June 7, 2021

Basic Theme vs Bespoke Shopify Theme Builds

Imagine you finish designing your business website and publish it for the world to see. You get plenty of visitors, but no one buys anything.

The problem might be your Shopify theme design. Having a bad design can make it hard for people to use your site, meaning you won’t make as much money.

Luckily, you can avoid that with either a basic or bespoke theme. Read on to learn which is right for you.


One of the most significant aspects to consider when choosing a Shopify theme is the time it takes to create one. When you use a basic them, you can get your website up and live within a day.

On the other hand, a bespoke theme may take weeks or months to build. It all depends on how complex you want the theme to be and how fast the developer you hire can work.

You may also need to wait for a developer to finish other projects, which can further extend the timeline. But you can set up a basic theme whenever you want.

Over Time

One of the benefits of a custom Shopify theme is that it can grow and scale with your business. A Shopify developer can add more features to your site as you need them, so you won’t have to worry about limitations.

While it takes more time to develop upfront, that time can be well worth the wait. You won’t have to spend a bunch of time switching to a different theme as your business grows.

Then, you can continue making sales and providing an excellent direct-to-consumer experience (D2C UX). And that can help you get repeat customers.


Another important factor affecting your Shopify theme decision is how easy it is to use. While you will spend more time working on your theme at first, you need to be able to edit and add new content later.

If your theme is difficult to edit and update, nothing else will matter. You need to be able to work on your site, especially when you want to make a small change.

A basic theme is easy to use and set up, and you don’t have to worry about coding. With a custom theme, you may need to hire someone to build and update the site for you.


Regardless of how easy it is to set up, you also have to consider if you can access a certain type of theme.

You may not be able to find a basic theme that does everything you want. You may need to pay for a custom theme to access other features to help run and grow your business.

However, some business owners can’t access bespoke development services. You might need to settle for a basic Shopify theme and work on your site from there.


An important part of your online store is how it functions, and that’s another way basic and bespoke designs differ. When you hire a developer, they can build a store that does everything you want and need.

However, you can’t always get a ton of functions with a basic theme. Sure, you may be able to sell a few products. But you might not have the tools you need to upsell or add people to your email list.

As your business grows, you can work with your developer on your store. That way, you can meet your needs now without sacrificing the future of your business.

Design Options

Branded eCommerce is crucial for standing out from your competition. When you choose a basic theme, you can customize it to your liking, so you have some design control.

But you don’t have nearly as many options as if you hire a bespoke Shopify developer. An experienced developer can create your theme from scratch so that you get a design you love.

Not only will that make you happy, but a good design can help you attract and keep customers. That way, you won’t have to work so hard to promote your business.


As you design your website, you should be able to incorporate your branding. That way, your customers can learn more about your business and what you do.

If you use a basic Shopify theme, it can be hard to show off your brand identity. You may be able to add your logo and change the colors of your site, but you may not have many choices regarding fonts or other elements.

However, a custom eCommerce website is much more flexible. You can choose the right fonts and colors to use, and you can use a layout that makes the most sense for your business and customers.

Code Quality

Even when you don’t directly edit website code, it’s the backbone of your website. And if something goes wrong with the code, it can break some or all of your website.

Using a custom theme means you can make sure the code works well. Your developer can test the code and look for issues before publishing your site.

When you rely on a basic theme, you have to rely on that theme’s developer to write quality code. You can’t contact them with issues or when you need to update the code.


Website maintenance never stops, and it’s just as important as the initial development and design phase. As with the code quality, a basic theme’s developer controls the maintenance and update schedule.

However, you can have more control over when you update the theme to fix coding issues or other errors. You can contact your developer whenever you need their help to maintain or update your website.

Having that control can be essential for a growing business. While some basic themes may have frequent updates, others might update their themes less often.


The last major factor to consider when choosing a Shopify theme is the cost. This is one area where basic themes are the better option because they’re much more affordable.

You can find some Shopify themes for free, and others are very cheap. Then, you can get your website up and running on a small budget, and you don’t have to take out debt.

But while a bespoke design is more expensive, it can also be more valuable. You may end up spending more time and money on cheap themes over the life of your business.

How to Choose Between a Basic and Bespoke Shopify Theme

Understanding the differences between basic and custom themes is useful. But it can be hard to determine which type of theme is better for your online store.

Consider some factors to help decide if a custom theme is worth it for your merchant website or if a basic theme is better. Then, you can make the most of whichever theme you select.

Consider Your Team

Consider if you have any employees working for your business, including yourself. Figure out what strengths everyone has and if any of your employees can develop a website.

If so, you might be able to customize a basic Shopify theme and make it look good. But if you don’t have anyone who can do that, outsourcing to a company or developer you trust is great.

You can find someone with a similar culture to your business culture. That way, you can work well together now and in the future.

Do You Have the Skills?

If you don’t have other employees, it’s up to you to do everything or outsource tasks. Think about how technical you are already and if you’re willing to learn how to customize a site.

Learning how to code and work on your site can be a great way to save money overall. But it’s not right for every business owner. Maybe you want to focus more on marketing or customer service.

Sometimes, it’s easier to outsource web development to another person or company. That way, you won’t waste time in your business, so you can focus on growth.

Is it worth paying for a Shopify theme?

You should have a budget for every major business purchase, similar to your personal budget. If you want to hire a web developer, look around at prices to see how much you can expect to spend.

Then, consider how much money you can afford to pay for a custom theme. Some developers might be able to negotiate, so you can save money, but it’s still going to be expensive to hire someone.

On the other hand, getting a free Shopify theme is great for businesses with any budget. You can put more money into another marketing or sales channel, even if you have the money for a custom design.

What’s Your Timeline?

Next, you should think about when you want to launch or redo your website. If you want to get it up in the next couple of weeks, you should consider using a basic Shopify theme.

You might not be able to find a web developer with enough time to create a site quickly enough. However, investing in a custom theme can be worth it if you don’t plan on launching your site for a few months.

Some developers may be able to get the work done quickly. But you also need to consider the quality of the end result, and a good design takes time, regardless of the developer’s experience.

Consider Your Business

Think about your business and the stage you’re in right now. If you’re starting a new online business, you may be fine with a basic Shopify theme to get started.

However, an existing business might need more features and functions than a basic theme can provide. If you want to grow your business in the next few years, you should invest in a site now that can grow with your company.

And if you already have a thriving business, a custom site can only help you. Your developer can create a site that reflects your business and can offer a good direct-to-consumer user experience.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Shopify Theme?

You can find quite a few Shopify themes for free on Shopify’s website. If none of those feel like the right fit for your business, you can also shop for themes on websites like Theme Forest or Envato.

If you’re still in a spot where you’re not a fan of those designs, a bespoke theme is your best bet. Then, you can make sure your website works and looks how you want it to so that you can get sales and grow your company.

But before you hire someone to create a theme, make sure they can create what you want. Otherwise, a custom theme won’t be much better than a more affordable basic one.

What’s Your Preference?

Some business owners may prefer a basic or custom theme, regardless of the other factors. If you know you want a custom design, even though you have a small budget, that’s okay.

You might need to save up or shop around for a good deal. But having a small budget doesn’t mean you have to use a free or cheap theme.

Similarly, you don’t have to use a custom site if you have a big budget. You may want to set aside more money for other tasks, so a free or cheap theme makes sense.

And a new business owner may want to avoid switching templates later. It would make sense for that person to invest in a custom theme from the start.

What is the Most Customizable Shopify Theme?

That’s easy! Any theme that’s built on Shopify Online Store 2.0. With its added features to add page sections and app blocks to virtually every page, most themes leave you room to customize your page layout.

Can a Shopify Theme Be Customized?

Yes, every theme can be customized – to a certain extent. Things like colors, fonts and photos can be customized no matter the theme you’re working from.

If you’re looking for a custom look that matches your brand’s aesthetics completely, you’ll need to inquire with a Shopify developer to give you exactly what you want.

The good news? You found us.

Which Type of Shopify Theme Will You Choose?

Selecting the right Shopify theme can make a huge difference in how you and your customers use your site. So consider if a basic theme has what you need or if you should hire someone for a custom build.

Bespoke themes are great for businesses that have long-term goals and want more features. However, basic themes are good for getting started on a budget.

Are you ready to work with a Shopify developer on a custom site? Tell us about your project to get started.