Shopify Unite 2021 was an event that brought with it a new level of excitement in the digital and ecommerce world! Developers, designers and merchants came together to discover what new features and products would be available on the Shopify platform, and it did not disappoint!
The biggest announcement made was the introduction of Online Store 2.0 and its three major features; theme and online store editor, store content and developer tooling.
Online Store 2.0
Theme Store Editor
Shopify’s Online Store 2.0 offers developers and merchants a fully modular theme setup, available across the entire online store and all it’s pages. This will allow for sections to be implemented on all other pages of the store, not just the homepage, offering a tailored solution for developers and merchants alike. Customisation has never been more accessible.
This new feature will give developers the opportunity to focus on crafting bespoke content and driving engagement, rather than creating the liquid code for building sections.
This feature allows you to store data within Shopify that will be made visible on the online store. You will be able to not only define and edit metafields within admin as was previously possible, you’ll also be able to create metafields in products with added attributes that will be saved to the product within admin and published to the online store.
This feature facilitates more flexible and intuitive content entry, including adding custom types, which when updated will be filtered through to all channels, and metafields, including the online store. The metafields created can then be connected to any section available on all template pages within the store, with just the click of a button.
The first of some really big announcements for developers on Online Store 2.0, is a feature that speaks to apps and app development, and is introduced as Theme App Extensions. The theme app extensions separate the theme into separate components so that apps can add their own sections to a theme without having to edit the theme’s code.
The next and by no means less exciting announcement, is the introduction of open source theme; Dawn. Dawn is a readily available theme on GitHub which can be used to explore all the new features of Online Store 2.0 and acts as a reference for site builds.
Some other new updates to Online Store 2.0 which developers can enjoy are; liquid improvements, developer themes, theme checks and storefront rendering, just to name a few.
Overall, Online Store 2.0 is designed to expand customisation options for developers and merchants in a more simplified and less time consuming way, allowing both store owners and agencies to focus their efforts on improving their story, communication and engagement.
The checkout page which was previously limited in design and development options has now been given an opportunity for new content-driven life. Stores will be able to create bespoke checkout experiences for their customers, with checkout extension apps. These apps will allow checkout customisations from small edits such as added fields for customers to complete, all the way up to complex UI and UX builds. This Shopify checkout update is giving stores more opportunity to convert at the most crucial stage of the buying cycle.
Shopify Scripts is a feature only available to merchants on the Plus platform, allowing for further customisations to the store such as shipping and payments.
In a significant update to Shopify Scripts, developers can now build and edit scripts using a preferred local development workflow, instead of having to use the online script editor. In addition to this, Scripts will now be deployed and installed via apps. This allows stores to deploy these scripts on multiple stores and doesn’t require any coding.
Having multiple payment options available on an online store is key for conversion and driving sales, so Shopify has released an update to their Payment Platform allowing developers to create payment gateways as Shopify apps. This payment platform also integrates with the checkout stack and offers customised functionality.
During Unite 2021, Shopify also announced its continued improvements being made to their API. This includes experiences such as; new cart capabilities, new @inContext GraphQL directive, international pricing, local pickup, selling plans, and metafields, with many more announced to be released later in the year.
Hydrogen & Oxygen
The release of Hydrogen, a powerful tool which provides a framework and quick build foundation for crafting bespoke storefronts with fewer restiction, has sparked a lot of interest with event attendees as this is essentially Shopify’s native Headless solution. This feature will allow developers to focus on design, UX and UI, to create a look that will connect with their customers. In addition to this, the release of Oxygen, which hosts Hydrogen storefronts directly on Shopify, has created just as much hype in its fast, global and commerce optimised functionalities. It’s not quite ready for prime time but is super exciting to see what’s just around the corner.
Unite in a nutshell
While the new releases, product updates and announced features stole the Unite 2021 show, the main takeaway was the constant support, updating and perfectly executed planning that Shopify is constantly undergoing to make sure merchants that are on the Shopify and Shopify Plus platform can offer their customers an experience like no other, that tells a unique story and with (almost) limitless capabilities. This is equally exciting for store owners and agencies alike, especially in the digital climate we continually face where growth, change, and technology is continually expected.
If you’re currently on a different platform and are considering the switch to Shopify, now is the time!
Contact with us and our expert team will get in touch.