Whether you’re launching your Shopify store or you’ve been at it a while, you’ll eventually realize there’s some custom feature or another that you wish your theme had that it simply doesn’t.
So what do you do? Let’s look at your options.
Trust a Shopify Expert to customize your theme
The easiest way to customize your Shopify theme is to partner with a Shopify expert who can implement the necessary changes.
Not only can you find experts with years of experience, but you can be selective to find ones at a price point that works for you. Compared to the headaches and rework you might have to do otherwise, working with the right partner can be the most cost-effective way to customize your Shopify theme.
The most qualified Shopify experts want to be your partner, not just a one-off project
Expert Shopify developers aren’t new at this, and because they are experts, they know current best practices. They have the know-how to make your theme customizations happen without negatively impacting your store speed or conversion rates.
You also know what you’re doing to get before things get kicked off. Any experienced expert can provide a handful of past client examples or testimonials. Like your own Shopify store, social proof helps show trustworthiness and makes it easier to work with someone who will directly impact your store.
In the end, the main benefit of using a Shopify Expert or micro-agency is finding a partner to work with you, not for you.
Find the cheapest freelancer you can
There’s freelance, and then there’s freelance. One is a trusted professional, and the other is just trying to make a quick buck by undercutting everyone else on price without having nearly the skill set.
We broke them out here as a different option because they really, truly, are nothing at all like the first option. These are the kinds of folks you’ll find in the likes of Fiverr and Upwork, and while there are some folks on there with legitimate offers, unfortunately, the majority are just in a race to the bottom—for price and quality.
Photo Cred: Moonlight Creative
Sure, if you’re only looking to spend as little as humanly possible and aren’t as concerned about quality, speed, security, or anything like that, maybe this is all you need.
At the end of the day, if you’re looking to customize your Shopify theme as cheaply as possible, then you do you. Don’t say we didn’t warn you, though.
Utilize whatever Shopify apps are available
When you’re looking to customize your Shopify theme, sometimes you just need an app (or two) to get the job done. With over 7000 apps in the Shopify app store, the chances are that if you don’t need anything too complex, there’s probably an app for that.
If you want to add some images from your Instagram feed as social proof to help increase conversions, there are apps for that. If you want to improve your apparel brand’s size chart to help customers decide what they should order (and decrease the number of returns), there’s an app for that too.
There are a few things to remember when utilizing apps to customize your Shopify theme. First, you want to ensure the app is compatible with your theme. Second, you'll want to read reviews to see whether the app is reliable and also be comfortable with the app's support policy.
Photo Cred: Shopify
One great feature of the Shopify 2.0 themes is the ability to use App Extensions. This feature lets apps update your theme code and embed some parts of their app right in your theme. It helps your site load faster (as opposed to loading after everything else on the page has loaded) and can create an even better user experience.
It will take time to find, install, configure, and publish the app to your store, but it could be less costly than an agency and more trustworthy than a freelancer.
Get a new Shopify theme
It’s true that there are lots of ways to customize your existing Shopify theme, but there will be times when the exact feature you’re looking for just isn’t in the cards for that theme. Different themes have different use cases, and you can stretch them further than they were designed for. Sometimes, though, you are actually better off starting with a fresh Shopify theme.
That doesn’t mean you’re starting your whole store over from square one! But you will have a blank canvas to work with. Yes, you’ll need to reconfigure a bunch of settings, which can take some time. The upside is that you can eliminate some unneeded parts of your old theme and access the features you were looking for while speeding your whole site up in the process.
Fresher, Faster, Full of features
Make sure you really know what you want your store to look like and how you want it to function. It's easy to get caught up in the details of a fresh new theme and lose sight of your overall goal—that initial customization!
Take some time to research the available themes and find a good fit for your store. There are many great Shopify themes out there, so don't settle for one that's just "okay." You’ll also pay a premium to get those specific features built in, so make sure you get one that is well-reviewed and has the functionality you’re looking for.
Sure, you can always change your theme later on if you need to. You can always try one out for a while and see how it goes, although if you’re buying a paid theme, you won’t want to do this too often!
DIY customization with Liquid
If none of the previous options are in the realm of possibilities to customize your Shopify theme, whether because of budget, timelines, or otherwise, there is a final option: learn liquid and custom code it yourself.
Yes, coding can be complicated, but there are also plenty of resources you can utilize to help you get going or when you get stuck.
Photo Cred: Unsplash
One great resource for learning Liquid is the Shopify forums. There, you can ask questions and get help from other Shopify merchants and developers familiar with the language. Additionally, many blog posts and tutorials are available online to help you get started with coding in Liquid.
The Shopify Liquid Developer Documentation covers all the basics of Liquid and can be a great starting point for anyone new to coding. Many theme developers also offer helpful resources like documentation, video tutorials, and more.
The Shopify Theme Customization TL;DR
You’ll want to evaluate all sorts of ways to get the changes made to your theme that you need. It has to be the right balance of time, price, trustworthiness, and quality.
Unless you’re a coding wiz and picking up Liquid is something you can do in a weekend, your best bet is to partner with a certified Shopify Expert. You’ll get the job done quickly and effectively, and you’ll have someone in your corner who is invested in making sure the customization is done right — if you’re a happy customer, who knows who you might tell in the close-knit Shopify community!
Ready to kick off your own Shopify theme customization project? Get a free quote.