Getting the edge over your Shopify competition is never a bad idea. Koala Apps has three products that help you get insider information to gain an advantage: its Koala Inspector app, the Shopify Theme Detector, and its Skip to Checkout Shopify app. These not only help you learn what your competition is doing on their own Shopify sites, they also help you create a more enjoyable shopping experience for your customers.
Koala Apps: The Good and the Bad
Having access to tools that inform you what Shopify apps other businesses in your industry are using, reveal the products they’re selling (and for how much), and give you a peek behind the curtain at their traffic can give your online store a huge edge. While Koala Apps delivers these tools—headlined by the easy-to-use Chrome extension for Koala Inspector—we also thought their main product is a bit messy with its cluttered UI.
Let’s break down where Koala Apps shines and where it falls a bit short.
What Koala Apps Is Good At
Tools like the suite provided by Koala Apps can take your Shopify store to the next level, especially if you have a new online store or one that is stuck spinning its wheels in the mud. These platforms are generally easy to set up. And some, like the Koala Inspector, deliver uniquely helpful benefits.
Chrome extension is easy to set up and use
Installing new tools can be a pain, but the Koala Inspector Chrome extension makes enabling in-browser competitor research a total breeze.
With just one click, you’re set up. Once installed, just navigate to any Shopify store and click the extension’s icon at the top of your Chrome browser. A floating window opens up, giving you instant access to a treasure trove of intel on that store’s setup.
From the theme and apps your competitor’s shop is using to their traffic, ad campaigns, and more, you get a detailed look under the hood. Powerful stuff.
As a savvy ecommerce seller, you can quickly enable the same apps for your own store to see if they might be a good fit and identify tactics your competitor is using to gain an edge in organic traffic.
We love Koala Apps’ clever approach to spying on your ecommerce competitors. Not only does the Inspector tool let you become an expert on the competition, you also get all of this information in the blink of an eye.
We’re talking nearly instantaneous retrieval of data. No more jumping through hoops across multiple tools to piece together data. Koala Inspector serves it all up in one spot, on demand.
With just a click, you gain x-ray vision into your rival stores’ inner workings. See products, traffic sources, best sellers, and more. This bird’s eye view reveals precisely what’s working in your ecommerce niche.
In seconds, you’ll understand competitors’ pricing strategies, demand trends, and marketing tactics. Rather than reinventing the wheel, you can easily monitor and replicate what the top shops are doing. Take proven formulas that convert and make them your own. The Inspector feeds you these recipes for success instantly.
Rapid competitor research means rapid strategic pivots for your business. It’s clever spycraft translated into sales.
Koala Inspector packs a ton of competitor intel into its user interface. The main menu lets you dig into the store’s structure, products, sales, traffic, ads, and more. The breadth of data is seriously impressive for a Chrome extension.
One killer feature we love is the Live Sales tab. It shows you purchases happening on the site in real time and how long ago recent sales occurred. You gain instant insight into hot-selling items.
Beyond that, you can see a store’s paid advertising campaigns at a glance and dive deep into their traffic sources and performance. And, with the My Shops section, you can follow and continually monitor competitors’ stores to get live updates when they make changes. It’s a competitive store owner’s dream come true.
Not just useful for Shopify
While built for analyzing Shopify stores, Koala Inspector can also work for general market research in pretty much any industry.
Without needing a Shopify store yourself, you can still get insider access to competitors’ ad campaigns, traffic stats, best-selling products, and more. Even if you’re not prioritizing your online sales channels, this data reveals proven strategies to deploy in your own business.
Koala Inspector’s insights into ad platforms, targeting, and performance is a gold mine in and of itself. Save tons of trial and error by mirroring what already converts. Let rivals do the ad testing for you.
Your business can also benefit from spotting top-performing product campaigns. Any business can leverage these insights to make more intelligent choices about marketing and product development. It’s faster and cheaper than conducting primary research the old-fashioned way.
Finding competitor themes
Finding inspiration for your Shopify store’s look and feel is one thing, but what if you could ID the exact themes that high-performing stores are using themselves? Koala Inspector’s built-in Theme Detector identifies the themes used on competitors’ Shopify sites in seconds.
Knowing the exact theme name lets you take a look for yourself in the Shopify Theme Store (or, if it’s a custom theme, Google it to find the developer site) and try it on your own store. This is especially helpful when you’re just starting out, or if your ecommerce store is in dire need of a stylish refresh.
The Inspector Chrome extension lets you browse competitor themes with no added steps, but Koala Apps also offers the Theme Detector as a standalone tool. Just visit the Koala Apps website, hover over Products and click Shopify Theme Detector. Then, plug in any URL and you’ll instantly see the Shopify theme being used. It’s quick, easy, and incredibly useful.
In the competitive ecommerce space, your Shopify store’s look and feel is critical. The Koala Theme Detector lets you find new design options with greater ease.
Increasing conversion rates
We haven’t touched on Koala Apps’ Skip to Checkout tool yet, but it is another powerful asset in their suite of products.
With one click, transform Shopify’s standard Add to Cart button into a frictionless Buy Now button that sends shoppers directly to checkout. This clever tweak can boost conversions overnight.
By letting visitors completely skip the cart, you remove extra steps that may lead to abandonment. Customers can speed through to purchase with fewer chances to second guess. For proven best-selling products, it’s a no-brainer.
Many Koala Apps users have reported immediate conversion lifts just during their three-day free trial. That speaks volumes about the impact of this on a typical Shopify store.
Setup takes just minutes without any code injections or theme edits required. You can also customize the button text with more effective CTA phrasing.
The cart page itself isn’t removed, so customers can still navigate to it if they want to continue shopping (or change quantities) before completing a purchase. Unfortunately, we didn’t see a clear Return to Cart link on the demo (we’ll discuss this further in a bit). Because of that, you may want to only deploy Skip to Checkout for certain products and not your entire inventory.
Koala Apps’ Potential Drawbacks
There’s a lot to like about Koala Apps’ tools and the depth of insight you can glean from them. With that said, we felt their team could stand to adjust a few things about the user experience and the interface overall.
Limited free plan
The free plan provided by Koala Apps is quite restrictive. It’s really only suitable for a basic introduction to the platform; serious sellers will need to upgrade for full functionality.
For one thing, you only get five credits each for some key features: exporting product CSVs, finding suppliers, and identifying ad campaigns. You also only get three credits for viewing a shop’s traffic. Credits regenerate monthly, but those low limits will frustrate you if you’re getting serious about competitor analysis.
So, you can basically view shop structure and products indefinitely, but you’ll miss out on the really meaty competitor intel.
For brand-new users, the free version offers a nice trial run to see how the tool works firsthand. It’s useful for kicking the tires, but really only functions as a glorified demo. Expect to upgrade if you want the full competitive intelligence experience.
Cluttered UI (and other issues)
Since Koala Inspector is a Chrome browser extension, the floating overlay gets a bit cluttered because of all the data crammed into a small window.
We think a larger interface would better suit users, with more room for the various functions and information. The compact view demands excessive scrolling and clicking.
Adding to this issue is the number of advertisements and upsells embedded into the tool. You’ll see suggested tools in the Featured section (even for Koala’s own apps) and an entire tab dedicated to discounted access to app partners. It really contributes to the clutter far more than it’s helpful. It’s unclear if these ads remain when you upgrade to a paid plan.
On top of that, being limited to Chrome will make using Koala Apps a bit troublesome for fans of other browsers. Instead of forcing users to use Chrome, we’d like to see support for extensions in other major browsers like Firefox and Edge.
There’s also the issue of constantly having to reopen the Inspector when switching tabs, which disrupts your workflow and wastes time when reloading. An option to keep the UI open until manually closed would be far more user-friendly.
A lack of tutorials
There’s a lot you can do with Koala Apps. While most of the suite’s tools are easy to access with one click, how to maximize your usage of them may not always be obvious.
Because of that, the lack of tutorials and guides offered by Koala Apps is disappointing. The entire video library has just 19 tutorials totaling around 19 minutes of content.
The newest video, at the time of this writing, is already over a year old (even though Koala Apps is continually updating their platform). Successful companies often supplement product updates with release notes, blogs, and detailed demo videos. Koala Apps’ approach to this seems like an afterthought.
It’s difficult to build an engaged user base without fresh and relevant educational content. New videos should come out as Koala Apps’ features evolve.
And, since the existing videos average only one minute long, the information contained within them offers little real training or guidance for new users.
For a powerful tool like Koala Inspector, expanded tutorials could help users gain expertise and extract maximum value from the product. Deeper dives into key features and how to use them are needed.
Skip to Checkout needs improvement
The concept behind Skip to Checkout is great, as it helps you streamline the buying process for visitors to your Shopify store. But its execution could be refined.
The big issue is that you only have the option of replacing Add to Cart buttons with Buy Now buttons. Instead of offering both options to shoppers, Skip to Checkout forces any enabled products into an express purchasing lane.
Shoppers wanting to browse and add multiple items may find the forced instant checkout more of a nuisance than a convenience.
On top of that, Skip to Checkout costs you $4.99 per month, adding additional costs on top of your regular Shopify fees. A longer free trial period would help buyers evaluate the value this tool adds to their sites.
Koala Apps Plans and Pricing
Koala Apps provides a suite of competitively-priced products designed to help ecommerce merchants optimize their stores and outperform rivals. Their core offering is Koala Inspector, which is available in three different plan options, while the Skip to Checkout app is a separately priced, standalone tool. Let’s dive into the details of cost and included features.
Koala Apps offers a free version of their platform that gives you a nice taste of the competitor intelligence it can gather, but leaves you wanting more.
You can view a shop’s full product catalog, including stats, new arrivals, and best sellers. This reveals what’s resonating in your specific ecommerce niche. You can also dive into a store’s structure (in terms of the Shopify theme and apps being used) and glimpse the actual sales being made in real time.
However, you only get limited credits for advanced features like exporting product CSVs, finding retailers, viewing site traffic analytics, and exposing competitor ad campaigns.
The credits let you sample these capabilities but not really get your hands dirty. You’re limited to five each for CSVs, retailers, and ads, and only three monthly credits for site traffic analysis. Credits renew each month.
The free version gives you a solid demonstration of Koala Apps’ potential. But any serious ecommerce merchant will quickly require a paid plan to get the full array of competitive insights for data-driven decisions.
Koala Apps’ Professional plan unlocks higher allotments of the limited features on the Free plan. Export more CSVs, identify more suppliers, and get the inside scoop on site traffic and ad campaigns for $7.99 per month after a three-day trial period.
You’re allowed up to ten monthly exports and supplier searches, while you get 20 credits each for traffic reports and ad campaign scans.
The extra credits let you regularly research rivals’ products, traffic, ads, and suppliers throughout a month. While not unlimited, the credits are sufficient for thorough intel gathering. Many ecommerce shops won’t require more than what’s offered on this tier.
This plan also lets you keep tabs on up to three rival stores. Tracking them lets you get notifications any time they make changes, so you never miss an opportunity to keep pace or get ahead of the rest of the pack.
For serious merchants, the Professional plan provides robust competitor intelligence without costing an unreasonable amount. It’s arguably the best value for growing stores aiming to outperform their competitors.
If you outgrow the credit limitations, Unlimited plans with unrestricted access are also available.
The Unlimited plan from Koala Apps provides full, unrestricted access for $19.99 per month.
You get unlimited monthly credits for every key feature we’ve mentioned above, and the number of stores you can track within Koala Apps expands to a whopping 50. You’re notified of every move that all of your competitors make.
This is complete competitive reconnaissance at your fingertips.
For serious owners of rapidly growing Shopify stores, unlimited is ideal. You can research multiple competitors extensively with no limits placed on what you can learn.
Skip to Checkout App
The Skip to Checkout tool from Koala Apps is offered through the Shopify App Store, priced at a flat $4.99 per month after a three-day free trial period.
While brief, the trial is enough for some merchants to see increased conversions, so you can evaluate the potential value of this tool to your business quickly.
This clever app transforms standard Add to Cart buttons into frictionless Buy Now shortcuts that send customers straight to your checkout page. It aims to reduce abandoned carts and boost revenue.
While the shopping cart in Shopify isn’t removed entirely, it is bypassed unless the customer specifically opts to return to it later on.
The app has earned positive reviews and feedback from users, gaining a rating of 4.6 out of 5 at the time of this writing.
For merchants with proven best-sellers or ones that want to target impulse buys, Koala Apps’ Skip to Checkout tool is a simple but effective conversion rate booster.
If you’re looking to take your Shopify store to the next level, consider the deep competitor insights you’ll get from Koala Apps. Koala Inspector and its included Theme Detector are a boon for any Shopify store owner who wants to make improvements but is unsure where to begin. You’ll get surprising visibility into the products, traffic, and store setup of your competition.
The Koala Apps team has clearly put a lot of thought into the products’ design and features, but we found it a bit disappointing that the UI hasn’t been perfected quite yet and that there isn’t better support for new users. Whether that presents a deal-breaker is for you to decide, but we can recommend Koala Apps confidently for any user who wants an affordable way to spy on their closest ecommerce rivals.
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