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Shopify Insights

Choosing A Theme For Your Shopify Store

Choosing A Theme For Your Shopify Store

Your Shopify store needs to have a theme in order to display its product listings and all other information. The way your website looks is very important to the overall success of your e-commerce business, and installing a Shopify theme will help you streamline the launch of your shop and keep the design process relatively quick and easy. Your store can be ready to go live within minutes (though realistically it’ll take longer than that to add your content and select your layouts), and you can focus on other business processes such as marketing.

But how do you find themes for your shop? 

Every new Shopify store is preloaded with a base theme. Since the launch of Shopify 2.0, Shopify installs the theme called Dawn, while back in the Shopify 1.0 days, it was Debut. They do an OK job of displaying information, but there is so much more that you can do when it comes to your website design. In this article, we will cover the most popular ways of choosing and adding themes to your Shopify store. 

Shopify Theme Store

The Shopify Theme Store

Shopify offers a wide range of design solutions for your e-commerce website. The Theme Store accommodates both service- and product-based businesses. Some themes are free, while others cost money. Prices for themes offered here vary between $150-$350.

When browsing the theme store, you can sort themes by the features that you're looking for with the help of their filter and categories. You’ll be searching for a combination of design and look & feel along with features and functionality that will help you sell more. Some of the most commonly searched-for functionalities are

  • A pre-built FAQ page template
  • Product filtering
  • A dedicated block for related products
  • The option to add videos to listings and other pages. 
  • And more…

Another one we would recommend is a “side cart” that slides in from the right instead of sending the customers to a dedicated cart page. But there are many other features that you can discover.

The main benefit of getting your theme through the Shopify theme store is that each theme comes with a live demo and a preview option, so you can see what your store would look like with the new theme, along with its included features and layouts before purchasing and publishing it. You’ll be able to test how things work and make a better decision. 

Another advantage is that you can access it immediately without downloading any external files.

Moreover, each theme landing page in the store features several storefronts that use it, so you can see how other businesses utilized the design. Additionally, you can see the reviews written by other business owners who have installed the theme. 

Another reason to go with the Theme store options is that the featured themes are extensively reviewed and go through a rigorous approval process:

  • Shopify’s Quality Control. They use their own in-house theme team to review all of the code created - everything - HTML, Liquid, CSS, and Javascript. 
  • All themes must meet certain minimum requirements. This way, every theme has all the most commonly used page templates that are vital for any website regardless of its niche.
  • Theme developers who are listed in the store are held to high standards. They are bound to do regular code updates and upgrade their themes with the new features and functionalities that are added to the core Shopify product.

When it comes to the disadvantages of the Theme Store, the biggest one is the limited supply. Currently, there are 81 designs available for Shopify 2.0 storefronts; and only 8 of them are free.

Most themes will require extensive customization to make the store look unique. Some themes offer a few overall layout & styling choices that help with website branding. However, that’s hardly enough to make your website stand out from the other 500,000 active Shopify storefronts. Your site will still look and function great but there will always be something that you’d like to do but are limited to.

Third-party sites and developers

If you’re not impressed by any of the themes available in the Shopify Theme Store, you can find a solution on third-party websites. This is an excellent choice for niche businesses that want a theme to make their brand stand out. More themes make a statement with their colors and fonts, and the range of choices tends to be more diverse.

Just like Shopify Theme Store themes, these designs can be customized and tweaked to serve your business needs. Some developers offer limited-time support and help with installation, but the terms depend on each publisher. The themes available on marketplaces typically have reviews and live demos. They also have a list of functionalities available, as well as the latest fixes and updates.

Your purchased theme may still require more customization to match your goals, and you'll have to deal with third-party customer support if something goes wrong. However, the benefits of getting a unique storefront may just be worth it. After all, you can get many cool designs for under $100, and some functionalities can potentially replace third-party apps available through the Shopify App Store, saving you money down the road.

Adding additional content blocks not included with your theme

One of the most effective ways of customizing your website is with unique content blocks. Qwiqode offers shop sections that will give your site a more custom-designed feel incorporated into these stable, pre-built themes. Moreover, it will serve the specific needs of your unique business and will help you deliver your brand message the right way.

If you’re still missing a comparison table, a marquee or a non-standard hero section that will help get your message across, qwiqode has the solution and adding these sections is easy.

Build them yourself or work with a developer to build a custom theme?

And if you want your Shopify store to have an exclusive design that no one else will have, building an exclusive theme may be the right choice for you. This option requires a web designer and developer to handle this in-depth process.  But this way, you can customize your storefront to the maximum and have them add the functionalities that your business requires to operate. Moreover, the code won’t be cluttered with unnecessary functionalities and unoptimized script, which will have a positive long-term effect on the loading speed of your website.

Of course, this option may take the longest. Costs will also vary depending on the workload. However, the results are worth it since your business will be represented by a truly unique website and browsing experience.

No matter where you get your theme, it will occasionally require updates. Shopify constantly introduces upgrades to its system that make Shopify-based websites faster and better, but updating should be done with caution if you have made any additions to the code core of your theme. Plus, your theme is something that you can always change in the future. Your listings, page content, and files will not be affected by the redesign; only the way your info is displayed will change.

We have discussed the difference between custom and theme-based development before; each choice has its distinct pros and cons. If you need help making a decision or learning more about what your best option is, Studio Umbrella, the owner of qwiqode, has extensive experience working with businesses to make sure that all their needs get addressed. We have built unique storefronts across different industries, as well as semi-custom projects based on a purchased theme, and we’ll be happy to work with you too. Reach out today to get a custom quote and get your project started.

And now that you’ve chosen and installed your theme, you can read part 2 - how to customize the Shopify theme that you have selected!