Wednesday 23rd March 2016

Shopify Unite: 4 Major Announcements for Partners and Developers

Joe Callon

Shopify are currently hosting their first partner and developer conference - Shopify Unite - in San Francisco, from which several key announcements were made yesterday. Our MD Dan Conboy (@StatementDan) was in the audience at the Fort Mason Center during the keynote, but thanks to the livestream of the event, we've managed to compile a list of everything you need to know about the changes and new features coming to Shopify, that will help you build better online stores.

There were three huge additions to the Shopify platform announced yesterday, including a better, more granular way to customise your store without installing any apps and several SDKs that will help you utilise eCommerce on any site with a single script.

Sales Channel SDK

The new Sales Channel SDK is a collection of APIs (and a pretty UI kit), free to use, that will allow you to turn any platform into a Shopify sales channel. Previously limited to Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter, the Sales Channel SDK has already given way to sites such as Houzz and Wanelo.

The SDK allows you to create a catalog of products from your Shopify store and display and sell them, all without leaving your existing platform. It also includes a fully customisable real-time checkout experience that includes item reservation and the calculation of shipping and taxes.

Whilst the Sales Channel SDK isn't quite ready yet, it will be available for everyone fairly soon. While you wait, you can browse the SDK documentation to better see how you can properly utilise this with your platform.

JavaScript Buy SDK

Shopify's SDKs are like buses. You wait forever for one, and then four come along at once. the JavaScript Buy SDK will help you integrate Shopify into an existing site, offering a wonderfully seamless experience for customers.

The time has come, store owners no longer need to use Shopify's hosted service to reap the rewards. Using the Buy SDK, everyone can benefit from the security and stability that come with using Shopify for eCommerce, without migrating their entire site over to Shopify's servers.

Just by inserting a single script into any site, you can pull in and manipulate products and collections from any Shopify store. This massively extends the Buy Buttons of old, giving anyone with a bit of JavaScript the ability to easily integrate a full checkout process into their site.

The JavaScript Buy SDK is available right now, and the full documentation can be found here.

iOS and Android SDKs

Collectively, Shopify stores were viewed twenty billion times in 2015, with 61% of the traffic coming from mobile, while desktop remained (admittedly, only slightly) king of conversions, converting at 54% with mobile coming in at 46%. It's now more important than ever to give mobile users a flawless experience, and it just got a whole lot easier thanks to the updated iOS and Android Buy SDKs.

Creating a mobile app for your store has been made infinitely simpler, with an easy-to-use UI kit and customer login capability now available. Your app can now save customer data, including their entire cart, as well as send out push notifications based on customer behaviour.

Apple Pay integration was announced for native Shopify apps in May 2015, and now along with it, Android Pay is finally supported. This greatly enhances the customer experience for the millions of people using Android devices to purchase from Shopify stores.

In addition to the JavaScript Buy SDK, the refreshed iOS and Android SDKs are available to use right now, and the documentation for each can be read in full here.

Shopify Scripts

Finally in this list of great additions to Shopify, we have Shopify Scripts. This differs from the previous announcements in that it is only currently available to Shopify Plus users, but anyone working on Plus stores now has access to a unique and game-changing feature.

Shopify Scripts allows developers to customise everything about Shopify on a level that has never been available previously. Hosted on Shopify's servers - removing the stress of maintaining your own code-filled network -  the ability to inject custom scripts into your store allows you to include features such as multi-purchase discounts and ‘buy one, get one free’ offers without the need for an external app.

This helps you focus on creating and delivering a great customer experience, letting you bask in the glory of customisation, with the security and reliability of Shopify, and without breaking the bank on spinning up a new server.

Once again, this is only available to stores using the Shopify Plus service, but all the documentation you could ever need is right here, and Shopify have put together a GitHub repo of example scripts to help you get started customising your store on a whole new level.

Are you keeping up to date with the latest Shopify developments?

Through Unite, Shopify has shown their dedication to providing a fantastic platform to create world-class eCommerce businesses, and thanks to these brilliant new features, it's now possible to create commerce opportunities on every site you build.

To keep up with future Shopify announcements, make sure to follow us on Twitter @Statement for all the major updates in the world of Shopify and everything eCommerce.

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