One of the most common requests that we get when talking to potential customers is to build a store theme from scratch. For some reason, we think that the more customized the store is the more value people will get out of it. While that is partially true to businesses with the means to invest a lot, the cost-benefit of creating something from scratch is not worth it to most businesses and it should not be a barrier of entry.
"But I need to be different from others!"
That is the biggest concern we get when exploring other ways of building an Ecommerce store more effectively. You can use a Theme and still look pretty different than everyone else using the same theme, so don't worry. Even Shopify shows you the ability to leverage specific Themes on their page with a couple of options very different from each other.
If you are starting out with no funding and with zero revenue, you shouldn't build anything from scratch. There are far too many drawbacks for someone just getting started, here are a few:
It is expensive as you need a specialized team
Hourly estimates are never 100% precise, so it is harder to control budget and timelines
You will need more maintenance to keep things functional for longer periods of time
For the majority of people just getting started in business, you can live happily with a template. We've seen time and time again businesses grow to 200k+ a month with barely any customizations done in the template.
Most of the themes in the Shopify Theme Store have those factors already built in. As a matter of fact, the companies that build those themes spend tens of thousands of dollars to create and update them so that you don't have to do it yourself, which is a great win if you are just getting started and can purchase them for ~200USD. Even if you are an established business looking to redesign, I still advice to use a Theme as the foundation of your store and then customize on top of it. That way you have a great base to work on and the little issues of responsiveness, misaligned sections will not happen.
So this means you shouldn't customize things at all? Of course not, you just have to be smart about it. As you grow your business and have more resources to invest, you can start making better decisions using data to decide on the customizations and improvements you need in your store. Without Data, you will be guessing and spending money on things that might not bring a lot of value to the business.
In order to deliver the best service for your business and start out in the right way, at Colored Byte, we've created a system we call, Shopify MVP. This is a low barrier point of entry to Ecommerce that is time and cost-effective, building a Theme-based Shopify Store. We tailored this process through hundreds of projects done in the past and found the solution you need, helping you start selling your products in under a month.
Our recommendation is to use an MVP coupled with really good brand assets as photography and video. Having this with a solid ads strategy is enough for you to start getting sales and scaling using real data. You don't need a fully customized solution to get started and create a very profitable Ecommerce business. Any extra effort should be focused in brand identity and photography, that will make the most out of your marketing efforts.