Looking ahead to 2020's Shopify theme section and design improvements

by Michael P. Hill

Looking ahead to 2020's Shopify theme section and design improvements

As Shopify wraps up a busy BFCM that topped out at record breaking $2.9 billion in sales, the company has a lot of plans for 2020 — including some major changes in how you work with your Shopify themes.

Perhaps most prominent is the introduction of the ability to use sections and the drag and drop Shopify theme design feature on almost any page.

First announced at Unite 2019, Shopify is planning a revamped theme design experience in 2020.

According to initial reports, merchants can expect the following store building enhancements:

  • Improvements to the drag and drop page building experience.
  • The ability to use sections on almost every page in your store.
  • Master pages can be applied to multiple pages at once.
  • Improvements to how content travels with theme trials or theme updates.
  • Draft changes before publishing themes live.

While the exact details on how the so-called “Sections on every page” or “Sections everywhere” initiatives have yet to be finalized by Shopify, Out of the Sandbox will be closely watching for the guidelines to be released.

Out of the Sandbox also plans to make updates to our Shopify themes to be compatible with the new store design tools as soon as possible, though Shopify hasn’t released a timeframe on when it will start making the switch to themes including this feature.

It’s worth noting that Out of the Sandbox already includes ways to use sections on other content pages or product pages, although there are some limitations to them.

It appears that this new feature will likely help expand what types of sections you can use on each page, as well as likely eliminating the need to manually duplicate templates to create unique layouts for pages or product pages.

In a broader sense, Shopify’s powerful new design features will bring more flexibility to create engaging page experiences to showcase your products and services in eye-catching designs using sections.

These exciting changes will increase the ability for store owners of all levels to customize their Shopify themes without requiring knowledge of coding or custom CSS.

Instead, you’ll be able to quickly and easily build dynamic pages by adding new sections and blocks to your pages, adjusting settings to customize the look, while previewing them in real time and testing them out before going live.

With this major update rolling out in 2020, some Shopify theme developers, especially those who aren’t selling at least one theme in the official Shopify theme store, may take longer to update their themes to become compatible with this feature — if they plan to.

That said, Shopify typically requires designers selling in the theme store to be up to date on all of the latest and greatest features by a certain time — and Artisan, Parallax, Retina, Responsive, and Mobilia will all become compatible as soon as possible within the parameters set out by Shopify.

Out of the Sandbox also offers two themes not available on the theme store, but the design and development teams still ensure that any new required features, such as these new theme customization features and sections on any page, are available in the Flex Shopify theme and Turbo Shopify theme at the earliest opportunity.

Combined with these new powerful Shopify theme design features, you can expect to see even more flexibility and innovation from themes in 2020 — and beyond.

Michael P. Hill
Michael P. Hill

Michael P. Hill is a Shopify, Shopify theme, content marketing, digital marketing and product management expert based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelphill or connect on LinkedIn. While comments and feedback are always appreciated, Michael regrets that, due to the volume of inquires received, personal responses are not possible. For specific assistance or support with Out of the Sandbox themes, visit the help center.