The eagerly anticipated (by the blubolt team, anyway!) Shopify Editions for Summer 2023 arrived on Wednesday with a bonanza of over 100 product updates.
From Shopify’s leap into artificial intelligence to its super-charging of what’s already the world’s best checkout, there’s plenty to explore. As such, we’ve curated all the key developments and innovations you need to know about in one handy post. Let’s get started!
Trailblazing AI solutions for eCommerce.
While artificial intelligence (AI) may be the topic du jour in the media, Shopify has clearly made a long-term commitment to harnessing its power for eCommerce.
What is Sidekick, and do you need one?
Sidekick will essentially be your AI commerce assistant on Shopify. Currently in beta, once launched, Sidekick will be free with unlimited use across all Shopify plans.
Shopify groups the benefits of Sidekick under three themes:
Creativity. Helping merchants kick off the creative process, improving your writing.
Productivity & efficiency. Taking away cumbersome admin tasks and workflows while also delivering research.
Expert advice. Shopify pitches Sidekick as a 24/7 Shopify expert who offers tailored, non-judgmental advice to help brands level up.
Overall, it appears that Sidekick has great potential to assist brands of all sizes in terms of productivity and efficiency. As for levelling up with Sidekick’s advice, this seems a great way for smaller brands to get fresh ideas they wouldn’t otherwise have the funds to access. However, for medium-to-large brands requiring more sophisticated and tailored expertise, it’s more likely that Sidekick’s ideas will be considered alongside ongoing support offered by their chosen eCommerce agency.
What is Shopify Magic & how should I use it?
Shopify Magic is AI built directly into the Shopify eCommerce platform. Shopify’s objective is to provide tools that reduce the time spent on manual tasks so you can get more done in less time, growing your business faster. But does it measure up to the hype?
Let’s take a look at what Shopify Magic enables you to do and whether it’s the right choice for your business…
Instant answers for FAQs. You can create, review, and publish AI-generated responses to FAQs in the online store chat. For example, how often do you re-stock? Or, what regions do you ship to? When customers click the chat button in your store, they’ll see a list of questions and simply choose which one applies to see the associated answer.
It’s important to note that responses are drawn from your store policies and conversation history, so you must thoroughly review all content generated before publishing. Also, be aware that Instant answers are considered custom content, so they won’t be automatically translated if your theme language changes. Instant answers are available now in Shopify Inbox.
Email optimisation. You can generate subject lines and email content tailored to your brand's tone of voice. Shopify Magic will also identify optimal send times using data-driven insights from merchants across the Shopify platform. Available now with Shopify Email.
Generate website text. From headers and footers to blog posts and product descriptions, you can now generate text in the Online Store editor with AI. It enables you to choose your tone of voice and identify key talking points in eight languages and on mobile. Working closely with your SEO team would be crucial to using this functionality effectively, as you need to input relevant keywords to generate appropriate SEO-friendly copy. Available now.
Smart replies for live chat. You can review, respond, and edit live chat inquiries with AI-generated responses. Coming soon, but you can sign up for early access.
The best checkout on the planet just got better!
Much of the checkout news from Shopify Editions centres on the one-page checkout and checkout extensibility, all aiming to deliver easier customisation of your checkout and higher conversions.
Here’s a summary of what’s new (all exclusive to Shopify Plus merchants):
Apps can now upsell subscriptions or pre-orders in checkout.
Address validation is available in the checkout using the new Apply Shipping Address Update API.
Custom fonts are now available with the Checkout Branding API.
Checkout editor has been updated to enable previewing of the one-page checkout, thank you page, and new customer account pages.
Cart Transformation Function is now in full release, so you can merge and expand cart line items in checkout and build custom product bundles.
Server-side validations in cart and checkout are now in full release.
Developers can build apps that customise delivery options like pickup dates, times, and instructions.
The checkout experience can be further enhanced with loyalty, product offers, and discount apps from the Shopify App Store.
Clever customisation with flex sections.
Building on the success of ‘sections everywhere’, Shopify continues its mission to simplify store customisation with the soon-to-arrive ‘flex sections’. This new functionality will enable merchants to create custom layouts whereby they can drag and drop, re-size, group, and edit flex sections. While this flexibility will be fantastic for the end user, the functionality may not necessarily be supported on the existing store theme, so do check with your development team. Flex sections will be available later this year.
Shopify Bundles of joy.
The Shopify Bundles app is now in full release! Suited to merchants wanting to create hassle-free fixed bundles and multipacks directly in the Shopify admin (no coding or customisation required). Merchants can customise bundle product pages with images, variants, and product options, and inventory is updated in real-time, so there’s no chance of overselling. For more complex bundle requirements, select one of the updated bundle apps in the Shopify App Store or, for Shopify Plus merchants, go custom using the Bundles API and a trusted eCommerce agency. Explore the possibilities and a raft of custom bundle examples here.
New built-in B2B features.
Shopify has introduced a raft of new built-in B2B features - exclusive to Shopify Plus merchants - to make life easier for merchants, particularly those selling DTC and B2B from the same shop. For example, simplified company account requests, volume pricing, quick order lists, vaulted credit cards and more automation with Shopify Flow. For merchants who aren’t on Shopify Plus (and therefore can’t access B2B), third parties like SparkLayer can assist.
What is Shopify Collective?
Shopify Collective is a new tool that enables merchants to expand their product catalogues via a network of partner brands on Shopify. Merchants can connect with brands on this network, add new products from these brands to their stores, and then earn a margin for any sales. The partner store then manages the inventory and shipping directly to the customer. While currently available to merchants in the USA only, this tool could benefit smaller stores looking to expand without extra inventory and warehousing costs.
What is Shopify Marketplace Connect?
The Shopify Marketplace Connect app enables brands to easily integrate their product catalogue with global marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and Etsy and manage marketplace listings, inventory, orders, and fulfilment in one place. Shopify merchants already using third-party tools to access global marketplaces will need to contact their development team to discuss how Marketplace Connect compares to their existing tools, whether it can handle separate prices on different platforms etc.
All wrapped up: Shopify Editions Summer 2023
So that’s our take on Shopify Editions for Summer 2023. If you’ve got further questions or would like to chat about your own eCommerce project, get in touch to discuss your requirements. We would love to help!