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How to Sell Personalized Items on Shopify in 2023

GemPages Team
13 minutes read
How to Sell Personalized Items on Shopify in 2023

Personalization is the key to delighting your customers.

And that’s why it’s not just limited to products but also used as a great marketing technique.

Imagine - you want to buy a necklace for your loved one on Valentine’s day. If you search for it online and you’ll have thousands of options to choose from. But what if you find one with your loved one’s name on it?

You’ll most likely buy it. That’s the power of product customization.

In this blog, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about Shopify custom products, including the step-by-step guide on how to sell custom products on Shopify, the best Shopify apps for custom products, and many tips to help you build a successful Shopify custom product store.

Let’s get started!

What are Shopify Personalized Products?

Custom products (also known as personalized products) are unique items that customers can customize, modify, or personalize based on their needs or preferences. Shopify merchants can create such products and offer customizable options to their customers. 

These customizations can be of various types depending on the product types. For example, printable graphics or embroidery artwork for clothing products, custom-designed handbags or shoes, personalized engraving on jewelry products, and so on.

Why Sell Shopify Personalized Products?

Google Trends graph for the keyword - custom products

Google Trends shows how custom products have been trending high all over the world in the past 12 months.

Customers love personalization

By nature, we humans feel special when anything is created especially for us. Even during conversations, we tend to pay more attention and feel engaged in the conversation when someone addresses us by our name. In a nutshell, we all love personalization in many aspects of our lives.

Offer what customers need

According to Salesforce Research, 72% of customers anticipate that brands should understand their needs and expectations. By creating custom products, you can increase your potential to meet your customers’ needs and expectations. This will eventually help you increase your sales and revenue.

Increase repeat customers

When customers can personalize the product based on their preferences, they will not only be more likely to purchase from your brand but they’ll visit your store again. According to a report by Twilio Segment, 49% of customers say they are likely to become repeat customers when retailers offer a personalized shopping experience.

How to Create Customizable Products in Shopify

Step 1: Understand your target market

Regardless of which business you want to start, before you begin the process of creating and building the Shopify store, it’s essential to do some research and analysis to understand your target market. 

Here are some of the crucial aspects that you should consider in this phase:

  • Identifying customer preferences: The best formula to create a successful product is with the customers only. So, it’s imperative to identify what your ideal customers need in a product and their specific preferences.
  • Researching market trends: Research the market trends to identify and analyze the potential opportunities and risks. This will help you prepare for any business contingencies in advance.
  • Analyzing competition: Never ignore the competitors! For whichever products you’re planning to sell, there will likely be many competitors in the market already. Make sure that you analyze their strength and weaknesses so that you can position your brand and product with a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). 

Step 2: Create & Set Up Your Shopify Store

Once you’re ready with your product idea, planning, and budget; you can begin the process to create and set up your Shopify store.

Now, if you’re new to Shopify, you may need guidance on the complete setup process. But there’s nothing to worry about. We’ve got you covered! 

Whenever you’re ready to start your Shopify free trial, you can follow this complete step-by-step Shopify Tutorial that will help you set up your store from scratch to finish. It will also help you with some useful resources and tips to enhance your store—right from the beginning.

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Step 3: Create Custom Product

Now, it’s time to create your first custom product on your Shopify store. Go to Shopify admin and click on the Products tab on the left sidebar, and then, click on the Add your products button in the center.

Shopify admin - Products tab

Once you click on the Add your products button, you’ll see a blank product page within Shopify admin. Fill in all the necessary details related to your product as applicable.

Shopify admin - Product page

Here are the steps for your quick reference:

Step 1: Add a Product Title and a Product Description

Step 2: Add Media

Step 3: Add Pricing, Inventory, Shipping, and Options

Step 4: Edit The Search Engine Listing

Step 5: Edit Product Organization and Product Status

To help you guide on all these steps in a detailed manner, we’ve created a 5-step instructional on How to Add Products to Shopify

Learn more:
17 Best Shopify Product Page Examples You Should Emulate for Success
Shopify Product Images: A 10-minute Guide for Beginners (2023)

Build high-converting product pages with GemPages
Quickly create and customize compelling, conversion-optimized product pages for your Shopify custom store.

Step 4: Add Basic Product Options

In the product page, you can add different options or variants based on the type of product you’re selling. To do this, go to the Options section on your product page and click on the checkbox that says ‘This product has options, like size or color’.

Shopify admin - Product page

Just to be clear, this will only allow your customers to select a certain product option and variant from the multiple options that you’d like to offer. It does not add customizable fields and customers cannot input any information or files into these fields.

For example, let’s say you’re selling jewelry items and you want to offer two different options to your customers for a necklace: 

1. Standard gift box

2. Luxury gift box. 

You can add both of these as “Options” and for each of these options, you can add “Variants” like a Gold necklace and a Silver necklace.

But here’s a challenge. By default, Shopify allows to create only 3 product options and 100 variants. So, if you’re selling a type of product that requires more than 3 options, it’s not feasible with the default options. 

So, what’s the solution? You probably guessed it already! There are many third-party apps that let you create unlimited Shopify custom product options.

Step 5: Install a Product Customizer App

To easily create more than 3 product options and customizable fields on your product page, you can use a product customizer app. These apps allow you to add custom fields to your product page where customers can select or insert their preferences for product customization or personalization.

To find and install a product customizer app, go to Shopify App Store and search the keyword - ‘Product customizer’ or ‘Custom products’.

Shopify product apps

Shopify App Store consists of many third-party product customizer apps to choose from. You can sort the ‘Most popular’ to view the apps with a higher number of reviews and good ratings.

We’ll be covering our top three recommended product customizer apps in the later part. However, if you wish, you may do your own research and choose any one of them based on your needs. 

Step 6: Set Up the Product Customizer App

After installing the product customizer app, it’s time to configure the app settings so that you can create your custom fields. Depending on the app you choose, the setup process may vary slightly; however, you can easily do that by simply following the instructions provided by the respective app developer team.

Generally, product customization apps provide options to create various types of custom fields such as text inputs, file upload fields, drop-down menus, a calendar for date selection, and fonts selector, just to name a few. 

Pro Tip: Make sure to use only those custom fields that you actually require for your product. Don’t unnecessarily create fields just because they’re available in the app. Too many options can overwhelm the customers.

Step 7: Launch and Promote Your Custom Product

Once your store is ready with the custom products, it’s time for the launch!

Make sure that you’ve followed all the necessary steps from the Shopify Tutorial and run the necessary tests to ensure everything is functioning as planned.

To start getting visitors and sales on your store, you can implement different marketing and paid advertising campaigns to promote your brand and products.

  • Cost-effective Marketing Strategies: There are many marketing strategies that you can start with little to no budget such as email marketing, social media marketing, and content marketing.
  • Paid Advertising: If you have a budget to spend on paid ads, it can give you quick exposure and let you test your product customization ideas within a short time.

Step 8: Fulfill Orders

When selling custom products, the fulfillment process becomes an even more critical part of your business. You need to ensure that you take care of all the customization requirements and do so in a timely manner.

As a best practice, you should review any newly received order before you proceed with fulfillment. Shopify allows you to configure different settings for the fulfillment process. Go to Shopify admin and click on Settings > Checkout and accounts > Order processing

Click on the radio button that says, “Don’t fulfill any of the order’s line items automatically”. This will let you manually review and approve the order for fulfillment.

Order processing setting in Shopify admin

Best Shopify Apps for Custom Products

Bold Product Options

With over 2,300 merchant reviews, Bold Product Options is one of the widely-used Shopify apps in this category.

Shopify App Store - Bold Product Options app

Rating & Reviews: 4.5 (2,326 Reviews)

Key Features: 

  • Custom fields: Use unlimited product options to create custom fields and go over the 100-variant limit.
  • Upsell and cross-sell options: Along with product customization, you can also offer different upsell and cross-sell options to your customer to increase the average order value (AOV).
  • Conditional Logic: This app also allows you to set conditional logic which can show or hide customizable options based on the options selected by the customers.

Pricing & Plans:

Shopify app pricing for Bolg Product Options app

Product Options & Customizer

The Product Options & Customizer app allows you to add many different customization options. You can save a lot of time by using bulk actions on large volumes of products.

Shopify app to create custom products - Product Options & Customizer

Rating & Reviews: 4.8 (1239 Reviews)

Key Features: 

  • Multiple Types of Product Option Fields: Create various types of product option fields such as file upload fields, Google Fonts selector, small and large text boxes, radio buttons, checkbox groups, drop-down menus, calendar date selector, and so on.
  • Conditional Logic: With a Premium plan or above, you can set the conditions to make any option field appear or disappear on the product page based on the options selected by the customer.
  • Upcharge pricing: This feature is also available with its Premium plan and above. Using this feature, you can offer product customization at a higher price as compared to the regular price.

Pricing and Plans:

Shopify app to create custom products - Product Options & Customizer

Zepto Product Personalizer

Zepto allows you to add unlimited customizable product options. What's more interesting is that the app enhances the visual experience by offering a live preview.

Shopify App Store - Zepto Product Personalizer

Rating & Reviews: 4.8 (798 Reviews)

Key Features:

  • Multiple Types of Product Option Fields: With Zepto, you can create various types of product personalization fields such as drop-down menus, text and monogram inputs, file upload fields, custom fonts, color selections, and so on.
  • Conditional logic: Set the conditions to make any option field appear or disappear on the product page based on the options selected by the customer.
  • Price add-ons: You can offer product customizations at a higher price compared to the regular price. This way, you can increase your average order value (AOV).

Pricing & Plans:

Zepto has a beginner-friendly pricing structure. Instead of paying a big monthly fee right from the beginning, you can start with its Starter plan which offers up to 50 personalizable products for just US $9.99 per month.

Shopify app pricing table for Zepto Product Personalizer app

How to Create Customizable Products in Shopify Without an App?

There are a couple of ways to create customizable products in your Shopify store without using an app. However, it’s a somewhat complex process and you may need to either invest your time (to learn and do it yourself) OR spend money to hire an expert to do it for you.

1. If you have coding experience, you can add custom code to your theme files to create custom product fields. You may find some YouTube tutorials on this topic. Here’s one of the YouTube tutorials that you may find helpful:

2. If you’re not comfortable editing code by yourself or don’t have time to do so, you can hire a Shopify Expert or a web developer to get this done for you. This will cost you the service fee depending on the professional that you hire.

    Important note: Before you go for either of these options, keep in mind that if you change/upgrade your theme in the future, you’ll need to go through the same process again (because you’ll need to edit the code in the new/upgraded theme file). 

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    12 Tips to Help You Build a Successful Shopify Custom Product Store

    1. Use high-quality product images

    A survey conducted by Field Agent found that 83% of US customers (smartphone users) say that product images are "very" and "extremely" influential in their buying decisions. Showcase your custom products with clear, and high-quality images to give customers a fair idea of what their product would look like post-customization.

    Helpful Resouce: 

    Shopify Product Images: A 10-minute Guide for Beginners

    2. Invest in product design

    When you’re selling custom-designed products, your product design itself is the key selling part of your product. Hire a professional graphic designer or invest in design software to create visually appealing product designs.

    3. Use social media

    Pew Research Center data suggests that 84% of US adults (age 18-29) use at least one social media platform, whereas stats for other age groups are also notable: 81% (age 30-49), 73% (age 50-64), and 45% (age 65+).  Leverage social media platforms to engage with your customers and promote your custom products. 
    Social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest can prove to be great platforms to promote your custom products as they are ideal social media platforms for visual content.

    4. Offer promotions and discounts

    Customers are eagerly waiting to find great opportunities to shop online. You can give them good reasons to buy with your brand by running interesting promotions and discount offers.
    Also, when customers shop with your brand, you can offer a post-purchase discount offer that they can use towards their future purchases. This way, you can encourage customers to continue shopping with you and build your brand loyalty.

    Pro Tip: Create a launch special free shipping offer: Free shipping is one of the great ways to entice customers to buy from your newly launched brand. Let your customers know through social media and other channels that you are offering free shipping as a special offer for the launch. Read more on How to Do Free Shiping on Shopify.

    5. Monitor and improve your store

    Customer experience (CX) is a crucial factor that impacts your store’s conversion rates. To ensure that your customers have a smooth and seamless buying experience, make sure that you regularly monitor and analyze your store's performance, customer feedback, and sales data to identify areas for improvement.

    Helpful Resource: 

    Shopify Speed Optimization: 11 Effective Ways
    How to Increase Sales on Shopify: 17+ Proven Strategies

    6. Offer best-in-class customer service

    The quality of your customer service has a huge impact on your business. Salesforce Research has found that 92% of consumers would be more likely to buy again from a brand after a positive customer service experience. 
    Set clear expectations about product customization, respond to customer inquiries promptly, and provide a memorable customer service experience to build trust and loyalty.

    7. Continuously innovate

    Stay up-to-date with the latest trends, customer preferences, and new technologies to continuously innovate and improve your custom product store.
    One of the great ways to come up with creative and innovative ideas is to observe your customers on social media. Based on your target audience and product idea, identify what your potential customers would love to customize in their products, and implement it into your business.

    8. Utilize influencer marketing

    We talked about some traditional and cost-effective marketing strategies earlier. Now, let’s talk about a relatively modern marketing technique, i.e., influencer marketing. 
    You can collaborate with social media influencers or creators to spread the word about your brand and promote your products. Also, you can use Shopify Collabs for influencer marketing.

    9. Encourage customer reviews

    A survey by Power Reviews found that 98% of customers consider reviews an essential resource when making their purchase decisions. Encourage your customers to leave genuine reviews on your store and social media platforms. Your positive reviews can help you obtain new customers.

    Pro Tip: Many customers may not leave reviews as they are busy or they might not know its importance for your business. To encourage your customers to leave reviews, you can reward them through a loyalty program. For example, give your customers 50 reward points when they leave a text review and 100 reward points for a photo review.

    10. Build your community

    Building a community around your customers gives you an opportunity to create a stronger relationship with your customers. But make sure that you don’t just keep on promoting your products. Building a community is about providing value to the members and then you can promote your product at regular intervals.
    Apart from building your own community, you can also participate in other online communities and social media groups in your niche to create more connections.

    11. Network with other businesses

    Reach out to other businesses in your niche with a similar target audience and see if you can collaborate on cross-promotions or joint ventures. For example, you can introduce each other’s brand in your newsletters or organize a joint contest on social media.

    12. Optimize for search engines

    Search engine Optimization (SEO) is a great way to bring free traffic to your business. There are many different ways to optimize your website for search engines. Make sure you’re using the right keywords, meta descriptions, and proper HTML structure.
    You can also write blogs on your website. Identify the topics your target audience is interested in and create content around those topics. And then, promote your content through different channels like an email newsletter, social media, and so on.

    Here are some popular product categories and examples for Shopify custom items to sell:

    • Clothing and apparel: custom printed or embroidered t-shirts, hoodies, hats, and other clothing items.
    • Personalized gift items: customized mugs, phone cases, mouse pads, and other personalized items.
    • Arts and prints: custom canvas prints, posters, and wall art.
    • Home Decor: custom wall decals, pillows, and curtains.
    • Jewelry: custom engraved necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.
    • Accessories: custom-designed phone cases, laptop sleeves, and keychains.
    • Pet Supplies: custom pet collars, toys, and beds.

    These are just a few examples. The best products for a Shopify custom product store will depend on your target audience and market niche.

    Final Thoughts on Shopify Customizable Products

    Selling customizable products on Shopify can help you build a profitable business.

    For a custom product business, it’s imperative to keep up with the latest trends as customers’ needs and preferences may change from time to time. 

    You may need to continuously brainstorm and come up with innovative ideas to offer new and a more personalized shopping experience to your customers.

    With the right strategies and creative ideas, you can grow and scale your business to the next level. 

    FAQs about Shopify Custom Products

    Can I customize products on Shopify?
    Yes, you can create customizable products on Shopify. However, to do this, you may either use a third-party app or edit the code to add advanced features related to product customization.
    Do I need to install an app to create Shopify Custom Products?
    You can create and offer basic customizations without using an app such as production options and variants related to color, size, and material. However, if you want to offer advanced customization options like file upload, text input, and date selector, you need to install an app or custom code your theme file.
    What are the recommended products for Shopify custom product stores?
    There are many products that are suitable for customization and are already selling in the market such as t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, pillows, necklaces, phone cases, and many more. Check out for some more product ideas.
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