What is Shopify Online Store 2.0?
Shopify Online Store 2.0 is an upgraded version of the Shopify platform that includes new theme architecture and increased customisation options. This major update provides time-saving features, improved performance, and enhanced content management capabilities for store owners.
Since launching in 2021, it has revolutionised the Shopify experience for retailers, unlocking enhanced store flexibility whilst giving users increased control.
What are the primary features of Shopify Online Store 2.0?
Here are some of the main features of Online Store 2.0 to be aware of:
Shopify sections are essentially individual elements within a page – such as a text block, a banner, or an image. Historically, sections have only been available for store owners to use on their homepage or to assign to certain templates.
With Online Store 2.0, users can add, remove and rearrange sections across their site, including on product pages, custom pages, collection pages and blog feed articles.
This flexibility makes it easy for store owners to customise their site’s appearance, without reliance on a developer. You can quickly and easily modify the look of your store – whether that’s by adding a banner to promote a new product launch, changing the position of an Add to Cart button, or reordering the elements on a page.
It’s also much easier to create unique landing pages without relying on developer resources or having to use external page builder tools (which can slow down your site).
Better app integration
With Online Store 2.0, users are just one click away from adding app widgets, extensions and integrations. Most app integrations are managed through theme settings by enabling the toggles and adding the widget from app blocks.
This gives retailers full control over exactly where the app appears on a page, with the freedom to rearrange the block’s position using intuitive drag and drop functionality.
Improved theme editor user interface
With an upgraded user interface, Online Store 2.0 makes it much easier to understand the hierarchy of your website. This makes it quicker to navigate to different pages and make edits.
All available features and functionalities have been centralised too – again making site management a lot more fluid.
Meanwhile, better real-time visualisation of any changes being made has been enabled thanks to a faster preview area.
Liquid input setting
In Online Store 2.0, store owners can access sitewide and page-specific Liquid objects from the theme editor. This is yet another feature that enhances customisation options for retailers, allowing them to refine a theme to suit their specific needs.
Metafields are custom fields used to assign extra pieces of data to objects in Shopify. Previously, the addition of metafields was fairly complex and inflexible on Shopify, and often relied on the use of specific apps or custom code.
In Online Store 2.0, Shopify has launched its own metafield functionality, which allows retailers to add metafields via the theme editor – saving time and increasing efficiency. And, metafields now support a variety of files, like images, video links, product lists, rich text or PDFs.
Metafields can be grouped using metaobjects. You can then apply a metaobject to multiple products – rather than having to apply multiple metafields to each individual product.
For example, if have a clothing store on Shopify, you could create a set of information for your materials, including:
- where it’s sourced from;
- an image of the material;
- the feel (touch); and
- the percentage mix in the fabric.
This data can be stored in a metaobject and then applied to a product, which means you don’t have to add the information one by one to your product information.
Retailers using Online Store 2.0 can connect dynamic data sources – attributes that update to reflect their context – to settings in their theme sections.
Metafields and metaobjects can be employed within sections as dynamic data sources, enabling dynamic content experiences that adapt to specific products, collections, blog articles and more.
What are the benefits of Shopify Online Store 2.0?
The features of Online Store 2.0 discussed above combine to deliver a number of benefits – for both store owners, agencies and end consumers.
1. Improved experience for store owners
Thanks to the new theme architecture, building and maintaining a store is faster, smoother and more efficient, with less dependence on coding skills.
Online Store 2.0 gives store owners enhanced flexibility and ownership. It is easier to use than its predecessor, with a vastly improved user experience for ecommerce teams.
2. Faster implementation of changes
Being able to implement changes yourself, and without the need to brief a developer, saves retailers time and allows ideas to be implemented quickly.
This means that brands can be more agile, responding quickly to their business needs – or those of their customers.
It’s important to caveat here that there are certain scenarios where development work may still be needed to meet high levels of customisation. The level of customisation required typically determines the extent of development required.
3. Budget unlocked for ROI positive activities
It can also save money on feature development, unlocking budget for other activities such as marketing, optimisation and product development.
This means that ROI positive activities can be prioritised and budget reallocated accordingly – whether that is rolling out additional features and functionality, increasing digital marketing budgets or investing in CRO/experimentation – rather than simple tasks like adding a new section or customising a template.
4. Empowers creation of unique ecommerce stores
What’s more, the enhanced control and increased opportunity for customisation that comes with Online Store 2.0 empowers retailers to create a unique store that better reflects the values and messaging of their brand.
With virtually limitless customisation options, it’s now much easier for a store owner to inject creativity across their site, crafting a more memorable and compelling experience for visitors.
5. Enhanced customer experience
Speaking of users’ experience, sites built on Online Store 2.0 are likely to perform better, due to their streamlined layout and enriched content experiences. This makes for more satisfied visitors and a lower bounce rate.
Should you upgrade your theme to Online Store 2.0?
To be able to access the features of Online Store 2.0, your theme needs to be compatible with this new version. It’s possible to upgrade your current theme to 2.0 (although in some cases, it might be more suitable to undergo a rebuild with a compatible theme).
Of course, you don’t have to upgrade to Online Store 2.0. You will continue to get support from Shopify for your current theme if you choose not to upgrade.
However, the benefits of Online Store 2.0 are compelling, and a theme upgrade or redevelopment could unlock significant opportunities for your brand. If you’re frustrated with the content management possibilities of your current theme, crave more flexibility, or are simply seeking more ownership over your site, then it’s worth exploring a migration to or rebuild on 2.0.
Leverage the benefits of Online Store 2.0 with Swanky
Any new stores we build at Swanky leverage Online Store 2.0. As such, our in-house team of Shopify developers is well-versed in the intricacies of this theme architecture and its features.
Sites we’ve created on this upgraded version of Shopify include:
- a beautiful store for global hair care brand Bouclème, which you can read about in this case study;
- a sophisticated site for mattress and bed B Corp Naturalmat (more information in this case study);
- a robust DTC foundation for Hong Kong supplements retailer Bonasana Health – with details in this case study;
- an MVP Shopify storefront for a new coffee brand, Brisbane-born Blackstone Road (case study here); and
- a dazzling ecommerce store for long-established Australian retailer, Hogans Family Jewellers.
Swanky Starter Framework
Here at Swanky, we have developed our own custom development framework, built on Shopify Online Store 2.0.
It leverages best-of-breed developer tools and the latest web technologies in order to rapidly develop fully bespoke, high-performance storefronts that (i) convert well, (ii) are engineered to be lightning-fast, and (iii) provide a slick and engaging user experience for you and your customers.
Swanky’s development framework includes the following distinct components:
- the custom-built Store 2.0 codebase, including state-of-the-art technologies and developer tools;
- an advanced CI/CD pipeline for version control and efficient maintenance of multiple storefronts;
- a design framework for rapid prototyping of UIs that employ ecommerce best practices;
- a documentation framework, catering to both developers and retailers; and
- an email development framework, to enable rapid customisation of transactional emails.
To talk to us about building on or upgrading to Shopify Online Store 2.0, please reach out to our team today and we’ll be happy to discuss your ecommerce project.