November 1, 2023

Charting New Waters: An Exploration of Shopify's Checkout Extensions

Anna Nguyen
November 1, 2023


Embarking on the Shopify voyage, we’re navigating through waves of innovations designed to make your online store a haven for shoppers. A notable landmark in this journey is the transition from checkout.liquid to Checkout Extensions. Let’s delve into this evolution, exploring the new horizons it unveils, whilst also acknowledging the trade winds that might challenge our sails.

What Are Shopify Checkout Extensions?

Think of Shopify Checkout Extensions as your trusty compass and set of navigational tools on this ecommerce voyage. They empower developers to venture beyond the horizon, extending their app code into the checkout waters, allowing for a tailored journey as your customers navigate towards purchase completion. Whether it’s displaying a welcoming banner or gathering extra snippets of info to smooth out the voyage, these extensions are your loyal crew mates in delivering a customised checkout experience.

The Transition from checkout.liquid

At the helm of Shopify 2.0, the waters have been charted to provide a more intuitive and user-friendly interface for both merchants and developers. Shopify's shift from checkout.liquid to Checkout Extensions isn’t just a technical upgrade — it’s a warm welcome to a more intuitive, secure, and fruitful way of enhancing the checkout experience. Here’s how the sails are set:

App-Based Customisation:

Gone are the days of grappling with code to tailor your checkout page. With Checkout Extensions, developers can whip up nifty apps which you, the merchant, can easily install and tweak to your heart’s content. It’s all about making the process more user-friendly and less of a head-scratcher3.

The Checkout Editor:

As a part of this voyage, Shopify introduces the Checkout Editor. If you've previously steered through the Theme Customiser in Shopify 2.0, you'll find the Checkout Editor's breeze quite familiar. Once your app with Checkout Extensions is installed on your store either via the Shopify App Store or a custom app, you can start ‘dragging and dropping’ those checkout extensions via the Checkout Editor just how you would on the Theme Customiser!

The Old Three-Page Checkout vs The Refreshing One-Page Checkout:

In the earlier avatar, Shopify's checkout process was a three-step dance. It escorted customers through separate pages for shipping, billing, and payment. Fast forward to now, and Shopify has elegantly pirouetted to a one-page checkout, consolidating the checkout process into a single page, making it shorter, faster, and more intuitive. This shorter path to purchase is not just about user convenience; it’s a boon for conversions too, reducing cart abandonment and encouraging more completed purchases.

Real-World Impact:

Real-world data echoes the benefits. A comparison showcased that the one-page checkout indeed fares better than its three-page predecessor when it comes to user satisfaction and conversion rates

Benefits of the New System

Oh, the joys this transition brings to the table!

Ease of Distribution:

For those with a knack for developing, it’s a golden opportunity to create checkout apps and share them with Shopify Plus merchants in the Shopify App Store. It’s about spreading the goodness and making installation a breeze4. For merchants, it’s like having a box of creative tools at your fingertips! The app-based model of Checkout Extensions opens up a realm of possibilities, allowing you to tweak and tune the checkout process without diving into a sea of code. Envision what your checkout experience could be with these apps, now packaged with the new Checkout Extensions, ready to accompany you on this ecommerce voyage!


The beauty of this app-based model is that it’s upgrade-safe. When Shopify rolls out updates, you can sit back and relax knowing your customisations are tucked safely within these apps. Unlike the old checkout.liquid days, where an update could send your custom code into a frenzy, now it’s smooth sailing3.


Checkout Extensions are built on the latest tech, paving the way for a snappier checkout experience. And guess what? A faster checkout could mean more happy customers making purchases. It’s a win-win, improving the shopping experience while potentially boosting your conversion rates

Downsides of Shopify Checkout Extensions

While the transition to Shopify Checkout Extensions heralds a plethora of benefits, it does come with a shade of limitation, especially when it comes to customisation control. Here’s a closer look at this aspect:

Customisation Control:

With checkout.liquid, the reins of customisation were firmly in your hands, allowing a deeper level of control over every element on the page. However, Checkout Extensions, operating in a sandbox environment, offer a scoped access, limiting the elements each extension can interact with. While this structure amplifies security and reliability, it narrows down the customisation breadth compared to the checkout.liquid era.

Branding API to the Rescue:

Shopify, recognising the need for a balanced customisation landscape, introduced the Branding API. This feature provides a canvas to tweak the aesthetic elements like colours, button shapes, and more, striving to bridge the customisation gap between checkout.liquid and Checkout Extensions. Though it’s a step towards regaining some customisation control, it doesn’t fully match the granular control checkout.liquid provided.

Looking Ahead:

As we sail closer to Shopify's deadline to retire checkout.liquid next summer, it's anticipated that the wind will carry more features to Checkout Extensions, enhancing the customisation experience while retaining the newfound advantages. It's a promising horizon, hinting at a continually evolving Shopify landscape that aims to harmonise customisation, security, and usability.


As we anchor at the end of our exploration, it’s clear that the shift to Shopify Checkout Extensions is a hearty nod towards a simplified, secure, and more efficient checkout experience. Whilst there might be a few waves to ride regarding customisation control, the horizon looks promising with Shopify's continual efforts to enhance the checkout extensions' capabilities.

The voyage from checkout.liquid to Checkout Extensions isn’t just a transition; it’s an evolution towards a brighter ecommerce dawn. So, whether you are a merchant setting sail on the Shopify seas or a developer ready to dive into the exciting waves of checkout customisations, the wind is favourable, and the waters are welcoming.

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