The Drastic Shopify Makeover and What It Means For Your Online Shop

From radical changes to the Shopify brand colors to a sleek new shake-up on the dashboard, Shopify has been hard at work. And recently the Canadian ecommerce platform company announced all of these new roll-outs, along with imagery to help out newcomers and experienced individuals alike.

Over the years, Shopify has been known to release cool new features like the Shopify sections update and constant changes to the Shopify Partner program. We've come to expect Shopify to listen to users and implement the requests as they see fit.

But this update is one of the more drastic we've seen, so we want to highlight the most interesting of the Shopify modifications. Then we'll talk about what each of these updates can do, and if you have to change your thinking or worry about anything startling you or making it harder to do business along the way.

Why Did Shopify Make These Updates?

Shopify states that the whole point of the change is to make it easier for all users, blending the multiple Shopify interfaces and bringing about a more unified look.

For example, you may have previously noticed that some areas of the Shopify dashboard looked slightly different than others. This happened for various reasons, mainly because tech companies release new features and products all of the time, and there's no guarantee that new developers are going to completely mimic previous designs.

In addition, Shopify says the updates are meant to make the menus and content on your dashboard easier to read and find.

Finally, the last reason for the change involves speed. Shopify page load speeds were rarely a problem for me, but I'll take their word for it.

Overall, these are the reasons given by the Shopify company. It seems pretty cut and dry, but we can speculate all day about some other motives that may have driven the change. Most updates like these are for the greater good, so I tend to believe what Shopify says.

Everything looks pretty nice, but who knows? They may have found a way to cut costs, or maybe shareholders have been clamoring for a branding shakeup.

Regardless, let's take a look at all of the modifications to see how they look and what they might mean for you.

The Most Glaring Change: Colors

I've personally enjoyed the green, black and white colors we've seen from Shopify in the past. That's why it's so interesting that it introduced a purple (dark blue?) color to many of its backend buttons, links and even the header bar with the search field at the top. The Shopify logo is still green and white (as seen in the screenshots,) but it looks as if Shopify is tryng to make purple its new primary color.

The interface has more of a resemblance to that of Facebook now, so maybe they discovered that the previous colors weren't as pleasing to the eye. Or maybe they completed some A/B testing that showed this coloring was easier to navigate for some reason.

Regardless, the changes have been introduced, so anyone can navigate to their Shopify dashboard and immediately see what I'm talking about.

They even have purplish-blue coloring for all imagery and icons, as seen when I scroll down on the dashboard to view a module to create more discounts.

Making such a strong pivot with colors is interesting, but it does make sense. You may have noticed that in past the mobile app and hardware store UIs both looked different than that of the primary online store dashboard. Now it's all similar in the look, hopefully speeding up your work process and removing any confusion you may have had. I still wonder why they didn't go with more of a green or black color (still lots of contrast there,) but that's not for me to decide.

Overall, the whole point of the color update is to make things more unified and predictable. You're no longer going to see conflicting colors in the mobile app, which should theoretically make your design process more fluid.

Practicality With Fonts and Colors

This is the part that makes the most sense to me. Not only that, but it shows that Shopify listens to its customers. Purple looks weird at first, but when you think about it, reading fonts and buttons is going to be much easier for many merchants.

Shopify realized it had all sorts of merchants working on the platform. Some of these folks might bring up Shopify at an outdoor market or conference where the sun is shining brightly. As we all know, reading electronic devices in the sun can become a little tricky.

The same goes for merchants in a dark warehouse.

Shopify heard complaints from both types of merchants who said the regular colors and fonts often looked hard to read or completely washed out. People in offices with nice lighting can most likely see any type of contrast between fonts and background colors, so this move was done to accommodate those in darkness or bright light.

White text on-top of blue/purple backgrounds and buttons can be read much easier in those situations. Therefore, the color and font updates have a strong practicality to them.

Change looks strange to everyone, so I would assume some folks might find this frustrating (especially if you don't have to deal with high or low light). But like I said, Shopify understands that these colors and fonts are going to make most merchants happier in the long run, and the slight learning curve that comes with it should be worth it.

More Continuity Between Apps

When Shopify makes an app for its own platform the design looks pretty spot on. However, third-party apps often seem completely out of place. Sure, the highly-rated ones work just fine, but there's a clear design difference most of the time.

Shopify has been rolling out new design guidelines for all third-party app makers. This means that you'll start to see third-party apps blending better with the Shopify interface. I'm sure this is a little frustrating for the developers, but it's good news for the merchants.

Some of the apps currently look nice in Shopify, but we'll start seeing more changes as the developers make their updates.

It's unclear how this works with apps that have their own dashboards, but maybe we'll see them integrated better into Shopify.

Overall, I see this as a strengthening of the guidelines for app developers, similar to how Apple has super strict guidelines for its app store.

Updates to the Merchant Profiles

This most likely won't matter for one-man shops or companies with a few employees. However, the Shopify profile improvements mean big news for those handling multiple shops with large groups of employees.

Basically, you receive a better understanding of who is logged into the Shopify store at every moment. The logs are a little clearer, and the profile fields have been expanded to keep better tabs on who is going in and out of your store.

I see this as a stronger security measure, along with a way for large businesses to stay more organized. For example, you might want to even use the improved profiles during performance reviews. How many times did your customer support agents login? How often are your developers making changes to your website? These metrics can all come in handy.

As a whole, the profiles give you a stronger look into how your business works on a day to day basis. There's not as much of a reason to worry about this anymore, since it's all recorded in the dashboard, and you can even learn about your employees by seeing more information about them in the profiles.

A Shift in How Search Works in Shopify

Shopify had a search bar in its previous design, but it wasn't as prominently displayed for you to quickly make a search for something like orders, products or customers.

That's changed by putting a large search bar right at the top of the dashboard, allowing you to complete many of your tasks through that.

You could technically use the search bar for every movement you make in Shopify, but I assume that will take some getting used to.

For example, if I search for “Customer” in the search bar, it delivers suggestions for adding a customer, viewing customer details and making changes to notifications to my customers. That's pretty cool considering I don't have to think much about where the regular buttons and tabs are for those.

If I search for a product category or an exact product, it returns accurate results based on the keywords.

Shopify directly states that this improvement came from merchant requests, so it's nice to see that a feature has gone into effect from users of the platform.

As for the search bar, I see this as a strong feature for new Shopify users and companies with large stores. The new users don't have to spend a long time thinking about where a feature is located, and the bigger stores don't have to shuffle through hundreds or thousands of products and customers. It's all right there at your fingertips.

What to Expect in the Future

The mobile app and hardware store have both seen their makeovers, but Shopify also announced that it's in the process of matching the point of sale app to look similar to everything as well.

Also, the third-party app continuity has been released, but Shopify is more so in the process of completing this. It sounds like the new guidelines have been distributed to the third-party app developers, but many of my apps look pretty much the same so far. Therefore, I would assume that we'll start seeing design updates in all apps as time passes.

We saw updates on search in the Shopify dashboard, but the same old search remains in the theme and app stores. Apparently that's going to change in the near future, with changes to both filtering and search (I'm assuming it'll look similar to that of the dashboard search bar).

What We Like Most About the Shopify Makeover

  • The new colors and fonts help out those working in low light and high light environments.
  • The new design does seem to be more pleasing to the eye.
  • The search bar responds perfectly and is pretty awesome for those with lots of inventory (and those who have trouble finding buttons and tabs for specific tasks).
  • The profile update should bring about more organization and understanding of who's accessing the dashboard.

What We Like Least About the Shopify Makeover

  • The new color and overall user interface is most definitely going to cause a little frustration for average merchants. I'm sure they'll get used to it, but changes like these are bound to bring about complaints.
  • The third-party app guidelines might cause lots of updates that could potentially conflict with stores. In theory, it's going to improve the interface, but it's also forcing more work into the hands of these developers, which could always cause problems with new code and updates.
  • They say filtering and search improvements are coming to the theme and app stores, but there doesn't seem to be any mention of redesigns for those stores. So they look pretty different compared to the actual dashboard and mobile app user interfaces.

What Do You Think About the New Shopify?

The new Shopify makeover provides a promising interface for all merchants, big and small. At first glance you may think that Shopify is a little crazy for changing the colors so drastically, but it does look rather sleek and modern when you start browsing around.

If you haven't had a chance to take a look at the changes, go ahead and login to your Shopify account and give it a whirl. If you've explored the new Shopify and have some thoughts about it, let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Overall, we think it's exciting when a company responds to customer requests in such a dramatic fashion. Only time will tell how the new user interface works and if we'll see any complaints along the way.

Joe Warnimont

Joe Warnimont is a freelance writer who creates tools and resources to help other writers get more productive and market their work.