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Introducing The Shopify Mobile Checkout SDKs For IOS And Android

Introducing The Shopify Mobile Checkout SDKs For IOS And Android

Mobile apps enable brands to create and build direct relationships with their most loyal customers. Regardless of who builds and operates these apps, success in commerce hinges on the quality of the checkout flow: buyers demand personalized and friction free experiences, merchants demand consistent business rules and capabilities, and our goal is a simple way to satisfy both.

With just a few lines of code, Shopify’s Mobile Checkout SDKs enable mobile app developers to deliver the world’s best-converting, app idiomatic, customizable, and easy to maintain checkout experience in their apps.

This is the future of mobile checkout for merchants of any scale, from upstarts to enterprises. The SDKs deliver a fully-featured checkout that preserves all of a merchant’s customizations and business logic, including the business rules and UI extensions encoded in the presentation layer. They eliminate the need to build and maintain a separate checkout and it provides a leap forward over API-based integrations, which can only provide a subset of merchant’s business logic and require significant and ongoing investment to maintain.

Announcing the Developer Preview of the Mobile Checkout SDKs

Today we are launching Developer Preview of the Checkout SDK for iOS, with our Android SDK coming very soon. Our objective with the Developer Preview is to gather developer and merchant feedback on ergonomics of the APIs and identify features and capabilities we can improve or add to the roadmap.

The SDKs are open-source and ready for you to start building, with the understanding that APIs may change as we adapt to feedback. We plan to transition both SDKs to general availability by the end of 2023. 

Why did we build the Mobile SDKs?

Delivering a great checkout is not easy. Checkout is responsible for enforcing merchant business rules, resolving buyer preferences, and adapting to context that modifies how services and integrations facilitate the purchase. The complexity multiplies as many requirements, systems, and features interconnect or impose restrictions on each other. This should never be your problem.

Those familiar with the breadth and complexity of delivering and maintaining a great checkout experience, will also know that the presentation (UX) layer is an integral piece. A great checkout is not a backend API. It is the union of backend and frontend logic dynamically negotiating buyer and merchant preferences, applying personalization based on the context of the buyer and their cart, and providing runtime enforcement of business rules in response to buyer input. 

API-based checkout solutions fall short. They yield inconsistent and incomplete experiences that duplicate customizations. Our data shows that not only is it more expensive to build and maintain a checkout UI from scratch, but many implementations end up with double digit decreases in conversion rates vs. their web checkout. This creates a barrier to success on mobile, and a poor return on investment for those who make the leap. The Mobile Checkout SDKs change all that.

How do the Mobile SDKs work?

The Mobile Checkout SDKs provide a managed checkout experience that makes delivering a great mobile checkout simple: fully-featured, best-converting, consistent, and app idiomatic. It only takes a few lines of code…

The entrypoint to a native checkout is a familiar checkout URL, which is obtained from a buyer cart. You call present(checkout:), passing in the checkout URL obtained from the Cart API, and the iOS SDK handles the rest. 

Under the hood, the SDK establishes a bridge protocol to the web checkout, registers the provided lifecycle callbacks, applies experience customizations, prefills the checkout with provided identity information, and renders optimized a checkout sheet presented to the buyer. Enhanced with smart preloading, you can unlock instant checkout experiences for your buyers.

The Mobile Checkout SDK enables you to deliver buyer UX that feels at home in any mobile app. The SDK renders an optimized one page checkout and allows you to adjust the look and feel of the experience to match your mobile context. Today, we include support for an app idiomatic feel with light and dark modes which automatically adjust to a buyer’s device settings, and we’ll soon release the ability to override those designs with your unique branding. It is also possible to reuse the same checkout branding that buyers see in a mobile browser. 

Mobile Kit & future roadmap

Shopify’s Mobile Kit is a suite of APIs and SDKs that enable developers to deliver best-in-class iOS and Android commerce experiences for buyers. It already includes what you need to build custom storefront and product discovery flows and integrate identity with sign-in and account management. 

Now, Shopify’s Mobile Checkout SDKs extend the Mobile Kit. Take it out for a spin, review the roadmap, and share your feedback and suggestions on the capabilities of the SDKs. In 2024, we will also be releasing updates to the Buy SDK for building carts and storefronts, and new identity SDKs to streamline customer authentication and account management in native apps.

How do I get started?

Review the available APIs and SDKs in Shopify’s Mobile Kit. To begin integrating the Mobile Checkout SDK into your app, take a look at our iOS developer documentation and subscribe to our developer newsletter to receive updates and notifications of new releases.

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This article originally appeared on the Shopify Web Design and Development blog and is available here for discovery.
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