Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms, and all for a good reason. There are many reasons why both small and large businesses choose Shopify. Some of them include its ease of use, affordability (Shopify one dollar for three months plan is a one-of-a-kind offering), and of course, the tons of Shopify apps and themes businesses and brands get access to to make running an online store, a walk in the park.
But here's the scoop. Many Shopify merchants, especially new ones, don't give much importance to customization. And this is probably why you can spot several different Shopify stores with the same theme and style, which is either the Debut theme (if the store began before Online Store 2.0 and was never updated) or the Dawn theme (for the newbies).
While both these themes are excellent in looks and functionality and can be used straight out of the box, customizing your Shopify store further can enhance its performance and overall appearance, making it an improved customer and sales magnet. Read on to find out how to excel at Shopify theme customization and create a truly unique and professional online store.
- Creative Customization Techniques for a Professional, Polished Look
- Tips to Pick the Best Theme for Customization
- How Shopify Apps Can Enhance Your Store's Design and Functionality
- Popular Apps for Customizing Your Shopify Store
- Unlock Your Store's Full Potential with Advanced Customizations
- The Final Steps to Launching Your Customized Shopify Store
Creative Customization Techniques for a Professional, Polished Look
Most online store merchants fear customization because they feel it would make their website too slow and might even confuse the customers, ending up in abandoned carts and minimal sales. Though this is not entirely true, the kind of customization can indeed have an impact on your store's overall performance.
This means the right customizations can help you attain more sales and more customers without compromising its functionality. So here are a few best practices you need to look into when customizing your Shopify store.
Responsive Design is a Must Have
An eCommerce website with a responsive design will easily adapt to any screen size the customer uses, ensuring an optimal shopping experience. This is extremely important, especially with the rise in mobile shoppers.
So, customize your theme to make it responsive and compatible with different screen sizes, and test it before you launch, to ensure it looks great and works properly. Many Shopify themes (mostly paid) are responsive in design and mobile optimized, saving you a lot of time.
Color Scheme and Typography Matters
Customize your store with colors that align with your brand's personality, and complement your products or services. A mismatch in the colors and the brand style can make the overall appearance confusing and cluttered.
Using the right kind of colors, and choosing legible and consistent fonts, will help your website look better and deliver better results in attracting customers and easing the shopping experience for them.
Streamlined Navigation for Ease of Shopping
Good navigation helps customers to find the product they want easily. This means they are able to shop for their favorite products without having to spend a lot of time looking for products they like. Simple and intuitive navigation enables this, and there are different types of navigation menu styles you can adopt. You can also consider adding dropdown menus for subcategories by using clear and descriptive menu labels.
Engaging Product Presentation for the Win
No matter how affordable your products are, the way you present your products on your website matters. Shabby and unclear images are clear red flags for customers. Many Shopify themes support high-definition and high-quality imagery without affecting page loading or speed. You can check this out in the features section on the respective Shopify theme.
Using high-quality images of products with detailed descriptions will give the customers a precise image of the quality of the item they are purchasing. You can couple this with a product zoom feature or a 360-degree view functionality. If you are offering variations for the product, do give images of the product in all those variations.
The Homepage is Your Storefront
In a brick-and-mortar store, the physical store exterior and interior make the first impression, followed by the quality of products and customer care. In your online store, the storefront is your homepage and also your first impression point.
If your current online store homepage is basic, with only a few images of your products, or if you have taken it overboard with tons of imagery and visual elements, you might be doing it wrong.
In both of the above situations, your store's functionality gets affected, and you need to do more to catch the attention of your store visitor. Your homepage gives out all the necessary info about your store at a quick glance. So highlight your best sellers and special promotions. Use banners, sliders, and high-definition images and videos in moderation. And try to include customer testimonials and, of course, an easy-to-access navigation menu.
Now, there are many more customization one can do to their Shopify store, but these five are absolutely necessary. The right implementation of these techniques can yield you unimaginable results and make your online store a thriving and reliable brand for customers.
Tips to Pick the Best Theme for Customization
Need help with choosing the perfect theme for your store? Here are a few tips on how to choose a theme from the Shopify theme store that perfectly matches your business personality:
Consider Your Target Audience
Think about who you'd like to see on your website or who you are trying to reach with your website. What are their interests and needs? Once you determine this, you will know your target audience, and you can start narrowing down your options for themes.
For example, if your target audience is fashion experts or influencers or anyone with an eye for unique designs and creative presentation, then you would need a theme that relies immensely on presentation with a bold design. Themes like the Showcase theme will suit such brands.
Check for a fast loading theme
Website speed is an essential aspect for gaining new customers and retaining existing ones. as you can lose customers if your website takes too long to load. The first five seconds of your page loading time have the biggest impact on conversion, and this is a make-or-break situation for your store. To ensure your store loads quickly and provides a smooth experience for your customers, you need to choose a fast-loading Shopify theme. A theme such as Blum comes with a fast loading speed, even on mobile phones, with a speed index of 1.6 seconds.
Choose a Theme That is Easy to Use
You don't want to spend hours trying to figure out how to customize your store without the help of a web designer. Find an easy-to-use theme that comes with numerous features to make your store look stunning but is also extremely easy to customize with drag-and-drop functionalities and pre-designed presets. A theme like Boost is an excellent choice for merchants with less experience in customization, as this theme comes with a quick setup.
Make Sure the Theme is Mobile-friendly
More and more people are using their phones and tablets to access the internet and do shopping. So, making sure your theme looks good and works well on all devices is critical to the success of your store.
The Envy theme is a good example of a mobile-friendly theme.
Don't be Afraid to Customize Your Theme
All Shopify themes come with many customizations features you can use to design your store. This may include full-width banners, trust badges, promo banners, different color palettes, lookbooks, numerous typography, and product display layouts to choose from. Feel free to test them all before you confirm and launch your store. Customizations that make your website look great and function best can be used in your live store.
Apart from this, remember to:
- Read the reviews of the themes to understand the pros and cons.
- Test different themes before purchasing, as most paid themes come with a free trial or demo.
- If you want to hire an expert to do the customization for you, then you can check out Shopify Experts.
How Shopify Apps Can Enhance Your Store's Design and Functionality
Shopify apps play a vital role in the design and operation of your store, providing you with additional tools and features to customize your themes.
Shopify app store has over 8,000 applications, all designed to ease the process of running an online store and improve customer experience on an end-to-end basis. These apps offer custom pop-ups, product labels, advanced product options, mega menus, live chat support, and much more. But how do you identify the kind of app your store needs, and how do you choose them?
Check their Features
Understand what features are essential for your store's design and functionality. Go to the Shopify app store, and check out 'apps by category.' Choose the category that you are looking for, such as 'store design.' Click on the apps to learn more about their features, and if those features are something you would want for your store, you can add the app to your Shopify store.
Ratings and Reviews
Checking out the reviews and ratings by other merchants on their experience with the app is a good way to understand how the app can best fit the expectation of your store. Look for apps with good ratings and positive reviews.
Check the Compatibility
Let's say you liked a particular app and want to add it to your store. This may sound easy, but not all apps might be compatible with your current theme version and might not integrate well with the other installed apps. So check the requirements and limitations of the app in detail before purchasing them.
Here are the steps you need to follow to install a Shopify app:
Step 1: Go to the Shopify app store. You can access it by visiting this link or through your Shopify admin dashboard.
Step 2: You can browse by category like we mentioned before, or if you already know which app you want, you can search for it on the search bar. Once you find the app, read its features, pricing, reviews, and ratings to make an informed decision.
Step 3: If you want to install the app, click on "Add app ."If you want to check out the demo store, you can click on "View demo store ."
Once you click on "Add app," you will be redirected to your Shopify store's backend for granting permissions and configuring settings.
Step 4: Configure the app. Each app comes with its own interface and settings panel, so you need to configure them according to your site's needs.
Popular Apps for Customizing Your Shopify Store
To get you started, here are a few popular Shopify apps that you can use for Shopify theme customization as well as to customize your Shopify store.
PageFly is a Shopify page builder that can help you create custom landing pages, product pages, and homepages using a drag-and-drop interface. This application takes away the challenges of customizing your Shopify stores using codes with pre-designed templates and advanced styling options. It works most of the Shopify themes, enabling you to design your store without affecting your theme's assets.
Privy is an all-in-one eCommerce solution that helps amplify your sales through customizable pop-ups, banners, and automated email marketing. It takes away the hassle of designing email newsletters, launching website pop-ups, or automating cart-saver texts. It comes with an easy drag-and-drop email editor and pre-built templates for ease of use.
Yotpo aids in collecting and displaying user-generated content, such as customer testimonials and ratings, as social proof for customers. It comes with AI-powered review widgets to gather relevant product reviews. With Yotpo's partner integrations, you can display reviews and ratings on your social media handles and search engines like Google.
Bold Product Options
Bold Product Options offers advanced product customization options with infinite variant options, such as custom fields, upsell options, etc., for Shopify stores. This gives customers the complete freedom to customize the products they wish to purchase. It enables online store owners to increase their average order value through upselling and cross-selling products.
Wide Bundles enable the bundling of products by creating quantity breaks and offers to increase your average order value. It conveniently fastens the purchase process to increase conversions and revenue with maximum customization to match your store’s design. It also integrates with page builders such as Pagefly and other upsell apps and side cart apps. You can even add custom texts to the offers and customize the widget's design.
Unlock Your Store's Full Potential with Advanced Customizations
You may want to explore advanced customization strategies to liberate your store's complete potential and achieve a professional-looking and highly custom-designed website. Here are a few advanced customization techniques you need to have. Remember, for the following mentioned techniques you might need technical expertise. If you don’t have the required coding experience, you might want to hire an expert. We'll discuss that too in detail.
Custom CSS: Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) may be used to alter the visual appearance of your Shopify theme by fine-tuning the layout, typography, hues, and other layout factors. It allows you to make specific adjustments beyond what the theme's customization features and options provide.
Liquid Templating Language
Shopify created the open-source Liquid templating language to generate and load dynamic content to your storefront and control the layout and functionality of your store. It is used by many hosted web applications and enables more complex customizations.
These advanced customizations are not always necessary, but you can consider them in the following situations:
If you want your brand identity to stand out or have a distinct brand identity that you want to showcase throughout your store, then considering these advanced customizations can help you create a truly unique design that aligns with your brand style and personality.
Let's say your store has a few functionalities that are not readily accessible through apps or basic customizations. In this case, you can consider advanced customization, including customizing or personalizing the checkout process, integration with third-party systems or even building product configurators.
Scalability and Performance
As your business grows, you may need advanced customizations to optimize your shop's performance and cope with accelerated site visitors. Custom code can be used to modify your theme, optimize database queries, and amplify your site loading speed.
If your store operates in a highly competitive market, then advanced customization can help you stand out from your competitors. Unique design and visual elements and functionalities help you to offer your customers a more personalized experience.
Not all Shopify merchants will have the coding experience required to fulfill their advanced customization needs. Hence, many rely on external web designers and developers for this. Here are a few things to consider while hiring a Shopify developer or designer for your store.
- Convey Your Requirements Clearly
Outlining your goals and requirements will help you better communicate your expectations with the professional.
- Check the Experience and Portfolio
Look for professionals with relevant experience working with similar websites or requirements in Shopify customization.
- Check for Reviews and Recommendations
Feel free to check their customer reviews to understand the expert's professionalism, reliability, and ability to meet deadlines.
- Effective Communication Skills
Choose an expert who has good communication skills, is responsive, and is attentive to your requirements.
The Final Steps to Launching Your Customized Shopify Store
Great job with the Shopify theme customization. The next step is to launch your store, ready for customers to shop at. Before you do, here are a few things you can follow to offer the best user experience.
Testing and Quality Assurance
You don't want to lose customers over a faulty link or slow page loading speed. Before launching, test all aspects of your website. From CTAs, to check out to confirmation emails, ensure everything is working without any problem. Ensure your website functions well on all screens and devices, and review all the app integrations. Ensure you do all the testing from the user's perspective as well as a Merchant's.
Payment Gateway and Shipping Setup
One of the most important aspects of checkout is the payment and shipping options. For a seamless checkout experience, you need to configure your payment options (if you accept payments in different currencies, ensure the rates are clearly mentioned) and shipping methods, so customers can know how much their shipping will cost, how long it will take, and use the payment method they are most comfortable. You can test this as well to ensure there are no challenges faced.
Domain and SSL Setup
Having a custom domain can help you build more trust and also help you in SEO. It also makes it easy for customers to find your website online. You can purchase a custom domain on Shopify itself and also ensure that SSL is accurately configured. SSL encryption ensures the customer data is secure.
Content and Product Review
Review the product images, home page banner videos and photographs, product description accuracy, etc., before launch. Ensure your videos and graphics are loading without any delay and are consistent with your brand style. Do check for grammar and spelling errors, as this can make the website look unprofessional. Ensure your product listings are completed and optimized with the right keywords for search engines.
Legal and Privacy Compliance
Clearly define your return policies, and ensure your store is compliant with relevant legal requirements and privacy regulations such as privacy policies, cookie consents, etc. You can familiarize yourself with this by checking what other stores in your industry are doing.
Once you have tested your website and it meets all the requirements, you are all ready to launch it. But wait, your job doesn't get over at this point. You can do a few things to ensure your store is visible to your customers and has the potential to bring in consistent customers and sales. We have turned them into a checklist, so it is easy for you to download and follow!
Remember, launching your store is just the first step of your eCommerce journey. Continuous intervention is required to ensure it performs well at all times and is the sales magnet you need it to be.
This blog is all about diving deep into the world of Shopify theme customization. With the right kind of customizations, you can transform your online presence into a captivating and professional masterpiece.
The creative techniques, the powerful apps, and the advanced Shopify theme customizations are all aimed at the success of your eCommerce store.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started with your Shopify store customization today and create an everlasting impression on your store visitors.