Have you heard the news? Shopify has shipped over 100 new product updates in the last 6 months and they’ve got more coming very soon.
If you’re not a Shopify user I do recommend you listen anyway because it may just give you some great ideas on things to consider for your own business that can also be implemented on your platform. Or, you may be inspired to switch to Shopify by the end of this episode. If that’s you, and you want an unlimited free trial for Shopify vs. the not long enough 14 days they give you by default, I can help you with that. Fill out this form and I’ll get you set up. Just know that it’s a manual process so give me at least 72 business hours.
I won’t be going through every single update, because it’s a lot. Some of them have been around for a bit but were released somewhat silently but there are also a bunch of new ones. Honestly, I don’t think announcing so many upgrades at once was a great way to support their smaller merchants… I’m sure it’s going to feel a bit overwhelming. But the good news is, it’s early in the year so you have some time to learn, adapt and take advantage of these new features.
Today I’m going to cover some of the most impactful ones and remind you of some other features that may have flown under the radar.
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Upgrades to the Shop App
Let’s start with the upgrades they’re making to the Shop App for merchants.
If you don’t already know what the shop app is, it started out as an accelerated checkout tool, that’s Shop Pay, and an order tracking tool for customers.
Now it’s essentially a marketplace of products from Shopify stores. The app boasts 100 million users and tens of millions of shoppers using the Shop app every month.
To better support merchants on the app, Shopify is creating some additional functions and features.
First, they’re giving developers the opportunity to extend the functionality of their apps to the Shop app. There’s no telling how long it takes your favorite apps to expand their functionality, but it’s definitely something you’ll want to keep your eye on.
I don’t think it will ever fully replace the functionality of creating your own app with a tool like TapCart because it is still a market place and you’ll have the competition of a ton of other brands just a thumb tap away, but with tens of millions of shoppers on there, the more impactful you can make the experience for shoppers, the better.
Shopify is also giving merchants more flexibility and control over their presence on the Shop app. This will include things creating collections, bestsellers, reviews, and branding.
Another interesting development on the Shop app is something called Shop Cash campaigns. These are exclusive to Shopify Plus merchants, but it’s another way to acquire new customers, similar to Shopify audiences that were announced last year. These campaigns let you target Shop Pay buyers with special deals and offers and only pay when a customer is acquired.
Shopify is Releasing a One-Page Checkout
One of the most exciting updates, which is slowly rolling out over the next few months is one-page checkout.
This has long been a gripe of many CROs, those who focus on conversion rate optimization saying that Shopify’s multi-step checkout is a conversion killer.
At my last gig, we spent a lot of hours discussing this and many people who wanted to blame our conversion issues on this checkout… but at the same time Shopify always boasted how well their checkout converted.
I guess now we’ll finally know for sure when store start switching over to the new checkout and if they see a higher conversion rate at this stage.
Shopify Plus customers will also get access to a drag-and-drop checkout editor vs. having to edit the checkout.liquid theme file.
Shopify is Opening Up Their Backend to Developers to Extend the Checkout Functionality
If you remember sometime last year Shopify opened up the ability for developers to create apps that accessed Shopify checkout.
The best example of this was when recurring subscriptions could now be processed directly through the native Shopify checkout vs. having to create its own checkout. This was a huge win for merchants because it brought in a flood of new subscription apps to the marketplace so merchants had more to choose from. Competition in any industry is a good thing for consumers because it forces companies to create better products and experiences for their customers. And in a lot of cases it drives pricing down because consumers have options.
When I had my subscription box I used Recharge with Shopify. And in 2018 it was a reasonably priced app. Over time it got more and more expensive and was cost-prohibitive for new businesses. Once Shopify opened up their checkout and all these new subscription apps started becoming available, I saw Recharge’s prices come back down a bit.
More Discount Functionality Through Apps
The thing that I am most excited about with this update is Shopify is slowly rolling out more and more accessible to developers. And one of the first things they’re opening up access to is discounts!
Shopify’s native discount engine has been a thorn in my side since I first got on the platform, I think that was 2016-ish. Lucky for me I was using Shopify Plus and had access to discount scripts, but they also had their limitations.
Just a few months ago Shopify created the ability to combine discounts but it still lacks the functionality to do things like a true buy more save more discount using only one code.
In the past apps got around this using the Draft order API but it too had limitations. Don’t worry, you don’t actually have to understand all this technical stuff.
The point is, with the way developers can now access the backend of Shopify, they don’t need to use any workarounds and you as the merchant can manage the discounts right in the regular Shopify discount admin area.
You’re also going to be able to offer unique discounts across channels like Facebook and Instagram.
New Shopify Theme Functionality
There are also some additional updates coming to your theme functionality. My guess is the new 2.0 theme architecture made it easier to build on and 2 new features they’ve released are sections and blocks in your header and footer and custom CSS.
Having the ability to add custom CSS without editing the theme files directly is great for two reasons. One, you can see your changes in real time right in the theme customizer, and two it makes it a lot easier to carry over those changes when you upgrade your theme.
AI-Generated Product Descriptions
Another big release is Shopify Magic; a product description AI tool.
Now, if you’ve been paying attention you know that AI content generators are getting a lot of attention right now. They’ve been around for a while, but chat GPT blew up and really brought the conversation to the mainstream.
I intended to release a podcast episode all about AI content generators a couple of weeks ago, but I keep pushing it back to make room for some other things. it’s still on my list but the short story is, I don’t know how I feel about them.
My gut reaction is that AI will never create content as well as an intentional human will, but if it’s the difference between you having a product description and not. Go ahead and use it. If nothing else, it should serve as a great jumping-off point so you don’t have to stare at a blank screen.
Updated Customer Accounts
Shopify is also updating their customer accounts feature giving customers the ability to request returns and simplify the process for them and the merchants.
I talked a bit about creating a customer return portal on the 12+ things you can automate in your eCommerce business a few weeks ago.
Funny enough, a Shopify returns app developer came across that episode and reached out to me to come on the podcast and talk about the app he developed. What really stood out to me about his app is that is allows you to use an RMA process, the exact reason why we never used a returns app at my previous job.
I haven’t dug into the new Shopify native return management functionality yet, at first glance it required a little manual work to get it set up and I wanted to get this episode out sooner rather than later, but I’ll be interested to learn more about it and how it compares to the apps that are currently available.
Shopify’s New Email Automation and Customer Segments
Shopify recently made huge improvements to its internal email marketing system as well. Is it as robust as
If you’re currently on
If you’re currently on or thinking of switching to Flodesk for your eCommerce store, I would 100% rather see you use Shopify’s native email because Flodesk has no purchase data about your customers and leaves too much to be desired.
Other Shopify Updates
As I mentioned earlier there are a ton of updates that Shopify has been making to its platform. They enhanced their eCommerce search and filter functionality, made Shopify flow available to all merchants, and with Shopify 2.0 came meta fields. They’re expanding on their meta fields functionality with metaobjects which are just a collection of metafields.
They’re also going to be releasing their own bundles app, more robust sales tax management, B2B functionalities, and leveling up their fulfillment and delivery network.
It’s way more than I can cover in one podcast episode, but you can learn more about all the Shopify updates here. Know that this page is going to have a lot of developer jargon on it. Don’t get overwhelmed by that. Just know if they’re talking about APIS, SDKs, or other random words you don’t understand that in general it just means there are more opportunities for developers to create really cool apps to extend the functionality of your store and make them more native to the existing Shopify admin experience.
In addition, there are links to other episodes where I dive deeper into some of these features so you can get more details on that.
How to Navigate Shopify’s Changes for Your Business
I also don’t want you to get starry-eyed by all the information I’m sharing. Just because there is an update coming or available doesn’t mean you have to go out and take advantage of them all right now or that they even make sense for your business.
Soak it all in. Think through what if anything is truly going to move the needle for your business right now. If you have a 3rd party solution in place for something right now, cool. Do your research and make sure the Shopify version will meet all your needs before you go making the switch.
In most cases, Shopify’s version of something is more like the base model with crank windows and manual door locks. Do they even make cars like that anymore?
If you have nothing in place to solve a particular problem, then Shopify’s option is probably a great place to start.
Ultimately, the way Shopify is opening up its platform is going to be a game changer in terms of what will be possible by developers and I’m really excited to see where it’s all going.
Again, if hearing all of these amazing updates are giving you Shopify FOMO and you want an unlimited Shopify trial, please fill out the form in the show notes and I’ll get you all set up so you can poke around at your leisure. Once you’re ready to go live I’ll transfer ownership of the store to you and you’ll be good to go.