Shopify dropped its Winter ‘23 Editions a couple of months back. And this latest release has given us devs plenty to play around with. Here’s our verdict on Shopify’s Winter ‘23 updates, including our pick of the biggest game-changers.
Checkout Extensions (and further checkout changes on the horizon)
Verdict: too early to tell
Up until now, any stores on Shopify Plus have been able to customise the checkout.liquid template for their store. We’ve used this for analytics, style and appearance changes, integrations with third-party systems, upsell or recommendation apps, and more.
However, Shopify has announced that its new Checkout Extensions will soon replace checkout.liquid completely. This will allow stores to customise the checkout whilst still ensuring a top level of security for customers. It’s great that Shopify is investing into protecting and enhancing security, but the future of checkout customisations now looks pretty uncertain.
Checkout Extensions don’t provide anywhere near the level of customisation of checkout.liquid changes, and they can be a lot more difficult to work with. Some of the checkout changes we’ve made seem unlikely to be possible with Checkout Extensions and lots of the apps that handle checkout customisations don’t currently support them.
Summary: Too soon to tell. Checkout.liquid has until mid-2024 until it’ll stop working, so we’ll be carefully keeping an eye on any additions or changes to Checkout Extensions in the meantime!
Verdict: a content management revolution
Shopify offers a fantastic product and order management system, but its content management has often been playing catch up with other platforms. It works well enough for simple websites, but more complex stores can be a bit tricky.
We’ve become very well practised in coming up with creative solutions to solve some of Shopify’s limitations, but that all seems to be changing thanks to Meta Objects! These new additions allow developers to create arbitrary ‘groups’ of content fields, massively increasing the potential of content management within Shopify.
We’ve been playing with Meta Objects for a couple of months now on new and old projects and only scratched the surface. We can already tell that they are such a huge deal for Shopify development. Designs, integrations and customisations that previously took tonnes of development time or expensive apps can now be done in a fraction of the time.
They also make content management a lot easier, allowing us to keep content management all in one place and more easily change one-off unique content on Collections, Products, Pages and Articles.
Summary: Shopify hit it out of the park with this one. A year from now we’ll wonder how we got on without them!
Metafield and customiser enhancements
Verdict: the supercharged sidekick to Meta Objects
It may not have had the same groundbreaking impact as Meta Objects, but the many minor additions and improvements to metafields and the customiser over the past year have made a meaningful difference.
Some of my favourites:
- Rich Text in metafields
- Collection and mixed reference metafields
- True or false metafield
- Dynamic values from Store settings in customiser
- Image focal points
- Improved customiser richtext field
- Increasing limits of blocks and sections in JSON templates
- Video field in customiser, allowing uploading a video file directly
And I’m sure there’s many more that I’ve missed! Together all of these help us deliver websites that are becoming easier and easier for our clients to manage. As if that wasn’t good enough already, many of these improvements also make Meta Objects even more powerful!
Summary: All in all, great changes for developers and content editors.
Verdict: a must-have for hassle-free international shipping
I’ve written previously about Shopify Markets and we’re very much fans of how it makes managing a store across multiple countries so much easier. But as a store owner, you’re still left managing some of the difficult stuff such as international tax, fulfilment, shipping and import restrictions.
Markets Pro is a more full-featured tool to help your business operate globally. It helps with cross-border shipping and fulfilment and international tax filing. It also displays different options for local payment options and currencies, and automatically ensures users only see the products they can receive.
It’s still in early-access and for US stores only at the moment, so we’re still exploring what it can do for our clients, but we’re excited to see how it can make managing an international e-commerce store easier!
Summary: International ecommerce becomes a lot easier – well worth a look for international fulfilment alone!
Additions to Shopify B2B
Verdict: a no-brainer if you’re big enough
There are a whole bunch of additions to Shopify B2B for Plus that make what was already a great solution for wholesale even better. We mentioned it when it first launched last year and although we hadn’t run into any major limitations, there was definitely a lack of flexibility compared to some other B2B/Wholesale solutions.
Shopify have done a lot of work to reduce those limitations and add more flexibility, including:
- Native quantity rules like max or minimum quantities
- Customer-specific pricing
- Website and backend flexibility with metafields on companies and locations
- Account invitation emails
- Better branding and layout control on checkout and email templates
- Generate invoices from draft orders
- More advanced payment terms
Summary: It does require Shopify Plus, but if you’re big enough and need Wholesale it’s a no-brainer.
Customer Privacy API
Verdict: GDPR and privacy compliance just got way easier
The Customer Privacy API is definitely not a big ticket item. It doesn’t even get a headline in Winter editions ‘23! It’s mentioned in a tiny section within “Find & engage customers” and hasn’t even been mentioned in Shopify’s developer changelog, it just suddenly appeared in the developer documentation!
It is definitely a Winter ‘23 feature though, and one I think that Shopify should highlight a bit more prominently, because it makes a significant difference to how easy it is to comply with privacy legislations like GDPR, CCPA, and LGPD. An increasing number of privacy legislations require websites to get consent from their users before performing certain actions with their personal data. This may include selling their information, running analytics or showing ads on the page.
Previously Shopify only had a single opt-in or opt-out control, making a consent popup a bit tricky to implement. You couldn’t run analytics if a user didn’t want their data sold – even though those are completely different purposes! Under some jurisdictions, it’s not even clear the previous behaviour was compliant!
The new Privacy API has granular options for Preferences, Analytics, Marketing and Sale of Data, making it significantly easier to implement a website fully compliant with privacy laws.
Summary: Very helpful to comply with privacy laws – just make sure your consent solution supports it.
And there you have it – a whistlestop tour of all the worthwhile releases in Shopify’s Winter ‘23 Editions. Stay tuned for more Shopify tips, updates and releases from the team.