How to Create Shopify Forms for Your Online Store

/ 5 min read
Alexandra Sicot-Koontz

A form is an element in your online store that lets a customer submit information. For example, your contact forms, payment pages and sign-ups all require details from your customers.

Forms matter for two major reasons:

  • A badly-designed form can destroy your conversion rate
  • A well-designed form will help you to offer more value to your customers

This article applies psychology, UX principles and marketing tools to help you streamline your Shopify forms.

How to edit your Shopify forms

There are three ways to edit your Shopify forms:

  1. Working within your theme and customising images/copy
  2. Using a form builder to create new forms
  3. Editing your Liquid code

Your Shopify Theme is the template that decides how your online store looks and feels. Working within this template is quite simple. You can customize your theme settings directly from your Shopify admin, using the theme editor.

Using a form builder is a much more straightforward process. The best thing about using a form builder is the level of flexibility it affords you. You can fully customize a pre-existing template and embed it in your store in minutes.

Prefer to create something with advanced functions? You can do that too—just use features like conditional logic, answer piping, webhooks, integrations and custom HTML/CSS to create exactly the form you need.

The most difficult solution is to edit your Liquid code. Shopify runs on its own programming language, designed to make sectioned editing easier than Shopify alternatives.

For developers, learning to edit Liquid code is reasonably easy. However, first-time coders might struggle with the format. To access your Theme's code, you just select the option in your Shopify admin.

Tips for building effective Shopify forms

1. Make the benefits clear

Users will only be willing to part with their personal information (not to mention their time and energy) if they feel they are getting something in return. It's your job to show them that they are...

This sign-up form for a Staples "Advantage" account lists the potential benefits in a separate block. Each one is associated with an icon, to help the user visualise it. With so much to gain, typing in a name and email address seems worth it...

2. Lower the hurdle

Excessive demands and detail create a serious hurdle for users. To make things easier, you should reduce the complexity and the amount of information you request. Keep the number of fields to a strict minimum, and pre-fill forms fields wherever possible.

For complex forms you can't eliminate, break them down into organised, manageable sections (like "Billing Information"). This structures the form and tells the user why it's necessary.

While splitting your forms with a Shopify theme can often require custom code and technical work, using a form builder allows you to separate your forms into pages and sections with the click of a button.

3. Make the form process transparent

Customers want to know what they are getting into before they begin. Holding back the full details, to encourage users to start the process will only lead to abandoned forms.

An easy way to outline the full process, without scaring customers away, is to use a progress bar. There's another advantage to this strategy; it produces what is known as the Zeigarnik Effect.

The Zeigarnik Effect occurs when a task is partially completed. Not only do we feel a strong urge to complete a task, we also remember incomplete ones more strongly than those we have finished.

4. Use soft gamification to encourage your customers

Gamification involves using game mechanics and rewards to make everyday experiences more fun. Every time a user visits your website, they receive silent feedback telling them what sort of behaviours are rewarded. If you don't manage these effects, you could be sending the wrong signals.

Soft gamification incorporates tacit rewards within everyday website features. Rather than presenting users with a literal game, the soft approach applies isolated elements of play. This could include congratulating your visitor with a "great job" when they complete a section of your form.

Hard gamification transforms an everyday activity into a game. Apps like Swell and Smile allow you to create a point system to reward your users. Similarly, apps like Duolingo test their users and reward them with positive feedback. This system engages the visitor by appealing to competition and the pursuit of success.

5. Guide respondents through the process

The process needs to be clear to customers. If they feel like are left to fend for themselves, with no clear instructions and no end goal, they will simply abandon the page.

Friction will dissuade your visitors from completing their journey through the conversion funnel, let alone filling out your form. It is important to eliminate this friction by making the process of filling out a form as easy as possible.

Some plug-ins, such as website notifications, allow you to engage customers during their sessions. That means you can guide them through your forms and make sure they stay on your page. Accompanying your customers through their online journey will allow you to increase sign-ups without paying to acquire more traffic.

Shopify doesn't allow you to use plugins and apps on payment pages. An easy way to reduce friction at the payment stage is by creating a  form that displays certain text or elements based on the respondent's selections. This is easy to do using a form builder like Paperform that offers conditional display and logic.

cookie order form

6. Test, test test

The importance of testing your forms is a step that is often overlooked and undervalued by site owners. Customers will be very sensitive to even the slightest inconvenience, so testing is vital.

Some responses might cause glitches, for instance, and these need to be found before you go live.

Setting up Shopify test orders, or even asking a third party to test it is worth considering. This is because every developer experiences a cognitive effect known as the curse of knowledge. You understand your form and your intentions perfectly, so it’s hard to see them from an outsider's point of view.

Analysing your product from an uninformed perspective is one of the trickiest aspects of development, but a third party can more objectively assess your form to see if it really is as user friendly as you think it is.

Over to you

The customer will always perform simple cost-benefit analysis. The problem is, this won't be rational. Risks often seem much larger than they are and costs (like time and effort) seem more significant.

Customers need to feel safe and rewarded, even if they are not fully aware of this when they land on your site and find your forms.

Working with this inherent psychological feature will go a long way in increasing conversion rates. By lowering hurdles, validating them through gamification and building trust through transparency you are redressing the balance.

If you want your Shopify forms to be user-friendly, you need to design them for human brains.

Create the perfect form for your Shopify store in minutes using Paperform. Try it free for 14 days with no credit card details required.

About the author
Alexandra Sicot-Koontz
Alexandra Sicot-Koontz is a copywriter interested in psychology and consumer behaviour.

Form a better life now.

Get your 14 day unrestricted trial
No credit card needed.
9 AI tools that'll save you hours every week

Don’t fear the robots. These 9 AI tools are here to improve your efficiency and eliminate busywork, ...

Eliza Frakes
20 Mar 23
Apps & Integrations
Asana vs. Trello: Which is right for your team?

Discover the key differences between Asana and Trello and find out which project management tool is ...

Kat Boogaard
14 Mar 23
How to create an automatic download link with Google Drive

Looking to create an automatic download link with Google Drive? We'll show you how.

Max Delaney
13 Mar 23
How to create a productive afternoon routine

Your afternoon routine can help you make the most of a time of day when you might otherwise feel dro...

Kat Boogaard
9 Mar 23