The Difference Between Shopify 1.0 and 2.0
In June 2021, at Shopify Unite, one of Shopify's biggest updates to date was announced: Online Store 2.0 - referred to many as Shopify 2.0. This particular update, which gave a fresh new approach to Shopify's theme architecture, had (and continues to have) arguably the most significant impact on merchants.
Online Store 2.0 opens up massive opportunities for merchants and the developers building themes and apps for merchants (more on this below!). That said, nearly two years later, thousands of merchants continue to build and scale their businesses using outdated themes & tools, while spending valuable time and resources making changes that are otherwise trivial in the new world of Shopify 2.0.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the impact of Online Store 2.0 and how to better understand the version of your theme. We’ll also provide the developer documentation to update your theme and apps to Online Store 2.0 standards, in the event that you have a custom theme, and/or are still using Online Store 1.0.
Let’s jump in.
So, what are the differences?
- Speed and Performance: One of the most significant differences between the two versions is speed and performance. Shopify 2.0 is faster and more efficient, which means that it can handle more traffic and transactions without slowing down. Shopify has defined the ‘Dawn’ theme as the new standard for storefront theme development, which is 35% faster than the previous default theme, ‘Debut’.
- Customization: Shopify 2.0 offers more customization options than Shopify 1.0. Users can now create custom templates and designs without development skills, which was not possible with the previous version. This allows store owners to create a unique and personalized online store without expertise in software development. Need to change your site font? Easy. Need to shift sections around on your site? Drag and drop. Again, technical expertise is no longer needed for simple stuff.
- Marketing Tools: Shopify 2.0 comes with more advanced marketing tools, such as email campaigns, social media integrations, and SEO optimization. These tools make it easier for merchants to promote their products and reach a wider audience.
- Mobile Optimization: With the rise of mobile commerce, it's essential for eCommerce platforms to be optimized for mobile devices. Shopify 2.0 is designed with mobile optimization in mind, making it easier for customers to browse and purchase products from their smartphones or tablets. The theme customizer natively responds to the mobile experience, giving you a better idea of how shoppers will experience your site.
- App Integrations: Shopify 2.0 has a more extensive selection of app integrations than Shopify 1.0. This means that merchants can easily add new features and functionality to their online store without having to hire a developer. With all the new functionality added to Online Store 2.0, there is less need to employ as many apps on your store, which will also lend itself to faster load speeds.
How do I know what version I am on?
If you're not sure which version of Shopify you're using, there are a few ways to find out.
Exploring your code editor is the best way to be certain of your Shopify version.
Here are the steps:
- Login to your account
- Go to Online Store > Themes
- Click on Actions > Edit Code
- Open up Config and click on “settings_schema.json” and you will see the “theme_version” within the file.
If you are not comfortable with the code editor, other ways to check what Shopify version you are on include:
- If your theme was created before June 2021, and you haven't updated versions, there is a good chance you are still using Shopify 1.0.
- Within your theme customizer experience, click Add Section (+), and note whether an App section is available. If App sections are available to add, then you are leveraging Shopify 2.0.
What should I know before I update to Shopify 2.0?
If you're looking to upgrade your existing store from Shopify 1.0 to Shopify 2.0, there are a few steps we recommend you take.
- Must Do: Back up your store in case something goes wrong during the transition.
- You can upgrade to Online Store 2.0 in several ways, so you'll want to determine the best path for your store:
- Download an Online Store 2.0 theme from the Shopify Theme Store: Update the look of your store and get access to new features by downloading a new theme from the Shopify Theme Store.
- Download a new version of your theme: If your theme offers an updated version that uses Online Store 2.0, then you can add the latest theme version to your store manually.
- Migrate your current theme manually: Add Online Store 2.0 functionality to your theme by migrating your current theme templates to the new architecture. Note: If you have a custom theme on your Shopify 1.0 store, transitioning to Shopify 2.0 may require additional steps. Before upgrading, it's essential to check with your theme developer to see if they have a compatible version of the theme for Shopify 2.0.
- If you have a custom theme, you may need to hire a developer to update the theme or create a new one from scratch. This can be a time-consuming and expensive process, so it's important to factor in these costs before deciding to upgrade.
My theme says I'm on v18.0.2, so I definitely am on Shopify 2.0, right?
Wrong. A common misconception is that if the version of your theme is beyond 2.0, then you are leveraging Shopify 2.0.
It's key to note that your theme's version and the version of Shopify's theme architecture are two independent components.
In other words, you may still be leveraging the v18.0.2 version of your theme, which only supports Shopify 1.0 functionality. Alternatively, you may have a brand-new theme that is on version 1.0.1, yet leveraging the new Shopify 2.0 features and functions.
This distinction of when your theme started supporting Online Store 2.0 functionality is often hard to find, so we suggest reaching out to your theme developer to understand which version of your theme began supporting Shopify 2.0.
Still having trouble finding this info? Reach out to email@example.com, and we're happy to help you determine which version of Shopify your theme is leveraging.
How much does Shopify 2.0 cost?
If you have a Shopify store and a compatible theme, Shopify 2.0 is free. It has been built to replace the current version of Shopify. You may have to make an investment to migrate across to the new version, however this is not required if you leverage a compatible theme.
If I'm on Shopify 1.0, will my current store stop working?
While our recommendation is to migrate to take advantage of all the benefits the new version has to offer, your existing theme/store will continue to work, with limits to leveraging any new features released by Shopify.