Shopify App Development: When to Build a Private or Public App for Shopify vs. Using a 3rd Party One

Shopify is a widely used e-commerce platform that enables businesses to set up and manage their online stores effortlessly. One of its key features is the app store, which offers many tools and plugins to help merchants customize and enhance their stores.

Are you grappling with the decision of building your own Shopify app or using one from the app store?

When it comes to developing apps for Shopify, there are multiple options available. You can create a private app for internal use by your business, build a public app for submission to the Shopify app store, or use a third-party app that is already available in the app store.

This article delves into the various options for creating apps for Shopify, including private and public apps and the concept of third-party apps. The pros and cons of each option are discussed to help you determine the best choice for your business based on your specific needs.

Building a private app

Private Shopify apps, also known as custom apps, are specifically designed for a single merchant or a small group of merchants. They are not listed in the app store and can only be accessed by the merchants for whom they are built. These apps offer a higher level of customization to meet the unique needs of the merchants and may not have a subscription fee. 

Building a private Shopify app can be an effective solution for businesses with specific requirements not met by existing third-party apps. The merchants can either develop the app themselves or hire a Shopify developer to create it. They are only visible to the specific business and can integrate with internal systems or data. 

Private apps are only visible and usable to the specific business that created them, and they can be customized to meet the unique needs of that business. Additionally, private apps can be used to integrate with internal systems or data, which can be useful for businesses that need to manage large amounts of data. However, creating a private app can be more complex and time-consuming than using an existing third-party app, and it may require a larger investment in terms of development resources.

Building a public app

Public Shopify apps are intended for use by multiple merchants and can be found in the Shopify App Store for anyone to install. They typically have a subscription fee, and merchants can easily manage them directly from the app store. Popular public Shopify apps include Oberlo for product importation, Privy for email capture, and Klaviyo for email marketing. Developing a public app can be a good option for businesses that want to make their custom app available to other Shopify merchants. Submitting the app to the Shopify app store allows it to be accessible to all Shopify merchants and can generate revenue for the developer through sales and subscriptions. However, creating a public app requires substantial development resources and can be a complex process, particularly in regard to getting it approved for the Shopify app store.

Using third-party apps

Using a third-party app can be a good option for businesses that need a specific set of features but don’t want to invest in building their own app. Third-party apps are already available in the Shopify app store and can be easily installed and configured. Additionally, these apps are typically less expensive than building a custom app. However, third-party apps may not provide the level of customization that businesses need, and they may not integrate seamlessly with existing systems or data.


To sum up, the decision to create a private, public, or use third-party app for Shopify depends on the business’s unique needs. Companies with specific requirements that cannot be met by existing third-party apps or want to share their custom app with other Shopify merchants may opt to build a private or public app.

However, businesses that need specific features but don’t want to invest in app development may prefer using a third-party app. It’s crucial to consider each option’s pros and cons and available resources before deciding.

If you require assistance developing a Shopify private or public app, contact VTLabs for a free consultation. We are one of the top three Shopify App development companies worldwide and are eager to support you with any Shopify development needs.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button