In June 2021, Shopify announced its most ambitious and extensive update to the platform by far - Online Store 2.0 (OS 2.0). The evolution presented Shopify users with an array of features, aiming to hand over greater control of the shopping experience.
The monumental changes included:
- Sections everywhere which allows merchants to easily personalize every page in their store.
- Theme app extensions to let Shopify store owners add dynamic elements to their theme, like reviews, through app blocks. This also ensures that apps work consistently across all themes and don’t impact speed.
- Theme editor making it easier for merchants to build complex pages
- Metafields so metadata can be added via Shopify Admin
- Basic filters for collections
- Customized checkout
| Read more: Shopify Unite 2021 Highlights - All You Need to Know
Roughly one year later, with Shopify Editions | Summer 22, the company has compiled all the product updates. Now that it’s been a year since that big Shopify Unite, you may be a little curious. How has OS 2.0 evolved since its launch? What effect has it had on store owners that use it?
If you’re part of this inquisitive crowd, read on because we'll run through all the changes you should be aware of!
How Has OS 2.0 Changed Since Launching?
Despite the extensive nature of the update, Shopify has been making continuous improvements to its OS 2.0. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable ones.
Updates to Shopify Metafields
- Extend to Collections, Orders, Customers, etc
- Metafield lists allow multiple values
- Increase definition limit from 100 to 200
Metafields have experienced a substantial overhaul in the past year. When OS 2.0 was launched, metadata for Products and Variants could be edited via Shopify admin. This capability has now been extended to Orders, Collections, Customers, Pages, Blogs, and Blog Posts. This is exciting news as it allows merchants to enhance their customers’ online experiences.
Metafields on orders allows merchants to deliver customized notifications based on their purchase. For example, a relevant product can be presented in an order notification for upselling, or if an order is canceled, you can surface an alternative item.
For collections, specific variant references can be defined, PDF files can be attached to all products within a collection, more images can be added to a collection.
Metafields for Customers presents an incredible opportunity to drive personalization. Products tailored to the customer’s previous purchase history can be displayed on the homepage, custom messages can be displayed for each customer, and additional information like their birthday, gender, reviews, and more can be added.
Speaking of customer metafields, it’s now also possible to segment shoppers based on their metadata. This essentially allows metafields to be used as a filter. Now, you create a lineup of customers to direct marketing communications to within Shopify admin.
Metafield lists are another handy update Shopify merchants will love. It lets you store multiple values in one metafield. This means you can supercharge your onsite search results as all relevant values can be assigned. You can also provide more complex information in a section or block, like an ingredients list, or even enhance the data you collect on your customers, like their favorite color.
Finally, the most recent update to metafields is the definition limit. Merchants can now make up to 200 definitions instead of 100 per resource type.
More sections and blocks
Merchants asked and Shopify listened! Based on customer feedback, the number of sections that can be added to a theme template has been increased to 25. In each of these sections, up to 50 blocks can be included.
Shopify store owners now have even greater creative control. You can design your homepage to have more areas of focus, and expand on sections such as FAQs. It’s also welcoming news for large store owners with a plethora of products in their collections.
This update puts Shopify in an even better position to beat its competitors. It’s important to note, though, that your specific theme or developer can place limits on the number of sections and blocks available to you.
Brand-new features of OS 2.0
- Online Store Editor for Mobile allows merchants to check and update their store on the go
- Pick the theme element to edit on the preview window with Preview Inspector
- Shopify free OS 2.0 themes increased from 1 to 8, plus notifications of new theme versions
- Create 3D Viewer Configuration for your products right from the Shopify admin
Shopify has rolled out and announced a number of new features that expand OS 2.0.
Online Store Editor for Mobile
For Shopify merchants who are always on-the-go, your Shopify store can now be edited via the Shopify mobile app.
(Source: Shopify Help Center)
Using the mobile theme editor you can alter your theme settings, customize pages and templates, and edit sections and blocks.
The theme editor has a new addition - Preview Inspector. This was introduced in an effort to help Shopify merchants quickly find the sections and/or blocks they wish to change.
(Source: Shopify Help Center)
With it, you can rearrange, hide, or delete sections and blocks by simply clicking on them in the preview window. It’s also possible to add sections and blocks via Preview Inspector.
Shopify Free Themes
Dawn is no longer the only OS 2.0 Shopify theme. There are now over 80 OS 2.0 themes available in the Shopify Theme Store, including 8 new free themes that cater to more specific industry verticals:
- Crave, Taste: good for Food and Drink businesses
- Sense, Refresh: built for Health and Beauty industry
- Craft: catering to Home and Garden stores
- Studio: a good match for Art and Entertainment products
- Ride: works best in Sport and Recreation verticals
- Colorblock: suitable for Clothing and Accessories stores with large catalogs
Third-party providers have also released over 1000 OS 2.0 themes.
Updating themes also got an overhaul. Previously, updating a Shopify theme was not an intuitive or smooth process. It required merchants to be aware of their theme’s current version number and check it against what’s displayed in the Shopify Theme store. Essentially, updating a theme was a very manual and laborious process.
(Source: Shopify Help Center)
Now, when your theme has been updated, you’ll receive a notification in Shopify Admin below the theme. Simply click on the notification, then click Add to theme library, and hey presto, your theme is now up to date! You can only do this if there have been no code changes made to your theme.
3D viewer configuration
3D models are a great way to give a true-to-life view of the products you’re selling. However, if you wanted to make any edits to it you needed to be code-savvy. In order to make 3D models more accessible for merchants of all sizes and skills, Shopify introduced No code 3D viewer configuration. This makes it possible for store owners to edit lighting, background color, exposure level, zoom, and initial camera view on the Products page.
(Source: Shopify Help Center)
All you need to do is:
- Go to your Products page and select the product
- Scroll down to Media and click on the 3D icon that’s on the 3D image
- Click on Edit file and choose what you want to configure
Beta: Search and Discovery
Shopify is gearing up to release improved functionality when it comes to onsite search, filtering, and product recommendations. The soon-to-be-released Search and Discovery app by Shopify is currently in beta version. It requires merchants to sign up and Shopify team will select some lucky ones to test it. .
It is expected to help with:
- Creating filters based on availability, price, color, and more
- Promoting specific products on search results pages
- Adding synonyms to improve search results
- Recommending products based on what a customer is currently viewing
- Adding product recommendations to product pages
Shopify Checkout harnesses the power of Shop Pay to provide a 4X faster checkout experience and an 11% higher conversion than other accelerated checkouts. After the launch of OS 2.0, Shopify Shopify Plus merchants can now customize their checkout using apps like adding branding, loyalty programs, recommended products, and more.
What Impact Has Online Store 2.0 Had?
Shopify OS 2.0 is now available to all merchants, and Dawn is the default theme for new Shopify subscribers.This has pushed many app developers to accelerate OS 2.0 integration via:
- App blocks
- App embeds
- Apps added to theme code
By the end of 2022, all Shopify apps will have to work seamlessly with the latest Shopify Online Store version, or else they’ll be removed from the app store. We also notice that with OS 2.0, Shopify is putting more emphasis on the app quality and performance. Browsing on the app store now, you'll see OS 2.0 supported apps in the top positions.
App highlights verify certain attributes on app listings and across the Shopify App Store to make it easier for merchants to spot high-quality apps.
As it stands, Debut continues to be the most used theme. This could be down to the fact that stores with customizations need to migrate their theme template or rebuild from scratch. Nonetheless, many stores are beginning to put OS 2.0 to use.
The crown for the first OS 2.0 store went to Netflix. The company launched an online shop in June 2021 selling merchandise related to their hit shows.
(Source: Netflix Shop)
Some SMB brands have found major success upon transitioning to OS 2.0.
(Source: Chelsea Peers)
Clothing brand, Chelsea Peers, wanted to redesign their Shopify Plus website in a way that would allow them to have greater in-house control. With the help of Blubolt, Chelsea Peers migrated to OS 2.0 with a fresh, new design. Now that they have sections on the homepage and product pages, the in-house team can easily customize in line with promotions independently.
Since switching to 2.0, Chelsea Peers has experienced a 3% increase in conversions, and their revenue is up 200% YOY. The brand credits these improvements to the new capabilities OS 2.0 gives their website.
(Source: Rave Coffee)
Similarly, Rave Coffee turned to Blubolt to assist them in building a new store. In addition to creating an excellent user experience for coffee lovers, the brand also wanted to prioritize flexibility and control. This made OS 2.0 the perfect solution.
Sections everywhere give the brand full control over the sliders for best-sellers, new arrivals, and reviews, as well as the ticker banner. So, as their business evolves, Rave Coffee can adjust their site all on their own. They were also able to make the search and discovery process a breeze thanks to Boost Product Filter and Search. Coffee enthusiasts can be brought closer to the products they are looking for with ease, using filters like Brew methods, Roast level, and Flavour.
Besides OS 2.0, What's New With Shopify In The First Half Of 2022
The whole customer tool package on Shopify ecosystem
- Shopify Audiences (new): A new prospecting tool using machine learning to find and target high-intent audience for digital ads.
- Shopify Automations: Set up and customize marketing automations to connect with customers from welcome and win-back stage.
- Shopify Email: more pre-built templates and customizable flows. Together with insightful reporting, merchants can have better strategic decisions.
- Shopify Inbox: enhance chat commerce over online store chat, Instagram, and Facebook via product recommendations, discounts, etc.
- Customer Segmentation: use unique attributes to group customers so they can get personalized communications via email, offers, etc.
While Automations, Email, Inbox are pretty much familiar with merchants, Shopify Audiences is a brand-new add-on. So let's talk about it more.
The tool, with the help of powerful machine learning algorithm, takes advantage of data from millions of Shopify merchants. Therefore, it can generate better return on your digital ads spend across multiple platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Data in Shopify Audiences are securely hashed and aggregated with encryption. This prevents businesses from accessing and downloading the personal information or statistics of buyers. Currently, it's exclusive for Shopify Plus merchants using Shopify Payments locating in the US and Canada.
Regarding Customer Segmentation, the latest (and maybe the biggest) update this year is the use of metafields for segmenting.
An example of using metafield-based segments to display personalized messages on account page. (Source: identixweb.com)
The juicy news with the Shop app
Read this if you the Shop channel installed in your Shopify store.
- Shop Cash: A new reward program for users on the Shop app. Merchants can take this chance to gain new buyers.
- Re-engage customers with Post-purchase marketing automation campaigns.
- Enhance shopping experience on the Shop app with Shop favorites & Shop search.
- Shop Promise: acclaimed badge to show your commitment to fast, reliable 2-day deliveries and hassle-free returns
Shopify is giving and will be continue to give buyers millions of dollars in Shop Cash rewards for their Shop Pay purchases. To acquire these customers, merchants selling on the Shop app can:
- integrate with Shop Pay checkout, which allows for buying with Shop Cash
- use Shop Cash Boosts to create special offers for Shop Cash users.
Regarding returning shoppers on the Shop app, you can offer an in-app discount:
- for free shipping
- at a fixed amount
- with a percentage
using Post-purchase marketing automation campaigns.
Shop favorites is a new feature in the app that let customers track their favorite products and stores. After adding to their favorites list, they will get push notifications of their favorite stores' updates, or when favorite product drops in price, when a sold-out product is back in stock. Unfortunately, merchants can neither know a customer's favorites list, nor customize the message in the notifications.
Shop favorites is also the data for the beta testing Shop search which surfaces results from stores in the favorites list first. As it automatically applies the Following filter, no search results can occur. In this case, customers can remove the filter to discover search results from stores outside their favorites list. This function is being tested for the US and Canada market.
On the other hand, Shop Promise is calling for early birds to join their waitlist. Shopify expect to release it this year for early access to all Shopify Fulfillment Network merchants and eligible U.S. merchants.
Summary of the other updates
- Apps acquired by Shopify: Dovetale for influencer marketing, Linkpop - a free shoppable-link-in-bio tool. The planned acquisition of Deliverr promises to provide faster delivery, smarter inventory, and pre-fulfillment logistics support with Flexport.
- Marketplace Kit: A place to create and manage a marketplace with ready-to-use APIs, UI integration, tools, docs for innovative platforms including the new Twitter Shopping.
- ShopifyQL Notebooks: a query language built by Shopify for commerce with ready-to-use templates and editable parameters. Exclusive for Plus merchant.
- Shopify Shipping: it has expanded to the UK and France. Merchants here can use it to save time and money on shipping labels.
- Shopify Fulfillment Network: guarantees 2-day delivery and seamless returns thanks to expediting fulfillments with bulk label printing, automating repetitive tasks, and accurately tracking inventory.
The Future Is Bright For Shopify
It’s clear that Shopify is well on its way to delivering its promise. OS 2.0 has made extensive customization features accessible for all merchants, regardless of their skillset. This makes it much easier for SMBs to thrive and compete with the big players.
Despite it still being early days, OS 2.0 has brought about a lot of meaningful changes that a lot of eCommerce merchants are reaping the benefits of. With so many exciting features being released in just 1 year, we’re sure to see even more stores being swayed to switch over as the platform continues to improve.
Shopify Editions | Summer 2022 also shows Shopify's ambition with other fields of commerce.
Since last year, the company has introduced its headless commerce solution with the duo: Hydrogen and Oxygen. This year, Shopify set the first step in Tokengated Commerce. It will allow shoppers to connect their crypto wallets and merchants to sell gated merch in-store with POS. B2B Commerce is the next area we can spot the presence of Shopify Plus stores. Finally, with the help of Shopify Markets, we'll see more and more Shopify businesses expanding to international selling. Moreover, now that filing crypto taxes is more than available among e-commerce businesses, it is easier than ever to expand to international selling.
Besides that, Shopify Balance and Shopify Capitals remain to be a useful financial aid for Shopify businesses.
If you haven't joined with connected and innovative ecosystem, no better time to give it a try than RIGHT NOW!