There is a lot of buzz about Summer Editions `23 and you can’t have buzz in 2023 without AI playing a part. Shopify released its AI “Sidekick” as your new personal eCommerce assistant that can set up promotions, generate reports, and other useful things for you – pretty neat. However, my top picks focus on features that further grow and tackle more complex issues for Enterprise storefronts.
Below I’ve highlighted my favorite features in the Shopify Editions Summer release:
Shopify Features Available Now
These exciting new features were available as soon as they were announced at Shopify Editions on July 26th. I recommend looking into how they can help optimize your site experience.
Metaobject templates are leveling up the Shopify CMS and page templating capabilities. If your storefront has unique “objects” that you need to create with many “entries” across your site, this will make your site more robust and easier to manage.
What is an object? An object can be anything… size charts, stores, influencers, landing pages, product experts, etc. Anything where you can imagine wanting a dedicated page template, with some dynamic content that will change on a per page basis. Let’s take an example of Stores.
If your company has 50 stores, you can create a Store object, and then group metafields of data about your stores. You may store hours, location, phone number, social media links, events, etc. Now you can create an a template dedicated to how your store pages will look, but using the CMS you can easily drag and drop your existing CMS sections and blocks to build the page; potentially creating a unique landing page with no or low-code, and making the content dynamic, so for every store, the hours, locations, phone number, etc. are updated per store, per page.
This model also opens up a more robust and deeper page hierarchy than we’ve seen before. Shopify metaobject templates allow us to create an /object-name/object-entry subdirectory under pages. This gives us more subfolder depth than we have had in the past; continuing with the Store example, it will look something like this: yoursite.com/pages/stores/name-of-store. I think this is a step in the right direction, to provide more semantic URL handles and better page groupings in a deeper URL path.
Merchandising Collections with Metafields
This release is very tactical, possibly my favorite update, and I think will be most appreciated by merchandisers, store managers, and agencies. The release of native metafields, and then metaobjects, opened up a lot more possibilities for handling complexity on Shopify storefronts, and the more they extend this functionality, the better we will all be. This release allows you to merchandize your Automated Collections by using their conditional logic to include products based on a metafield attribute. Yes, no more crazy tag rules, you can now target metafields directly. A few examples: a running store wants to curate a collection of shoes (Best For = “5K”), or your clothing line released an Avengers line with the newest Marvel movie (Collaboration Line = “Marvel Collection”), or you have a Bestsellers data feeding a metafield from your ERP (Bestseller = TRUE).
Shopify B2B Updates
Shopify has made large strides in the last year with moving from their Wholesale sales channel to full on B2B features. This release did not disappoint and shows the continued focus on B2B features for your stores. B2B on Shopify can now handle vaulted (saved) credit cards, company request forms w/ automated account creation, volume pricing, quick order lists, and lastly PO numbers on orders and at checkout. Now that is quite a release – Shopify tackled some of the largest gaps in B2B functionality this past year, and I’m excited to start using these.
Personalization has been a huge eCommerce theme in recent years to keep brands providing unique and higher converting experiences. The new Bundles app provides an admin UI for combining products into a fixed bundle. While this initial release has some disappointing limitations (100 variants, for example), I’m still stoked about it. Bundles and specifically the Bundles API shows they are opening this line of functionality up, and with third party apps or leveraging their API, we will more easily allow customers to create their own bundles, providing a more personalized experience. I think we will see this increase to 250 variant limits in the near future, and we can hope to see an increase to 1,000+ variants in 2024.
Interested in Learning More Soon
At the time of Editions webinar, these features were light on information or we haven’t had time to experiment yet, but we’re excited to learn more.
Shopify One-Page Checkout
One-page checkout is in “coming soon” status. Shopify hired a consulting firm and released competitive advantage metrics of their checkout. They claim Shopify’s overall conversion rate outpaces the competition by up to 36% and by an average of 15%. A single page checkout will only help increase those metrics and conversion for merchants. This is an exciting update, one of the best value propositions of Shopify is the stability and scale, and them continuing to invest in the best and fastest checkout allows merchants at any level to compete at the highest level with stable, high converting, and blazing fast checkout.
Shopify previewed a very interesting release in their CMS, called Flex Sections. It appears to be pushing the bounds of “drag-and-drop” editing even further, closely resembling something like Builder.io or Divi or Elementor. While I don’t think this will as robust as other leading eCommerce CMSs such as Builder.io, Contentful, or Sanity, I’m excited to see what it can do. This could be a huge upgrade for brands not in the position to invest in a more fully featured / headless CMS offering, and I think it is consistent with Shopify’s mission of empowering marketing teams and being less reliant on developers for changes.
Checkout Extensibility and APIs
A lot of checkout APIs and customization options have been released, touching on all different types of features: new CMS level visual customization options, customized delivery methods, address validation in checkout, and cart transformation functions. Many of these are API based vs adminable, but the app marketplace will surely enhance their apps to leverage this new functionality in the next few months.
Marketplace Connect App
I’m excited to dive into this, the initial demo was intriguing. This appears to be an upgrade to their prebuilt marketplace connectors, by providing more robust functionality to manage your feeds and make them unique across marketplaces. Being able to manage data feeds across marketplaces is key to stay competitive in today’s market, which is why ChannelAdvisor, Feedonomics, and Salsify have grown to be so successful. I think Shopify’s merchant base is large enough to really support some innovation and simplification of the marketplace selling – excited to see if they can disrupt this vertical as well.
Once again, Shopify has delivered an exciting Editions event with noteworthy updates. The Editions release style is a great approach to announcing many updates, and their consistency validates that they are the fastest evolving platform in the industry today. While not every feature is groundbreaking, you can’t argue with the pace that they are launching features and investing in the platform. I think this pace is what gives them a competitive edge and makes me bullish on their ability to continue to acquire new merchants.