With the largest market share out of all ecommerce platforms in the US, making your Shopify store look unique can be a challenge at times. Fortunately, there are ways to make your Shopify site stand out and customize it for your audience and brand. Today, I will be showing you seven ways to customize your Shopify store and improve the customer experience.
1. Buy a Ready-Made Theme
The first step is to buy a ready-made theme. The keyword here is “buy.” Shopify supplies free themes, and sure, you can use them if you’re on a strict budget. The problem is that everyone is using the free themes, and it will be difficult to stand out with one.
Not only that, but the free themes might not offer the features and customization options you want for your store. Going for a paid theme will not only allow you to be more unique, but you’ll also have access to a wider variety of niche-specific themes that are compatible with your brand and company vision.
The best place to get premium, ready-made Shopify themes is Shopify Themes. You only have to pay once for a premium theme; it doesn’t come with recurring costs. Other sources for premium Shopify themes include ThemeForest and other third-party websites, but getting your theme from Shopify Themes is the safest option.
2. Customize Your Theme With Branding and Customers in Mind
Even if you get a premium theme, you should customize it further. Most themes have plenty of customization options that allow you to fit the theme to your brand.
For example, while your theme might come in a specific color scheme by default, you should change it to match your brand’s colors. Add your logo at the top of the page, and add a custom favicon to your store. A favicon is an icon that appears in the browser tab of the user when they are viewing your page – it’s easy to add a favicon on Shopify.
Shopify’s theme editor tool allows you to view all the content on your theme. You can add, delete, and rearrange content. You’ll be able to change the typography, add an image to the header, and a lot more! If you’re struggling to edit your theme, check out Shopify’s manual for instructions.
While editing, keep your customers in mind. For example, add an announcement bar to let them know about important updates, or edit your product catalog to display the most popular products first.
3. Hire a Shopify Developer
While theme customization is possible without the help of a developer, you can only customize it up to a point without any coding skills. Shopify’s theme editing tools are enough for the basics, but if you really want to be creative, add unique features, and ensure your website offers a smooth user experience without any glitches, consider hiring a Shopify developer.
Notice how I said “Shopify developer.” A standard web developer can do a good job, but a Shopify developer specializes in ecommerce stores – specifically Shopify stores – and will know how to design an ecommerce store with sales in mind. They’ll also be familiar with creating shopping carts, checkout pages, and so on.
By using CSS and HTML, a Shopify coder can do a lot more than what you can do yourself. They can add specific features and tools that you may not be able to figure out how to add yourself. A Shopify developer can ensure the apps you install integrate well with your store.
Furthermore, they can ensure that your store is optimized for sales. Shopify developers are often UX experts. They know how to set up your store so that customers can sign up for your email list, navigate your catalog seamlessly, find the products they need right away, and check out without any hitches. They can make your website load quickly and integrate your store with third-party platforms and social media channels for added exposure.
Most of all, a Shopify developer will free up your most valuable resource, which is your time. That’s particularly true if this is your first time building a Shopify store, and you aren’t yet familiar with the software. Customizing your store yourself can involve a learning curve, and you may make mistakes that you will need to correct later.
Besides hiring a Shopify developer, local brands should also create a local link building campaign, which is critical for SEO. Again, hiring an expert can bring you better results.
4. Clean Up Clutter to Avoid Overwhelming Customers
While it’s important to add unique colors, your logo, and images, you can’t go over the top. Adding too many elements to your page will disorient customers. Even a menu that has too many options can be confusing and overwhelming.
Remember, your goal is to increase sales. Many small business owners want to give their visitors as many options in the menu as possible to help them find what they are looking for. However, it has the opposite effect. With so many options to choose from, customers can quickly get overwhelmed and hop from page to page without actually purchasing anything.
Less is often more, and that’s particularly true if you want to guide customers to specific pages that are high-converting. Pick your menu options carefully. Remember, you can always put other essential pages, like an about page, in a secondary menu in the footer.
Clean up your sidebar as well. Don’t fall into the trap of cluttering your site with pay-per-click ads in the hopes of making a few extra cents. If you optimize your store correctly, you’ll earn a lot more from product sales than the few cents you’ll get from AdSense ads. AdSense is useful if you want to monetize a blog, but it has no place on a Shopify store.
5. Improve Loading Speed by Compressing Photos
Site speed is important for all websites, as it ensures you maintain your high SEO rankings. However, it’s even more critical for ecommerce stores. If your customers are trying to shop around, and each product page loads slowly, they won’t want to waste time searching for the product they want in your store. Instead, they’ll head to Amazon or elsewhere.
By compressing your photos – including your product photos – before uploading them, you can significantly reduce page load times and improve the customer experience. Sites like TinyPNG and Shopify apps like Crush.pics make it incredibly easy to compress your product pictures.
6. Remove Nonessentials and Stay Relevant
I already touched upon the importance of removing clutter. That goes for all nonessentials on your site, including:
Before adding anything to your Shopify store, ask yourself whether it is truly essential for sales. Do you need it on your site, or are you putting it there because you think it looks cool? Can it have a detrimental effect on the user experience?
Put yourself in the shoes of a new visitor who found you via a Google search or clicked on one of your ads. This person doesn’t know much about you yet, and you want to make a good first impression.
You want them to find the product they are looking for and trust you enough to check out on the same day – or at least sign up for your newsletter, so you can continue marketing to them.
Ask yourself which elements truly help you find the product you are looking for, and which seem unnecessary or extra.
You can also do some testing to see how different elements increase or decrease conversions.
It’s not only elements. Sometimes, including products that don’t sell well can be a bad idea.
It might be better to drop low-performing products from your catalog – even if you have an emotional attachment to them – and focus on the products that sell well and bring in the most revenue. More products aren’t necessarily better. That’s especially true if you are merely dropshipping those products and don’t even have them in stock.
7. Reflect Your Company Identity and Message
Finally, make sure you work in your company identity and message when designing your site. Your company identity and message are not the same as your brand logo, colors, etc. Think of your brand colors and logo as the body and your company identity and message as the soul.
What do you stand for? What is your vision? What is your place in the industry – what did you come to fix? Why are you there, and how are you helping people? What is the way you interact with customers, and what values do you stand by?
Everything, including your contact page, newsletter signup form, help center, and about page should be designed to reflect your values. The phrases, slogans, and types of images you use matter a lot, as do the fonts you use. Are you trying to maintain a professional tone or a warm, friendly, and down-to-earth image?
By customizing your Shopify store with your branding and customers in mind, you’ll be able to stand out and catch the eye of new visitors, turning them into lifelong fans and customers. Always focus on building and strengthening relationships rather than pushing for sales.