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How to Sell Custom Products or Personalized Gifts

by Sam Hirst

April 9, 2015

Are you curious about whether it’s worth the trouble to try to sell custom products online? One of the pleasures of selling online is that you can easily offer customizable, personalized items. Customers love to purchase something special by choosing from colors, sizes, engraving options, printing options, you name it! A customizable product can be very appealing.

Custom products allow customers to choose from available options, or even make new requests, and items can be personalized by adding custom text, names, dates, even special graphics or photos.

At Aeolidia we’ve worked with shops of all shapes and sizes and have found that selling customizable items is definitely not a one-size-fits-all solution. Every shop owner offers different types of options, and our goal is to make the shop easy to run on the back-end for the shop owner, as well as easy to understand for customers. We sell custom products on Shopify by integrating an app or creating a solution custom to our client, depending on needs.

I’ve rounded up a few examples of the types of customizable items we’ve helped shop owners set up!

Sell customizable jewelry

Many jewelry stores such as Bel Kai offer color, size, metal, and engraving options. A combination of drop-down boxes and text boxes makes it easy for customers to order just the right piece.

How to sell custom products or personalized gifts


Sell custom party decor

It’s important when setting up customizable items to consider the types of mistakes (oops!) customers might try to make when ordering, and minimize them. In the example above from Shop Sweet Lulu, customers can choose one letter or number to personalize the item, and the text box will not allow more than one character to be entered. Smart!

How to sell custom products or personalized gifts

Sell personalized baby clothes

If you’d like to offer font and color choices to your customers, it’s important to show them how the options will look. In the example below from Boco Baby, font and color options are shown as images on the item page so that customers know exactly what color Orchid is. This page is also a good example of a page with options that can change the price. Choosing the size of the blanket changes the price on the page so that there are no surprises for customers.

Customizable product page for a baby brand

Sell personalized stationery

Stationery shops, such as Lindsay Letters, below, often have fairly complex customizable items – options can include price breaks based on number of items, type of printing, ink color, paper color, add-ons such as envelopes, text options, and more! Sometimes we break a complicated process down into sections to make it manageable for customers.

Customizable product page

Steel Petal Press uses conditional statements to show or hide product option fields for their custom stationery. For example, if you choose ‘yes’ to Return Address Printing or Envelope Liners, additional fields will show up to add that info.

How to sell custom products or personalized gifts

It’s important to remember that the more options you offer to your customers, the more difficult it can be for them to choose what they want. We often recommend limiting the number of available options, and making those options as easy to understand as possible.

Making a solid plan to sell custom products

This information is especially useful to bring to the person building your website, so you can make sure that a proper solution is set up that will work for you.

  • What types of customizable products will you sell?
  • Will the customizations vary from item to item, so that you’d need more than one product page template?
  • What types of options will you offer customers?
  • Will any of the options affect the price of the item?
  • How will you display the options? Can people select more than one of any choice? Are any choices required?
  • How will you explain the options? Do you have photos, illustrations, or color swatches to clarify?
  • How will you manage your inventory?

Getting some help to sell custom products online

This is one of those things that often doesn’t work just how you’d like it “out of the box,” and is often the time to call for some expert help. If you are ready to set up your own e-commerce website and want to sell customizable items, talk to us! We have a lot of experience in taking lots of information and options and making product pages easy to understand for your customers.

Do you sell custom items? If so, what tips do you have for our readers, or questions that you find yourself getting caught on?

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7 thoughts on “How to Sell Custom Products or Personalized Gifts”

  1. Do you have any suggestions for free or paid Shopify themes/apps that will allow me to collect customization info from clients? I have a stationery store similar to the Lindsay Letters & Steel Petal Press examples that you gave.

  2. I’ve been trying to provide my clients with a live preview of how their customized jewelry would look for quite a while. I tested several options, and the only one that gave me decent results was customily.
    Have you tried any others? Looking forward to your comments


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