Polaris – The New Shopify Experience

Richard Jess

August 3, 2017

Shopify merchants across the world will recently have spotted a fresh new-look to their admin dashboard and profile. We imagine most will have done a double take before trying to suss out the changes from the new makeover.

Shopify’s Grand Plan:

“Improve the look and feel in order to support apps and unify the Shopify experience.”

The transformation brings a fresh consistency across all Shopify products, making menus and content easier to read and pages easier to navigate.

Entitled Polaris, the new Shopify facelift has been issued with a clear set of design guidelines to ensure all Shopify merchants are singing off the same hymn sheet. These guidelines were implemented to simplify the day-to-day experience and make navigation simpler across the board on Shopify. However, often users aren’t enthusiastic about change, but over time, as the design gets phased out into Shopify products and apps, the transition will become even more intuitive.

Although merchants will have noticed the injection of personality into the design, it’s the practical improvements that should enhance the overall experience as well. The new blend of colours is all change from the neutral green and grey of old. The overhaul has brought a sophisticated mix of indigo, purple, blue and even teal along with a broader palette of varied complementary colours.

How will this modernisation of Shopify affect the experience of the user?

1. In 3rd Party Apps

Here’s an interesting stat for you. The average merchant uses only four of the 1,200 apps available on their Shopify site. The app store is full of endless tools to assist merchants with driving sales, managing customer services, stock control and many more, with the majority being created by third party Shopify Partners. With all 3rd party apps being built using the same set of guidelines, Polaris makes the entire user experience seamless on each Shopify product and platform.

Shopify Product Content

2. Improved Profiles

One of the difficulties with the Shopify of old was when merchants were managing multiple Shopify stores and the difficulties arising when switching between one another. The revitalisation of the Shopify brand has signalled cries for help on this issue from Shopify merchants. As a result it has produced a more flexible way of navigating between accounts and easily identifying who is logged in to what store. The modifications have provided better visibility into the merchant’s business operations, which is key to a transparent successful eCommerce business.

3. More Prominence on Search

So many of the modifications in the new-look Shopify have come as a result of merchant feedback. The search feature was a key element to improve, especially for some of the larger eCommerce stores as growth met challenges for customers. The feature now has more prominence, improving how users find products and functions. The search functionality has also been adapted in the App and Theme Stores to improve consistency and navigation.

Shopify Experts Odd Panda

4. Consistency for Shopify Partners

Shopify Partners are a fundamental part in improving eCommerce and with Polaris Shopify intend to help Partners create apps that integrate seamlessly into the interface. Polaris will help make each app appear as if the same Partner/team has designed them. By using the Polaris design system, Shopify enables Partners to benefit from a component library and style guide improving the experiences for merchants more efficiently than ever.

5. Enhanced Visual Accessibility

Polaris provides a clear, clean and consistent design throughout the admin pages, which is the most noticeable change for users from the new overhaul. It uses more graphical elements like icons, buttons and drawings to assist Shopify merchants. The Shopify admin has forever been one of its key strengths when merchants are considering which eCommerce platform to use. This enhancement will prolong that benefit and make the decision for existing Shopify users even simpler, with other eCommerce solutions struggling to match the ease of use and flexibility posed by Shopify’s admin.

Shopify Blog

6. Uniformity of Polaris across the Shopify Mobile App

Not only will Shopify Partners work from a streamlined set of guidelines, the new Polaris design will also extend across the Shopify mobile app. Numbers using the mobile app are climbing year on year, with many merchants primarily running their stores from their phone. Analysts are predicting 45% of all eCommerce interactions will take place via mobile devices by 2020. The entire theme throughout the Polaris launch has been ‘consistency’ and ‘simplicity’ and the uniform appearance of both online and app platforms mean workflow will be more predictable and intuitive.

7. Future proofed for further enhancements

The release of Polaris has answered many questions, producing functionality and design that will heighten the usability and experience for merchants. However, there are other questions which remain unanswered allowing the potential for Polaris to grow even further. For example, it remains to be seen whether Shopify will adopt the same design approach for their own apps. There has been no mention of this, but for consistency and transparency purposes it would seem peculiar if they didn’t. If this were to happen, changing between the Shopify admin area and the individual apps admin pages would see a consistent use of colour, design and functionality between both. In addition to Shopify apps, they will also intend updating their Point of Sale app with the Polaris designs and structure to match their other platforms.


Shopify was founded in 2004 and two years ago had a revenue of over $205Million. In 2017 they have rejuvenated the design and guidelines throughout every Shopify store in a change named Polaris. Check out if you feel Shopify’s Grand Plan has been well integrated or not and begin to familiarise yourself with the new functionality and consistent design. We continue to be avid fans of all things Shopify and as a company feel this will be highly successful and simplify the user experience. What do you think?

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