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Shopify Plus Merchants: Shopify’s New Checkout Extensibility Upgrade Deadline is Coming

Technology

Prepare for Shopify Plus's Checkout Extensibility upgrade by August 2024 to enhance your store's checkout experience and retain customizations.

3.1.2024

Headshot of Jay Larson, Director of Engineering at Domaine.

Jay Larson

Director of Engineering

Example image of checkout extensibility on desktop and mobile

Here’s What to Know and How to Prepare

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

Shopify’s New Checkout Extensibility Upgrade

A new way to tailor your store’s checkout experience.

The upcoming Checkout Extensibility is a suite of APIs that allows developers to build applications that then empower merchants to make low- or no-code customizations within their checkout experience.

Shopify Plus customers must transition from checkout.liquid to Checkout Extensibility by August of 2024 or risk losing existing customizations. More specifically, Shopify will turn off checkout.liquid in two stages. First, on August 13, 2024, Information, Shipping and Payment pages will turn off. Then, on August 28, 2025, Thank You pages, Order Status pages, including apps using script tags and additional scripts, will turn off.

Why the Upgrade?

For years, Shopify Checkout has set the standard for the eCommerce checkout experience, with more than 1.75 million merchants on the platform. Shopify Checkout has always been fast and conversion-friendly, but customizing it wasn’t always easy. For brands wanting to provide a more elevated checkout experience, the advanced customization options fell short.

The Evolution of Shopify Checkout Customization

Customizing a Shopify Plus store checkout was possible, but difficult – and sometimes expensive. And this was somewhat by design: by not providing flexibility, Shopify could ensure the enormous efficiency of their checkout, a top revenue-impacting benefit of the platform.

But there was still a way; merchants could request access to their checkout.liquid theme file and then edit the code directly. Since few merchants can code, this often meant working with a developer or another third-party.

Checkout.liquid didn't provide direct APIs for making changes to Shopify Checkout, negatively impacting both user experience and performance. Developers had to regularly update customized checkouts to access new features without breaking existing customizations.

So in 2023, Shopify announced Checkout Extensibility, to take effect in August 2024.

Shopify Checkout Extensions

Checkout Extensibility will make checkout customizations easier for Shopify Plus merchants, without requiring they opt-out from Shopify's managed checkout. (After all, one of Shopify’s historical strengths has been its native, simple and familiar checkout experience.) That’s why we’re recommending that merchants approach Checkout Extensibility with measured thoughtfulness to avoid adding complexities to this crucial part of their customers’ journeys while keeping their eyes open for new tactical opportunities that can drive revenue.

How Checkout Extensibility Benefits Shopify Plus Customers and Developers

Looking forward, moving away from checkout.liquid will give merchants control over the entire checkout experience – from the visual design to the underlying logic and functionality.

Key benefits include:

What’s great about all of these new features is that merchants will be able to take advantage of them immediately. Since Shopify announced Checkout Extensibility we’ve been helping our clients prepare for the transition and we’re excited to see how it's going to help their businesses grow. And if you’re a Shopify Plus merchant that hasn’t put much – or any – attention towards Checkout Extensibility, don’t panic. There’s time. Domaine can help.

- Max Rolon, CTO

It’s worth noting that once Checkout Extensibility takes the place of checkout.liquid, any previous alterations made to your checkout process will stop functioning. This includes any applications like Google Tag Manager that load via the checkout.liquid file and interact with the checkout process.

Key Features that Deliver the Benefits of Checkout Extensibility

Checkout Extensibility’s flexible suite of APIs will give shop owners more control across the entire checkout experience. It’s app-based, almost entirely code-free, upgrade-safe, higher-converting, and fully integrated with Shop Pay.

Let’s dig in.

Checkout Branding

Merchants can now easily customize the look and feel of their checkout experience, without editing any code. You can use the new drag-and-drop checkout editor to customize colors and fonts, add a logo to your checkout header, and change the background of your checkout form or order summary. Plus, you can switch from the familiar three page checkout to the newly released one-page checkout.

Shopify checkout branding

With the new Branding API, developers can help merchants make advanced customizations—like applying custom fonts, adding a favicon, changing heading sizes, or adding rounded corners to buttons.

Checkout Extensions

Shopify Plus users can further optimize the checkout experience by inserting components at defined points in the checkout flow. Checkout UI extensions let you add custom elements like contact modules, FAQ sections, loyalty programs, trust badges, additional fields forms and upsell widgets.

Shopify checkout extensions

Best part? These extensions automatically show up in both guest checkout and Shop Pay and work in all or most accelerated or express checkout options. And they adapt to the various checkout flows, so the user experience is consistent no matter where the buyer checks out.

Integrated Analytics

Every Shopify seller knows analytics are crucial to growth. Checkout.liquid offered limited options for understanding customer behavior – and most of them required custom scripts or a third-party tag manager.

Now, with Checkout Extensibility, Shopify Plus customers can tap into customer data across multiple touchpoints like checkout page or cart abandonment – via a number of integrated apps that require no code. It’s worth noting though that there are some analytics tools like Google Tag Manager that do not have an integrated app and still require custom development.

Shopify Functions

Shopify Functions will replace Shopify Scripts, but not until August 2025. Until then, Scripts will be compatible with portions of Checkout Extensibility, including one-page checkout. That said, Functions is a major addition to the ecosystem. Merchants can use Shopify Functions to extend or replace Shopify's own built-in business logic – and there are multiple use cases.

Shopify checkout extensions

For example, you could build a Function to offer discounts on specific products or all products in a cart. Or you could offer tiered discount options, such as free shipping on orders over a certain amount, or “spend $X, get Y% off.” You can even define your own logic for how Shopify should fulfill an order and what payment options to display.

How to Prepare for the Transition to Checkout Extensibility

The good news? Merchants have time. But not that much time. Shopify Plus merchants should start planning the upgrade to Checkout Extensibility now. Here’s how.

Timeline and Steps

Let’s revisit those dates. By August 2024, Checkout Extensibility will become the sole way to customize Shopify Checkout. As a result, checkout.liquid has been deprecated and will be turned off in two stages:

Checkout migration deadlines

We suggest the following steps to prepare:

  1. Review your current customizations - To see a list of your current customizations with high level guidance on how to rebuild them in Checkout Extensibility, go to Settings > Checkout in your Shopify admin and view your customizations report.
  2. Define your project scope - Assessing your current customizations will help you determine which parts of your shop will be affected and how much work you’ll need to do to get up-to-date.
  3. Build and test your new checkout - Next, you can begin building and testing your new checkout. Customize your checkout, Thank You and Order Status pages by adding apps or editing your branding. Set up optional pixels or additional first-party features.
  4. Deploy and optimize - Once you’ve reviewed your changes, it’s time to deploy and optimize your new checkout. Learn more about customizing and editing your checkout here.

Thinking you’ll need some guidance navigating all of this? The Domaine team is here to help. Email us at hello@meetdomaine.com.

Additional Resources

Shopify has put together a number of resources to help online shop owners get update-ready:

There are also short demo videos for Checkout Extensibility and pixels:

As well as some helpful blog posts:

Checkout Extensibility is Game-Changing

Shopify’s transformation from checkout.liquid to Checkout Extensibility represents a game-changing opportunity for Shopify Plus merchants. The upgraded ecosystem unlocks new ways to tailor checkout flows to your needs and provide a stellar customer experience, without sacrificing stability or security.

The transition may seem daunting at first. But with a bit of planning and the right support, the advantages will outweigh the struggles in the long run. While this guide serves as a jumping off point, we’re here to help with any additional questions. Just send an email to hello@meetdomaine.com.

Jay Larson

Director of Engineering

Meet Jay, Domaine's VP of Engineering. Jay is a Shopify expert known for his proficiency in architecting sophisticated user experiences. With over 10 years in the ecommerce industry, he spent several years at Blue Acorn iCi before joining the Domaine team. Jay leads the engineering practice in partnership with Johnnie and is passionate about creative solutions to help brands steer clear of unnecessary tech debt. He values collaboration and enjoys hiking, golf, and hockey in Minneapolis, MN.

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