Shopify Web Development

Custom Shopify Themes: A Game-Changer for Image-Centric Businesses

Learn why a custom Shopify theme can be a game-changer for image-heavy businesses, delivering value that ready-made themes might not match.


Visual aids are key to business success, whether you operate from a physical location or online. They allow business owners to effectively communicate the value their products offer to potential and existing customers.

For e-commerce businesses, high-quality images are especially important. Recent statistics show that nearly 70% of online shoppers consider the quality of product photos to be crucial.

Since the majority of people are visually oriented, text alone often falls short in persuading online visitors to make a purchase. Low-quality, heavy images can also discourage consumers from shopping online. Only well-captured, properly processed, and high-quality visuals can enhance engagement and positively influence sales.

For many e-commerce businesses top-notch images are vital for survival. These might include photo stocks, where images themselves are the product and need to be presented in the best possible way.

When considering image quality and loading speed for online stores, three things stand out:

  1. The e-commerce platform.
  2. Image optimization techniques used by store administrators.
  3. The chosen theme, which could be ready-made, customizable, or fully custom.

Let’s examine these factors in relation to Shopify, explaining why a custom Shopify theme is the prime choice for businesses reliant on images.

Shopify: An Image-Friendly System

The Shopify team has put in extra effort to ensure the platform is incredibly image-friendly. Here are some of the image enhancement features available on Shopify:

Speedy Image Loading With Content Delivery Network (CDN) and Caching

The speed at which an image loads is just as important as its quality. This is a factor considered by Google and other search engines when indexing web pages.

Shopify store owners can expect their images to load swiftly, regardless of where their customers are located. Once a new image is added to a store, a copy is created on one of the CDN servers worldwide. This ensures equal response time for online shoppers, whether they’re in the USA, Italy, Japan, or elsewhere across the globe.

Further enhancing this feature, CDN servers keep copies of web pages for a specific period after sending them to users (caching). This eliminates the need to create another page copy, resulting in faster loading times.

The best part? Shopify store owners don’t have to do anything. It’s all automated.


These small images usually act as product group indicators. They’re useful from a UX perspective but can slow down performance on some e-commerce systems. Shopify, however, ensures that thumbnails don’t affect loading speed.

WebP: The Loading Speed Booster

You’re probably familiar with the common image formats: .png, .gif, and .jpeg. Among them, .jpeg is a favorite for showcasing products online due to its fine balance between image quality and file size. .png files, on the other hand, are perfect for logos – though their larger size can slow down a website.

Shopify offers a nifty feature to improve images in these formats by converting them into WebP. This advanced format reduces the image size by a third without compromising the quality. However, WebP isn’t perfect – not all browsers support it and you can’t directly upload WebP images to Shopify. But overall, it’s a fantastic tool to speed up your online store without any extra effort.

Device-Responsive Images

Shopify themes adapt beautifully to different screen sizes and resolutions. When you upload an image, Shopify automatically creates multiple versions in different sizes. Depending on the device used to access your Shopify site, the system chooses the best-sized image to display. This ensures that your images always look great and load quickly, no matter the device. And the best part? It all happens behind the scenes, requiring no intervention from you.

DIY Image Optimization for Shopify Stores


Even the most sophisticated e-commerce platform can’t fix a poor-quality or oversized image. Hence, it’s important to ensure your images are of good quality before uploading them to Shopify. You can find easy-to-follow image optimization techniques on the Shopify blog. Most are simple, do-it-yourself methods that only require a bit of time and creativity.

Custom Themes: A Must for Image-Heavy Businesses

The choice of Shopify theme can greatly affect how your images appear. There are three main types of themes: ready-made, customizable, and custom. The first two can either be free or paid, while custom themes are always paid and take more time to develop. But for businesses that rely heavily on images, it’s the custom themes that truly deliver value. Here’s why:

Maximum Flexibility 

A custom Shopify theme is like an open canvas – it can be molded to fit any specific business need, thanks to the expertise of a Shopify developer

On the contrary, ready-made themes come with pre-set features, limiting your flexibility. This flexibility becomes crucial when dealing with images, as developers can create filters to ensure images align with Shopify’s recommended sizes and color profiles.

No Extraneous Code 

A bespoke Shopify theme contains only the essential code needed for your online store’s smooth operation, improving site speed and image loading times. In contrast, ready-made themes often carry extra code that isn’t necessary.

Thoroughly Tested and Always Current 

With customizable themes, once you tweak them, you lose access to any new features added by the theme creator. But with a custom Shopify theme, you’re in the driver’s seat. 

You can add new features and rest assured that the theme has been rigorously tested on all major devices and operating systems. Your images will always render flawlessly, something free ready-made themes may not guarantee.


Success in e-commerce hinges on high-quality product images that captivate your audience. For some online stores, pristine visual presentation is vital.

Shopify shines in this regard. It leverages a CDN to display visuals globally without delay, converts .jpeg and .gif files to the advanced WebP format to reduce image sizes without sacrificing quality, and optimizes thumbnails automatically. It also creates multiple image copies to ensure responsiveness across devices.

Furthermore, Shopify allows you to upload images of the right sizes, even if a larger image has already been added. Our Shopify developers take advantage of this feature when crafting custom themes.

Beyond these core capabilities, Shopify merchants can employ proven optimization techniques to enhance image quality and loading speed further. By opting for custom Shopify theme development, you can ensure your images are displayed at their absolute best.

If you’re in search of e-commerce development experts to build a custom Shopify theme from scratch or enhance your existing one, our team at GetDevDone is ready to assist. 

With nearly 20 years of experience and over 300 successful Shopify projects, we specialize in optimizing Shopify stores for speed and search engine visibility. No matter the challenge, we’re here to provide the perfect solution. Don’t hesitate to connect with us today!