense because clients ask for custom work where project scope isn’t defined or may change. This type of work comes under a Time and Material contract as discussed above.

Shopify app development by stages

Shopify app development doesn’t start with the coding right away but with the planning. First the project is analyzed by business analysts and they come up with tech and business requirements.

In general,

Research and planning of a project consume 2-4 weeks depending upon the scale of the project.

The Discovery phase is the cheapest phase of all the other phases of Shopify app development.

 Stage  Approx time  Completion %  Approx cost
 Business/Discovery  3 days (for basic Shopify store)  30%  $450
 Design / UI/UX  4 days  15%  $225
 Development  4 days  15%  $225
 Testing  2 days (2 cycles of user acceptance testing and fixes)  20%  $300
 Launch  2 days  20%  $300
 Total  15 days  100%  $1,500

Note – These are approx. or rough estimates which are the most affordable that you can get.

Shopify app development by features

 Basic Features  Approx time (days/weeks)  Approx cost ($)
 Signup / login
 Forget password
 Social media integration
 1 week  $800
 -Product page
 1 week  $700
 -Product detail page
 Title and description
 Add to cart
 buy it now
 Adjust product quantity
 Social share icon
 You may also like
 5 days  $600
 Blog   2 days  $200
 Contact us  1 day  $100
 Chat support  1 day  $100
 Admin features
 Manage products
 Customer reports
 Finance reports
 Contact form   submissions
 3 days  
 Payment integration  2 days  
 Shipping API  2 days  

An average cost of Shopify app development range from $5,000 to $50,000

Shopify app development based on business models

Fixed-price model

In this business model, the project scope is clearly defined or can say limited that is why the price is fixed. Ideal for startups or small scale projects. These projects finish on time. However, if the scope is vague, and the project needs a feature update, we do not recommend a fixed price model.

The service providing company estimates time and the budget they need for handling the provided scope of work. The price once decided and signed by the client can’t be changed.

This model works best with fixed deadlines and prices. For example, if a client needs MVP, it would take 3-5 months.

Still, confused about the requirements of the project or want change in the scope? Fixed price is not the right option, maybe the other too.

Time and material price

Small and mid-size businesses can seek benefit from this business model. The model works best for long term projects, especially the ones with complex features or projects with ongoing testing/ bug fixing or app maintenance and support.

Unlike, fixed price model, the T&M model doesn’t require a complete scope of the project, rather a client can kickstart his project with a limited set of scope.

Typically Shopify app development cost can be calculated on how many hours Shopify developers spend on the app. T&M model comes with a flexible approach where you can change the scope of work if you come up with some other idea.

Dedicated team

Enterprise-level companies/projects can totally rely on dedicated teams as they cover each and every aspect of the project. Our clients choose this pricing model when:

- Launch a new product in the market

- App development continuity and maintenance

If your company wants a full project team or some extra developers for project completion or assistance, a dedicated team model is an obvious choice.

How much deos it cost to build a shopify app?

Custom Shopify Apps Cost and Integration Time

Custom Pricing Apps

  • Integration time – 1-2 weeks
  • Volume discounts, tiered pricing, bulk discounts – $8/mo – $32/mo
  • Wholesale pricing discount – $19.99/mo – $39/mo

Custom Functionalities/ Custom theme apps

  • Integration time - 1-4 weeks
  • Rewards and loyalty, points and referrals – $49/mo – $599/mo
  • Upsell and cross sell in cart – $20/mo – $60/mo / $150/mo
  • Product options/variants for custom products – $10/mo – $100/mo
  • Size chart and recommender – $7/mo – $15/mo
  • Image compression and optimization – $5/mo – $20/mo
  • Promo video/ optimization – $10/mo
  • Badges and labels – $12/mo – $99/mo (unlimited)
  • Page builder – $19/mo – $150/mo
  • Popups and notifications – $20/mo – $30/mo
  • Wishlist – $6/mo – $300/mo
  • Product filters and search – $5mo – $60/mo
  • Currency converter – $0 – $10/mo
  • Social media icons/social product galleries, auto product update / share button – $8/mo – $50/mo
  • Countdown timers – $7/mo – $30/mo

Order & Customer Management Apps

  • Integration time – 1-3 weeks
  • Marketplace integration (Amazon, Etsy, AliExpress, etc.) – $40/mo – $150/mo
  • Back in stock alerts – $19/mo – $60/mo
  • Order tracking – $9/mo – $100/mo
  • Point of Sale (POS) – $89/mo per location
  • Customer support / live chat – $5/mo – $30/mo

Custom Inventory Apps

  • Integration time – 1-4 weeks
  • Multichannel inventory importer – $10/mo – $50/mo
  • Marketplace integration (Amazon, Etsy, AliExpress etc.) – $40/mo – $150/mo
  • Back in stock alerts – $19/mo – $60/mo
  • Bundle products and discounts – $8/mo – $50/mo

Custom Marketing Apps

  • Integration time – 1-2 weeks
  • Facebook, Instagram and Google ads marketing – $9/mo – $100/mo
  • Email marketing – $13/mo – $30/mo

ERP Connectors /integration apps

  • Integration time – 1-2 weeks
  • $30/mo – $300/mo

All of the above apps have free/trial versions.

Above custom app prices are calculated on the basis of pre-built apps selling on the Shopify app store. Usually, they fulfill the need of the client in a cost effective manner. However, still there are some of the custom use cases that clients ask from us.

Looking for custom Shopify app development from our Shopify developers? Contact us.

Book a meeting with Shopify experts

Some popular Shopify apps with the billing cost:

 Shopify Apps  Billing Cost (Integration)
 HubSpot CRM (organize, track, and nutrure leads)  Free+paid options
 Oberlo (dropshipping app)  $4.90/month
 Printful (dropshipping app)  No monthly or startup fees
 Sendinblue (email marketing app)  Free+paid options
 Spocket (dropshipping app)  Free plan, Premium plans $49 to $99 / month
 ShipStation (shipping app)  $9/month
 TradeGecko (inventory management app)  $99/month
 Klaviyo (email marketing app)  Free to install, Paid for some features (rewards and loyalty app)  Free plan
 Doofinder (product search plugin app)  Free for stores with less than 1000 request
 Firepush (a marketing automation app)  Free up to 1000 web pushes
 Omnisend (omnichannel marketing automation app)  Free basic plan, Standard plan starts from $16/ month
 Facebook Messenger (Facebook messenger marketing app)  Free
 Shopify POS (POS app)  Free – $40/ month
 Privy (banners, pop-ups, announcement bars)  Free plan, Paid plan $24/ month

Overlooked expenses

Oftentimes when a client is focused on app development he doesn’t consider the overlooked expenses like app release, maintenance and third party apps integration. Shopify app development isn’t just about coding, design and testing but it needs updates, and support.

Let’s explore what additional cost a client may have to bear.

App release / launch

Shopify does not charge for publishing the app but it does charge 20% on each sale. And that is for the basic store. However, Shopify platform handles the payment where charging and payment get processed and mostly clients/merchants rely on Shopify.

You can set up an external payment gateway and you don’t have to pay to Shopify any commission. But there is a loophole. That is, it’s complex technically, second customers may not trust.

Golden rules you should follow here:

Use Shopify payments processor if you have a basic store set up because you don’t have customers trust yet. If you have a well-known app/store, you can use an external payment method.

App maintenance

Costs of app maintenance isn’t much compared to actual app development. You can expect 15-20% of the original app development cost. Do consider maintenance service even if you don’t have plans of scaling the app or adding new features.

Let’s clear what does maintenance services include:

1) Bug fixing

2) Performance testing and improvements

3) Code optimization for speed

4) Addition of new features

5) Supporting latest versions of 3rd party services

Post-release support/services are not part of the contracts normally so average cost of the app development is overlooked. Maintenance services are considered as additional service and billed separately.

Final verdict

Now you know the pricing and details of how much Shopify app development cost, it’s about time to consider what you should have before hiring for Shopify app development services. We advise our clients to be clear on 3 things. First, list the features you want in your store/app. Second, examples of different online stores whose elements you’d like to incorporate on your website. Third, be clear about the issues you want a solution for (in case you already have a developed app).

If you have any questions about hiring Shopify developers, whether for a one-time project or for a long term role on your engineering team, Phaedra Solutions is happy to help.

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