A Quick(Ish) Guide to Shopify Editions Winter ‘24

It’s still chilly outside, and that means it’s about time for Shopify’s Winter Editions ‘24. Editions is Shopify’s seasonal round of updates to the platform, with new features, tweaks and enhancements delivered with each announcement. 

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Interview multiple candidates

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Search for the right experience

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Ask for past work examples & results

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Vet candidates & ask for past references before hiring

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Once you hire them, give them access for all tools & resources for success

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‘Foundations’ is the theme of this latest batch of updates, and it’s easy to see why. There’s fewer of the more superficial and glossy feature additions this time around, and more of the under-the-hood, functional changes that affect the workings of the platform. Think of it as an engine upgrade rather than a visit to the body shop.

The announcement was loaded with new features and tweaks that will bring benefits to Shopify merchants big or small. Let’s dive right in. 

Turning It Up To 2,000: New Variant Limit

One of the longest standing frustrations of Shopify merchants the world over, the 100 product variant limit, will soon be consigned to history. Later this year, select merchants will be able to list up to 2,000 variants of their products, meaning you can truly go wild with your merchandising. 

Do you sell the same item in an array of different colours and sizes? It’s easy to blitz past that 100 variant cap, but with 2,000 variants, you’ll be free to display options precisely how you want to. 

But with so much room for new product variants, wouldn’t it be nice to let those variants shine on their own?

Bringing It All Together: Combined Listings 

Shopify Combined Listings is the answer. While previously we’ve been able to show variants as individual products with complex workarounds, apps and custom development, Shopify Plus merchants will soon be able to do all of this with a few clicks. 

By default, Shopify currently lists all variants under one image, one description and under one URL. With combined listings, products will become ‘parent products’ with their variants listed as ‘child products’. These child products will all feed from their parent, and display under their parent product page, but will individually have their own descriptions, assets, metadata and most importantly, their own URL.

This feature will not only save time and money, it’ll be transformative for product discovery. Shopify Plus merchants, look out for it later this year. 

Keep Everything In Check: Standardised Product Taxonomy 

Forgive the convoluted title, but this feature is about making something very complex, very simple.

Every product you list on Shopify naturally needs to be listed with its own attributes as metafields, but if you have a broad range of products, under a wide variety of categories, it can quickly become a maze of spreadsheets and datasets. 

The new Standardised Product Taxonomy feature automatically generates product attributes for each and every product you add to your store. Using the power of AI, adding a t-shirt to your store for example, would automatically generate attributes for colour, material, clothing size, age group and more. All attributes specifically relevant to that product type. It’ll even detect and fill in details for some attributes, such as the available colours of the item. 

Of course, it’ll be worthwhile checking the attributes generated to make sure they’re correct, but ultimately this is another feature which will save you time in the long run. 

Find More: Semantic Search

Shopify Search and Discovery has been overhauled. Semantic Search is a new feature leveraging the power of AI to better understand customer intent when searching for products. 

Previously, the search functionally would match relevant keywords, but Semantic Search intelligently analyses more natural words and phrases to guide the customer to exactly what they need. 

For instance, a customer could search a clothing store for “something light and comfortable to wear on a hot day”, and Semantic Search will serve results that match the intent, such as t-shirts and shorts. 

Semantic Search also enables merchants to attach filters to colour swatches, making it easier to find products in different colours. And that’s not all, as merchants can customise the filter logic so customers can search for products that match with multiple terms like “socks” and “waterproof”. 

Semantic Search is now available to Plus merchants.

Save Time: Reusable Theme Blocks 

This feature is targeted more squarely at developers, but it’s one that will bring clear benefits to merchants too. 

Currently, all blocks such as headings, paragraphs, images and buttons need to be individually implemented for each section of a page. If there’s 10 sections that require text, that means implementing text blocks 10 times over. The individual implementation also means that there can often be differences between the features available in each block. 

Reusable Theme Blocks does what it says on the tin, and allows developers to duplicate theme blocks across multiple sections. This saves dev time and resources, but it also ensures theme blocks are consistent for merchants, ensuring all the desired functionality is available everywhere.  

There’s also the new ability to ‘nest’ blocks, meaning blocks can be placed within blocks, enabling quick and easy ways to create more custom sections. The blocks can be reordered by clicking and dragging, helping merchants to easily customise the look and feel of sections on the fly. 

Cha-Ching: Store Credit and Exchanges 

Simple but powerful, and long desired by many merchants and partners alike, select Shopify users will soon be able to offer in store credit and exchanges for returns. 

Previously offering store credit meant issuing gift cards, but now a new store-credit API means developers will be able to enable store credit directly in customer accounts. A customer will be able have a refund issued to their customer account, giving them a balance to spend directly on your store. 

As for exchanges, these will be directly baked into the Shopify admin, allowing merchants to process exchanges in a few clicks, with price differences, shipping costs and customs fees automatically calculated. 

Exchanges and the credit API will be available to select merchants starting in early 2024.

Keep Them In The Loop: Shopify Subscriptions Available Now

It’s now easy for all merchants, big or small, to start taking subscriptions from customers. Shopify’s own subscriptions app is now fully available to everyone, with all its features at your fingertips.

While it still doesn’t bring the same level of functionality offered by third-party subscription integrations like Recharge or Yotpo, native subscription functionally, most importantly offered at no extra cost, opens up an entirely new revenue stream to countless retailers for whom it’s previously been out of reach. 

Install the app now. 

Check It Out: POS In-Store Fulfilment 

Shopify POS saw a few upgrades in this round of Editions. As well as an all-new handheld POS terminal, most notable is the launch of in-store fulfilment from Shopify POS. 

This means that retailers who use Shopify POS will be able to generate tasks to physical retail store staff for the fulfilment of online orders. A member of your in-store staff will be able to pick, pack, label and ship an item from the stock you hold in store, all with a few taps on your POS terminal.

This new feature represents another step forward for far greater integration between physical and online retail store operations in Shopify POS. 

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work: B2B Sales Reps

While it’s a seemingly simple change on the surface, the ability to add B2B sales reps represents a much more sizable change in the long term. 

B2B users will be able to clearly assign distinct roles, permissions, clients and companies to individual sales reps. This will be a big help for larger B2B businesses, who have a large team of reps working with an array of clients. 

While B2B only for now, these new features won’t always be solely confined to B2B, as they represent the future of permissions across the Shopify platform. The new permissions API will eventually be opened up to developers, enabling unique and specific permissions. 

Design Magic: Generative AI For Product Shots

While ‘Foundations’ certainly represents more changes to the inner workings of the platform, there were of course a few of the more glitzy updates worth a mention. 

Continuing their big push on all things AI, Shopify will soon allow merchants to be able to automatically generate backgrounds for product photography. Want a sunny countryside backdrop for your items? Just ask for one, and Shopify will generate it. Magic.

That’s Just The Beginning 

Phew. With countless tweaks and improvements across the platform, from store credit to the new variant limit, as well as new features for marketing, operations and for developers, Winter Editions ’24 represents a big leap forward for Shopify. 

We’re only just scratching the surface here, so be sure to visit their dedicated page which covers all of the announcements. The future is certainly bright for Shopify. 

Check out our past Editions posts for more: Winter '23 and Summer '23.

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