Shopify Theme Customization – Should You Customize Your Shopify Theme?

John Ahya March 25, 2021
8 mins read Last Updated April 22, 2022
Shopify Theme Customization

Should I customize my Shopify website? Undoubtedly, this is a question I am asked frequently.

Whenever someone asks me this, I immediately shoot another question in response, “Is your business the same as your competitors? Does your brand outshine the competition?”

The answer is a resounding YES!

Well, that answers the first question, at least partly. I usually ask them why they want to go in for a one-size-fits-all approach when they can have a unique web store. Just think about it, online eCommerce stores are meant to be an extension of the brand, and should give the same shopping experience as a normal brick-and-mortar store would (if not better!).

Before you decide to go with a Shopify theme customization or not, it is better you know exactly what you want from your store and what you want to give your customers.

You might have drool-worthy discounts or products that are flying off the shelves. But if your store doesn’t make an arresting first impression, you can expect the sales graph to face south. That’s because your customers aren’t going to hang around your store if they are not impressed with its layout or the content.

You cannot ignore the business value of design and layout, and taking one wrong decision can significantly impact the overall business. And it’s not only about making first impressions. About 88% of consumers are less likely to return to your store if their first experience in your store wasn’t good.

I have seen many merchants – both start-ups and established store owners –take platform decisions based entirely on the ‘price factor’. But making platform decisions entirely based on the price, product demos, or popularity is a poor business decision. One wrong decision, and you can find yourself backpedaling from an expensive – and unnecessary – investment.

In this article, I want to talk to you about whether Shopify theme customization is necessary, the usual pitfalls many stores can fall into, the do’s and don’ts of customization. It will help you make the right decision for your business.

Why you need Shopify theme customization?

One reason why Shopify is a favorite eCommerce platform among merchants is its selection of themes. Merchants use more than 350,000 paid Shopify themes worldwide. I have seen many new business owners choose the basic default theme when setting up their store for the first time. It sounds logical and, at times, practical. While the basic Shopify themes might give you what you need, they might not satisfy your wants. That’s where Shopify theme customization comes into play.

With the default theme, you can set shop right from the word go. You can put in your products, load your store’s admin information, personalize your content, and are all set to launch. You can also check out the Shopify Theme Store to see if your store can do better on the theme front.

Even with everything Shopify themes offer, your brand new store needs something more to outshine the competition. When the pre-built Shopify themes don’t interest you, customizing the themes will work wonders for your stores. When it comes to eCommerce, there is strong evidence (in the form of statistics) to prove that your store’s designs can build or break your business.

Your viewers form an opinion about your store’s websites in about 50 milliseconds. That means in 0.05 seconds they decide whether they are going to explore your store or just leave. This actually makes the case for the importance of a great theme and layout.

Here is more if you need convincing – 38% of your viewers will not continue engaging with your store if they don’t find the layout or the content attractive. Now you know why the layout of your store is important.

How do you customize your Shopify Theme?

A theme is a plug-and-play feature that makes it easier for businesses to customize their online stores. Shopify themes are a bunch of files that allow businesses to control the look and features on their website. You should select a theme that most matches your brand and business-specific functionalities.

You can customize your Shopify theme in two different ways.

  1. Without editing the code:

    1. Step 1: Open your Shopify Admin Panel
    2. Step 2: Click on Online Store
    3. Step 3: Under Online Store, select Themes
    4. Step 4: To be directed to the Theme editing page, click on Customize tab.Here, you can edit the home pages, product pages and customize your store’s overall appearance. You can also alter the size of buttons, look of the cart page, font and color, collection lists, and more. This way, you can use the default theme settings to customize your page in little to no time.
  2. By Editing the code:

    If you want to customize your theme – more than just resizing the button or changing the font – then you should look deeply into Shopify theme customization. For this, you, of course, need to edit the code.

    1. Step 1: Again, open your Shopify Admin Panel
    2. Step 2: Choose Online Store
    3. Step 3: Click on Themes
    4. Step 4: Click the Customize button.
    5. Step 5: On the Theme Editing Page, hit Theme Actions,
    6. Step 6: Click on Edit Code to get the theme’s code

Having coding, HTML knowledge, and an understanding of Liquid can easily help develop custom Shopify Themes.

4 reasons why you should customize your Shopify theme:

The decision to customize a theme or commission an entirely new theme built from scratch is a huge business decision. In fact, this can have far-reaching effects on the business. Either way, customizing the Shopify themes gives you far more freedom to experiment with design, load-in features, and control the store’s functionalities.

  • When your store sells specialized products or is a one-of-a-kind business, you need specialized layout pages to display your products. The default themes might be too limiting for your store’s needs. Your store should be a continuation of your brand – its colors, style, and logo should be in-sync with your brand. You can go for Shopify theme customization when you want to form a better connection with your customers or target market.
  • First impressions matter – customers place a lot of importance on the quality and attractiveness of your store. And, it should also be user-friendly.
  • Shopify customization can provide a better customer experience by adding an Instagram feed or putting in a product slideshow.
  • A customized Shopify theme will allow your business to grow. With customization, you can have a scalable, fully-functional, and integrated store.

4 reasons why you should not customize your Shopify theme:

We don’t mean tinkering with the color, font, product descriptions, or content on the customize theme panel by customizing. These items were meant to be altered. We are talking about fiddling with the custom code, which can allow you to alter the complete page layout.

  • First off, let’s stop and think if your business needs a high level of customization if you are a start-up. Most Shopify themes are well-equipped to help you come up with a good storefront.
  • Next, customization costs can be steep, especially if you are just starting your business. The customization cost aside, we have realized that most beginners aren’t exactly sure of what they or their customers want.
  • When it comes to upgrading, issues might crop up when you alter a custom Shopify theme, especially if you have heavily customized your store. Yes, you might get help from your theme developer, but it is a tedious job!
  • Remember that customizations don’t happen overnight. You should be willing to dedicate time and money to the entire process which might take days. If you don’t have the technical know-how, then you would need the services of a developer. Developers know exactly what to do as long as you know what needs to be done! So getting the right Shopify developer with experience should also be on your to-do list.

The do’s and don’ts of Shopify Theme Customization

As no two customizations are alike, they come in all degrees of complexity. If you have the time, and lots of patience, you can do most of the minor customizations on the Shopify platform. However, if you are looking at a complete revamp of your store layout, seeking professional help is the right way forward.

Do’s of Shopify Theme Customization:

Now, let’s go over some do’s so that you don’t fall into some common pitfalls of customizing:

  • First off, the basics – backup. Make a backup of your theme before giving the go-ahead. If you are under the misconception that having 20 duplicates of the theme might hinder site speed, then you are wrong. Making duplicates of your theme, especially before major changes, is a good, time-tested habit.
  • Hire a Shopify expert or Shopify development agency to help you get started. It will probably be the best decision you would take since you decided to go in for customization. The right development agency will save you time, deliver exact custom design, provide after-sales support, and help you with the store’s upkeep.
  • Similarly, it pays to be meticulous and pay attention to details. Keep a tight record of all the changes, dates, app additions, and more. It might sound like a tiresome job initially. Should you run into trouble, this log will come in handy when you start backtracking to troubleshoot.

Don’ts of Shopify Theme Customization:

  • Before you start customizing, don’t forget to once look at the developer tools of your browser. Use an inspection tool to get a closer look at specific elements on the store’s theme. You can select the particular area of interest and make necessary code changes.
  • Don’t settle with the cheapest or the first developer you meet. Take your time, read reviews, brainstorm ideas with them, look at their previous work before deciding.
  • Don’t try to fit every conceivable idea into your theme. Before committing to customization, have a good vision of what you want your store to look like, know the limitations to what customization can do.

Conclusion: Should you customize your theme or not.

We have laid out all the facts here. We agree that the Shopify platform has some easy-to-install themes, and it also provides businesses minor customization options. You can get your store going in a matter of days (if not hours!).

But, sometimes, these themes might not fit into the vision you have for your business. If there is a specific design in your mind and the pre-built Shopify themes don’t suit your needs, then going in for Shopify theme customization will bring your vision closer to reality.

Although the initial set-up costs might seem expensive, in the long run, you can scale your business quickly when you customize your Shopify theme. If you’re still not able to decide whether you should customize your Shopify theme or not, I am here to help you. You can reach out to me at

John Ahya
John Ahya

John is the President and Co-Founder of WebDesk Solution, LLC. Living the digital agency life for over 10 years, he explores an extensive eCommerce world. He has immense experience in all major e-commerce platforms. Being a nature lover, he likes to breathe the fresh air on the hill stations during vacations.

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