Every year, Shopify Unite brings together the world’s ecommerce community, from global brands and entrepreneurs to Shopify partners and developers to introduce the platform’s latest features to power the next generation of commerce. With ongoing Covid-19 pandemic restrictions around the world, Shopify has built an array of tools that enable entrepreneurs and developers to reshape shopping experiences for local and global consumers. But which features should businesses in Hong Kong focus on to craft visionary retail experiences? We will cover two major Shopify announcements that Hong Kong ecommerce businesses should take advantage of: Online Store 2.0 and Checkout Extension.
Below is an overview of highlights:
Online Store 2.0
Shopify is designing a whole new online store experience that is easier than ever for merchants to customize, edit, and update, and more consistent and smooth than ever for customers to navigate. New sites should have performance, design, accessibility, and reusable sections and blocks to build custom layouts on any page, with app blocks in multiple locations on a page.
Whole new themes with blocks that you can drag and drop
Shopify has introduced a new way for merchants to design and personalize every page in the Shopify store. With sections and blocks, merchants can add, rearrange, and remove content such as text, media, and even apps -- all without editing code. Merchants can enjoy these new features by adopting one of the new themes in the Shopify Theme store. Development teams can also get a sense of how new themes can be built and configured with Shopify’s new reference theme Dawn on Github. Merchants that open a Shopify store now will use Dawn as their default theme.
Shopify has also created a process for existing Shopify users to upgrade their themes. Teams can migrate a theme by converting a Liquid template into a JSON template and moving required Liquid code or HTML into sections that can be included in the new JSON template. More information can be found about theme migration to Online Store 2.0 here.
Display flexible store content with metafields
Shopify is also creating information blocks, known as metafields, that you can create once and insert throughout various parts of a store. These metafields can store information such as delivery times, product variants, sizing charts and care instructions that can be inserted into your product pages, FAQ page, and checkout flow. This allows teams to confidently create and edit information that will be automatically updated throughout a store wherever the metafield is inserted. Merchants can also add dynamic sources to settings in their themes, whether it is an object or custom metafield. Standard metafields can also be added to themes to make reusing components more convenient throughout a store.
Insert supported apps throughout your store
Themes that use this new architecture can add support for app blocks built with theme app extensions, an app development framework that lets you add an app to a theme, or update an app, without altering a merchant's theme code. Code is packaged in modular app blocks that merchants can control using the Shopify theme editor. When an app is uninstalled by a merchant, the app code is removed with it. This makes your theme easier to support and troubleshoot.
Teams can find out how to insert app extensions into different parts of a page here.
Because shoppers around the world have different online (to offline) purchasing habits, Shopify has extended its checkout and payment options to maximize flexibility for merchants. This means that brands can design hyper localized checkout flows — make everything from simple appearance adjustments to match branding to complex UI and business logic changes.
Shopify has expanded its checkout and payment capabilities to become Payments Platform. Shopify’s Payments Platform unlocks global localization opportunities, such as Shop Pay Installments (popularly known as Buy Now Pay Later) options and QR code scans. Shop Pay installments allows you to give customers flexibility to reduce cart abandonment, drive repeated purchases, maximize buying power and increase order values.
Shopify Payments Platform also opens up new checkout flows and options for local markets through third-party app development. Finally, Shopify’s Checkout interface will also now have extensions and support inserting metafields, such as for bilingual disclaimers and notices frequently required for Hong Kong businesses.
Merchants can check Shopify payment methods in Asia to find out what regional and local payment gateways are currently supported.
For Unite 2021, Shopify focused on numerous building blocks that maximize performance and customization, enabling businesses to execute on new visions for integrated online and offline retail experiences.
Hong Kong developers can into new tools such as Shopify’s CLI and Github integration, Hydrogen toolkit, and GraphQL API for hyper custom graphics. In addition, Shopify’s Storefront API helps unlock more localization features such as subscriptions and international pricing for global shoppers and curbside pickup. Developers can also create non-Liquid custom storefronts on Shopify with existing developer frameworks and tech stack to turn any screen -- desktop web, mobile apps, and smart wearables -- into a shopping channel.
You can find additional announcements, such as developer products, on Shopify’s website. We also recommend watching the recorded Shopify Unite Keynotes by CEO Tobi Lütke and COO Harley Finkelstein to learn more about the company’s vision for ecommerce.
If you would like to stay updated about Shopify announcements, please join the Shopify Hong Kong Facebook group, managed by Frankie Ng from Shopify and subscribe to our newsletter below to get an invite for the next quarter’s Shopify Meetup!
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