Shopify is an excellent online retail platform that acts as a standalone storefront just about anybody can use. But did you know that you do not have to stop there? If you have enough programming knowledge to create your own custom mobile app, you should be able to integrate Shopify into that app without a lot of effort.
Shopify’s Mobile App sales channel can be integrated into your app to provide your customers full purchase functionality without having to visit your Shopify site directly. All of the information required to complete a retail transaction is handled between your app and the Shopify sales channel while seamlessly updating all of your store’s data at the same time.
Activating the sales channel for both Android and iOS is a straightforward process with only a few steps. But before we get to that, there are some other things you need to know. Suffice it to say that integrating Shopify with a mobile app is not for beginners. If you don’t know anything about app development, this article is not for you.
Make sure you are familiar with:
- APIs – An application programming interface (API) is a collection of tools, protocols and subroutines used for building applications. Shopify has its own API suitable to what was developed by its creators. You do not need to be intimately familiar with this API – you can learn as you go – but you do need a general knowledge of how APIs work.
- SDKs – The software development kit (SDK) is a set of tools used for creating software for specific environments. SDKs are different from one environment to the next, so you need to download and use one that is appropriate to Shopify. They are known as ‘Android Buy SDK’ and ‘iOS Buy SDK’. Shopify also offers separate SDKs for point-of-sale and sales channels.
You can find more information about both APIs and SDKs on the ‘help’ section of the Shopify website. The information there is not detailed, as platform developers expect their mobile app counterparts to have a working knowledge of APIs and SDKs.
Setting up the Sales Channel
Assuming you have the programming knowledge to create a mobile app, you will need first to set up the right sales channel in your Shopify Admin. To do so, navigate to Admin> Settings> Sales Channels. A new window will open up; under ‘Installed sales channels’, click ‘Add a new sales channel’. This will open up a new dialogue box.
Under ‘Mobile App’, click ‘Learn more’. Next, click ‘Add channel’. You should now be on the Integration page where you can enter the information you need to set up the sales channel successfully. You will need to enter your API key, the app ID, and the Android or iOS code required to link your app to your Shopify site.
If you need help determining the snippet of code to enter on the Integration page, the Shopify support team can help. Otherwise, you are ready to go.