How to Choose the Best Shopify Theme for Your Ecommerce Store
With over $200 billion USD generated in sales using Shopify, it comes as no surprise that it’s one of the most popular, user-friendly and feature-rich platforms available on the market today. Online store owners from over 175 countries around the world trust Shopify to meet their ecommerce needs - and for good reason.
Every Shopify store, large or small, is built on a theme. Deciding on the best Shopify theme to use for your website is a big decision that will impact your store and performance. As such, many merchants hire a Shopify agency for specialist advice and guidance to get a full picture before diving in.
The following article breaks down how to choose a Shopify theme for your ecommerce store. But first, what exactly is a Shopify theme?
A Shopify theme is a template that gives your online store a specific look and feel. There are a range of themes available on the Shopify theme store offering different layouts, styles and customer experiences. The themes fall into the three main categories below:
- Free themes – these standard themes come ready to go out of the box, so you can launch quickly without hassle.
- Premium/paid themes – these themes offer more flexibility when it comes to customisation, enabling your website and brand to be more aligned.
- Custom themes – these are fully customisable, bespoke themes that are unique to your ecommerce store and make you stand out from the crowd.
Choosing the right theme for ecommerce store is important because:
- As the online home of your brand, the theme you choose will impact the perception customers will have of your business as a whole for the foreseeable future.
- Customers are already forming an opinion about your brand within seconds of landing on your website. An attractive store can keep visitors engaged and start to establish trust.
- Visitors who have a good perception of your brand, are engaged, and have built trust are more likely to buy from your store, which is good for business.
Prior to settling on the best theme for your business and objectives, there are a few key considerations to make that are explained further below.
Have a Clearly Defined Brand
The first step is to have an in-depth understanding and knowledge about your brand. You must know the perception you want to portray, which requires a clear idea of the general design, colour schemes, and fonts that will be used to represent your business.
Identify Your ‘Must-Have’ Functionality
While your website’s aesthetic appeal is very important as already established, the functionality of your store is also critical. A great looking website that doesn’t perform the way it should will turn potential customers away and also result in your business needing to hire a Shopify agency to provide a solution.
Keep Your Budget in Mind
Keep your budget front of mind during the process of evaluating the best Shopify theme for your business. Free and paid Shopify website themes range from $0 to $180. Custom built themes will be significantly higher due to their bespoke nature. Before making your decision, also remember that you generally get what you pay for.
The Size of Your Product Range
Before you get a theme for your Shopify store, it’s important to take the number of products you’ll be selling into account. This is because different themes are tailored to different sized product catalogues. Knowing the size of your product range alone will help you to short-list the most ideal themes for your store.
The Look & Feel
As previously stated, the way your website looks has an effect on your business performance as a whole. This makes it essential to choose a theme that will be appealing to your target audience. If you’re unsure about where to start, you can analyse how other stores in your niche present themselves or even conduct research by directly asking your target what they like and why.
More people are shopping on mobile devices than ever before. To ensure a seamless user experience across different screen sizes, ecommerce stores need to be mobile-friendly. A poor experience will result in a huge hit to your conversion rates. What’s more, mobile-friendliness is one of Google’s ranking factors. This means responsive sites are given preference in search results over non responsive ones, which directly impacts the amount of traffic coming through to your website organically.
The UX & UI
The UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) of your theme are both essential to optimising your store’s conversion rates. Your website visitors firstly need to be engaged when they land on your website, which encourages them to explore your store further. To continue browsing further, navigation must be simple and logical with CTA’s ideally located to entice your desired user actions.
Theme Developer Support
The journey doesn’t end after you buy a Shopify theme, that’s where it begins. You’ll want to know what level of support is offered once you’ve implemented a specific theme to your site. Oftentimes upgrades or integrations with other apps can come with technical issues that the original theme developers are best suited to handle. If you’re choosing a theme from the Shopify store, you can be sure of excellent customer support. If you want to go with a theme developed by a third party, be sure to look into their track record for support through objective reviews.
Is it a Light Theme?
Different themes come with different features and functionality. It is important to note that while some of these elements can make your store more visually appealing, a lot of them will also slow down your site speed. Since your site speed affects bounce rates and conversion rates negatively, it should not be sacrificed for unnecessary extras that will do more harm than good to your overall performance. Light-weight themes are your best bet in this regard.
Standard SEO Features
SEO performance is a key aspect of having success online. The higher your store ranks in search results, the more traffic you will receive, which means more potential people buying your products. The best Shopify themes come with SEO features like automated sitemap generation, blogging functionality, and a Google snippet feature, as a standard.
Conversion Rate Optimisation
After all the hard work optimising your store to generate traffic and engaging the visitors that arrive to the point where they want to purchase your products, it would be a huge shame to stumble at the last hurdle before converting. Your chosen theme needs to be set up for a quick and easy checkout to diminish cart abandonment rates, which prevents you from losing customers and revenue.
Language & Translation Support
The beauty of having an ecommerce website is that it opens your business up to a much larger pool of potential customers. People in different parts of the world can visit your virtual store and purchase your products. If you have an international audience then language and translation support for your Shopify store will be crucial. The great news is that some themes come with this functionality, allowing you to speak your customers’ language, whatever it may be.
Now that you know what you’re looking for in Shopify ecommerce themes, your next thought will likely be where to find the best themes other than the official Shopify theme Store. Other options you can consider are:
As can be seen, a lot of thought must go into your decision for a specific Shopify theme. Everything from your budget to the look and feel, user experience, SEO elements, and level of optimisation to boost conversion rates must be factored in. If in doubt about any theme components, you can hire a Shopify agency to provide specialist help before making your decision.
A leading agency like Vsourz is readily available to provide assistance whether you’re looking for a free, paid or custom Shopify theme.