Top 5 Kin Alternatives for eCommerce Mobile Apps

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Looking for an alternative to Kin, as a way to build a mobile app for your online store?

This article will give you everything you need to make an informed decision. We’ll break down what there is to know about the Kin platform, then introduce you to a few different options to consider, including our own site to app platform, MobiLoud.

What is Kin?

Kin is a new player in the eCommerce mobile app builder market.

Launched in 2023, Kin markets itself as a solution to turn online stores into mobile apps, with (it claims) “complete functional parity”.

Many eCommerce app builders utilize a DIY, block and template-based approach to building your app. They give you a drag-and-drop builder which allows you to build and configure your app without writing code, and integrate the backend with your online store.

While not many details are available in regards to how Kin works, it appears that it takes a different approach. The site suggests that Kin apps are consistent with your website, with no duplication of effort, and that all the apps that work on your website will work in the app.

However, it’s not clear whether they utilize a system of integrations via the Shopify API (like alternatives such as Tapcart and Plobal Apps), or if it’s a more flexible webview approach, which actually replicates all the features from your site in the app (like with MobiLoud).

We can see that the case study on Kin’s site, Lashify, has a different look in their app screenshots compared to their mobile website, so we can assume there is some rebuilding involved in how Kin works.

Pricing

Kin doesn’t disclose pricing information on their website. Prospective users need to sign up for a demo to get a quote, which is likely a custom quote for each project.

You can also expect a premium price compared to other app builders.

Pros and Cons

Though information on Kin is still pretty scarce, let’s run through some of the pros and cons we can tell about the platform.

Pros

  • Appears to be feature-rich.
  • Integrates with some popular Shopify apps, such as Recharge and Klaviyo.

Cons

  • Likely quite expensive.
  • Little track record to speak of.
  • May run into issues duplicating your website features due to API limitations.
  • Many details about the platform are unclear.

All in all, Kin is still something of an unknown.

It’s only been around since 2023, a lot less compared to some of the alternative platforms on this list, which have been operating for 10+ years already.

This may make it tough for some stores to feel comfortable moving forward with them.

It’s also unclear how much it costs. Generally, if a business doesn’t disclose their pricing, it’s because the cost is high and they want a chance to sell it to you before you find out what it costs.

On the plus side, from what we can see, you appear to be able to build quite high-quality, feature-rich apps with Kin.

The big issue, which is not answered on their website, is whether they rely on the Shopify API to sync the app with your website. If so, you may run into some pretty significant issues, as we’ll touch on a little later.

Best Kin Alternatives

Whether you’re confident in Kin’s ability to build the perfect mobile app for your store or not, it pays to survey other options on the market. Here are five Kin alternatives that are worth having a look at:

  1. MobiLoud
  2. Tapcart
  3. Plobal Apps
  4. Vajro
  5. Shopney

#1: MobiLoud

The top choice in our (albeit biased) opinion is our own platform, MobiLoud.

Battle-tested over 10 years, and over 2,000 successful apps launched, MobiLoud lets you convert any website into mobile apps. You can do so at a fraction of the cost of native development, and in a matter of days, not months.

You don’t need to rebuild anything, or rely on clunky integrations or APIs to sync with your store. What you see in the app is a full, live, reflection of your mobile website, with mobile UI elements added to give it a native mobile feel.

It’s not quite what you’d get from a fully custom app, but it’s close. And it doesn’t have anything near the overhead of a custom native app.

With MobiLoud, your app is fully synced with your web store. That means you just need to manage your website as you usually do, and your apps will stay fully up to date.

MobiLoud is also a full service platform. Our team handles the build, publishing your apps to the app stores, and post-launch updates and maintenance.

We’re not just an app builder, we’re more of an app development partner, helping you build and maintain an app that will have a positive impact on your business for years to come.

MobiLoud Pricing

MobiLoud has two standard pricing tiers:

  • Startup - For fast launching and validation: $350/month, plus a one-time $1,500 setup fee
  • Growth - Perfect for more established businesses: $650/month, plus a one-time $2,500 setup fee

Plans are cheaper on an annual subscription.

We also have a custom plan for more demanding projects. All plans come with a 60-day money-back guarantee, and include full service, including all technical work, design assets, tweaks to your mobile web UX, and guaranteed app store submission.

Read more about our pricing options here.

MobiLoud vs Kin

With what we know about Kin, we can say that MobiLoud is a more dependable, more flexible and (likely) more affordable option for Shopify store owners (as well as those on other platforms) to launch mobile apps.

We’ve been in operation for over 10 years, and have a battle-hardened platform and process we use to help you launch the perfect app.

Examples of real apps built with MobiLoud

Our approach doesn’t use APIs or templates, actually letting you reuse everything that already works for you on your website.

This gives you complete flexibility to use all the apps, plugins, integrations and custom features from your site, and build a user experience that's on par (at least) with your website.

And for the cost, it’s basically risk-free. You’ll have barely any work to do to maintain your app, and without that overhead, the monthly fee is negligible compared to what the app can deliver in additional sales.

If you want to learn more about our platform, see some examples of apps built with MobiLoud, and get all your questions answered, book a demo with one of our app experts now.

#2: Tapcart

Tapcart is considered to be one of the top block-based app builders for Shopify stores.

It’s well-reviewed, and generally seen to be one of the most stable options on the market, with few reports of bugs or serious issues.

The functionality you get with Tapcart is very good, and users report it to be very easy to use.

You will have some issues getting your Tapcart app to replicate your website, though, and managing your app with Tapcart can be time-consuming, adding more overhead than with a platform like MobiLoud.

Tapcart is also on the pricier end for Shopify app builders, especially considering you may have trouble fully customizing the app to your liking.

Tapcart Pricing

Tapcart has three pricing tiers, which rise in price based on your annual revenue.

  • Core: 15 blocks, basic features, and three basic integrations, starts at $200 per month
  • Ultimate: unlimited blocks, advanced features, and six standard integrations, starts at $400 per month
  • Enterprise: unlimited custom blocks, dedicated customer success manager, and premium integrations, starts at $1,000 per month

#3: Plobal Apps

Plobal Apps is up there with Tapcart as one of the more highly regarded Shopify app builders.

It works in much the same with, using blocks, templates and APIs to let you build an app without coding and link it to your Shopify store.

Plobal Apps Pricing

Plobal Apps has three pricing tiers.

  • Growth: basic features with 4 standard integrations - $199 per month
  • Essential: enhanced features with 7 standard integrations - $499 per month
  • Enterprise: premium features and unlimited advanced integrations - starting at $1,199 per month, plus a 1% success fee on in-app sales

#4: Vajro

Vajro is a drag-and-drop app builder for Shopify stores, which can provide a more cost-effective option for smaller stores. 

Through templates and drag-and-drop widgets, they develop branded apps integrated with Shopify using API. Integrations with platforms like Firebase, Tidio, and Klarna are available. 

While the platform is stable and user-friendly, Vajro's will likely result in somewhat cookie-cutter eCommerce apps and will never be able to recreate your web stores features, functionality and plugins.

Vajro Pricing

Vajro offers four different pricing tiers:

  • Starter: basic features and integrations - $99 per month
  • Core: advanced features and integrations - $249 per month
  • Premium: premium features and integrations - $499 per month
  • Plus: premium features, integrations, and priority support - $999 per month

It’s worth noting that Vajro puts a limit on mobile app sales you can do at each tier. If you cross that limit, you’ll need to move up to a higher plan. If you’re on the Plus subscription and you cross the monthly sales threshold, you’ll be charged an additional monthly fee for every $100,000 mobile app sales.

#5: Shopney

Shopney is another block-based app builder that provides a more cost-effective alternative to Kin.

The features you get on lower plan levels are quite good, with abandoned cart notifications and product review integrations for just $199 per month.

However, the lower plans limit you to a certain number of design elements. And even with the design flexibility of their highest plan (starting at $999 per month), you’ll still find it’s more limiting than Kin or MobiLoud.

Shopney Pricing

Shopney has the following pricing options:

  • Silver: basic features with flexible design - $99/month
  • Gold: basic features with flexible design with 20 elements - $199/month
  • Platinum: advanced features and unlimited design elements - $499/month
  • Enterprise: premium features and functionalities and a dedicated success manager - starting from $999/month

Get a detailed comparison between Shopney and MobiLoud in this article.

Three Things to Look For in an eCommerce App Builder

App builders are generally a better option for eCommerce stores than investing in a fully custom app, as the price difference, as well as the lower time investment and overhead, is immense.

Yet there can be a big difference with one app builder platform to the next. We suggest you look at three key areas when comparing different tools (which will help you pick out the best Kin alternative for your needs).

Reliability

Most importantly, you need a platform that’s reliable.

When you launch an app, a decent share of your mobile users will hopefully move to the app, where you have the perfect opportunity to capture higher AOV and more return customers.

But that will only happen if the app is fast and bug-free. Downtime can cost you sales, not to mention the damage it will do to your reputation.

Flexibility

A big issue with app builders is the lack of flexibility, which is a tradeoff for lower cost and less time to launch.

Template-based app builders lock you into a generic, cookie-cutter app that doesn’t fully recreate your web user experience.

This is a big problem - you want to incentivize your users to download and shop in the app, but that will be hard to do if it’s not as good as your website.

David from Rainbow Shops had this very issue when trying out various app builders:

“The app needs to be at least as functional as the website. It doesn’t need to be better than the website, but the user experience can’t be worse.”

This lack of flexibility is hard to get around with a platform that relies on APIs to pull product information into your app. 

Platform APIs let you do some basic things, but if you've done any custom work to build a great customer experience, you'll likely lose all that work if you build your app with an app builder. Rainbow is the perfect example.

They had a custom sort order that boosted conversion rates by 15%, but with their previous platform, they couldn't bring that same custom sort order into the app. The default sorting options were so basic, they lost significant revenue and ultimately lost customer trust through a frustrating in-app experience.

“The hybrid solutions on top of Shopify are just too limited. The Shopify API only enables certain things and all the major providers of hybrid apps for Shopify had limitations that the Shopify API would not let them get around.”
The Rainbow Shops app

Your app can, and should, be the second most valuable revenue source for your brand, after your website. To do this, two things are non-negotiable:

a) getting your app experience on par and synchronized with your web experience;

b) having the freedom to make incremental changes that translate to a big boost in conversions and revenue.

Support

Finally, you need to consider the work you’ll have to do to build and maintain your app, and how much the platform you choose will be there to assist you.

Many DIY app builders take a lot of tinkering before you can get an app you’re happy to launch to the public.

Then there’s the work you need to do post-launch. A native app takes a full team to maintain. App builders are a little easier, but there’s still significant work involved. It can feel like a whole extra CMS you need to manage.

That’s what a lot of people don’t consider in the price of an app builder. It may be just a couple of hundred per month for the subscription, but how much of your time (or your team’s time) will be devoted to it?

That has a cost too.

Then what happens if you run into issues? Will the platform be there to help? Or will you be waiting for a reply to your support ticket for 1-2 days, all the while losing sales and giving a bad look to your customers?

Why MobiLoud is the Best App Builder for Your Store

MobiLoud is the best way for online stores to launch their app.

It satisfies all the most important conditions.

  • It’s reliable - with thousands of successful apps launched, and countless case studies of happy users.
  • It’s more flexible than any app builder - anything you can do on your website, you can do in the app as well.
  • We have a higher level of service than any other platform. Our white-glove approach to service means you’ll never be out of your depth, or bogged down with work when it comes to building or maintaining your app.

For an eCommerce app, you don’t need anything drastically different than what’s on your website. You just need your web UX converted into Android and iOS apps, published in the app stores, with a couple of mobile features (such as push notifications) added on.

That’s what MobiLoud does - and it’s what we did for high revenue brands such as Rainbow Shops, SYN•DI•CATE, Bestseller and John Varvatos.

It’s the best mix of simplicity, flexibility, and affordability for launching an eCommerce app.

Get started now, or learn more about what we can do for you, by scheduling a demo today.

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