What To Consider When Choosing A Theme For Your Shopify Store

Shopify is leading the e-commerce businesses with more than 1,000,000 stores that are currently active. Finding the best Shopify theme for your Shopify store is crucial if you want to be successful in the e-commerce industry.

With the right Shopify theme, you make it easier for your customers to find products in your store and can significantly enhance the overall customer experience.

We have put together a list of factors that you should keep in mind when choosing a Shopify theme for your store or when paying for Shopify theme development. 

Why is Shopify the right choice?

Let’s start off with why should you spend your energy on finding the best Shopify theme? Why not opt for another eCommerce platform? 

Shopify does more than just offer support for a plethora of themes; it also gives business owners access to a myriad of free and paid apps. That’s not all; it also has a multitude of built-in marketing features.

Furthermore, Shopify offers scalability, unlike any other eCommerce platform. Whether it’s resources for inventory and payment management or site hosting, you can count on Shopify to help you grow hassle-free!

What exactly is a Shopify theme?

A Shopify theme defines the layout and styling of your store. It provides you with the sections that are used for building pages while offering structure for your navigation menu. 

Many business owners tend to make the mistake of taking the Shopify theme selection process lightly. Finding the best Shopify theme isn’t purely a cosmetic decision. It also affects the functionality of your store while having a direct effect on the user experience. 

In a nutshell, your Shopify theme can even help you to improve your conversion rate. 

Free vs. paid Shopify themes

When it comes to choosing a theme for your Shopify store, you can pick from 9 free themes developed and supported by Shopify, or 69 paid options from reputable theme developers who offer premium themes like Turbo or Impulse. If that variety still doesn’t fit your needs, you can also try third-party alternatives, like Debutify Shopify Theme, Porto Shopify Theme, or Ella Shopify Theme.

You can also check out various Shopify themes that Envato is providing on Themeforest. Shopify themes can be downloaded as a .zip file and then uploaded to your store’s admin section. The important thing to keep in mind is the support that’s being offered with these external themes (more on that later). 

If you don’t really want to “share your store looks” with anyone else on the internet, there’s always an option to develop a custom theme. The advantage of this is that you would be creating something from scratch which means more freedom. You can tailor everything to your own needs and better express your brand personality.

The obvious disadvantage of custom Shopify themes is their high costs. If you have no design or programming skills, hiring developers and designers to do that might sound like too big an investment, especially if you’re just starting out. 

What to focus on when you’re looking for the best Shopify theme

1. Support from the theme’s developer

Sooner or later, you will find yourself in need of a few tweaks to your Shopify theme or to integrate a particular tool with it. That’s where the developer’s support really matters since you might have to ask for an update for your theme. Shopify themes are complicated, and you will likely require assistance from the theme’s developers.

If you’re using a Shopify theme from its parent store, you can reach out to the Shopify support team for such matters. Whereas, for the third-party theme developers, you will have to carry out research to see which of them are known for providing long-term and good support before you settle on a theme for your store. 

Bonus tip: search for reviews on platforms other than the third-party’s own website.

2. Size of the product catalogue

The Shopify Theme Store enables you to filter the themes according to the number of products that they can handle. This is an important factor to consider since businesses have varying requirements in terms of their catalog size. 

For instance, if you are dealing with fashion or electronics, it is understood that you want a Shopify theme that can cater to a larger number of products as opposed to you selling organic products, for which a Shopify theme with a smaller catalog size would work too. 

The reason for paying attention to this particular factor is that you want your products displayed in the best possible manner along with other sections such as promotional banners, reviews, and product recommendations.

3. Ensuring that the theme is mobile-responsive 

Back in 2019, between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Shopify stores were able to amass together $2.9 billion in sales. 69% of these sales were generated from mobile devices. Mobile commerce is taking over, and businesses that aren’t adapting are starting to experience the difference. That’s why when you’re looking for the best Shopify theme for your store, it is imperative that you opt for a theme that is mobile-responsive. 

Once you have shortlisted themes and are trying to finalize from amongst them using the mobile preview option, ensure that you pay attention to the following:

  • Amount of scrolling it takes for you to get to the first interactive element
  • Are the images covering the screen? Are they resized properly?
  • How do the drop-down menus look?
  • Are your CTA buttons clear and easy to reach using your thumb?
  • Are the clickable items appreciably far enough so that mistake-clicks aren’t happening? 

Here’s some food for thought – the loading speed is something that you won’t be able to experience until after you’ve installed the theme. So, as a rule of thumb, keep in mind that intricate functionalities such as carousels or video blocks end up increasing the loading times. 

4. Compatibility with SEO tools

The best Shopify theme is a theme that’s compatible with SEO tools. Why? Because SEO tools are going to ensure that your store pops up in SERPs (or, in other words, in the results page after you place a search inquiry on a search engine, like Google) while helping you reduce your spending on PPC (pay-per-click) ads. 

You can easily find Shopify themes that have built-in SEO features. In contrast, these can be easily submitted to search engines thanks to their brilliant navigation structure. 

If you will be relying on organic traffic as part of your growth strategy in the future, then you should consider the following when you’re finalizing the Shopify theme choice for your store:

  • Social Media Sharing Buttons
  • Hassle-free and automatic sitemap generation
  • Google Snippet Support
  • Custom Metadata
  • Visitor-Generated Content Features (Comment Boards or Rating Widgets)
  • Integrated Blog Section

5. Conversion optimization and the checkout process

Whether you opt for the Impulse Shopify theme or decide to pay for Shopify theme development, you must pay special attention to your checkout process. Why? Because your cart and checkout pages play a significant role in determining whether a sale will go through or not. 

You will find Shopify themes that offer features aimed at enhancing the checkout process. For instance, you can incorporate progress bars, offer itemized order summaries, helpful icons, and even back buttons, thus making it easier for your customer to make a purchase. 

6. Language and translation support

Your Shopify store should offer translated content if you’re targeting customers from different regions. Additional languages are a plus since they allow you to expand your target audience and potentially increase your sales. Furthermore, they also allow you to improve your search engine presence and ranking. So when you’re looking for the best Shopify theme, make sure that the theme you opt for has built-in language support. 

Generally speaking, themes that do not have built-in language support prove to be a handful when it comes to incorporating translated content. Ideally, your Shopify theme should allow your customers to shop in multiple languages and also offer multi-language site-search for maximum impact. 

7. UX, navigation, and menu architecture

Are you going to be selling hundreds of products on your Shopify store? If yes, you need to find a theme that allows you to easily categorize those products, thus making it easier for your customers to find what they want. As far as user experience goes, product discovery is a crucial aspect of it. It allows your visitors to easily find and compare different products. 

Your chosen Shopify theme should also feature filters and breadcrumbs so that navigation can be made as easy as possible. Simultaneously, multi-level menus enable you to offer a complete overview of your collection to your potential customers. 

A few last words

Whether you choose a third-party Shopify theme – such as the ones offered by Themeforest – or pick one from Shopify’s Theme Store, it is imperative that you pay attention to the pointers mentioned above since they play a great role in making your Shopify store look cleaner, easier to navigate, and customized for enhanced user experience.

The same principles also apply if you’re paying for Shopify theme development. Your Shopify theme will be the backbone of your Shopify store, and therefore you should carry out due diligence, so that you end up with the best Shopify theme based on your needs. 

This is a guest post contribution by Renata Liubertaitė. Renata has been working with content for more than 5 years now. Started as an editor at a popular online entertainment magazine that mostly covers light, heartwarming topics, she then switched to writing copies for e-commerce. Currently, she writes content for Shopify apps – Senderium and HelpCenter app, aimed at making e-commerce merchants’ lives easier.

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