Choosing the perfect Shopify theme for your online store is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your business’s success. In our comprehensive guide, we walk you through the essential steps to make an informed choice.
How much will Shopify Theme cost?
Shopify offers a selection of basic theme, available for free in the Shopify theme store. While these can suffice for getting started, they come with some limited customization options.
For those looking to elevate their store’s appearance and functionality, premium themes are available. These typically range from $140 to $180 on the official Shopify Store and can be found for prices between $20 and $100 on independent developer websites not affiliated with Shopify.
However, it’s essential to remember that a higher price isn’t always equivalent to better quality.
To clarify this further, we’ll delve into the various resources for obtaining Shopify themes, important factors to consider, methods for testing them before making a purchase, and guidance on how to install them.
How to choose the right Shopify Theme:
It’s crucial to understand that you can customize a theme with the assistance of a developer (or by coding it yourself) and by integrating specific extensions (plugins). However, the ideal scenario is to find a theme that aligns closely with your requirements straight out of the box. This is important for maintaining visual consistency, preventing unnecessary site slowdowns, and avoiding additional development expenses.
For each theme you’re considering, take the time to thoroughly review the description and the list of features.
CREATE A CHECKLIST! The initial step in choosing your theme is to identify your needs and desires.
Organize your checklist based on priority, distinguishing between ‘essential’ criteria and ‘desirable’ elements that would be nice to have.
To guide your decision-making process, start by asking yourself these critical questions:
Question 1: How many different products will your site feature?
Do you have an extensive product catalog that requires multi-level menus and search filter options? On the Shopify Store, the size of your catalog is a significant factor in determining the most suitable theme.
Avoid projecting too far into the future. It’s more profitable to choose the right theme to optimize your business based on its current state, rather than acquiring a theme perfect for future expansions. You can always change themes as needed later on.
Question 2: Do your products have variations?
Basic themes can handle product variants like different weights or sizes. However, a store with many variations, such as clothing available in various colors and sizes, might benefit from a grid displaying all color options at a glance or the inclusion of a size guide.
Question 3: What type of layout would best suit your needs?
While accessing necessary features is important, aesthetics and layout play a crucial role in reflecting your brand image and improving user experiences.
Consider whether your site could benefit from a storytelling-style layout, what visual content you plan to emphasize, whether ‘shop the look’ images are relevant, or if you want to focus on a blog to complement your products. Think about whether a grid/mosaic layout makes sense, or if a minimalist and clean design is more appropriate.
Question 4: Do you want to showcase images and videos?
High-quality visuals are essential for online sales because customers are making purchases without physically seeing or trying the products.
Some themes allow zooming in on product images, while others support the integration of videos alongside product photos. Incorporating short videos to demonstrate products ‘in action,’ can be highly effective.
Here are additional feature examples to consider:
- An adjustable menu for large product catalogs.
- The ability to include an image carousel in the header.
- The option to feature a video in the header.
- A ‘zoom’ tool for product images.
- Advanced filter options for searching the product catalog.
- Inventory remaining indicators.
- Popup capabilities.
- A ‘lookbook’ option for tagging products in images.
- Highlighting an ‘in-store pickup’ option.
- Creating customizable forms.
- Showcasing customer testimonials.
- Including an FAQ page.
- Providing a size guide (for a fashion store).
- Offering pre-sale options,’ and more.
DON’T JUDGE BY APPEARANCES ALONE
While browsing the theme store, the initial instinct is to focus on themes whose demos feature products similar to your niche. However, this can be misleading.
For instance, if you sell luxury pens, the ideal theme for your store may not align with a demo showcasing cloth diapers. So, don’t judge based solely on the niche of the demo. Instead, evaluate whether the navigation, layout, and theme features align with your specific needs. You can try the theme before making a purchase decision.
EXPLORE, VISUALIZE, AND TEST
Now that you have a clear understanding of the features your online store needs, explore the Shopify theme store and identify the most appealing themes.
To aid your initial selection, use the ‘View demo’ feature available on each theme’s presentation page. You can view demos for each of the theme’s ‘styles’
This allows you to witness the theme in action, observe how different menus function, explore available sections, and examine elements on product pages, blog pages, the cart page, and more.
Demo sites are designed to showcase the full range of a theme’s possibilities and configurations. If essential features you require are missing, they may not be offered by that theme, and you may need to implement them through coding if you decide to proceed with that theme.
You can thoroughly assess everything and explore how the theme can be customized behind the scenes by trying it on your own store.
Trying and Installing a Shopify Theme
While having a list of features and a demo is helpful, the best way to evaluate a theme is by trying it out with your own content. This allows you to experience firsthand the possibilities and limitations of each theme you’re interested in.
You can configure the themes you try with your own content, infuse them with your personal touch, and align them with your brand’s style. If you decide to purchase one of the themes you’ve experimented with, all your customizations will be saved, making it easy to update your store quickly.
On Shopify, you have the flexibility to install up to 20 themes (1 active and 19 for preview) on your store. This means you can thoroughly test and configure all your favorite themes without any restrictions before settling on the final choice.
Procedure for installation, trial, purchase, and publication
Installing a Theme from the Shopify Theme Store
Installing a trial theme from the Shopify Theme Store is a straightforward process. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Go to the page of the theme you want to install in the Shopify Theme Store, ensuring that you are logged into your account.
- Click on “Try Theme.”
- A preview of the ’empty’ theme will open in a new window. From there, click on “Customize theme” located in the bottom right corner.
- The theme customization page will open, allowing you to explore different options and add your content.
All the themes you’ve installed for trials will be accessible in your account. You can find them in the left menu under “Sales Channels/Online Store/Themes.”
Once you’ve made a decision and chosen the theme you want to purchase, simply click on “Actions” and then “Buy.” After the purchase, the “Publish” option will become available, enabling you to make it live once you’ve completed the customization.
Rest assured that all configurations made within the themes will be saved. Even if you decide to switch to another theme later on (because, as they say, only the crazy ones never change their minds…), you don’t need to worry about losing your progress.
You can even duplicate your theme and create a special version for specific occasions, like the holiday season. This way, you can apply the festive theme during Christmas and revert to the regular theme afterward.
Installing an External Theme
If you’ve obtained a theme from another website, you should have received a download link in the form of a zipped (.zip) file.
To install it on Shopify, navigate to your theme library and click on “Upload Theme.”
The theme will be installed in your Shopify store and will be accessible alongside your other themes.
Creating a Shareable Link
Once you’ve finished customizing your theme, you may want to share it with others to gather external feedback before making it public.
You can achieve this by generating a preview link.
Simply select the theme you wish to share from your theme library and click on “Actions/Preview.”
In the preview window, click on “Share preview” located in the bottom right corner.
You can then copy the link displayed on the screen. This link allows those who receive it to visit your online store (with the exception of the payment page) for a duration of 14 days. If you need to create a shareable link after this period, you can repeat these steps; there’s no limit to the number of preview links you can generate.
Shopify offers a selection of free themes that they’ve developed, but these options often come with limitations in terms of features and customization. In most cases, it’s advantageous to consider investing in a premium theme, which can truly empower us to optimize our online store according to our specific requirements.
You can explore the Shopify Theme Store to discover intriguing themes or explore alternatives provided by independent developers. Regardless of your choice, it’s crucial to consider the developer’s role in providing customer support and assistance with any theme-related issues. Ensuring they are accessible and reactive is essential, especially when it comes to addressing theme adjustments and fixes.
Before settling on a theme, it’s a best practice to compile a list of essential features you absolutely need and another list of desirable but not mandatory features that would enhance your store. This initial list serves as a valuable reference point to guide your search effectively.
While themes can be customized by developers, the ideal scenario is to find a theme that closely aligns with your requirements right out of the box. You can always explore the option of adding extensions to your site later on, especially for expanding marketing capabilities.
Once you’ve identified several promising themes, you can test their demo versions to evaluate the site’s navigation and gain insights into the various components each theme offers.
After thoroughly assessing and comparing these themes, you can proceed to install them as trial versions within your Shopify account. Customize them with your own content to see how they align with your brand’s identity and objectives. Once you’ve made your final selection among the trial themes, you can easily purchase it directly from your theme library in your Shopify account. After purchase, and once it’s been fully tailored to your needs, all that remains is to click the “publish” button to make it live on your site.