When you’re shopping for a Shopify theme, you’re evaluating each one after it’s been set up with images, fonts, and colors. This is a great way to see a theme at its full potential. But once you’ve installed a theme in your store, you’ll need to do some work to get it looking just right.
That’s where design choices come in—something that can be intimidating when you don’t have any experience making them. Let’s go over Shopify theme customization and everything you can do to promote your brand and drive sales.
Shopify customization: Hire a developer or do it yourself?
The great thing about working with a theme is that a lot of the structural design decisions are made for you. You don’t need to worry about how to lay out your pages or where to put each image and each paragraph within a complex website builder.
But to get your store looking its best, and to make your brand really shine, you’ll need to add your own touch. Think of it like decorating a house—the fundamentals are all there, but you get to choose the colors and tweak the décor.
Hire a Shopify developer
When you’re new to the world of web design, the amount of choices you have is staggering, and might even feel overwhelming. You can use any color you want! You can switch things up with the click of a mouse!
And when you get into the more complex functionality and design choices, it becomes evident enlisting the help of an expert is more cost-effective than stumbling through it yourself—considering all the other important responsibilities you have.
The Shopify Experts marketplace helps connect you with experienced web designers you can hire for expert guidance, or even to do the design work for you. The best part is, they’re experienced with Shopify, so they know the ins and outs of the platform and can help you make the most of it.
Customize your Shopify theme yourself
In some cases, the DIY route makes sense. Maybe you’re bootstrapping your business or you already have the technical and design skills necessary to build a website on your own. Or maybe you just need simple functionality to start, with plans to upgrade later.
Regardless of the reason, Shopify’s theme editor is user-friendly, so you can customize the look and feel of your online store without any coding or design skills. And with tools like Sections Everywhere, Shopify app embeds, and page templates, you can add engaging elements to your site with a few clicks.
Five ways to customize your Shopify store to make it your own
- Find the perfect theme in the Shopify theme store
- Edit your theme settings to adjust the look of your store
- Create templates
- Customize your store with Shopify apps
- Use Shopify app embeds to add more sections
1. Find the perfect theme in the Shopify theme store
While Shopify will default your store to either its Debut or Dawn theme, depending on whether or not you’re using Online Store 2.0, you don’t have to stick with it. You can head over to the Shopify Theme Store to browse other options. It’s important to pick the right theme at the beginning so you don’t have to go back and change it again if you need different features or functionality.
There are two main categories for Shopify themes: free and paid.
- Free: Free themes are great for new or smaller stores getting ready to launch or experiment with ecommerce. The plus side is there are no additional upfront or recurring costs, but they often come with limitations and little customization options. There are 11 free themes to choose from.
- Paid: Shopify also has more than 100 paid themes, ranging from $180 to $350 (one-time fee). While they require more money upfront, paid themes offer more design functions, ecommerce tools, and robust feature sets to allow you to do more things with your online store.
You can also browse Shopify themes by industry, catalog size, and features such as age verification, infinite scroll, and store locator. When customizing your Shopify store, it’s best to start with a theme that has the functionality you need. You can figure out the look and feel later.
2. Edit your theme settings to adjust the look of your store
Once you know the general structure and functionality of your theme, you can focus on the design aspects of your theme customization. This way, you can design your online store to match your visual branding.
To edit your theme, navigate to the theme editor from your dashboard by going to Online Store > Themes. Locate your chosen theme and click Customize.
The main areas you’ll want to focus on include:
If you already have a brand, you’ll want to adjust your Shopify theme settings to align to your established brand guidelines. It’s OK if you don’t have brand guidelines—you can use the colors from your logo.
Starting from scratch? Choosing colors for your brand can be intimidating. Do they look good together? Are bright colors or neutral colors a better fit for your brand? Look for inspiration in the types of products you carry. For example, if you sell wood furniture or leather goods, natural colors like brown, beige, and orange might be a great place to start.
You can also use an online color palette tool, many of which will offer examples of great color palettes created by other people or brands.
Once you’ve picked some colors that look good and fit with your products and your business, save the hexadecimal codes that represent your chosen colors. You can use this combo of six letters and numbers on online platforms and design tools to get an exact match anywhere you need to use your colors.
It looks something like this:
- #FFFFFF - white
- #2D2D2D - very dark gray
- #50B83C - green
Fonts are also a strong element of branding. Many of the best ecommerce store designs use a combination of different fonts, so you don’t have to stick to just one font or even one style. Find fonts that complement each other and work together without becoming boring.
It’s generally best to stick to two or three fonts. Any more and you risk diluting your brand, as well as distracting from the flow of information itself. And while it’s tempting to go overly creative, aim for a balance between legibility, consistency, and clarity.
Pick complementary fonts
The quickest way to find perfect font combinations is with different fonts within the same font family. A font family is something like Helvetica or Times New Roman, and the fonts within it have a few variations. Fonts from the same family already have an assortment of weights and styles that work well together.
A heavier weight font would be something like the bold version of the font, while a style variation might be an all-caps version.
If you have a font you love, you can use a bold version, a regular version, and an italicized version to differentiate your headings and other information. It’s a way to make a single typeface family work for your whole store, while still giving you the ability to differentiate between different types of content.
Pair compatible typefaces
If you’ve never worked with fonts before, here’s a quick primer on typefaces. There are a few different basic styles of text that you’ll find.
- Serif: These typefaces, like Times New Roman and Georgia, have the little feet on each letter.
- Sans serif: These typefaces, like Arial, Helvetica, and the font you’re reading right now, don’t have the little feet.
- Script: These typefaces are anything that looks like calligraphy or handwriting.
- Monospace: These typefaces have letters that are all equally spaced out, and are what you usually see in computer code. A good example is Roboto Mono.
You can pair fonts from different typefaces to get a strong contrast between them.
Combining typefaces based on contrast is great for establishing hierarchy. Contrasting typefaces makes it clear which paragraphs are headings and subheadings and which are body copy.
Hierarchy visually shows your customers which information is most important. In this post, we used headings to help you figure out what each section is about. That’s an example of a hierarchy, and you can use different fonts to help your headings stand out.
Use font sizes intentionally
Font size should also be intentional. Use varying font sizes to highlight what’s important, and to inform your users of the purpose and content of your website. The more important your content is, the larger the font size should be.
Once you’ve chosen a font size for your body content and your headings, stick with it so your customers can easily tell what’s a headline and what’s a paragraph. The easier your site is to read and navigate, the fewer hurdles there are before you can close a sale.
Once you’ve worked through fonts, colors, and your general brand guideline, the most important thing you can do for your store’s design is to stick to them.
3. Create templates
While it can be tempting to indulge in new fonts and colors on different pages, or simply when the mood strikes, remember that consistency is the cornerstone of building a brand. You want your customers to be able to identify and navigate your store easily, and sticking to a core set of fonts, colors, and styles can go a long way toward that goal.
That’s why page templates or sections are helpful features for Shopify theme customization.
Page templates are useful for things you reuse frequently—like blog posts, landing pages, sales funnels, or even product pages. When you start with a template, you can maintain consistency as well as reduce the amount of creative brain power—and time—it takes to create each of these pages.
As far as sections go, you can create smaller templatized content blocks that you can use across various pages on your website. This might be a contact form, call to action, or newsletter signup that you plan to insert on multiple pages. When you need to update the content in that section, you’ll only need to do it once, and it automatically will reflect the updates on each individual page that uses that section.
To create and edit sections, go to your theme editor and click “+ Add section.” Choose a new section from the list or find the section you want to edit using the search bar. Click on the section to edit the blocks within the section. You can also click and drag the ⋮⋮ icon next to a section to change the order and layout of the sections on the page. Click Save when you’re finished.
4. Customize your store with Shopify apps
There are thousands of Shopify apps available in the store design app collection. It all comes down to identifying what you want to be able to customize and then finding the app that will meet those needs.
Here are some custom changes you can make with Shopify apps:
- Change your search bar: Customize search, filtering, and product recommendations; add visual search; and enhance the overall search experience with apps like Shopify Search & Discovery.
- Add product recommendations: Recommend similar products to boost average order value. See how Thousand uses apps to do so.
- Incorporate customer reviews: Apps like Product Reviews and Judge.me will help you optimize for conversions with social proof via customer reviews.
- Build landing page templates: For more robust landing page customization and templates, use an app like Shogun, which features an easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor.
- Customize checkout: Match the checkout experience to your visual brand and optimize it to reduce friction and boost sales. Apps like Skip To Checkout and Zipify One Click Upsell can help you do exactly that.
5. Use Shopify app embeds to add more sections
Shopify app embeds are app-provided elements that float or appear as overlays in your theme, or add code to your online store without being visible to your customers. For example, a chat bubble app that appears in the corner of your store, or an analytics or tracking app, might be added to your store as an app embed.
Shopify merchant Ora Organic, for example, has a live chat app embed activated on its ecommerce site. The app, powered by Gorgias, allows users to engage with the live chat bubble while continuing their website browsing experience uninterrupted.
You can activate, deactivate, and customize app embeds through the theme editor. You can also use them with any theme version.
Like sections, app embeds require a single point of implementation and management. So any change you make to the app embed will automatically be reflected on every page where the app embed appears—meaning you don’t have to manually update the app embed on each individual page.
To customize Shopify app embeds, click on “App embeds” from the theme editor. Select the app embed you want to manage (or click the search bar and enter a keyword to search through your installed apps). When you see the app embed you want to activate or deactivate, click the toggle to change its status. You can also view app embed settings by clicking the expand icon (▸) next to the app embed name.
Your Shopify, your way
Every Shopify theme meets a high standard, packed with built-in features that let merchants offer discounts, recommend products, capture emails, and do more for buyers. Plus, all themes get free updates, so you always have the latest version available.
Optimized for selling online, your store will load fast, work properly on mobile, and provide the best checkout experience around—all in a way that complements your existing brand.
Shopify customizations FAQ
Can you customize your Shopify?
Yes, you can customize your Shopify. Choose a theme and then navigate to the theme editor to customize settings, checkout, store design, and more.
What is Shopify customization?
Shopify customization is when you make changes to the front or back end of your Shopify website. This could include things such as the look and feel, payment options and checkout process, website navigation, and more.
Is Shopify easy to customize?
Yes, Shopify is easy to customize. You can navigate to the theme editor to do it yourself or hire a professional to customize your Shopify website for you.
How can I get help with customizing my Shopify store?
The Shopify Experts marketplace helps connect you with experienced web designers you can hire to give you expert guidance on your Shopify store, or even to do the design work for you.