The new announcements and features rolled into Shopify’s Summer Editions 2023 include everything from advanced AI assistants, B2B networking tools, and apps that will let you manage all kinds of features from invoicing to product subscriptions.
In total, Shopify gave us more than 100 announcements here. There is something in there for every business, but exploring the full list might be a little overwhelming – so instead, we want to highlight what we believe are the 10 most exciting Shopify Editions updates you should pay attention to.
10 of the Most Important Shopify Updates this Season
1. Shopify Sidekick
AI is successfully finding its way into every walk of life at the moment. We have already seen the first integrations of AI tech with the Shopify platform – for example, with Shopify’s AI-powered chatbot-style shopping assistant, and also, for retailers, the option of autocompleting product descriptions using AI (and for a reminder of why product descriptions are so important, you can read our recent article on the subject).
What the new Sidekick feature offers though, is a little more advanced – it’s an AI bot that essentially serves as your sidekick, and can help to advise on the running of many different aspects of your business. Communicating in casual, everyday language, you can ask Sidekick for the best app recommendations, for suggestions to improve your storefront, or to help you brainstorm marketing campaigns. We love this idea, and we look forward to playing around with it.
2. Shopify Flow (now on Basic plans)
This one isn’t a new feature, per se – we have set up some of our clients with Shopify Flow in the past, allowing them to unlock Flow’s powerful suite of automation tools. But previously, Shopify Flow was limited to Shopify Plus merchants only, whereas this new announcement makes it available to Shopify Basic stores for the first time.
With so many more merchants now about to access these tools, we are excited to see what you’ll do with them! Shopify Flow is free to use, and its code-free interface allows you to automate everything – from email marketing, to accounting, to restocking.
3. Variants galore
Here’s a small announcement that promises to have a large effect – Shopify have announced that they’re boosting the limit to variants. Previously, stores could display no more than 100 product variants. For many traders this would sound like plenty, but we’ve spoken in the past with clothing and apparel brands, who need those extra variants to display their full range of colours and sizes for each product. If they reached the cap at 100 variants, the only solution left was to implement bespoke development workarounds – but now, having this cap removed is going to be a bit of a breakthrough for many merchants.
4. Shopify Subscriptions (early access)
Subscription models are a fantastic tool, and especially for merchants offering consumable goods. We have talked about them before in some of our case studies, for example, we have set up numerous clients with subscription capabilities courtesy of the Recharge app. However, with this new update, Shopify is adding its own in-house subscription model.
There are two standout benefits here – firstly, it’s native to Shopify and so this will be incredibly simple to install and manage. Secondly, it’s going to be free, rather than paid to a third party.
Shopify’s Subscription app hasn’t yet launched – but it’s coming soon, and merchants can sign up for early access now. We anticipate that this one is going to be popular.
5. Shopify Bundles
Here’s a whole new app for Shopify users to get their teeth into. With Shopify Bundles, you can create product bundles with full native integration. Offering product bundles is a great way to boost your AOV, and with this new app you can take products from your catalogue, and group them together as custom bundles – for example as fixed bundles, multi-packs, or even as limited time offers. At the customer end, the cart is then adjusted automatically to reflect the bundled items.
Although many users have been doing this already using third party bundle apps and other solutions, the introduction of Shopify Bundles as a free and native app is going to be a massive time and effort saver for many, and it just gives you that much more control over your inventory and sales.
6. Enhanced Checkout (Shopify Plus only)
One of the biggest areas of focus in the new Shopify Editions announcement was Checkout – and to this end Shopify has introduced no fewer than 17 new development APIs all aimed at improving the Checkout experience and functionality. Amongst these, some of the more interesting announcements included an upselling subscription, custom fonts, an improved checkout editor with preview functions, pre-order capabilities, and a robust system for address validation. For now these Checkout enhancements are limited to Shopify Plus stores only.
7. Shopify Instalments
Another exciting feature mentioned in the new Shopify Editions is Shopify Instalments, with which you can offer your customers the option to buy now, pay later. Rather than having to make such offers in partnership with third party brokers or finance apps, it has now gone native! Shopify merchants can use this tool to offer their customers instalment options on orders anywhere in the range of $50 to $17,500. This might take the form of interest-free payments over a 12-month period… or anywhere up to 24 months, and with interest charged on top if you prefer.
This is a frankly incredible tool to have included in the Shopify platform – and particularly for merchants selling high value items, it is bound to be an excellent way to convert more browsers into buyers.
8. Online Store Editor (various improvements)
The ease and utility of Shopify’s store editor has always been one of its selling points. With these new updates though, they’ve only gone and improved the experience further. In the online store editor, users now have even more control over the flexible elements of their storefront – allowing you to simply drag and drop, add, edit, and group elements into place.
It really has never been easier to create a compelling online store. Whether you want to work with personalised templates, or create your own store design from scratch, Shopify has always been a leader in storefront design – and this new update allows merchants of all sizes to enjoy even greater freedom to customise their store and boost conversion rates.
9. Shopify Marketplace Connect
One of the recurring themes in this Shopify Editions update has been the replacement of third party apps with native solutions. Shopify pays attention to what its users want – and one by one, they’re clearly working hard to offer all these options straight out of the box.
Shopify Marketplace Connect is a prime example of this, a new app in name, but one that effectively replaces the functions of the Codisto app that was previously available through the App Store. Shopify Marketplace Connect makes it easy for merchants to synchronise products between their Shopify store, as well as in listings on popular marketplace sites like eBay or Amazon. Everything is fully and automatically synchronised – prices, product descriptions, inventory – making this app an absolute no-brainer for all those merchants looking to get in front of as many customers as they can.
10. Enhanced B2B functions (Shopify Plus only)
Finally, let’s round up some of the many features and additional benefits that the new Shopify announcement has brought to the B2B market. These include:
- Easy storefront customisation for B2B clients, using the theme editor;
- Full Paypal support for B2B;
- The option for B2B customers to store credit cards;
- Faster order lists, and native volume pricing;
- In-theme customisation to differentiate B2B stores for specific markets.
There are more improvements besides these, and so if you’re a B2B merchant on the Shopify platform, we really encourage you to dig in and see what else is new – or else, get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to talk you through your options!
With more than a hundred individual announcements bundled inside the new Shopify Summer Editions 2023 presentation, there was no way we could talk you through each one of them. Hopefully though, this summary of our 10 favourite stand-out announcements will give you a good idea of where things are heading this season.
In addition to its ever-increasing support for B2B merchants, perhaps the largest recurring theme in these Shopify Editions has been the replacement of third party apps with in-house solutions (such as Shopify Instalments, or Shopify Marketplace Connect) – and this is something that we expect to see more of in future Editions too. However, Shopify’s forays into the world of AI are also something to keep an eye on. Shopify Sidekick is an exciting new tool, but with AI tech progressing so rapidly at the moment, who knows what kind of features this will lead to in future Editions?
Do be sure to check out the official Shopify Summer Editions 2023 page for yourself, because there’s so much more that we haven’t been able to mention here. Meanwhile, for any and all Shopify-related design and development services – from getting your first Shopify store online, to upgrading it with the latest apps and features – you can always drop us a line for an obligation-free chat about how your business can start making the most of all Shopify has to offer.