Help the Podcast
Hey, Scott Austin here.
This is my 80th podcast episode and marks the 3-year anniversary of this podcast. I'm thankful for everyone that listens and I hope that 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 on whatever platform you listen to podcasts on. I appreciate them and they help others find this podcast. Here's a recent review that I was delighted to receive:
"My fav Shopify podcast. As a small business owner, knowledge is power. Scott lays out very tech-based info in a non tech way. A simple and very human approach. Highly Recommend!!“
So thank you to whoever left that review and to all of the other reviewers.
Now onto the episode. 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.
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.
So here's a list of the improvements from the last 9 months. I’ll cover the most important buckets, at least to me, first. Then I’ll cover the other buckets in alphabetical order.
Bucket A – Themes
This release last summer was a sea-change in the way that stores are built. There’s too much to cover in this episode and I’ll go into more detail in a future episode. But I’ll summarize by saying that any new store or a store redesign should use an Online Store 2.0 theme.
Easily update your themes in admin to stay up-to-date with the latest version of your theme, including new features, design enhancements and bug fixes.
When Online Store first rolled, they set very restrictive limits on the number of block and sections allowed. But now you can add up to 25 sections per template and 50 blocks per section.
Bucket B – Metafields
Metafields have existed in Shopify for a long time. But they were not exposed in the Shopify Admin. So while they were useful to developers, store staff didn’t have access to them. That’s all changed now.
Metafields are extra pieces of data that you can attach to products, customers, orders, and other objects in the Shopify ecosystem. Metafields are made for storing information that doesn’t otherwise have a home in your Shopify admin—think fabric care instructions, delivery time frames, and backorder dates. You can display metafield data anywhere in your store, such as your product pages and even the checkout.
You can use metafields for internal tracking and to display specialized information on your online store in a variety of ways.
Additional product details are now available in Shopify POS for Android by viewing metafields within the product description of an item.
Metafield lists allow you to store multiple values in a single metafield.
You can now add metafield definitions to Orders, Collections and Customers.
Bucket C - Apps
Delegate effectively and securely with new per-app and app charge permissions. This allows authorized staff members to authorize app charges where only the store admin could do it before.
There’s now a new experience for creating, configuring and building custom apps in the Shopify admin.
Bucket D - Bulk Editor
You can now bulk edit more products and add and remove data columns.
Edit more products at once, customize your columns, and manage inventory across locations in one place with the inventory bulk editor
Bucket E - Country Specific
Shopify markets helps you sell in multiple countries with a single Shopify store. You can adjust language, currency and domains for each country that you are operating in.
The Shop channel is now available in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States.
- Shopify Payments for POS now available in The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Germany and New Zealand.
- Canada sales tax liability insights
With Canada sales tax liability insights, you can understand when you are required to collect taxes from your customers.
Understand your sales tax liability in the United States.
Bucket F -Fulfillment
You can now print shipping labels, packing slips, and customs forms on a single print job. Documents are also organized by order when printing documents in bulk.
There’s now updated logic to automatically archive orders by including partially refunded, fulfilled, and zero balance orders, helping you manage orders more efficiently.
DPD is a shipper in Europe. Buy and print DPD labels right from your Shopify account—without external apps or extra fees.
Not everything is ready to ship right after checkout. When you need to organize your fulfillments according to what needs to be shipped separately, you can reflect that in Shopify by placing them on hold.
You now have an improved bulk shipping label purchase flow.
Until now, the bulk shipping label purchase flow in Shopify has been a copy of the single label purchase flow, but with orders stacked vertically on one page. This layout made it more difficult to keep track of your progress and position on the page.
Now, the purchase flow uses an order navigation menu. This navigation makes it easier to find specific orders, for example when merchants need to change a package size, weight, or shipping service. The navigation also helps with seeing progress and identifying orders with errors or warnings. Further, order notes are now displayed in the shipping label flow.
You can now choose ePostage return labels through Parcel Select Ground. The ePostage return labels have the same eligibility criteria and rates as fulfillment-direction for Parcel Select Ground.
Also, the ePostage return labels now look more like the ePostage fulfillment labels.
When you fulfill an order and enter the tracking number for it, Shopify can now automatically identify the shipping carrier with better accuracy for supported carriers.
You can now purchase and print up to 50 shipping labels at once, increasing the limit from 20. It's now available for merchants fulfilling orders from a US location and using Shopify Shipping with USPS, UPS and DHL carriers.
Review and update details for multiple shipping labels in bulk, all in one centralized view.
You can now show, hide, and reorder columns in your orders tab, as well as customize and save all default order views.
Set your most frequently used package as default when buying labels with Shopify Shipping, right from the label purchasing page.
Create presets with your preferred shipping options, applying them to multiple shipments at once, and saving them for the next time.
Bucket G - Inventory
There’s a new inventory state called ‘committed’ to provide a more accurate foundation to your inventory management.
Inventory management is redesigned in the Shopify Mobile app so you can easily view, manage and track your inventory from anywhere. The improved inventory features include:
- One centralized view of your inventory.
- Search, sort and inventory filtering.
- Inventory workflows designed for mobile.
Shopify now provides a warning for products and variants that have SKUs that are already being used elsewhere in your store.
Shopify added inventory adjustment reasons to allow you to better track changes in your inventory.
Bucket H - Messaging
- Share personalized product recommendations with Shopify Inbox product cards
- Shopify Marketing Automations
You can now automate your email campaigns all within Shopify.
You can send 10,000 free emails per month with Shopify Email.
Use Inbox to manage your Instagram direct messages.
Shopify added a new feature to Shopify Inbox mobile allowing you to be able to set a notification reminder to follow up later.
Now you can set up messaging for your online store, manage your FAQs, automated messages, chat appearance, and more right from your admin.
You’ll still use the Shopify Inbox mobile and web apps (formerly Ping) to view and respond to your customer messages from anywhere, anytime.
You can now share Products and Discounts, and manage conversations on Shopify Inbox when you're working from your web browser.
Add personalized text to your email campaigns.
Enable SMS consent collection at checkout.
SMS notifications sent through Shopify will default to a standard template.
Bucket I - Payments
Subscription apps in the Shopify App Store now support Google Pay and Apple Pay for merchants who use Shopify Payments.
- Subscription support for dynamic and accelerated checkout methods for PayPal Express
- Facebook Pay for Shopify Payments and Checkout
Facebook Pay is available as the newest wallet and accelerated checkout to US merchants with Shopify Payments.
The new payment terms feature allows you to easily manage orders with deferred payments.
With payment terms, you can complete the following tasks:
- Add a payment due date to a draft order or to a pending order that was created through the online store.
- Choose between due on receipt, net terms (within 7, 15, 30, 60 or 90 days), or fixed date.
- Sort by overdue payment status for easier order management.
- Send an invoice to your buyer with their payment due date.
You can set payment terms by selecting Payment due later in the payment section of a draft order.
Buyers can now authenticate with both text message codes and email codes when logging into Shop Pay in checkout.
3D Secure orders are no longer categorized automatically as low-risk because of updates to Visa's chargeback monitoring programs.
Bucket J - Privacy
The Customer Privacy app is updated for California-based stores and stores that meet the following criteria:
- a gross annual revenue of $25 million a year in online sales
- buy, receive, or sell the personal information of 50,000 or more California residents, households, or devices
- derive 50% or more of their annual revenue from selling California residents’ personal information
If you have been using the existing version of the app, then you will need to download Customer Privacy app to stay in compliance with the CCPA.
Bucket K - Products
Product classification is now available under standardized product types in your product admin. A product can have both a standardized product type and a store-defined product type. Standard products types are needed in some channels like Facebook.
Shopify will now use its AI to automatically suggest product types for products.
Shopify has a new UI for variants on the product page that is more intuitive and easier to use.
Adding a .usdz 3D model to a product is now supported. 3D models can now also be up to 500MB in size with large models automatically compressed on storefront for improved performance.
Bucket L - Reporting
When a buyer signs up for newsletters or accounts in the online store, Shopify will attempt to populate the country of the newly created customer.
Customer Segmentation enables you to organize your customers together based on their unique behaviors.
Predictive spend tier is a segment filter with Shopify’s new customer segmentation tool.
There’s a new Active Subscriptions page in the Shopify admin, making it easier to find and understand your paid subscriptions.
Live View is now updated with new reports including top locations, top products and customer behavior.
There are new inventory metrics, accessible right within your products admin, to help you be better informed.
Merchants on Shopify, Advanced, or Plus plans can now track subscription purchases in select reports.
Bucket M - Shopify Admin
- Settings page redesign
There’s now a refreshed Settings design. Domains have been moved in the Settings section from the Online Store section. I’m not a fan of the new design. And that’s because the whole Shopify Admin has one navigation paradigm. Except for settings which has a different navigation paradigm. And that difference can be jarring or confusing. But it is what it is.
You can now download the original image file, rather than the optimized image file, from the product media and Settings > Files page.
Bucket N - Shopify Flow App
Shopify Flow is an app. With Flow, you can build workflows to automate tasks, campaigns, and processes within your store and across your apps. These automations give you the power to build the custom solutions that your business needs.
Choose from a library of templates or use the visual workflow builder to create a custom automation.
Shopify Flow is now available to merchants on the Advanced Plan. Previously it was only available to Shopify Plus stores.
An all-new Shopify Flow app is now available. The new Flow has many improvements, including a new editor, allowing you to build many new types of automations.
You can now use a Wait step in Shopify Flow to force a workflow to wait for up to 30 days (an increase from 7 days).
Use Shopify Flow to automatically create draft shipping labels for new orders, so all you need to do is review and buy.
And that's the list of improvements from Shopify in the past 6 months.
Thanks for listening.