United We Shopify!

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Mike and I spent last week on the west coast. While we did a number of cool things, my highlights were the Shopify Unite conference and the Brightpearl yacht tour.

Huemor at shopify unite conference

Shots of Shopify Unite Conference from Co-Founder Jeff Gapinski


Some fun side notes before we get started:

  • We stayed in the Russian Hill section of San Francisco, which if I could describe to you briefly; it’s essentially the Brooklyn of San Fran.
  • We spent a lot of our time up and down “Polk” street finding good eats, good drinks and cool shops.
  • We got to meet up with a couple of our buddies from Shopify and DEMAC (Shout out to Afshin and James for a fun Friday).
  • We got to check out the Golden Gate bridge up close (Although I’m a bit upset nobody wanted to walk it with me).

Let’s Get Down To Business

So social stuff aside, the reason you fly across the country and go to one of these types of conferences is to learn more about what the company is planning, and how awesome it’s going to make your life.

Shopify definitely delivered on these points.

First and foremost, it was awesome to meet face-to-face with the folks that we often work with virtually over at Shopify. Their organization is filled with incredibly friendly, bright people. At the conference we got a lot of insight on how Shopify plans to grow and improve their platform both short- and long-term, making me even more confident that our close alignment as Shopify Plus experts is a smart decision.

Here’s a clip from Shopify’s CEO, Tobi Lütke on the future of ecommerce


A Run Down On New Dope S#!%

There were a few things in particular that I was really excited to learn about at the conference.

  1. The improvements they’ve made to their Scripts API
  2. How Shopify plans to improve their templating system even further.
  3. Improvements to their SDK, more specifically “buttons”

My Perspective On Shopify Scripts

Shopify Scripts essentially allows you to write custom code that modifies the base of the Shopify platform logic. As a closed system, previously, the only way to extend that platform was to buy into an application or write your own. This scripting feature provides the user with a relatively simple way to modify items on a per-store basis without having to go through the entire application process.

For clients, this means we can provide them with more custom functionality, such as: custom percent based discounts, tiered discounts based on volume sales, buy one get one deals, more advanced tax and shipping rules etc. Basically, this opens up a whole new world of possibilities we haven’t had available to us previous and really gives us a lot of power to develop exactly what clients need.

New Templating Capabilities

The second item, which appears to be something that will roll out later this year, are the adjustments Shopify is making to their Liquid templating engine.

Shopify is known for being one of the best ecommerce platforms to build custom templates for.  I know for a fact that my developers love Liquid over other templating systems (I’m looking at you Magento). What Shopify’s proposing is a new system that allows you to make parts of your pages more flexible.  In the current system you can create a template and allow the user to edit it outside of the code view, but you can’t rearrange or pick blocks on an as-needs basis.  This new system solves that.  You can create custom block types, move them up or down a page, and choose them at will.

Adding Shopify Everywhere

One of the best things about Shopify is how easy and safe they make the “commerce” portion of “ecommerce”.  Everything being rolled into one platform allows us to spend more time worrying about interface, experience and conversions, and less time about PCI compliance or server scalability. The improvements they made to their “Shopify Buttons” feature were much needed.  Essentially, the way these used to work were that they were iframes you inserted onto your pages.  This gave shop owners the ability to add e-commerce to non-e-commerce platforms, however, you were limited in how you could style them, and had no ability to track interactions with the buttons.  What they’ve done to improve this is provide you with direct access to the javascript that powers them, this gives us the ability to track interactions through something like Google Analytics as well as style them so they’re completely on-point with any branding.  Ultimately, these are way more viable to incorporate into any website, and give you a quick option for online sales despite what your original platform might be.


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