There’s a lot riding on your Shopify theme. It represents your brand by determining how your store will look and feel. Also, it must showcase your products beautifully and convert your website visitors into paying clients. That’s a lot to do! So, let’s look at how to pick the best Shopify theme for your e-commerce website.
FYI – some of the links in this post are affiliate links meaning I make a small commission if you make a purchase. These commissions are at no cost to you. I love Shopify and build my client e-commerces sites on this platform.
Before you start looking at web designs and layout options, the first decision is to figure out what key features you’d like to have on your website.
The reason you start with features first is because it’s harder or more expensive to add them later. Changing the look of a website is a lot easier to do given that most themes come with branding customizations and an assortment of site styles to choose from. Whereas certain features may require additional apps or custom coding from a developer.
Browse through some of your favourite online shops. Pay attention to the user experience and the things you like about how the site actually functions. Look at things like the product page, the navigation, the add-to-cart process, etc. Start making a list of what you like and what your must-have features are.
Once you know which features are most important, you can narrow down your search for the best Shopify theme a little easier.
The folks at Shopify have made this part of the process fairly easy. So, let’s get started by heading over to the Shopify theme store.
On the left sidebar, you’ll see a variety of filter options allowing you to select the exact features you need for your website. Let’s go through them one by one:
Price: let’s skip this one for now.
Number of products: let’s skip this one unless you have a large catalog. I prefer to cast a wider net first and refine afterwards.
Layout Style: From wide width to grid or collage style, pick your website layout preferences here. You’ll find many themes have sections that will allow you to create a layout you love whereas features cost money to develop. Therefore, I like to leave layout options open at the beginning and see what the results are first.
Product Page: Think about what functions are most important on your product page. Size charts allow customers to see how clothing will fit compared to their body measurements. Image zoom and galleries give customers an opportunity to get a feel for your product through the website. Tabs allow you to share product information in a more contained and organized way. Pick which features are most important here.
Home Page: Decide on your must have’s for your home page. Some features are standard on most themes but if you specifically want a slideshow with video then make sure to select it.
Navigation Styles: Do you want your navigation to go across the top of the website or down the side? Maybe you like the clean look of a slide-out menu? Multi-level menus allow quick and easy access to a site that has a large catalog. Make your navigation preferences.
Marketing & Social Media: Are newsletter pop-ups a must-have for you? Or perhaps you’d like a promotional announcement bar at the top of your website. Select your must-haves but keep in mind some email marketing solutions like Flodesk will allow you to embed code to create pop-ups whether your theme has one or not.
Now, with your preferences selected have a look at the themes remaining. Typically, I end up with a small amount of themes which is good!
Next, jot down the themes that showed up during your search in step 2. Assess each one based on their layout style, catalog size, and price if that’s important to you. Hopefully, a few themes will stand out over the others.
Preview your options by clicking on them and visiting the demo sites. You’ll notice themes will often come in more than one style. I’d recommend previewing all the themes and all the styles while keeping track of the ones that stand out the most to you.
Finally, with your theme selections narrowed down to 2-3, let’s preview some themes in your Shopify account. If you need help setting up a test account, let me know! Shopify Partners are able to create test stores that allow you to try things out before launching and subscribing. There is no time limit on a test store.
The easiest way to try a theme is to click “Try Theme” while previewing the demo in the Shopify Theme Store. It will install it into your Shopify Dashboard and you’ll be ready to start customizing! You can do this multiple times to try out various themes before purchasing. I like to check out the sections available, the style customization options and the types of page templates included in the theme. Remember, not all the features will be available in the demo so a look at the developer website may be helpful before making your final theme selection.
Lastly, it’s time to pick the best Shopify theme for you! Which one is it going to be? Make your purchase directly through the Shopify dashboard by going to the Theme library. Click Actions then Buy to complete the transaction.
Now the real work begins – add your content, products, images, branding, and more!
Of course, if you need a hand picking & setting up a Shopify theme, I’d love to help. Reach out and lets chat about working together. Can’t wait to hear from you!
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Vanessa Bucceri Creative wishes to acknowledge that we live and work on the unceded native Coast Salish territories of the Kwantlen, Katzie, Tsawwassen, and Semiahmoo First Nations.