Shopify Unite is the company’s annual conference where they announce new features and products coming soon to the Shopify platform.
Usually, these updates are mostly pertinent to Shopify Partners and developers, however, in the Shopify Unite 2021 edition, there is also huge and exciting news for merchants and business owners. In fact, they have been defined as the most revolutionary Shopify updates so far.
Here’s a quick recap of the major updates that will significantly improve the Shopify experience for merchants and online store owners.
NEW ONLINE STORE 2.0
This is by far the biggest and most exciting news for Shopify users.
Since covid-19, traffic double across online stores, as shoppers turned more and more to online shopping during the pandemic. This is why the Shopify team focused on largely improving how merchants’ stores front show up by completely redesign the online store channel.
Sections on every page
For merchants and developers alike, one of the biggest changes coming with Online Store 2.0 is the upgraded theme architecture for the online store.
Up until now, store owners have been limited in how they represent their businesses on Shopify, with the flexibility of sections being limited to only the home page.
The theme is now made fully modular with the creation of new templates which fully define the structure of a page, from which sections are on a page to how each setting is configured. These templates are available across the online store which means that sections are now available on more pages than just the homepage.
This feature was usually only available with the use of additional apps and with some premium Shopify Themes but was still limited by what was developed by someone else. Now instead, full control is given to the merchant, who is now able to fully personalize every aspect of a store, without having to rely on a developer.
“Sections are now available on more pages than just the homepage.”
Enhancements to the theme editor
Instead of needing to drill down into different sections, the editor now displays a tree view of all the content on a page in the sidebar. From this sidebar, merchants can move and hide blocks as they wish, making it easy to update the hierarchy of a page.
Liquid input setting
Another update to the theme editor is the liquid input setting that will allow you to add custom Liquid code to pages directly from the editor. This setting will reduce the need to manually change the code of a theme, particularly when adding code for some apps that use Liquid. This update will make it easier for Shopify users to work with the new features of Online Store 2.0, and make decisions about their online store without engaging with a developer.
Flexible store content & Metafields Update
With Online Store 2.0 is now possible to customise pages with metafield and custom media content such as images, PDF files and more.
Major update to Metafields
It will be possible to define and edit metafield directly in the Admin, without the need to code anything, as well as bind data sources to sections directly in the editor.
To put it simply, it is possible to define and add new attributes to products and attach a media file to them, like an image or a document. Data of any format will be able to be stored inside the Shopify platform and meta fields are what will allow you to display them in the pages of your store.
Content Management Platform
With this update, using metafields it will be possible to create different and new types of content once and using it everywhere in the online store. Some examples of the type of content are blog posts, testimonials, product features, size charts and so on.
To summarise and make a real-scenario example, if merchants would like to have a product warranty or sizing chart available for download on a product page, the file picker makes it easy to select that file with a simple user interface on the product editor and insert it where the file metafield is placed on their theme.
New Checkout Experience with checkout customisations
Checkout is the heart of the online shopping journey. It’s where conversion happens, where merchants make a sale and buyers make a purchase. Currently, only small customisations are allowed on the checkout page.
Extend Shopify Checkout with apps
With this update, developers will have the opportunity to create apps specifically for the checkout page, providing Shopify store owners endless possibilities. From simple customizations, all the way to complex user interfaces (UI) and business logic.
Post-purchase checkout extension
In the future, a post-purchase checkout extension will be introduced to Shopify.
Post-purchase is an interaction between the merchant and buyer that occurs after a purchase is made, but before the customer has exited the store. It falls between checkout and the thank-you page, a place where the buyer is highly captive and engaged, and the perfect page to offer product upsells, requests for donations or surveys, discount offers for future orders, and more. This extension will allow developers to build post-purchase experiences directly within Shopify Checkout and provide merchants with unique features to power their e-commerce business.
Many other exciting announcements were made, initially, they’ll directly affect developers rather than merchants however as app and theme creators get up to speed and start working with the new technologies, new and unique tools and features will become available to Shopify store owners in the next few years.
Announcement for developers
To read more about all the Shopify Unite 2021 announcements for developers, have a look at this article from Shopify.
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