Upon its first introduction, Shopify 2.0 quickly became a topic of discussion. One of the frequently asked questions is: Is the new theme architecture essential for every merchant? In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about Shopify 2.0 migration, from who this upgrade is for and the methods available for updating to how the new themes differ from the previous.

Considerations Before Conducting Shopify 2.0 Migration

Shopify 2.0 introduces a new theme architecture which offers a set of features and features improvements. This Online Store 2.0 stands out for its faster loading speed, versatility and efficiency.

However, a Shopify 2.0 migration is not always necessary for your store. Sometimes, sticking with your current theme is an optimal option. To decide whether you should update to a 2.0 theme, consider these following four aspects:

Needs and Requirements

Upgrading to a 2.0 theme is a complex process. It takes time, effort and additional budget, among others. Also, your store can be at risk of dysfunctionality during the migration.

In case your current theme works fine, a migration might be unnecessary. Think about criterias like speed, reliability and scalability. Does the current theme meet your needs and requirements? Is it still functioning well? If so, it’s best to just stick with it.

a screenshot of Shopify 2.0 theme

Compatibility of Apps and Integrations

Most Shopify stores have apps and integrations installed to support performance. However, not all apps and integrations are compatible with Online Store 2.0 themes. Not fixing incompatible apps can result in disruptions.

If you are planning to upgrade your theme to 2.0 version, remember to check the compatibility of the 2.0 theme with the existing apps and integrations first. Be sure to read the app’s documentation to make sure it works with Online Store 2.0.
Also, test all the functionalities in Shopify’s sandbox environment. Should you notice any problems, postpone the upgrade and seek support from the app developers.

Coding Knowledge

Migrating to Shopify 2.0 is a complex process that involves converting the 1.0 Liquid template to the JSON format. Expertise in coding languages like HTML, CSS and JSON not only is helpful when performing the migration, but also allows you to create advanced customizations and optimize your themes.


Another consideration is your budget. Upgrading to 2.0 is not a straightforward process. There might be some expenses during the upgrade. For example, you want a paid theme in the Shopify Theme Store, or need some advanced customizations.

But that isn’t all. Be aware of potential paid apps and integrations, ongoing maintenance, testing fees as well as developer fees.

To sum it up, there are four considerations when upgrading to Shopify 2.0: your needs, app compatibility, budget, and coding skills.

3 Ways to Perform The Shopify 2.0 Migration

If you’ve carefully considered the factors mentioned above and still want a Shopify 2.0 migration, here are three methods for migrating your store to a new Online Store 2.0 theme.

Download a Shopify 2.0 Theme From The Shopify Theme Store

This migration method is as straightforward as it sounds. Basically, you ditch your existing theme and install a new, compatible Online Store 2.0 theme.

To do this, simply go to the Shopify Theme Store. Here, you can browse from a host of free and paid themes, all packed with built‑in features and optimized for selling online. Once you find a theme that aligns with your preferences, feel free to try it on to see how it looks and functions within your store.

Below are the three popular free Shopify 2.0 themes available on Shopify Theme Store:


  • Boasts minimalist design with large images, clean lines, and simple fonts.
  • Best for showcasing product visual appeal.
  • Features cross-selling blocks to promote complementary items.

Shopify Dawn theme


  • Roomy layout, bold headlines, and high-contrast color theme.
  • Creates an eye-catching backdrop for your brand.
  • Perfect for branding, with strong emphasis on unique value proposition.
  • Also ideal for standout packaging.


  • Popular among businesses in niche categories such as home decor, and gardening.
  • Provides customization options for creating a unique shopping experience.
  • Supports large product catalogs.

Shopify themes

Also, you can read this Top 13+ Shopify 2.0 Themes article to check out other options for your Magento store.

Manually Migrate Your Current Theme to The New 2.0 Architecture

If you are satisfied with your existing theme, but want to leverage the new features of Shopify 2.0 architecture, you can migrate your existing theme from Shopify 1.0 to the 2.0 version manually. This process involves converting the old Online Store 1.0 template (Liquid) to the new coding Shopify 2.0 template format (JSON).

Here’s how to perform Online Store 2.0 manual migration:

  • Step 1: Back up the theme by duplicating your current theme. Make changes to the duplicate.
  • Step 2: Identify existing sections and remove any references.
  • Step 3: Move any Liquid or HTML into dedicated sections.
  • Step 4: Remove the Liquid template file.
  • Step 5: Create a new JSON template file.
  • Step 6: Test the template.
  • Step 7: Establish references to sections.
  • Step 8: Add support for app blocks to sections.
  • Step 9: Repeat the process.

To manually migrate existing themes to Online Store 2.0, expertise in coding languages like Liquid, HTML and CSS is a plus. You can also hire a Shopify Partner to help with the process.

Please note that these steps are only applicable to themes installed from the Shopify Theme Store. For custom-build themes, contact the developer or agency to schedule the theme changes.

Download The New Version of Your Current Theme

Another way to perform the Shopify 2.0 migration is to download the latest version of your theme. With the introduction of the Online Store 2.0, many themes also provide the new version that works with 2.0 architecture.

By updating the existing template to its latest version available, you can retain the look and feel of the website while leveraging the new features from the Shopify 2.0 update. Your customizations also remain intact, unless you choose to download a fresh copy.

Theme update notifications will be sent in Shopify Admin and the last save date of your theme is displayed under the name of the theme in Online store > Themes. To upgrade your current theme to the latest version, manually add it to your theme library, and review it carefully before hitting the publish button.

Update Dawn theme

For now, Shopify only supports automatic updates for themes available in the Theme Store. If you are using paid themes from third-party developers, please contact the theme developer directly to ask about updates as well as the specific update process.

It is also important to note that older Vintage Shopify themes are sunsetting and will not work with Online Store 2.0. The only option to get a 2.0 theme is to switch to a new, compatible theme.

So, that’s the three ways to transition to Online Store 2.0 themes. With these options in mind, the table below provides a quick guide to selecting the best migration method for your store.

Yes/NoDon't migrateInstall New ThemeInstall New Version of Current ThemeMigrate Manually
Needs Online Store 2.0 featuresYes

Satisfied with current themeYes


Uses many apps and theme customizations

Has a budget for migrationYes

NoChoose free themes

Comfortable with writing and editing codeYes


Hire an expert

The Advanced Features of Shopify 2.0 Themes

In the previous part, we have explored factors to consider when migrating to Shopify 2.0, alongside the different ways to migrate to 2.0 themes. In case you’re still unsure about the differences between Shopify 2.0 themes and Vintage themes, and what specific features they offer, this section will provide further clarification.

Shopify 2.0 vs Vintage Themes

Shopify 2.0 (short for Shopify Online Store 2.0) is the platform’s latest theme architecture. Utilizing the new JSON template format and app extensions, this new version introduces modern UI/UX and faster loading speed. New features like drag-and-drop sections and blocks provide greater customization options, while improved integrations help with app functionality.

Vintage themes, or Shopify 1.0, refer to themes built with the original theme architecture. Before the introduction of Shopify 2.0, older themes rely on Liquid templates, which lack flexibility and speed compared to the new JSON format. With the introduction of Shopify 2.0, older themes are being phased out. That means Shopify 1.0 is no longer an option for new stores and will only receive security fixes.

The following table outlines the key differences between Shopify 2.0 themes and Vintage themes:

CategoriesShopify 2.0 ThemesVintage Themes
Theme ArchitectureJSON TemplatesLiquid Templates
CustomizationHighly customizable with sections and blocksLimited customization, primarily focused on homepage
UI/UXModern, mobile-friendly, and visually appealingMay lack modern design elements and responsiveness
SpeedFaster loading times due to JSON and app extensionsPotentially slower loading times
App IntegrationsSupports app blocks for dynamic elementsLimited app integration capabilities
Developer ToolsImproved theme editor, app extensions, Github integrationLimited developer tools

Improved Features of Shopify 2.0 Themes

The Online Store 2.0 update brings a plethora of new features and enhancements, making it much easier to run an online store. Below are some of the advanced features available exclusively in Online Store 2.0 themes:

Modern storefront: Shopify 2.0 themes prioritize customer experience. With features like responsive mobile-friendly layouts, visually appealing product displays, and announcement bars, these themes ensure customers remain engaged and informed throughout their shopping journey.

Better loading speeds: If you are using a Shopify 1.0 theme, you might sometimes experience lagging or sluggish performance. Shopify 2.0 addresses this issue by utilizing the JSON templates and app extensions to keep your site running smoothly. According to Shopify, the new Dawn theme is 35% faster.

Effortless page building: The limited homepage customization in Shopify 1.0 theme is fixed with the new drag-and-drop features in the Online Store 2.0. The implementation of sections like building blocks lets you add up to 25 per page, each filled with reusable text, images, and headers.

Shopify page build

Enriched product information: For products with extra details like size charts or ingredient lists, adding this information to the old Shopify 1.0 theme often involved coding. Now with metafields in Shopify 2.0, you can seamlessly connect these details directly to your products. As a result, your product pages look more informative and user-friendly.

Dynamic app blocks: Another added feature of the new Shopify theme architecture is the app integration. In the Vintage theme, you will need to rely on complex coding to integrate third-party apps. Shopify 2.0 simplifies this process with app blocks, enabling you to implement cool features like 3D product models or customer reviews on your store. Thus, the shopping experience is enhanced.

Streamlined theme work for developers: The new Shopify update also offers great ease for developers. Alongside major improvements to the admin interfaces, there are new tools as well. Overall, these changes help navigate, build and update themes more efficiently.


How to Perform The Shopify 2.0 Migration?

As mentioned earlier, you have three options for migrating your existing theme to Shopify 2.0:

  • Download a Shopify 2.0 theme from the Shopify Theme Store.
  • Migrate your current theme to a 2.0 theme manually.
  • Update your current theme to the latest version, if it offers 2.0 features.

Why Should I Choose a Shopify 2.0 Theme?

Shopify 2.0 themes pay attention to improved performance and speed. By upgrading your current theme to the 2.0 one, you can benefit from quicker loading times, a more flexible design and more efficient experience. These themes also allow for easier customization and better control over your storefront.

Are There Any Considerations Before Upgrading to Shopify 2.0?

Shopify 2.0 migration is not mandatory. A few factors to consider before switching to an Online Store 2.0 theme include your satisfaction with the current theme, app compatibility, budget and coding expertise.

What Are Some of The Best Shopify 2.0 Themes?

Free Shopify 2.0 themes like Dawn, Craft, Taste, Impact and Sense are the most popular choices. These themes are clean, well-optimized and user-friendly. You can easily find and install them from Shopify Theme Store.


So, we have explored all the details about Shopify 2.0 migration, from the factors to consider and the methods to upgrade to 2.0 themes to the differences between the Shopify 2.0 and 1.0 themes. Hopefully, you can now make an informed decision about your store’s future.

Founded in 2004 as an online store, Shopify has gradually achieved success, growing to host 31% of the eCommerce websites in the United States and 21% of the global eCommerce marketplace, thanks to its user-friendly platform. With the new theme update, they’ve opened up a new era of eCommerce, offering a more flexible and scalable platform for businesses of all sizes.

Boasting improved loading speed, and top-notch performance, Shopify 2.0 is a powerful toolbox for your eCommerce business. And if you’re a Shopify store owner looking to optimize your store’s visual appearance and/or boost sales growth, look no further than BSS Commerce. As a recognized Shopify Expert and ISTQB Platinum Partner, we bring over headless commerce solutions with:

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