5 min read

Inviting Trouble into Your Home: How Third-Party Apps Can Damage Your Store

Published on
December 26, 2023

When managing a Shopify store, selecting new apps can often feel unpredictable, much like Forrest Gump's famous box of chocolates. Despite the reliability of Shopify's App Store, it's crucial to be aware of the significant risks involved with installing new apps. An app might be free of malware and developed by reliable professionals, yet still cause considerable disruptions – disorganized catalog data, scrambled theme code, and the headache of manually sorting through extensive data.

Our support team has witnessed such scenarios firsthand. In this article, we share our insights and practical advice to help you thoroughly evaluate apps before installation, thereby avoiding potential pitfalls.

The Cautionary Tale of Lexy: A Lesson in App Selection

Lexy, an experienced product catalog manager at a car supply store, was adept with Shopify, particularly its Collections feature. She meticulously organized numerous custom collections, significantly enhancing customer experience.

The challenge arose when Lexy needed to transfer a large number of products from a European store operating on a different platform. At her manager's suggestion, Lexy chose a bulk product import app that seemed affordable and user-friendly, based on initial research and reviews.

However, post-import, Lexy discovered a critical issue – the inability to add new products to any collections. Her painstakingly organized collections had vanished, erasing months of effort.

Thankfully, due to a pre-established backup plan, the crisis was averted, and the collections were restored. This experience underscored the importance of a backup system and revealed the potential havoc an incompatible app could wreak, such as data loss and operational disruptions.

Shopify Experts on Third-Party App Safety

Third-party apps can significantly enhance the functionality and customer engagement of your Shopify storefront. Nevertheless, they also bring risks like data corruption, loss, or damage, especially if they're not well-developed, maintained, or tested. Compatibility with your store’s theme and other apps is also crucial to prevent data issues.

Risks include:

  • Security Vulnerabilities: These might expose sensitive data to breaches.
  • Compatibility Issues: Conflicts with your store’s theme or other apps can lead to errors.
  • Performance Impact: Apps can slow down your site, negatively affecting user experience and SEO.
  • Quality Concerns: Poorly designed apps can lead to bugs and crashes, harming your brand.
  • Hidden Costs: Some apps may introduce unexpected fees.
  • Data Privacy: Ensure apps align with privacy laws to protect customer data.
  • Customer Support Quality: Poor support can complicate problem resolution.
  • Integration Challenges: Ensure seamless integration with existing workflows.

To mitigate these risks, thorough research and testing are imperative before integrating a new app into your Shopify store.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing Safe Shopify Apps

  1. Budget Consideration: Focus on the app's problem-solving capability, not just its price.
  2. App Description Review: Look beyond marketing; ensure features align with your needs.
  3. Review Analysis: Evaluate customer feedback for insights into the app’s performance and support.
  4. Support Assessment: Examine the developer's response quality and timeliness.
  5. Developer Website Evaluation: Investigate their commitment, experience, and customer testimonials.
  6. Terms and Privacy Policy Scrutiny: Understand data usage and compliance with regulations.
  7. Staging Store Testing: Test features on a dummy store to assess functionality and compatibility.
  8. Maximizing Free Trials: Set goals and evaluate the app in real-world scenarios.
  9. Backup Creation: Always back up your live site before installing new apps.


Choosing the right app for your Shopify store is a deliberate process. Research thoroughly, test extensively, and always back up your store. By doing so, you can integrate apps that streamline your operations, enhance productivity, and ultimately, contribute to your store’s success.

Alex Tchórzewski
Customer Engagement and Security Manager, BackupMaster