Hey you, yes, you!
How are you waltzing through this longest staycation of your lifetime? I hope that the lofty pile of business books at the corner of your living room and the online course subscriptions are surviving your procrastination just fine.
For those who think you’ve gained incredible lessons out of the stay-home notice, you are not the only one. Plus, stop fooling yourself.
Personal opinion: Shopify is my top pick for the most hardworking learner during the pandemic. “Action speaks louder than words” pretty much sums up its revelation at the recent 2021 Shopify Unite. Picking brains from its page builder friends, Shopify pieced together an update that made setting up an online store so much more seamless, which the eCommerce giant proudly coined as ‘Shopify Online Store 2.0’.
Once a student, now a Digital Marketer, please allow me to do a little peer-to-peer review of Shopify Online Store 2.0 and Page Builder. I would try to understand if these are all some clumsy copy-pastes, or a promising revamp that leads up to further innovations in the Shopify ecosystem?
- Shopify Online Store 2.0 - What’s with this Nerd-turned-Superman?
- The Recap of Shopify Online Store 2.0 Revamp
- Why Is Shopify Online Store 2.0 A Blessing In Disguise?
- Shopify Online Store 2.0 vs Page Builder: A Detailed Comparison
- Product Page: Shopify Online Store 2.0 and Page Builder Editions
- Shopify Online Store 2.0 Product Page
- PageFly Product Page
- Pros and Cons of Shopify Online Store 2.0 & Page Builder
I. Shopify Online Store 2.0 - What’s with this Nerd-turned-Superman?
1.1. The recap of Shopify Online Store 2.0 revamp
During a live event on June 29, 2021, called Shopify Unite, Shopify demonstrated several updates and changes that will come with the “Online Store 2.0” edition.
The three following changes are going to happen to the Shopify editor.
First, a new online editor
- Shopify updated its templating language, called Liquid, which now includes an editor similar in performance to WordPress’s Gutenberg, released in 2018, or to the page editors in Squarespace and Wix.
- The new online editor will make it possible for small and midsize businesses to easily create new page templates and populate them with data without writing code
Second, a concentrated content management system
- Business owners will be able to create entirely new custom content types and publish them to all of their channels, including the online store.
Third, some technical changes
- Shopify has released a new theme called Dawn that is an “open-source reference theme, built for performance, flexibility, and ease of use. It uses Online Store 2.0 features, including JSON templates, which support app blocks and sections on all pages.
- Shopify improved its documentation and command-line interface, added GitHub support, and created a new developer console for performance testing.
This is a direct confrontation towards many high achievers in the Shopify ecosystem. The most agitated players should presumably be the page builder partners.
Simply put, Shopify Online Store 2.0 poses an imminent threat to Page Builder monopoly. In the good ol' days most Shopify merchants went straight to install a Page Builder, since building a store with Shopify theme editor is too much of a nuisance. Now, it already looks like a Page Builder app.
1.2. Why is Shopify Online Store 2.0 a blessing in disguise?
Shopify is a dark horse in the class. Remember the guy who doesn’t speak much, but when he does, everybody turns to listen? Shopify is that guy!
What makes Shopify dangerously nerdy in a way, in my humble opinion, is the endless learning sources he can benefit from.
The Canada-headquartered corporation has a diverse number of partners, ranging from page builders to customer review apps. What made Shopify intentionally stay out of the game was probably because of its excellent revenue generation model. The more people search for the app providers, the more visitors will be led to the Shopify parent platform.
Brace yourself: Shopify’s partner ecosystem generated $12.5 billion in revenue in 2020. This number is up more than 84% from $6.8B in 2019. The rest was history for the Shopify revenue!
At first glance, Shopify Online Store 2.0 is a bold and aggressive move. With page builder being among the most potential money-making categories in its portfolio, what is Shopify going to do about it?
Shopify does play the intention game really well. This time, Shopify unknowingly (or knowingly) leaves some improving areas for the partners to tap into. We’ll look into them further as we go.
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II. Shopify Online Store 2.0 vs Page Builder: A Detailed Comparison
2.1. Product Page: Shopify Online Store 2.0 and Page Builder editions
In this video, I’ll put Shopify Online Store 2.0 and PageFly - one of Shopify Page Builder to a little test.
The idea is that I’ll build a product page using Shopify Online Store 2.0 and the page builder PageFly separately. I promise you a 10-minute watch is not too long for a comparison video. For those of you who disagree, I’ll share my attempt below and silently blame it on the short-lived attention span of our tech-saturated generation!
Hopefully you didn’t skip the video. Anyways, here’s what I did:
2.2. Shopify Online Store 2.0 Product Page
Go to Shopify Admin Dashboard -> Themes, then activate the Dawn theme.
Currently, Shopify Online Store 2.0 is only available with Dawn theme, but it's expected that other theme providers will get their themes well-versed with Online Store 2.0 soon.
You can find the list of new elements in the page builder-like editor settings.
Choose to add, remove and hide sections to your liking.
Change the position of the sections
2.3. PageFly Product Page
Go to Shopify Admin Dashboard -> Apps -> PageFly
Go to Product Pages -> Create a new page
In the page editor, choose the template that resonates with you most. In this example I went for Jensetter, a PageFly theme that pre-defines a well-organized set of Product Details, Information Section and Product List.
Click here to see the Jensetter demo store on PageFly.
Below is some customization you can do with the PageFly editor
01. Add hover effects to the add-to-cart button
02. Customize font family and size
03. Customize Product List styling (Add-to-cart button, Background color, Font)
Brief findings: Similar to Page Builder, with Online Store 2.0, you can easily add a lot more sections to a page (compared to the old editor). However, Shopify Online Store 2.0 lacks styling customization, which is an unbeatable weapon of the page builder arsenal.
To do more justice to both, let’s take a bird’s eye view!
III. Pros and Cons of Shopify Online Store 2.0 & Page Builder
3.1. Pros and Cons of Shopify Online Store 2.0
Pros of Shopify Online Store 2.0
01. Ease of Use, UI/UX
- The new editor centralizes all available features and functionalities, reflecting real time changes in the editing page
- The reference theme Dawn, the new standard storefront theme in development, is 35% faster than the current default theme
The theme app extensions for developers can help add a number of features as well as extensions. Before this, there was no way for apps to integrate with themes.
03. Cost: Free of charge
Prior to Online Store 2.0, you can only add these theme sections to the homepage. With Online Store 2.0, these theme sections are now dynamic and can be added to any page, like Product Page or Product page
Cons of Shopify Online Store 2.0
01. Styling Customization
The only thing you can do is to heavily rely on the pre-conditioned elements. Changes of background color or font are not widely available.
02. Layout Customization
The product page here is quite predictable. Although you can have many new features, yet you can’t fully structure their look and placement.
I tried adding the most layout-flexible feature called Multicolumn. This was all I could get. The description box is self-explanatory.
If you run into an issue while operating the page editor, most likely you can’t have an immediate answer. This is because you will be pointed to a help center that only addresses commonly asked questions, making it difficult to locate a specific answer to your particular problem.
04. Landing Page Creation/Customization
If you need a standalone page that can serve your pay-per-click or Facebook Ads campaigns, you’ve come to the wrong place! At this point Shopify Online Store 2.0 only allows for standard pages such as home pages and product pages.
Dependence on theme features: Similar to other Shopify themes, for Shopify Online Store 2.0 themes, you get what you’re given. Some themes have a Countdown Timer, and some don't. Some have Slideshow, some don’t. If you demand a few modifications to your page other than what’s offered on the page editor, you need to reach out for help. Please don’t get me started on the sourcing fees!
Shopify Online Store 2.0 is an effective launchpad for starting merchants or SMB with a modest budget.
The new editor makes a fresh editing experience for tech-novice business owners to build storefronts from scratch, add various theme extensions and manage apps within themes. If you just need to build a basic online store as part of your general business development scheme, this is also a great place to start.
3.2. Pros and Cons of Page Builders (PageFly)
Pros of Page Builders
01. Built-in CRO-driven elements
Compared at Price
02. Styling and Layout Customization
Within the PageFly element selection, you have a wide range of options to choose from. The styling section on the right gives you total freedom in aligning your text, changing the fonts, adjusting the background and so on.
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04. Landing Page Optimization
Shopify Page Builder like PageFly enables you to establish a regular page as a landing page. Read more about Facebook Ads landing page strategies from PageFly HERE.
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Cons of Page Builders
If you wish to use more pages on PageFly, you need to subscribe to a paid plan. However, for the start, the freemium is highly suitable for new merchants to get the taste of every feature with no fees and time limits.
02. Ease of Use
Not only a centralized page editing dashboard, the PageFly editor functions on the drag-and-drop basis. Good news, this requires little to no technical knowledge.
03. Risk of Theme Conflicts
Sometimes theme features are not translated well to page builders. Rest assured - a leading Shopify page builder like PageFly has a dedicated tech team to give you round-the-clock support.
Page builders are true companions for those looking to level up their conversion tactics, including PPC advertisers who need a large number of PPC landing pages. PageFly hosts a large number of sales-driven elements and visual effects, which can hugely benefit merchants with laser focus on conversion rate optimization and micro-branding.
As a self-appointed judge myself, I’m quite impressed with the significant progress that Shopify Online Store 2.0 and Shopify page builders have made so far.
At the end of the day, these two entities co-exist in the Shopify ecosystem. The peer-to-peer learning and challenges are always here to stay for the sake of development and monetization. This seeds customers a lot more hopes for sophisticated features and the value that comes along.