Every Shopify store in 2024 needs a mobile app. But there are many different options for how to build your app.
Instead of shelling out for a custom native app, there are much simpler and more affordable options in the form of app builders and app development services.
MobiLoud vs Vajro: One-Minute Summary
MobiLoud and Vajro have the same use case (helping you convert your store into an app without writing code), but work quite differently.
Vajro is a block-based app builder, giving you pre-built templates, blocks and integrations to use to compile the UI and functionality of your app in their visual drag-and-drop editor. The app then syncs to the backend of your web store.
It’s a DIY solution, meaning you’re largely responsible for building and maintaining the app yourself (they’ll provide some support, but mainly just to answer questions and fix some issues you may run into).
MobiLoud is different in that:
- It fully converts your site into an app, instead of requiring you to rebuild your app from scratch. No blocks, templates, integrations or APIs.
- MobiLoud is a full service. We handle everything for you, from building and testing your app to submitting it to the app stores. This is hands-on service, not just answering support tickets.
That’s just a quick summary of what the two platforms are all about. Read on to get a deeper idea of how Vajro works, how MobiLoud works, and which one is the best fit for you.
Want to talk it over with one of our team? Click here to get on a 1:1 demo call and have all your questions answered.
What is Vajro?
Vajro is a drag-and-drop app builder for Shopify stores. It lets store owners build and launch an app for their store without writing code, with pre-built blocks and templates.
You can connect your app with third-party tools (e.g. Google Analytics, Klaviyo, Smile.io, Klarna and many more), and on the backend, it syncs with your website (using Shopify’s API) to share product information, orders, inventory, etc.
All in all it’s a fairly straightforward way to build an app, which doesn’t require any technical knowledge or expertise. Compared to the huge cost of building a custom native app, we’d say that Vajro is a much better option. Yet it does put limitations on the potential of your app, as we’ll get into in a little bit.
Vajro offers a quite affordable way to build Shopify apps, on the surface at least. When you dive into their pricing, there are a couple of wrinkles that you’ll need to know about.
Vajro has four pricing tiers:
- Starter: $99/month
- Core: $249/month
- Premium: $499/month
- Plus: $999/month
As with any software, the higher the plan, the more advanced features you get access to.
Each plan comes with a 30-day free trial, and the prices above are on month-to-month pricing; it gets 10% cheaper with an annual subscription.
Affordable, with a few hitches
Unlike some app builders, there are no success fees (Vajro doesn’t add on a percentage of what you make in the app to the price), and you can build both Android & iOS apps with all plans (including the $99/month option). But there are two things that make their pricing not quite as amazing as it seems.
First, though they don’t charge a success fee, each tier is restricted to a certain threshold for in-app sales. If you cross that number, you’ll be bumped up to the higher plan.
If you cross the threshold for the Plus plan ($100,000 in sales on your app), they’ll charge you an extra $1,000 per month for every $100,000 in mobile app sales).
This is not the end of the world - you’re still getting a positive ROI out of it. But you’ll want to take this into account to avoid surprises.
The second thing to know is that some key integrations/features are restricted to the higher plans.
For example, integrations for Klaviyo, WebEngage and CleverTap are only available on the Plus ($999/month) plan. These are pretty essential for brands doing personalized email/push/SMS marketing.
A few other customization options are also restricted to the top plan. And the Plus plan is required to have your app update with new product launches and pricing changes in (almost) real time.
In general, Vajro apps sync with your store every hour, unless you go into the Vajro dashboard and do a manual sync.
If you want this to happen more regularly, the Plus plan syncs every five minutes.
Again, this is not necessarily a deal-breaker. Most successful stores can afford the higher price. But just don’t get your hopes up about being able to build and run a high-quality app for a global brand for less than $100 per month.
Vajro Pros and Cons
All in all, Vajro is one of the better Shopify mobile app builders we’ve seen. It’s #1 in the Shopify App Store in this category in terms of reviews, with seemingly a lot of happy customers.
Compared to other app builders, Vajro is feature-rich and fairly affordable. We’d recommend it over most competitors in the app store. Yet considering all the options, we wouldn’t say it’s the best way to build your Shopify store’s app.
Here’s a look at the pros and cons of Vajro:
- Relatively feature-rich.
- Provides a wide range of integrations.
- Well-reviewed, large number of apps built with the platform.
- No success fees (until you get to the highest plan).
- Some key features and integrations are gated to higher plans.
- They’ll bump you to higher plans when your revenue climbs.
- Some users report issues with integrations working smoothly.
- Some reports of slow loading times.
- Shares the same issues as all DIY app builders - it constrains you to the limits of the platform, in terms of the blocks and templates they built, the integrations provided, and what the Shopify API allows you to do. As such, it will be hard to fully recreate your store in the app.
- DIY app builders like Vajro also take a decent amount of work on your part, for the initial build and recurring updates and maintenance, and the level of hands-on support you get is very limited.
On the whole, Vajro’s reviews are positive. A lot of Shopify users say the platform is easy to use, and that they’re happy with the end result.
It’s a similar story when you look at Capterra.
Megan W writes:
“After using a different app service for a year and dealing with major issues, Vajro was recommended to me. I contacted them. They were really fast in getting back to me and answering all of my questions. Once I pulled the trigger and signed up for a trial, they were amazing to work with. The app is gorgeous, customized to my brand, syncs to my Shopify store, so easy to use on my backend and on the customer end. My customers absolutely love it. Anytime an issue comes up, they are quick to tackle it and get it fixed. Highly recommend!!”
“This app looks very professional and was easy to set up. I love that my customers can shop my website quickly and see all that I offer. The push notifications are wonderful and I am excited to use the LIVE video function. I am even more excited that I am able to integrate other programs with the app. Looking forward to future developments.”
There are some users who point to issues with integrations, like David C:
“I would say my experience is ok with the app. Although I am very frustrated with them for the inability to integrate with the apps they say they integrate with, I do see the potential in this app.”
He went on to say that he had a long-standing problem trying to get one integration to work:
“The integrations they say they have do not work properly. I have lost over $30,000 because of an integration that has not worked for over four months. I have been in correspondence with their tech team almost every day for the last four months trying to fix it.”
Some payment gateway issues come up. Darlene (the same user quoted earlier) says:
“Paypal continues to have issues for my customers. It's hit and miss if they can checkout with it. I'd like to see a buy now function added too.”
The same thing came up with a user on G2:
“Paypal transactions can get stuck. I lost my money once during the transaction. Though I got it back it needs massive improvements.”
Other users, including David C, mention that the need to manually update for changes to show up automatically is a drawback of the platform.
Meanwhile, on the Shopify App Store, most of their unhappy customers point to issues with customer service, some waiting a long time while issues persist.
Another points to issues getting their catalog to appear correctly, which is a common thread we’ve found with app builders using the Shopify API:
Best Vajro Alternatives
If you’re looking for a Shopify mobile app builder, there is no shortage of options on the market today.
There are also more general-purpose app builders, which work for Shopify stores as well, such as GoodBarber and Buildfire, though we would generally recommend a Shopify-specific app builder over one of these options.
But the #1 Vajro alternative we recommend is our platform, MobiLoud. MobiLoud is simpler, more flexible, easier to manage and comes with a much higher level of service. It’s the perfect way for Shopify stores to launch an app.
Keep reading to learn more about the best Vajro alternative.
What is MobiLoud?
MobiLoud is another option for Shopify store owners to launch a mobile app without going down the complex and expensive rabbit hole of native development.
MobiLoud works differently to drag-and-drop app builders like Vajro. Instead of making you build your app’s UI in their platform, then sync it to your website (and the apps/integrations you use) in the backend, MobiLoud displays a live version of your website in the app.
This means your app fully reflects the design and functionality of your site. You can keep all the features from your website, all the integrations, and all the optimizations you’ve made to increase conversions.
We’ll add a few small touches to make it feel like a fully native experience, including navigation and UI enhancements, adding splash screens, plus enabling native push notifications.
And here’s the kicker; you can do more, but it takes less work to build. 90% of the work is done already, since you’re just converting your existing website. The other 10%, our team does for you.
MobiLoud is full-service, for every user. You get the white glove experience when you sign up for MobiLoud. We do the technical work to build your app, we provide design assets and UI/UX customizations for your app, we handle the app store submission process (guaranteeing approval!) and we also handle updates and maintenance after launch.
It’s not like other app builders where we promise priority support, but really we’re just there to answer your support tickets. We offer hands-on support and done-for-you service to ensure you’re never out of your depth, and that the project never becomes a huge headache or disruption to your workflow.
At MobiLoud we have three pricing tiers.
- Startup: $350/month plus a $1,500 setup fee
- Growth: $650/month plus a $2,500 setup fee
- Corporate: custom pricing & setup fee depending on your needs
The recurring cost is 15% cheaper on annual plans, and all come with a 60-day money back guarantee, plus a full refund if your app is not approved by the app stores.
Startup offers more or less everything a growing brand needs; Android and iOS apps, tablet apps, unlimited push notifications, Google Analytics and Firebase integrations, plus an integration with OneSignal to personalize your push notifications (the equivalent with Vajro you would need their highest plan at $999/mo).
Startup supports up to 1,000 active users of your app. If you need more, or you’re looking for more advanced features, the Growth plan is what you’re looking for. We also support basically any other, more complex needs you have, with custom pricing to fit the situation.
We don’t charge success fees, but we do charge a setup fee, unlike Vajro. This is to cover the extra, hands-on work we do to help build and publish your app. That makes MobiLoud more expensive than Vajro up front, but likely cheaper in the long run.
MobiLoud User Stories
Here are a few accounts of what MobiLoud users had to say about their experience with MobiLoud.
Nick, Director of IT at John Varvatos said:
"The team at MobiLoud held my hand to ensure our app was done properly from beginning to end. They were there to help with everything from setting up push notifications, analytics and submitting our apps to the Apple and Google app stores."
Svend Hansen, Product Owner at Bestseller (which includes the brands ONLY, ONLY & SONS, VERO MODA and Jack & Jones, all of whom have apps with MobiLoud) said:
"We couldn’t find another company that could offer the same features at the same price point, same time to market, and make it as easy as MobiLoud could."
David Cost from Rainbow Shops felt it was a “no-brainer” to go with MobiLoud for their app. In his words:
"My team is thrilled because we have functioning apps that require almost no effort on our part, to build or maintain. It is a brilliant solution."
Tim Toomey, Director of Marketing for Riot Fest, found that MobiLoud provided the best intersection between cost and flexibility, particularly for a brand that is living, breathing and evolving:
"We looked at a couple of other systems similar to MobiLoud, but ultimately it was the most cost-effective and something that could live and grow with us."
Why MobiLoud is a Great Alternative to Vajro
We’ve gone pretty in-depth into both MobiLoud and Vajro, outlining what they do, how much their cost, and what real users think of each platform.
We believe that, for most brands, MobiLoud is the best way to build an app. Here are the biggest reasons why:
It’s easier to build your app
No-code app builders like Vajro are easier than coding an app from scratch, no doubt. However, they’re not as simple as it’s often made out to be.
Sure, you can build and launch an app in just a few days. But building a high-quality app that looks good and converts is harder and will take longer.
It’s going to take some tinkering on your end. This can end up being quite time-consuming. And with a DIY app builder, you’re mostly on your own.
MobiLoud is much easier. For one thing, the bulk of your app is already built, as long as your site is already mobile-friendly. And our team helps with everything else. We’ll even collaborate with you to fine-tune your mobile UI/UX to make it feel truly native.
Retain all your existing features
With all the time you’re going to spend compiling your app in Vajro, you’re still not going to be able to fully replicate what your web store does.
You probably rely on a number of different plugins, apps, integrations and other features to drive sales on your website. Vajro may offer integrations for some, but unlikely to be all.
That means you may end up offering a “lite” version of your store in the app, which is not ideal. According to David from Rainbow Shops, the goal for your app should be at least to match what your website does:
“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.”
MobiLoud lets you do that. The app is your website, with native mobile features added on top. That means your existing theme, plugins, checkout, etc will all work in the app the same as they do on your site.
Escape the constraints of Shopify’s API
The Shopify API is the reason why there are dozens of tools in the Shopify App Store that can help you turn your store into a mobile app.
The API is how these tools pass and sync information (such as pricing, images, orders, etc) between the app and your main Shopify backend.
This is convenient, as long as you’re working within the constraints of the API. However, there are a lot of things that the API doesn’t let you do, including a lot of seemingly minor customizations that have a big impact on conversions.
Rainbow Shops ran into this specific issue with their store. As David says:
“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.”
Specifically, Rainbow had a custom sort order that worked really well for them. They were using one app builder, a competitor of Vajro’s, and the API wouldn’t let them use this sort order in the app. It may seem like a minor thing, but it cost them a lot of money.
“When we used them, we had to switch providers to integrate better search functionality in our app, but it still couldn't match the performance of the custom sort order we had built on our site. This had a huge impact on our bottom line and they lost our business over it.”
Since MobiLoud doesn’t rely on the Shopify API to sync your app and website, there’s no worry about things like this. All the minor tweaks you’ve made to your site will transfer to the app.
Support for custom websites
If you’re reading this you’re more than likely a Shopify user. If you use Vajro, you’re locked into Shopify. Not so with MobiLoud.
MobiLoud is platform-agnostic; it works with any website, on any platform or tech stack.
This includes Shopify, but also other eCommerce platforms, and custom-built eCommerce sites (like LA-inspired boutique brand Tobi).
Perhaps you don’t plan to switch platforms. That’s fine. But you may want to make custom alterations to your Shopify site in the future.
With Vajro, that may affect your app and cause problems. You can rest easy with MobiLoud though, knowing that custom websites and custom features will always be compatible with your app.
Everything is done for you
MobiLoud is a full-service platform, for all users. We don’t give you a login to our platform and say “good luck”. We actively work with you, and do the dirty work ourselves.
We handle the technical aspects of building your app, including writing native mobile code and testing to ensure your apps are fast and bug-free.
We also handle the app store submission process for you - a notoriously difficult process for people who have not done it before. And with our experience of launching over 2,000 apps, we can guarantee approval for you (or we’ll refund your money).
All this makes the process of launching your app much smoother, less stressful, and faster. You don’t need to neglect other areas of your business to focus on your app - just let our experts handle it.
Lower upkeep & maintenance load
MobiLoud also handles routine updates and maintenance for you. This is probably the most underrated aspect of app builders vs managed solutions like MobiLoud.
It might be easy to build and launch your app, but it can end up being a full-time job to maintain it.
You’ll often have to go in and make updates in your app when things change on your site. If bugs show up in the app, you need to fix them. You can reach out to support for help, but you’ll often be left waiting a while for a response, losing revenue as you wait.
You also need to keep up with operating system updates, which can end up breaking parts of your app.
MobiLoud takes all of this off your plate. It saves you time and money you’d otherwise spend managing your app, plus avoids lengthy downtime or recurring issues that hurt user experience and your brand’s image.
MobiLoud is an app development partner, not just a tool
Finally, MobiLoud’s service goes above and beyond just building and maintaining your app.
We actively work with you to help your app reach and maintain a 5-star rating, and maximize your revenue potential. Our support team includes web design experts who can help tweak and improve your mobile web experience, as well as your app experience. We offer white-glove support, SLAs, design assets, round the clock support and in some cases a dedicated product manager.
We’re invested in making your app as successful as possible, and building a long-term collaboration with our users, not just selling access to our platform and leaving you to your own devices.
Read to try MobiLoud? Still have questions? Get on a call and talk with an expert.
When to Choose Vajro
We truly believe that MobiLoud is the best app building solution for Shopify stores (and all eCommerce sites). We can understand, though, that there is some bias to this.
Yet there are some stores for whom Vajro will be a good fit, possibly a better fit than MobiLoud.
For early-stage brands with low revenue (e.g. only making low-four figures per month), Vajro’s Starter plan offers a way to have an app without a big financial risk to your new business.
If you want to build an app that’s different from your website, Vajro also offers more customization there. Vajro also has some native mobile features that MobiLoud does not (though if you’re looking for use of device features, other app builders offer more than Vajro).
All in all the best reason to use Vajro over MobiLoud is probably if you’re a small business and want to save money up front by handling the build and maintenance yourself. For most others, MobiLoud will be a better fit.
Want to Learn More?
We’ve given you an in-depth breakdown of Vajro and MobiLoud, the top reasons (in our opinion) to choose MobiLoud over Vajro for your eCommerce app, as well as the situations where you might want to use Vajro instead of MobiLoud.
Of course, you’ll want to do your own research and due diligence to come up with the best option for your business. If so, here are some further links or resources to check out.
- 1 on 1 consultation: talk with one of our experts about your business, your needs, and how MobiLoud fits for you.
- MobiLoud reviews: check out our reviews on Capterra, G2 and GetApp.
- MobiLoud customers: take a look at real apps built with MobiLoud. Browse our collection of case studies and app examples.
- Take a look at MobiLoud’s pricing and our help center to get the full picture of what’s included when you partner with us.
Build Your eCommerce App Today and Go Live in Under a Month
In Cyber Week 2023, more online sales came on mobile devices than on desktop. This is the clearest sign we’ve had yet that modern consumers are mobile-first.
To give your mobile users a better user experience, and more importantly for you, a stickier experience that’s more likely to get them coming back and shopping again, you need an app.
The good news is that you can have your own shopping app live and in the app stores in less than a month, with MobiLoud. And you don’t need to clear a chunk of your schedule or hire new staff to do it.
MobiLoud offers a straightforward, no-fuss, efficient way to go live with your app, for a cost that’s affordable for any eCommerce site with steady revenue.
Launching an app will position your brand as an authority in your space, boost LTV and AOV, and level up your business.
Get started by booking a personalized demo with our team now, and take a big step forward for your brand.