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Shopify Monthly | January '24

Written by Eduard Fastovski

Feb 01, 2024

In case you missed it, Shopify Editions was yesterday - January 31st, 2024.

Keep your eyes open for my recap video, coming in the next 1-2 days.

In today’s newsletter:

  • Shopify Editions highlights
    • Major changes to product admin
    • Reusable Theme Blocks
    • Increased variant limits
    • “Web Performance Dashboard” replaces speed scores
  • My content in January:
    • Video: Structured Data for Shopify
    • Video: Free Shopify themes - a common misconception
  • Other Shopify updates:
    • Shopify Subscriptions app
    • Dawn v13 has color swatches

✨ Shopify Editions

The theme this time was “Foundations”, meaning they are focusing on the much-needed basics, rather than pushing fancy new features.

Product Attributes & Categories

In the next few weeks, Shopify will be rolling out some big changes to how we create products.

Every category of product will come with some unique pre-configured metafields to fill out, allowing you to add extra details about a product.

The really cool thing is how colors work. Simply adding your product images will automatically suggest colors in the metafields, and you can rename and change these as needed, and then create variants based on them.

It’s all explained in Shopify’s announcement video.

These changes make it quicker and easier to set up filters and color swatches, and provide extra information to your customers on the product page. It also gets passed to other sales channels, and it could have SEO benefits too (depending on theme).

Status: Will be rolled out in the next few weeks.

Theme Blocks

In the last Editions, Shopify told us about their “Flex Sections” idea, and I’ve mentioned this a few times in the newsletter as well.

Well, Shopify has just announced “Theme Blocks”, which I believe is at least one-half of what will eventually become flex sections.

Theme blocks has two major features:

1. Global Blocks

Blocks that can be used inside of any section site-wide.

No longer will blocks be the child of a specific section. There will now be blocks that can be used everywhere, inside of any section.

2. Nested blocks

Blocks inside of blocks. You will be able to go more than the current two-layer depth (Section → Blocks).

There will now be up to eight layers of depth!

This means we will see blocks for very small generic things like buttons, headings, text, images… and they will be used inside of bigger blocks like product cards or featured collections.

You will be able to re-order all these smaller elements inside of the bigger blocks.

Watch here at 06:24 for a demo.

Status: Currently in developer preview. My guess is it will be released around the next Shopify Editions - July 2024.

You can now have up to 2000 variants

Great news for anyone who hit the old 100 variant limit!

600 variants on this product (15 × 8 × 5)

This was always a major limitation of Shopify. For example, if you sold a t-shirt that came in 10 colors and 5 sizes, this was 50 variants in total. If this t-shirt also came in two neck shapes - a crew neck and a v-neck - this was 100 variants.

Any more than 100 was not possible on a single product. If you simply had 15 colors and 8 sizes, that’s 120 variants. You would need to use apps like “Infinite Options” to set up your product.

Status: The new limit - 2000 variants - is currently in early access, and will be rolled out to all stores throughout 2024.

Web Performance Dashboard

This new dashboard replaces the old speed score Shopify was using.

The problem with the speed score is that it caused more anxiety and confusion than help. It was based on Google Lighthouse - a testing simulation - not real user data. And the scoring criteria wasn’t very fair for e-commerce. It was almost impossible to get near 100 on a real Shopify store, with most stores seeing surprisingly low scores.

The new Web Performance Dashboard will be based on real user data. Every time a customer visits your store, it records the loading speed for that customer!

It also uses a different scoring system. A single score is replaced by three criteria, Google’s “Core Web Vitals”.

Loading Speed - how quickly your page loads and becomes visible.

Interactivity - how quickly your page becomes useable, items become clickable etc..

Visual stability - how much the page moves around during loading. Often caused while loading embeds, videos, custom fonts etc…

Sounds great. But how do we use this?

I believe the scoring here is much more indicative of a real problem than the old speed scores. So if your score isn’t “good”, that means there is a problem to investigate.

Under each of the core web vitals, you will find suggestions to fix the issue, but I think the best feature is the line chart showing events - changes you made to your store, such as installing an app or editing the theme.

So if you notice one of the scores has gotten worse from a particular date, you can see what changes might have caused it.

Status: Should be rolled out in the next few weeks

📹 Shopify SEO: Intro to Structured Data

Based on your votes from my last newsletter. I am kicking off an SEO series with this video on structured data. Here I explain:

  • How it works & terminology
  • How to check if your theme has structured data

For most of you, your theme will handle the basic types of structured data. In later videos I will show you how to manually add other types to enhance search results.

📹 All free Shopify themes are the same!

Recently I was asked if it is worth switching from one of the free themes to another.

The answer is no! They are all the same theme, just with different presets. They have exactly the same code, sections, and blocks available.

Hence why I call every free Shopify theme “Dawn”.

📢 Other Shopify updates

Dawn (and all free themes) v13 released!

I was really hoping this version of Dawn would come with Shopify’s promised “Flex sections”. Alas, this feature (renamed to “theme blocks”) is not publicly available yet, and so the new version of Dawn is not a huge update.

The major feature of Dawn 13 is color swatches for your variants on the product page. So if this is a feature you’ve been waiting for, it might be time to update. Especially if you missed Dawn 12 which came with color swatches for color filters (tutorial already recorded, coming soon).

Dawn 13 has color swatches

Warning: According to the Dawn theme store page, there are some breaking changes to color schemes in version 13. When you update you will need to set up color schemes again in the new theme.

Shopify Subscriptions app fully released

The Shopify Subscriptions app was announced 6 months ago in the last Editions, but it was not available to all stores until now.

Previously, the most popular apps for subscriptions were rather expensive, and often a hassle to set up, so it’s amazing to see a free and native Shopify app for this much-requested feature.

Get it here

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