by Fatema Mulla

Shopify Unite is always a much anticipated event for all merchants and partners. Gathering partners and developers from all around the world, Shopify Unite is built around discussing the future of eCommerce and how Shopify will play its part in this.

Shopify Unite is always a much anticipated event for all merchants and partners. Gathering partners and developers from all around the world, Shopify Unite is built around discussing the future of eCommerce and how Shopify will play its part in this.

We flew out to Toronto for a week full of exciting networking events with Shopify partners and developers, and of course, the annual Shopify Unite keynote speech to find out the biggest news and updates for the Shopify platform.

Here’s our roundup of what went down at Shopify Unite 2019:

New Customisation Options

The first update that was announced at Unite 2019 - a higher, more exciting level of customisation to the design of your Shopify store.

The platform is now rolling out Sections across all pages on your eCommerce store - giving you the flexibility to customise any area, on any page.

Merchants are also given access to “portable content” - meaning no more duplication of themes or moving over content manually - as content will no longer be stored in themes alone.

There is also a new “Master Pages” feature, which will allow merchants to define content that will appear on a set number of key pages and update them all at once, instead of updating each individually.

Lastly, developers will now be able to save any upcoming changes to online stores in a safe place - Drafts. Any design or content changes can now be saved in Drafts and published when relevant.

What this means for merchants:

Even easier and faster store editing to enable more customised and relevant shopping experience for customers.

Video and 3D product imagery

This exciting new feature brings the online shopping experience closer to that of the physical one, providing a richer, meaningful experience for customers.

Merchants will now be able to upload and store videos and 3D imagery through the same place they currently manage their images, allowing them to offer various forms of media content through one single place.

You can now also easily display video or 3D models using the new Shopify video player or AR viewer.

Furthermore, Shopify is working closely with partners and app developers to create additional apps and customer integrations to bring imagery, video content and AR experiences through new and more creative ways.

What this means for merchants:

An ‘out of the box’ way to bring products to life on screen, providing the potential for richer shopping experiences which can pave the way for higher conversion rates.

Headless Commerce

New custom storefront tools announced gives merchants the flexibility to sell anywhere and in any way they need to, freeing them of certain back-end dependencies.

This includes connecting microservices to create more personalised experiences, including dynamic content across your store and accurate shipping calculations through 3rd party apps and services.

You can also engage more effectively and creatively with your customers, through the use of vending machines, smart mirrors, live streams, voice shopping and much more.

The flexible architecture of the Shopify platform means your teams can easily work alongside each other to create the unique experiences of your vision.

What this means for merchants:

For brands who want almost infinite levels of customisation to create truly unique and bespoke shopping experiences, Shopify is providing the tools to do so and enable an even greater level of innovation.

POS Extensions

Shopify have announced some truly exciting new extensions to their POS systems - allowing for a more personal and engaged customer experience.

You can now directly apply and edit loyalty and promotional details from customers cart. Using apps and integrations, you can now reward customers without them needing to click away or disrupt their checkout process.

You can now apply discounts faster than ever and in fewer clicks, as well as retrieving key customer details automatically rather than having to go through apps.

What this means for merchants:

Shopify POS has already transformed retail operations for thousands of businesses. With this new functionality, merchants can enjoy even greater levels of customisation, provided by a suite of third party apps, integrated right into the POS experience for a seamless user journey.

11 New Languages

Last year, Shopify announced multilingual features, allowing merchants to manage their store in 6 other languages. This year, Shopify have introduced 11 more languages, bringing their platform to more businesses around the world.

The Shopify App Store will now also be translated into 10 different languages, making it easier for app developers and merchants around the world to navigate and use the app store.

Furthermore, Shopify are also looking into more multi currency options, opting to make their Shopify Payments feature globally available later this year.

What this means for merchants:

Unlocking the power of Shopify for even more merchants across the world, staying true to Shopify’s mantra of supporting entrepreneurship for as many people as possible

Shopify Fulfilment Network

To make it easier for merchants to fulfill orders and keep customers happy, we now have the all new Shopify Fulfillment Network.

This is a dispersed network of fulfilment centers that automatically detects closest fulfilment options for your shipments, as well as selecting optimal inventory quantities per location.

With the new Shopify Fulfilment Network, you can now effectively manage fulfilment logistics, providing fast, low cost delivery options and maintaining ownership of customer data.

When the app becomes available, merchants will have access to a single back office solution that keeps all data synced across all warehouse locations and channels, get low stock alerts, 99.5% order accuracy, hands on warehouse help with a dedicated Account Manager and much more.

What this means for merchants:

Shipping and fulfilment are critical for successful retail operations. Whilst Shopify has also provided a seamless user experience for the commerce side of business, shipping and fulfilment has always been managed separately. Now Shopify are combining both technology and geographic reach to offer a managed shipping solution, taking away yet another operational headache for merchants to allow them to focus even more time on customers and more value-add activities to grow their businesses.

All New Shopify Plus

Possibly one of the biggest updates - merchants can now manage multiple Shopify Plus stores from one single place.

With easy access to metrics and key insights, and the ability to easily manage users, data etc for all your stores in one place, the new Shopify Plus multi store admin allows you and your team to operate more efficiently.

Shopify Flow will also see a new home, and you’ll now get a more centralised view of all your workflows.

What this means for merchants:

For larger merchants, the launch of the new Shopify Plus is the first stage in a more comprehensive evolution of the platform. Shopify recognise that as merchants grow, they need more tools to manage a more complex architecture of stores. Often larger merchants have multiple stores which can operate with sub-brands or multi-region sites. Traditionally managing all of these sites hasn’t been as easy as it could be. The new Shopify Plus will change this - providing a centralised hub of tools to monitor and manage multiple sites for the largest and fastest growing brands using the Shopify platform.

So what’s next?

With all these exciting updates to the Shopify platform, it’s clear now more than ever how the future of eCommerce is one that’s constantly evolving at a rapid speed.

With more design flexibility, ability to edit orders, updates to Shopify Plus, POS extensions and much more, the Shopify Platform is offering much more to merchants to help them grow their business more successfully than ever.

Want to find out how Statement can help your Shopify or Shopify Plus store take advantage of new features like the Shopify Fulfillment Network and POS extensions? Just get in touch, and a member of our team would be happy to help.

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