So you’ve picked Shopify as your platform of choice, and you’re ready to get your e-commerce business up and running. The next step is to choose a Shopify theme that best fits your store’s needs. Many Shopify themes are available on their theme store, and choosing one can be difficult for first-time sellers.
Different themes have different looks, features, and functionalities, all of which should play a role in your decision-making. And while Shopify ensures only the best themes appear on their theme store, no theme serves as a one-size-fits-all solution.
To help you set up your e-commerce business, we’ve gathered six must-consider aspects of choosing a theme. Once you go through the article, you’ll feel confident selecting a Shopify theme that resonates with your brand and target audience!
What is a Shopify theme?
First off, let’s briefly discuss what a Shopify theme is. A Shopify theme is a template that dictates your store’s overall feel and appearance. You can experiment with different styles and layouts that highlight your products exactly how you want them. Shopify themes are available in free and premium versions, with the latter offering more versatility and a richer shopping experience.
A lot goes into choosing a theme than just the looks and design. You must consider the user experience as the theme will inevitably affect how customers perceive your brand. An ideal theme should provide a mix of features, design, and functionality that will serve your e-commerce store now and in the future.
Factors to consider when choosing a Shopify theme
Nothing feels quite confusing than trying out random themes in hopes of finding the perfect one for your store. Ideally, you want to narrow down your options based on these six factors that we’re about to discuss below.
When choosing a Shopify theme, the first thing you need to consider is budget. As we’ve mentioned, there are free and paid themes for you to use. Most sellers will do just fine with a free Shopify theme as they pack the basic features to get your store up and running. Now, if you choose to upgrade to a premium theme, know that the prices will vary depending on the theme’s functionality, features, and versatility.
Paid themes can range anywhere from $140 to $400 and above. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get a theme that works best for your store. You need to set a budget and find a theme with all the features you need.
A free theme is a great start to help determine your tastes and preferences. As your business grows, you can find a wide selection of paid themes that offer greater customization, a smoother checkout experience, and stronger developer support.
The theme you choose should serve its purpose in highlighting your products and making your storefront stand out. When picking a Shopify theme, you want to ask yourself the following questions:
- What kind of products am I looking to sell?
- Who is my target audience?
- Do I want a theme with a high degree of customizability?
- Do I need a theme with wide navigation?
The good news is you can refine your theme search by clicking on the filters located on the sidebar menu. The goal is to build a list of features in a theme to cut down on development costs. You can find the main features of a theme under the preview page, where you can also read reviews and feedback.
Try out the demos and run them in your store to get a good feel for a certain theme. Upload a few product images and see how it looks for you.
A functional theme is essential to ensuring your store not only attracts site visitors but converts them into customers. You want a theme that supports call-to-action buttons along with fast and secure store interactions. With minimal interruptions, a good theme guides the site visitor from the landing page to the checkout process.
According to Optinmonster, around 88% of customers trust user reviews when purchasing a product. That means your Shopify theme should have support for social proof so you can build a long-lasting relationship with your customers. Even’ recently sold’ notifications are a great way to acquire consumer trust and further establish your brand’s credibility.
You want the theme to have less navigation to shorten the buyer’s journey. As you offer more products in your store, your theme should be able to display a mega menu to accommodate the vast range of items in your inventory.
When choosing a Shopify theme, think of how you want the store to function. Make sure to test it out and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. If you’re satisfied with how the theme operates, it’s likely a good match for your business.
Nowadays, people use their phones to look for products/services online. Knowing this, you want to ensure that the theme you choose is mobile-friendly and responsive on both desktop and mobile devices.
Nothing hampers the customer’s shopping experience more than a slow-loading website. Over 46% of users don’t revisit websites with slow response times, so website responsiveness is a top priority when selecting a Shopify theme. A mobile-friendly theme should have easy-to-click buttons, a streamlined checkout process, and an intuitive interface for easy navigation.
Another reason you should choose a mobile-friendly theme is Google’s mobile-first indexing. Google mainly uses the mobile version of your website for ranking and indexing, so if you want to rank higher on search engine results pages, check if the Shopify theme you’re using is suitable for mobile browsing.
As we’ve previously mentioned, no theme serves as a one-size-fits-all solution. Every e-commerce store has its unique needs, and choosing a theme based on reviews or popularity alone won’t cut it for your store.
For example, a dropshipping store should pick a theme that supports quick product viewing and information access. On the other hand, a clothing store may want to integrate social media photos and reviews as part of social proof.
Check out your competitors and see what themes they use for their store. How are their products arranged? What are some of the key functions that stand out with their chosen theme? By examining your competition, you can get a good idea of which theme works best for your specific niche.
When browsing themes in the theme store, you can use the filter to narrow down your choices based on industry or collection. Again, it’s all about trial and experimentation to figure out the best theme for your Shopify store.
6. Developer support
One thing that sellers overlook when choosing a Shopify theme is developer support. Unlike a physical store where you can easily inspect problems, an online store faces complex and technical issues. The last thing you want is to experience a problem with your store, and you’re stuck trying to figure it out.
Adding plugins, integrating tools, and upgrading the theme are best left at the hands of developers so that everything works seamlessly. Of course, this only applies to sellers who choose third-party themes outside of the theme store.
When choosing third-party themes, make sure to read feedback and confirm if the developer offers support for the theme. You can verify the legitimacy of the reviews by going to Yotpo, TrustPilot, and Reviews.io to ensure the theme you choose has strong developer support.
Most of the themes from Shopify come with excellent developer support, especially the premium ones. We recommend selecting a theme available on the Shopify store for your convenience and peace of mind. That way, you can expect strong developer support and run into as few issues as possible.
Launching your e-commerce store comes with many excitements, and choosing a theme is one of them. You get to pick how your store looks, feels, and functions in a way that represents your brand image the best. But knowing which one is best for your store can sometimes feel daunting due to the wide selection of themes.
By following this guide, you can make an informed selection of the best Shopify theme for your store. You can always change your theme down the line to better connect with your target audience, but it helps to know the right theme from the start so you can maintain consistency across your brand image.
Start with a free Shopify theme, and look at upgrading to premium themes for more features, customizations, and functionality.
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