Laying down the foundations

Shopify Editions Winter '24: Essential updates for Shopify Plus merchants

Shopify Editions Winter '24: Essential updates for Shopify Plus merchants

Alexine Maurin

5 minute read01 Feb 2024

Shopify Editions is back, and it's laying down the Foundations!

Say hello to the latest chapter in Shopify’s journey of innovation – the Winter '24 Editions. This event is part of Shopify's biannual series, alternating with the Summer Editions, each bringing a wave of fresh updates and enhancements. The speed and expanse of these developments never cease to amaze, showcasing Shopify's commitment to revolutionizing ecommerce.

This time around, we're looking at over 100 updates. Yes, it's a lot to take in, but don't worry – we’ve distilled the list to the top 10 updates that are particularly pertinent to Shopify Plus merchants.

When 'Foundations' echoes 'Simplification'

Shopify's Winter '24 Editions have rolled out with a theme that hits right at home: 'Foundations.' This theme taps into a significant trend we've been tracking in the ecommerce industry – the shift toward simplifying complex processes and tech stacks. If you've been with us at our events or engaging with our socials, you've seen us discuss how this movement is reshaping ecommerce in 2024, and it's not just a fleeting trend; it's a fundamental change that's here to stay.

The 'Foundations' theme chosen by Shopify speaks directly to this trend of simplification. It's about constructing a solid, streamlined base for B2C and B2B users, enabling businesses to flourish without the burden of unnecessary complexity. Shopify is channeling this shift, focusing on foundational elements that make their platform robust, easier, and more intuitive.

Now, let's get a closer look at the biggest and best of this latest feature drop.

Key new updates

Shopify Editions Winter '24: Top 10 updates for Shopify Plus merchants.

1. Variants limit increase & Shopify Combined Listings app

The frustrating days of hitting the 100-variant ceiling are finally over. Shopify has expanded its capability, now supporting up to 2,000 product variants. This is particularly good news if you offer products in various sizes, colors, and materials. Glen Coates hinted that this limit might increase even further in the future. Complementing this, Shopify introduced the Shopify Combined Listings app, a tool enabling Shopify Plus merchants to showcase each product option as a unique child product with its own description, rich media carousel, and dedicated URL. This update is crucial for more effective campaign targeting and tailoring collections for promotions or seasons.

These updates are available in developer preview; you can sign up on the Shopify Editions page here.

2. Checkout Extensibility

Shopify is pushing the boundaries of checkout customization. With the addition of 14 new APIs, UI components, and over 90 innovative checkout apps, personalizing the checkout experience is now more accessible than ever. This upgrade introduces advanced color settings and customization options for headers and footers. A significant highlight is that Checkout Extensibility is now available for the Thank You and Order Status pages. They are making the best-converting checkout in the world even better.

3.  AI-powered semantic search

The latest in Shopify's AI technology brings a more intuitive search experience to stores. This AI-powered semantic search goes beyond simple keyword matching. It understands the context of customer queries. Each Shopify Editions update brings improvements to Shopify Search, but with all the recent AI advancements, this update is particularly exciting. What we also like about this one, is how Shopify is applying AI smartly, focusing on what truly enhances the user experience, not just using AI as a trendy feature. It’s about making a real difference where it counts.

4. Doubling down on B2B commerce

Exciting developments are underway for B2B businesses on Shopify!
Overall, Shopify is significantly enhancing its B2B capabilities. In a first-ever move, Shopify is introducing record-level access control, granting your sales reps precise control over B2B orders. This empowers your sales team, allowing them to place orders and access customer information for their own accounts. Sales managers and reps can have defined access levels, all made possible through roles within staff permissions.

But that's not all – the ability to go headless in B2B commerce is a significant move, allowing for customized, tailored experiences using your preferred tech stack.

Additionally, Shopify has unveiled Custom Promotional Discounts for B2B customers. Now, you can create exclusive promotional discounts tailored specifically for your B2B clients using third-party or custom apps powered by Shopify Functions.

5. New performance dashboard

Shopify is introducing a powerful web performance dashboard to elevate user experiences.
The Web Performance Dashboard is designed to help you optimize your storefront's speed, stability, and interactivity while providing valuable insights into Google's Core Web Vitals. Say goodbye to the old Speed Score and welcome a more in-depth analysis of your real user experience. With Shopify's ongoing commitment to lightning-fast performance, including a 35% infrastructure improvement in the past year, this dashboard empowers you to enhance user experience, reduce bounce rates, and even boost your SEO ranking.

6. Fulfillable inventory

Shopify has announced Fulfillable Inventory, a game-changer in inventory management. Fulfillable inventory is a feature that ensures your customers, as they browse your store and proceed through checkout, only see real-time, market-specific, and accurate views of in-stock inventory available in their region. Meaning, if your inventory is distributed across different regions like the US and the UK, Fulfillable Inventory ensures that customers from each region only view locally available stock. You decide which inventory is available for purchase based on the customer's shipping zone. No more overselling across markets.

7. Shopify POS: Easier fulfillment from retail locations 

Shopify introduces a seamless omnichannel fulfillment feature within its Point of Sale (POS) system. This update simplifies the process for retail staff to fulfill online orders directly from the POS. It also introduces the 'Ship from Store' feature, allowing orders to be picked, packed, and shipped conveniently from the store. This means that, for example, if a customer in your Amsterdam store wishes to purchase a product that's currently out of stock there but available in your London location, your staff can effortlessly facilitate the order and ensure the customer gets what they need, regardless of inventory location.

8. Customer Account Extensibility

Last year, Shopify introduced new customer accounts, offering an easy login experience. Now, Shopify is taking it a step further with Customer Account Extensibility. Developers can seamlessly integrate extensions into customer accounts, enhancing the shopping experience. This means customers can easily update their personal information, view loyalty points, store credits, and more. Plus, it supports Shopify's new B2B offering, opening doors for app developers to create innovative solutions. Exciting options are on the horizon!

This feature is currently in dev preview.

9. Native Exchanges.

Here's another exciting update to look forward to: Native Exchanges, expected in early 2024. This update will streamline the way you handle returns and exchanges on Shopify. It empowers customers to return items and easily exchange them for different products, improving their experience while also helping you preserve revenue and minimize potential losses. Additionally, Shopify will automatically calculate refund payments, taxes, and inventory adjustments with precision, providing a seamless and hassle-free process.

This feature is available in early access.

10. Shopify Subscriptions

Shopify Subscriptions is now available worldwide, unlocking a tremendous opportunity for businesses to tap into the rapidly growing subscription-based business model. The subscription-based business model is on a rapid rise, and it's not slowing down anytime soon. In fact, experts at McKinsey & Company predict that the global subscription industry will soar to an astounding $2 trillion by 2025. With Shopify Subscriptions, you can seamlessly set up and manage subscriptions within the Shopify admin, while customers enjoy the flexibility to modify or skip subscription orders directly from their accounts.

Bottom line

With these editions, Shopify has doubled down on the essentials - fixing the base, laying stronger foundations. It's proof that Shopify isn't just keeping up with the future of ecommerce; they're actively shaping it. Their focus? Reliability and performance. Structural work that's not just for show but for real, sustainable growth. They've worked tirelessly on native core products, ensuring every upgrade adds real value. 

Brands across the globe are future-proofing their businesses by betting on Shopify. Why? Because it's the platform that builds for tomorrow, today. 

They're moving fast – are you?

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