At their annual Unite conference last year, Shopify announced plans to entirely rebuild the Shopify online store experience. Fast forward to February 2020, these plans are now a reality with the new store design in beta for Shopify developers such as blubolt. To keep you ahead of the curve, we’ve outlined the changes, the benefits and drawbacks, and how we’ll help you prepare for the launch.

How Is The Online Store Experience Changing?

One of Shopify’s key objectives was to simplify business management for merchants using their platform, with a “ online store design experience [that] will make it easier for merchants to create and customise their storefronts without writing a single line of code.”

To deliver this more intuitive experience, Shopify announced three new features in the rebuilt online store experience:

1. Codeless customisation for all pagesShopify’s codeless customisation will extend to all pages in the new online store. Sections will be available on every page type, enabling fast layout and content changes, and bulk edits applicable to different page types with master pages.

2. Painless theme changesThemes will no longer store content and assets. This means that you’ll be able to update your theme, change to a sale-optimised theme, or go through a redesign without starting again.

3. Easy edits before publishingYou will have the ability to draft changes and publish them whenever you like, all without needing to duplicate your theme or impacting your live store.

As the new online store experience is still in beta, please be aware that Shopify may make further changes before launch.

What Are The Benefits Of The New Online Store Experience?

Control and Agility. Under the new design, you’ll have much more control when managing your store’s front end. For example, you’ll be able to use content sections to free-form customise everything from individual products to collections to whole pages and even the shopping cart. At the moment, this functionality is limited to the home page.

Ability to Create Unique Product Experiences. The new online store experience will enable you to highlight product information and media on a product-by-product basis. For example, if you have a hero product, in the new store experience you will be able to apply video content, feature highlights or critical specifications to just that product. Your other products won’t be affected as they will continue to use the existing master layout.

What Are The Drawbacks Of The New Online Store Experience?

Changing Code. Your existing Shopify themes will need code modifications (termed refactoring in developer-speak) to be fully compatible with the new online store experience.

Investment of Time. The changes bring greater flexibility but you’ll need to invest some time to assess and implement which features best suit your store.

Additional Tools May Be Required. Depending on the number of products in your store, you may require bulk tools to maintain an easy workflow.

When Will It Launch?

A launch date hasn’t been announced yet but it’s likely to be this year. Naturally, this is subject to change so do sign-up for the blubolt newsletter to receive updates.

In the meantime, as a Shopify partner we will continue testing the new online store experience while it’s in beta. Shopify will share a preview with merchants closer to the launch; we’ll let you know as soon as this date is confirmed.

How Is blubolt Helping Me Prepare?

By the time of launch, all development by blubolt will be compatible with the new store design architecture. Closer to launch, we’ll also walk you through the new sections available via a webinar. Sign up for our newsletter or follow us on social media to get updates.

Current blubolt Clients.Your existing store will continue to function when the new online store experience is launched. However, to ensure best performance and compatibility, we would:suggest re-architecting your site (this could be gradually completed over time), andoffer to help you migrate from older themes.

New blubolt Clients.If you’re migrating to Shopify Plus with us, our discovery process already includes a feature-by-feature breakdown which easily translates to the new store design. So there’s no action required. We’ll simply be expanding the use of sections as we roll out your website.

If you’re interested in working with blubolt on your migration project, we’ll be offering full-sectioned theme builds, including custom apps to maximise all the new high level features available.

What Do I Do Next?

Simply be aware that the Shopify online store experience will be changing and sign-up for our newsletter here to keep up with the latest developments. We’ll do the rest!

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