Shopify Unite 2019 – The Biggest Changes that will Impact Merchants & Marketers

With commerce constantly evolving and growing, it can be hard for online retailers to stay ahead of the game. Over the last few days, Shopify partners and developers from around the world gathered in Toronto to prepare for the future of commerce at Shopify Unite. Reload’s Craig Somerville and Emily Forrest were invited to participate in the three-day conference and were among the first to preview upcoming tools and learn how Shopify merchants can use these to improve their customer experience and ultimately grow their business. Here are the key announcements.

 

The Order Editing, Shipping & Fulfillment Game Has Changed

A set of hugely well received updates from Unite can be packaged into this one neat statement. Allow customers to buy what they want, change their mind, pay the right amount for shipping and even use a connected fulfillment network to reduce overheads – That’s a mouthful! Here’s what that actually means.

 

Allow customers to buy what they want and change their mind

The Shopify platform previously had huge limitations on order editing post-purchase, with merchants complaining about duplicate orders, lost sales or inaccurate reporting. Now, after a customer has paid and before the item is shipped, merchants are able to edit the quantity, variant, or delivery method for any order! This will hugely improve reporting and accounting for Shopify merchants.

 

Pay the right amount for shipping

How many times have we lost money on shipping, or lost a sale, because the standard shipping price ($10 flat rate) was too high for the product being sold ($5 sticker). Shipping profiles now allow you to set custom rules based on the product details, like size, weight and shipping origin, which can then be set for individual products or categories. This will allow Australian customers who are shipping to remote areas set up specific shipping rates.

 

Use a connected fulfillment network to reduce overheads

Currently only available in the US, Shopify have launched a fulfilment network that allows customers to get their products fast (and cheaply)! But it’s not just a standard 3PL, where you need to consider additional stock investment to justify another warehouse. Shopify will use machine learning to predict the best places to store your product, estimate the amount of stock you need at each location and help replenish stock to cut down any cloudy inventory allocation. Stay tuned for a hopeful entry into the Australian market.

 

Online Store is Now More Customisable, Without the Need For a Developer!

For those of us that just want to make a small change to our Shopify sites like adding an FAQ or including a sizing chart, this update has changed the game. Now standard for all Shopify merchants, new sections-based editing allows any merchant to not only create and customise new sections on the home page (which was already possible), but also add sections to product, category and other pages.

You can now easily apply design and content changes across the site, with the new ‘master pages’ feature. Think of it like creating a template which you can apply to as many or as few pages as you see fit. If you want to make a change to all of those pages (like adding a new sizing guide for all clothing products), this can now be done by simply changing the one master template, and this is all within the new Shopify online store, without the need for extensive development.

Additionally, all content is now separate from your theme. So if you ever want to change or update your site theme, all the content associated with your site can be easily transferred. This opens a lot of doors for merchants if you’re wanting to switch to a more sale-optimised theme, fully update your theme or go through a complete redesign, as it means you won’t need to start from scratch or stress about the repercussions of making these agile changes.  

 

Language & Multi-Currency is Opening More Doors for Non-Plus Merchants

While the ability to sell in multiple currencies has been available to Shopify Plus merchants since October 2018, Shopify will now be rolling this out to all Shopify merchants. This feature automatically adjusts the pricing on your Shopify site to reflect the customer’s local currency, which carries all the way through to the checkout. The same rules for the existing infrastructure still applies, which means you’ll need to use Shopify Payments for the actual transaction, but it means that all merchants, Plus or not, have the ability to use true multicurrency.

With more businesses expanding globally, Shopify want to enhance the online experience for both merchants and buyers by adding 11 new languages to the platform. This opens up options for businesses working across multiple regions. New languages include Dutch, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Malay, Hindi, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norweigian, Korean, and Thai, so the reach now available to merchants has never been better.

New language and region based subfolders will also allow sites to have multiple options when it comes to an international SEO approach. Rather than just page-level translations or sub-domains, these new subfolders will open up another way for Shopify stores to handle multi-region, multi-language, and multi-currency master sites. This will have huge SEO implications for international Shopify stores.

 

A Better Connection Between Online & Offline With Shopify POS

As we know, when considering ecommerce marketing it’s all about being where your customer is and providing a consistent service experience. With any brand or retailer, building up a loyal network means you have a consistent flow of customers who are likely to make repeat purchases and likely to spend more than a one-off customer (if they’re given the right incentive).

Rewards programs are a great way to improve that overall customer lifetime value, but the restrictions were in the online to offline experience. Now, with Shopify POS, customers will be able to collect and redeem rewards points both online and in store from their favourite retailer. This means retailers can make sure that all customers are getting the same experience and receiving the same rewards, regardless of whether they shop through the website or in-store.

With new POS cart app extensions, online shoppers will also have loyalty and promotion discounts automatically applied in their cart, without a discount code. This means a faster and easier checkout, which makes for a positive user experience.

 

Plus Merchants Can Now Manage Analytics for Multiple Stores in One Place

No more multi-logins!! With the new Shopify Plus, you can use one-click login to see everything you need for all of your stores. This is a huge bonus for larger brands, because it allows them to see rolled up analytics reporting and top level insights, so you can see how you’re doing as a business, rather than siloed into each of the different stores. Multiple stores are a fundamental growth tactic for Plus merchants, so this new platform will be a game-changer when it rolls out later this year.

Other new features include the ability to grant access to different permissions and tools across your team, allowing everyone to work more efficiently, as well as the ability to roll out ecommerce automations across multiple stores at once with Shopify Flow.

 

Ultimately, these new updates will enable Shopify merchants to create a more seamless customer experience at the front-end of their store, while operating more smoothly and efficiently from the back-end. Shopify have opened up the doors for global expansion by making it easier for customers to shop internationally and offering the platform in even more languages. We’re excited to see what brands can achieve with these new features over the next year.

If you want to learn more about how these updates can enhance your Shopify store, get in contact with Reload today. As Shopify Experts, we’ve helped countless Shopify store owners increase their customers and revenue through our strategic digital marketing activities.

Emily Forrest

Digital Strategy Consultant

Emily Forrest is an experienced Digital Strategy Consultant at Reload Media. Emily works on the front line developing completely tailored digital strategies for new-to-Reload clients.