It’s all too easy to think your brand’s origin story can be confined to the ‘About Us’ page on a website – the fact is customers can see right through a few flowery paragraphs. From the colours and fonts to the tone and imagery, every element should reflect what the business and brand is about. And whether they’re new or existing, ultimately, it should be about engaging and immersing a customer in the product.
While some may argue an entirely custom website is essential for a truly unique brand experience, we believe there’s an underestimated flexibility of design and scope for storytelling available through Shopify and Shopify Plus. While the capacity to build and manage a custom website is an excellent tool to have at your disposable, does a truly rich e-commerce experience only come from coding each and every line yourself? We don’t think so.
In The Science of Familiarity: How to Increase Conversions by Being Completely Unoriginal, author Shanelle Mullin noted Amazon’s conversion rate among shoppers is 1133% higher than with the same shoppers at other online retailers. She adds, “Amazon’s copy and design aren’t 1133% better than everyone else’s. Amazon converts so much better than the competition because it’s familiar… to the point of habit.”
Striking this balance is important. Brands need to offer enough originality to stand out, but not so much that a customer finding what they want becomes difficult or unnatural.
The website of luxury menswear retailer Ledbury has been customised from Shopify’s Debut theme; however, we think you’d be forgiven for assuming it was built from the ground up. With a focus on high-quality product imagery, mobile optimisation, and the use of a full-screen video merge, it creates an immersive customer experience that reflects the Ledbury brand and is more akin to what a customer might feel in a physical store.
When Propeller helped Japanese hydration drink Pocari Sweat launch a new online store targeting an American market, the site was built from Shopify’s Flow theme. With a focus on health benefit-led copy and engaging photography at the heart of the storefront, it created an experience for the active and curious customer to flow from information, to product, to the shopping cart with ease.
Hot sauce shop Bushwick Kitchen uses Shopify’s Brooklyn template, which is intended for apparel. However, minimalist copy allows the high-quality products to stand out all the same. The design is classic and easy to navigate, but never compromising on the brand’s product expertise and knowledge.
These examples show in abundance that a custom website isn’t the only way to stay in line with your brand. In fact, simply having a clear understanding of your business, strategy, and customer base makes creating a website much easier – without understanding the core values, a time-consuming re-design will be inevitable.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you go custom or template. Certainly with Shopify, creativity isn’t hindered when created thoughtfully and in alignment with what the brand and customer needs.