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286. Shopify Platform Updates: Summer 2024

286. Shopify Platform Updates: Summer 2024

It’s that time of year again! Shopify Editions Summer 2024 went live on June 24th, which brings 150+ updates for the Shopify platform to streamline your operations and marketing. We’re going to go through some of the biggest highlights here together, but make sure you check the links at the bottom of the page for additional resources and to learn more about what was released.

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Updates from Winter 2024 Announcements

Before we get into all the details, let’s return to the Winter of 2024 where Shopify gave us insight into what was coming in the future and where those features are at now.

Shopify Combined Listings

event where they announced combined listings for Shopify Plus. This was marked as a coming soon, but the Shopify Combined Listings app has officially been released. 

As mentioned in episode 265 where I walk through Shopify Editions Winter 2024, this app is only available for plus stores. But, also as mentioned, you don’t need Shopify Plus to implement this strategy. Not only do some themes come with the feature built-in with the help of Metafields, but it’s also something you can have custom-coded if needed. (See more info at the bottom of this post)

I could probably do an entire episode on whether or not you should use variants or combined listings, and I probably will – let me know if you want to hear that. 

Semantic Search

Another announcement they made at their Winter 2024 editions was the release of semantic search for Plus stores. This functionality has now been expanded to include the Shopify and Advanced plans. I go deeper into the details of what is semantic search in episode 265.

New Shopify Product Taxonomy

And then lastly, for announcements made during the Winter editions was the expansion of their product taxonomy. This is specific for the category field, the one that is used to determine tax rates – not the product type. In addition to more categories, you can go 5 levels deep.

Once you add the category, it will automatically suggest recommended attributes based on that category. 

Take a pair of leopard print stilettos, for example. First, Shopify recommended I choose the shoes category, and then went deeper into heels.

Once I set the category, it auto-recommended 12 category metafields that I could add.

  • Color
  • Shoe Size
  • Footwear Material
  • Age Group
  • Closure Type
  • Target Gender
  • Shoe Fit
  • Toe Style
  • Occasion Style
  • Care Instructions
  • Shoe Features
  • Heel Shoe Type

If I click to add one of these, for example, heel shoe type, it auto-generated a metaobject list with common options such as Ankle Strap Pumps, Classic D’orsay, Mules, Maryjanes, etc. 

Just like a manually created metal object, this list of options is editable. You can add and remove items. The metaobject definition cannot be edited though.

When this was first announced, I misunderstood how this feature would function. The category attributes themselves do not help you on the front end of your store. Think of them more like Google product categories. If you send your Shopify product feed to other sales channels you can include the values in these fields.

For example: the category field value, in this case heels, can be surfaced as a filter on your store. The category metafield, heel shoe type, with a value of ankle strap is not directly accessible in the Shopify Search and Discovery App.

If you want to create a filter for the heel shoe type, first you'll need to create a product metafield that references the Shopify-created metaobject. Then you'll need to choose the correct input for each product.

While it is double-work, not having to create all the potential values from scratch is pretty cool and somewhat of a time saver.

This is of course a brand new feature. So I'll be interested in seeing how they update it in the future. If nothing else, it's a good way to get a little inspiration for how you might want to categorize your products. And the types of filters You might want to add to your store to create a better shopping experience for your customers.

Also, if all this metafield and metobject lingo has you confused, consider snagging the Shopify Badassery course where I walk you through how to use metafields on your store, how to create custom filters, etc. I’ll also be updating the course with a deep-dive into Metaobjects, and how to automate assigning data to your products with the help of Shopify flow. 

I just helped a client migrate to Shopify and we utilized a lot metaobjects and automation, so I’m excited to have these different use cases to share with you. 

Shopify Badassery

Whether you're brand new to Shopify or just wish felt more comfortable on it, this course is for you.

Image Filters in Search & Discovery App

Keeping with on-site product organization and filtering, you can now use images to display values as product filters. 

For example, using color swatches in your color filter, or even for product type.

Let’s say you want to visually represent the difference between a table lamp and a pendant lamp, a value you assign to the Product Type field in your store. 

This one can be a bit confusing because the Shopify Search & Discovery app does have a built-in product type filter you can add, but it doesn’t allow you to add a visual to that default field. Instead, you’d create a custom product filter through a metafield and metaobject entries as potential values. 

This isn’t hard to do at all, but I didn’t find Shopify’s presentation of the functionality very clear. 

Bulk Import Metafieds

Speaking of metafields, Shopify has finally added the ability to import metafield values through their bulk import tool. Shopify CSV imports are finicky, so I recommend you assign values to at least one product manually. This will give you the correct syntax in your export.

Whether you're reorganizing your product information moving content to metafields or migrating from another platform this will be huge a timesaver.

Other Shopify Plus Updates

In addition to the release of the combined listings app, there were several other Shopify Plus exclusive releases. 

Wholesale Updates

If you’re on Shopify Plus and using their B2B wholesale functionality, there are also a lot of fun updates there. 

  • Company profiles can include up to 10k ship-to locations, perfect for your largest retailers
  • You can draft orders with payment terms so your B2B customers can review and pay when due
  • You can use metafields to filter company and location indexes
  • Coming soon is the option to offer manual payment methods at checkout such as bank transfers, checks, and international wires

This is another nice update for stores that are already using Shopify Plus, but not necessarily enough to warrant an upgrade with so many other wholesale implementation options. 

Shop Campaigns & Shopify Audiences

Shopify is also doubling down on its audience platform and shop campaigns. 

A few months ago they did a promo where you could try out Shopify audiences on a 45-day trial without being on Plus, though it required an upgrade in subscription to continue using them. 

From what I’ve seen and heard, the results from Shopify audiences aren’t anything special, so you’re not missing out on anything. 

If you are already using them successfully, you’ll be excited to hear the latest updates including: 

  • The ability to create retargeting boost lists, 
  • Shop campaigns are now available in Canada, 
  • and you can expand your reach across Meta and Google with Shop campaigns, only paying when new customers convert. 

If you’re on Plus and are already doing ads but haven’t tried any of these features, it’s probably worth checking out. Don’t be surprised if your traditional paid social campaigns perform  better though. 

Shopify Plus Checkout Updates

Also for my plus users, the Shopify checkout blocks app now has a free plan. It doesn’t include upsell blocks though. 

You can also automate payment capture when orders are partially fulfilled. This is great if you have multiple locations you’re fulfilling orders from or if the order contains pre-order items. 

Essentially, payment will be captured for each individual shipment. 

Brick & Mortar Shopify POS Updates

For my brick-and-mortar or in-person folks who use Shopify POS, there were a lot of great updates here. 

Require Customer & Staff Info at Checkout

You can now set customer information and staff information as a requirement during checkout. 

In last week’s episode where I talked about collecting emails in person, having this prompt is going to make it a lot easier to facilitate the process. 

The associate does have the option to bypass the customer’s information if they don’t want to provide it, but having the staff attribution makes it a lot easier to keep your associates aware of how they’re performing and breaking down their goals throughout the day. 

Digital Receipts & Email Sign Up

Once you process a customer’s transaction you can offer one-tap digital receipts that auto-suggest the customer’s email address from Shop Pay. 

It will also give them the option to subscribe to email marketing. 

Remember, if you’re using a tool like Klaviyo, you can easily segment out your post-purchase flows to target customers that sign up through POS, so you can easily send them a more tailored follow-up sequence, especially for those first-time opt-ins

Return Rules

You can also set return rules for your POS so staff can determine whether or not a product can be returned, and the rules will surface to explain why. 

Discount Updates

In addition to Buy X Get Y discounts for POS, you can now process multiple discounts in one POS transaction, too.

Omnichannel Features

Shopify is also releasing a bunch of new omnichannel features such as Ship to store, ship from store, and easily reassigning fulfillment locations. 

This will allow customers to choose the store location that’s closest to them for pick up, you can easily transfer that merchandise between locations, and if there are any location fulfillment issues, you can easily assign that fulfillment from one location to another. 

The Ship to Any store feature is currently in early access, but the others area already available. 

Platform Wide Shopify Updates

Alright, now that we’ve gotten through some of the more specific features, let’s dive into the platform-wide updates that are relevant to pretty much everyone who uses the platform. 

Shop Minis for Shop App

There are also new shop minis that were released for the Shop app. In case you forgot, shop minis are essentially just apps for the shop app including some bundle apps. 

Shopify Email Updates

Shopify is also continuing to update its internal email app. I gotta say, I’m pretty impressed with this. If you’re fully utilizing a tool like Klaviyo or Omnisend, they still outpower the internal Shopify email app, but if you’re still using Flodesk, please make the switch. 

In addition to new segmenting capabilities with the help of flow, they’ve also upgraded their template builder including adding a block where you can embed a video from YouTube or Vimeo.

Now, don’t get it twisted… email service providers still can’t play videos – it’s still going to link them to the video player of the platform the video is hosted on… but you can consider it a shortcut from having to generate a thumbnail, upload it as an image, and a add a link. 

They seem pretty committed to developing the functionality of the Shopify email app and as a beginner option, you can’t beat having the full integration with your eCommerce platform. 

YouTube Shopping Affiliates Program

For Shopify users on the advanced and Plus Shopify plans you’ll soon be able to join the YouTube Shopping affiliates program. This allows you to sync your products to YouTube and then a network of verified YouTube creators will be able to tag them in their videos. This is exclusive to the US.  

This is essentially how the TikTok shop affiliate program works as well. While you’ll always see better results if you create intentional relationships with creators it really can’t hurt you to be discoverable on these platforms for creators who love what you sell. 

Shopify Marketplace Connect Updates

Speaking of marketplaces, there is a new store connection on Marketplace Connect – that’s Shopify’s new app that allows you to list your products on stores like Amazon, Walmart, and Etsy. Well, Target has joined the Shopify family and you can now sync your product to the Target Plus marketplace. 

Unlike other marketplaces, Target Plus does have an application process and you have to be approved before you can sell there. It isn’t clear whether you can apply directly through the app or not, but you can access the Target Plus application at the Target website. Click the reach out now button and it will take you to the form.

Business Operations

On the more nerdy or not-so-fun side, there were a lot of updates related to streamlining your business operations. 

Shopify Store Credit

A really exciting new update is the introduction of Store Credit. Instead of having to use gift cards as a workaround, you can issue store credit directly to your customer, it gets attached to their account, and then when they’re logged in that credit can be applied directly to their order. 

There is one very important caveat here and that is, it only works with the new customer account experience. 

On Shopify, you have two customer account types, classic and new. This update came a while ago, I don’t remember how long to be honest. Whether or not switching made sense for you was going to be dependent on the apps you use and whether or not they were compatible with the new customer account experience. 

My guess is that most apps have probably been upgraded, but there may be a few use cases where classic accounts still make more sense for your business. 

The main one is if you need to add any additional content to your account pages through your theme. 

For example, the client I just migrated to Shopify does manage wholesale through her website. Now, she doesn’t have the volume to justify Shopify Plus, so instead we’re using an app and customer tags to manage the B2B side of her business. 

That also means we have a dynamic section I added on the account page – it’s only visible to wholesale customers – that lays out the details of the wholesale program. 

The problem with new customer accounts is you don’t have any editing capabilities. 

Shopify does offer a workaround, where you can share a new customer account login link – this is also how Shopify manages self-serve returns – but the experience is a little clunky. 

All that to say, if you have customizations or apps that are integrated with your customer account, you may not be able to take advantage of this feature. 

While the accounts are linked by their email address and they would see all of their orders, it’s VERY possible they would log in to the classic version of their account and get very frustrated when they can’t seem to access their store credit. 

If you don’t have any apps that are integrated with your customer account and you don’t need any customization you can certainly switch to the new customer accounts. 

Shopify Analytics

Shopify also announced big changes to their analytics, including a more customizable dashboard and reports. The new analytics dashboard gives you the ability to add/remove different reports, resize them if you want them to take up more columns, and gives you more flexibility to edit the reports that power those cards. 

The most important update is that the reports are in real-time with no delay which can be super helpful when you’re in the middle of a big launch or promotion. 

Unfortunately, the new analytics isn’t available yet, but you can sign up to be notified when it’s available.

While I appreciate Shopify’s dedication to improving its reporting capabilities, I’m still skeptical about relying on them 100%.

When it comes to actual sales data, of course, they are the most accurate, but when it comes to marketing data, not so much. This is especially true with traffic sources as I’ve never seen Shopify properly report on email contribution. 

Interestingly enough, I read on Reddit not too long ago that Beardbrand removed their Google Analytics connection for the sake of speed and relies only on Shopify analytics no. This was confirmed by Eric himself. 

This is not something I recommend, especially if you’re still trying to get a handle on your marketing and what is driving your business. 

Generally, I recommend you use Shopify reports for reporting sales and Google Analytics for understanding traffic, marketing, and website behavior. 

Split Shipments

Another super cool update, especially if your orders are regularly split into multiple shipments, now the customer can choose split shipping at checkout. They can choose the lowest price, fastest delivery, or custom shipping options based on the different shipments. 

AI Updates

Of course, it wouldn’t be an update if we didn’t talk about AI. 

I don’t remember exactly when Shopify sidekick was first announced, but it’s continuing to roll out to store across the Shopify platform, with more stores getting access throughout the year. 

If you’ve ever used the Shopify help center, you’ve probably already experienced sidekick. 

Think of Sidekick as your personal store assistant. Not only can it surface how-tos for general Shopify tasks, but it’s trained on your store, products, and data so its answers will be tailored to your business. You can also use Sidekick to create customer segments based on natural language, and can even generate discount codes to send in a targeted email campaign. 

In addition to Sidekick, you have access to Shopify magic. That is the tool that helps you generate product descriptions in your Shopify admin and that pops up throughout the platform. 

Now you’ll be able to get suggestions from Shopify magic when responding to customer inquiries through Shopify inbox. And don’t worry, you have full control to edit the response before you send it. 

Lastly, the AI product image editing function is now available in the Shopify app so you can make edits on the go. 

Theme Design Updates

The last thing I want to cover today is the theme design updates. Shopify initially announced the introduction of flex sections and the ability to drag, drop, resize, etc. I think it was summer last year. 

They’ve been releasing bits and pieces in developer preview this year, including nested theme blocks at the start of the year and most recently style settings. 

Without getting into the nitty-gritty of how it all works, I’m just getting into a few of the high-level concerns I had after playing around with it in developer preview, concerns it seems most theme developers have as well. 

The biggest issue is too much flexibility and too many options. 

As we talk about a lot when it comes to marketing and selling your products – you have to give people the mannequin. Giving them too many options leads to overwhelm and analysis paralysis. 

I can already see merchants spending way too much time in the weeds designing their websites. 

The other issue with this much flexibility is the risk of poor UX decisions by merchants. Themes, at least the good ones, are already crafted with care. Margins, padding, spacing, responsiveness, etc. … these are all taken into consideration when developers are designing themes. It ensures a good experience for your customers and consistency across your website. 

The direction Shopify is going with its theme customizer is going to open up a lot of those settings to merchants. For the people who understand it, they’re gonna be super excited. For the majority of merchants, it’s just gonna open them up to potential issues – not to mention the support requests theme developers will likely get flooded with. 

The good news is, as a merchant, you don’t have to worry about this right now and won’t for a while. Even if Shopify green-lit this today, themes need to be rebuilt by the developers. And I’ll tell ya, based on the feedback I saw – it’s not getting green-lit today. 

Plus, according to posts I saw from the Shopify team and what I understand about how the builder will work, this isn’t just updating to a new version of your theme. It’s going to be more similar to the 1.0 to 2.0 switch. The upgrade will be manual and require a bit of a rebuild. 

All that considered… you can think of this as a 2025 problem.

Listen to the Episode

Timestamps

00:00 Introduction and Overview
00:46 Winter 2024 Recap
01:38 Semantic Search and Product Taxonomy
03:47 Meta Fields and Meta Objects
07:57 Shopify Plus Updates
11:46 POS and Omni-Channel Features
14:53 Platform-Wide Updates
24:07 AI and Theme Design Updates
28:49 Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Episodes Mentioned

See the full eCommerce Badassery Podcast Database

265. Shopify Editions Platform Updates: Winter 2024

Brush Up on Your Shopify Skills

Shopify Badassery

Links Mentioned

Shopify Editions: Summer 2024 Updates

Target Plus Application

Shopify Themes with Sibling Products

*Note: You'll want to search the theme's documentation to determine if they have a sibling functionality built in as it's not typically listed on the listing in the theme store. You can also get this custom-developed for your store. Check out StoreTasker or Hey Carson.

Stiletto

Fuel Themes: I think it's available in all themes

Pipeline

Broadcast

Taiga

Concept by Roar Themes

Hey, I'm Jessica

I support scrappy female entrepreneurs with actionable steps & strategies to grow and scale the traffic, sales & profit in their eCommerce businesses. 

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