How the Shopify online store is changing - Shopify Unite insights
An overview of Shopify’s new online store
Shopify’s online store is at the very heart of the merchant experience. Merchants invest a lot of effort and money into building an online presence through Shopify that’s both appealing to customers and which shows off their brand and products in the best way possible.
At the Shopify Unite 2019 conference, Shopify announced a major upgrade to the online store, which will provide a new and improved editing experience for merchants, as well as more immersive shopping experiences for buyers. This is what you can expect to see changing later in the year:
The introduction of Sections back in 2016 worked very well to improve the editing experience for merchants. But they were only available for the homepage area. Now though, Sections will be available across the entire online store. This roll-out gives merchants greater control over the type of content, and the look and feel of that content, across every single page.
There’s some great news on the topic of Sections for developers too. Shopify is planning to bring apps to Sections in the online store - the company envisages that adding an app to a page will soon be as straightforward as adding text and images.
At the moment, if a merchant wants to add the same information (for example, a sizing chart) to all of their product pages, they would have to add this detail to each page manually. Master pages are a much needed time-saving feature that’s being introduced to allow merchants to edit multiple pages at the same time, through one single Master page.
Switching themes is something of a headache for merchants, as they have to transfer their content manually. But not anymore. Shopify is separating content from store themes. Merchants who want to upgrade their store design will be able to switch themes and their content will follow.
So that merchants can make tweaks, or even large changes to their store in a safe environment, Shopify is introducing Drafts. This feature will allow merchants to experiment with their store design and try out new things before going live. Drafts will also have a scheduling element, where merchants can make changes in advance, ready to publish them later.
Video & 3D update
Today’s buyer wants a detailed picture of products they’re thinking about purchasing. They want to see how a product would fit and look in a real environment, and be able to see it up close from every angle before they decide to purchase it.
That’s why Shopify has updated its online store to support video and product page media galleries, plus native 3D support for all merchants. Buyers will be able to see videos in the image gallery and get a 3D view on a full-screen popout. Read more about this update here.
Updates to Checkout
Speed and performance is the main focus for Shopify when it comes to the checkout experience - one of the most important parts of the customer journey. Already they’ve reduced checkout latency by 20% compared to three months ago.
Shopify developers will welcome the news, that for the first time, there’s an opportunity to build apps that extend into the Checkout area. Shopify is already collaborating with “ReCharge”, a recurrent subscription payments app to solve the problem of buyers having to exit out of a merchant’s checkout flow to buy subscription goods.
How will all these changes impact business?
From a merchant’s point of view, the changes to the online store will mean a much-improved editing experience for them and will help them grow their businesses seamlessly.
Merchants will have greater control over the content and overall design of their stores, without having to enter a single line of code. The fact that no technical expertise is required to use Shopify will no doubt be appealing to many aspiring entrepreneurs looking to set up an e-commerce store for the first time.
The video and 3D update will play a significant role in increasing conversions. Shopify estimates that when a buyer clicks on a 3D model, they’re more than twice as likely to go on to complete their purchase, compared to if they don’t.
With the update to video and 3D, buyers will benefit from better product browsing experiences. Instead of having to read through masses of text explaining the aesthetics and sizing details of a product, merchants can simplify their product pages by adding powerful images and videos that display all of a product’s features in incredible detail.
Lastly, the updates to the online store mean that there’s plenty of scope for developers to build apps for video and image editing, as well as checkout customizations in the future. Exciting times ahead!
Before you go, you might like to check out the main keynote at Shopify Unite which describes this announcement in full. Check it out here.