For merchants looking to expand their e-commerce business, staying up-to-date with the latest e-commerce technologies is crucial. As brands on Shopify Plus continue to grow, Shopify is also unlocking additional enterprise-level platform features and flexibility.
As we move into 2023, Shopify continues to lead innovation in the commerce sector by introducing new features focused on revolutionizing commerce experiences — from expanded customer engagement to streamlined back-office tooling — making it easier than ever for e-commerce businesses of all sizes to manage their online stores and boost their sales.
Let’s dive into our top five favorite new and tested features from Shopify — what to keep an eye out for to remain future-forward in the e-commerce space and how to grow your store your way.
The Future of Online Shopping
With more options than ever before, consumers can and will exercise their freedom of choice. In fact, more than seven in ten consumers bought from the competitor of their go-to brand between May 2021 and May 2022. And, if spending power decreases as trends indicate in 2023, consumers will continue to shop around for the best value and experience they can find.
Your direct-to-consumer channel, in its entirety, is your loyalty program.
Unstable markets are pushing consumers to try new brands. During the pandemic, three out of four consumers tried a new brand, product, or purchase method. Once lockdowns eased up and borders opened, 41% of buyers broke with brand loyalty in favor of new options. (Source: Shopify Plus Commerce Trends Report 2023.)
Consumers are looking to create meaningful connections with the products and services they are paying for. If you want lifelong customers, incentivizing them to buy in on the brand experience (not just your products) is key. Online stores need teams that are ready to serve the customers of today— consumers who are used to blending multiple channels—and they expect their retailers to do the same. If you can understand your customer base at a local level, you can quickly and easily build that foundation and keep a longstanding customer base that’s solid and thriving for the long term (and not just at the local level, either).
Shoppers aren’t just aware of the price tag. Environmental, social, and governance concerns influence about half of global consumers. Buyers want to support more ethical businesses with more sustainable supply chains—even though consistency in freight, distribution, and especially fulfillment are nearly impossible for many businesses to control. (Source: Shopify Plus Commerce Trends Report 2023.)
Now more than ever, merchants should continue to expect to pivot at a moment's notice, plain and simple. Having a robust, flexible e-commerce platform like Shopify Plus allows you to easily deliver the experiences your consumers are seeking and grow your customer lifetime value.
“Commerce is everywhere. The purchase journey is non-linear. It can happen from seeing an ad on Instagram, an influencer on TikTok, a drop on Twitter. You might be window shopping in person, or a friend might send you a link.”
- Arpan Podduturi, Director of Product Retail and Messaging, Shopify
# 1 Commerce Components
Did you know that Shopify powers 10% of all US e-commerce? The exciting new features Shopify released to create the world’s best converting checkout and fastest storefronts aren’t just unique to their in-house teams anymore — merchants now have the opportunity to build their stores their way with a flexible, customized tech stack. This year, Shopify is making more than 100 product updates to help merchants and developers alike build for the long-term — whether your company sells in-person, on social, or online — with deeply integrated sales channels, faster page loads, and one-page checkouts. Not only can your storefront be everywhere your customers are, but you can also easily manage it from one central platform, and build trust in the process.
As brands grapple with [their own unique] challenges in 2023, they’ll need to respond by adding flexibility to their products, plans, and policies. With an economic recession on the horizon, being agile has never been more important.(Source: Shopify Plus Commerce Trends Report 2023.)
Shopify’s Commerce Components break down every pre-built aspect that merchants love about Shopify and turn each one into a mico-offering that can be plugged into larger, more complex tech stacks. Enterprise-level brands can tap flexibility that goes beyond "out of the box" while taking advantage of the mass use cases that Shopify has already solved. The result: an adaptable, customizable, and faster way to build your commerce tech stack, all at a lower cost than building on other commerce technologies.
These key commerce components from Shopify are now available for enterprise-level brands:
- Headless capabilities for immersive UX
- World-class checkout and payments flexibility
- Enhanced data sources and open API access for integrations
- Robust omnichannel capabilities for cross-channel selling
By continually introducing new and robust commerce components, Shopify demonstrates their commitment to providing a platform that can meet the needs of any size business, including enterprise. Improved customization options empower large-scale businesses to tailor their online storefronts to their specific needs – even with unique requirements and external systems that need to be integrated into their commerce stack.
Why You Should Care
Shopify's push towards more flexibility and customization is more than a strategic move for the company. It also marks a significant shift in the platform's core capabilities. Large brands have long had a lot to love about Shopify. (Third and Grove has created online stores for Dansko, Hawaiian Host, AmorePacific, and other big-name retailers who call Shopify home.) But now, Shopify Plus is solidifying its position as a serious competitor to other enterprise-level platforms like Magento and Salesforce further cementing Shopify as a leading e-commerce platform.
# 2 Checkout Extensibility
Shopify's newest updates to its checkout are game-changing for all e-commerce businesses. This major update will impact every single merchant on the platform, bringing more flexibility and customization options to the previously well-guarded checkout pages. With the removal of Checkout.liquid and Shopify Scripts, businesses will now have access to a completely new way of doing promotions and discounting, allowing merchants to customize the checkout process to their specific needs.o what Shopify offers out of the box.
With features such as global cart, branding API, one-page checkout, app extensions, and Shopify Functions, the new checkout experience promises to be a more flexible and streamlined process for businesses, customers, and developers alike. The updated checkout process allows developers to build more efficient and streamlined apps that integrate seamlessly with Shopify—meaning businesses can now easily integrate third-party apps into their checkout process—improving the overall user experience.
Why You Should Care
Shopify's checkout extensibility updates are a significant move for all online e-commerce businesses that are on Shopify today. This change impacts every merchant, large or small, and offers an opportunity to make the checkout process more tailored to both businesses and their customers' needs. Needless to say, it’s essential for businesses to stay informed about these changes and take advantage of the increased flexibility and customizable options that Shopify continues to offer.
The new checkout will be rolling out over the course of the year and the old checkout will officially begin to deprecate by August 13, 2024. We recommend starting your discovery and planning on these changes now to be ready to move by early 2024 allowing time for your organization to fully adopt the new technology. Check back soon for our upcoming blog on all things checkout extensibility.
# 3 Streamlined Bundles & Discounting
Shopify's latest update has introduced added flexibility to not only bundle, but it offers more complex discounting as well. This new feature will allow businesses to create product bundles with ease and offer customers discounted prices when they purchase multiple items — providing more value to customers and helping businesses increase their sales and revenue in the process. With Shopify's more flexible approach to discounting, merchants can now create custom promotions that better suit their business needs, ensuring businesses of all sizes stay competitive and grow in today's ever-changing e-commerce landscape.
Shopify has released new discounting apps built on their new preferred Functions framework. Additionally, you can sign up for early access to the new bundling apps to be released soon. New features such as channel-specific discounts and combining discount codes will also be available soon.
Why You Should Care
These new and exciting features will enable businesses to look for a competitive edge when it comes to promotions. These changes allow merchants to offer customers more streamlined, personalized shopping experiences at a lower cost by creating bundles that include products that customers frequently purchase together. Merchants now have the power to attract more customers while increasing sales revenue and providing more value for their purchases. Moreover, the added flexibility to create promotions allows merchants to curate their discounts to target audiences, ensuring that the right customers are drawn to their store.
# 4 Shopify Magic - AI-Generated Content
Content, content, content. Merchants today are constantly struggling to keep up with creating new and engaging content. Enter AI.
Shopify's AI-generated content, also known as "Shopify Magic," is an absolute game-changer for businesses struggling to keep up with the constant demand for new content on their storefronts. With Shopify Magic, businesses can create compelling product descriptions, collection titles, and even email subject lines with the click of a button.
This innovative feature utilizes machine learning and natural language processing to generate high-quality content that is unique and engaging. Shopify Magic helps bridge the gap for businesses looking to create more content without sacrificing quality or time, allowing them to focus on other more important aspects of their operations while Shopify takes care of the rest—from the content creation process and everything in between—ultimately saving you time and resources. With Shopify Magic, businesses can stay ahead and ensure their storefronts are always up to date with the fresh, high-quality content their consumers are looking for.
Why You Should Care
Shopify Magic is a significant development for large, enterprise businesses looking to create engaging content for their storefronts faster. Using machine learning and natural language processing, Shopify Magic gives companies the ability to generate high-quality product descriptions, collection titles, and email subject lines with the click of a button (think ChatGPT).
For businesses looking to keep up with the demand for fresh and compelling content on their storefronts, this feature is crucial. Not only does it save time and resources by automating the content creation process, but it frees companies up enough to focus on other critical aspects of their operations. With Shopify Magic, businesses can stay ahead and ensure their storefronts are always up to date with the fresh, high-quality content their consumers are looking for.
#5 Enhanced B2B / Wholesale Features
B2B / Wholesale is top of mind for all direct-to-consumer brands as no commerce business is complete without it.
Shopify's latest updates have made it easier for B2B commerce, too. With the introduction of quantity rules, curated catalogs, and customized checkout options, merchants can now cater specifically to the needs of their B2B customers.
Quantity rules allow businesses to set minimum or maximum order quantities, while curated catalogs enable merchants to create custom product catalogs specifically for their B2B customers. The ability to customize the checkout process means that businesses can offer payment options such as purchase orders or net terms, which are common in B2B transactions. Additional enhancements like customer-specific product publishing, easy reordering, and metafields for customers and location create new and easier ways for commerce businesses to sell wholesale.
By providing these exciting and helpful new features, Shopify enables businesses to streamline their B2B operations by providing a more personalized experience for their customers and partners alike. This update ultimately allows businesses to seamlessly grow and succeed in the competitive B2B market.
Why You Should Care
Studies show that 90% of B2B buyers want DTC-style experiences from the suppliers they buy from, yet more than half are frustrated when brands fall short of these expectations. “DTC-ifying” your B2B storefront allows you to deliver on your promises, while providing business buyers with the experiences that convince them to continue buying.
“DTC-ifying B2B experiences means bridging the gap between the modern online shopping experience and traditional B2B purchasing methods. That could mean providing more personalization options, offering better discounts, or faster shipping options. It's about understanding business buyers' needs and delivering on them in a way that's appropriate for their unique situation.”
- David Zhang, CEO of Kate Backdrop
Shopify's latest update includes new features specifically designed for the new B2B buying experience. The experience your consumers on all channels are looking for. With the introduction of quantity rules, curated catalogs, and customized checkout options, merchants can now offer a more personalized experience to their B2B customers, can set minimum or maximum order quantities, create custom product catalogs, and offer payment options such as purchase orders or net terms, which all contribute to a more streamlined, integrated, and successful B2B process.
BONUS! #6 Headless Possibilities With Hydrogen 2
Early last year, Shopify introduced the highly anticipated Hydrogen — its headless commerce framework, which offers enterprise-level brands a more flexible and customizable approach to building online storefronts by decoupling the front-end and back-end of their online store, allowing for greater flexibility in design and functionality.
This year’s rollout of Hydrogen 2 will enable businesses to use external front-end CMS technologies to build their user interface and immersive customer experiences, while still leveraging Shopify's robust backend features such as inventory management and payment processing.
While Hydrogen 2 is still in its early stages, it offers an exciting opportunity for those large, enterprise businesses looking for more control over their online storefronts. As the platform continues to evolve and businesses continue to grow, businesses will also take advantage of its flexibility and customization options to create unique and engaging customer experiences.
Shopify's recent updates and new platform features demonstrate the company's commitment to providing its users with the flexibility and tools needed to succeed in today's competitive e-commerce landscape. The new features are also a significant step towards providing merchants of all sizes enterprise-level flexibility.
By offering more customization options and integrations with third-party systems, Shopify is ensuring that larger brands can tailor their online storefronts to their specific needs while maintaining their brand identity. From enterprise-level customizations to B2B features and AI-generated content, Shopify continues to push the envelope on developing technology that improves the customer experience while also streamlining back-office operations saving merchants time and money.
Ready to Elevate Your E-Commerce Strategy?
If you're looking to take your Shopify store to the next level, don't hesitate to connect with the Shopify Plus pros at Third and Grove. We can help you navigate these new updates and features to create a truly customized and effective online storefront.
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