Shopify Product Updates
1. Flex Sections: New Section Blocks
In the last Editions, Shopify announced "Flex Sections" which will allow a drag, drop and resize experience. We've finally heard an update on this, marking the first step towards Flex Sections.
The first update comes to section blocks — specifically, the creation of nested blocks. At the moment, you are able to have blocks inside a section, and these blocks can be reordered. Nested blocks will allow you to have blocks within blocks, giving a lot more flexibility to your designs. For example, in the example below, you'll see that the Multicolumn section has column blocks. And then within those blocks are nested blocks (image, title and button) which can then be reordered to create different layouts within each block. On the column on the left the order is image, title, button, while the column on the right has the order: title, image, button — something that was not previously possible. This allows for a lot more flexibility in how sections can be customized. You'll soon be able to nest up to eight layers of blocks.
The second exciting block update is reusable blocks. Currently, when building sections, you must add blocks to sections individually, which is repetitive. Imagine creating a title, or button block and needing to add it to 20-30 theme sections, and if you ever update the block to utilize a new feature, you'd have to update all of the instances manually. Soon you'll be able to define blocks once and reuse them across multiple sections. These features aren't yet ready to be incorporated into existing themes. Coming soon.
Developers can find the documentation for these features here.
2. Higher Variant Limit
Previously, products were limited to 100 variants, meaning that any combination of available options were capped at 100 (for example, a t-shirt would be limited to 5 color, 5 size, and 4 design options within one listing… 5x5x4 = 100). This resulted in many people using an app to overcome this. Soon, the limit will be raised to 2000 variants per product which will allow brands with more complex products to easily add and organize their products.
3. Shopify Subscriptions
Shopify Subscriptions is a native subscription app that allows you to easily offer product subscriptions to increase convenience for your customers. This was initially announced in the Summer '23 Editions, but not made available to everyone. The Shopify Subscriptions app is now in full release. This allows merchants to increase customer lifetime value and create more predictable revenue. This is great news seeing that the leading subscription app costs around $100/month. This free app will allow merchants to explore the idea before investing too much capital to get it right.
4. Shopify Magic Media Editor
Right in the Shopify admin's image editor, you'll soon have the Shopify Magic tool to help merchants make professional image adjustments with AI-enabled editing features. Features include removing the background of images, and adding or generating a new background. Good product photos are so important for selling, so this will empower merchants to do more with less. Coming soon.
5. Faire Sales Channel
Faire is one of the most popular wholesale marketplaces for small businesses. Previously it was a very manual process to put products onto Faire. The new Faire sales channel makes it easy to sync products to Faire and start selling B2B quickly.
6. Search & Discovery
We recently wrote about how to best use the Search & Discovery app (How to use Shopify's Search & Discovery App for more sales). It was just announced that filter swatches are now possible. Display color/pattern/material swatches in the filter options, making product discovery more visual.
For Shopify Plus merchants, there's an additional search tool made available. Semantic Search is an AI-powered search result feature that understands the intent of the search and provides relevant results. For non-Plus merchants, I've included some tips about how to provide a similar experience in the blog post noted above.
7. Product Organization
It will soon be easier to create, classify and organize products. These improvements include:
- automatically generated variants
- manage multiple variants at once
- add color or pattern swatches directly on the product listing
See the product editor to see how things have changed!
8. Data Privacy
New data privacy tools allow customers to define how their data can be used. Privacy is not a topic to be taken lightly and we've written about how to be compliant with different regulations before here: How to make your Shopify Store GDPR & CCPA Compliant.
As of today, some new features have appeared under Settings > Customer Privacy. Now you can add a cookie banner and a data sales opt-out page, as well as see your privacy apps and settings all in one place.
9. Combined Listings
The Combined Listings app allows merchants to combine the benefits of multiple variations of one product into a single product, while still maintaining each variation’s own description, gallery and URL. You can experience something like this on the Girlfriend Collective website here, although they’ve had this feature long before the app.
Imagine you have a gold and silver version of the same ring. You could have distinct images, description and URL for each of these while keeping them on the same (combined) product page. This helps customers get the information they need and may have SEO benefits.
Shopify has said this app is a Shopify Plus feature only. However, we've found this feature on some themes, making it accessible to anyone! This feature is called Product Siblings, and we've seen it on the following themes: Broadcast, Stiletto, Pipeline, and Distinctive. So if you're on the lookout for this feature, be sure to check out the other themes made by the developers who created the above listed ones.
Other exciting updates…
- Product Exchanges: Exchanges (not only returns) will soon be supported for any order.
- Address Validation: Customer addresses are validated at checkout to avoid failed deliveries.
- 3D Product models: Anyone can create 3D product models to display on their product page using Shopify's 3D scanner for iOS.
- Tax Reports: Taxes made easier with the Shopify US sales tax report shows you all the data you need for annual, quarterly, and monthly tax filings.
- Shop Pay: Shop Pay can now be integrated with stores even outside of Shopify. This means faster checkout for their customers (assuming their customers already have accounts), and it may mean that they'll be discoverable on the Shop App.
- Bundles (Shopify Plus): Shopify Bundles has increased the maximum number of products in a bundle from 10 to 30.
- B2B Theme (Shopify Plus): Trade — a new Shopify theme designed for wholesale businesses makes it easy for customers to place bulk orders.
You can read the full Shopify Editions Winter ‘24 update here.