"Don’t judge a book by its cover" is a saying we’ve all heard. In most cases it's a good mantra to live by. But the hard truth in the online business world is the layout and overall look and feel of your website can play a role in how your business is perceived. Visitors really do judge your store and business by its “cover”.
That’s why it’s important to pick the perfect theme for your Shopify store.
In this post, we’ll take a look at things to consider when sorting through the best Shopify themes and picking one for your online store—so your business and products can shine in the light they deserve.
The importance of the perfect theme
So you might be wondering why it matters that your theme does certain things, or why it matters that the layout is a certain way. Do people really care about the colors on your website?
The fact of the matter is, the theme and layout of your online store is what encapsulates your brand and product. It’s a visual representation of your business and everything you, and your product(s) stand for.
Plus, it can have a significant affect on the performance of your online store in terms of conversion rates, trustworthiness, and more.
There’s quite a lot of different information at your fingertips that supports specific theme layouts and how they’re styled. For instance, most Internet users look at a website in an “F” shaped pattern. That means that, generally speaking, websites that have a strong header and a sidebar on the left hand side of the website are most intuitive for first-time users.
Another thing to note, is that a good theme and website design is a strong trust indicator. 94% of Internet users cite web design as a reason they don’t trust certain websites. If your website looks shady, chances are it’ll have a negative impact on your business.
A business with the perfect theme
So now you're probably saying "Well, Tucker, show me a business that's doing it right." Here's an example for you: Speck and Stone.
Speck and Stone sells beautiful products, and has a beautifully designed store. They're using the Brooklyn (free) theme from the Shopify Theme Store, and have appropriated it and customized it to fit their business and brand.
By looking at their website, it just feels right. It's a hard thing to explain, but you'll know it when you see it. You can tell they spent time experimenting with other themes before they landed on this one.
One of the things that I love about their theme choice, is the fact that they understand their potential customers and what they're looking for. Their product is incredibly visual and unique – and this theme helps them convey that with large images, clear call to actions, and a simple navigation.
With the perfect theme, you too can achieve the same finesse that Speck and Stone has.
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Before you pick a theme
The theme selection process can be overwhelming for some. If it’s your first time ever building an online store, it can be difficult to determine what's best for your business.
With your Shopify store, you start with a default theme and have the option to customize it, play around with it, or even just start fresh with a new theme.
To be clear, there's absolutely nothing wrong with using the default Shopify theme if it's your first time using Shopify. It works incredibly well, and is a good way to get an understanding of different theme features and styling options. I'd recommend playing around with it as a testing playground before jumping in to any other themes.
Want to read more about customizing your Shopify theme? Take a look at our official documentation on using the customize theme page.
With that in mind, here are some questions you’ll want to ask yourself before looking at themes:
- What kind of experience am I trying to create for my customer?
- What are some desired features I want for my store?
- What are my competitors doing that I like, and how can I emulate it?
- How do I want my products to be displayed?
- How many products will I be displaying on my store?
- Do I want a paid or free theme?
💡 Tip: Don’t base your choice on theme colours or fonts, as you can customize these things later.
The exercise of actually trying to answer these questions will help you move forward. You'll be able to start nailing down some criteria for your theme selection, which will start pointing you in the right direction towards the perfect theme.
After you’ve considered some of the questions above, it’s time to head to the Shopify Theme Store and start browsing the many different themes available.
If you want something completely unique to your business, you also have the option to work with a Shopify Expert. This is a great route to take if you have enough startup capital to spend working with a designer.
Enter the shopify theme store
The Shopify Theme Store is home to more than 100+ different theme styles that you can use on your Shopify store. With third-party developers creating beautiful themes, and our own in-house team building themes – you’ll be able to find something that’s perfect for your business.
💡 Tip: We recommend using themes from the Shopify Theme Store, as we carefully evaluate all themes submitted by theme designers for quality and functionality before they are listed in the Theme Store.
Improved search tools
With the latest updates to the Shopify Theme store, you can now use search and filter tools to find the right theme for your store:
- Filters allow you to browse themes that have a specific feature, layout, industry, or purpose. Choose from themes filtered by inventory size, layout style, product type, home page features, social features, and more. Narrow down the theme options to focus on the features that are important to the experience you're trying to create. (Note: when you're looking at industry breakdown, they're simply suggestions. A theme that's labelled for the Electronics industry might work perfectly for your furniture business, too.)
- Use search to find specific features, theme designers, and key terms.
- Browse themes by collection. We curate these collections and update them regularly based on trending themes, new releases, features, and style.
- Get inspiration from examples of other stores using a particular theme to see the customization possibilities within the theme.
- Click through to demo stores to see the theme in action. (Remember that the demo stores are only examples of what you can do with the theme. You’ll be able to customize it with your own branding and photography.)
- Consult theme reviews for peace of mind and insight into other merchants’ experiences with the theme and theme support.
💡 Tip: See a theme that has almost all the features you need? Check the Shopify App Store for apps that can extend your theme’s functionality.
Consider theme support as a deciding factor
Theme support is another important factor to consider when deciding on your perfect theme. All free themes are supported directly by Shopify through the Theme Support team. You can reach out to them for support.
All third-party developers have their own support team, so if you do end up using a theme that was made by a third-party, you'll have to contact their team directly should you run into any issues.
We work with vetted theme developers that provide excellent support—our partners are best equipped to answer questions about their themes, as they know them inside out.
Most importantly, be willing to test and experiment
So with all of that being said, it's clear that there are quite a few options when it comes to picking a theme for your Shopify store. So, how do you pick the perfect one?
Take your time to test and experiment. You can install and customize multiple free or paid themes and compare how they work for your brand before deciding on the one that’s right for you.
Really, there's no better way to find out what's perfect for your business than to use the criteria, questions, and sorting features above to begin experimenting with different themes.
Truth be told, there's no "one size fits all" approach to picking a theme. Every business is different, and the only person who can make an informed decision on the perfect theme for your Shopify store is you.
Have you come across any Shopify stores in the wild that have a great theme? Let us know in the comments below!