Shopify App Store Optimisation Updates: Everything You Need to Know

The last few months have been a whirlwind over at Shopify. From the announcement that Shopify Unite was being "reimagined" in the form of smaller, in-person events, through to the unveiling of a new digital experience: Shopify Editions, and the sad news that the ecommerce giant laid off 10% of its workforce – there hasn't been a dull moment.

Last updated: Sept 8th 2022

What's new with Shopify apps

On 22 June, 2022, Shopify dropped its first Shopify Editions experience under the theme: Connect to Consumer. With this "Edition", Shopify announced some incredible changes to the platform, many directly related to app development.

One of the most exciting updates is Built for Shopify. This new program for Shopify developers gives you the tools and documentation you need to develop apps that look, feel, and perform as if they are native to Shopify. As a result, Built for Shopify makes it easier and more rewarding to create high-quality Shopify apps.

Let's dig deeper into Built for Shopify, and the other exciting updates recently announced.

Shopify's latest app store updates

Level up your app with "built for Shopify"

Fewer constraints and more access to Shopify functionality mean you can create performant apps that seamlessly integrate within the Shopify admin. And with Shopify's new App Design Guidelines, you'll know precisely how a best-in-class Shopify app should look and feel.

App Design Guidelines are clear recommendations detailing what it takes to build an app merchants will love, including design guidance in areas critical to the user experience, such as:

  • App structure
  • Layout
  • Visual design
  • Content
  • Navigation

Apps that meet Shopify's enhanced criteria are eligible for promotion on its highest-converting surfaces in the Shopify Admin and App Store. By following these guidelines, you're one step closer to increasing visibility for your Shopify app.

You may already be familiar with Polaris, a UI library featuring various pre-built app components that make your app look native to Shopify's interface. But Built for Shopify takes a giant leap forward, offering guidelines that explain how you can create your own components that match Shopify's UI, along with loads of best practices for how to structure your app and tips on how to improve your overall user experience.

While Shopify's App Store requirements are mandatory if you want to get your app listed, these new design guidelines are mostly optional but highly recommended to improve your app's user experience and boost its visibility within the App Store.

Start building faster with the new developer experience

Shopify's new CLI 3.0 has simplified the development process by reducing the number of commands you need to get started with building your app from 13 down to just 5. Plus, you can now use a single project for your app and extensions and push your entire project together.

Extend native Shopify features to meet unique business needs with functions

Functions are a powerful new way to make Shopify's backend logic extensible, allowing merchants to configure them without ever touching code. 

You can write and deploy discount customisations that can be configured in the admin and distributed in the Shopify App Store. 

Build powerful end to end checkout customisations

For the first time ever, you can create apps that extend Shopify checkout to include functionality that isn't provided natively by customising and extending Shopify checkout and Shop Pay for Plus merchants. Use Checkout UI extensions to surface new functionality, Checkout Branding API to customise styling, and Pixels to track events - all with Checkout Extensibility.

Offer new selling plans

Businesses need flexible payment options. So Shopify added new capabilities to the Selling Plans APIs, allowing for deferred payments and deposits. 

As a developer, you can deliver more robust app offerings to the businesses you work with when you support Shopify's new selling plans like pre-orders and "try before you buy".

Analyse data and generate insights straight from your app with ShopifyQL

The new GraphQL Admin API lets you directly query Shopify's analytical data to generate business insights without dealing with data transformation. 

Gone are the days of discrepancies between your reports and Shopify's data. Now you can deliver analytical experiences to your customers with minimum effort. 

Share more comprehensive customer data with segmentation

The GraphQL Admin API can also be used to fully manage segments in Shopify's customer database. Retrieve, create, and update segmentation data in your app.

Increase customer engagement by segmenting based on purchasing behaviour, location, or marketing preferences.

Improve functionality with embedded app improvements

Leverage the latest App Bridge improvements to embed your app directly within the Shopify Admin. Use full-screen mode to display advanced functionality and highlight app features in the admin for advanced use cases. 

Optimise mobile loading

Shopify is improving loading times for embedded apps that use its App Bridge technology. With the recent App Bridge mobile optimisation update, load times for mobile apps are 85% faster. 

Integrate your app's navigation directly into the admin

App Bridge apps can now integrate their navigation directly into the Shopify Admin with new App Nav functionality. Make your embedded apps look like they're truly a part of Shopify while also making it easier for merchants to discover and use your app.

Future proof your apps with data protection

Starting with API version 2022-10, Shopify will introduce updated requirements for apps that use customer data. You'll gain access to APIs that redact personal customer data by default, and you'll have the ability to apply for necessary access to customer data throughout the life of your app, allowing you to better support your merchants on their path towards privacy and data protection compliance.

Further announcements made in relation to November 2022 updates (extended to Dec 1st)

Shopify are redesigning the Shopify App Store to make it easier for merchants to get what they need to grow their business—and for partners apps to get discovered by the right people.

Changes to the Shopify App Store will include:

Improved app listing pages with fields optimized to convert and educate merchants:

✅ New app features and editorial opportunities to showcase high quality apps
✅ Clearly defined app categories, plus the ability to control how your app is classified
✅ A simplified search experience to connect relevant apps to more merchants
✅ App self-categorization to provide you with control over your app's visibility
✅ Ever-evolving features to highlight high-performing apps

What are Shopify saying you need to do by Nov 1st 2022? (extended to Dec 1st)

Shopify have added new fields to the app submission form to collect new information that better communicates the value of your apps to merchants. You need to update your listing content with content such as:

  • A short app intro statement that clearly summarizes your app's purpose and benefit
  • Bullet points that concisely describe your app's core feature capabilities
  • A feature image or video that highlights the impact of your app


To ensure your app is ready for this redesign and remains eligible for promotion, Shopify are asking partners to complete the new app listing form by November 1.

Check out their FAQ for more information:

There's never been a better time to build on Shopify!

Shopify is taking the guesswork out of app development by giving you an exact blueprint for how to build apps merchants will love. Those that follow the guidelines can build better apps that integrate seamlessly into the Shopify platform, improve app visibility, and increase their chances of success within the Shopify partner ecosystem.

Want to attract high-quality organic leads to your Shopify App Store listing or need help creating one? We thought so!

We have built a program specifically to help developers attract and retain Shopify merchants! For more details on the program lessons and 1-1 support, click here.