After 2 years of interruptions due to COVID-19 pandemic, Shopify Unite is finally back in person with the first stop at London. In general, this event was a follow-up for what Shopify has announced in the Special Editions in June.
This year's Unite was hosted in Tobacco Dock, a 16,000-square-meter meeting space built in. The dock is in the bustling area of Wapping, London featuring Dickensian buildings, cobbled streets, and busy pubs. Such a perfect location for Shopify partners to get together and enjoy all the talks and workshops.
Now, let Boost summarize what happened at Shopify Unite 2022 - London Edition.
Day 1: The return of Shopify Unite with product releases and platform evolution
The first day was largely devoted to reviewing and disseminating information on the most recent significant Shopify improvements and the potential they present to the partners. Of course there were also insightful sharing and guidelines to give real demonstration for what Shopify is aiming at. Networking breaks were scattered along the main workshops for Shopify enthusiasts to catch up with each other. The open, warm and welcoming feeling was a quite special thing with Shopify ecosystem meetups.
The new Checkout Extensibility features from Shopify offer a number of potent new options to personalize the checkout process. This Unite discussed the main elements of checkout extensibility in detail, along with how they interact and when to employ each feature to merchants' advantage.
Some of these overlap with the way that checkout may now be customized with Shopify Scripts and checkout.liquid. There is currently no immediate need for merchants to make any adjustments. However, the old ones are essentially being replaced by these new ones. Checkout.liquid will be replaced by Branding API, Web Pixels, and Checkout UI Extensions, while Shopify Functions are taking the place of Shopify Scripts.
App developers may create unique functionality with the help of Checkout UI Extensions, which retailers can add at specific points throughout the checkout process. To expand checkout and provide custom functionality, Shopify offers a variety of extension points, APIs, and components. Developers of apps can, for instance, add extensions for special fields, product offers, etc. that appear right in the checkout process.
Hydrogen and Headless Commerce
Hydrogen was created to power headless shops that balance the previously conflicting goals of performance and dynamicity. During Shopify Unite in London, the host went into the most current developments in web technologies that have helped Hydrogen earn outstanding performance ratings in this lecture. Hydrogen enables custom storefront developers to create quick and dynamic e-commerce experiences by leveraging the power of streaming, React Server Components, and edge-rendering.
The development is evidently moving forward, and problems with fresh vs. quick material and data collecting have been addressed. Additionally, the number of linked platforms and apps is growing. Additionally, Shopify Admin now provides full access to Oxygen, the hosting platform for Hydrogen shops. Undoubtedly, this is a Shopify project that we are keeping a careful watch on.
With the help of Shopify Functions, retailers can now access their own business logic. The Shopify talk about Functions at Unite explored the motivations for the development of Shopify Functions, the technology behind them, and how to start constructing your first Function, including what APIs are available for customization and what tools you can use to get started.
Discounting logic is the first area where Shopify Functions now allow for the extension of logic, but Shopify has disclosed that Functions may also be utilized with Payment Methods and Shipping. Shopify Functions can in many ways take the role of Shopify Scripts at that point. Additionally significant is the fact that Shopify Scripts are exclusive to Shopify Plus while Shopify Functions are available on all Shopify tiers.
Create volume-based, buy-one-get-one (BOGO), gift with purchase, and tier-based discounts are already possible with Shopify Functions.
Shopify Content Management Platform
One extremely intriguing development is the newly launched beta version of Shopify Content Platform. This brought a lot of excitement to SEO and Content experts as the current way to manage content on Shopify is pretty awful. Still, this update is not published yet so we haven't known for sure its utility and impact. We'll give you more insights as soon as we've had a chance to play with the beta. So, don't forget to subscribe and follow us on our social channel.
Sign up for beta testing Shopify Content Platform here!
More insights for app developers, experts, and partners
Shopify places a high premium on enhancing the app development experience for developers. Shopify Unite this year spent quite some time to introduce Shopify's developer tools, including as Polaris and the CLI 3.0. These tools are designed to help app developers throughout the whole development process, as well as get a sneak peek at what Shopify has in store for the future.
Also, Shopify team introduced App Design Guidelines (ADGs) with clear guidelines to utilize and differentiate an app from the competition. The Shopify App Store will have a complete overhaul in November so Boost and many app teams are preparing for the changes. Stay tuned for the holiday shopping season with a brand new look on the App Store.
Regarding Shopify Theme, Unite discussed Shopify's strategy for Liquid and themes, building on what was revealed in Shopify Editions. To help theme partners step up their theme development game, they also talked about theme-related tooling and sample processes.
The final Shopify talks was about What Merchants in EMEA Need – Opportunities for App Developers. During this talk, they explored particular prospects in this lecture and provide details on some instances of national and regional demands in EMEA that app developers may use as a foundation.
Besides Shopify Talks, there were many guided workshops at the same time to give real usage of the Shopify updates. Since the workshops' content were the same (except for the workshop about Build a Product Page with Hydrogen which occurred in Day 1 only) within 2 days of the events, we'll talk about it later in Day 2.
Day 2: Welcome back Shopify Agencies and Technology Partners to the stage
On the stage on Day 2 were Shopify Plus agency and technology partners. Peer-to-peer experience sharing is always intriguing to hear.
The opening talk was from Mat De Sousa from Wide Bundles & Wide Review. He shared some tips & tricks to grow an App on the Shopify App Store.
Mat shared a lot of insights about growing his apps. (Source: Mat's Twitter)
Next up, Amos Shacham - Co-Founder of BOA Ideas - joined force with Nir Rehav - Head of Global IT, SodaStream International. They shared valuable lessons learned from a scalable D2C infrastructure for a global superbrand that achieved 10x growth. The SodaStream case, which described how they grabbed control of their DTC business in 14 different regions and expanded by 1000% to +$100M, was the highlight of Day 2. They observed that these brilliant outcomes were largely driven by three factors:
- Leverage the power of Shopify Plus e-commerce platform
- Right partnership not vendorship
- Data platform and isolated individual components.
Later on, there was a founder story shared by Rhian Founder + CEO, Govalo / Executive Chairperson, Venntov. She spoke about her journey of co-founding and bootstrapping Venntov into a multi million dollar revenue company, after which she founded Govalo, where she raised venture capital.
Next was a talk from Ask Phill Shopify theme. They brought to the stage their experiences on How We Made React Developers Love to Code on Liquid Projects.
After that Natalie Parker - Engineering Manager at Auctane - gave a speech about using templates for writing boilerplate code to execute basic APIs and take care of operational issues like logging and monitoring. This is of great help when dealing with micro-services.
Natalie used "cookies" to imply mundane tasks during her speech. (Source: Natalie's Twitter)
Last but not least was the partner talk about Yotpo's journey from an app back in 2011 to a complete eCommerce marketing platform that includes 6 different products, powering thousands of Shopify merchants now in 2022.
Like in Day 1, there were guided workshops in Day 2 for anyone who want to know how to apply Shopify's latest updates in reality. The list of the workshops is below:
- Learning Liquid Through Building Theme Sections
- Build a Product Page with Hydrogen
- Creating Custom Shopify Checkout Experiences with Checkout UI Extensions
- ShopifyQL: A Data Querying Language Built for Commerce
- Render, Notify and Automate with Shopify Metafields
- Effective Ways to Improve Your Online Store Performance
- Create a Volume Based Discount in Rust with Shopify Functions
You don't need to attend the event to join these workshop as they are available online. Check them out here!
The first stop of Shopify Unite 2022 was over. We had a lot of exciting news from the platform the the upcoming events. We believe Shopify will grant merchants and partners more power to control and extend their store with features like Functions. Headless commerce with the duo - Hydrogen and Oxygen will be the next focus of this giant e-commerce providers.