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Shopify Insights

Shopify 2.0 - What Can It Do For Your Business

Shopify 2.0 upgrade. Laptop in a meeting

Shopify 2.0 was announced on June 29, 2021. It’s their biggest upgrade to date, and it has enhanced the Shopify experience for millions of businesses that use the e-commerce platform.

Online shopping has changed drastically in the past several decades. When Shopify was launched in 2006, it was just a tiny company looking to scale a business solution that worked well for their own small business. Now, Shopify powers millions of stores worldwide.

Shopify 1.0 focused on creating simple and efficient e-commerce websites that made selling products and managing inventory easy. With Shopify 2.0, the company acknowledges that the landscape of online sales has changed forever and that the competition is more fierce than ever. Hence, they introduced an update that completely overhauled the SEO, usability, and added new customization options. Let’s see how this update can benefit your business.

What is Shopify 2.0?

Shopify 2.0 is a set of new features that improve the experience of both merchants and website visitors.

With Shopify 2.0, the storefront is easier to manage than ever. The update revised the user interface, especially when it comes to customizing the look of the website. Additionally, more SEO options are available. Now, Shopify is a much more flexible, beginner-friendly e-commerce platform. Merchants are empowered to create an amazing shopping experience for their customers with uniquely customized storefronts, stand out against the competition, and scale their business with less effort when the time is right.

Meanwhile, visitors enjoy faster-loading speed and the look and feel of modern websites with improved features. For example, basic free Shopify 2.0 themes now include options such as product video, better search bars, and faster checkout. All these updates enhance the shopping experience, keeping both customers and merchants happy.

As of June 2021, all newly created Shopify storefronts are based on 2.0. Older shops have an option to migrate to 2.0 or stay on the 1.0 version, but even older themes are expected to become 2.0-compatible.

Even though merchants are not pressured to upgrade to 2.0 just yet, switching to it has some significant benefits. These are the four key advantages: revised UI and functionality, improved loading speed, modular content blocks, and metafield functionality. Let’s discuss each upgrade individually. 

Revised UI and functionality

UI has been overall streamlined; using Shopify is simple and intuitive. The platform has always positioned itself as beginner-friendly. Nevertheless, the new system is even more comprehensive, saving time for website developers and merchants alike.

Faster page load speed

The new default theme for Shopify 2.0, “Dawn”, is 35% faster than the previous default storefront layout. Faster loading speed positively affects many important website metrics, including the bounce rate, which means that fewer visitors leave your website due to slow loading. And the more potential customers stay, the more potential sales can be made without changing anything else.

Modular content blocks 

Shopify 2.0 introduced a new feature called Modular Blocks. They are also known as Shopify Sections. This functionality dramatically improves built-in customization options, allowing merchants to edit whole content blocks, drag and drop them anywhere on the page, and sometimes use the same blocks across different pages. Previously, Shopify offered a number of customizable sections, but only the homepage could have been customized to that extent, or on other pages it was done manually, usually with the help of a developer. A footer and a few other areas of the website could be tweaked without editing code as well, but most of the customization was done by choosing a different theme, picking new colors and fonts, or hiring a web developer to make a bespoke design for the website.

With 2.0, customizable sections can be added to any page of a website. Plus, there are more blocks to choose from since each Shopify-approved theme comes with its own set. Additionally, you can purchase specific sections from qwiqode. This is a great way to make your website stand out and display the content essential to your business in a different and creative way.

Being able to rearrange existing blocks on any page is another wonderful advantage of 2.0.

Metafield functionality

Shopify always had Metafields that allowed adding data to pages and products. But previously, an app was needed to access and edit them. Now, they are visible to the administrator of the website; they can be viewed when editing any listing or page.

This built-in access allows merchants to create page/product-specific content that can be dynamically added to pages via the Theme Editor. It was a bit tedious using an app since you had to open a different window. Now it’s right there on the page you’re editing from within the admin itself.

Improved customization is the key feature

One of the biggest criticisms of Shopify has always been its lackluster customization process. Sure, each theme had several color options, and there were a few fonts to choose from. Clever use of images also went a long way, allowing shops to deliver a brand message more clearly.

However, many theme-based storefronts looked somewhat similar. And while the home page could be customized to some extent, product pages were extremely alike. The checkout page was identical for all Shopify-based businesses, with no way to make it stand out from other stores. Businesses that wanted something less cookie-cutter had to work with web developers to create a custom design for their website, which was often expensive and time-consuming.

Objectively, creating a website from scratch is amazing. High quality web design goes beyond fonts, colors, branding, and layouts; it also offers new possibilities for unique functionalities and features that can improve conversion, promote customer loyalty, and increase sales. However, just because it is a great solution doesn’t mean that it’s the right solution for every Shopify-based business. And thanks to 2.0, merchants have more options.

With the update, it is possible to customize your store from the Theme Editor in new and exciting ways. Thanks to the modular blocks feature, new sections can be added to any page, creating a variety of landing pages that may all look very different.

Additionally, this functionality allows merchants to work with developers on a smaller scale without having to do a complete overhaul of their stores. For example, suppose a business requires a specific content block, for example, a comparison table. Normally, you would hire the developer (and designer) and they would create it for you. With qwiqode, it can be purchased and used anywhere on the website however many times it’s required. Once the original code is added, which is a simple copy and paste process, the block can be added to any page and customized in the Theme Editor.

New content blocks do more than just allow businesses to display their content in a beautiful way. Thanks to the ability to add them, there’s no need to compromise the page load speed by having to process various third-party scripts that come with apps.

Of course, not every app can be replaced by a Shopify section. However, it’s still a huge potential improvement when it comes to the page load speed for many online shops. And what’s even better, this advancement comes without the need to learn coding or hire anybody. The learning curve to mastering Shopify 2.0 still exists, but the system makes it easy to make adjustments and revert changes if mistakes have been made.

Thanks to these improvements, merchants and developers have much more freedom to build a unique storefront that stands out. With 2.0, Shopify-based websites are faster, more efficient, and more versatile.

Frequently Asked Questions about Shopify 2.0

Even though Shopify 2.0 has been out for a full year, there’s still a lot of confusion around the update. Let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

How much does it cost to upgrade to 2.0?

Shopify fee structure hasn’t changed; 2.0 is a free update. There are new free and paid templates to accommodate the new version, and purchasing customizable blocks may cost you money, but the subscription model and transaction fees are still exactly the same.

Will I have to learn code to maintain my website?

Not at all. The new UI in the theme editor is intuitive and self-explanatory. Additionally, modular blocks let you add content with a few clicks.

The only time you would need to view code is if you choose to install custom qwiqode content blocks. But even then the code is sent to you, and all you have to do is copy and paste it. In this article, you can learn more about qwiqode content blocks and how to use them on your Shopify website.

And, of course, you still have the option of outsourcing the maintenance job to a web development agency. We also offer limited-time installation assistance to help you add new sections to your website.

Will I still need to use apps?

Yes, most probably. The App Store still offers plenty of apps to offer services like a customer loyalty program, a more sophisticated newsletter signup form, and many more. These are things that add a lot of functionality as opposed to layout/design improvements.

Do I have to upgrade?

You don’t have to upgrade, but you’re missing out on a lot of improvements to the website. If you don’t have the time to deal with the switch to Shopify 2.0, you can hire a Shopify expert to help you with the transition.

But if your store is fine as is, and the time is not right, you don’t have to upgrade.

How do I migrate to 2.0?

Shopify 1.0 and 2.0 use different templates: the first one relies on a Liquid file template, while the second one is based on JSON templates. If your theme comes from the Shopify Theme Store, you should be able to upgrade it to a 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.

If you need help or just want to inquire what's involved, please don't hesitate to reach out.

How do Shopify and Woocommerce compare?

All platforms have their pros & cons, which could be a bit confusing since you may not know what exactly you need. Read more about the comparison between Shopify and Woocommerce.

And while it’s possible to convert to 2.0 by yourself, it might be easier to have an experienced developer do it for you. This way, everything’s going to be done the right way without the risk of losing any important data and valuable content.

We will be happy to help you to migrate your Shopify store to 2.0. Simply reach out to us, and let’s work together!