In October 2016, Shopify launched a skyrocket adjustment to theme structure. It’s called Shopify theme sections. Sections have changed the way merchants customize their online store’s design. This shift is a big leap in providing more support for end-users - more flexible, easier, and quicker. So how do sections affect your online Shopify store, and how can you make the most of the sections in your business? Let's explore the magic of sections in this article.
What are Shopify theme sections?
First, let’s clarify the definition of Shopify theme sections.
Sections are customization elements that are packed in a theme. Unlike the old store editing method (which required too many custom codes), section brings a visual look to theme customization. Thus, you don’t need to be a developer to understand and use sections. Everyone can use sections to personalize their online store.
When talking about sections, we talk about 2 parts in Theme Customizer:
- Sections: each page has a separated section set. A section set can contain one or multiple sections.
- Section: a section is a content element. E.g.: image gallery is a section.
- General: general settings affecting all sections on all pages
Benefits of using sections
With sections, you have unlimited power to make the most of your Shopify store. You can add, remove, or reorder any content elements on your store with sections. You can also simultaneously make changes and view your changes.
The biggest value of sections lies primarily in the homepage. By default, all Shopify sectioned themes have some built-in sections on the homepage.
When using sections, you can:
- Save your money: save an amount of budget for outsourcing your store’s design at first stage. The setup cost is a big problem with new Shopify store owners. This is the reason why sections are born - to save your money for other necessary work.
- Quick and visual editing: sections are built with a friendly look. Thus, there is no difficulty in making changes to your store. You can view and make changes at the same time without going back and forth.
How to start using sections on your Shopify store?
To start using sections, you need to check if your current theme has been updated with sections or not. Follow the theme’s blog, newsletter, or ask support staff to have the response.
If you haven't chosen any theme yet, you should pick up a Shopify theme with section-support. Not all themes on the market have updated to sections. If you first launch your store, you can check some best free Shopify themes with sections.
You can also get help with using sections in the official Shopify documentation.
Limitations of sections
Despite above benefits, Shopify theme sections haven't been a perfect method to customize your store.
Up till now, sections are only available by default on the homepage. That means you can't use sections on other pages without changing code in theme files.
Yet, there are becoming more and more Shopify themes with premade sections on both homepage and other pages. You need to or ask theme support staff before purchasing the theme. Shopify also has a section-friendly theme collection.
Some limitation of sections in other pages:
- To use section on a page (except homepage, you have to create a page with section-supported
- By default, section elements are not ready to use on pages. You have to change codes in theme.liquid files to add sections.
- You can't drag and drop to change the position of a section
In a nutshell, sections have revolutionized the way people use Shopify themes. It brings more ownership and freedom to Shopify store owners. If you have just begun your online business, and don't know coding at all, you should start learning sections from now on. In the upcoming blog posts, I will also write more guidelines to help you utilize sections in your work.