Customizable products are an important part of ecommerce, offering customers the opportunity to create one-of-a-kind items that can be tailored to their individual needs. According to a study by Forbes, 62% of consumers want to engage with personalized products, and 55% of consumers are more likely to buy a product if it offers customization options. By offering customizable products, businesses can tap into this growing demand and drive sales and revenue while providing a unique and personalized customer experience.
With its easy setup process and powerful features, more and more ecommerce entrepreneurs are turning to Shopify to manage their online store. According to a report by Store Leads (The State of Shopify in 2023), there are more than 2 million live stores running on Shopify and there were 50 percent more Shopify stores in Q4 of 2022 than in Q4 of 2021. This impressive growth is a testament to the popularity and effectiveness of Shopify as an ecommerce platform.
In this guide, we'll take a look at Shopify’s customizable product features, best practices to sell customized products on that platform, how to integrate these products to your marketing strategy, as well as the challenges and solutions in offering customizable products on Shopify. We'll also provide you with some tips on how to make the most out of custom product sales in your online store.
So if you’re ready to take your business up a notch by offering customizable products through your Shopify store – let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- Shopify's customizable product features
- Best Practices for customizable products on Shopify
- How to sell custom products on Shopify - Your marketing strategy
- Challenges and solutions in offering customizable products on Shopify
Shopify's customizable product features
How to sell customized products on Shopify? Is it even possible? Let's take a closer look at Shopify's customizable product features.
Shopify has a product variants limit of 3 options and contains a maximum of 100 variants. A product option is a customizable feature that allows a customer to choose from different variations of a product. Product options can include different colors, sizes, materials, or any other attribute that may be important to the customer.
As an example, the three product options for a pair of shoes might be (1) size, (2) leather color, and (3) laces color. Let’s say you want to offer 8 sizes, 3 main colors and 10 laces colors, you’ve already exceeded the maximum number of variants (8 x 3 x 10 = 240 product variants).
Using product variants is fine if you only have a few options, not so much if you have lots. To work around these limitations, you could split your product in three, one for each leather color, that way you would only have 80 variants per product, but that might not be the perfect shopping experience.
If you plan to offer more customizations and personalization options, such as customizable monograms, product engravings, custom packaging, or add-ons, you definitely need to look for a product customization app like Kickflip on the Shopify App Store.
Setting Up Customizable Products in Shopify
Depending on your customization needs, web development skills, and time available, there are three ways to customize your product in Shopify:
Shopify customization featureCustomization needs : basics customization such as less than 20 colors options and few size options, no component, no extra pricing, etc.
Who should use it : ecommerce store owners without coding skills with basic customization needs.
Price : Included in your Shopify fees
Coding you own solutionCustomization needs : basic customization with a few extensions such as : text inputs, checkboxes, custom image uploads, and dropdown select elements. This Youtube video by the channel "Coding with Jan", guides you through the process.
Who should use it : experienced web developers with the time to develop their own solution
Price : developer's time rate. You can think of a budget between $3,000 and $15,000 USD.
Product customizer appCustomization needs : from basic to advanced customization. Unlimited options & variants, extra pricing options, multi-component product, text & image upload.
Who should use it : any ecommerce store owner, no coding skills required.
Price : there’s a wide range of pricing for product customizers apps. As an example Kickflip starts at 0$/month and you only pay a small fee per successful sale. Try Kickflip’s product customizer now.
Examples of customizable products in Shopify
Some online stores have taken customizable products to the next level. Let's have a look at some examples of customizable products to get your creative juices flowing.
Jewelry : Giving Bracelets offers customizable jewelry pieces with customizable gemstones and engravings.
Furniture : From customizable sofas to customizable chairs, Coley Home provides customizable furniture to their customers.
Accessories : A customizable watch with custom images and text by UNDONE.
Sporting goods : MRP sells custom mountain bike forks.
The ability to offer customizable products can be a powerful tool for businesses looking to stand out in a crowded e-commerce landscape. With the right approach and creative ideas, the possibilities for customizable products on your Shopify store are endless.
Best Practices for customizable products on Shopify
It’s quite challenging to design an optimal user experience while still showcasing a wide range of options available. Let’s explore the best practices for customizable products on Shopify, including user experience design and product variants and options. By following these guidelines, you can create an engaging and personalized shopping experience that drives conversions and customer loyalty.
User experience design
You should strive to create an intuitive, easy-to-use product configurator that allows customers to purchase your product quickly and accurately. Here are some things to keep in mind in terms of UX for your Shopify Store.
Ease of Use
Your product customizer should be easy to use and intuitive. Customers should be able to navigate through the customizer easily and find the options they are looking for. Here are a few design recommendations that could help:
- Simplify the user interface: The interface should be clean, intuitive, and easy to navigate. Avoid cluttering the screen with too many options and make sure the most commonly used options are easy to find and use.
- Use visual aids: Use visual aids such as icons or images to help users understand the product configurator and make it more engaging.
- Guide users through the process: Use clear and concise instructions and feedback to guide users through the configuration process. Consider using step indicators, and tooltips to help users understand what they need to do next.
- Test and iterate: that might be the most important tip! Test your product customizer with real users and collect feedback to identify any pain points or areas for improvement.
Visuals and Interactivity
Your customers should see their customizations in real-time and get a sense of what the final product will look like. A variety of views and photorealistic images can boost your sales by enhancing customer confidence.
An interactive pricing feature that updates in real-time and provides customers with an accurate estimate of the final cost of their custom product is essential in a product configurator. Customers want to know the price upfront, how their choices impact the final cost, and make informed decisions when purchasing a product. Providing an immediate estimate reduces frustration and saves customers time, making the purchasing process smoother.
To meet the needs of mobile users and stay competitive in the market, it is crucial that your product customizer is mobile-friendly and offers the same level of customizability as on desktop. With a significant portion of online traffic coming from mobile devices and many customers preferring to shop on their smartphones or tablets, ensuring accessibility and consistency of your online store across all devices is important. Providing a high-quality user experience and investing in a mobile-friendly product customizer will increase customer satisfaction and drive sales, showing that you are willing to provide a superior shopping experience.
Fast loading time
Ensuring that your product configurator load quickly is essential to prevent a drop in conversion rates, as every second of loading time can lead to a 0.3% reduction in conversions. With customers having increasingly shorter attention spans and high expectations for website performance, slow loading times can lead to frustration and a negative user experience. Customers are more likely to abandon the page and choose a competitor if your customizer takes too long to load. By prioritizing fast loading times, you can improve the user experience and ultimately drive more conversions and revenue.
These are just some of the best practices to keep in mind when designing your product customizer for your Shopify Store. Remember to create product customizers with clear and interactive pricing, that are mobile-friendly and load fast.
Product Variants and Options
Product variants and options can impact the customer experience and your sales. It is important to balance the number of options with ease of use. Too many options can be overwhelming and make it difficult for users to make decisions. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
- Limit the number of options : While options allow customers to personalize their purchases, too many options can overwhelm them and lead to decision fatigue.
- Use clear and descriptive names : Product variant and option names should be clear and descriptive to avoid confusion.
- Consider bundling options : Offering bundled options can simplify the purchasing process for customers and can lead to increased sales and higher order values.
- Categorize : Use categories to organize product variants and options, making it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for.
By keeping these points in mind you can create an engaging and personalized shopping experience that converts visitors into customers.
How to sell custom products on Shopify - Your marketing strategy
When planning a successful ecommerce marketing strategy, custom products are one of the most effective tools for driving sales because they cater to the needs and preferences of individual customers. In the words of Joe Pine, a renowned expert in the field of experience economy, "Customers today want to be treated as individuals, not as market segments." By allowing customers to personalize their products, ecommerce businesses can create a unique and memorable experience for each individual customer. Let’s take a look at some creative ways to market your custom products.
Promoting Customizable Products through Social Media
Your custom products are an endless source of great content to promote your online store!
You can use social media to encourage your customers to share their custom designs. Using a specific hashtag can even build a sense of community and loyalty among your customers. In this way, your custom products will be recognized more easily. That kind of strategy can prove invaluable in terms of generating positive word of mouth.
You could also use custom product photos and videos to showcase unique designs and highlight your customers’ creativity. It can be a fun and inspiring way to engage with customers and encourage them to create custom products of their own. The brand Cinch Gaming uses this strategy on a daily basis in a very effective way by sharing custom controller designs created by their customers on Instagram and Twitter.
When customers are interacting with a product customizer, it creates a lasting relationship with your brand. Not only do they shop, but they are also engaged in a creative process. By allowing customers to tailor products according to their unique preferences and needs, you give them a sense of ownership and control over the purchasing process. This leads to a more engaging and memorable shopping experience, which can translate into increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Moreover, when customers invest their time and effort into customizing a product, they are more likely to value and appreciate it. They see the product as a reflection of their personal tastes and style, which enhances the emotional connection they have with your brand. This emotional connection can be a significant driver of customer loyalty, as customers are more likely to choose your brand over competitors when they feel a strong sense of attachment.
Overall, a product configurator can be a powerful tool to build stronger customer relationships, increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, and setting your brand apart from the competition.
Collecting data to personalize the customer experience
Custom products can also help your ecommerce business to collect valuable data about your customers' preferences and needs. By tracking the choices and decisions your customers make when customizing products, you can gain a better understanding of what drives their purchasing decisions. This information can help you fine-tune your product offerings, marketing messages, and customer experience to better meet their needs and expectations. For example, you could use images or videos that are related to their preferences when advertising custom products to certain segments.
Customizable products are a powerful tool for ecommerce businesses that want to stand out from the competition and build stronger relationships with their customers. Whether you are a custom products shopify seller or use any other platform, custom product builder solutions can be invaluable in terms of increasing brand recognition and generating sales.
Challenges and solutions in offering customizable products on Shopify
Selling customizable products on Shopify can be a great way to increase customer loyalty and boost sales but there are some challenges that come with it, such as the complexity of managing inventory and the difficulty of managing returns and customer expectations. Fortunately, these obstacles can be addressed by leveraging the right tools and strategies.
Managing inventory for customizable products can be more complex than for standard products because it requires more sophisticated tracking. Without the right system, it can be difficult to keep track of inventory for each variation. For example, if you are selling standard watches, you can simply keep track of 1 SKU per watch model. For custom watches, you will need to track inventory for each part such as the watch case, strap, buckle and buttons
A low-tech and easy to implement solution to that is to keep track of inventory manually. For example if you store the blue watch cases in a bin, when the parts reach a certain level in the bin, you know to order more. This is an effective and very basic way to manage inventory and never run out of stock.
However, as your custom product business grows, manual inventory management could become more difficult. At that point, you might need a more sophisticated solution such as an inventory management software that can track inventory levels for each customizable option and automatically update inventory as orders are placed.
Dealing with custom product returns
It’s important to make sure you have a clear return policy in place that outlines the steps customers need to take if they wish to return a product. Make sure your customers are aware of your return policy before they make a purchase.
No returns on personalized products
Sometimes, the items will not be able to be resold as new after being personalized for a specific customer. If that's the case you could clearly mention that you offer no returns on personalized products.
Offer repairs or store credits
If the customer is really dissatisfied with their product you could offer to repair it but if they simply don't like it, you could offer a store credit or a coupon code so that they can be encouraged to purchase another product from your store.
While you want to protect your business, it's also important to be flexible with your customers. Consider making exceptions to your policy in certain circumstances, such as if the product is damaged or defective.
Managing customer expectations for custom products
When you sell customized products, you only produce them after they are ordered. The customer understands that, but it's important to be clear with them on production timelines and shipping time frames. Be transparent about that and make sure to include a certain buffer time for any unforeseen circumstances. It's always better to surprise your customers with an order that arrives earlier than expected, rather than late!
Creating order deadlines is a great way to ensure customer satisfaction when selling customizable products. For example, you could let your customers know that they must place their orders before a certain date in order to receive it in time for Christmas or other holidays.
In addition to that, you should communicate with your customers throughout the order fulfillment process. If the production and shipping timeline changes, inform your customer so that there are no surprises when it comes to their order. Creating a system for tracking orders and providing customers with regular updates on their order status would be the ultimate way to manage your customer's expectations and ensure that they are satisfied with their purchase.
Selling custom products requires a bit more attention and effort than selling traditional products. However, with the right inventory management and customer expectations processes in place, selling custom products can be both profitable and rewarding for a business.
When customers can customize products to meet their specific needs and preferences, they feel a sense of ownership and pride in the final product. This leads to higher levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty, which translates into repeat business and positive word-of-mouth recommendations. That's why customizable products are becoming increasingly popular among ecommerce entrepreneurs.
Ecommerce platforms have never been better than Shopify! However, when it comes to selling customizable products, Shopify’s out-of-the-box features are quite limited. Luckily, Shopify's app ecosystem is highly resourceful and provides remarkable solutions to sell custom products.
The best rated app to sell customized products on Shopify is Kickflip, which makes it easier than ever to set up your custom products builder and start selling. With Kickflip, you can configure product variations, set pricing rules based on the chosen options, or even offer your customers the ability to add custom text or artwork - all within a friendly user interface. Try it yourself
So if you're looking to take your Shopify store to the next level, check out Kickflip! With Kickflip's complete product customization features combined with Shopify's robust ecommerce solution, you'll have everything you need to set up a successful custom product sales strategy right away!