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Should I upgrade to Shopify 2.0?

Last year Shopify announced their new Online Store 2.0 (aka Shopify 2.0), an upgrade to the existing Shopify operating system. The question on many Shopify website owners’ minds is “Should I upgrade to Shopify 2.0?”

As you may know, Shopify is a hosted solution (Software as a Service, or SaaS), which greatly limits development opportunities and flexibility when compared to open-source systems like WordPress, Magento Open Source or custom coded systems. Like all hosted platforms, Shopify websites aren’t owned by the business owner. The code is essentially leased from Shopify with a monthly fee to pay and terms and conditions to follow. For Online Store 2.0, Shopify has given shop owners the option to upgrade, but thankfully there are no plans to make upgrades mandatory.

There are a few advantages to the Online Store 2.0 system compared to the previous version. Here are the big ones:

  1. Improved development structure and tools: Website developers are somewhat happier with the new version. Shopify 2.0 allows for websites to have multiple template files that map to different products, collection pages, custom pages, blog posts and more. In the previous version, there was only one template file allowed, and code edits, custom apps and other hacks were needed to circumvent this limitation. There are other theme architecture improvements that make implementing and organising apps slightly easier. There are also new tools that allow theme development and maintenance a little easier. These are all features that have long existed in WordPress and Magento.
  2. Improved store content: The new version of Shopify improves how information about products are presented to Google, making it easier to add important SEO values on product pages that search engines use to determine what products to show in search results. It also makes it easier to use media files like PDFs for product information and to incorporate images from a website’s theme for each product (which was previously very difficult).
  3. Theme editor improvements: One of the biggest complaints from Shopify users tends to be how difficult it is to edit the website’s theme. Shopify 2.0 adds some improvements to the editor, including an improved menu and the ability to easily inject code into the theme without having to manually edit the theme’s code. 
  4. New default theme: Shopify 2.0 comes with a new default theme called “Dawn” which incorporates all the new features in the new system. The danger with default themes is obviously having a website that looks like lots of other websites.

If your website was built in the first version of Shopify, the theme will continue to function, but all new themes will be built in the new Shopify 2.0 system. Migrating existing Shopify websites and apps to Online Store 2.0 requires a fair amount of planning and work. Building a new website in Shopify 2.0 has some advantages as outlined above, but there are still the pros and cons of hosted solutions to consider. If you’d like to discuss upgrading your Shopify website to OS 2.0 or redeveloping in another platform that better suits your business, you can contact us below.

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