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 site we build 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 when using a template and let me tell you, you can still look pretty different than everyone else using the same theme.=, so don't fret.
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 the team needed is more specialized
- 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
I'm all for custom work where is needed, but 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 180USD. This means you should leverage this no matter your size as it makes no sense to build things from scratch when they were already built before and you can purchase it for cheap.
So this means you shouldn't customize things at all? Of course not, you just have to be smart about it.
Should you customize something that comes out of the box with the themes for esthetic purposes? Not if you are just starting out.
Should you customize the product page so that we can explain your product better to your customers? Yes, we should if your template doesn't allow you to do so (which they will especially with the new storefront updates in 2021).
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.
At Colored Byte, we've created the MVP Products for those starting out. This is a low barrier point of entry to ecommerce that is time and cost-effective and helps you start selling under your brand name in under a month.
Our recommendation is to use an MVP coupled with really good photography and video. This with a solid ads strategy is enough for you to start getting sales and scaling using real data. The usual place we customize first is the product pages so that we have better chances to convert your traffic until we have enough data to make smarter decisions.
So that is it, you don't need a fully customized solution to get started and create a very profitable ecommerce business. You can customize specific things as you grow and gather better data, until then the focus should be in photography and branding make the most out of your marketing efforts.