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What is Shopify 2.0, And Why Should You Migrate?

Shopify 2.0 has gained significant popularity due to its compelling features, user-friendly themes, and overall convenience. But is the hype justified? This article explores what Shopify 2.0 entails, how it surpasses its predecessor, Shopify 1.0, the process of migrating to Shopify 2.0, and potential challenges one might encounter during this transition.

Founded in 2006 by Tobias Lütke and Scott Lake, Shopify originated from the frustration these entrepreneurs experienced while searching for a suitable eCommerce platform to launch their own online store. Shopify began as a platform in 2004, initially serving as an online snowboard store. Today, it hosts 31% of all eCommerce websites in the United States and 21% of the global eCommerce market.

In 2021, Shopify introduced Shopify Online Store 2.0, offering developers an array of new tools and features to create exceptional themes and apps. However, it’s important to note that Shopify 2.0 is not automatically activated, leading many businesses to contemplate whether the switch is necessary and how to navigate the upgrade process. This guide aims to provide comprehensive insights into Shopify 2.0, explain its advantages over its predecessor, and detail the steps to upgrade to Shopify Online Store 2.0.

What Exactly Is Shopify 2.0?

Shopify 2.0, short for Shopify Online Store 2.0, represents an enhancement to the Shopify platform that is not tied to specific pricing tiers or plans. It introduces new theme architecture and expands customisation options and integrations.

One key feature of Shopify Online Store 2.0 is the use of JSON templates in addition to Shopify’s open-source Liquid template language. JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) templates optimize processing speed by storing JavaScript elements in text format. These templates revolutionize the way web pages are designed, making them more dynamic and customizable.

While upgrading to Shopify 2.0 is not obligatory, businesses aiming for growth beyond basic maintenance should consider the advantages of transitioning from Shopify 1.0.

Shopify 2.0 vs. Shopify 1.0

As with any major software version release, Shopify 2.0 introduces substantial improvements in user experience, performance, and capabilities. Here are some key highlights that illustrate why Shopify 2.0 is a significant leap forward for eCommerce:

  1. Redesigned UI for Captivating Websites: Shopify 1.0 featured the Debut default theme, while Shopify 2.0 introduced the Dawn theme. Dawn optimizes the latest Online Store 2.0 features and offers flexibility for stores of all sizes. It boasts a visually appealing and trend-forward UI, with features such as adaptive and mobile-friendly design, announcement bars, media-optimized product pages, and a modern, lightweight interface.
  2. Faster Loading Times: Shopify 2.0 delivers faster loading times through several enhancements, including a 35% speed boost in the default theme (Dawn), improved loading speed via new sections and JSON templates, increased utilization of App Extensions, and a speedier checkout experience.
  3. Comprehensive Site Customization with Sections: Unlike Shopify 1.0, which limits true customization to the homepage, Shopify 2.0 extends this flexibility to every page using JSON templates. This allows for extensive customization without requiring custom code or apps. Businesses can create up to 25 sections on each page, each containing up to 50 reusable blocks of content, such as images, text, or headers.
  4. Enhanced Store Flexibility with Metafields: Shopify 2.0 introduces Metafields (custom fields) as a way to add and store information about Shopify resources. This feature can be linked to various owner types, including articles, blogs, collections, customers, pages, products, and images. Unlike Shopify 1.0, where this had to be defined at the code level, Shopify 2.0 allows direct addition within the theme editor, even offering the option to import data.
  5. Increased Flexibility with App Blocks: App blocks are dynamic elements that can be incorporated into a website, such as 3D product models, product reviews, prices, and ratings. These blocks reference dynamic sources, ensuring content remains synchronized while offering the flexibility to add, remove, or reorder app blocks within the website’s sections or themes.
  6. Enhanced Developer Tools: Shopify 2.0 introduces several developer-friendly updates, including improvements to the Theme Editor/Admin interfaces, theme app extensions for simplified dynamic element integration, GitHub integration for better version control, an improved Shopify CLI, Theme Check for error scanning, and more.

How to Upgrade to Shopify 2.0?

Once the decision to upgrade to Shopify 2.0 has been made, the next question is how to undertake the upgrade. Fortunately, three primary methods exist for adding Online Store 2.0 features to an existing Shopify website. While Shopify offers a migration assessment to determine the best migration path, seeking assistance from a professional Shopify development agency is recommended when in doubt.

  1. Download a New Shopify 2.0 Theme: This method involves downloading one available Online Store 2.0 theme from the Shopify Theme Store. This allows access to the new theme design and all Shopify 2.0 features.
  2. Download a New Version of an Existing Theme: Some existing themes will offer updates that enable you to retain the website’s look and feel while incorporating Online Store 2.0 features. This can be manually added through a theme update.
  3. Manual Theme Migration: This method involves adding Online Store 2.0 functionality to a theme by converting Liquid templates (used in Shopify 1.0) into JSON templates (the 2.0 format). This also involves moving code from templates into sections. To follow this path, a stringent migration pattern should be followed, including steps such as backing up the theme, identifying and removing section references, and thorough testing.


What Data Is Migrated During Shopify 2.0 Migration?

In addition to understanding how to upgrade, it’s crucial to consider the types of data that need to be migrated during the Shopify 2.0 migration. The following list serves as a starting point to ensure no data is overlooked:

  1. Products:
    • Name, SKU, Full Description, Status, Custom Fields (Name, Value), Manufacturer
    • Price, Special Price
    • URL, Meta Title, Meta Description
    • Product Images, Additional Images
    • Quantity, Stock Management, Stock Status
    • Weight
    • Product Tags, UPC
    • Product Variants (SKU, Weight, Quantity)
  2. Product Categories:
    • Name, Description, Status
    • URL, Meta Title, Meta Description
    • Category Images
  3. Manufacturers:
    • Name
  4. Customers:
    • First Name, Last Name, Email
    • Customer Billing Address
    • Customer Shipping Address
  5. Orders:
    • Order Date, Order Status
    • Order Products (Name, SKU, Option)
    • Product Price, Quantity, Subtotal Price, Discount Price, Shipping Price, Total Price
    • Order Comments
    • Customer Name, Email, Billing Address
    • Shipping Address
  6. Gift Cards, Certificates, and Credits:
    • Gift Card Number, Date, Notes
    • Customer Name, Email, Billing Address
    • Credit Balances
  7. Blogs:
    • Articles
    • Comments
    • Metadata
  8. Pages:
    • Privacy
    • FAQ
    • Contact
    • Shipping, etc.
  9. Reviews:
    • Shopify product review data

Shopify 2.0 Migration Risks

Every migration process carries inherent risks that can impact website availability, functionality, and performance. The complexity of the migration depends on the level of customization of the existing website. Key risks and considerations include:

  1. Broken URLs or Disrupted Customer Experience: Without proper redirection management, broken URLs can lead to a poor customer experience.
  2. Unforeseen Migration Timelines: Custom work may extend the migration timeline beyond expectations.
  3. Customizations: All existing customizations on the old system must be replicated in the new system.
  4. Core File Changes: Changes made in core files may be overwritten post-migration, requiring careful handling.
  5. Tech Stack: To avoid service interruptions or data loss, the entire technology stack supporting the website must be considered.
  6. Data Accuracy: Thoroughly accounting for all data is essential to prevent loss during migration.

While migrating to Shopify 2.0 may seem daunting, proper preparation can unlock advanced integrations, capabilities, and performance enhancements. These improvements can provide the user experience customers demand and fuel business growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is Shopify 2.0 better? Shopify 2.0 prioritizes both the customer and developer experience. It offers greater customization options for the shopping experience, streamlined tools like app blocks and metafields, and improved performance.
  2. Is Shopify 2.0 headless? Shopify 2.0 supports headless commerce initiatives by integrating with Shopify’s headless commerce APIs and offering options for the Shopify Checkout experience. Headless commerce involves using external services to manage various elements, extending beyond the features of Shopify templates. This approach requires expertise in headless commerce development.
  3. Can Shopify integrate with an external PIM? If so, which PIM systems are popular? Shopify is not a standalone Product Information Management (PIM) system. However, it can integrate with various popular PIM systems to manage product catalogs and other sales-related systems. Popular PIM systems include Jasper, Akeneo, PlyTix, and Sales Layer.
  4. When was Shopify 2.0 released? Shopify introduced Shopify Online Store 2.0 in June 2021.
  5. What is Shopify Plus? Shopify Plus is an enterprise eCommerce platform tailored to the needs of large, high-growth merchants. It offers omnichannel support, dedicated account management, advanced theme tools, unlimited staff accounts, enhanced checkout control, API integrations, analytics, and exclusive apps. While Shopify Plus can run vintage Shopify 1.0 platforms, upgrading to Shopify 2.0 is recommended to access the latest features.