Choosing a theme for your Shopify Store is exciting – this is where you can begin to imagine what your store will look like – a step closer to realising your business dreams.
To date, we have developed over 300+ Shopify stores so we wanted to share our advice on what you need to consider when choosing a theme for your Shopify store.
#1: Free or premium?
Regardless of whether you opt for a free or paid-for theme, unless you have previous knowledge and experience with a particular theme developer, choose a theme within the Shopify theme store. All themes listed in the theme store have either been developed by Shopify themselves (the free ones) or they've passed Shopify's strict vetting criteria in order to be listed. Plus you know you're guaranteed to get good support should any issues arise, as this is a key part of the approval process the theme developers have to go through in the first place.
In terms of free or premium, it depends on what your objectives are. If you’re just starting out or perhaps want to test things out, then a free theme could be the best choice. But if you need more features and design options, then a premium theme is perhaps the best place to start. At the other end of the scale, is having a fully-customised theme worth the cost?
Do think about the longer-term strategy of your business and remember that you’re not stuck with a theme. In fact, maybe your website needs a refresh, in which case starting with a new theme may be in order and could be a more affordable way to achieve a new look rather than trying to redesign on your existing one.
You can view all themes available on the Shopify theme store here.
#2: What imagery do you have?
You can get seduced by the stunning images used to showcase a theme in the many available previews, but be careful that you select a theme suited to your business’ products/services. What brand assets do you have, or will be acquiring? Will these assets work well with your theme choice?
Don’t pick a theme just because the examples show the same products that you sell – you could be missing out on other themes which suit your requirements better.
#3: How big is your inventory?
Is you inventory small or large? Do you have lots of product variants? Does your chosen theme suit your requirements and does it have the ability to scale your store as you grow your range?
#4: What are your ‘must-haves'?
What are your must-haves in terms of functionality? What features are important to you and your audience? Conversely, what don’t you want/need?
Although most themes have similar section blocks to design with (as this is part of Shopify's criteria), many themes have different ways of managing features, such as product filtering, quick view, additional product page content, plus internal 'story' page layouts. In addition, some are built to allow you to use basic inline HTML so you can make more changes to the design than the visual options allow. A great way to affordably create something more unique.
Also take into consideration other factors such as what the theme’s support and documentation is like.
#5 Different just for the sake of it?
‘When shopping, unfamiliarity breeds contempt’ – most themes follow a similar layout convention because this is what people expect to see, this is how they want an ecommerce website to look and function. Ensure that you test any deviations away from the conventional layout – good design engineering is a result of blending both the aesthetic and the functional.
#6 Try before you buy
Another reason to ony use themes from the Shopify theme store, is that you can 'try before you buy'. Add a new theme as a trial to your site so you can play around with the layouts and options before commiting to buying it. You'll get a much better feel of how it will look and work with your own brand and content in it that way, especially when all themes start 'blank' when compared to the highly styled preview versions you'll see.
Do get in touch in you’d like some advice on which theme to choose or would prefer our professional designer to create a new look for you. Drop us an email or give us a call on 01242 236600.