In this article, we'll give you a brief overview of Buildfire, how it works, and the pros and cons. We'll compare it to 5 different Buildfire alternatives including our own platform, MobiLoud, which we believe is the ideal choice for serious businesses to convert web stores to professional eCommerce apps.
What is Buildfire?
BuildFire have been in the app builder game for a while, and have increasingly tailored their offers to the eCommerce space in recent years, including a Shopify integration for users to build shopping apps.
Now let's take a look at Buildfire's pricing.
BuildFire has 4 tiers of pricing:
- MVP: $100/mo
- Growth: $189/mo
- Starter: $349/mo
- Standard: $499/mo
The MVP plan is the basic plan for both Android & iOS, with 50K monthly standard push notifications, 5GB of cloud storage, 25K monthly active devices, and up to 100 total downloads. As soon as you exceed 100 total downloads for your app, you can move to the Growth plan however, the features are still the same. The Starter plan is where it gets better as you will get additional capabilities for your app. With this plan, you get more premium features and integrations, and it also triples the number of monthly push notifications, active devices, and storage. If you will be needing more advanced features and integrations, the Standard plan would fit your needs as it gives you a complete list of premium features and maxes out your push notifications, monthly active devices, and storage.
Buildfire Pros & Cons
BuildFire is a decent tool for quickly hacking an app together without code. It also has some good pre-built features.
For building full fledged eCommerce apps though it could come up short. Your apps will basically be built with BuildFire's drag and drop builder, then linked up to your Shopify store via the Storefront API. This will result in "an" eCommerce app, with your branding and products. It will never mirror your site though, and you'll lose a lot of your functionality from the web. You will not be able to reuse all your existing plugins or tech stack, and will end up with apps that only cover the basics.
Now we've had an overview of the tool, its pricing, and its pros and cons. It's time to move on and start looking at some Buildfire alternatives, starting with our own site-to-app platform, MobiLoud.
Buildfire Alternative #1: MobiLoud
MobiLoud powers thousands of top apps, and allows you to convert your site into native eCommerce apps in just days, for a fraction of the cost of custom development.
Our eCommerce app platform integrates with any CMS - whether it's Shopify, WooCommerce, PrestaShop, or any other - and let you reuse every plugin, feature and functionality from your main web store.
MobiLoud is the best way to convert your web store into native eCommerce apps for iOS and Android, as well as the best alternative to Buildfire.
There are several key reasons why:
- No templates, no blocks, no APIs - we don't restrict you to our pre-built front-ends, we allow you to convert your web store completely, and to reuse all your existing plugins, themes, and tech stack.
- Keep what works - you already built your ideal site for the web, tweaking it endlessly for conversions and sales. With MobiLoud you can translate that directly into m-commerce native apps, without needing to reinvent the wheel. You already did the hard part, we handle the rest!
- Easy Management - many app builder platforms like Buildfire gives you an extra CMS to manage, adding work for you and your team. Since MobiLoud apps sync with your web store in real time, this work is eliminated, you just need to keep managing and updating your store as usual, and if you want to change something specifically for the apps, use our easy no-code UI.
- Done for you - there's no need for you to fiddle, drag-and-drop, or waste time trying to set the apps up. You just need to tell us any special requirements, add some key information, and our team handle all technical aspects of the app build including submissions to Google Play and the AppStore.
We have two standard pricing tiers:
- Startup - For fast launching and validation: $170/month
- Growth - Perfect for more established businesses: $382/month
We also have custom, corporate plan for more demanding projects. Read more about our pricing here.
The difference between MobiLoud and Buildfire is clear.
MobiLoud gives you far more power and flexibility than a template-based solution like BuildFire ever could.
Want to skip the rest and get your questions answered by one of our team?
Now we've blown our own trumpet, here are a few other Buildfire alternatives that you're likely to see around the web.
Buildfire Alternative #2: Tapcart
Tapcart enables businesses to create mobile apps for Shopify without the need for coding knowledge. It's widely used by small and medium-sized eCommerce ventures.
Tapcart has three plans:
- Core - 15 blocks, basic features, and basic integrations - $200/mo
- Ultimate - unlimited blocks, advanced features, and integrations - $400/mo
- Enterprise - unlimited custom blocks, dedicated customer success manager, and premium integrations - $1K/mo
The more costly the plan is, the better app features and benefits you get.
Buildfire Alternative #3: Vajro
Vajro is a Shopify-focused app builder known for its affordability and appeal to smaller eCommerce ventures. By using templates and drag-and-drop widgets, they create branded apps that connect to Shopify through API. Yet, the heavy reliance on templates leads to the limitation that users will not be able to recreate their web stores accurately, even on higher-tier plans.
Vajro has four plans:
- Starter - basic features and integrations - $99/mo
- Core - advanced features and integrations - $249/mo
- Premium - premium features and integrations - $499/mo
- Plus - premium features, integrations, and priority support - $999/mo
The more costly the plan is, the better app functionalities and benefits you get.
Buildfire Alternative #4: Shop2App
Shop2App is a specialized app builder for Shopify stores. It has a variety of features and integration, and a reputation for creating decent apps. Nonetheless, as a drag-and-drop, block-based builder, it does come with some common limitations. It cannot fully replicate your web store with all its existing features and functionality, since you will be restricted to its prebuilt blocks and functionalities. It's also on the higher end in terms of pricing.
Shop2App has 3 plans:
- Basic - basic features - $299/mo
- Growth - enhanced features with 2 integrations - $699/mo
- Enterprise - premium features and 4 integrations - starts at $1299/mo
The more costly the plan is, the more customizability and benefits you get.
Buildfire Alternative #5: MageNative
MageNative is a popular Shopify mobile app builder, specializing in fashion, food, and marketplace apps with pre-built themes. It offers a cost-effective solution for developing eCommerce apps on iOS and Android. Though generally well-received, some users have mentioned the platform's inflexibility and the challenge of converting their web stores. Like most drag-and-drop, template-based app builders, using MageNative means you must accept compromises on features and functionality.
MageNative has three plans:
- Basic - 3 free themes and core features - $49/mo
- Growth - 6 free themes and enhanced support - $69/mo
- Enterprise - 9 free themes and unlimited features - $99/mo
The more costly the plan is, the better benefits you get.
Let's Build Your eCommerce Apps
We've looked at a few Buildfire alternatives, and given you some key information about each.
As we've seen, many of these tools share the same fatal flaws. On the one hand - their reliance on blocks, themes, templates, and pre-built widgets does allow you to build and launch (some kind of) eCommerce app fast, affordably and easily compared to custom development. On the other, this same reliance puts you and your brand in a straightjacket.
It means that you will only ever approximate your web store, and you'll be forever at the mercy of whatever pre-built features they have as well as whatever data they can fetch via API (which can change). The apps will be a branded shell with some of your data pulled in and not much more.
While this is OK for simple stores is basic and small product ranges and features, this will almost always be a deal breaker for serious eCommerce brands. You probably have a finely-tuned tech stack, along with all the plugins, third-party integrations, and custom features you need to drive sales and revenue optimally. To discard all this hard work for cookie-cutter apps with your logo on will rarely make strategic sense.
That's why, although we're biased of course, we believe MobiLoud is not only the best Buildfire alternative but a superior alternative to every eCommerce mobile app builder on the market.
The first key reason: we allow you to reuse everything from your site in the apps.
If it already works well on the mobile web, it'll be even better as iOS and Android apps. It makes no sense to ditch that winning formula and those painstakingly chosen tools just to compromise with restrictive templates. That's too much of downgrade from what you've already built, and with MobiLoud - unnecessary. Keep what already works.
The second core reason: it's so simple to manage MobiLoud apps.
Platforms like Buildfire will often add hours per week to your workflow with effectively a new CMS to manage. In contrast - MobiLoud apps sync in real time with your site. There's no need to manually add new product lines, update pricing, or worry about keeping the apps up to date. The apps will reflect changes and updates to your site instantly.
This goes for any core changes you make to your site too. You can switch out plugins, pull off a major rebrand, or build whatever custom functionality you choose. It doesn't matter what it is - it'll work straight out of the box in the apps, which can grow with your brand into the future.
On top of this, our team handle any ongoing updates and maintenance needed as part of our service, along with all fiddly aspects of the app build and bringing them live to Google Play and the AppStore. We work with you to ensure your apps are a success, and we're only ever an email or phone call away.
MobiLoud allows you to combine the best of the web with the best of native apps. It's a winning formula, check out the success these eCommerce brands have had:
Over 1000 other businesses have used MobiLoud to build winning apps - and you can too.
Unlike with Buildfire, there's no risk. We don't do long-term contracts and we'll refund you if you're unhappy with the apps. If you're like most of our eCommerce customers - the apps will pay for themselves almost immediately.
It all starts with a call with one of our app experts, where we go over your exact requirements for the apps and answer your questions.