My 20 Recommend Shopify Apps to Start a Store in 2023

The TL;DR:

  • Let’s Chat D2C: Is the headless website craze over?
  • What I’m Thinking about this Week: Empowered teams & mentorship need to be the backbone of any thriving business.
  • The D2Z Podcast: This week, we flipped the script, and I was the guest on my show! Mark, the producer of the D2Z Podcast, and I chat about Gen Z entrepreneurship, building teams, and scaling businesses effectively. Also, I drop some exciting news about my upcoming book! :)
  • App Highlight - New Preferred Tech Stack is here! I’ve updated my list of apps that I would use to start a Shopify store and added some additional tutorial videos. Let me know if you think I am missing anything or have questions!
  • Upcoming Events: I’ll be at NRF in New York next Sunday to Tuesday, Napa/Concord Tuesday and Wednesday for DTC Wine Symposium, and San Francisco Thursday! Let me know if you are around and want to connect!


Random tip: “I’ll give you the what. You tell me the how.” I really loved this tidbit from one of my upcoming podcasts with Michael Charleston from Nordic Naturals. You shouldn’t hire team members to tell them 100% of the time exactly how to do things. Explain the goal, and then collaboratively let them figure out the how. It will create a stronger sense of ownership for your organization.

Let's Chat D2C: Is the Headless Website Craze Over?


Anecdotally, I’ve been seeing more and more inbound Electriq work from brands that want us to migrate them from their headless website onto a Shopify 2.0 theme build.


So, for this week, I’m highlighting the pros and cons of headless and giving my take on why we’re seeing a bit of a shift in merchant preferences.

First and Foremost, What is Headless Commerce?

At its core, headless commerce separates a website’s front-end from its back-end ecommerce functionality. It gives brands the freedom to build anything they want.

Native Shopify 2.0 ties these two elements together.

The Pros of Headless


Complete Customization

From a design standpoint, your imagination is your only limitation. You are literally building everything from the ground up, so you will get the exact look and feel you want. You can completely customize and test how people browse, search, and more.


It also enables URL customization, one of the most frustrating limitations of Shopify-hosted websites, locking you into /blogs /collections /products and /pages for URL structure. From an SEO standpoint, it’s also very limiting.


Improved Website Load Time

When you go headless, you build the site from the ground up, so your components do exactly what you need them to do. When you build with native Shopify 2.0, you get extensive modules that include features you don’t need. These themes try to do everything for everyone, but you don’t need everything! As a result, that unnecessary code can slow your site down.


With headless Shopify, you build what you need, and you’re rewarded with faster load times. Faster load times lead to a higher conversion rate.


Improved Conversion Rate

A faster site means a higher conversion rate. Here are the stats:

  • Crazy Egg discovered that speeding up a page by just one second boosted conversions by 7%
  • If a site makes $100K per day, a one-second improvement generates +$7K daily


Streamlined Content Management

Shopify’s native CMS is not fantastic, but they continue to make improvements. By going headless, you’ll need a CMS attached to your Shopify back end. Still, this headless content management system will make it easy to organize your content assets in reusable and distributed hubs.


More Design Flexibility

Since the back end is decoupled from the front end, you can make real-time adjustments to your site’s layout that impacts the front end without making any changes to the back-end architecture. 

The Cons of Headless


Going to Market with new Tools and Technologies (Say Goodbye to 1-click Install Apps)

Shopify’s 1-click install app store doesn’t function with headless commerce sites. Your development team will need to integrate any new 3rd party tool you want to test or use into your site.


Additional Complexity

Instead of getting a ton of base functionality right out of the box like you do with a traditional Shopify store setup, going headless requires building your site architecture from the ground up. You need a great deal of technical knowledge to make the site and maintain it.


Upfront & Maintenance Costs

The cost of a headless project could vary anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000. And this doesn’t consider the annual maintenance costs you’ll be taking on. The build and implementation are just one component. You’ll also have external agency costs, internal resource costs, and monthly costs such as subscriptions to a PWA or headless CMS platform.

Why More Merchants are Coming Back to Shopify 2.0

There are two main reasons. First, the macroeconomic environment has forced many brands to look closely at their costs, and maintaining a headless website requires a lot of money. Second, Shopify 2.0 made significant improvements to the CMS and other functionality.

What I’m Thinking About This Week: Empowered Teams & Mentorship


Empowered teams and mentorship is the backbone of any successful business I’ve started or experienced.

Why Empowered Teams Thrive

One way Electriq could scale so quickly was by empowering team members to take ownership of their departments and work product.

It wasn’t and isn’t just some corporate mumbo jumbo, either. Every Electriq team member contributes to the vision and mission of Electriq. From our day-to-day processes to our strategy for future growth, each team member is expected to bring their unique ideas and perspectives to the table, and it’s an environment in which we all thrive.

Empowered teams can scale a business to heights previously unimagined by the business owner. They’re off to the races with their unique ideas and come to work every day excited and inspired to be at a company where they can truly drive change and create something.

There isn’t an idea too crazy or a process too entrenched to be changed, and I’ve gone out of my way to ensure that every new Electriq team member understands that our culture is built around them challenging the norm.

How to Empower your Team

It’s one thing to ask your team for feedback. It’s another to act on it. One of the best things I did at Electriq was ask team member every quarter to submit “3 things we’re not doing that we should be doing.” By the time we had 40 team members, I had received 120 suggestions ranging from updating our onboarding processes to furthering our investment in continuing education for team members.

But I didn’t stop there. I created a slide deck of all 120 suggestions and scheduled an all-hands team meeting for 90 minutes to walk through each suggestion and discuss how we are addressing it (or not addressing it). Some items we were handling differently, and others just weren’t financially feasible (like paying off all college debt), but having that level of transparency with the team went a long way in generating buy-in and the feeling of ownership of the company’s direction.

And our team truly does drive where Electriq goes.

The Role of Mentorship in Scaling your Business

Mentorship was super important for me in getting Electriq off the ground and running. Fast forward to today; the ability to bounce ideas off trusted individuals and get advice is extremely valuable. I recommend that anybody embarking upon their own entrepreneurial journey find a couple of close advisors and mentors they can rely on.

The Role of Mentorship in your Organization

Within your own organization, make it a priority to ensure that every team member has some aspect of mentorship baked into their experience. Being able to lift our team members through the organization in terms of promotion engendered a lot of good faith within the company but it also makes sense for your business to grow and scale effectively. Also, it can be challenging to hire senior team members into an existing organization and have them gel culturally while not bringing any of their bad habits or preconceived notions. 

Once you start to get those trusted team members in place, they become a part of the organization and family, and it's just so much easier and more fun to work with people you know and enjoy working with. You would prefer to have somebody on your team for two years versus having somebody on your team for three months. So, the ability to mentor junior team members into larger roles and help them grow both professionally and personally not only incentivizes them to stay, but the continuity of your team makes you a better company.

Also, it's super expensive to rehire!!!

Mentorship is also something employees look for, and at Electriq was expressed to me as a desire when we didn't have as formal of a process as we do now.

A Caveat to Advice and Mentorship

With mentorship, just because you are bouncing ideas off of someone or getting advice doesn't mean you need to always act on it. There's nuance to everything. Still, getting advice from a mentor can really help you avoid some obvious mistakes without you having to make them yourself or fast-track you on the path towards success.

This Week's The D2Z Podcast

#43 – Gen Z Entrepreneurship, Building Teams, and Scaling Electriq with Brandon Amoroso

🎧Listen Now 🎧

In this week’s episode, I sat down with myself! The Producer of D2Z Podcast, Mark Havenner, asks me all of the behind-the-scenes questions about scaling Electriq and where I see ecommerce going in 2023 and beyond. Specifically, we explored the following:

💰 The story behind scaling Electriq to 45+ team members and a successful exit in 3 years

📲 What the Gen-Z mindset means

😎 My approach to business and building teams

🚀 Early access and insight on my upcoming book about my entrepreneurial journey

App Highlight - The 20 Apps I Would Use to Start a Shopify Store: The New Inclusions!


New to the tech stack this year are 3 of my favorite up-and-coming platforms, with 2 of them providing completely net new functionality for Electriq (PostPilot with direct mail in Klaviyo and with AI-generated personalized videos in Klaviyo).

You can download the complete guide to the 20 Apps I would use to start a Shopify store here!

Upcoming Events


I’ll be at NRF in New York next Sunday to Tuesday, Napa/Concord Tuesday and Wednesday for DTC Wine Symposium, and San Francisco Thursday! Let me know if you are around and want to connect!


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