With print-on-demand sweeping into the booming eCommerce industry, it’s more important than ever to distinguish yourself as a small business owner. One way to achieve that is through customization of your Shopify store design. Research proves that an innovative and beautiful page will lead to more sales and customer conversions. Design is an essential part of your business and shouldn’t be overlooked- which is why we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide on how to easily create functional product pages that entice visitors. And the best part? No need for a professional graphic or web designer! All you need is this free app and a little bit of time, energy and, of course, creativity.
Shopify’s basic page builder
Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms out there- and rightly so. Its straightforward approach to online retail set-up and design is great for fresh entrepreneurs and veterans alike.
Free and easy themes sound good, right? Yes, of course- but don’t make the mistake of going straight for one of Shopify’s free default themes, like Debut or Venture. These free themes are more limited in functionality and contain some major design flaws that make it less profitable for print-on-demand businesses, or any other online retail shop for that matter. While you could pop into the admin panel and re-code the flaws yourself, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to or be able to fully customize it in a way that you like, quickly.
Here are a few problems we have identified with Shopify’s basic page builder:
1. Not very mobile-responsive
Based on real Shopify user reviews, Shopify’s basic free themes aren’t actually that mobile responsive. Store owners have faced difficulties with getting their images to display clearly, for certain elements to function like the drop down menu and cart, and for the mobile display to mirror the attractiveness and functionality of the desktop view. This matters because statistically speaking, customers are more likely to visit your shop on their smartphone compared to their desktop. In Asia, 70% of e-commerce sales are done on mobile devices, and 30% in Germany, the US and the UK. Even with all this mobile traffic changing the market in 2018, the retail conversion rate is still up to 3x lower on a mobile than a desktop device! Some may chalk that statistic up to mobile responsiveness. If a website is cumbersome and difficult to navigate, or if photos have a lower resolution and no zoom capability, then it greatly increases the likelihood of customers abandoning the purchase. Later on in the article we’ll be explaining more about this phenomenon and why design has such an impact on buyers.
2. Restricted customization options
Whereas most Shopify page builder apps have drag-and-drop capabilities, Shopify’s basic page builder doesn’t. This limits the ability for novice designers to build their ideal website because they are forced to hand create the customer’s experience through limited drop-down menus in a side panel. While this isn’t the end of the world, it’s still an important factor to consider when choosing a theme or app to use for your online store. In terms of customization options, Shopify does offer a fairly robust array for the homepage.
However, when it comes to other pages, such as landing pages for special promotions, it’s a lot more restricted. There’s a fine line for the average Shopify store owner between too much customization and too little. You want to be able to change smaller details such as image placement or backlinking, without sacrificing the comfortability of pre-set design elements. Shopify’s basic themes lack this intuitive design feature which makes your store setup and maintenance experience that much more difficult!
3. Limited page templates
Let’s be honest- as a small business owner, you don’t want to be messing about with tedious design details when you’ve got bigger issues to manage. There’s great value to be found in high-quality themes and page templates that make constructing a stunning and functional website that much easier. Unfortunately, Shopify’s basic themes don’t offer specific templates for important landing pages like promotions or sales. Print-on-demand businesses require strong marketing executions to succeed online, and customized landing pages are a key element for most campaigns. Without templates, store owners must hand craft these pages themselves, which takes time and know-how. If you’re not a designer, then this may be a deal breaker.
How does web design help to boost print-on-demand store sales?
Design plays an inescapable role in all of our lives- whether we realize it or not. From door handles to laptops, design is everywhere. It not only dictates what looks nice, but also how it’s used, whether it’s functional and it’s overall accessibility. And when it comes to websites, design has a huge effect on customer satisfaction and conversion rates- which means it should be a top priority for small business owners.
You may have heard of the terms ‘UI’ and ‘UX’ before. In the eCommerce world, these are important terms to know. UI design, or user interface design, can be summarized as the presentation and look or feel of a product. UX design, or user experience design, is its complement and can be summarized as the optimization of a product’s functionality. For our purposes, we can just refer to them as one term (UI/UX), since they are often packaged together. But what is so important about UI/UX design and how does that relate to your Shopify print-on-demand store?
Well, if you’re a customer and you’re faced with a cluttered site that has an overabundance of brightly colored text and product images, are you likely to make a purchase? What about a site that has no navigation functionality or the link of the image to random product pages? These badly designed websites will immediately indicate to you whether or not the business is trustworthy, the product is worth buying and a host of other factors. This split-second decision can make or break a sale and referral, which over time, has a huge impact on your store’s bottom line.
Bad vs Good Web Design- Can you tell the difference?
Research indicates that customers can’t distinguish between a product and its packaging– which basically means that the attractiveness and usability of your site is your brand. Factors such as too much text, boring or complex layout, cumbersome navigation, small print, and pop up ads all indicate to a customer that your business is not worth their money. Other more advanced indicators, such as color theory and composition, also have a great impact on every aspect of your brand’s public image.
Here are 10 good UI/UX design elements to keep in mind:
- Responsive design: Does it work across all devices?
- Eye-catching images: Are your products worth looking at?
- Clean layouts: Are your pages uncluttered?
- Clear information: Are you using bolded and simple text to draw the eye?
- Easy-to-use drop down menus: Is your navigation straight-forward?
- Breadcrumb links: Do your links (text, product, image etc.) lead the customer to a logical place?
- Quick loading times: Are your image sizes and resolutions optimized?
- Attractive color schemes: Are you using colors that don’t visually clash?
- Consistent branding: Can the customer tell that your brand has a personality?
- Use of multimedia: Are you using rich media to enhance your product pages?
Customizing your Shopify store with apps
While Shopify takes home the prize in many areas, its default page builder and free theme database have a few pitfalls. But therein lies the genius of Shopify- similar to Apple and Android, Shopify implemented an app store so developers could fill in the gaps. This way, you can simply pay for the extra additions you’d like that suit your specific needs, and skip the rest.
There are tons and tons of apps to choose from in Shopify’s native app database that provides solutions for things as far-ranging as pop-up advertisements to email logging. The possibilities are honestly endless. Not only that, but it’s super easy to download and set-up these apps within your admin panel. Just keep in mind that a lot of apps are paid (either a fixed initial fee or a monthly subscription), although many do offer free trials.
Just browse the app store by a specific tag, collection, purpose or other variables, and choose the one you want. We also recommend looking up independent reviews since there are so many competitors to choose from.
Then download the app following the basic steps outlined. You can access the app via the admin panel on your Shopify account profile.
What is Pagefly?
You’ll notice on the screenshot above that we’ve downloaded Pagefly – Advanced Page Builder. This 5-star app allows you to create highly customized pages using an intuitive drag-and-drop page builder platform. Developed by SellerSmith, this free and paid app is a great solution for print-on-demand store owners who want a more flexible option for their store design. With their app, you can create product pages, home pages, landing pages and more- from scratch!
PageFly offers 50+ niche template options which are great for those who want a streamlined design process. However, we believe the best part is the mobile responsive design. As we mentioned earlier, good cross-device design is crucial for successful print-on-demand stores. PageFly allows you to individually craft the pages for each device, which means you’ll never encounter silly design issues that turn away customers. And if you do for some reason need help, their support team is a great and free resource to use at any time.
There are 70+ pre-designed page elements at your disposal, and each one is able to be tweaked to your liking through color, font, alignment and more. There are also comprehensive SEO tools that prompt you to add rich captions, page titles and custom URLs for maximum effectiveness. PageFly is also integrated with Google Analytics so you can track your customers’ behavior. This third-party integration option is perfect for those wanting to use other popular add-ons like MailChimp or Facebook.
Interested in learning more about what all PageFly has to offer? Take a look at their helpful demo bank here.
How to create a print-on-demand product page that actually converts
So, how can Pagefly help you as a print-on-demand store owner? First of all, it works seamlessly with print-on-demand services such as Printful so you don’t have to worry about the backend stuff. But there are a few other pro-tips that you can implement to make sure your store is irresistible to your customers.
1. Use a template that’s optimized for the fashion industry since most print-on-demand shops feature clothing and accessories.
2. Optimize for mobile devices using the device selection tool.
3. Add testimonials to showcase your “social proof”.
4. Include a CTA (call to action) with a button such as ‘Add to Cart’. The best placement is in the middle of the product page to encourage customers to complete their purchase decision.
5. Choose clear, vibrant and attractive product images (with optimized resolutions).
6. Cut down on any superfluous content that may distract your customer. Simple is always better.
7. Include an impactful and informative headline.
And that’s it! It really is that simple and easy to use.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are both paid AND free options for Pagefly. The free option offers basic amenities and functionality, but it’s definitely worth it to upgrade to the pro or premium plan. You can try either risk-free with a 14-day free trial. You can also pause any paid plan by downgrading to the free plan and editing your pages normally. Otherwise, here are your pricing options:
Get started with Pagefly in 5 minutes
After you’ve set up your Shopify account, it’s super simple to install PageFly. Just follow these easy steps and you’ll be finished in no time. And if you encounter any difficulties, don’t worry- the Help Center is here to help. Otherwise, PageFly has 24/7 Support Service if you have any in-app problems!
- Visit the PageFly listing page on Shopify apps store and click on “Add App”.
- Confirm the Shopify permission page and you have PageFly installed on your store.
Go ahead and give