Shopify Reunite 2020 recap - our picks

Published: 4 July 2020

This year’s annual Shopify Unite conference looked a little different, but hearing about the amazing new features coming to the platform was as exciting as ever.

There were announcements made around almost every area of the platform — many of them inspired by the recent surge in local businesses selling online for the first time.

At nearly 90 minutes, the presentation covered a large number of topics and we’re looking forward to integrating many of them with our clients in the months ahead. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the more impactful features for high growth merchants. Let’s dive in!

Custom FX

For merchants selling internationally, one of the most challenging aspects of cross-border trade is managing multi-currency payments and pricing.

Last year, Shopify introduced Multi-Currency — the ability to sell in a customers’ local currency through Shopify Payments, and receive those funds in the merchant’s home currency. International pricing was calculated using near-live exchange rates which unfortunately meant fluctuating international pricing.

At Reunite, Shopify announced that Custom FX will be coming soon. This new feature will allow merchants to set custom exchange rates (and rounding rules) to facilitate stable international pricing. We’d have liked to see the ability to set fixed international pricing per product, but this update is still very much a welcome addition.

Sections everywhere

Sound familiar? Originally announced at Unite 2019, Sections Everywhere promises to bring the same drag-and-drop customisation available on the home page to every page of the the online store. App integrations and per-product templates will enable much more tailored pages that were previously only possible through complex theme customisations.

Sections Everywhere will enable eCommerce teams to craft more relevant and engaging experiences for their customers without requiring development work to do so.

Availability was given as later this year, and taking advantage of this new feature will require compatibility upgrades to existing themes.

Product creation

eCommerce businesses sell products — that’s obvious — but what's less visible is the team effort that goes into managing those products in what Shopify refers to as the Back Office.

To assist collaborative teams work more efficiently, Shopify is adding the concept of Product States. These states (draft, published and archived) make it easier to filter through large or constantly-changing product catalogues like we often see with fashion retailers.

Teams will have the ability to work on products in a draft state (similar to unpublished at the moment), and publish those products once they're ready to go live. The new ability to archive products will assist those merchants that carry seasonal or fast-changing products by de-cluttering their back office without having to delete products and lose access to valuable data.

Product states will be rolling out in the second half of this year, and the team also teased future updates relating to partially-filled product templates and price-by-measure (such as weight or length) that may come before the end of the year.

Performance

Here at The Working Party, we’re obsessed with site speed. A faster, more responsive online store not only makes for a better user experience (and thus conversion rate), but also helps pages to rank more highly in search results and can even reduce digital ad costs.

At Reunite, Shopify gave a sneak peak at their new Performance Dashboard that will live right inside the Admin. Reporting on TTFB (Time to First Byte) and FCP (First Contentful Paint), this dashboard will give merchants greater visibility into exactly what changes caused a recent slow down or speed up of their online store.

For us, the most important part of this announcement was that Shopify have recently re-written their rendering engine, resulting in 50-100% improvements in TTFB for some merchants.

It’s worth noting that these particular metrics only really focus on the aspects of site speed that Shopify's servers have some control over. For a smooth online store experience, it’s still as important as ever to ensure that the theme itself loads quickly and is responsive on user devices.

Shopify instalments

Buy now, pay later providers like Afterpay have been one of the most disruptive changes in retail in recent years. Recognising this, Shopify announced that instalments will be coming Shop Pay, starting in the US.

Customers purchasing from a merchant with Shop Pay activated will be presented with the ability to complete payment in 4 equal instalments, paid fortnightly. While not heavy on details, the announcement indicated availability later this year in the US.

We’re eager to learn more about plans for availability for Australian merchants and clarity around any additional costs to merchants if they choose to offer instalments.

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