Shopify Unite, Shopify’s annual partner and developer gathering, brought plenty of exciting announcements about the future of the platform.
Some of these have an effect on Out of the Sandbox, as a Shopify theme developer, and you, as a Shopify theme user.
This year’s Unite offered a variety of announcements focused around the areas of inclusivity and delocalization.
Overall, the new additions and improvements that Shopify announced are motivated by three main merchant goals that they identified: make more sales, save more time, and find expert help.
Here’s a quick look at some of the key changes that will affect the look and feel of your store.
Shopify has only supported processing orders in a single currency from within the same store — but coming this fall, that’s all changing. Shopify plans to roll out native support for selling in multiple currencies via its Shopify Payments service.
Shopify also plans to support alternative payment methods that may be popular in regions or countries where credit cards aren’t as popular.
Although Shopify themes don’t directly integrate with payments, this change will affect how Out of the Sandbox’s currency converter works with your store. Stay tuned for more updates about how this feature will evolve with the new local payment methods feature.
It’s also likely that there will be changes in how Shopify determines and displays the best currency rates and payment methods. Out of the Sandbox will work closely with Shopify to integrate with these changes as soon as possible.
Shopify is launching the Shopify Services Marketplace this summer, which will allow store owners to find developers to help out with design, theme customizations and other tweaks and updates.
This new offering will make it easier than ever to customize your theme, as well as hire the assistance you need in other areas of your business — including photographers, copywriters, printers, accountants and other services providers.
You will still also be able to hire developers and experts outside of this marketplace, such as the service providers Out of the Sandbox has partnered with for theme customization and functionality.
Shopify is also launching a new app store design this summer. The redesigned app store and app listing pages should make it easier for you, as a store owner, to discover the apps most relevant to your shop, determine if an app is right for you and understand exactly what’s included and at what price.
Apps will also be better organized with more specific categories and merchants will see targeted app recommendations.
Out of the Sandbox’s Shopify theme updater app will receive a new listing page when the new app store launches.
Another new feature — available now — lets you offer BOGO discounts and quantity discounts without the need for customization or a third party app.
This feature, which integrates with the existing discount functionality, makes it easier to incentivize customers with “free gift with purchase” or “buy one get one” promotions — or offer quantity discounts.
Like payments, discounts aren’t directly connected to your Shopify theme, but these new offerings do represent a key enhancement in how you promote your shop and product offerings.
Promoting these discounts or special offers is easier than ever on your sections-enabled Shopify theme — either through the built in promotion banner, or through slideshows, image with text or featured promotions sections to get the word out about your special offers.
While Shopify did announce support for French, German, Japanese, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese and Spanish, this feature is limited to the admin area only.
In other words, this feature does not translate your online store or allow you to have more than one language active — either in the admin or storefront — at one time. For that, you’ll still need a third party app. However if English is not your first language and one of the other supported languages is, you may appreciate being able to do all your shop admin in your mother tongue.
As always, however, store owners can change nearly every text element via the language file.
Even if you don’t need to translate your store to another language, this file is still a useful way to change the labels on certain elements in your store to better meet your branding needs (including some checkout "hacks").
Shopify is also working behind the scenes on ways to improve the sections functionality. One of these areas includes the possibility of adding more flexibility to how pages can be built using sections.
Although select Out of the Sandbox themes feature product.details and page.details templates that allow store owners to create more dynamic PDP and page designs, the current setup requires custom code changes if you want to create more than one layout.
As Shopify continues to evolve its sections functionality, Out of the Sandbox will also update its themes to support any new features that are released.
In addition to these announcements, Shopify also made a myriad of other exciting announcements.
In addition to our 50 tips to prepare your Shopify theme for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Out of the Sandbox has partnered with our friends at Pixel Union to produce a free ebook packed with actionable tips and advice to help you sell more this holiday season.