Robin is an independent Shopify and Ecommerce consultant specializing in performant and accessible custom themes, and shop experience augmentation.
As you may have heard, this year's Shopify Unite was cancelled due to everyone being stuck at home. But there are still so many exciting announcements to talk about, so they release Shopify (re)unite instead: a virtual conference to announce all the hard work that they team has been working on over the past year.
I won’t recap the entire keynote here, just a few of the announcements and features I’m most excited about
Having an online presence is more important than ever for small business. To help merchants get online quickly, especially those who have small to medium catalogs, Shopify has released the new Express Theme for free. It offers a one-page shopping experience, and is optimized for mobile. This is a good fit for personal experience shops and restaurants.
Gift cards are temporarily available to all merchants on all pricing tiers. Start offering gift-cards to your customers now if you aren’t already.
New features are coming soon that will help with shop localization.
It was initially announced at last year’s Unite, but the new customizer experience with “Sections Everywhere” is to be released sometime this year 🤞. This is going to make all pages in your themes more customizable (not just the homepage), and reduce your reliance on templates. This should also make Shopify a more competent CMS, allowing merchants to create sophisticated pages and collections, with unique content.
It was mentioned that this will also allow shop owners to pick and choose where and how some apps are integrated with certain pages, meaning you could have an app that only shows up on certain pages or products.
Some brief mention of Subscriptions and Upsell features coming to Shopify. Details are sparse, but can’t wait to see some more native features in this area.
Marketing is essential to getting your brand seen, and Shopify Email is going to make marketing to your customers fast and easy, right from your Dashboard. It’s optimized for ecommerce, naturally, and there’s talk of automations coming. It’s free until October, and there’s a free tier coming soon.
Shopify Ping is a free app built to help you engage with your customers via live chat. Available now on iOS, and coming toon to Android and web. This is a great way to answer questions, offer suggestions, and create a personalized buying experience for your customers, especially if you can’t do so in person.
I’ve been using the new Shop app for the past few weeks, and have really enjoyed playing with it. It bundles a lot of functionality together into a single app experience. Perfect for finding local businesses, or buying from merchants you frequent. Plus it has shipment tracking built right in.
Coming soon — a Shop channel in your store’s dashboard, to help you custom and control your shop’s experience within the app.
Local delivery and pickup have become essential to business in the past few months.
Finally, performance is one of the most important factors for ecommerce. Even a few seconds of lag can really kill conversion. Rolling out soon, a completely rebuilt storefront rendering engine. Shopify claims these improvements will mean a 40% - 200% improvement in load times! And the best part is, you don’t have to do a thing, this will be rolling out globally to all merchants.
It can be challenging to know what theme changes are having a positive or negative affect on your shop performance. This summer, Shopify will be releasing an online store performance dashboard. Wondering if that recent app install is dragging down your performance? This dashboard will show these impacts over time, so you can better understand what is working, and what’s just not.
And a lot of other great things were also announced. You can read the official release here
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