Help the Podcast
Hey, Scott Austin here.
This is my 53rd podcast episode which marks the 2 year anniversary of this podcast. I'm thankful for everyone that listens and I hope you get value out of these. If you do get value then please do me a favor. Pause this episode for a moment and leave a review. I appreciate them and they help others find this podcast. It’s a recent review that I was delighted to receive:
"Each podcast is short and to the point. Very educational and informative. Scott helps us learn more about our customers and the way they shop and how to make it an excellent experience for customers when we transition our e-commerce store to Shopify."
So thank you to whoever left that review and all the other reviewers.
Now onto the episode. Every six months or so 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 6 months of improvements from Shopify.
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 notes, 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.
So here's a list of the improvements from the last 6 months. I'll be bucketizing them into groupings provided by Shopify.
Bucket A - The Shopify Admin
A new Select A Plan page has been released. The page is in the Admin under Settings > Plan. I think its only available to store admins.
Keeping your tax rates up to date and knowing how much tax to charge on sales can be time consuming, so we've streamlined the experience to make it faster and easier.
When you add information in your store's tax settings about your registrations in Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, or Norway, the tax rates that apply in the areas that you have registered for are automatically set - no more manually updating rates, no more deciding what rates to set based on your sales tax liability!
Learn more about setting up location-based taxes for your store from the Shopify Help Center.
You can now give staff the ability to receive billing emails with the new View billing and receive billing emails permission. Billing emails are sent when invoices are paid or require action. This used to be available only to the store admin.
Learn more about the View billing and receive billing emails permission in the Shopify Help Center.
The new Files section UI has the following improvements:
- The old File column has been replaced by a new File name column that includes the file's name and extension.
- The old URL column has been replaced by a new Link column making it easier to copy URLs. I like this addition a lot.
- A new Date added column indicating when the file was created has been added.
- New default thumbnails have been added and capture more file types than before.
- There's an improved file creation process that provides more robust messaging during the process.
Learn more about uploading files.
You can give staff permission to view billing details and add or remove other staff. This is great as those actions could only be done by the store admin before. I side effect of this that accounts that previously had full access now won't until they are granted access to the new permissions. This will lock those users out of access to the private apps section of the admin. Access to private apps isn't explicitly granted. It's just a side-effect of having full permissions.
Learn more about permissions in the Shopify Help Center
This feature support Brexit changes. The following apply to the movement of goods to and from the United Kingdom:
- Merchants shipping goods located outside of the UK at the point of sale into the UK are now required to collect and remit VAT on orders not exceeding £135 in value. Merchants who have an active tax registration for the UK in Shopify will now automatically collect VAT on all orders not exceeding £135. Orders over £135 will continue to exclude all taxes.
- VAT will no longer be automatically applied on orders shipped between the UK and European Union countries (and vice versa) if there is no tax registration added.
Learn more about this change and other changes related to Brexit in the Shopify Help Center.
Bucket B - Payments
PayPal Express Checkout now accepts payments in multiple currencies. When a customer pays for an order using PayPal, they will be able to complete checkout in their local currency, just like when they pay using a credit card. Any refunds issued through PayPal are also handled in the customer’s local currency.
Learn more about accepting multiple currencies with PayPal in the Shopify Help Center
If you use Shopify Payments, then you can now control your prices by region using international pricing:
- On the Shopify plan or higher, you can use percentage price adjustments to increase or decrease prices across your entire store in certain countries or regions.
- On the Advanced and Shopify Plus plans, you can upload specific prices per product, per country using a csv file.
You can continue to use automatic or manual FX rates for different currencies and customize your business's rounding rules to control how the final prices appear in your store.
Learn more about international pricing from the Shopify Help Center.
For stores using Shopify Payments in Canada, Diners Club and Discover card payments are now accepted credit cards.
Learn more about Shopify Payments from the Shopify Help Center.
Bucket C - Orders
If you use Shopify Payments with multiple currencies enabled, you can now create draft order invoices in your customer's local currency. This feature helps your customers see the total cost of their purchases in their local currency, including currency conversion fees.
Learn more about multi currency support for draft orders in the Shopify Help Center.
Managing returns is an essential part of the customer experience. But just like any other order action, mistakes can happen or a buyer can change their mind about returning your product. So Shopify added the ability to cancel a return in Shopify. You can cancel a return after a return request has been initiated, giving you the flexibility to accommodate changes or restart the return if a mistake has been made.
To learn more about returns, visit the Shopify Help Center.
The product return process is an essential part of the customer experience. That's why you can now manage returns directly from the Orders page in Shopify, so you can fulfill, edit, refund, or return an order from one central location.
Follow a simple step-by-step workflow to create and manage the return process, including the following tasks:
- Create a return request
- Identify the reason for the return
- Set up and track the shipping details
- Communicate the instructions for the return to the customer in an email
- Restock the inventory to your store
- Issue the refund to the customer
Learn more about product returns from the Shopify Help Center.
Place or fulfill an order and collect payment at a later date more easily by managing deferred payments in Shopify.
With deferred payments, you can:
- Collect payment on any unpaid order directly in Shopify, to accommodate flexible payment agreements that enable your customers to purchase products and pay at a later date
- Easily follow up or resend an invoice on any unpaid orders
- Send invoices or charge credit cards directly for orders that have been edited, at any time
Learn more about deferred payments from the Shopify Help Center.
Speed up your fulfillment workflow by printing packing slips in bulk from the Orders page. Select multiple orders from the orders list and then click Print packing slips under the More actions menu. Packing slips are created for each selected fulfillment.
Learn more about packing slips from the Shopify Help Center.
Bucket D - Products
Filter your automated collections more easily by adding a condition to check whether or not a product has a compare at price.
Learn more about conditions for automated collections from the Shopify Help Center.
You can now add Vimeo-hosted videos to your products, giving you more options for displaying media on product pages.
Learn more about adding product media in the Shopify Help Center
Product statuses help you manage and organize products as you're getting ready to sell them, or retiring the ones you no longer sell.
Use the draft product status to work on products at your own pace until you're ready to make them available. Once you've got all of the details down, set the product status as active, so your products can be made available to customers through selected sales channels and apps. Use archive for products that you no longer sell to keep your product lists organized and free from clutter without losing the information for these products in the admin
Learn more about product status from the Shopify Help Center.
Bucket E - Shipping
Communicating shipping speeds at checkout to your customers can help improve cart conversion, and provide clarity and transparency so that your customers are more confident making purchases because they know when their packages will arrive.
When you add shipping speeds to your shipping rates in Shipping and Delivery Settings, your customers will see a range of days at checkout that will reflect the estimated transit time of their purchase. This will be automatically estimated without you having to do any manual calculations!
Learn about adding shipping speeds to your shipping rates from the Shopify Help Center.
- Local delivery now supports cross-state deliveries, multiple zones, and customized pricing conditions
Shopify updated local delivery to give you more flexible options when it comes to setting your delivery zones and creating your pricing conditions.
Local-delivery now supports cross-states (or cross-regions). By default, local deliveries are restricted to the location state/region. Now, you can configure local delivery based on distance, so that you can enable this service for adjacent states and regions.
Multiple delivery zones are also now available for local delivery. You can create up to five delivery zones, allowing you to reach a wider base of local delivery customers. These zones can be created either using select postal codes or a delivery radius. Additionally, you can create one or more custom pricing conditions within each zone based on order value or delivery distance. The buyer will see the cheapest delivery fee that is relevant to them at checkout based on their location and cart price.
Learn more about local delivery from the Shopify Help Center.
You can now to create and print USPS SCAN forms using the Shipping Manifests app. With a SCAN form, multiple USPS shipping labels can be linked under a single barcode, making package drop-off or pickup quick and safe.
Learn more about Shipping Manifests from the Shopify Help Center
This year, Shopify is paying to offset all carbon emissions from the delivery of every single order placed on their platform during the BFCM weekend. No matter how many packages you ship or how far they're going—they'll offset the carbon emissions of each shipment at no cost to you.
This is something you can use in your BFCM campaigns.
Learn more about how and why we're offsetting shipping emissions this BFCM from the Shopify Blog.
Bucket F - Checkout
Merchants with prices inclusive of tax can now charge the correct price at checkout based on their tax obligations when shipping to buyers in different countries.
This is particularly useful for merchants who ship to different countries and have their shop configured to use tax inclusive pricing, who want to see prices at checkout correctly reflect the VAT/tax rate of their buyers.
Learn more about the change and how to enable it on the Shopify Help Centre.
Bucket G - Geolocation App
The Geolocation app has been improved to offer your buyers intelligent country & region recommendations and selectors:
This is especially useful for stores that operate in multiple regions that use the same currency (for example, within the Eurozone). If you set different prices for specific regions using international pricing, then the Geolocation app can now accurately guide your buyers to the right price for their region
Learn more about the Geolocation app from the Shopify Help Center.
Bucket H - Online Store
Minimize abusive bot traffic on your online store by enabling Google recaptcha for customer login, account, and password pages.
Learn more about enabling or disabling recaptcha from the Shopify Help Center.
Bucket I - Mobile
Order management on mobile lets you process orders from the palm of your hand as you pick, pack and prepare orders for delivery. Now available is the ability to use bulk actions for order and fulfillment tasks, so that you can bring more flexibility and speed to your fulfillment process and get products to customers faster.
Bulk order actions on mobile include:
- Mark as fulfilled
- Capture payment
- Archive products
- Unarchive products
- Print packing slips
- Add tags
- Remove tags
- Take an action with a Shopify app
- Create shipping labels (US, Canada, and Australia only)
Learn more about bulk actions in order fulfillment from the Shopify Help Center.
Bucket J - Shop App
Buyers browsing your products from the Shop app now view a more fully featured product pages in Shop. Additionally, a new Buy now button on products listed in Shop can reduce friction for buyers and potentially drive repeat purchases from your store. The new experience is available for buyers in the US, Canada, UK and Australia.
Learn more about your products in Shop from the Shopify Help Center.
Bucket K - Customers
You can now pre-fill a draft order with the customer's address and contact information directly from the customer page. This makes creating orders for repeat customers even simpler.
Learn more about creating orders for customers from the Shopify Help Center.
Bucket L - Themes
There's a new font picker for the theme editor. The new font picker lets you choose system fonts for elements in your theme. Using system fonts in your theme avoids customers downloading extra font resources, which can have a slight improvement in page load.
Learn more about how fonts can improve performance in the Shopify Help Center.
Bucket M - Analytics
The Live View is improved to provide an immersive real time look at activity across your store so you can stay up to date on your store’s performance. No matter where you are, or when you need it, Live View will give you a visualization of key metrics.
Bucket N - Discounts
When selling in multiple currencies using Shopify Payments, fixed discount amounts are now converted from your shop currency into the buyer's currency according to the pricing rule you have set up for that currency; either manual or automatic FX rates.
Previously, all fixed discount amounts were converted using a live FX rate at checkout, even if you had a manual FX rate setup. This change ensures that the experience of getting a fixed discount is consistent across multiple buyer currencies at checkout.
You can read more about this in help centre.
Bucket O - Marketing
Shopify Ping is a free messaging solution that lets you manage all of your customer and team conversations from one place. Previously available only on mobile devices, Shopify Ping is now available for desktop at shopifyping.com.
Learn more about Shopify Ping on desktop from the Shopify Help Center.
Bucket P - Partners
Now you can enable a 4-digit collaborator request code, an added layer of security designed to improve your control over collaborator requests sent by Shopify Partners. When enabled, only partners that you have shared your code with will be able to request access to your store.
Learn how to enable collaborator request codes
The last 2 buckets are for Shopify Plus and Point of Sale, which used by a small sub-set of merchants. As such, I'll just list out the improvements without any explanation. The explanation will be included in the show notes along with links for more information.
Bucket Q - Shopify Plus
We’ve made creating discount events in Shopify Launchpad easier!
After adding collections or products to your Launchpad event, apply bulk discount settings to these items at the same time. Three bulk discount settings are available:
- Percentage: Apply a discount percentage to selected collections and products
- New unit price: Set a new price for all of the selected products
- Fixed amount: Reduce the price of selected products by a fixed amount
Applying new bulk settings overwrites existing discounts in the event.
Learn more about creating Launchpad Events from the Shopify Help Center.
We’ve added even more actions and triggers to Flow allowing you to automate even more tasks!
Draft order deleted
- Create or delete redirect URL
- Mark order as paid
- Set and remove metafields on these objects: Collection, Customer, Draft Order, Order, Product, Product Variant, and Shop. These can then be accessed on the storefront using Liquid.
Learn more about Shopify Flow triggers in the Shopify Help Center.
Shopify Plus organizations that have verified ownership of their domain can now reset two-step authentication for users that have an email address that is associated with the verified domain. This process lets you restore access for locked out users quickly and securely, and without the assistance of Shopify Support.
Learn more about resetting two-step authentication in the Shopify Help Center.
We’ve updated the Shopify.Plus URL to a more meaningful format, making the URL easier to remember and share.
The new URL replaces the segment that contains the organization ID with a string generated from the organization’s name. The previous URL containing organization ID will redirect to the new URL format.
Learn more about the Shopify organization admin from the Shopify Help Center.
To ensure your HTTP requests are as secure as possible, we’ve added two liquid filters to be used in an HTTP action:
- You can now use | url_encode to any liquid variables in the path section of the HTTP action URL configuration field. The web server that receives the request must support decoding urls.
- Add either | url_encode or | json to each template variable that is used in the body section of the HTTP action body configuration field. The web server that receives the request must support decoding URLs or JSON decoding.
Learn more about using these filters to improve your HTTP request security and find examples from the Shopify Help Center.
You can now use Subscription Apps on Shopify Plus stores that utilize Shopify Scripts.
Learn more about Shopify Scripts from the Shopify Help Center.
We’ve added a new trigger to Shopify Flow for when subscription contracts are created. The new trigger starts when a customer buys a subscription-based product.
Learn more about Shopify Flow from the Shopify Help Center.
With the recent release of product statuses we've added a new trigger "Product status updated". Use this trigger to build automated workflows that begin when a product’s status changes to another state including draft, active, and archived.
Learn more about Shopify Flow from the Shopify Help Center.
To help you understand better the health of your business, we're introducing additional key performance indicator store metrics in the Overview analytics for Plus stores. If you have multiple stores, then you can see an overview of key metrics for all your stores in one central place.
Learn more about Overview analytics from the Shopify Help Center.
Bucket R - Point of Sale
The WisePad 3 card reader is now available to all retail merchants in the UK & Ireland. The WisePad 3 is integrated with Shopify POS and accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.
With the WisePad 3 you get the power of all-new Shopify POS, integrated payments, and great hardware.
Learn more about the WisePad 3 in the Shopify Help Center.
The retail cash tracking report, available from the Point of Sale channel in your Shopify admin, simplifies cash reconciliation for retail stores by giving your admin staff a centralized view of cash session activity across all of the registers at your POS Pro locations.
The report has three sections that make it easy to remotely audit, identify, and reconcile cash discrepancies at any POS Pro location:
- Discrepancy summary: Provides an overview of the expected cash amounts and what was actually counted for all the cash sessions that occured at a given location within a selected time range
- Cash payments summary: Displays the gross payments amount and refunds total for all cash sessions that occured at a given location within a selected time range
- Session list: Displays all the cash sessions that occured at a given location within a selected time range. This list can be filtered by register ID or register status (open or closed)
Session data from the report can also be exported into a CSV.
Learn more about the retail cash tracking report from the Shopify Help Center.
Store owners, or admin staff who have the permissions to initialize POS, can now generate and send QR codes that store staff can use to log in to POS devices quickly and securely at POS Pro locations. No sharing of passwords is necessary.
Through the Point of Sale channel of the Shopify admin, authorized admin staff can generate QR codes that correspond to Pro locations. Codes can be emailed to store staff who can use them to initialize or log in to POS devices at a particular location. If initalizing multiple devices, a new code must be generated for each device, and each code is valid for 8 hours.
Learn more about setting up QR code logins for Pro locations from the Shopify Help Center.
Offer customers a consistent shopping experience, and bring speed and accuracy to your in-store checkout with automatic discounts, now available on Shopify POS with a POS Pro subscription.
For stores using POS Pro, you can offer automatic percentage, fixed amount, or buy X get Y discounts to retail customers by selecting Also offer on Point of Sale. When you select the option to share the automatic discount, it's available to all Pro retail locations.
Learn more about setting up automatic discounts for POS from the Shopify Help Center.
POS analytics, available as a part of POS Pro, now include the following new reports to help you better understand store performance over time:
- Product report to see top selling products (by net sales or units sold) over time
- Product type report to see top selling product types (by net sales or units sold) over time
- Staff report to see top-performing staff by net sales over time
- Payments report to see net sales by payment type over time
- Gift cards report to see net sales by gift card over time
Learn more about Shopify POS analytics in the Shopify Help Center.
Interac Chip & PIN can now be accepted by to Canadian stores using Shopify’s Tap & Chip Reader with Shopify POS.
You can now accept Interac payments for all transactions, regardless of dollar amount or tap limits, and at a cost of only $0.10 per transaction.
Learn more about the Tap & Chip Reader and Interac from the Shopify Help Center.
New Daily Sales tiles at the top of the POS Daily Sales report, available through POS Pro, make it easier to see whether your store is on pace to meet or exceed your sales targets.
You can now track each retail location's performance over time with new time-based views (Today, Yesterday, Week to Date, Month to Date, Quarter to Date, and Year to Date) for top-level metrics like Net sales, Average order value, and Items per order.
Learn more about the POS Daily Sales report and Daily Sales tiles in the Shopify Help Center.
Shopify-powered product recommendations in POS, now available through the POS Pro subscription, make it easy to leverage insights from your online store to optimize your in-store selling.
When products are added to the cart, use the instant suggestions are available in POS for items that your online customers commonly purchase together, so you can make smarter cross-sell recommendations in-store to increase order sizes and sales.
Learn more about product recommendations for POS from the Shopify Help Center.
And that's the list of improvements from Shopify in the past 6 months.
Thanks for listening.