Last Updated on by Dan Stevens
Originally Published July 7, 2021.
What is Online Store 2.0?
Announced at Shopify Unite 2021, Online Store 2.0 is the next generation theme engine for Shopify, building on and extending the core liquid language. It it includes the previously announced and much anticipated Sections Everywhere feature. In a nutshell, you will still have an easy to use theme editor for Shopify but the actual templates will have sections across all Products, Collections, Pages etc and you will be able to drill down into a particular product for example and apply a custom template to just that product. Wow.
Another aspect is speed. Dawn is the current official Online Store 2.0 theme open sourced by Shopify for developers to begin exploring and building on. With this theme, Shopify have made it fast. And we mean fast. Scoring a consistent 98/99 on Google Page Speed Insights / Lighthouse, it paves the way for faster commerce. Remember, if you plan on developing themes based off Dawn for commercial gain, you must go through the Shopify Theme Store.
Finally, with the new editor comes a new App Extension and Block engine. This will allow App Developers (like us), to create even better app experiences for Merchants that integrate seamlessly with stores. No more liquid code inserts. Yay!
When is Online Store 2.0 Available?
Right now, new Stores created on the Shopify Platform as a partner will come with the new Dawn theme.
From what we have heard and seen, Online Store 2.0 will start to roll out across live stores from June 29th with the majority coming in early July. You should notice a banner when its active.
The Theme Store has been closed to new theme submissions since 2018. The reopening will allow for themes to be submitted following the new 2.0 specification.
Will I have to upgrade immediately as a merchant?
The quick answer is no. However, Shopify will be putting all resources into focusing on the future of Shopify which is the new store editor. You should be looking to migrate when possible. How this will look for you depends on your current theme.
- Official Shopify Theme
- Third Party Theme (Themeforest, TemplateMonster..)
- Custom Theme
- Headless Theme
If you are running an Official Shopify theme, then you will hopefully see an updated version you can migrate to in the near future. Official Shopify themes are those on the Theme Store created by Shopify themselves as well as official Partners. Official Partners will be readying their themes as well as new themes for the new Online Store 2.0 experience as we speak.
Third Party Theme. Similar to the above, there is a chance your Developer is updating the theme to be compatible with 2.0. Some developers may not be continuing support however so it is advised to research if they are and if not, seek a new 2.0 theme to prepare migration too.
Custom Theme. If you have a custom Shopify Theme, this almost certainly won’t be Online Store 2.0 ready. You will need to reach out to the Developer or your in-house team to find out the plan for Store 2.0 migration.
Finally, Headless Theme. For those unfamiliar, Headless themes are those which are decoupled from the Shopify platform and simply interact with Shopify as a Platform API. With this comes immeasurable flexibility but developer power, knowhow and resource is required. For these scenarios, the Store Editor is bypassed altogether so it likely won’t make a blind bit of difference to the Headless folk.
Overall, this is a much anticipated and needed improvement to the commerce platform that is powering the now and the future. The feel of the update is that it gives Merchants that much needed granular like control without making it a minefield to navigate. It also allows you to dig a little deeper if you want and more importantly when you want by customising certain entities as you please. Want a Size Chart just for your Shirts? Just create a Product Template with a custom size chart and assign your shirts to it. Done.