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Episode 100 - Recent Improvements from Shopify

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Hey, Scott Austin here.

Every so often, I do an episode of all the new features, big and small, that Shopify has recently rolled out.  So this episode will be dedicated to the past 9 months of improvements from Shopify.  And as always, Shopify has rolled out a number of improvements.

Let's start with a little background.  Shopify is a hosted solution which is also referred to as SAAS, which is an acronym that stands for Software as a Service. What this means is that Shopify runs and manages the servers that your store runs on. Way back in the history of eCommerce, like in 2005, if you were running an online store you had to run it on your own servers which made the whole thing much more complex. Now there are a lot of advantages to a hosted solution. And one of those is that Shopify can add new features to their service easily. And they do this all of the time. They are constantly improving things. You may notice quite often that when login to your Shopify admin that things look different. Your eyes do not deceive you. It just means that Shopify has deployed a new release to their servers. Shopify provides a changelog where they detail out all of their improvements. I've included a link to it in the show notes if you want to stay on top of improvements as they come out.  In the show transcript, I'll also include links to the Shopify help documentation on most of changes that I'll be covering in this episode in case you want to dig into a topic more.  That said, some of the documentation provided can be a bit weak.

So here's a list of the improvements from the last 9 months.  I’ll cover them in buckets that I present in alphabetical order.

My goal here is to make you aware of the changes, so that you can pursue any that sound of interest to.  There are so many new features that I don't have the time to go into them in any depth.

Bucket A - Apps

These are the apps provided by Shopify like the Search & Discovery App and Shopify Flow.

  1. Search Settings are now available in the Shopify Search & Discovery app. Use the new Settings feature in the app to customize search and predictive search results.
  2. Measure your store's performance with analytics in the Search & Discovery app. Use data to improve your stores search and discovery experience
  3. Shopify Flow is now available in the Shopify plan. If you are using the Shopify plan, you can now use Shopify Flow to customize your store through automation.  That means that flow is not available in the Shopify Basic plan.
  4. Shopify Audiences launches to help merchants find new buyers. Shopify Audiences is an app built by Shopify to help you find new buyers who have a strong interest in purchasing your products.
  5. 3 new Inbox features to help you better track important conversations. With a new menu, easily keep track of open conversations, closed, and assigned to you. Manage them with new shortcuts, taps and swipes. Check your notification settings and send a test on your device.

Bucket B - Balance

  1. Connect your Balance account to Venmo, Wise, and other financial apps - Shopify Balance merchants can easily and securely connect their favorite financial apps to their Shopify Balance account.
  2. Export Shopify Balance transactions to a CSV file - You can now export your transactions from your Balance account to a CSV file for accounting purposes.
  3. Easily Transfer money into Shopify Balance – Shopify has added a new feature that will allow merchants to easily transfer money into Balance from external Bank Accounts
  4. Shopify Balance low balance alerts - Shopify Balance merchants can now get notified when their account balance drops below a preset value.

Bucket C - Channels

  1. Upload your store to YouTube. Pin products next to your videos within your YourTube channel so followers can like, subscribe, and buy.
  2. Merchants can now advertise on Roku. The new Roku X Shopify marketing channel enables Shopify merchants who have stores located in the United States to easily build, buy, and measure TV streaming advertising campaigns directly on Roku.
  3. Merchants can now sell on Twitter. The Twitter sales channel integration allows merchants to easily manage and sell their products on Twitter.
  4. Now manage discounts on sales channels in Shopify Admin. Use Shopify to manage discounts on different sales channels.
  5. Marketing reports on channel performance and attribution. New marketing reports on channel performance and attribution that help you get more insights out of your session and conversion data.
  6. Shopify Audiences is now available for Pinterest Ads. You can now use Shopify Audiences for your Pinterest advertising campaigns.

Bucket D - Checkout and Fulfillment

  1. Customers can sign in to your store with Shop. Allow your customers to sign into your online store with their Shop credentials. Customers signed in with Shop can speed through checkout with their saved billing and shipping information automatically filled in.
  2. Shopify launches a customer self-serve returns feature - Customers can now request a return through your online store
  3. New customer account type - Give your customers the power to review and manage orders with a customer account that doesn’t make them memorize another password.
  4. Dynamic checkout buttons now work with international pricing - Merchants using international pricing can now use dynamic checkout buttons on their product pages.
  5. Improved backup shipping rates to avoid blocked checkouts - Improved backup shipping rates will be added to your checkout
  6. Refunded Gift Cards are now auto-disabled - We’ve improved Gift Cards and now when a Shopify Gift Card is refunded we will auto disable it for you.
  7. SMS Order Confirmation available only for certain countries - Shopify is only sending Order Confirmation SMS on behalf of merchants whose billing address is in one of these 13 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom and United States
  8. Subscription Shipping Rate Names to No Longer Use Default Names - Merchants can now create selling plan specific shipping rates (for subscriptions) so that the names from those rates surface in checkout.
  9. Branding customizations are now available for new customer accounts - Build brand loyalty and awareness with consistent checkout branding in the new customer accounts pages.
  10. Local Delivery & Pickup for Subscriptions - Sell Subscriptions with different delivery methods, like Shipping, Local Delivery or Pickup.
  11. Send invoice emails to multiple recipients - Merchants can now send invoice emails to multiple recipients using a CC field.
  12. New permission to refund orders - A new permission has been added to control staff access to initiating order refunds.
  13. Show estimated delivery dates at checkout by enabling Processing Time. Provide transparency and build trust with your buyers by showcasing the expected delivery date on your checkout in a few clicks by enabling the new Processing Time feature.
  14. Copy a draft order checkout link - Merchants can now copy a draft order checkout link that accesses the checkout directly.
  15. New default setting for shipping custom items for draft orders - Draft orders now only allow shipping fees to be added to orders containing at least some physical items. Orders containing no physical items can't have shipping charges added to them.

Bucket E - Country Specific Rollouts

  1. Shopify Payments is now available in Czechia, Finland, Switzerland, Portugal and France.
  2. Shopify Payments for POS is now available in Italy Singapore and Finland.
  3. Stores in India can now pay their invoices with UPI - The Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is a local payment method in India that merchants can use to pay their invoices. To use UPI, the store must be located in India with billing currency set to INR.
  4. INR billing with local plan pricing via cards in India - INR billing with local plan pricing via cards is now available in India, and can be used for paying your Shopify bills.
  5. Sofort for Shopify Payments is now available in the Netherlands
  6. Shopify Shipping in now available in Italy. Buy and print Poste Italiane labels from your Shopify account.
  7. Shopify Shipping is now available in France. Buy and print Colissimo and Chronopost labels from your Shopify account.
  8. Governorates are now available for Kuwait shipping zones. Merchants based in Kuwait can now add governorates to their shipping zones.
  9. Derived compare-at prices are now hidden in Europe for compliance with the European Price Indication Directive - Compare-at prices not explicitly defined for a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) are now hidden for EEA markets by default. You can show them if you are in compliance with the directive.

Bucket F - Customers

  1. Segment by customer metafields - Group customers in the Shopify Admin using your customer metafields.
  2. Searching for customers from the Customer page - Search for specific customers using the Customers page search bar in the Shopify Admin.

Bucket G - Inventory

  1. Shopify scales to 1,000 locations - Merchants are now able to add and manage 1,000 locations in their Shopify store
  2. Enhanced inventory tracking with On hand and Unavailable quantities - Have a real-time, accurate view of On hand and Unavailable quantities across your locations within Shopify to minimize lost sales, misplaced stock, and reduce excess ordering.
  3. Updates to Inventory Transfers - enhancements to the current inventory transfers feature including draft mode, support for transfers with thousands of line items, and performance improvements to bulk receiving actions.

Bucket H - Markets

  1. Control product publishing per market. Take control over what products you sell globally with the ability to publish or unpublish products per market.
  2. Online store media is localizable to different languages and markets - Cater to your international audience by uploading different images and videos for different languages and markets.
  3. Set shipping rates for international markets in local currencies - When creating international shipping rates, you can now use the local currency that you’ve chosen in Shopify Markets. This applies to the prices themselves and to cart price conditions.
  4. Custom pricing by market now available on all plans - Setting product prices per market is now available to all subscription plans. Shopify Payments is still required to use local currencies.
  5. New Shopify Translate & Adapt app - Shopify's Translate & Adapt app automatically translates store content and helps tailor content for all markets.

Bucket I - Metafields

I've been super impressed by the improvements in metafields since Online Store 2.0 launched.  They make it much easier to augment the product data and enforce a taxonomy.  I use metafields more in each store that I build.

  1. Bulk editing support for product metafields with definitions - Merchants can now edit their Product metafields with definitions in bulk on Shopify.
  2. New metafield definition types - two new metafield definition types are available: `collection_reference` and `list.collection_reference`
  3. Money metafield - A new metafield content type to track money related data.
  4. Improved video support for the files page and metafields - The files page now supports longer videos. These videos have improved integrations with metafields and Liquid.
  5. Increasing metafield definition limit from 100 to 200 - You can now create up to 200 metafield definitions per store.

Bucket J - Point of Sale

  1. New On hand and Unavailable inventory states in POS. Shopify POS now displays On Hand and Unavailable quantities via Product details view or Checkout.
  2. Enhancements to POS custom printed receipts. More ways to customize printed receipts, better suited for large, complex retailers
  3. Oversell warning and confirmation. There's a new oversell warning to notify staff when an item is not available to sell.
  4. Improved staff attribution visibility with new Staff on orders view. This update introduces two new views in POS where Staff who have been attributed on completed orders are visible.
  5. New improvements to staff attribution. New search bar capability makes it easier to attribute staff on orders.
  6. Tap to Pay on iPhone now available on Shopify POS. Tap to Pay on iPhone now available for US merchants using Shopify Payments and Shopify POS
  7. Enhancements to POS staff permissions. More granular staff permissions, better suited for large, complex retailers
  8. Updated POS gift card settings offer more flexibility. Improved gift card management settings offer flexibility to choose a gift card type for selling and refunds.
  9. Inventory states in POS. In addition to showing Available inventory, Shopify POS will also display Incoming and Committed inventory for a store location, just like you see in the Shopify Admin.
  10. New Custom Fee options available for Point of Sale (POS). Create and save unique Custom Fee tiles on the smart grid for common line-item fees that can be added to a cart with one tap.
  11. New customer profile gift card view within Shopify POS. Check balances and manage gift card details from your customer's profile within Shopify POS.
  12. Improvements to POS remote login. Admins can now remotely authorize Shopify POS logins by scanning a QR Code or an 8 digit code.
  13. New Exchanges Workflow. Improvements to the exchanges workflow now allows multiple returns or exchanges on previously exchanged orders.
  14. Google local inventory sync. Help local shoppers find your in-store products by syncing local location and inventory levels with Google.

Bucket K - Reporting

  1. Inventory dataset added to ShopifyQL Notebooks. ShopifyQL Notebooks now offers a new inventory dataset to allow merchants to track stock levels by variant across locations and better understand their inventory.
  2. Live view now has refreshed look with better search and navigation using the interactive map. Visualize where your customers are coming from and which areas are driving the most sales.
  3. Your Average Order Value now has a new definition in Shopify. In order to better match with the way merchants run their business, we’ve updated how the Average Order Value (AOV) metric is calculated within Shopify Analytics.
  4. View your customer cohort analysis report by sales and average order value. Your Customer Cohort Analysis is now updated with new metrics and more powerful drill down capabilities to help you get a better view of your customers.
  5. Improved analytics for Shopify Inbox. Enhancements to Shopify Inbox conversation analytics freshness and filtering
  6. Improvements to selecting date ranges within Shopify reports. The new improvements to the date picker allow quick and easy access to pre-canned date ranges and makes comparison between time periods faster.
  7. Find out your most loyal group of customers with the new cohort analysis. Get a snapshot of your customer retention rate over a period of time with the new cohort analysis report. You can also compare your average retention rate to a previous period for deeper insights.
  8. Central and secure customer behavior analysis with pixels. Pixels power your marketing and analytics with secure, accurate, privacy-conscious customer behavior data.
  9. Access to your reports made simpler and faster. Check out the new look of the Shopify reports index. The new list view with categorizations will help you get to the data you’re looking for faster and with fewer clicks.
  10. Comparing performance across time periods is now simpler and faster. Shopify reports now come with enhanced capabilities to compare performance against different time periods. You can add custom date ranges and view these comparisons in a graph or table.

Bucket L - Shopify Admin

  1. Duplicate sections and blocks - You can now duplicate sections and blocks
  2. More granular staff permissions for Products.10 new staff permissions give merchants more granular control over what product data and information staff members can access.
  3. Dynamic collections with metafield conditions. Use metafield conditions to create automated collections.
  4. Bulk editing support for collection and customer metafields with definitions. Merchants can now edit their Collection and Customer metafields with definitions in bulk on Shopify.
  5. Unordered Lists are now supported in the Online Store Editor's rich text fields - You can now add static unordered lists to your rich text fields in the Online Store editor or connect them to text-based Metafield lists.
  6. Build customer segments based on product tags - Create segments based on customer engagement with products that have a specific product tag.
  7. Merge customer profiles - Maintain an accurate view of your customers by merging duplicate profiles.
  8. Shopify Tax - Shopify is bringing new features to merchants selling within the United States to help them collect the right amount of sales tax at the right time, and stay on top of state-level tax requirements.
  9. 11 New Staff Permissions - You can now assign permissions to staff and partners that were previously only available to the store owner. These include managing GDPR requests, collaborator requests, and editing billing payments.

Bucket M - Shopify Plus

  1. Increased API rate limits for Shopify Plus. Shopify increased Admin API rate limits for Shopify Plus by 10x over standard limits.
  2. Checkout extensibility is now available on all Shopify Plus stores. Stores on the Shopify Plus plan can customize their checkout with checkout extensibility—a faster way to make customizations in a way that’s app-based, upgrade-safe, and integrated with Shop Pay.
  3. ShopifyQL Notebooks App. Available to all Plus merchants ShopifyQL Notebooks lets you explore, visualize, and analyze shop data to make better decisions.

Bucket N - Wholesale

  1. Use all-new B2B features in the Online Store. B2B on Shopify integrates essential wholesale features right into the core of Shopify. Run both sides of your business from one store.
  2. Shipping address flexibility for B2B buyers. Our new flexible shipping address setting allows you to choose whether your wholesale customers can enter a new one-time shipping address at checkout, so they can better self-serve their own orders.
  3. Increase on-time B2B payments with payment reminders. Get paid on-time, every time. With payment reminders, you can now automatically send emails to your wholesale customers to remind them of payments as they become due or overdue.
  4. Updates to B2B email templates. Merchants using payment terms or company locations will now see these variables included in customer-facing email templates.
  5. Utilize “Due on Fulfillment” payment terms for B2B orders. “Due on Fulfillment” is now a payment term option for B2B orders. You can include this payment term on orders automatically by assigning it on the company location profile, or add it one-time on draft orders.
  6. Customize your B2B Checkout experience. Use the new order confirmation setting to select for each company location whether B2B orders are automatically approved for a streamlined order process or submitted as drafts for additional review.

And that's the list of improvements from Shopify in the past 9 months.  To learn more about the ones that interest you, go to the episode transcript and there will be a link you can follow to more details. 

Thanks for listening.

JadePuma is a certified Shopify Expert. If you need any help with your Shopify store, we can help.