Over the summer in 2021, Shopify made a big announcement. They unveiled Online Store 2.0, which has several new features that merchants and developers alike have been asking for.
It’s exciting! And it’s also new (and possibly overwhelming). So let’s dive into what’s changed exactly and what it means for your Shopify website.
Theme Editor Update
The Online Store 2.0 upgrade came along with an interface update for all Shopify merchants too. If you’ve logged into your Shopify store lately, you may have noticed a few differences. The changes are mostly in the customizer area — The Theme Editor — where you edit your homepage, product page and collection templates.
Here’s the Theme Editor with Shopify’s new Online Store 2.0 Dawn theme.
The Theme Editor still works and looks very similarly to the old version (Online Store 1.0, we could call it?). It now has more options and some of the sections you have on your store may work a little differently with how they’re edited. There’s now a container and items inside the container for your sections.
The section itself is usually clickable now, as well as the items inside of it. In the example above, “Image with text” is clickable and has options you can customize, as does all of the content inside of the section. That can be easy to miss when you’re not used to clicking that.
Customizable Product and Collection Templates
This is one of the most exciting new features to me! Creating a unique product or collection template used to require partnering with a developer. Now, it’s something you can do entirely on your own, in the Theme Editor and Dashboard of your Shopify site.
First, why would you want a custom product or collection template?
Here are some use cases:
- You have a collection that has multiple sub-collections within
- Only some of your collections needs filters
- Some of your products have different ship or lead times or some are digital downloads
Before this update, I typically advised keeping your collection template and product template info as generic as possible, so that it can apply to all of your collections and products. But now, it’s so easy to make custom templates.
Here’s an example from my client Paisleys and Polka Dots. For her wood decor collection, we created a custom collection template that shows the wood decor menu. The default collection template doesn’t have the menu — so it’s only there on the collections that it’s needed.
Launch Party 2 Day Intensive client, Paisleys and Polka Dots custom collection template
Like the custom collection and product templates, metafields were around before this update, but required an app and a developer to utilize them.
Now, you can easily add metafields to your products without touching code. A metafield is a data input. Your Shopify product section already has several, like “Product Title”, “Description”, “Vendor” and more. Now you can go beyond that. You can add a box for “Product Subtitle” or “Product Ship Time”, “Height”, “Width”… the list goes on!
Metafields manager in the Settings section of the Shopify dashboard
Creating your metafields and inputting the data in your product section is step one. Then to add them to your website, you’ll go to your Theme Editor and add them on your product template.
I created a metafield for the location of this vendor to display below the price.
Sections on Pages
With Online Store 2.0, sections are utilized more than ever. You’re probably already familiar with sections on your homepage, now they’re everywhere. You can easily add sections to your product template, collection template and pages like Contact, About, and FAQ. This makes it so much easier to customize your website.
Sections on pages were already available with paid themes for Shopify. So if you already had a custom page templates available that you edit in the Theme Editor, then you’ve already been able to use this feature. Now it’s available on all themes and works a little differently.
Similarly to how you can create a custom collection or product template right in the Theme Editor, you can do the same with Page Templates. Once again, this was totally possible before Online Store 2.0 but required coding knowledge.
Contact page on the Dawn theme. So many sections that can be added!
The overall theme I’m loving of Online Store 2.0: making Shopify websites easier to customize with the Theme Editor. It gives merchants more control and flexibility.
Shopify Online Store 2.0 Themes
If you opened a Shopify store after summer 2021, then you probably already have an Online Store 2.0 theme. After the switchover, Shopify made Dawn — the first Online Store 2.0 theme — their new default theme, replacing Debut.
Theme developers are still rolling out OS 2.0 versions. You can find them in the Theme Store to check out. Notice the OS 2.0 icon on the bottom right corner.
If you’re already in the market for a new theme, then definitely choose one that is OS 2.0 ready.
What if you don’t have an OS 2.0 theme?
If you want to utilize the new Online Store 2.0 features, then you do need an OS 2.0 theme to get access to all of them. Which means switching themes.
Switching themes on Shopify can be a daunting task, especially if you put a lot of time into customizing your current theme.
If you’re on the fence on whether or not you need to switch to an OS 2.0 theme, here’s my suggestion: take a full inventory of your website. If you’re not happy with the way it looks, products are hard to find and/or you’re using a lot of apps to try to customize (like a pagebuilder), then it’s worth switching to a new OS 2.0 theme.
Otherwise, stick with what’s already working for you. The time will come when you’ve outgrown your current theme in some way, and that’ll be the time to upgrade to 2.0.
The bottom line: If you already have a beautiful site that you love, then there’s no reason to switch now. But if you know your site needs work and isn’t performing the way you want, then it’s a good time to consider a change — and unlock all these new features.
Are you just getting started with Shopify? Check out our Quickstart Guide to get up and running smoothly.