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RainDrops Blog: Web Design & Dev Insights

Everything You Need To Know About Shopify 2.0

Author: Ronen Hirsch

On Jun 29, 2021, Shopify announced its biggest upgrade to date, Shopify 2.0. It brings a lot of benefits for your website and it in turn, to your business.

Everything You Need To Know About Shopify 2.0

Since its launch back in 2006, the system has seen many changes and modifications over the years. And while those updates advanced the platform and helped it become the e-commerce giant that it is today, Shopify 2.0 is meant to be a complete overhaul in terms of SEO, usability, and customization. Let’s see how it can benefit your business.

What is Shopify 2.0?

Shopify 2.0 is a set of new features that improve both merchant and shopping experience on Shopify.

On the merchant end, it revises UI and makes the system’s functionalities much easier to use. Shopify 2.0 adds more new ways to customize your storefront, including more sophisticated SEO fine-tuning.

The stores are now easier to build and maintain. Shopify 2.0 is a much more flexible, beginner-friendly platform where merchants can create unique experiences for the customers, scale their business easier, and have a better chance to compete in the ever-shifting world of e-commerce.

Visitors will enjoy faster page loading speed and more advanced storefronts. Basic free 2.0 themes available in the Theme Store now include options such as product video, enhanced search, and faster checkout. Better browsing leads to a smoother shopping experience, which translates into more sales and higher revenues for businesses based on Shopify 2.0.

By the end of 2021, all themes available in the Shopify Theme Store are expected to be 2.0-compatible. Going forward, all new storefronts created on Shopify are going to be on 2.0. Previously created storefronts have an option to migrate to 2.0 or stay on the 1.0 version.

And while Shopify does not pressure its merchants to migrate just yet, there are some undeniable benefits to making the transition. Let’s see what they are.

What’s new: 4 key benefits

Shopify 2.0 rolled out a multitude of improvements and adjustments, many of which are aimed to improve the quality of Shopify-based websites. Here are the main four categories of upgrades that will affect the Shopify experience for both merchants and shoppers:

Revised UI and functionality

The platform is generally much easier to use. Shopify has always been beginner-friendly, making it easy to start a fully-functioning e-commerce website within hours. The new system is even more intuitive and comprehensive, saving time for merchants and developers alike.

If you are curious about comparing and migrating from Woocommerce over to Shopify, read more here.

Modular blocks 

Shopify 2.0 introduced modular blocks, otherwise known as Shopify Sections. They can be added to any page, which vastly improves built-in customization options. In 1.0, there were a number of customizable sections, but they were only available for the home page and a footer and maybe a few other areas. Given its limited functionality, most of the customization was done by using the few available themes, changing up colors and fonts, paying for apps, or hiring a web developer to create custom code for your website.

You can now add these customizable sections on any page on your website. Each theme ships with it’s own set of sessions that you can choose from and use throughout the site, but of course you can always hire a web design agency or developer to create new sections. Alternatively, you can purchase pre-built Shopify sections that display your content exactly like you wanted to with ease and on your own.

With 2.0, merchants can create a unique look and experience for their customers across the website. This makes Shopify a more attractive platform for many businesses across various industries. 

Metafield functionality

Without getting too technical, Shopify always had Metafields that allow you to add additional content or data to pages and products. But now, with Shopify 2.0 you don’t need to use an app to edit them. They’re right there, built into each page in the admin, allowing merchants to upload and amend content without leaving the page. Access to meta fields makes it much easier “to start working out of the box on stores across market verticals.” That makes scaling your business a much easier endeavor, allowing you to have your products listed across multiple platforms with less additional work.

Faster page load speed

“Dawn”, a new default theme for brand new shops, is 35% faster than “Debut”, a previous default storefront layout. Faster loading speed decreases the bounce rate, which increases the chances of converting visitors into customers - which is of course, your main goal.

Additionally, some of the new functionalities added to the stores removed the need to use some third-party apps, improving the overall load speed.

As a result of these upgrades, Shopify merchants will be able to create more unique, fast, appealing storefronts that do a better job of converting visitors into customers. At the same time, developers will have more freedom to create new theme designs, making Shopify-based websites more efficient and diverse.

More customization, please.

Before 2.0, one of the biggest criticisms of Shopify was its lack of customization options. Many theme-based storefronts looked somewhat similar. There were a few various front page layout options, but product pages were very alike. The checkout page was identical for all businesses, and there was no way to make it stand out from other stores short of changing the colors and adding your logo. Those who wanted more bespoke stores had to resort to custom code solutions, which can be expensive and time-consuming.

And while ordering a custom design made specifically for your business needs is still the best way to build a website if you have a budget and a timeline for it, it is not going to be an optimal solution for every company.

The same comes down to website functionalities. Sure, apps from the App Store had a lot to offer, but 2.0 introduced a much more elegant way of adding important functionalities to your store. With Sections, you can cherry-pick the types of content that you want to display on your website pages, and there’s no need to compromise the page load speed by having to process a third-party script every time you load a page.

These improvements will change the way Shopify stores look, function, and load. They will make them look more professional and unique.

And if you need an even better way to display your content, check out qwiqode customizable Shopify sections. These blocks can be used anywhere on the website as many times as you need.

With these new features, merchants can really improve their Shopify website regardless of their technical expertise, coding experience, or scale.

Questions, anyone? 

Ever since Shopify 2.0 has been released, our clients have been asking us lots of questions about the new platform. Here are the most frequently asked questions.

Does Shopify 2.0 cost more?

No, Shopify paid plans and fees stay the same. As long as you’re subscribed to one of them, everything will work exactly the same for you payment-wise.

Will I need to learn code to maintain my website?

No, not at all. New and improved UI in the theme editor is intuitive and beginner-friendly. Moreover, the modular block functionality allows you to customize your pages very easily, letting you add content with a few clicks.

And if you need more sophisticated tools for your business, you can always check out custom Shopify Sections developed by qwiqode. The installation will take mere minutes, and we offer installation services upon purchase if you need any assistance.

And of course, you still have an option of outsourcing the maintenance job to a web development agency. If you’re interested in working with us, reach out to us, and we’ll get back to you with a quote. 

Will I still need to use apps?

It all depends on the functionalities that you require to run your business. New built-in sections may cover many of your needs. And if they don’t, the App Store still has plenty of apps to offer. Usually, when your store grows, you would want to offer your customers more value and a better experience with your brand. So you may want to add a Loyalty program, a more feature-rich solution for newsletter signups, and so on, which all require additional apps.

With 2.0, apps are uploaded onto a page as modular blocks. You can pick which apps appear on which pages, which makes a huge difference in terms of editability and personalization of Shopify stores.

Do I have to upgrade my store to 2.0?

Currently, there is no requirement to upgrade all storefronts. You can leave everything as is if the timing is not right for you and your business. However, you are leaving on the table all the opportunities and improvements that 2.0 offers. Chances are, your 1.0 store will load a bit slower than its 2.0 version, and it will have fewer functionalities and customization options.

But if your store works just fine right now and you don’t want to spend time and energy on the upgrade, that is totally fine. Your store will continue working as it did before. However, still consider migrating in the future since the world of e-commerce is always changing, and the updates of 2.0 can genuinely improve the shopping experience for your customers.

How do I migrate to 2.0?

Shopify 1.0 relies on Liquid file template, while 2.0 features are now based on JSON templates. If your theme comes from the Shopify Theme Store, it should be able to be upgraded to its 2.0 version. A custom Liquid-based theme can be converted into a JSON template, and any required Liquid code or HTML can be moved into sections that can be included in the new JSON template.

It is possible to switch to Shopify 2.0 by yourself, but we don’t recommend that you try this on your own unless you already have the knowledge and experience doing so. However, if you want to have things done right, you can hire an agency to do the transition for you. This way, you can be confident that the job will be done right, without forgetting to do things, losing any valuable content and just getting frustrated with the process.

If you lack coding knowledge or would like to have a professional web developer do this job for you, reach out to us, and we will be happy to help you to migrate your Shopify store to 2.0.

If you would like to sign up to Shopify with a free trial, click here.

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