5 Advantages a Custom Shopify Site Has Over a Standard Shopify Template
In our previous article, Template or Custom Website Design, we dug into the basic pros and cons of template websites versus custom web design. Using the mass-produced Ford F-150 pickup truck and the limited handbuilt Aston Martin DB11 as an example, we concluded that while a run-of-the-mill Ford would get you to Point A to Point B no problem, but the ride would be a far more pleasurable experience in the Aston Martin. This same idea applies to templates/themes and custom web design.
For Internet retailers who are planning on using Shopify to power their websites, the decision to go with either a drag-and-drop template or a full custom solution could mean the difference between a website that performs amicably or one that can unlock a multitude of new opportunities for business growth and escalating successes. So while a template would be just fine to get a Shopify store up and running online, so much more can be done and had with custom Shopify website design and development. Here are 5 major advantages to using a custom Shopify website over a basic Shopify theme or template design.
#1: Unique, Limitless Design Capabilities
The Shopify Theme Store currently houses over 70 professionally-designed themes for free use or premium purchase, including works created by some of the world’s most famous design agencies like Happy Cog, Clearleft and Pixel Union. Building your website’s aesthetics around a premade theme is a relatively straightforward way to add some visual pizzaz. It also means that there’s nothing stopping another company–possibly, one of your competitors–from adopting a similar design scheme for their own purpose. Plus, in its core form, a template is made to certain standards; it’s purposely prebuilt to look and function a certain way. Much like the Ford F-150 in our previous comparison, imagine parking one at your nearest local shopping mall and trying to find it among the few thousand other F-150s that are almost exactly like yours. Custom web design, on the other hand, eliminates the need for a premade theme template. The limitations and restrictions bound within a set template are removed and allow for expanded creativity in design. A skilled development team can build your website’s architecture to your exact specifications, thus further enhancing the narrative that will attract web visitors and hopefully help convert them into paying customers.
#2: Establish/Strengthen Your Brand Identity
First impressions go a long way. According to this study published by Taylor & Francis, it takes only 50 milliseconds for website visitors to determine an opinion about web page visual appeal. Not unlike traditional brick-and-mortar store locations, eCommerce websites advertise their wares as well as their unique personalities. The most famous and well-known consumer brands have an easily identifiable corporate design schema consisting of particular colors, fonts, and imagery. With a custom website design, you can work these aspects into the website’s layout and aesthetics through custom web design as opposed to settling on a preset of colors and typefaces that are bundled into a theme. This not only reinforces your brand identity with the public, but also helps your business stand out from the billions of other websites on the Internet–including those belonging to your nearest competitors.
#3: Customer-Centric User Experience
People enjoy the convenience of online shopping and it would make perfect sense for your website’s navigation and layout to be as intuitive and user-friendly as possible. Template websites often follow a set navigational pattern that, while uncomplicated, may not be suitable for every business or every type of business. Custom web development can allow you to streamline the site navigation to how you see fit. For example, automotive parts retailers may wish to include a parts finder into their homepages and have it set front and center for easy access. You should also include features that are attractive to shoppers such as web accessibility, personalization, and customer loyalty programs, and multiple payment gateways. Today’s online shoppers have come to expect more personalization features on their favorite retail sites and since your website has to act not only as the product showroom but also as the virtual sales and support team, an inviting and welcoming retail environment will ease visitors into making a purchase and into becoming paying customers. Website visitors are almost 20% more likely to leave your shop without buying anything if they do not trust it. This is called the bounce rate and the reasons range from shoppers not being satisfied with prices or product selection to not being able to easily navigate through the website itself. Because people are fickle, customer bounce rates are unavoidable but you do have the ability to reduce the bounce rate to its bare minimum by implementing a customer-centric user experience that lets shoppers find and purchase products quickly and efficiently.
#4: Speed and Performance
This is one of the biggest advantages to having a custom-made website over a stock template. Because stock templates are built to a standard and that they have to conform to a variety of different web architectures, they carry a lot of unnecessary code that can slow the loading speeds and performance of a website. Since 2016, the general rule (according to Google) is that users will leave a website if it does not load in 3 seconds or less. Unoptimized code will certainly raise those loading times but you can trim out the extra fat and calories by using custom code that pertains only to the features and functionality of your website. Slow loading speeds are also detrimental to your SEO ranks and having prime search engine positioning is absolutely paramount to attracting visitors to your website. Your store may have the best selection of items, the best prices on the market, but it’s all worthless if the shoppers can’t find you. Custom code can take full advantage of Google and other search engines through optimization which will, in turn, boost performance. By custom building your website, you can completely avoid unnecessary functionality and bloatware. You can optimize not only the functionality, but also the design for each of the functions on your site, further reducing load times. This also prevents unnecessary functions from loading on your site.
Templates and themes are attractive to online business owners, especially those new to eCommerce, because they significantly cut the development downtime it would normally take to build a website from scratch. Ergo, letting them sell online as soon as possible. It all makes sense, but consider these points:
- Unmodified template/theme-based websites have only a limited set of functions, features, and capabilities. Your business may outgrow your website and if your website cannot accommodate customers, they will have no reason to do business with you.
- Modifying template or theme-based websites can get expensive, depending on how deep you want to go with the expansion. More often than not, the price to be paid for extensively modifying a template website typically exceeds that of a brand new design or ground-up redesign.
- It’s not always possible to include new functions and features onto a prebuilt website.
A website that can grow along with your business is a pivotal part of running an online business. If you wish to see continued success and have plans for business expansion, you will need a website that can support business scalability. Flexible custom-built websites can be designed to accommodate–even encourage–scalability, whereas template websites have a set limited lifespan that will be depleted over time and the current performance of your business will determine just how quickly that lifespan dwindles.
Seriously. Why Does My Business Need a Custom Website?
A custom website would be helpful to any business, no matter the size. Since a custom website removes the limitations of premade templates created by anonymous designers, it is open to unlimited design and functionality for the business as well as scalability and growth for the business. In order to make your eCommerce venture truly professional, you should have a custom website built; this way, you can envision what you want your website to look like, what it functions like, how it presents your business and branding, and how it will best serve your customers and attract new ones. From a purely technical standpoint, a custom website is far more stable and secure than a template because the coding can be optimized to fit your company’s requirements.
At Diztinct, we are eCommerce professionals with nearly 2 decades of experience in custom website design and development. We’ve designed and built websites and marketplaces for companies of all sizes; ranging from small independents to large corporations. Our work has been recognized and awarded by some of the top names in the eCommerce industry and we’ve had the privilege to work with globally-renowned companies and brands such as QVC, Clorox, Dickies, Crocs, and Dooney & Bourke among others. Diztinct also has the honor of being certified design partners with Shopify. This means that when you hire Diztinct to build your Shopify website, you will be working closely with officially-recognized Shopify design experts who know the ins and outs of the platform and will get you the most of what Shopify has to offer for your online business.
Are you ready to give your website and your business the Diztinct advantage over the competition? If so, let’s talk. Get in touch with us today and get ready to make your website work for you.