Shopify is constantly releasing new tools to empower merchants in terms of store optimization. The latest chapter in this chronicle of flexibility and option enhancement is Shopify metaobjects.
Metaobjects have a variety of uses that can have a massive impact on your Shopify store. So, in this article, we’ll take you through the basics of metaobjects and how you can use them enhance the performance of your Shopify store.
Shopify Metaobjects: A Breakdown
Before we get into what Shopify Metaobjects are, let’s first have a quick rundown of Shopify’s data structure.
The Shopify data structure
Shopify's data structure is based on the concepts of objects and fields. Objects are components of the Shopify ecosystem like products, collections, orders, customers, blog posts, etc. Each object in Shopify is represented by a data structure that contains different attributes - these are the fields. For example, a product object in Shopify might have name, price, and description fields.
Before, it was super challenging to create an object that fell out of the realms of what Shopify has in-built already. Unless you’re a coding wizz, you’d have to find a workaround. Let's say you wanted to post recipes on your store, you can’t create an object called “recipes”. You’d need to use one of the objects Shopify provides, but a recipe isn’t a product, and it’s not quite a blog post. This is where Metaobjects come in.
What are Shopify Metabojects?
A metaobject is a data structure that lets merchants build custom data models in their stores. They’re made up of different fields that help to define the object and its parameters.
Put simply, metaobjects are a tool for adding, storing, and managing additional structured data. You can think of them as custom blocks of content that can be placed on any page or section in your Shopify theme. You can also use them to streamline operations. Like Metafields, Shopify metaobjects can be attached to a Shopify object; however, they can also exist on their own.
Shopify metaobjects consist of two key components:
- The definition: this is the collection of fields describing the object’s structure. They’re all the details about the object you’re creating. You can add up to 40 fields to your metaobject
- Entries: this is the content or data for the metaobject. It’s what is displayed on the front end to your shoppers
The metaobjects you create are reusable and dynamic. So, once you have built a metaobject, you can add them to whichever part of your store they’re appropriate for, and they will pull and display the correct information automatically.
Metaobjects are a real game changer as they make it much easier for merchants to create tailor-made content and data models for specific needs. Before, having this level of flexibility required you to fiddle around with code, hire a developer, or find a suitable app. Now, the power is completely in your hands!
How To Create A Metaobject
Creating and configuring Metaobjects for your Shopify store is all done through the Admin page. On this page, you’ll notice that there’s now an area called Content where you’ll find the Metaobjects menu option.
Step 1: Creating a new Metaobject
The first step in creating a Metaobject is to Add a Definition. Click on that button and input the name of your Metaobject.
Step 2: Setting up the fields
You then need to add the different fields for your Metaobject. This is a collection of all the information you want to be displayed for the Metaobject. Each of these fields will have their own set of options and rules.
Click the Add field button and choose the type of field that matches the content you want to display. For example, select File if you want to include an image in the Metaobject.
You’ll then need to add some information about the field. Give the field a name, a basic description, and choose whether this will be just one piece of content or multiple pieces.
In the Validation section, check the box labeled Required field if it is a source of information that has to be included. In this section, you can also set up rules for the field.
Repeat this process for all the fields you want to include in your Metaobject. You can add up to 40 fields. Click Save when you’re done.
Step 3: Adding entries
After you’ve clicked Save, you’ll be taken back to the Content section and prompted to add an entry. This is where you’ll input all the content and data for all the fields you’ve included in your Metaobject.
Click the Add entry button and select the Metaobject you created from the dropdown. This will take you to a page with a form that includes all the fields you made for your Metaobject. Here, you need to add all the information for each entry you want to include in the Metaobject.
Step 3: Assigning Metaobjects
Next, you need to consider where your Metaobject entries will be displayed. This will vary depending on the purpose of your Metaobject, but you’ll always do this by setting up a Metafield.
Go to Settings > Custom data and select the part of your store you built the Metaobject for. For instance, let’s say you want the entries to show up on specific product pages, you’d need to select Products. Next, click Add definition, and fill out the name and description of the Metafields.
Click Select type and scroll through the list until you see Metaobject in the Reference section. Choose that. You’ll then be able to select the Metaobject you want to assign to the part of your store. Once you’ve done that, hit Save.
Now, when you go to the part of your store where you created a Metaobject for, you’ll be able to assign an entry to it. For example, suppose the Metaobject is created to be displayed on Product pages when you go to the Product section and click on a particular product. In that case, you can select an entry from your Metaobject under the Metafields section.
This is what we meant when we said Metaobjects are reusable. Once you’ve established a relationship between a resource and a Metaobject, you can display the content in the areas you want with a click of a button. You can also make global changes to your Metaobjects by selecting the entry in the Metaobjects section you wish to edit.
Step 4: Displaying Metaobjects in your theme
So, you’ve created your Metaobject and assigned all the entries to the right part of your store; now, you need to get the content to appear on your storefront. You’ll need to connect the Metaobject to your theme in the Theme editor to do this.
It’s important to note that this is only doable in Online Store 2.0. If you’re using a vintage theme, you will need to hire a developer if you’re not comfortable with coding.
In your Shopify Admin go to Online Store > Themes, select your theme, and hit Customize. Choose the area of your store that you want entries from your Metaobject to be displayed in, for example, Products for product pages.
Now, you need to create a new section for your Metaobject entries. Click on Add section from the left-hand side menu, choose the template for the section, and move it to the position you want it to show up in. If you want the entry to appear within an existing block, select that section.
Click on a block within your section, then click the three disk icon from the menu on the left-hand side. Here, you’ll see that the Metaobject comes up as an option. When you click on that, you’ll be presented with the relevant fields in your Metaobject that can be displayed in that block.
After choosing the relevant field, Shopify will dynamically pull the relevant content from your Metaobject based on what you assigned to each resource earlier.
Repeat this for the individual blocks within your section and hit Save.
Some Common Use Cases For Shopify Metafields
Shopify Metaobject gives merchants immense flexibility and power for managing custom data in their stores. As you’d expect, this bursts the door wide open when it comes to enhancing customer experiences and managing your Shopify store. There are tons of uses for Shopify metaobjects, let’s take a look at some of the best ones.
Product and page customizations
Just like in our example, Metaobjects can be used to customize the information and content shown on product pages. Pretty much any information you’d like to include on a product page can be added and dynamically displayed on individual product pages.
If you’re running a food store, you can use Metaobjects to display recipes or information about where each product is sourced from. Clothing and apparel stores can build Metaobjects that provide information about a designer, influencer, or brand, or to display different size charts. You can even use Metaobjects to show relevant FAQs on product pages.
This additional information can be applied beyond the product pages. You can use Shopify Metaobjects to display it on any relevant page within your store. For example, you might want to include information about designers on certain collection pages or within blog posts. You can also use Shopify Metaobjects to create richer, multi-field content such as lookbooks and product highlights.
Expanding the customer profile
Developing a deep and personal relationship with customers should be the end goal of your eCommerce business. With Shopify Metaobjects, that target is brought even closer.
Additional data fields, such as customer preferences, can be added to each customer profile to better understand what your customers need. For instance, a beauty brand could create custom fields for skin type or skin concern. With this extra understanding at hand, you’ve opened up new ways to segment and target your customers. This will help you cultivate an extra layer of trust as you can enhance personalization in your communications.
Moving away from the end user, i.e. your customers, Metaobjects can also help you to run your store a lot more smoothly and reduce time spent on doing things manually.
Shopify Metaobjects can make order management more efficient by tracking shipping and tax information. It can be used to store manufacturer or importer information, help you track inventory levels, or automatically update collection pages.
Smash & Tess drastically lowered the time it takes to publish a new collection release page template from over an hour to just a few minutes. They did this by creating a custom liquid banner for each collection page that is dynamically mapped to a Metaobject.
When a new iteration of the banner needs to be created for an upcoming collection launch, all the team needs to do is update the fields in the Metaobject entry page with the content and map it to the relevant collection. Way more efficient and simpler than theme versioning!
Shopify Metaobjects Is Here To Power Your Store With Custom Data
Shopify Metaobjects are set to help merchants enhance the eCommerce experience for both their customers and their operations. Without handling any code, custom content can be displayed on your storefront. This will make it so much easier to give customers richer insights into your brand and its offerings. It will also take a lot of arduous tasks off of you and your team’s hands, leaving more room to focus on more productive exercises.
This major update is putting Shopify on its way to becoming a capable custom data management tool and will open up a world of possibilities for custom data modeling. How will you use Shopify Metaobjects?
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