Key Apps for a Thriving Shopify Plus Store: Alien Outfitters

Thank you to everyone who joined our second Triangle Shopify Meetup on May 17th! We had a ball hosting with Phil Vanstone of Shopify Partners, and American Underground was the perfect venue.

The evening underscored something we’ve seen for awhile: the Research Triangle online entrepreneur community rocks. A highlight of the night was when one of the local rockstars, Ana of Alien Outfitters, walked us through the key apps driving her Shopify Plus store.

A few years ago, Ana started Alien Outfitters as a teenager creating from her parents house. To quote her site, “Our goal is to accent your individuality and cater to those who aren’t afraid to be themselves.” With this message, she’s attracted many devoted customers over the years. Last year she moved up to Shopify Plus and now has a massive user base.

So, how does it all work? Here are the apps Ana mentioned in her Meetup presentation, as well as a few she added when we followed up with her.

Key Shopify Plus Apps

Shipstation: $9.00-$145.00/month

As Shipstation says, “Shipping can be unnecessarily complicated and inefficient. We make it easy for entrepreneurs to scale their businesses by eliminating those complications.

Shipstation helps with order fulfillment via a range features, such as creating barcodes and calculating postage rates. Through the app, merchants can monitor shipments to their customers and communicate order status through branded tracking pages.

Groove packer: Custom pricing

As employees pack a shipment, they scan each item in a customer’s order with Groove Packer. This app alerts employees to any packing mistakes. As a result, companies save money as they deal with fewer errors in shipments.

Kit: Starting at $10/month

Kit is an app that is also registered as an official Facebook Marketing Partner. As a “virtual marketing employee,” Kit creates ads generated from the products in a merchant’s store.

Photo Resize: First 400 photos free, then 5¢/photo or $19.99/month

Beautiful products photos are essential to online sales. But these photos aren’t going to resize themselves. Thankfully, merchants can upload a range of images and the Photo Resize app will convert them into photos of uniform size and ratio.

Countdown Timer: Free to $6.99/month

In the Alien Outfitter screencap above, Ana was using a countdown to offer a 40% off discount code for a limited time. With this app, customers can be encouraged to buy based on a “sands through the hourglass” sense of urgency.

Gift Wizard: From $0/month

Gift Wizard allows customers to purchase every product in an online store as a gift. It also offers custom e-cards for buyers to notify their recipients of the gift. And, according to the app, every 100 gifts purchased result in 67 new customers, as gift recipients return and buy. Nice!

Free Shipping Bar: Free to merchants, too

The name says it all. This app creates adjustable bar graphics that advertise free shipping on your store. Merchants can customize the bar message and colors, and adapt it to reflect their brand or an upcoming holiday, for example.

Fraud Filter: Free from Shopify

Through this app, Shopify supports its merchants in detecting fraudulent purchases. Store owners can add filters to flag activity that they believe could be suspicious. The app also has its own built-in flags created by Shopify developers.

MailChimp for Shopify: Custom pricing

This app builds the foundation for a merchant’s future ecommerce business. Mailchimp collects shoppers’ email during the check-out process and adds this contact information to the merchant’s database. From there, store owners can market to their customers based on appealing new products, products that go well with recent purchases, etc.

Improved Contact Form: Free

Another way to build a merchant database is through a “Contact Us” page and/or popup. The Improved Contact Form apps adds a customizable Contact Us feature to your online store. It can also track the customer’s journey prior to landing on Contact Us.

Minifier: 1-2¢/image

Clunky photos can slow down site load time. To fix this, Minifier optimizes a site’s images. It can update site imagery to the best size, tags, and file names. To paraphrase the app, it finds the sweet spot between reducing the size of an image and still keeping it high quality. This work speeds up an online store and keeps customers cruising.

Wishlist Plus: Free for up to 100 Wishlist items/month; Other paid plans available

“Add to Wishlist” is a very useful way to learn about customer preferences, as well as engage with them to buy over time. With this app, customers do not have to log-in (forced registration can increase site abandonment) and they can easily share their Wishlists.

Now Back In Stock: Starting at $5/month

Customers sign up to be notified, via email or text, when the product they want becomes available. The notification messages can go out about specific product variants, such as by color, size, etc.

Repeat Customer Notifications: $15/month

A merchant may recognize a customer name or address, especially in the early days of business, but soon increased customer volume makes it tough to track repeat customers. Then it’s time for this app. With notification, store owners can reward their repeats with extra incentives or kindness. Or both!

Quick Announcement Bar: From $0/month

Do you run an online lingerie store and just learned that it’s National Underwear Day?  (August 5th, btw!) This app helps merchants create on-the-fly announcements. It also has performance tracking, i.e. click-thru rates. It can even customize announcements to offer something different to customers via Facebook vs. Twitter or whichever channel brought the customer in.


Social Autopilot: Free

Prepare and plan social media announcements on Twitter and Pinterest with this app. Merchants can compose a message and then schedule it to send. There’s also more “Autopilot” features (borrowing from the name) that will automatically send out a tweet or pin whenever a new product is uploaded to a store.

Sticky Add To Cart Bar: Free to $4.99/month

This app keeps your Buy button accessible throughout the customer shopping experience. Sometimes in a store’s design, as a customer scrolls through a page or down on a phone, the buy button disappears. With this app, the Buy bar stays on screen the entire time, leading to easier access and likely better conversions.

We send a big shout out of gratitude to Ana for walking us through the inner workings of her store. We’re excited to watch her business grow — and we love learning how she’s getting it done.

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