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by Michael P. Hill May 11, 2016

After a little time on the bench, the Out of the Sandbox Shopify Theme Tweak service has returned — and now that it’s back, here are some great ways to make use of it.

What the service is

First, some background. The Theme Tweak service is meant as an affordable way to have someone from the Out of the Sandbox team modify your theme to make a minor update that isn’t achievable simply through the theme settings. As a rule of thumb, tweaks eligible for the service can be completed in 30 minutes or less.

And what it isn’t

The Theme Tweak service isn’t, however, designed to be used for large scale tasks or stores with ongoing needs. In these cases, there are other options for having this work done that are likely a better value.

For example, if you have more than three small to medium-sized tasks that need to be done, Carson’s subscription-based Shopify service is likely a better overall value, especially if you pay for three months up front. It’s an even better choice if you anticipate having ongoing tweaks.

The Theme Tweak service also isn’t meant to be a design or business strategy service. For these types of projects, there are hundreds of Shopify Experts available for hire.

Keep in mind

Be aware that most theme tweaks require direct customizations to your theme’s Liquid, HTML and CSS code, which, among other issues, makes it more difficult to update your theme in the future and migrating the tweak over to a new version isn’t included as part of the initial service fee.

Some valuable theme tweaks you can try

Below are some examples that can give you a better idea of what types of projects are a good fit for the Theme Tweak service and that also can be a wise investment in your store.

Please note, however, that each request is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and, since each situation is unique, this isn’t an exhaustive list and it’s also possible that your tweak might not end up being a good fit for this service.

  • Tutorial tweak: Save yourself some time and possible frustration by having Out of the Sandbox implement a customization already outlined in our support documents. Look for the big orange button in the right column next to these articles, from which you can purchase the tweak directly These how-tos are often good picks since they’ve been tried and tested on other stores already. Tip: Sticking to the suggested parameters in the tutorials will help make your tweak go smoother and is also more likely to follow established best practices.
  • Remove or move elements: Some online stores have unique needs that might require a feature or link be removed or moved elsewhere. These types of projects are often a good fit for the tweak service and are a great value. Tip: Only move or remove elements if they interfere with the functionality of your site. 
  • Change colors and font sizes: If you want to refine your site’s look beyond what the built-in theme settings can offer, consider having a CSS pro tackle the changes rather than fussing with the stylesheet yourself. This can also include changing text alignment, font weights and styling. Tip: Stick to changes that have a high impact and grab attention. 
  • Hide or modify elements on mobile: The Theme Tweak team can help with adjusting the size or visibility of elements on mobile devices. This can be a good way of decluttering the shopping experience on smaller screens or adding special messaging visible only to mobile or desktop shoppers. Tip: Carefully consider the value each change brings to users; aesthetic changes aren’t always the best investment, but if a change enhances the mobile experience, it can definitely be worthwhile. 
  • Change grid widths: Making your image gallery a bit smaller or larger requires tweaking the grid layout with some updated code and this can typically be adjusted as part of the service. It may also be the best way to tweak a layout on a content page to achieve the look you have in mind.  Tip: Keep changes simple and ensure you have thought out the new layout you want and how it might affect sales.
  • Showing or hiding elements based on collection, tag, product type or other variable: Liquid, the language behind Shopify themes, can be used for some pretty powerful stuff — such as showing or hiding elements only when certain criteria are met. For example, you might want to hide the “add to cart” button for products in a certain collection or only show special content on products with certain tags or product types. Tip: Again, limit these types of changes to cases where it’s essential to have the functionality and there’s no other way to achieve it, such as through variants. 
  • Implementing global tabs or other content: If your site uses tabs or content that has much of the same information repeated on multiple pages or products, you likely could benefit from a global snippet. This means you’d only need to edit text once and it would update everywhere without you having to manually update every item. Tip: Limit this to content that’s re-used frequently enough that changing it manually would be a substantial time investment. Also try to limit the number of variations you need to the essentials. 
  • Adding personalization fields: If you need to gather personalization or other input from shoppers that’s linked to a particular product (such as a gift note on certain items), the tweak service can be an efficient way to implement this feature. Tip: Only collect the information you need to fulfill the order. Try to keep the fields as simple as possible.

Not a good fit

Just for the record, here’s a quick list of some commonly requested changes that aren’t a good fit for our theme tweak service, typically due to their complexity or time required to complete:

  • Installing, troubleshooting or removing third-party apps
  • Adding fields to the contact or email newsletter signup forms
  • Adding a slideshow to the Parallax homepage top banner
  • Adding one or more additional slideshows to any theme’s homepage
  • Implementing Facebook Pixels or other conversion tracking pixels
  • Creating or adding features that require extensive coding
  • Major design updates or changes that require extensive structural changes to the layout
  • Creating images, photos or slideshow designs

For these types of tasks, you’ll get better value from hiring a Shopify Expert to work on separate customization projects for you, or by using a monthly subscription service for tweaks such as that offered by Carson.

Michael P. Hill
Michael P. Hill

Michael P. Hill is a Shopify, Shopify theme, content marketing, digital marketing and product management expert based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelphill or connect on LinkedIn.

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