Are you getting the most out of the OS 2.0 update? The web is always evolving, and staying up to date with the best practices can be a real chore! Get a quick overview of the crucial do’s and don’ts for stores in 2023.
OS 2.0 is not only faster, it can also process more transactions at once and provides a wealth of new features for store owners – such as new native support for
meta fields, an overhauled sections system for the theme customizer, and better integration for internationalization via Shopify markets. Huge Updates to The Theme System
The theme is undoubtedly the most crucial part of the whole operation and beyond products – the key differentiator of all our Stores, so the great news here is that Shopify has finally revamped the way themes work; it’s the first major iteration of the Online Store system in over a decade!
The new 2.0 specification was built with performance in mind, including far stricter rules and regulations for Theme developers. Even the theme store itself was re-opened to accommodate all of this.
Now, in 2023, there’s no way to sneak huge SCSS files in anymore, and the liquid code and json schema have to run on the new, improved syntax, which reduces pre-render hugely at Shopify’s backend server-side and also at the browser for
The warning messages that have been displayed in the code editor for the past years are now strictly enforced, and we can only assume this trend will continue.
Although all themes still work on Shopify (as they’ve ensured it’s backward compatible), continuing to run an out-of-date/vintage theme means you are not only missing out on the latest features but also means you may not be future-proof going into 2024 and beyond!
👉 There are loads of new features planned on the OS 2.0 roadmap; you can read more on the official Shopify blog here
✅ Do: Get it over and done with; speed is of the essence
Check your theme version by opening your Shopify dashboard and locating the Theme’s section in your Online Store sales channel – from here you’ll be able to identify your theme version easily.
You may see a screen like this, updates are not supported for themes installed via the theme store, but for older themes that are uploaded via a zip file – this is not compatible.
One of our themes of choice – Turbo, is now on version 9, and yet I still have clients that are profitable running on version 3, which is from many moons ago!
The only trouble now is they would like to use the latest features, and also have a faster store…
❌ Don’t Put it off!
The problem with avoiding an update is that not all features are available, and your store is going to become, or already is, considerably slower than competitors running the latest version.
Although Shopify doesn’t make OS 2.0 updates mandatory and will support vintage themes if they continue to serve the store owner well, this doesn’t mean you should hang around – especially if your game plan is to be in the top stores in your niche!
👉 Putting it off has meant the client has had to cover the costs for many modifications, and rushed patches in order to continue operating on the older version, simply because they did not want to take the plunge and do an upgrade – all in an attempt to save money.
The end result is this has actually cost the client more, so I highly recommend forging ahead with an update and getting your store onto OS 2.0 as soon as possible.
Dynamic Sources and Metafields
OS 2.0 now provides developers and store owners with far superior flexibility in inserting
meta fields and making dynamic changes to product pages. In the new and improved theme editor, store owners are now able to add
meta fields and properties without having to use APIs or write code!
👉 Unlike the previous 1.0 version, meta-field coding in themes or APIs is no longer necessary, as developers can now utilize dynamic sources to establish default settings by using standard meta-fields and known resource properties.
This means that store owners can add specific content to their product pages, such as a dynamic tab or accordion that includes PDP (Product-details-page) specific details to that SKU and variant, for instance a size chart, tech spec sheet or ingredient list, which just simply isn’t easily available in the 1.0 store editor purely through the use of metafields – without development (which for most owners means hiring an expert!)
Through the use of a new meta field system and presentation hints that have been designed with e-commerce data in mind – you can now use a dynamic or standard meta field so that when making a vertical, your store is now portable and will work right away under the new account, even when changing themes!
If the themes are officially running on OS 2.0 – you’ll be good to go from day one, with no need for custom code.
Allow that freedom to sink in a second. You can now move themes without having to endure huge task lists and checking everything just to see what it would be like.
This is a huge time saver and means you can be extremely versatile with your presentation layer across both your verticals and locales.
✅ Do: Make use of meta fields and dynamic sources.
These features are here to help you make more detailed product pages a piece of cake. With a bit of learning and adjusting to embrace meta fields, you can really save yourself a huge amount of time and hassle.
👉 To get up to speed quickly on this useful feature, follow the official meta fields tutorial here https://help.shopify.com/en/manual/custom-data/metafields/using-metafields
This client hasn’t really started using the metafields yet – just 2 fields that are part of the free Shopify review app.
❌ Don’t Use hardcoded meta fields or custom pages anymore
Unique templates for each product so you can customize the description really isn’t needed anymore!
Creating a custom page template for each product is a real minefield for management, and we highly discourage this approach.
Especially for cost/return on investment when updating all of these products, not only with your own Conversion rate and SEO optimizations but with newer theme versions – this can entail hours of both technical labor and quality assurance, which can be totally avoided by using the new system.
Third-party code via App Blocks
Shopify is well aware of this and is trying to rethink and rework the situation so that it’s more performant, which means that Store owners still get a plethora of business features but not the headache of how to implement, install extra add-ons and even have to host assets themself in the theme’s
App blocks are available for the big apps now – Bold included!
With app blocks, app developers can create UI components that Store owners can easily add, remove, and configure all through the theme editor without touching any code!
This results in super clean uninstalls as any remnants are automatically removed, and what can be confusing ‘copy and paste this code here’ is no longer a requirement for new apps.
✅ Do: Use App blocks wherever possible
Using app blocks in your theme means you don’t need to install and modify an app for every theme; it’s all portable as it’s modular now, and now, since manual installation of apps through editing theme code is no longer necessary, you won’t (in theory!) have to worry about breaking changes being introduced.
You can add an app, configure it, and forget about it.
❌ Don’t Install Apps by hand / Modify code anymore!
You’re a store owner and have a million and one things to do; if you didn’t study computer science or have a hobby in web design, there’s really no reason to start now unless you wanted to, of course…
Learning to code is a great movement, but do you really need to be in it? Your business is your business, and odds are – you didn’t start using E-Commerce because of an interest in code and web tech! It’s just a necessary step now in the modern tech-driven world.
With App blocks, you can finally, once and for all, stop editing code and start using the editor.
Ditch trying to modify code and just click the customize button to jump into the WYSIWIG graphical theme editor!
👉 Make life easy – take advantage of the new Theme Customizer GUI (Graphical User Interface); it’s a perfect way to get through these app customizations speedily and not end up with a broken store and or a headache / stranded needing assistance.
Internationalization via Markets
Selling cross-border in multiple countries is vital for maximizing your profitability and making sure everyone can enjoy your store just how you intended; this is especially important when it comes to individual countries’ laws/regulations and of course – shopping in the native tongue and local currency.
With the new Markets (Found in the bottom left corner of your Store dashboard under ⚙️ Settings > Markets) you can achieve all of the above within a short time span.
✅ Do: Enable cross-border selling in markets you know you can succeed in!
Once you have identified a country you wish to expand operations into, you can either purchase a new domain for that country (possibly with the TLD for that nationality, for instance, .ca for Canada)
With your international domains in hand, you can enable countries or even make groups of countries and configure languages, taxes, shipping rates, and currencies without ever needing to touch a line of code.
I’ve configured United Arab Emirates groups for clients many times and setup translation for full Right-to-Left text interfaces (most pro themes support this now by default!)
Of course, when you do need to add some logic in the code. Full support is provided. Theme code can have logical checks for what country is viewing this section and display country-specific information; it’s far smarter than just a translation.
If a specific set of rules apply to a country you are selling in but don’t in another. You can definitely set this up.
👉 International pricing via price lists is also fully supported by Shopify markets now.
Learn more: https://shopify.dev/docs/apps/markets/catalogs/getting-started
❌ Don’t Rush in without research or rely on guesswork and hearsay
The laws of each country vary, and unless you are familiar, you could end up with tax issues and even more serious legal ramifications.
Just because Shopify can enable the locale doesn’t mean all bases are covered.
Consult a business attorney first.
In the past, I’ve actually found location combinations that are not viable – for instance, using Swiss CHF on a Euro / USD store, simply because the Swiss gateway wasn’t supported by Shopify, and even when using Shop Pay, the VAT tax collection rules were too cumbersome to implement and confusing for the customer, so using Euros throughout was a better fit.
Do some research first before opening your international storefronts and make sure you have the correct company formation, VAT, and Shipping configuration and have done several dry-runs before going live.
Onwards and Upwards!
Well, that wraps up our 2023 best practices; we hope you found it useful and informative.
The big leaps this year clearly have been in the themes – with meta fields, dynamic sources, sections, and international market support being the huge innovations.
I hope this guide motivates you to tackle the bull by the horns and implement a strategy to get the most out of the seasonal sales this year. Make sure your business is primed and ready for the Black Friday / Cyber Monday rush – it’s only just around the corner now, and Christmas / NYE isn’t far behind, so time is of the essence, and as the age-old saying goes, ‘Proper preparation, prevents poor performance.’ 😅
If you have any questions or queries or want general help – we’re always here to provide assistance and can help create your strategy by working with you!
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