As a Shopify merchant, you may want to know more information about the products your customers want to purchase in order to customize them or offer a better, more personalized experience.
But how can you collect this information to give your customers exactly what they are looking for? The answer is to add custom order form fields or product options to your products.
There are only two ways for you to add custom order form fields and product options on your store in Shopify:
- Shopify native functionality within the limits of Shopify’s platform.
- Using powerful apps dedicated to custom order form building.
As a member of the Magical Apps team, I have been auditing and researching the best solutions these two options offer when it comes to custom form fields. I wanted to share what I found in order to help Shopify merchants like you make a more informed decision about what fits their needs best. If you want to view all of our research on order form fields, please take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Shopify Order Form Fields.
What I found was that Shopify native solutions for order form fields are extremely limited. In this article, I will reveal the limited native Shopify solutions and as well as the range of third party-app based solutions for adding order form fields to your Shopify store that I found.
Native Shopify Solutions for Order Form Fields
Lack of True Native Support
Are there native solutions to adding order form fields or collecting additional order information from customers before they checkout?
It’s totally understandable for merchants to look for solutions already built into the platform they are operating their store on.
In the case of order form fields, there are some basic fields built into the Shopify admin like product variant, size, colour, and quantity.
Additionally, Shopify does have some tools to create custom form fields and product options through what they call “line item properties”. However, the ability to customize fields is extremely limited, requires coding knowledge from the merchant’s end, and can be very time intensive.
For example, if merchants want to add a drop down menu, text boxes, checkboxes, radio buttons, or a file upload option, all of this can be done through line item properties.
Merchants should also note that they would not be able to add additional product costs for custom fields created through Shopify’s native functionality.
If there are native solutions, what are they?
1. Using Variants
One native solution Shopify provides is the variant option in your Shopify admin. The variant option can be used to add some common attributes like size, colour, material, and style options to your product.
How to implement it:
Options like size and colour can be implemented through the Product section of your Shopify admin, by clicking on the product you want to customize.
From here you can scroll down to the Variants section and click on + Add options like size or colour.
You can then select the different options that you want to attribute to your product. For more information, please refer to Shopify help center – Adding variants on adding variants to products.
2. Line Item Properties
For other options, line item properties will allow you to customize the functionality of your product pages to have specialized information that the Shopify admin doesn’t capture.
Line item properties can be added directly to your products and orders from your shop’s theme code. According to Shopify’s dev docs, “Line item properties consist of a name and value pair.” and they can be captured through a custom input inside a product form.
Now if you are anything like me and have no dev experience, understanding this technical knowledge may be difficult. What I basically understood through my research was that merchants will have to insert code inside their store’s product form in order for these fields to be created. Easier said than done right?
I did not see any list of coding examples in Shopify’s dev docs to learn what code is relevant for particular types of order form fields. However, merchants can use a Shopify UI Elements Generator to get auto generated code based on the type of field they want to create. The generator provides you a preview of what the form field will look like and the code to copy so you can insert it into your product liquid file.
Merchants would still need to know exactly where this code needs to be inserted and I personally found that pretty confusing. With that in mind, merchants can also hire a Shopify expert to assist you in setting up this feature.
How to implement it:
Custom input inside a product form
Shopify’s dev docs indicate that the “option to include additional information through line item properties can be captured through input elements with an attribute of name=”properties[property-name]”, where property-name is the name of your custom property. Any property inputs need to be included inside the product form”
Merchants should note that there are only general instructions provided by Shopify on how to use line item properties, and merchants would need coding knowledge to implement these custom fields. It can be quite confusing and time intensive to find what you are looking for.
What are the potential issues?
Shopify’s native functionality may not support the type of custom field you want to create for your product. Some of the fields the UI generator and Shopify dev docs list are:
- Text – short
- Text – long
- Radio buttons
- Drop-down select
- Checkbox group
- File upload
Merchants should note that other additional fields could be compatible with Shopify and that the UI generator does not have the option to produce code for a file upload field.
Other issues are that using line item properties is time consuming, confusing, and requires coding knowledge. According to Shopify Community Forums, some merchants have had issues with the order data not coming through their cart/checkout so the merchant doesn’t receive the custom product information.
However, if merchants have the time and patience, there are YouTube channels like Code Deep Dive that have detailed tutorials on how to add line item properties.
Which native solution do you recommend?
This depends on the type of store a merchant has and what product they are selling.
If a merchant doesn’t require a lot of custom fields, the basic fields through the variant options may suffice for them. For example if a merchant only needs the size, colour, material, or style fields, Shopify’s variant option will do the trick for them.
If a merchant requires more custom fields like a short answer field, drop menu, multiple checkboxes, then they will have to use line item properties for this and do some coding.
If merchants require much more complex custom fields and a variety of them, they may be better off using a third party app if they don’t have the coding capability or resources. Shopify also provides the option to hire a Shopify expert to assist with custom fields.
Ultimately, Shopify native solutions can be either too basic, or very time consuming, confusing and require coding competency.
Shopify App Solutions for Order Form Fields
The native solutions Shopify offers can be too limiting and/or complicated to implement for most merchants. Luckily, merchants have access to the Shopify App Store to help solve their headaches.
Shopify apps can allow businesses to create the order form fields they are looking for with just a click of the button.
Develop a new app
For businesses with ample resources, specialized product requirements, or internal development capabilities, creating a custom app may be an ideal solution.
Learn more about this in the article we have about developing a new app to add product fees on Shopify. The same thing applies for order form fields.
Use an Order Form Field app to create custom forms
Order form field apps allow merchants to add custom fields to product pages or checkout forms, enabling customers to provide additional information or personalize their orders.
Customers can customize their orders through options like text field, image upload, file upload, checkboxes, terms and conditions, text customizer, gift wrapping, gift message, special requests and more to suit their business needs.
The best part is that all of this can be accomplished without any coding.
Which app solutions do you recommend?
There are a lot of app related solutions for order form fields and merchants have a lot of variety to choose from to find what best suits their business. I’ve compiled the 6 best Shopify Apps for Order Form Fields here, but my top recommendations include:
1. Magical Order Form Fields
Easily add form fields to products and checkout forms. Learn how to set it up on your Shopify store here.
2. Infinite Options
Product options with dropdown menus, colour and variant image swatches
3. Advanced Product Options
Product options, variant options, swatches & dependent options
Adding order form fields to Shopify with apps is easier and more flexible
The native Shopify solutions for order form fields do support the basic needs of some businesses, but app-based solutions are more flexible, easier to implement, and manage.
Businesses are always looking for affordable, reliable solutions that enable them to fulfill their goals and serve their customers in an efficient, transparent manner. For those seeking to add order form fields beyond the basics such as product variant, colour, size, and quantity on Shopify, Shopify Apps are almost always the best way forward.
Magical Order Form Fields
Use the Magical Order Form Fields app to easily add form fields to products and checkout forms. Start collecting additional order details.