There have been loads of new updates to Shopify in 2020. Let’s have a closer look.
Shopify has had a busy year. The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent global lockdowns have brought businesses online at a greater rate than ever before. Online orders in the US and Canada saw a 121% year on year growth as of April 2020 and there have been several major Shopify updates to accommodate this expansion.
Canadian eCommerce giant Shopify has seen its own impressive growth alongside this, with the first quarter of 2020 bringing 47% revenue growth year on year. The company has been moving forward with successive updates designed to make its platform more accessible, user-friendly, and ultimately, more dominant in the eCommerce space.
Updates for merchants and experts
There have been a lot of Shopify updates in 2020. This year has been an important one for the eCommerce company after they acquired Six River Systems at the end of 2019 and began expanding their fulfillment network.
The company has also been rolling out Shopify Capital, Shopify Balance, a Shopify API update for developers, and new partnerships with Facebook, Inc., and Google. It’s been a year or expansion. An exciting year that we’ll look back on as a golden age for eCommerce.
The Shopify updates in 2020 can be broken down into two main segments:
- Updates for Shopify merchants
- Updates for Shopify partners
Shopify updates for merchants
Shopify is already one of the easiest platforms to use when setting up an online business. But the work never stops and there are countless ways that the company is seeking to improve its services. There are some big developments in the works that will make the lives of merchants much better.
Let’s take a look.
Shopify did a great job of reacting to the coronavirus outbreak. The company was quick to offer new delivery options, including local in-store delivery and curbside pickup. The new options were introduced to ensure customers wouldn’t be put at risk of infection when collecting their packages.
The Shopify free-trial period was increased from 14-days to 90-day, which led to a massive uptake in new stores opening.
Gift cards were also made available for Shopify merchants on all plans. This allowed customers to continue supporting businesses even when supply lines were affected.
Shopify Capital puts the power of finance into the hands of small businesses.
Another key Shopify update and area of its COVID-19 response in 2020 was the expansion of Shopify Capital. The financing service for small businesses has already provided more than $1 billion in loans. The service was launched in 2019 and has since expanded from the US into the UK and Canada.
Shopify doesn’t focus on personal credit history and they don’t take a slice of the merchant’s business when they hand out financial assistance.
This is one of the major areas to look at as the company continues its expansion. Shopify Capital now provides businesses with loans of $100 to $1 million. Expect to see this service reaching more countries towards the end of 2020.
Zero fees, zero interest, zero hassle. Shopify Balance is a game changer for merchants.
Another key update to the Shopify ecosystem is the new Shopify Balance service. This allows merchants to set up a zero-fee account for their funds and have a much clearer overview of their finances.
The service also includes a Shopify Balance Card that can be used much like a regular debit card so you can quickly and easier access your cash.
Merchants with a Shopify Balance account will also be able to take advantage of rewards like cash-back and discounts on services related to expanding their business.
Shop Pay installments
The coronavirus outbreak had an effect on everyone and it wasn’t just businesses who have had to struggle for cash. Shop Pay Installments help customers by allowing them to pay for a product in multiple installments over a set time with no extra fees.
Merchants will receive the full payment up-front and the customer’s payments will be collected by Shopify, so there isn’t any risk involved for businesses.
Shop Pay Installments will help merchants to boost sales in the lead-up to the holiday season at a time when cash is tight for everyone.
Subscriptions and checkout updates
Shopify is careful when it comes to updating the checkout process, which is why upcoming improvements are being slowly designed by select partners to provide a seamless shopping experience.
The Shopify updates will allow customers to subscribe to a product to receive a new one after a set amount of time. The new feature will allow merchants to up their sales on repeat orders and save customers time having to order new products every month.
The all-new Shopify POS system makes contactless payments in-store easy.
- Shopify POS is also being rolled out to allow customers to scan a QR code on in-store items, even when contactless payment isn’t supported. This allows for more physical distancing in stores and makes it easier for merchants to integrate their brick and mortar stores with Shopify.
Email is one of the most effective marketing channels to reach your customers. The introduction of Shopify Email in April 2020 means that merchants can now run professional email marketing campaigns without any prior experience.
You get your own email address from your domain and you can use pre-made templates covering everything from sales and newsletters to new products and curbside delivery. All the emails you create can include your logo and other important information to increase your brand’s visibility.
Shopify hasn’t overlooked the importance of email marketing, and neither should you.
Shopify Email helps merchants get closer to their customers and build long-lasting relationships. The service isn’t a complete fit for all your marketing needs just yet, but it’s being constantly updated and improved with the help of dedicated Shopify Partners.
Shopify has joint forces with Facebook to bring you Facebook Shops. Merchants will now be able to make a simple, stripped-back version of their stores on Facebook. This integration with the world’s most popular social media platform will help merchants to skyrocket sales.
Facebook Shops will bring your store to an audience of billions. Are you ready?
Merchants will also be able to build a branded Instagram store that syncs all of their products over to the social media app.
The fruits of this new partnership will be seen in the next few months. Alongside providing a great new sales channel for merchants, Facebook Shops shows just how far Shopify has come in the eCommerce space.
Free listings on Google Shopping
Merchants can now use the Shopify Google Shopping app to get free listings for their products on the sales channel. This feature is only available in the US at present, although the rest of the world won’t have to wait long to get this great new benefit.
Free listings on Google Shopping for all Shopify merchants? I’ll make a toast to that.
All you have to do to list products for free is install the Google Shopping app on Shopify and sync your products with it. Your products will then begin showing up in relevant Google searches. It’s as easy as passing Go and collecting $200.
Being able to talk directly with your customers is a massive plus for your brand. Shopify Ping is a messaging app that allows merchants to talk directly with customers, quickly answering questions and solving problems. The app integrates with Facebook Messenger, Shopify Chat, and Apple Business Chat, so customers can always reach you.
Shop is a new app that allows customers to track orders, see product recommendations from brands they’ve purchased from, and find independent local businesses to support. Shop makes it easier for customers to see where their products are and to stay in touch with local businesses that they admire.
Merchants now have more insight into the speed and performance of their online stores.
Speed and performance
The speed a store loads has a drastic effect on its conversion rate. Most people aren’t going to wait around if a store is slow to load. Shopify has introduced upgrades to website speed and made it easier to track performance.
- Liquid code will now be sent to the browser in HTML to make 40% to 200% quicker load times.
- The Online Store Performance Dashboard lets merchants test how themes, apps, and other factors affect the speed of their stores.
>Shopify Fulfillment Network
The 2019 acquisition of 6 River Systems has given Shopify a major competitive edge in the United States. The company now has seven warehouses and a fleet of ‘Chuck’ robots that reduce walking times for workers and improve efficiency.
The continuing expansion of the Shopify Fulfillment Network allows for improved shipping times and customer support. The company will continue to expand this network around the world in the coming years.
Restaurants and cafes will love the simplicity of the new Shopify Express theme.
Shopify Express Theme
The Shopify Express theme is built for stores who want to get online quickly and without much hassle. It’s ideal for cafes and restaurants who want a simple online presence but don’t need collection pages and all the bells and whistles that come with a full-blown eCommerce store. Express is free and doesn’t take long to get your head around.
Updates for Shopify Partners
Shopify is only as good as the partners who help to continue building it. The company has made several important updates that affect Shopify Partners in 2020, including updates to the API and Polaris v5.0.0, improved community forums, and more.
Shopify is making moves to make things less complicated. Polaris v5.0.0 is a clear reflection of this.
The Polaris library has been updated to make it less complicated. Several dependencies have been removed, as well as support for Shopify App Bridge. Developers can use the @shopify/app-bridge-react package for React components.
Development stores locked
Development stores created after 10th August 2020 will now be password locked unless you choose a plan or transfer ownership of the store. This closes the loophole that allowed people to open stores in development format and skirt around paying for a Shopify plan.
Page loading speeds will improve dramatically thanks to the AWS EventBridge integration with Shopify.
AWS EventBridge integration
The new Shopify EventBridge integration allows developers to build apps that can handle larger quantities of web hooks without getting overwhelmed. This solution is ideal for apps that are integrated into large stores with massive amounts of web hooks being sent back and forth.
Shopify Partner Town Hall
Developers, marketers, and other Shopify Partners can come together once a month to learn and grow in the Partner Town Hall. The virtual meetings will be hosted by a new guest speaker each month and will serve as a gathering place for partners to mingle.
Partners can also join the Shopify #AppReviewAMA sessions on Twitter to gain insights into how to better develop apps on the platform.
Shopify Partner Town Hall is a virtual get-together for developers, marketers, and other Shopify partners.
Updates to Shopify API
The new Shopify API update gives merchants more efficient apps for their stores. Apps that use previous API versions will be delisted from the Shopify App Store to prevent merchants from using them. If you’re an app developer, you can check its API health to make sure it’s up-to-date.
Shopify Theme Inspector for Chrome
Inefficient coding makes pages render slower, increasing the page load time and reducing the store's conversions. The Shopify Theme Inspector for Chrome allows you to inspect your Shopify theme coding to see where inefficiencies lie, thus allowing you to fix them and improve load times.
This is a great tool for developers to improve their clients’ websites and boost their conversion rate as a result.
Takeaways: What do these updates mean for you
This year hasn’t been easy, but just as great men and women are formed out of tough times, so Shopify will become much greater from this trying chapter in our history.
There’s a lot to look forward to for the rest of 2020. Perhaps the greatest of them all will be Shopify’s integration with Facebook and Instagram, which will create a completely new sales channel with billions of active users.
As a Shopify merchant
The new updates to Shopify in 2020 will allow merchants more freedom to run their business their own way. The updates will make it easier to integrate their eCommerce store with social media platforms and they’ll remove barriers for merchants to use their own money.
As a Shopify partner
Shopify API updates and AWS EventBridge integration, alongside programs for closer integration with other experts, will improve the lives of Shopify partners. New store themes will also give partners more choice when designing websites for clients.
Are merchants and partners happy with Shopify updates in 2020?
It appears most merchants and partners are welcoming the Shopify updates in 2020. New features, an updated API, exciting new integrations, and performance upgrades to stores will help merchants boost their conversion rates. Shopify’s COVID-19 response also helped many businesses stay afloat in difficult times.
What should you look forward to most? Facebook Shops!
Facebook Shops will be a massive boost for Shopify merchants. It will allow stores to reach new markets with ease and, alongside the Google Shopping integration, it’ll drive sales to new heights. Be excited. Be very excited!