Not sure if you should upgrade to Shopify 2.0? In today's BIZ BITE, I'm sharing what makes Shopify 2.0 different and how to use the new features with a few different use cases so you can decide if an upgrade makes sense for you and your business.
For today’s Biz Bite episode I’m answering the frequently asked question… should you switch to Shopify 2.0?
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What is Shopify 2.0?
Before I answer that, let me just recap what Shopify 2.0 is for those who don’t already know. Shopify 2.0 is essentially a new and upgraded version of the theme builder and customizer. I go more in-depth into the changes on episode 67 if you want to take a listen, but the short story is this new theme builder has added two really key functionalities that give you as a merchant a lot more flexibility than before.
What Are Shopify Metafields?
The first is the addition of meta fields. Metafields are just additional fields that you can add to your products to store information in your admin. Shopify always had a meta fields function, but you previously needed an app in order to manage them whereas now they’re native inside the Shopify admin. And we’ll go more into what those can be used for in a moment.
What Are Shopify Alternate Templates?
The second feature is a much easier way to create an alternate product, page, or collection template across your store, with more flexibility to use sections, like those on the homepage, on these other pages.
Just like meta fields, this was technically always a possibility, but you needed to mess with the code to accomplish it, so most people ended up using a page builder instead. There were also some themes that had alternate product templates which allowed you to add sections to product pages, but if you wanted the additional content to be different across multiple products, you’d have to create multiple versions of that template.
Now you do still have to create multiple versions of the template, but you can do it right from the theme customizer window, instead of having to mess with the code in the back end.
A Visual Walkthrough of Shopify 2.0
If you want a visual walkthrough of this, check out this video of a screen share walkthrough that I did.
How To Use Shopify 2.0?
So, let’s talk about some use cases so you can figure out if you need to make the update.
If you think about the admin area of your products in Shopify, there aren’t a lot of fields available for you to store information about your products, right? You’ve got things your title, product type, vendor, different variants, weight, etc. But that’s really about it.
Using Shopify Metafields to Store Product Ingredients
What if you sell skincare and you want to post the ingredients for that product on the product page? Then you probably have to put it in the description box, which depending on how your product page lays out, can get kinda messy looking. Now if you only have a handful of products, it might be easy enough to create separate product templates for each one so you can have more control over where the ingredients appear on your product page… but what if you had a field inside the shopify admin… in the same place where you add product type and vendor, that you were able to enter that products ingredients and then dynamically insert into its individual product page?
That’s essentially the functionality of meta fields. It’s just the ability to store custom data about a product that you can add to your product page.
Using Shopify Metafields to Store Images Specific to Products
These meta fields can also store images. I’m gonna use an example of an eCommerce Badassery community member Megan of Glass Ladder. She’s been on the podcast, episode 54 if you haven’t heard it. She has a few different styles of handbangs, and each of them have different features and functions, so she includes an image, basically an infographic, that points out all of these features on her product pages.
In her case, instead of having to create a separate product template for each of her products so she can display these unique images, with Shopify 2.0, she could add the image to a field on her product listing in the admin, and then on her regular product template, it would show the specific image that was stored for that specific product. If you’re having trouble visualizing this, head to glassladderco.com to check it out and watch that video. BTW the link to her website might have a special surprise attached to it. Add something cute to your cart and see what happens.
Using Shopify Metafields to Store Item Size Charts
Another way you could use meta fields is for size charts. Maybe you have different size charts for your tops, bottoms, and dresses for example. Instead of having to show your entire size chart on every product, you could just put it inside a meta field on the product listing, and then it will show on that product page.
Do I Need Alternate Product Templates if I Use Shopify Metafields?
So then the question is if you have these meta fields, when would you ever need to create multiple templates for different products?
That’s a great question, let’s answer it. What if you have a really wide assortment of products, but you buy from a few key vendors. In that case, you could create a separate product template for each vendor, and then add additional information about that vendor at the bottom of each template so it automatically renders for every product, from that brand, that you assign that template to.
Another way you may want to use an alternative product template is if you’re running ads. Maybe you have a particular best-selling item that you like to use when running ads because you know it converts really well and that customers typically end up buying lots of other stuff while they’re on your site so you don’t need to waste ad dollars promoting the other stuff. Maybe you want to beef this product page up a little bit to look more like a landing page. Instead of creating an actual landing page for your ads, you can just use a different template for this bestselling item where you can use different sections on the page to better convert that paid traffic.
What’s really cool about this multiple template thing is that in the admin, you assign these templates to products individually, so just because you create this really robust template for one item, doesn’t mean you have to create it for all items. They can continue to use your standard product template.
Should You Upgrade to Shopify 2.0?
So, now that you have a little more understanding about what Shopify 2.0 does, the question is, do you need to upgrade? The short answer is no. It’s not required and you can continue using your existing theme with no issue. If these particular use cases or something similar is important to you and your business, then yes… I would consider it.
What To Look Consider Before Upgrading to Shopify 2.0
If you’re using a lot of apps on your store, you’ll want to confirm with the developer that their apps have been upgraded to be compatible with Shopify 2.0 before you go all-in on upgrading your theme. Give yourself a little time to do the research and plan to find an alternative if you need to.
Migrating themes can be a bit of a cumbersome process, especially if you have custom code because that will have to be added back into your new theme, it’s not going to transfer over. If you have a lot of customization, definitely get the help of a developer.
Overall, go slow and don’t rush it. And if you’re not sure if upgrading makes sense for your business, join me in the eCommerce Badassery Facebook group, and let’s find out!