An Inside Look at Shopify Unite 2019

An Inside Look at Shopify Unite 2019

Amanda Marochko is uAfrica’s contact at Shopify and also one of our international speakers at #Connect2019. She flew all the way to Canada from the Netherlands to attend Shopify Unite in Toronto from 18 to 20 June 2019.

Amanda documented her entire trip for us, sending pictures and giving us a deeper look into what Unite was all about. Have a look:


What is Shopify Unite?

Shopify Unite is our annual partner and developer conference, where people from all over the world come together for three days each year to be inspired and to discuss the future of e-commerce. It’s a great place for networking with various Shopify stakeholders and Shopify gives participants an exclusive look at the new features and road maps in relation to the Shopify ecosystem and e-commerce.

While there are numerous highlights from the conference, I will highlight a few of my favourites. We have a complete overview of everything announced at Shopify Unite in 2019 already available on our blog.

We’ve introduced some major changes to the online store design experience, which will make it easier for merchants to create and customize their storefronts without writing a single line of code. Coming to all Shopify merchants later this year, we’ll introduce a multiple new editing capabilities.

Here are a few of my favourite highlights:

  • Sections on every page: Sections has been a key feature on the Shopify homepage, but one of our most requested feature to be rolled out across the rest of Shopify. Soon, merchants will be able to edit sections on any page of their store, allowing for full customization without editing any code.
  • Master pages: This new feature will allow merchants to have templated pages which can be edited and applied to all pages.
  • Starting points: Themes will offer starting points, a selection of pre-configured content sections that will make store setup faster.
  • Content portability: Content will no longer be stored in themes, allowing merchants to flexibility to try out and apply new themes without manually setting up their content each time.
  • Drafts: We’re introducing a new safe place for merchants to draft changes to their online store, prior to publishing.
  • User experience: All of these changes are wrapped up into a new user interface that makes navigating store creation more intuitive.

Aside from this, Shopify has really focused on the theme of empowering entrepreneurs everywhere – with a strong emphasis on the “everywhere” part.

Last year at Shopify Unite, we launched Shopify in six new languages. As a result, over 100,000 active merchants now use Shopify in a language other than English.

At Unite 2019, we announced that the Shopify Admin is now available in 11 new languages, including Dutch, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Malay, Hindi, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norweigian, Korean, and Thai.

In addition, we’ve extended this functionality to the Shopify Partner community by making the Partner Dashboard available in 10 languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Brazilian Portguese, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Dutch.

We will continue to build out and launch Shopify in new languages as the year progresses, so stay tuned for that.

In the spirit of discussing more languages and internationalisation, we’ve also rolled out some new buyer facing updates:

  • Translations API: Enables read/write translations for buyer facing content like products, blog posts, pages, etc. Learn more.
  • Shop Locale API: Manages which alternate locales are published/unpublished. Alternate locales can be language or language-region (ie. French, French Canada, English UK, etc.). Learn more.
  • Translations in GraphQL Admin API: Non-translation apps that only need to read translated content (for example, email marketing) will be able to access translations via our GraphQL Admin API. Learn more.

In addition to new APIs, changes and enhancements to the Shopify Admin will also help merchants sell in multiple languages, improving the online store experience for their buyers around the world.

  • Online store will now support different subdirectories in URLs (ie. shop.comand shop.com/fr) to support multiple languages. These enhancements will allow merchants to optimize SEO and offer the same consistent shopping experience in multiple languages.
  • The new Language Settings page in the admin allows merchants to manage which languages (locales) are published on their store.

I’ll be discussing these updates and more at the Connect eCommerce Summit 2019 in Johannesburg and Cape Town. If you haven’t yet secured a ticket, be sure to do so ASAP as spots are limited.


Shopify Unite Fund Recipients from Africa:

This year, we had three representatives from the Shopify Unite Fund from Africa. They spent the week with me, connecting to the right people inside of Shopify while attending sessions and learning about how they can grow their business on our platform.

Here are their bios:

Felistas Ngumi, Developer at CoEdition.

Nairobi, Kenya

Experienced Software Engineer with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology industry. Skilled in Javascript (React, React Native and Express JS frameworks), PHP (Laravel and Symfony Frameworks) and Agile Software Development.

“With not so many people believing in women taking STEM courses here in Kenya, let alone women excelling in the tech workplace, I decided to be brave and pursue my dreams and go against all odds to achieve what I really wanted. In a class of 60 students, only ten of them were female when I first enrolled as an Information Technology student back in 2014. The journey was not easy, not so many people believing you can pass a programming test leave alone unblocking your fellow male counterparts.”


Yoseph Birhanu, Software Developer at JSI and Shopify Partner Developer.

AddisAbaba, Ethiopia

Yoseph is a Shopify partner working from Ethiopia under a company called Oiizes (based in California). He’s part of the development team for OrderLogic and SyncLogic.

“I strongly believe that Shopify creates this amazing platform which provides a great opportunity to make apps in the app store for developers like me who lives in a developing country. I also believe that there are many local shops over here who can benefit from using this platform if they are aware of them and helped.”


Abdelkader Ahmed, Owner of Ecommerce Monkey. 

Cairo, Egypt

Abdelkader is a developer from Cairo who works with merchants in the Middle East & North Africa.

“I represent people from the Middle East, whom I consider marginalized in the Shopify Community. Focus is not on this region at all and I have been trying so hard for the past two years to get the Shopify ecosystem up and running here”



Overall, Shopify Unite continues to be a great place to connect with our extended communities across the world. I’m excited to introduce these new features to merchants everywhere this year and continue to expand our global reach.

Looking forward to meeting you all at the Connect eCommerce Summit on July 16 & 18 in Johannesburg and Cape Town!

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