Unite 2019: New Tools to Unlock Meaningful Customer Experiences

Unite 2019: New Tools to Unlock Meaningful Customer Experiences

Obsessing over your customer. Expanding globally. Scaling profitably. Any time spent worrying about your business’ technology steals that focus.

That’s why we’ve spent the last year listening, developing, and building a commerce platform that grows with you. Think of us as your growth partner, not just another vendor.

Watch a 3-minute video highlighting the top Unite announcements.

At Unite 2019, Shopify’s fourth annual partner and developer conference, we announced new Shopify Plus products and tools to help you in three key areas:

1. Simplify business management

2. Offer unique customer experiences

3. Scale your business with confidence

We’re building the technology to help you grow your business today, and in the future. Discover how these tools, features, and advances can help you manage your business and surprise your customers with memorable experiences.

Simplify business management

The new tools we’ve unveiled will help you centralize and manage your business from one place, saving you time and allowing you to focus on your customer experience.

Discover the new Shopify Plus

At Unite 2019, we announced the new Shopify Plus. For the first time ever, you’ll be able to manage all your stores, analytics, staff accounts, user permissions, and automation tools like Shopify Flow in one place.

Now you can grow at the speed of your ideas with the world’s most powerful and intuitive commerce platform. Here’s how:

  • Mobilize your entire team: Give your team exactly what they need to do their job. With access to the right permissions and tools, your staff can specialize in one area for the most impact.
  • Strategize at scale: Understand your business at a glance with a global view of analytics, staff accounts, stores, and workflows. Turn insights into strategies as you expand into new markets and regions.
  • Automate your way to growth: Harness the power of ecommerce automation across your whole business to make room for growth. With a centralized view of all your Shopify Flow workflows, you can save time by automating tasks in multiple stores at once.

The new Shopify Plus will be available later this year. You can sign up for access to a beta program, and we’ll notify you when it’s available.

Streamline your order editing process

You asked, and we listened. Later this year, you’ll be able to streamline your post-purchase experience with new order editing functionality in Shopify. Your customers will be able to change their mind after they place their order—without any complicated workarounds that impact your accounting.

Within Shopify you’ll be able to edit the quantity, variant, products, or shipping method in an order—as long as it’s after a customer has paid, and before the order has been fulfilled. No more duplicate orders, lost sales, or inaccurate reporting. If there’s a difference between the original price paid and the new order, you can also easily send a payment request. Updates will appear across your reports, orders, and customer history, so your reporting will stay accurate.

The Order Editing API will be available in developer preview in June, and editing orders in Shopify will be coming later this year.

Design with a new online store experience

The online store is the foundation for many businesses—so we’re redesigning it from the ground up to give your entire team more control over editing your digital storefront.

We’re upgrading our store design capabilities to make creating and editing your store more intuitive. Some new capabilities include:

  • Easier customization at the page and store level: We’re extending our codeless customization capability to all pages of the online store. Sections can now be used on every page type on your store, allowing you to make quick layout and content changes. You can also apply bulk edits to different page types with master pages.
  • Effortless switching between themes: Your store’s content and assets will no longer be stored in themes. That way, switching to sale-optimized themes, updating your theme, or undergoing a redesign won’t mean starting from scratch.
  • Worry-free edits before publishing: Draft the next version of your online store in a new, safe environment without impacting your live store. You can now prepare changes and publish them when you’re ready, without having to duplicate your theme.

This powerful editing experience will be released later this summer. Developers can access the new Sections API in developer preview, and visit the developer changelog to learn more.

Fine-tune your shipping profiles

Never lose money on shipping again. Shipping profiles allow you to set custom shipping rules based on product details like size, weight, or shipping origin. You can use shipping profiles to offer customers more accurate shipping rates that won’t cut into your profit margins.

Shipping profiles will be available in Shopify in July. App developers will be able to use the Delivery Profiles API to provide advanced shipping features for more complex use cases, like dropshipped or print-on-demand orders.

Stay tuned for updates in the coming months as shipping profiles begin to roll out.

Ship faster with Shopify Fulfillment Network

Customers want their online purchases fast, with free shipping. It’s now expected, thanks to the recent standard set by the largest companies in the world. Working with third-party logistics companies can be tedious. And finding a partner that won’t obscure your customer data or hide your brand with packaging is a challenge.

This is why we’re building Shopify Fulfillment Network—a geographically dispersed network of fulfillment centers with smart inventory-allocation technology. We use machine learning to predict the best places to store and ship your products, so they can get to your customers as fast as possible.

We’ve negotiated low rates with a growing network of warehouse and logistic providers, and then passed on those savings to you. We support multiple channels, custom packaging and branding, and returns and exchanges.

And it’s all managed in Shopify.

Shopify Fulfillment Network is currently available in the United States. If you’re interested in participating, eligible merchants can apply for early access.

Offer unique customer experiences

Deliver relevant, innovative experiences to help your brand stand out and impress customers, no matter where they are.

Create unique experiences with headless commerce

A headless architecture decouples your front-end experience from your back-end technology. It separates the customer facing portion of your business from the underlying systems and engines that drive it.

Using Shopify's Storefront API for headless commerce allows you to create beautiful, customized front-end experiences for web, mobile, or any platform. You can control every aspect of your digital experience, without having to abandon existing systems or micro services (like enterprise resource planning or content management systems) you rely on to run your business.

Headless commerce gives you freedom to move quickly and personalize without limits:

  • Speed to market: Work simultaneously on front-end and back-end development, or on the same files across multiple sites, to experiment quickly and make changes on the fly.
  • Increased control: Integrate your existing systems to build a shopping experience in the programming language of your choice with the Shopify Storefront API.
  • Increased personalization: Build customer-centered experiences for any device or platform, and split test everything to optimize your conversion rate.

Find out if headless commerce is right for your business.

Immerse your customers in video and 3D

Sometimes pictures aren’t enough to help a customer envision how your product works—or how it will look in their home. Showcasing your products in more immersive ways, like video combined with 3D model assets, gives customers a better sense (and experience) of what they’re buying.

We’re excited to announce that native support for video and 3D model assets is coming soon to your online store. Later this year, you’ll be able to upload video or 3D models directly to products in your Shopify admin. If you have a custom or edited theme, we’ll have documentation so you can add this functionality to your theme.

For high-volume merchants, this means you can:

  • Keep all your assets in one place: Access and store your video and 3D model assets in the same place as your images.
  • Play video and 3D models natively in your browser: Easily upload your assets for customers to view seamlessly in your store using the Shopify video player and Shopify augmented reality.
  • Edit images and videos with new editor apps: We’re inviting partners and developers to create editor apps, which will make it easier to edit images and videos in your admin.

We recommend creating your own video and 3D model content, or hiring a partner in the Shopify Experts marketplace who specializes in this type of content creation, ahead of the launch later this year.

Enable subscriptions in your Shopify checkout

Grow your recurring revenue stream with subscriptions solutions integrated in Shopify’s checkout. Later this year, app developers will be able to use our checkout app extension to seamlessly integrate their apps with Shopify, allowing customers to purchase subscription products without leaving your checkout.

We’re working with existing subscription app partners to develop this solution, and we’ll be releasing this capability to all partners later this year.

What are app extensions? App extensions allow third-party apps to integrate seamlessly into Shopify workflows and the user interface. The result is increased extensibility of the Shopify platform. App extensions also enable apps to surface natively in predetermined ways, providing more control over how, where, and when apps can be used.

Reduce checkout friction with automatic discounts

Do you want to reduce checkout friction and cart abandonment during your promotions?

Now you can create discounts that are applied automatically to a customer’s cart, without a discount code. Build fast, flexible promotions using fixed, percentage, or buy-X-get-Y discounts to streamline the checkout process.

This new feature helps you:

  • Increase conversions: Discounts will be automatically shown at cart and checkout—reducing friction and abandoned carts.
  • Have more flexibility with promotions: Easily customize discounts by adding a minimum purchase amount or quantity of items. Set conditions to only apply the discount to specific collections or products.
  • Compliment Shopify Scripts: Experiment and test promotions with automatic discounts. Then create a more complex, personalized experience with Shopify Scripts.

Learn how to take your customer promotions to the next level with automatic discounts.

Help customers discover new items with product recommendations

Product recommendations can increase your conversions and average order values. Now you can automatically optimize those recommendations for visitors already on your site.

You’ll benefit from:

  • Real-time native reporting: Understand key trends and performance with native analytics in real time.
  • Smarter recommendations with less investment: Shopify’s algorithm can access rich data to provide smarter recommendations.
  • Storefront customization flexibility: Extend your brand across product recommendations with complete control over styling.

You can implement Shopify’s native product recommendations feature using Liquid right in your theme, the JSON API, Storefront API, or with select themes from the Theme Store. Learn more about showing product recommendations on your product pages.

Convert more customers with predictive search

Customers who use site search are more likely to buy from you. On the flipside, 80% of site visitors will abandon a site because of a poor search experience.We’ve made it easy to optimize search for customers already on your site. With new predictive search functionality, you can guide and improve how they search. They’ll easily find what they’re seeking with speed and accuracy.

Shopify’s predictive search comes with:

  • Real-time analytics: Understand trends and performance with unlimited analytics in real time.
  • Instant, accurate search results: Retain the customers who are almost twice as likely to convert when using site search.
  • Storefront customization flexibility: Use search as an extension of your brand by controlling overall search styling.

Add predictive search to your theme using the JSON API today, or look for it in Shopify themes later this year.

Scale with confidence

We’ve built new developer-focused tools that help high-volume businesses scale faster. They give you the control you need to expand across new channels, customer segments, and markets.

Scale reliably with API versioning

When updates are made to the Shopify API, partners and developers can now reference past versions. This helps keep your solutions stable until you’re ready to adopt the latest updates.

With API versioning, we’re working to make future changes to the platform predictable, clearly communicated, and easy to adopt. API versioning will be introduced on a quarterly basis. Likewise, each version will be supported for at least one year.

Build innovative solutions with new Shopify APIs

We announced a host of new APIs so you can access Shopify products and features in the solutions you build. Some APIs were already covered in the article, but here’s the full breakdown:

  • Delivery Profiles API: Increase sales with an optimized checkout by setting per-product and per-location shipping rules based on product characteristics (for example, bulky, fragile, location).
  • Fulfillment API: Get control and visibility of the entire fulfillment process in real time, so you can scale with confidence.
  • Order Editing API: Ensure your apps are updated and explore new possibilities, like building new post-purchase upsell solutions and supporting niche buying experiences.
  • Video and 3D API: Developers can now associate video and 3D model assets with a product or variant.
  • Translations API: Shopify has provided translations services apps with the ability to provide a fuller, multi-language customer experience with a single Shopify store, across online store, checkout, and post-order workflows.

Read more about these and other new APIs in more detail on the Shopify Partner blog.

Stop worrying and start selling faster

When it comes to business growth, you’ve got enough worries on your plate. You need a commerce platform who has partnered with the world’s biggest brands—so you can grow at the speed of your ideas.

Unite 2019 is just our jumping-off point. The Shopify platform will continue to evolve as fast as commerce, and as fast as your business.

Contact us to start using these new tools to accelerate your growth.

About the author

Aaron Orendorff

Previously the Editor in Chief of Shopify Plus, Aaron Orendorff is the VP of Marketing at Common Thread Collective. Named by Forbes as one of the top 10 B2B content marketers, his work has appeared on Mashable, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Fast Company, Inc., Success Magazine, The Next Web, Content Marketing Institute, and more.

Check out Aaron Orendorff’s work