In this edition of our monthly product newsletter for Shopify Partners, you’ll find the most important updates you need to know to continue your work with clients and users.
This month, updates include further information for partners about Shopify’s response to COVID-19, new capabilities in API version 2020-04, general availability of Shopify Email, the Shopify Plus Certified App Program, updates to testing orders and payments in development stores, and changes to ratings in the Shopify App Store. Read on for more information.
You can also scroll to the bottom of this article to review product updates from previous months. If you’d rather receive these updates via email, please sign up for our monthly What’s New with Shopify email below.
Learn more about the platform updates that impact you as a Shopify Partner.
Shopify Partners COVID-19 support hub
During the reality of COVID-19, it’s important for you to know where to go for help. We’ve created a hub for Shopify Partners that rounds up resources and tools for your business, to help support you as you support merchants during these challenging times.
Introducing Shopify Partner Town Hall
Town Hall is a long standing internal tradition at Shopify, where Shopifolk gather to share knowledge and stay connected as a company. We want to extend that experience to our partners and developers, so you can stay informed and connected with Shopify and the wider community.
We’ll be launching our first Partner Town Hall on Thursday, April 23. It will be hosted by Shopify’s CTO, Jean-Michel Lemieux. We’ll share timely product knowledge and learnings aimed at helping you better support merchants. Jean-Michel will also answer questions during the event, so share your questions for him here.
Town Hall will be another tool for you to stay connected with what’s happening at Shopify. Join us at the link below.
The Shopify App Challenge: Commerce & COVID-19
Businesses are facing new hardships around the world because of COVID-19. We’ve launched the Shopify App Challenge to encourage app developers to build unique, creative, and impactful solutions to address these challenges.
All registrants will receive support and access to special workshops through the Shopify Community forums. Our expert panel of judges will then review and choose the winners. We’ll help winners grow their app businesses by:
- Providing winning apps a share of a $100,000 USD prize pool, to a max of $20,000 USD per app
- Awarding $1,000 USD in ad credits for the Shopify App Store, and a feature on the app store
- Granting access to mentorship from the Shopify product and engineering team
Registration is now open. This competition requires a Shopify Partner ID, so sign up as a partner today if you haven't already. Eligible apps must be created in your Partner Dashboard after 9:30AM EDT on April 13, 2020. Deadline to submit your app for the challenge is 11:59PM EDT on May 10, 2020.
While all developers are welcome to participate and we’ll be highlighting as many participants as we can, in order to be eligible to claim prizes you must be a legal resident of any one of: United States (excluding Arizona, Florida, Maryland, Vermont, Delaware, Louisiana and Montana), the District of Columbia, Canada (excluding Quebec), United Kingdom, New Zealand, or Denmark.
Learn more about the Shopify App Challenge by following the link below!
Apply to host Shopify webinars for merchants
We are looking for outstanding Shopify Partners who would like to host live webinars designed to help merchants through these difficult times. Webinars will be hosted in Shopify Compass, where merchants can access actionable advice to grow their business.
If you’re interested, submit your application before May 1, 2020 via the link below.
API version 2020-04 and calculating duties and taxes at checkout
Of particular interest is the introduction of a duties and taxes developer preview, which gives you an early look at how your users will be able to provide total cost clarity to their buyers using estimated duties and taxes at checkout. This release allows apps to read the duties paid on an order through the REST and GraphQL Admin API, and refund them through the GraphQL API. To learn more about refunding duty and tax information and how to update your app, check out our tutorial.
Shopify Email is rolling out to all merchants
In November 2019, we announced early access availability of Shopify Email, our new email marketing tool. Shopify Email is now generally available, helping merchants communicate with their customers more easily during COVID-19. The product will roll out to all merchants over the coming few weeks. We’re also offering Shopify Email for free to all merchants until October 1, 2020.
Email is a powerful marketing channel for businesses, and Shopify Email allows all merchants to leverage it. As a Shopify Partner, you can help your clients by understanding the email marketing capabilities of Shopify Email, then recommending the solution that will best meet the needs of their business.
For your clients who require more advanced or specialized email marketing functionality, Shopify Email may not be the right fit now. We will continue to support the growth of email marketing apps by opening up more embedded app opportunities for our developers, and by enabling more features for merchants to grow their business.
The Shopify Plus Certified App Program
Shopify Plus merchants have unique and complex needs, and the technology solutions they choose need to be able to handle those specific requirements. To help you demonstrate your expertise and capabilities to Plus merchants, we’ve introduced the Shopify Plus Certified App Program.
Apps chosen for this program are formally reviewed by the Shopify App Review and Quality Assurance team to ensure they meet the advanced needs of Plus merchants in the areas of performance, security, privacy, and support. Once approved, these apps are added to the Shopify Plus Certified App Partner Directory and a dedicated collection in the Shopify App Store. Developers who are a part of this program also have access to strategic partnership managers, technical consultations, greater visibility to merchants, and more referrals.
Learn more about who is eligible for this program and how to apply on our blog.
Changes to testing orders and payments in new development stores
As of March 30, partners who want to test payments and orders in newly created development stores can only process orders using test payments. To begin using test payments, please activate the test payment provider (referred to as “Bogus Gateway”) or set your payment provider to test mode. If you need to test with real payments, you can select and purchase a Shopify plan in the account settings of your development store.
Testing payments and orders in existing development stores will not change immediately. We will share updates to existing development stores as they happen, so please subscribe to our developer changelog by email or RSS to stay informed.
If you have further questions about testing payments and orders in newly created development stores that are not answered in our documentation, reach out in our dedicated discussion area for developers, or contact Partner Support through your Partner Dashboard.
Updates to how ratings are calculated in the Shopify App Store
We’ve made changes to how the overall star rating of apps are calculated and displayed. In the past, this rating was based on a historical average. We’ve updated this to be based instead on a weighted average that favors recent reviews. As apps change and develop over time, we want to ensure that users see a rating that’s more reflective of the current capabilities of that app. This change should not cause a noticeable impact on your search and category ranking.
Merchants can now be more assured that the overall ratings of apps in the Shopify App Store are aligned with their most recent app features and support levels.
Stay in the know
That’s all for this month. To stay up to date with changes that impact the Shopify platform and app development, subscribe to the Shopify developer changelog by email or RSS for updates as they happen. Or, sign up to our What’s New with Shopify email below.
Read previous editions of our monthly product updates to stay in the know with everything happening at Shopify.
Since we last published on this blog, the world has undeniably changed. COVID-19 is impacting how we all live our lives, conduct business, and communicate with each other. It is, and will continue to be, a difficult time as we all learn how to navigate this new reality.
We want to let you know that the editorial team behind Shopify’s Web Design and Development Blog is working hard to reimagine what kind of content would be most helpful to the partner and developer community, right now. We’re aiming to bring you relevant information and education to help you make the right decisions for your business. If you have suggestions for content you’d like to see us cover, please share your idea with us.
Today’s post is a roundup of the most important product updates you need to know to continue your work with clients and users during this time, including API version 2020-04, postponing removal of API version 2019-04 until July 1, COVID-19 resources for partners, and updates to the Partner Program Agreement relating to billing, taxes, and custom and public apps.
Learn more about the platform updates that impact you as a Shopify Partner.
An important update about the removal of API version 2019-04
With COVID-19’s impact on communities around the world, we’ve decided to postpone the removal of API version 2019-04 to July 1, so that you can better focus on helping merchants and other partners in these challenging times.
This means that on April 1, 2020, the 2020-04 version will become stable and ready for general usage.
Then on July 1, 2020, the following will happen:
- API versions 2019-04 and 2019-07 will become unsupported.
- Requests with no API version specified will be served the 2019-10 API version.
- Requests for the 2019-04 or 2019-07 versions will no longer receive those versions. Instead, these requests will fall forward to 2019-10.
- Webhooks set to 2019-04 or 2017-07 will fall forward in the same manner.
For those of you who’ve already put in the time and energy to update, we want to say thank you for your diligence and understanding—your efforts haven’t gone to waste. You’re now ahead of the game, and can focus on more pressing matters for your business, clients, and app users.
COVID-19 and Shopify
In the face of COVID-19, we’re taking steps to help support independent businesses, including Shopify Partners, developers, and the merchants you work with. There are a number of resources now available:
- Shopify’s COVID-19 response page for partners: Learn how you can stay connected to the Shopify Partner ecosystem, adjust to these complicated times, and help your clients and users.
- Shopify’s COVID-19 response page: Resources and actions available to Shopify merchants during this time.
- COVID-19 services by Shopify Experts: Where merchants can find agency and services partners to help as they retool their online stores during COVID-19.
- How Shopify Partners are Responding to COVID-19: A round up of some of the amazing ways partners are lending a hand to merchants and partners. If you're a partner or developer offering discounts, education, or special services, please reach out to us by replying to us on this Twitter thread from @ShopifyPartners.
- Government Relief Programs for Small Businesses Affected by COVID-19: A list of global financial relief measures and programs to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
- Shopify Partner Slack: A Slack workspace for Shopify Partners to meet and discuss. Advice and guidance specific to COVID-19 are available in the #covid-19 channel.
- Shopify Community: Conversations are ongoing in the COVID-19 discussion board, including resources like this guide to building a ‘buy online, pick up curbside’ experience for merchants.
- Shopify Partners Facebook Group: A group dedicated exclusively to Shopify Partners to connect and discuss, with ongoing conversations related to COVID-19, building a work from home culture, and tips on how to best service clients during this time.
- The Web Design and Development Blog: The partner blog will be publishing more educational content and resources over the coming weeks that help partners and developers navigate COVID-19.
Shopify Unite cancelled
While we were excited to host a virtual Shopify Unite this year, and reunite as a community with our partners and developers online, the last two weeks have caused us to re-evaluate. We’ve decided to cancel Shopify Unite to focus on the health of our employees and work closely with our merchants to help them through these challenging times.
If you have any further questions, send your query to email@example.com and we’ll respond as soon as possible.
Impact of Shopify 90-day free trial on partners building stores
Last week, we announced extended 90-day free trials for new Shopify merchants. We’d like to clarify for partners that there will be no impact on recurring commission payments you receive by building Shopify stores for your clients. This means that the default continues to be that merchants referred in through a development store do not automatically get the 90-day free trial, and must pick a paid plan at time of handoff from the partner to the merchant. Partners who build stores for merchants will continue to have unlimited time to work on development stores before transferring them to clients.
If you are a partner who would like to extend a 90-day free trial to a new merchant requesting it, you can select the Add a 90-day trial for the store option when you transfer ownership of the store. If you select this option, then your client must still pick a plan and enter their payment details but will not be charged a subscription fee for 90 days. By extending this offer to your new client, your recurring commission payments will be delayed by up to 90 days.
It's also important to note that this offer only applies to stores created after March 1, 2020.
Giving store building partners more time to collect recurring commission payments
These are difficult times for many partners and the merchants who hire them. Under normal circumstances, partners who refer clients to Shopify must refer at least one merchant through a development store or upgrade at least one client to Shopify Plus during a consecutive 12-month period to continue receiving recurring commission payments on previous referrals.
In light of the current economic challenges partners and merchants are facing, we will temporarily pause this requirement. This means all recurring commission payments will continue, and will not reset to zero until the current business climate normalizes. When things do normalize, partners who receive recurring commission payments will have the same amount of time to complete an activity as before. For example, if you currently have 7 months to complete an activity, you will still have 7 months once this pause is lifted. If you refer a new merchant or upgrade a merchant to Shopify Plus during the pause, you’ll have a full 12 months to complete another activity once the pause is lifted.
Updates to the Partner Program Agreement
On March 3, we updated the Shopify Partner Program Agreement (PPA) to include new definitions of public and custom apps, and to clarify our role as a billing agent. Acting as a billing agent means Shopify is responsible for facilitating payment transactions between partners and merchants who purchase their apps, themes, and services.
PPA updates regarding public and custom apps were effective immediately on March 3, 2020.
For PPA updates regarding billing and tax status, we’ve provided partners with 90 days notice to assess the potential impact on how they run their businesses. As a result, the billing and tax updates to our PPA will come into effect on June 1, 2020. Partners will begin to see product changes that reflect the billing and tax updates starting June 2020.
Learn more about these new billing and tax updates:
Partners impacted by these updates were notified directly by email and their Partner Dashboard. We encourage all partners and developers to review the PPA.
Instagram API deprecation
Instagram has pushed back the date it will be discontinuing API access in favor of the Basic Display API to March 31, 2020. After this date, any client continuing to use Instagram’s API will stop working.
As a result, Shopify themes that feature an Instagram feed will no longer be supported, and any Instagram feed on merchant stores will need to be updated. Going forward, including an Instagram feed on your client’s store will require the use of a third-party app.
Browse the Shopify App Store to find an appropriate Instagram feed app.
The following updates are coming into effect for merchants this month.
- The free Shopify-built Geolocation app is now available to merchants selling in multiple currencies or languages on Shopify.
- Video and 3D models are now available on product pages. You can update themes to include video and 3D, create and edit video and 3D content, and build apps that help with the above.
- New inventory reports are now available to merchants. These reports help merchants understand how much inventory they have on hand and their inventory costs.
- There are updates to Shopify Shipping rates for merchants in the U.S. and Canada. Learn more about these new rates.