Development
September 8, 2021

A quick guide to Shopify Online Store 2.0

Setting up shop in the digital world can be daunting. Picking a platform to build your E-commerce empire on isn’t an easy process. Each one has its strengths and its weaknesses. They’re always competing too. They chop and change their systems to create new ways of managing and marketing your stores. 

Subtle changes come in thick and fast all the time. They make all the difference, even though you won’t always notice them. Major updates, however, make appearances less regularly but tend to revolutionise the way that platform produces stores.

The latest platform to push through an evolutionary update is Shopify. During their annual conference, Shopify Unite, they announced the arrival of Online Store 2.0. It’s arguably their most expansive update to date, expanding opportunities to customise your online store and provide your customers with standout experiences.

 

What is Shopify's Online Store 2.0?

The update is effectively a combination of new features and anticipated improvements. Focused on customisation, Online Store 2.0 rebuilds the online store experience from the ground up.  

From upgraded theme architecture to flexible store content, theme editor enhancements and a brand-new default theme, there’s a lot to unpack in this update. Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you (keep reading to find out!) 

Ultimately, they’ve introduced a new set of tools for developers to help create unique experiences for merchants and shoppers alike.

Why has Shopify upgraded?

Shopify’s mission is to make commerce better for everyone. They aim to provide the tools needed to create a world of possibilities for small businesses and their storefronts. 

Online Store 2.0’s goal is to simplify all of your critical tasks for you – and make everything easier for developers (like us – check out our Shopify services here) to build your dreams into reality. 

Maybe you’re looking to setup a new business or change your existing platform. Either way, it’s good to know what you’re getting involved in.  

With that in mind, we’re proud to present our quick and easy guide to Shopify’s Online Store 2.0 update and how it can benefit your business.

 

Say hello to sections

It’s no secret that Shopify limits the ways you can represent your brand on Shopify. With section flexibility locked to the homepage only, you essentially had to have all of your eggs in one basket. 

Online Store 2.0 does away with all that. You can now add sections to all pages, unlocking a range of opportunities to personalise every aspect of your store. This means you can shout out new products all over your store and inject a lot more of the little things your customers love. 

Sections save you time and money, too. Because you’re no longer stuck with fixed structures for pages, you can chop up and change the finer details like flash sales and product updates at the click of a button – leaving the big stuff for us developers.

 

New Apps on the Block

With updated theme architecture comes updated app integration, which is a big win for timesaving.  

Currently, there's no easy way for apps to integrate into different themes. Not one’s to rest on their laurels, Shopify has found a solution: app blocks.

Theme-based app extensions, made possible by brand new app blocks, work hand-in-hand with those shiny new sections. So whether you’re adding in SEO plugins, personalised returns portals, or back-in-stock notifications, meaning the customisation opportunities are even more endless.

We can now build UI-friendly apps and add (as well as remove!) directly through the editor without touching the code at all for cleaner, quicker processes.

All in all, app changes are more customisable and quicker than ever before to build into your store.

 

Checkouts For All

When every man and his dog are opening their own online stores these days, you must stand out every step of the way.  

Previously, the ability to customise your checkout was locked under a Shopify Plus paywall. Online Store2.0 lets everyone have access to checkout apps. However, full customisation will still be limited to Plus merchants only for the time being. 

However, with access to checkout apps, the experiences you can create at a crucial part of the user journey are tenfold. This means you’re far likely to see customers move from being one-time purchasers to loyal buyers.

 

Editing has never been easier

The theme editor itself has had a couple of enhancements to empower you, and your developers, to make the most of its vast options. 

Gone are the days of drilling down into different sections - the collapsible 'tree down' view is perfect for accessing exactly what you need at the click of a button. It's perfect for improving efficiency and promoting productivity. 

More importantly, it makes adapting and updating your page hierarchy simpler than ever. So, whenever you need to boost your user experience, there are no roadblocks. 

 

Making things meta 

Data. In the digital world, we can’t get enough of it. It’s like currency, which we know matters. Metafields are effectively extra pieces of data that can be set to specific parts, like individual pages or orders.  

Shopify originally allowed for just the page title and one single rich text editor for page content. So, if you wanted things like size charts, ingredient lists, or anything else unique, you’d be a little lost without special apps.

The good news is Online Store2.0 introduces metafield functionality that can be edited without the use of third-party apps. It means your store can be just how you’ve always envisioned it, without the extra work. 

 

Dawn of a new age 

If you build it, they will come. If you design it, they will buy it. It’s as simple as that. And with Shopify’s sandbox approach to editing themes, you really can make your store your own, as if it’s your home.

To streamline the store makeover, Shopify has introduced a reference theme:Dawn.

Dawn ties together all of Online Store 2.0’s new features, focusing on being flexible and fast. Its settings are optimised to help design and encourage accessible colour schemes and site navigation, whilst its design combines ease of use with brand expression. It’s even built to make those load times a little shorter.

In short, Dawn is where you can build the store of you and your customers dreams, enhancing your user interface and user experience for the ultimate user journey.

You can use Dawn as a starting point to build your theme. Or it can help meet your specific goals as developers can pick and mix the parts they need to get your store the way you want.

 

So, what's next?

Online Store 2.0 is Shopify’s biggest update yet, adding a whole new wave of customisable options for merchants and developers. Saying that, so much of it is still new and as they continue to roll it out throughout the year, it’s best to make sure you get to grips with it all.

Whilst there’s no rush right now, all Shopify stores will need to be 2.0 compatible by the end of the year. If you need help getting this going, or fancy using Shopify for your business, get in touch with us today to discuss how we can support you.

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